Balloon car 703, acquired for preservation by the LTT in October last year, is now in the paint shop. However, following a repaint the car will soon be moving away from the seaside town for operation at the North of England Open-Air Museum in Beamish, County Durham thanks to sponsorship from bus operator Go-North East and the BusWorks in Blackpool.
But tram 703 will take on a new identity as a Sunderland tram following a makeover by Blackpool Transport funded by the two principal sponsors.
Sunderland used to operate trams of a design reminiscent to these Blackpool icons and to give 703 local significance to the Beamish museum, the tram will adopt Sunderland's streamlined 1930s red and off-white livery style. The 94-seat tram, built in 1934 should prove to be a popular crowd mover on the Beamish tramway which is used to transport visitors from the main entrance to the attractions located around the 300 acre site.
An impression of what 703 will look like, based on a photograph edited by Jason Cross, is shown opposite. It is not intended to restore the double destination screens before it moves to Beamish but this may happen during its initial 5-year loan.