The second day of Blackpool’s now annual anniversary event followed a similar pattern to the first, with an intensive heritage tram service operating over the full length of the tramway, as well as heritage bus tours, workshop visits and non-operational trams on static display. However, Sunday was even more ambitious than Saturday with a grand total of fifteen heritage cars in service – virtually all of the currently operational fleet.
The day began with all four of the serviceable Brush cars being taken to Pleasure Beach, where they were lined up on the outer loop in numerical order creating a stunning sight for those who ventured to this location early enough to see it. 621, 623, 630 and 631 were then all pressed into service from 1000, along with a varied selection of other trams consisting of Box 40, Bolton 66, Boat 600, Centenary car 648, Railcoach 680, Balloon cars 700 and 723, and illuminated Trawler 737. As on the Saturday, these trams were all lined up on both loops at Pleasure Beach with crews swapping between cars over the course of the day to add variety and interest, with also creating various photo opportunities with the gathering of trams of all shapes and colours waiting for their next trips! Three further trams were also in use for the event; Balloon 715 and Rebuilt Balloon 718 maintained a service between Starr Gate and Fleetwood Ferry all day offering a taste of the ’90s, whilst Balloon 713 operated the depot shuttles between Starr Gate and Rigby Road. One other tram could also be seen out on the main line – Balloon 711 was used as the gift shop tram and stabled at North Pier for the second day running.
Once again a number of interesting trams were posed for display with the trio of Brush cars 290, 632 and 634 positioned on Blundell Street. Outside Rigby Road depot, recently returned Brush car 625 and Balloon 726 – both of which are privately owned by the same person – were pulled out for display along with ‘Princess Alice’ 706 and Engineering car 754.
The day was sunny at times and mild, with healthy loadings on the heritage and normal service trams. Unfortunately, a couple of incidents during the afternoon slightly spoilt the day. Firstly, 630 was stuck on the centre track at Bispham for a while due to an issue with the points. On its return south, the same tram was briefly stranded again – this time at Waterloo Road, when the tram service was partially stopped for a short period due to someone flying a kite near to the tramway, which subsequently became entangled in the overhead wire causing much disruption and embarrassment! This resulted in some delays and certain trams were sent back to the depot early, including Balloon 700 which ran straight from Cabin back to the depot. By around 1600 further trams started heading back to Rigby Road, leaving the Trawler to bring the weekend’s events to a close.
In spite of the disruption during the Sunday afternoon, the anniversary weekend was a tremendous success and seemed to be well received by the vast majority of enthusiasts present, as well as the general public, many of whom seemed to appreciate such a large heritage tram presence on the promenade. Clearly the Brush cars were the stars of the show, as is only right in their 80th year, but a great mixture of trams ran and were displayed on both days offering something for everyone. Blackpool Heritage Tram tours have clearly found a winning formula with this event and hopefully it will continue to delight for many years to come – we’re already looking forward to the 133rd anniversary weekend in 2018!