If you enjoy a ride on a heritage tram in Blackpool then you can start planning your trips for 2019 with the operating dates now announced – and Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours will be running more than ever so there will be plenty of opportunities! Trams will be running at least every weekend throughout the whole of 2019 whilst each Gold Weekend (with the exception of Winter Gold) will be preceded by a Friday of Heritage Tours too.
Over the past few weeks one of the main topics of debate on the comments section of this very page has been whether there would be a clash with Crich’s TMS 60 event in September and the good news is that there won’t! The September Spectacular will be held over the weekend of 28th and 29th September (a week later than the past few years but also having the advantage of entailing the actual anniversary of the opening of the tramway). The weekend will start on the Friday (27th September) with a two tram afternoon heritage service (formalising the past few years of this event which has had a service on that day but which wasn’t publicly announced until a few weeks before taking place)
The standard pattern of Gold Weekends will also be in place throughout the year with at least six trams in service at all of these events. There will be Winter Golds over the weekends of 26th/27th January, 23rd/24th February, 23rd/24th March and then on 23rd/24th November. Other Gold timetables will be in operation on 20th-22nd April (Easter), 4th-6th May (May Day Holiday), 25th-27th May (Spring Bank Holiday), 22nd & 23rd June (Totally Models), 20th & 21st July (Tram Sunday weekend) and 24th-26th August (August Bank Holiday). All of the Gold weekends starting with Easter Gold and until August Bank Holiday Gold will see a enhanced Green timetable run on the Friday.
The Green timetable will also run over the last weekend in July (27th/28th) and the first three weekends in August (3rd/4th, 10th/11th, 17th/18th) – again formalising an arrangement which was introduced at last notice in 2018. This timetable will see four trams in action between Pleasure Beach and Cabin instead of the usual two tram service.
The two tram Blue timetable (between 1000 and 1700) is still the most regular operation and this kicks off the 2019 season over the weekend of 5th and 6th January. It is then used every weekend (save for those with Gold or Green timetables) and school holidays until the end of August. It is then replaced by the Purple timetable (two trams between 1300 and 1700 only) for Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and the October Half Term period during the illuminations. Blue is the colour again at weekends once the illuminations ends before Santa Specials over the three weekends immediately before Christmas 2019 (extending these to two days instead of just on the Saturday).
On top of the standard heritage service Evening Ghost Trams Tours will be back running on various Fridays throughout the year, there will be special illumination tours for Ride the Lights on Tuesday 27th August before evening illumination tours run every night from Sunday 1st September. With Blackpool Council’s need for concerts around illumination switch-on special tours will run on Friday 30th and Saturday 31st August but at the time of writing details of these are not yet available.
With 242 (if I can count!) days of heritage operation in 2019 there will be plenty of chances for you to enjoy the trams in Blackpool once again! With Standard 143 now in the workshops for the completion of its restoration – with a hoped for return in 2019 – and Railcoach 279 at the FTT’s Brinwell Road workshops for its own restoration and then throw in a few of the usual surprises 2019 does look as if it could be an exciting year for Heritage Tram Tours once again!
* The full calendar of when the heritage service will run in Blackpool is available of the Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours Facebook page.