Heritage trams brave the gales for Totally Transport

The ninth annual ‘Totally Transport’ event took place on Blackpool’s New South Promenade on Sunday 23rd June, featuring the usual mix of static vehicles on display, family entertainment and a model tram exhibition at the Solaris Centre near Harrow Place. Although not officially connected with the event, Blackpool Transport decided to operate a timetabled heritage tram shuttle service between Pleasure Beach and North Pier on this day.

Unfortunately, over the years ‘Totally Transport’ has witnessed a mix of weather and although the predicted heavy rain failed to materialise this year, the day was dominated by very strong winds which almost certainly kept many potential visitors away. In spite of this, the vintage trams were reasonably well patronised and it is thought that Blackpool Transport’s decision to run them was still a good one; indeed had the sun shone, loadings would probably have been far better.

With gale force winds battering the Fylde coast, plans to operate two Boat cars were sensibly abandoned and instead, two enclosed cars ran in the early part of the day, these being Standard 147 and Balloon 717. During the afternoon these were replaced by Bolton 66 and ‘Princess Alice’ 706, the latter offering an open top tram ride to those who were brave (or foolish?) enough to want one! 147 had actually ran in slightly earlier than planned due to a fault with its transponders – not the first time that this modern technology has let down the otherwise very reliable historic trams. Incidentally the Standard car is still awaiting the replacement of its cracked ruby glass and retains the temporary repairs undertaken earlier in the year.

Probably the highlight of the day came at the end of the festival, when car 706 performed an extended journey to Cabin before heading back to the depot. Since the relocation of the crossover at Cabin, trolley fitted cars were banned from reversing at this location as the conductor has to walk along the ballast to turn the trolley around, but this ruling seems to have been relaxed of late as Boat car 230 was also noted reversing here during a previous heritage running day.

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