Blackpool Balloon 715 is a well-used and popular member of Blackpool’s operational heritage tram fleet, but the car is actually owned by the Fylde Transport Trust. A new deal has been announced confirming that 715 will remain on loan to Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours for at least ten years, helping to safeguard its future on the tramway.
As the last operational un-refurbished Balloon car, 715 is a firm favourite with many enthusiasts and its condition best reflects how many us remember the famous Balloon class. Since 2015, the tram has been in regular use on heritage duties, painted in the 1990s green and cream livery.
As part of the FTT’s commitment to 715‘s long-term future, it has been agreed that it will receive some further workshop attention in the early years of the new loan agreement. This will include some work on the interior and a further repaint, which may see the tram regain its 1970s livery style with period advertisements.
715‘s future has been in doubt a few times over the years – indeed it was earmarked for withdrawal as long ago as 2003 and it looked unlikely to ever run again in Blackpool at the end of traditional tramway operation in November 2011 – but now this icon of Blackpool has a much brighter future and should continue to represent these much-admired tramcars for some time to come.