More Blackpool trams receive ‘heritage’ destination blinds

Peter Watts has been busy again, providing a set of brand new, traditional-styled destination blinds for two further trams in Blackpool’s operational heritage fleet. The latest beneficiaries of his blinds are Fleetwood Box 40 and Balloon 717.

Some readers will have already seen the new blinds fitted to car 40 which were first shown off at the tramway anniversary weekend last month. This feature some very unusual lettering styles using rounded fonts, as was used on this tram when it was previously restored to passenger service for the 75th anniversary of the tramway in 1960, which were themselves based on an earlier design of blind. This was considered to be the most appropriate option for this tram, as 40 didn’t actually have any destination boxes when it was built in 1914 – but the change is certainly a big improvement on the luminous blinds it has had since 1996.

More recently, 717 has received a set of four new blinds recreating the style of lettering used when the tram was built in 1935. Although this car already had some period-style destinations, these were not quite authentic and so Peter has decided to rectify this and make 717 look even more historic! The restored Balloon car has been a regular performer recently after missing the big September event weekend due to a minor fault, and has often been used on illumination tours of late.

As always, the new blinds feature all of the destinations required for the trams’ present day role on heritage tours, as well as a few long-lost destinations from the routes of the past, and the generic ‘Heritage Tour’ wording. This is likely to be especially useful on 717 as the task of changing all four blinds when the car is on short promenade workings can be rather tedious!

A look at one of Box car 40's new blinds showing the semi-circular lettering style represented on longer destinations.

Here is Balloon 717 with its new destination blinds. As illustrated here, one can show 'Heritage Tour' whilst the other screen at the same end shows its intended destination - offering a good impression to customers of its role. (Photos courtesy of Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours Facebook page)

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4 Responses to More Blackpool trams receive ‘heritage’ destination blinds

  1. Kevin says:

    Whilst the Trams are smarted up by having new blinds and the chap (Peter?) is doing a sterling job and I believe in his own time and at his own expense I can’t help but think there are a few own goals. Its a shame that they don’t seem to have correct destinations anymore. North Pier and Tower just looks wrong. They are also difficult to read on some of them. The swoop style on 40 doesn’t suit it. I know these are my own opinions and might seem negative but it wouldn’t have taken much to do them properly!

    • Peter Watts says:

      The Heritage replica blinds are manufactured in order to have a complete set of destinations suitable for today’s Heritage operation, and are not meant to duplicate all the original destinations, many of which cannot be used in today’s operations (no longer crossovers at certain points). There is a difference between replicating blinds for a museum, or for a Heritage operation.

      Furthermore, all fonts used on the replica blinds are faithfully recreated from the originals. An example of this is on 715, where the narrow condensed lettering was reproduced for “TOUR OF ILLUMINATIONS” for example, and this is a perfect copy of the destination as used in the Coronation trams (indeed may people associate this font with the OMO trams, but they used blinds recovered from Coronations rather than new blinds in the 1970’s).

      On the topic of “NORTH PIER and TOWER”, indeed this can have an unfamiliar appearance as this is a new destination never previously used. However again this has been added to the blinds as this is the official name of one of the Heritage stops, and actually terminus (Blue timetable). Therefore it is only right that this destination is included.

      For the replica blinds on Box 40, the semi-circular destinations (and not “swoops”) are a faithful recreation using original blinds of this period from the archives at Crich. Although not original, as 40 only carried destination boxes from the 1960’s, these blinds were considered a good fit for the tram.

  2. Geoff IoM says:

    Thank you, Peter, for your considered and admirably restrained response to Kevin’s blast of Thursday. I, for one, think you have done and are doing a superb job of these replica blinds – I can assure Kevin that his opinions do indeed “seem negative”, whilst the remark “it wouldn’t have taken much to do them properly!” is just downright rude.

    • KenW says:

      Well said Geoff. It has been made clear in plenty of reports about this project that Peter has made every effort to ‘do them properly’ and fonts, layouts etc have been based on those used in the past. ‘North Pier and Tower’ may ‘look wrong’ whatever that means but as it is the name given to the northern terminus of most journeys on the 2-tram service it seems only reasonable that it should appear on the blinds, especially as many of the users of the service are not enthusiasts as such.

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