It is extremely disapointing to report that the Blackpool tramway is set to be subjected to major disruption for the second time in less than a week on Friday 22nd June. On this day, the famous Olympic torch reaches the Fylde Coast, bringing with it countless well-wishers, lots of media attention, and absolute chaos to anyone who is attempting to use public transport!
For much of the day, a ‘split’ service will operate in a format similar to that trialled last weekend for the seafront concert by Sir Elton John. This will involve trams running between Starr Gate and Manchester Square, with a simultaneous service in operation from North Pier to Fleetwood. To further complicate matters, Fleetwood-bound trams will be forced to terminate at Fisherman’s Walk (Ash Street) between 2:00pm and 5:00pm due to a procession taking place. Further disruption is expected on the main promenade section during the afternoon as the Olympic torch reaches Blackpool itself, when southbound trams from Fleetwood may have to terminate at Cabin rather than North Pier between approximately 5:40pm and 6:30pm. This could potentially leave the section of promenade between Manchester Square and Cabin without a tram service for about an hour which is unlikely to be well received by local commuters.
Whilst all this is going on, the torch will travel on a tram to the Tower Headland where a special ceremony is expected to take place. It has not been announced which tram will have this honour, but as the Manx Electric Railway used MER 1 – the oldest electric tram still in normal service outside a museum anywhere in the world – hopefully Blackpool will choose wisely and ensure that a deserving car is used.
Full details of the revised timetables in operation on June 22nd can be viewed at http://www.visitblackpool.com/dbimgs/Tram_Service_Olympic_Torch.pdf