In Preview: Blackpool’s September Spectacular – 28th and 29th September

Another weekend and another special tram event is on the cards over the weekend of Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th September with Blackpool the location this week for their big September Spectacular event with plenty of trams in action over the course of weekend, indeed all serviceable heritage trams and B fleet Balloons will run in service at some point over the weekend – not only will this include the first public use of Standard 143 (on both days) but also the return to service of Balloon 707 for the first time after its repaint in Millennium Green and Cream but also Centenary 642 which will run for the first time since failing in January. Read on to find out about the full plan, including photo line-ups at Rigby Road Depot.

On both days there will be one tram dedicated to the depot shuttle (linking the two depots as part of the behind the scenes tours but also available to other heritage travelcard ticket holders, you just have to alight before Starr Gate Depot), two operating full length journeys between Starr Gate and Fleetwood and a further eight trams being used on services from Pleasure Beach – both timetabled and specials. In total 21 different trams will be used over the course of the weekend with the only tram set to be used on both days during the daytime being what looks like being the star of the weekend, recently restored Standard 143.

As always all trams are subject to availability (and probably in no small part of the weather which is currently looking decidedly mixed for the weekend!) but this is the plan:

Saturday 28th September

Depot Shuttle: Balloon 719

Shop (at North Pier/Tower Heritage Stop): Balloon 718

Starr Gate-Fleetwood service: “The Railcoaches”: Brush 631 & Railcoach 680

Specials from Pleasure Beach: Bolton 66, Standard 143, Boat 227, Centenary 642, Balloon 700, Balloon 711, Balloon 715, Western Train (Balloon 707 and the Trawler will both be allocated to illumination tours)

Sunday 29th September

Depot Shuttle: Balloon 713

Shop (at North Pier/Tower Heritage Stop): Balloon 718

Starr Gate-Fleetwood service: “The Balloons”: 701 & 723

Specials: Standard 143, Standard 147, Boat 600, Brush 621, Centenary 648, Balloon 707, Balloon 717, The Frigate

There are so many planned highlights to pick out from the above with the relatively rare use of illuminated trams in the day alongside the aforementioned returnees to service. With 718 dedicated to Shop duties and 707 back in service on the Sunday there will be the first chance to see two trams in identical liveries to be photographed together in the heritage tram era whilst the same day should also see double Standard cars running – when was the last time there were two Standard running on the same day on Blackpool Prom?

Away from the Prom (and with some spaces still left on the depot tours – see here for more details on how to book on these tours) there will be several photo line-ups both on Rigby Road Depot fan and along Blundell Street. These will be themed and are planned to be as follows:

Saturday 28th September

Blundell Street – “The Rewires”: Twin Car 675+685, Boat 230, Brush 634 (these three trams are due to be next to go through the workshops for a full rewire once a second electrician is appointed)

Depot Fan – “The One Man Story”: Jubilee 761, Centenary 645, OMO 8

Sunday 29th September

Blundell Street – “The Next Projects”: Balloon 704 & Open Top Balloon 706 (these will be the next major rebuilds to go through the workshops)

Depot Fan – “The Twin Generation”: Twin Cars 671+681, 272+T2, 675+685 & 676+686

In the past there have been complaints that these line-ups are often removed early in the day but this year they are guaranteed to be in place between 1000 and 1500 to give you plenty of opportunity to see these unique line-ups.

Don’t forget the above is what is planned during the daytime with both evenings seeing illumination tours running from Pleasure Beach to give even more opportunity to get incredible value from your heritage travelcards which are valid on all heritage trams, standard Flexity service and Blackpool Transport bus routes for just £11 for an adult.

Oh, and there will also be free heritage bus journeys linking the tramway with both Blackpool North and Blackpool South railway stations.

It looks set to be an excellent and busy weekend in Blackpool and we will be there with “as it happens” updates provided on our Facebook page. Full coverage of the weekend will then follow at some point when I get chance in October!

* An events page is available on Facebook for the weekend which includes the planned timetables (although please note extra journeys will also run as specials – just like the old days!). You can view this page on Facebook and any changes to the plans will also be posted by Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours so please do check if you are interested in any specific tram as sometimes things do have to be changed.

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