Sadly, Blackpool Transport’s heritage tram tours have endured further disruption during the week commencing Monday 6th August. After operating a single tram instead of the usual two for the first three days of the week, the tours will not run at all on Thursday 9th or Friday 10th August.
Once again, the cancellation of the heritage trams is being blamed on ‘operational difficulties’ – i.e. Blackpool Transport do not have enough staff and have therefore opted to rob the heritage trams of their crews to man the core service trams. At least on this occasion, the cancellation has been advertised beforehand and will allow anyone who had planned to ride the vintage trams on either day to make alternative plans. That said, this will not be much comfort to anyone who has already arranged to travel to Blackpool to ride on the heritage tram tours. Hopefully, notices will be clearly displayed at all of the special ‘heritage’ tram stops informing potential customers that the trams are not running, to ensure that nobody is left waiting for a tram that will not come!
The three days this week that have been blessed with a heritage tram presence have also been somewhat disapointing with just one tram appearing each day. On Monday 6th August, the sole car was Brush Railcoach 631 whilst restored Balloon car 717 did the honours on Tuesday 7th. Bizarrely, modified Balloon car 700 was chosen for the tours on Wednesday 8th. Having been rebuilt with widened centre entrances and painted in the new Flexity-style purple and white fleet livery, 700 is considered a ‘B’ fleet car meaning that it is intended for use on the normal service to supplement the new trams. The choice of this tram, which was out in ordinary service, as the only car on a premium-price tour aimed at tourists was therefore a strange one and, whilst it was nice to see 700 out, this will do little to encourage those with a casual interest in trams to part with their hard-earned cash.
On a more positive note, work on repainting Twin Set 672+682 into a heritage style livery is now well advanced, with towing car 672 recently spotted at the front of Rigby Road depot having spent a lengthy spell inside the Electrical Compound where the body has been rubbed down. It has since entered the Paint Shop, and the duo should be ready for use during the busy illuminations season when they are bound to prove popular with tram enthusiasts who visit Blackpool at this time of the year.