As we all know Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours returned to action in August and will be seeing celebrations to mark the 135th anniversary of the tramway in September. But behind the scenes it appears there has been some governance changes with the the press release that accompanied the news about the resumption of service seeming to confirm that the heritage tram offering will now become the responsibility of Blackpool Transport’s Head of Tramway.
In what was a seemingly throw away comment in a quote from Ian Middlemiss, Head of Tramway at Blackpool Transport, he said: “This is just the start of an incredible and unique journey for Heritage Trams as we wrap them into the heart of our Blackpool Transport team. Next year there will be an expansion of our operations that means you will see an advanced offer and unique experiences on our Heritage Trams.”
Whilst the actual structure of the day-to-day running of Heritage Tram Tours has never been publicly revealed it is thought that previously its operation didn’t come under the auspices of the Head of Tramway but this quote would seem to suggest that this situation has now changed. There were some concerns expressed in various quarters over a few high profile incidents – such as the failure of Standard 143 on its launch run last September and various trams going in and out the workshops as their overhauls stalled – and this looks as if it is Blackpool Transport’s answer to solve these concerns with one person now having overall responsibility for both the modern and heritage side of tramway operation.
The intriguing comment from Ian Middlemiss of an “incredible and unique journey” as well as an expansion of operations next year which will see “an advanced offer and unique experiences” could well mean that 2021 will be a very interesting year for Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours!