In a very welcome development in Blackpool, it has been confirmed that the illuminated Rocket 732 has been transferred to the Electrical Compound, presumably in readiness for a move away from Rigby Road. Some time ago it was mooted that the tram would be moved to the depot of Blackpool Council’s Illuminations Department for some tidying-up which would allow it to go on display for the 2012 illuminations. However, since then little was heard about this project until this week.
Now, video footage has surfaced online of the Rocket being shunted into the Electrical Compound, which is believed to date from Monday 25th June. There, it is expected to have its lifeguards removed and it is also expected that the rear steps will need to be taken off as these would prevent the car from being loaded onto a lorry.
The Rocket is one of the most recognisable trams ever built in this country and delighted millions of visitors to Blackpool over the years until it was withdrawn after the 1999 season. After being donated to the Lancastrian Transport Trust it ran one last tour in April 2002 when it was decorated with a ‘Tramnik One’ banner, a reminder of its original name, which it still retains today. After a decade of storage plans have revealed to carry out some restoration work and place the tram on static display to celebrate the centenary of the town’s famous illuminations.
Although no official information is available yet, the recent shunting of the tram is almost certainly a positive step forward and should see this iconic tramcar leave its home in the very near future. Although no plans exist as yet to fully restore 732 to run again, making it visible to its adoring public should be a popular move and will hopefully mark the beginning of a reversal in the fortunes of Blackpool’s most unusual tram.