Frigate relaunch and tram procession to feature in scaled back Blackpool Tramway 135th Anniversary

The return to service of Blackpool’s popular Illuminated feature car The Frigate, HMS Blackpool, plus a tram procession are to be the main events over the traditional September Spectacular weekend on 26th and 27th September. A weekend which was meant to a major celebration of the 135th anniversary of the Blackpool Tramway has had to be scaled back for obvious reasons but there will still be some tours on offer on top of these extra events, although as has become the norm in Blackpool pre-booking will be required.

HMS Blackpool will be relaunched into service on Saturday 26th September with it planned to operate a Coastal Tour (to Fleetwood) at 1400 and a Promenade Tour (to Little Bispham) at 1615. The Frigate was taken out of service over the winter for an overhaul and renewal of its external illuminations with the work having taken longer than planned because of, well I think you know what caused a delay in this case! It has missed the start of the Illuminations but it should now be ready for action in time for this day.

The other special event taking place over the weekend will be on Sunday 27th September when a 6 tram procession will run from Pleasure Beach to Little Bispham at back. Titled a Procession of Trams through the Ages the six will travel at slow speed between Central Pier and North Pier to allow photos. Tickets to travel on one of the trams in the Procession are available at the special rates of £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. These will be the only daytime tours over the weekend which will depart from Pleasure Beach.

The rest of the weekend will see a mix of Promenade and Coastal Tours running with pre-booking now open for these tours. With social distancing measures in place there is strictly limited capacity on board the tram so be sure that you book your place as soon as possible. A mixture of single deck, Balloons, Vintage and Centenary Cars are due to run, although there is no guarantee of exactly what tram will run each tour. All these tours will start at North Pier and Tower heading north with the Promenade Tours then turning south at Little Bispham whilst the Coastal Tours run through to Fleetwood. On their return they then head back to Pleasure Beach before terminating at North Pier and Tower again. They aren’t hop on, hop off tours although you are able to alight on the return journey.

The full list of tours due to run are as follows:

Saturday 26th September

1030 – Promenade Tour with a Balloon Car

1045 – Coastal Tour with a Single Decker

1100 – Promenade Tour with a Vintage Car

1230 – Promenade Tour with a Vintage Car

1300 – Coastal Tour with a Balloon Car

1400 – Coastal Tour with the Frigate

1400 – Promenade Tour with a Single Decker

1500 – Coastal Tour with a Vintage Car

1515 – Promenade Tour with a Balloon Car

1530 – Promenade Tour with a Single Decker

1615 – Promenade Tour with the Frigate

Sunday 27th September

1050 – Tram Procession from Pleasure Beach

1230 – Promenade Tour with a Vintage Car

1245 – Coastal Tour with a Single Decker

1300 – Promenade Tour with a Balloon Car

1315 – Promenade Tour with a Single Decker (guaranteed to be an enclosed single decker)

1345 – Promenade Tour with a Centenary Car

1400 – Coastal Tour with a Modified Balloon

1430 – Promenade Tour with a Single Decker (guaranteed to be an enclosed single decker)

1445 – Coastal Tour with a Vintage Car

1500 – Promenade Tour with a Centenary Car

1515 – Coastal Tour with a Balloon Car

1600 – Promenade Tour with a Single Decker

Unless stated above the Single Decker cars may be a Boat Car if the weather allows. Vintage Cars will be either Bolton 66 or Standard 147. Modified Balloons will be either 707 or 718. No tram can be guaranteed for any tour.

Once again it will be a very different event than we have become used to over the past few years but despite all the restrictions the Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours team are determined to not let the 135th anniversary go by without some sort of recognition.

  • Full details from Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours of what is planned for the weekend – including booking links – are available at https://blackpoolheritage.com/135th-anniversary-weekend/. Many of these trips are likely to sell out quickly so you are advised to book s soon as you can if you want to take part in any of these tours!
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