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About the Tram of the Year

Conceived as a bit of fun at the end of the year the British Trams Online Tram of the Year originally sought to find the tramcar which had done something "special" over the previous 12 months. There has never been a full definition of what "special" actually means in this case but over the years tramcars which have won have had a repaint, entered service after a repaint or gone on loan away from their home tramway to name but there examples.

In 2012 the contest was expanded to include two new categories - Event of the Year and Tramway of the Year - and then in 2014 a fourth category was voted for the first time - Tram (Modern) of the Year.

At the start of December each year nominations are opened for a week to allow anyone to put forward suggestions for each of the categories before our "expert panel" (which is probably neither expert nor a panel!) convene to make a decision of what should be on the final shortlist, with each category normally having around five items to vote on. Voting takes place for approximately four weeks between December and January and we then name the lucky winners.

British Trams Online Tram of the Year 2023

Tram of the Year: And the winners are...

Five categories and two winners, that is the story of the British Trams Online Tram of the Year 2023. After four weeks of voting the Manx Electric Railway can celebrate wins in three categories whilst the other two categories see Edinburgh Trams walk away with the accolade, in what was a positive year for both.

The original category – “Tram of the Year (Heritage)” – saw the most closely fought battle with eventually the Manx Electric Railway’s trailer 19 receiving the most votes. The trailer returned to service during the Heritage Transport Event which took place in the summer – for the first time in 50 years! The culmination of hard work from volunteers and paid staff from Isle of Man Railways the return of the trailer was one of the highlights of the event (which is also rewarded – more on that later!).

Usually in this category it is a case of we have a runaway winner and almost as soon as voting opens it is clear what will be the winner, but that was not the case this year with this being the closest of all categories. Indeed for some time it looked as if the award would be won by Seaton 9 which ended up in second place just 47 votes behind. This tram had been nominated after receiving work to make its accessible lower deck section more weather proof with the addition of doors, its first significant change since it originally entered service over 20 years ago.

Also in this category, Manx Electric Railway Freight Trailer 26 (59 votes) pipped Heaton Park Tramway’s Blackpool Replica Vanguard 619 into third place by just a solitary vote.

This was not the only category that the Manx Electric Railway and the Isle of Man has won though as it also received the most votes in the other two categories it was nominated in. “Tramway/Museum of the Year” saw the MER receive just over half of all valid votes received with 394 of you thinking that in its 130th anniversary year it deserved the award. The Seaton Tramway (313 votes) and East Anglia Transport Museum (77 votes) completed this category with both of these having continued to consolidate their positions and to go from strength to strength for the future.

“Event of the Year” (the only “joint” category between heritage and modern) also saw the Isle of Man victorious. The Summer Year of the Railway Heritage Transport Festival – expanded to eight days for 2023 – received a staggering 477 votes (82% of the total votes!) in a landslide victory. The event helped to not only celebrate 130 years of the MER but also 150 years of the Isle of Man Steam Railway seeing the two trailers nominated in the main category return to service amongst many highlights. The opening of extensions on two modern tramways – Edinburgh Trams (12%) and West Midlands Metro (6%) – completed this category.

And those two modern systems would do battle in the remaining categories and in both cases Edinburgh Trams have cause for celebration! “Tram of the Year (Modern)” saw two trams nominated which had run the first public services on new lines on their respective systems. Ultimately Edinburgh Trams 258 got more votes (244) as it defeated West Midlands Metro 31 (144).

“Tramway (Modern) of the Year” also saw Edinburgh Trams beat West Midlands Metro. With both systems expanding during the year they had both had a good year but in the end 248 thought that it was the Scottish system which had done the most to win the award – West Midlands Metro coming in with 136 votes.

That’s the end of the contest for another year! Congratulations to all of the winners and commiserations to the runners-up in all categories. 2024 could be a year which sees another extension opening and more trams entering service so it may be a year in which there’s lots more to nominate and vote on! The contest will be back in December 2024!

Tram of the Year: The Results

Tram (Heritage) of the Year

Manx Electric Railway 19 – 371 votes (45.69%)
Seaton 9 – 324 votes (39.90%)
Manx Electric Railway Freight Trailer 26 – 59 votes (7.27%)
Blackpool Replica Vanguard 619 – 58 votes (7.14%)

78 votes rejected due to multiple votes (caused no change to ranking)

Tram (Modern) of the Year

Edinburgh Trams 258 – 244 votes (62.89%)
West Midlands Metro 31 – 144 votes (37.11%)

47 votes rejected due to multiple votes (caused no change to ranking)

Tramway/Museum of the Year

Manx Electric Railway – 394 votes (50.26%)
Seaton Tramway – 313 votes (39.92%)
East Anglia Transport Museum – 77 votes (9.82%)

76 votes rejected due to multiple votes (caused no change to ranking)

Tramway of the Year (Modern)

Edinburgh Trams – 248 votes (64.58%)
West Midlands Metro – 136 votes (35.42%)

47 votes rejected due to multiple votes (caused no change to ranking)

Event of the Year

Isle of Man: Year of the Railways Transport Festival – 477 votes (81.96%)
Edinburgh Trams: Opening of Newhaven extension – 69 votes (11.86%)
West Midlands Metro: Opening of Wolverhampton Station extension – 36 votes (6.19%)

72 votes rejected due to multiple votes (caused no change to ranking)

Votes received from the same IP address are considered a multiple vote. In these cases the first set of votes are accepted with all subsequent votes removed from the final rankings.

Tram of the Year: The Shortlist

Tram of the Year (Heritage)

Blackpool Replica Vanguard 619
Officially relaunched into service in March 2023 at the Heaton Park Tramway after an extensive overhaul.

Manx Electric Railway 19
Returned to service for the first time in 50 years at the Festival of Railways Heritage Transport Festival

Manx Electric Railway Freight Trailer 26
Returned to surprise use at the Festival of Railways Heritage Transport Festival having not been used in 30 years

Seaton 9
Received changes to its lower deck accessible area with the addition of doors to make it fully enclosed on the lower deck

Tram of the Year (Modern)

Edinburgh Trams 258
First tram to run on the Trams to Newhaven extension – both on test and when public services began

West Midlands Metro 31
Operated the first public service on the Wolverhampton Station extension

Tramway/Museum of the Year (Heritage)

East Anglia Transport Museum
More trams now on site with Blackpool 634 and the upper deck of Glasgow 488 having been delivered as they continue to expand the museum

Manx Electric Railway
Massive increase in passenger numbers as they celebrated 130 years of operation

Seaton Tramway
More major work on the infrastructure including Bobsworth Bridge and the first full year of the two new stops

Tramway of the Year (Modern)

Edinburgh Trams
Opening of the 3 mile Trams to Newhaven extension – the first expansion of the line since opening

West Midlands Metro
It may have been delayed but the Wolverhampton Station extension finally opened alongside a general improvement in the service throughout the year

Event of the Year (Heritage & Modern)

Edinburgh Trams – Opening of Newhaven extension
The first expansion of the network with 3 miles of tramway taking people along Leith Walk to Ocean Terminal and Newhaven

Isle of Man – Year of the Railway Transport Festival
An extended event with trams returning to service, special tours and a cavalcade at Laxey including not only the Manx Electric Railway but the Snaefell Mountain Railway as well

West Midlands Metro – Opening of Wolverhampton Station extension
Trams started to run to Wolverhampton Station adding two more stops to the network

Tram of the Year: Nominations now open!

It is that time of the year again as we launch the British Trams Online Tram of the Year contest for 2023! Once again we will be looking to find the “Tram (Heritage)”, “Tram (Modern)”, “Tramway/Museum” and “Event” of the Year – and now is your chance to help with the formation of the shortlists for each of these categories in what has again been a year where we have been waiting for certain things to happen but they haven’t quite got to the finishing line just yet.

The nomination period is open for only a week with the deadline for any nominations being Saturday 9th December 2023. Voting them opens on Sunday 10th December 2023 and will remain open for four weeks until the morning of Saturday 6th January 2024. The qualifying period for nominations is between the first weekend in December 2022 and the first weekend in December 2023 (i.e. it has to have already happened for it to qualify!).

As it has been since 2014 we are looking to anoint trams, tramways and events in the following categories:

Tram (Heritage) of the Year
Last 3 Winners: Blackpool 159, Manx Electric Railway 2, Stockport 5

This category looks to find the heritage tram which has done that something out of the ordinary in the past 12 months. It could be that its operated away from its home tramway, re-entered service after overhaul/restoration or even just been that stalwart of operation.

Tram (Modern) of the Year
Last 3 Winners: Blackpool 011, Manchester Metrolink 1023, Manchester Metrolink 3073

Has there been a modern tram which has done something special in 2023? It could have received a new livery or a special advert which gave that wow factor or maybe it was the first tram to run on a new line? Or did it even run in service for the very first time?

Tramway/Museum of the Year
Last 3 Winners: East Anglia Transport Museum, Crich Tramway Village, Seaton Tramway

This is a joint category for both modern operating tramways and heritage tramways/museums and looks for the one location which has had a special year over the past 12 months. What that may be is entirely up to – just remember to give reasons why!

Event of the Year
Last 3 Winners: Blackpool Tramway Jubilee Tram Parade, Isle of Man Winter Heritage Transport Festival, Seaton Tramway 50th Anniversary event

Again, a category which can cover both heritage and modern tramways (although has been heavily dominated by heritage lines in the past!). It could be a special event on a heritage tramway but could equally be the opening of a new line or an improved service on one of the modern operating tramways across the British Isles.

Its now over to you to contribute to what could end up on the shortlist for each category. Get your brains thinking on what you think deserves to be nominated this year and you can then submit your nominations as follows:

* Leave a comment below
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Previous Contests


Tramcar - Blackpool 159
LRV - Blackpool 011
Tramway/Museum - East Anglia Transport Museum
Event - Isle of Man: Jubilee Tram Parade


Tramcar - Manx Electric Railway 2
LRV - Manchester Metrolink 1023
Tramway - Crich Tramway Village
Event - Isle of Man: Winter Heritage Transport Festival


Tramcar - Stockport 5
LRV - Manchester Metrolink 3073
Tramway - Seaton Tramway
Event - Seaton Tramway: 50th anniversary event


Tramcar - Manx Electric Railway 54
LRV - Blackpool Tramway 001 & Manchester Metrolink 3006
Tramway - Heaton Park Tramway
Event - Manx Heritage Transport Festival


Tramcar - Manx Electric Railway 14
LRV - Stagecoach Supertram 399 203
Tramway - Manx Electric Railway
Event - Manx Electric Railway 125th anniversary


Tramcar - Douglas Bay Horse Tramway 36
LRV - Stagecoach Supertram 399 202
Tramway - Statfold Barn Railway
Event - Statfold Barn Railway: Burton & Ashby 14 launch


Tramcar - Blackpool Marton 31
LRV - Manchester Metrolink 3120
Tramway - Douglas Bay Horse Tramway
Event - Douglas Bay Horse Tramway: 140th Anniversary


Tramcar - Liverpool 245
LRV - Manchester Metrolink 3100
Tramway - Blackpool Tramway
Event - Blackpool Tramway: 130th Anniversary


Tramcar - Blackpool Pantograph 167
LRV - Manchester Metrolink 1007
Tramway - Crich Tramway Village
Event - Crich Tramway Village: Electric 50


Tramcar - Blackpool Boat 227
Tramway - Heaton Park Tramway
Event - Rejuvenation of Blackpool Heritage Service


Tramcar - Blackpool Brush 623
Tramway - Blackpool
Event - Glasgow 50 at Crich


Tramcar - Blackpool Marton VAMBAC 11


Tramcar - Liverpool 762


Tramcar - Blackpool Western Train 733+734


Tramcar - Blackpool Balloon 717


Tramcar - Blackpool Brush 623


Tramcar - Leeds 345


Tramcar - Trampower Tram


Tramcar - Blackpool Illuminated Frigate 736 & Nottingham Express Transit 203 (joint winners)


Tramcar - Leeds 602

This page was last updated on Sunday 7th January 2024

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