As has become traditional the first weekend in November usually brings an end to heritage tramway operating seasons and 2017 has been no different. We have already seen what happened at the end of the season at both Crich and on the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway but what of some of the other tramways on the British Isles?
For Blackpool Sunday 5th November saw the end of the main operating season – although heritage trams will return for Winter Gold on 25th and 26th November and then Santa Specials – with the illuminations being switched off for the last time in 2017 that evening. This brought an end to another successful season for Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours and was the last day of daily operation which stretched back to 1st July (with the exception of 1st September).
On Saturday 4th November the daytime heritage service was operated by Balloon Cars 715 and 723 with illumination tours in the hands of illuminated trio the Western Train, Frigate and Trawler alongside Balloons 715, 717 and 723. The following day saw the welcome return of Balloon 701 on daytime tours – its first use for several months after a recent test run – with 717 also in use. The last evening then saw the three illuminated feature cars run one last time and the two daytime cars were also used.
Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours will next run over the weekend of 25th and 26th November when six trams are due to be in service on the regular Gold timetable. Further details will be announced closer to the weekend.
Meanwhile over on the Isle of Man, the Manx Electric Railway also ended its 2017 service on 5th November with Winter Saloon 20 given the honour of running the last service. The MER will return to action in 2018 when it will be celebrating its 125th anniversary with a service of special events from 1st to 8th September.
The weekend also saw the end of 2017 for the Great Orme Tramway but for other heritage tramways in the UK it is the chance to carry on. This includes the Heaton Park Tramway who were due to end their season back on 29th October – however after several requests they have now announced that they will be running on Sunday 12th, Saturday 18th, Sunday 19th and Sunday 26th November – so there are plenty more opportunities to enjoy a tramride through the park this year and provided that the weather plays ball Blackpool 619 will be in service before withdrawal for workshop attention.