You have probably already read about the aperitif to the latest Gold timetable of heritage tram operations in Blackpool (if you haven’t why not? It’s only a few stories down this page and gives you full details of 718’s relaunch into service in its new livery) but that was just the start of another excellent weekend.
12 different trams were used in service during the three days with a number of changes necessary from the advertised allocations due to tram unavailability and the changeable British bank holiday weather! On each day seven different trams were used in public service with the bonus seventh tram, which had proved popular at the last gold weekend, again in action with two members of the illuminated fleet forming this diagram.
Saturday 27th May was the day which saw the most changes to the advertised allocations with Boat 600 (weather forecast), Brush 631 and Balloon 701 (the latter two through faults) all unable to be used. They were replaced by Balloon 700 (making two B fleet Balloons in service), Railcoach 680 and Balloon 723 respectively. The other trams in use were Balloon 715, Bolton 66, Modified Balloon 718 and Frigate 736. The day didn’t go completely smoothly with one early morning service being delayed whilst 680 also missed out on one Pleasure Beach to Little Bispham return trip.
Onto Sunday 28th May and the ever popular Western Train was the bonus tram with Balloon 723, Boat 600, Modified Balloon 718, Box 40, Balloon 715 and Bolton 66 (a replacement for Brush 631) completing the allocated trams. This was probably the calmest day weather wise and everything seemed to run according to plan on the heritage trams.
The final day of the long weekend started off oh so wet which meant it was fully enclosed trams all the way for the public (a wedding party had hired Bolton 66 but fortunately by this time the weather had dried up). Balloon 717, Railcoach 680, Modified Balloon 718, Balloon 715 (a very unsurprising replacement for Boat 600), Centenary 648, Balloon 723 (replacing 701 for the second time of the weekend) and the Illuminated Frigate formed the service throughout the day.
The usual service operated on each day of mainly journeys from Pleasure Beach to Bispham/Little Bispham with a few short working to North Pier and Cabin thrown in for good measure along with the trips all the way to Fleetwood (with each tram diagrammed to run to the northern terminus once on each day) as well as one morning Cleveleys service and an evening journey to Thornton Gate.
It is just a shame that throughout the weekend it was very noticeable how few enthusiasts were availing themselves of the service. There may not the wow factor of Marton 31 on loan this year but there is still plenty for the enthusiast to enjoy in Blackpool during the gold weekends – where else are you able to travel on 12 different heritage trams in three days? If you haven’t been to Blackpool for a while – or even if you have! – why not visit for the next gold weekend which is the new Totally Models event on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th June? You are sure not to be disappointed and always assured of a warm welcome from the crews both paid and volunteer.
* An extensive Photo Gallery from the weekend will follow on British Trams Online in the next couple of weeks.