Pleasing news from Blackpool concerns the ever-popular Bolton 66, which has recently returned to service following a lay-off. Hang on a moment… haven’t we run this story before!? Well, of course 66 missed the entire 2011 season due to not having transponders, which were subseuqently fitted over winter 2011/12 thanks to the disposal of many other trams. This enabled the car to return to use on Blackpool Transport’s new heritage coastal tours from Easter 2012.
However, after a few months of fairly regular use 66 was sidelined once again following the discovery of a mechanical defect. Happily, following some remedial attention to one of its bogies in the Fitting Shop, the last surviving Bolton tram is now fighting fit once again. The car made a very welcome appearance on the heritage tours on Thursday 30th August alongside Balloon 717. It is now hoped that 66 will see further use during the illuminations period, although with claims circulating that the tours will be almost entirely worked by the three illuminated trams over the autumn, this may not happen. On the positive side, Blackpool Transport have clearly shown their commitment towards Bolton 66 – which is of course not owned by the company and is actually on long-term loan from the Bolton 66 Tramcar Trust – and hopefully their investment in the car will secure its future as part of their operating fleet for the forseeable future.