It looks like it will be a hive of activity in the workshops at Blackpool’s Rigby Road Depot this winter/spring/summer as following quickly on from the news that Boat 230 is in for a rewire and overhaul it has been confirmed that both the Illuminated Frigate HMS Blackpool and the Western Train will also receive attention ahead of next year’s illumination season.
Over the past few years it has become noticeable to many followers of the Blackpool Tramway that the number of external illuminations on both the Frigate and, most noticeably, the Western Train have not been working. However, it isn’t an easy case of just replacing the bulbs as the lamp holders have become damaged over the years of nightly operation during the illuminations and selected other trips during the year too.
It has been 15 years since the Frigate returned to service after restoration and in this time it has received little major work but this will now change with the tram already in the Paint Shop for a start to be made on returning it to its former glory. All external illuminations have been removed ahead of their replacement and it is also due to receive some conservation work on its bow at the same time. New illuminations will the be fitted to the tram in time for it return to action next year for the illuminations.
With the Western Train currently still busy being used by Santa and Mrs Claus on weekends during December its work has been delayed slightly but it too will be entering the workshops for work to take place during 2020. It should also be ready for the 2020 illuminations.
All being well the start of the 2020 illuminations should see two trams looking at their best once more as they transport passengers through the lights most nights in September and October (and the start of November too!)