Heritage-free weekend in Blackpool

With regret, we report that the scheduled heritage tram tours in Blackpool have been cancelled this weekend, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th July. This is due to the Pleasure Beach loop being temporarily out of action, and follows what has been a difficult few days for the heritage operation that Blackpool Transport will probably be keen to forget!

Following the disapointing use of just one tram earlier in the week, the usual two-car service was restored for Friday 27th July, when both serviceable Boat cars, 230 (ex-604) and 600 were superb choices thanks to fine weather on this day. However, some problems were experienced with the automatic points entering the Pleasure Beach loop. Re-setting the transponders on both Boat cars failed to help matters, and so it was back to the traditional method of changing the points using an old points bar. Unfortunately this also proved problematic, and the following day the situation went from bad to worse as the points refused to be changed at all. This unfortunately meant that no heritage tours ran that day, with none expected on Sunday either.

With strict restrictions on the number of heritage tram stops allowed on the tramway, there was little other option available to Blackpool Transport. Perhaps tours could have run between North Pier and Little Bispham only, but as this would have missed out the lucrative promenade section, passenger numbers would probably have suffered heavily. A shorter ride would also not have justified the usual fares, so although the suspension of the tours will have disapointed some people, it was probably the best decision to make. At the time of writing it was expected that the heritage cars would return to use on Monday 29th July following emergency repairs to the problematic points although anyone planning to visit specifically to ride on the old trams is advised to check the current situation before travelling.

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6 Responses to Heritage-free weekend in Blackpool

  1. Ken Walker says:

    Could the trams not just have run from Pleasure Beach to Starr Gate and back empty instead of using the loop, or is the heritage tram stop actually on the loop?

  2. John Woodman says:

    The heritage tram service terminus is on the inner loop at the Pleasure Beach and the trams have therefore to negotiate the Pleasure Beach facing points to access it.

    A temporary service using Balloon 700 has been operating south as far Manchester Square today with the tram then reversing for the journey back to Fleetwood using the Foxhall crossover. This was in regular service and not as a heritage replacement.

  3. Ken Walker says:

    Thanks for the infomration John, but I just wondered if they could have moved the Pleasure Beach stop to a temporary stop next to the Flexity platform, it’s not as if the heritage trams need any special infrastructure. If going to Starr gate and back puts them in the way of a service car surely they could go onto the depot spur beyond the platform at Starr Gate and return in their correct path. By cancelling the service Blackpool Transport will have lost much needed revenue and no doubt people going to Blackpool to ride on them will have had a wasted journey.

  4. David Taylor says:

    I fail to see why the heritage trams cannot travel onto the loop with passengers on as only the trolly needs turning. No health and safety issues are encroached. As the passengers do not use the high platforms the tram could stop any were with a temporary stop inserted.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      I believe that there are restrictions on how many non-DDA compliant tram stops are permitted and BTS have installed the maximum number they could. My understanding is that each stop had to be approved by higher authorities and so adding another ‘temporary’ stop is presumably not an option. Whether trams could run to Starr Gate and back without loading/unloading (as they do at Little Bispham), I couldn’t say.

      • Ken Walker says:

        I would have thought that to have temporarily moved the Pleasure Beach stop from the loop to the “main line” wouldn’t have counted as an extra stop. Or has been said Pleasure Beach could have been made a “non-stop” and passengers conveyed to Starr Gate and back. I does seem absurd (but not BT’s fault) that there is a specific number of non-DDA stops permitted, considering that the heritage services are non-DDA compliant by their very nature. You would have thought non-DDA services would be permitted or not, full stop. No doubt somebody at the Department for Transport or whatever keeps themselves in a job by creating these silly rules.

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