Static trams, bus tours and more announced for Blackpool 130

It is now less than a week to go until what is probably the most anticipated tram event of the year – the weekend celebration of the Blackpool tramway’s 130th anniversary. Most of what is going to happen is already well known with an intensive heritage tram service, guided depot tours and vintage bus trips amongst the many highlights, but now even more detail has been revealed about what we can look forward to on 26th & 27th September.

Not content at running every serviceable tram from the heritage fleet, a number of stored cars will also be extracted from the depths of Rigby Road depot for static display. It is planned to have three trams lined up on Blundell Street with different cars on both days, and these will consist of Brush Railcoach 632, ‘B Fleet’ Balloon car 720, Jubilee car 761, the Illuminated Trawler 737 and two flat-fronted Balloon cars. It is not known which trams will appear on which day but these should certainly provide a colourful spectacle! The appearance of 761 will be very welcome and has been agreed in co-operation with its owners, the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust, whilst for 720 this should be the most visible this particular tram has been to the public since it last ran in November 2011.

Some even more elusive trams will also be displayed on the depot track fan for inspection by those who are attending the depot tours, although others will be able to peer through the gates at them! These will hopefully include the iconic and unique Illuminated Rocket 732, stored Twin set 676+686 which last operated in 2004, and all three surviving Coronation cars – 304, 660 and 663. These special displays will enable the Coronation and Jubilee cars to be represented at the event despite none of either type being currently available to run in Blackpool and is a most welcome addition to the already imaginative programme. Further trams will be placed in the various workshops to add a bit of extra interest for ticketholders on the guided tours, which have, incidentally, now completely sold out on both days – yet more confirmation of the huge interest in this unique tramway. The tours will be served by a designated shuttle service running hourly, and anyone can ride on this although those who have bought a ticket for the depot visits will also be permitted to ride around the tram wash plant at Starr Gate before being shown around the site.

Free tours using a selection of historic Blackpool buses will also run every 15 minutes on both days from Rigby Road from 1000 until 1645, and as well as travelling around some long-closed tram routes these will also run to Starr Gate and Pleasure Beach to connect with the tram service. A timetable has also been published for the core heritage tram service which will operate every twenty minutes for most of the day between Pleasure Beach and Bispham, with additional trips to Starr Gate and Fleetwood at various times. There will also be further trams running as specials as in days gone by, directed around from Pleasure Beach and these will combine to provide the most extensive operation ever seen since the inception of the heritage tours in 2012. All of these attractions, plus the previously announced launch of Twin set 675+685 following a repaint in 1970s green and cream and the bonus of a ‘scruffy surprise’, will no doubt make for a superb weekend and naturally there will be plenty of coverage on British Trams Online!


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11 Responses to Static trams, bus tours and more announced for Blackpool 130

  1. Andrew Scott says:

    I am gutted that I missed out on the £5 tickets for both tram depot tours, this is something I have always wonted to do but missed the 125 event as I was away in Skegness. I did not know when the tickets went on sale so checked internet on Friday 18th found Emma phone number only to be told by her they had sold out both days on Tuesday 15th, does anybody body have a spare ticket as I was looking forward to looking inside both depots, I am on holiday in Blackpool Friday 25th till Wednesday 30th. If anyone has or anymore tickets come can anybody let me know many thanks Andy Scott

  2. John says:

    To be fair they were advertised well in advance on the Heritage Facebook page. I wonder whether they will at some point in the future repeat the tours as there are a large number of people who weren’t able to get them. Which isn’t great for those who weren’t able to get them but is great that it shows how much interest there clearly still is! In the meantime there is still plenty going on both in service and static displays to keep everyone happy. Don’t forget you can also ride the depot shuttle even though you won’t be able to go in the depots.

  3. Paul D says:

    I’m another one to have missed out on the Depot tours, but I won’t let that spoil the rest of the weekend for me…

    I agree though that it was a bit unfair to advertise on farcebook ahead of other media such that they were sold out before anyone else even knew how to book.

    On this occasion I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and accept the explanation given that they were surprised by the level of interest and speed of response, but in the interests of fairness to the 90% of the population not on facebook, in future I would urge BHT to consider simultaneous release of information via all routes. For example if as stated there is a desire to see the Fylde Tramway Society become the official support group for the Heritage operations, it particularly strikes me as an own-goal that the tickets sold out before the Fylde Tramway News was distributed…

    • Ash T says:

      Details on how to book depot tours were released before being published on Facebook as I got given a leaflet about this weekends events by one of the conductors onboard Twin Set 2 on the 29th of August which had 2 numbers to call which were to Michelle or Emma and I got my tickets booked on the 2nd of September by Michelle. Sometime after that date I remember reading someone’s comments on Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours Facebook page about how to book these tours and they got given Emma’s number. Therefore details were released to the public that are not on Facebook well in advance.

      • Christopher Callan says:

        Absolutely Spot on Ashley. Id only add these A5 posters were also attached to number of the tramcars and also appeared on the LRTs as well.

    • Peter says:

      Some good points but at the same time the Facebook page of the Blackpool Heritage Trust is the only official direct outlet, and as the page is set to public viewing, everyone has access to this (even without a FB account).

  4. John says:

    Clearly not an own goal if its sold out!
    For this year it has been stated time and again that Facebook would be the main avenue for Heritage due to unforseen difficulties in other areas. Whilst I appreciate that there are a very small minority with an irrational fear of it, surely you know someone who uses it who could look up the phone number for you? Or ring Blackpool Transport and ask?
    On another note, plenty of facebook users also missed out and I for one would love to see an annula open day so even more people get chance to look round and see long forgotten gems.

  5. Christopher Callan says:

    To be Very clear… The August Bank Holiday leaflets were on numerous heritage tramcars including placed on LRTs from the Friday before the Bank Holiday. This information appeared on Facebook/Twitter Pages Saturday onwards.

    Disappointing yet sadly seems to be increasing in frequency number of quite senior members of other organisations seemingly or atleast giving the perception of point scoring “own goal” against BHTT. Regrettable.

    • M says:

      As a heritage team member, I appreciate Paul’s CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM – I agree we do need to look at widening the publicity “footprint” to be more inclusive and maximise reach.

      Christopher, I know your comments are well meaning and intended to be supportive of us but please tone down some of the vitriolic language – it can have the opposite effect of reflecting negatively on the tramway you support.

      Reading your past comments you can appear “blinkered” – even I recognise there is more to trams than just Blackpool, and say we don’t get everything right all the time!

  6. John says:

    I think perhaps we need to take a check of ourselves here. This isn’t the forum for trading insults. Some people express themselves in different ways and for different reasons and don’t deserve being personally attacked for it. So can we please get back to enjoying the coming weekend!

  7. Jim Adlam says:

    In fairness to Blackpool Transport, news of the depot tour was published on this very site on 16 August and details of how to book followed on 3 September – although, like some others, I was unable to get through on the phone number published, and had to go through the company’s main switchboard.
    I must have been one of the last people to secure a ticket for the tour and am very much looking forward to the weekend.

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