Heritage Bank Holiday in Blackpool

Blackpool Transport are currently preparing for the second stint of heritage tram operation this month over the forthcoming Spring Bank Holiday weekend, 25th – 27th May. This will follow broadly the same pattern as the May Day weekend with two genuine heritage trams operating as ‘specials’ along with modified Balloon cars. British Trams Online will be on hand to provide extensive coverage of the weekend’s events this time around, and a summary of the planned schedule is provided below.

Saturday 25th May will kick-start the weekend in fine fashion, with the first passenger journey by a Centenary car to Fleetwood Ferry since 2009, due off depot at around 10:30am and loading from North Pier. This historic journey will be performed by car 648, and this will be our first chance to see this tram following a repaint in green and cream. The other heritage car on this day will be either ‘Princess Alice’ 706 or Balloon 717 depending on the weather (so hopefully 706!), whilst modified Balloon car 718 is due to be out all day including a run to Fleetwood during the afternoon. Car 711 is rostered for service in the morning with 700 due to take its place later in the day.

On Sunday 26th May the star attraction will undoubtedly be Centenary car 642, which will be in service for the first time since 2011, and probably for the last time ever. It will be joined by Balloon 701 to give a very yellow feel to this day! The ‘B’ fleet Balloons will be represented by cars 707, 709 and 713 with 713 due to be out all day and running through to Fleetwood in the afternoon. 707 is due to be out in the morning with 709 working the late afternoon shift.

The weekend concludes on Monday 27th May with the welcome return of Balloon 723, a tram which has not carried passengers since November 2011, and it is expected to operate the morning Fleetwood journey. Centenary car 648 should be out again along with ‘B’ fleet cars 719 (all day), 718 (until around lunchtime) and 724 (afternoon only). Anyone wanting to ride on 724 is however urged to do so as early as possible, as this particular tram is not exactly well known for its reliability!

Please note that the original schedule for the ‘B’ fleet cars has now been amended; the above information is believed to be correct at the time of writing (18/05/13). As always, all of the advertised trams and timings are subject to change, and if the last heritage weekend in Blackpool is anything to go by, duplicate trams may well be provided on some of the Fleetwood journeys if demand requires this. Normal fares and passes will be accepted on the ‘B’ fleet, with the exception of the afternoon Fleetwood trips which will be reserved for heritage pass holders only. These journeys normally depart from Pleasure Beach shortly before 2:00pm.

Hopefully the weekend will be another roaring success for Blackpool Transport and enthusiasts will once again be out in force to support the heritage tram fleet, and welcome back some old friends after a lengthy absence from service. See you there!

2009 was Balloon car 723's last season of regular operation, and the tram was photographed on the Pleasure Beach loop that year. This tram will be back in action on the Spring Bank Holiday Monday retaining this advert livery for the Sands Venue. (Photo by Andrew Waddington)


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5 Responses to Heritage Bank Holiday in Blackpool

  1. Ash Tomlinson says:

    723 actually last ran in passenger service in 2011 and was in use on the second to last day of traditional tram operations on the timetabled service. Why is 724 known for being unreliable?

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      Thanks for your correction Ash, I should have known that as I rode on 723 on what was thought at the time to be its last day in service – ooops! As for 724, I believe its prone to suffering air leaks and struggled to complete its half day in service a few weeks ago, indeed it didn’t appear during the 2012 October half term week due to its unreliability. For that reason I’m not full of confidence about it getting to Fleetwood!

  2. Ash Tomlinson says:

    I’ve also noticed something else that needs correcting – 642 actually last ran in service on the last day of traditional tram operations in 2011.

  3. Bryan Lindop says:

    Somehow, some wires seem to have got a bit crossed somewhere along the line about which balloons are operating which duties, I suspect this is due to a misprint in the FTS magazine which shows the last three columns in the wrong order! The first B fleet column in the magazine should show the cars that are working all day, the second column the cars that are workling morning only and the third column the cars that are working afternoons only. This puts 724 firmly on a half day working only, as planned.

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