In Preview: Another Gold weekend in Blackpool

12 trams, six different classes (seven if you include the “B” fleet Balloons as a separate class!) are set to feature as the latest Gold weekend of heritage tram operation in Blackpool gets underway again. With a late Easter this year, it seems that Gold weekends have been coming thick and fast in Blackpool with the latest three day operation taking place over the Spring Bank Holiday Weekend between Saturday 25th and Monday 27th May. As usual with these weekends a six tram timetable will operate on each day with journeys running north from Pleasure Beach to various locations including eight trips per day through to Fleetwood. Tram allocations for the weekend have now been revealed and it looks set to be another busyweekend of heritage tram action on the Fylde Coast.

The weekend actually gets going on Friday 24th May with 2019 having seen the return of the Green timetable. This is due to run the Friday before each Gold weekend (plus a few other dates later in the season) and sees four trams running between Pleasure Beach and Bispham roughly every 20 minutes between 1000 and 1700. On this Friday the four trams are scheduled to be A – Brush 621, B – Balloon 723, C – Standard 147 and D – Centenary 648, although if the weather permits Boat 227 and Boat 600 will be used vice routes A and B.

The evening of Friday 24th May will also see two further heritage tram events taking place with The Great British Night Out fish and chip special boarding at North Pier/Tower from 1845 and then Balloon 715’s debut in its new livery on The Ghost Tour departing at 1930. Tickets for both these events must be purchased in advance either in person at the Tourist Information Centre in Festival House or online.

Then onto the main weekend events and there will be six trams in action on each day. The standard Gold timetable will run again which will include those eight trips through to Fleetwood. All trams run to Fleetwood at least once with those allocated to duties A and D getting two journeys to the northern outpost of the tramway. In addition to the standard timetable Standard 147 will be out and about on Saturday 25th May as it performs the very first “The Transport Tour”. New for 2019 this trip will see the tram run to Fleetwood along with a heritage bus departing at 1500 from North Pier/Tower. Heritage day tickets aren’t valid on this trip but standard round trip prices do apply with discounts for those with travelcards. The trip allows travel one way by tram and the other by bus.

Allocated trams for each day are as follows:

Saturday 25th May

A – Balloon 723

B – Railcoach 680

C – Boat 227

D – Balloon 715

E – Brush 631

F – Boat 600

The Transport Tour – Standard 147

Sunday 26th May

A – Centenary 648

B – Balloon 715

C – Boat 600

D – Standard 147

E – Balloon 719

F – Boat 227

Monday 27th May

A – Balloon 701

B – Balloon 700

C – Boat 227

D – Brush 621

E – Standard 147

F – Boat 600

The usual weather and availability caveats stand for these allocations and any changes will be posted to the Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours Facebook page. In addition to the trams in service the Tram Shop will once again be at North Pier/Tower Saturday to Monday between 1030 and 1600; although not confirmed this is likely to Balloon 711 once again.

As always the excellent value heritage day travelcards are available for travel throughout the weekend (excluding the special trips on Friday evening and The Transport Tour on the Saturday). An adult day ticket is just £11 with child tickets for £6 and a family ticket at£25. Short trip tickets are also available.

Latest updates on tram allocations – and downloadable timetables for the weekend – can be found on the Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours Facebook page.

You may be pleased to know – or not! – that we will be bringing you “as it happens” updates throughout the weekend on Facebook. We will then have full photographic coverage of the weekend in a future update of British Trams Online.

Two trams due to run again over this Gold weekend are Balloon 700 and Standard 147. They are caught here on camera on 24th June 2018 during a previous Gold timetable. (Photograph by Gareth Prior)

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