Friday, 24 July 2009

Fleetwood Tram Sunday 2009

Last Sunday we went up to Fleetwood to have a look at the cars, buses and trams at the annual transport event that is Fleetwood Tram Sunday.

Despite the name, trams take a back seat these days, if you'll forgive the pun!

However one of the stars of the show was undoubtedly this - the newly restored Wild West Loco tram with trailer caboose, still in the original ABC Weekend Television livery. It had been a favourite sight during the Illuminations since the 1960s and has been sadly missed. Now it's back and it looks just wonderful!

It was nice to stand watching the parade at 11:30 and take part in the huge round of applause that was given to the RNLI Lifeboat crew, who were pulling the lifeboat along Lord Street. Fleetwood, as a fishing town, has a deep respect for the sea and has lost too many sons to it over the years.

Congratulations too to the local Chinese community whose 2-man Chinese dragon made a colourful addition to the parade!

And so to the displays of vehicles. Far too many to show on the blog, but the whole collection of photographs can be seen with photos at 1440x900 definition as a collection at my Flickr account

So here are a couple of interiors. This is the 1950s Ford Prefect. The horn is in the centre of the steering wheel and the little white stub on top can be moved sideways either way to turn on the indicators which were ultra modern flashing lights rather than a semaphore arm coming out of the side of the car which had been common up until that time.

The pull switch marked S is the starter. The ignition key (in the dashboard rather than the steering column) did not operate the starter motor until later and had only two positions - on and off. In winter it was still common to have a starter handle to manually stick it through the bumper into the engine and hand crank it to turn the engine to help it start.

This is the early 1960s Wolseley 16/60 which was the first car certainly that I remember with an indicator stalk coming from the steering column. It had a neat little lamp with a green cover on the end of the stalk too, which flashed with the indicators as a reminder that they were on.

The dashboard has a nice bit of (real!) walnut wood and the glove box has room for not only a pair of gloves (you'd be lucky to get those in some modern cars - why would you need shelves in a glove box for Heaven's sake???) but also a bottle of slightly soapy liquid and cloth, which was used frequently to wipe the inside of the windows to demist them. Heaters were not very strong as yet!

My Grandad had swapped his Ford Prefect for a Wolseley 15/50 and that in turn for the 16/60 like this. In fact apart from the engine size the only difference that I could see at my tender years (8 or 9 at the time) was that the 15/50 had been two-tone green and black whilst the later one was all black in colour!

Happy memories of "helping" Grandad deliver the groceries from his shop. Before long the supermarkets would start to open and they had a devastating effect on his little shop, spelling also the end of personal service and forcing everyone to pick up and carry their own goods to the till!

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