When details of the vastly expanded Blackpool heritage tram service were unveiled earlier this week, one of the questions in many peoples’ minds was: how will Blackpool Transport manage to provide enough staff to run all of these extra trams on so many days across the year? This has now been answered by a second announcement from the Blackpool Heritage Trust, who are now recruiting volunteers to assist with the operation during the peak season. This will mean that unpaid volunteers should be crewing trams in Blackpool this year for the very first time in the tramway’s 130 year history!
As reported previously, the popular Bank Holiday events will be retained for 2015 with six or more trams due to run on certain days. However, the Blackpool Heritage Trust have also introduced a more regular heritage service between Pleasure Beach and North Pier which is set to operate every weekend from late March until early November, and daily at the height of the summer. In order to provide a larger staffing pool to man these trams, the BHT are now seeking a small pool of volunteer conductors to support the core team of Blackpool Transport staff, who will continue to operate the core heritage service and the autumn illuminations tours. The idea here is obviously to allow more trams to run more often than would otherwise be possible without placing too much financial burden on the Trust or the company, in order to further secure a regular heritage presence on this iconic tramway. Further volunteers are also being sought to act as ‘Customer Service Team Members’ to help promote the much improved service.
Naturally there will have to be a number of rules in place which anyone wishing to work as a volunteer on the trams must abide by, to ensure that BTS’ high standards are maintained and that all health and safety regulations are adhered to. Due to the level of training and assessment required, anyone who is interested in becoming a volunteer tram conductor will need to be available to work on at least 20 days during 2015. Successful applicants will also be required to sign a volunteer agreement contract with the operating company (BTS).
Alternatively, you might wish to apply for a post as a Customer Service Team Member. These volunteers will be stationed at Pleasure Beach or North Pier on heritage running days, the idea being to promote the service to the public and provide information to anyone who is interested in using it. Hopefully if this attracts enough interest, it will lead to the heritage service being more closely supervised than in previous years and in turn this may finally solve the problem of intending passengers getting confused about where they need to stand to catch a normal service tram or a heritage tram!
If anyone reading this would like to offer their services to the Trust, please write to: Martin Gurr, Heritage Operations Manager, Blackpool Transport Services Ltd, Rigby Road, Blackpool, FY1, 5DD or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The plan to use volunteers to this extent is obviously a huge step for the Trust to take, but one that will need to succeed in order for the service to thrive. We must now accept that what Blackpool has, is a museum collection of trams which are operating on a public transport system for recreational purposes – and that this cannot be a drain on financial resources to anyone involved, as this will take away much-needed revenue which can instead be invested on further projects, such as restoring more trams to service. For everyone who has ever wished they could help more to make the heritage tours a success, this is your chance to do so! It is sincerely hoped that there will be plenty of interest in the recruitment drive, and if so, we may well be able to look forward to even more ambitious events and timetables in years to come!
Thanks to the Blackpool Heritage Trust for supplying much of the information contained in the article above.