The Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust are now reaching an advanced stage of planning a new visitor attraction in Fleetwood, as part of a major redevelopment of the town’s docks. Associated British Ports have confirmed their own plans and now the Trust have submitted their own concepts for a waterfront site in which to display, and potentially operate, trams from its collection.
It is likely that any such project by the Trust will be in partnership with other organisations to create a potentially attractive leisure experience to appeal to a broad audience. Of note, this is likely to include a bus restoration element, and bearing this in mind a new FHLT logo featuring a Railcoach and a vintage bus has been unveiled to reflect these goals. This actually seems very sensible, as with the Blackpool Heritage Trust enjoying great success with its own heritage tram operation and planning a museum attraction of its own in Blackpool, a Fleetwood scheme stands much more chance of attracting interest if it offers something different.
Perhaps of most interest however, is the Trust’s idea of creating a demonstration tramway along the docks. This has been mentioned before, but it is now being suggested that this is increasingly likely to be a key part of their proposals. It has also been stated that a high priority is to secure covered accomodation in which to house the Trust’s two Blackpool Balloon cars, 710 and 726, so that they can be worked on and made operational. It is not clear what extent of work would be involved although presumably this would need to be fairly extensive as both trams were in a poor condition when withdrawn, with 710 not having run since 2007. It is possible that two single-deckers could also be returned to running order although it has not been stated which cars this refers to.
In an unrelated development, the FHLT remains keen to see Jubilee car 761 restored to service and commercial sponsorship to enable this to become a reality is being sought. In the meantime, some cosmetic work is continuing on Trailer 687 which is being repainted for the first time since 1992! Initially expected to receive a basic cream livery and be used as a holding store for various objects collected by the Trust at its open air storage site in Fleetwood, it is now planned to display 687 to the public at an undisclosed location in Fleetwood.
The current plans of the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust are certainly interesting and ambitious, and their progress will be reported on this website as things develop.