Since the Blackpool tramway re-opened in April as modern light rail system, journeys by heritage trams to Fleetwood Ferry have been extremely rare. The only double-deck tram to have run to the northern terminus with passengers thus far in 2012 has been modified Balloon 713 – but one of its sisters did make the same journey on Monday 18th June, albeit sadly not in public service.
The tram in question was restored Balloon 717 which had not been one of the cars used for testing purposes in Fleetwood prior to the official re-opening, and so this was its first visit to the Ferry since November 2009 when it had actually been one of the last trams to depart before the town section was closed for re-modelling. 717‘s use in 2012 had previously been restricted to heritage tours between Pleasure Beach and Little Bispham, so it was nice to see a traditional Balloon tram back in the streets of Fleetwood. On this occasion it is believed that its outing was in connection with a staff training exercise. Later the same day, Boat 600 also ventured onto the promenade on a test run giving the unusual sight of two green and cream vintage trams running on a weekday! However, this should soon become a more regular occurance with the heritage tram service expected to run daily during the school summer holidays which will keep 717 and friends busy during the peak season.