Blackpool & Fleetwood Box 40 became the first heritage tram to operate on the Blackpool Tramway on Saturday 5th January when it operated a private tour for the “Friends of Forty”, an organisation who have provided financial support in the past to return the tram to the tracks. This is the second time since the upgrade of the Blackpool Tramway that 40 has made the trip back to its home town – a site that many people thought they would never see again.
The tour departed Rigby Road depot at approximately 1100 with a full load already on board with boarding for this tour allowed outside the depot. Although some reports have
suggested that some participants on the tour had been given the incorrect date for the trip this appeared not to be case as everyone who was meant to be on board was present and correct. After departing the depot 40 headed the short distance to the crossover at Foxhall from where it returned back south to Pleasure Beach. After pausing for photos alongside Brush Railcoach 627, which remains in situ alongside the loop awaiting a move back to Kirkham Prison for further storage until plans for a Museum at Copse Road progress, 40
headed north as far as Little Bispham where it went onto the loop. As Engineering Car 754 was checking the overhead on the exit to the loop an impromptu photo stop was taken here with the approval of the crew and an Inspector. The tram only returned as far south as Bispham and after another reversal it then embarked on the main part of the journey, and the most anticipated section, to Fleetwood Ferry. Upon arrival at Fleetwood, and after passengers had disembarked at the designated heritage tram stop 40 was stabled on the passing loop on the Esplanade at Fleetwood whilst the tour participants were treated to a presentation and a three course meal. After around three hours the tour participants returned to 40 which departed Fleetwood at approximately 1545.
Unfortunately it appears that this tour bought out the worst in some tram enthusiasts with a large amount of rumour and misinformation seeking to discredit either the organiser of the tour or the Friends of 40 group. Whether this was deliberately malicious or whether it was the result of genuine mistakes is not clear but it does show how anyone can make a comment on the internet and it is taken as gospel by other people. A warning to us all to question everything which we read (and I include this website in that)! British Trams Online would like to apologise for the inaccuracies which appeared in the original article regarding this tour and we are thankful to Paul Derrick – who was a participant on the tour – for correcting the information we gave.
Andrew Waddington, who wrote the original article about the tour on British Trams Online, says: “All of the articles I produce for this website are based on reliable sources and in this case, this was in the form of several postings on more than one website by a number of people. The validity of some of these sources has since been called into question, and therefore in the interest of fairness, the original article has been removed from our news page. Accuracy is extremely important to me, and I’m very sorry if anyone feels that this has been compromised on this rare occasion. Unfortunately, being unable to attend every single tram event that goes on in the UK, Gareth and myself often have to rely on second hand sources and these are always reported in good faith, only when we believe them to be reputable.”