Trams return to Fleetwood Transport Festival

The annual Fleetwood Festival of Transport – more commonly known as Tram Sunday – took place on Sunday 21st July and attracted the usual mix of vintage vehicles, stalls and fairground style rides and attractions. However, after playing a limited role in recent years, it was quite rightly the trams which stole the show, with four different members of the heritage fleet taking part in this year’s event.

The day began unusually early for the historic trams, with both ‘Princess Alice’ 706 and recently repainted Brush car 631 leaving Rigby Road depot after 7:00am and heading to Fleetwood before the roads through the town were closed off as preparations for the festival got underway. Both trams travelled empty to the Ferry apart from a small number of very lucky invited guests. These trams were then used to promote two local tramway organisations: a sales stand for the Fylde Tramway Society was placed inside 706, with several new members reportedly joining up during the day, whilst 631‘s interior played host to the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust. During the early afternoon, the Trust held a talk outlining some of their ambitious future plans, although this was poorly attended with just four people turning up to listen – perhaps more were put off by the compulsory donation to attend? One late arrival was reportedly not allowed to board the tram, which seems a little odd as surely his money would have been a welcome boost to the day’s takings.

Meanwhile, at around 10:00am both operational Boat cars, 230 and 600, were at North Pier. Various dignitaries were seen riding on 230 which took part in the opening ceremony on arrival at Fisherman’s Walk, Fleetwood, with the remaining seats on both cars offered to the general public. The two Boats then operated circular tours between Fisherman’s Walk and Thornton Gate throughout the afternoon, proving very popular and carrying several full capacity loads despite the glorious sunshine which Blackpool has bathed in for the last few weeks being noticeably absent on this day.

By 4:30pm events were winding down and the two Boat cars were dispatched back to Blackpool. However, 631 and 706 were required to stay in position at Pharos Street until Lord Street was reopened, which meant they did not depart from Fleetwood until just before 7:00pm. Both cars returned to Blackpool in service carrying passengers who had reserved a seat for their only passenger-carrying journey of the day, bringing a successful end to an enjoyable day. Although the festival itself may be less impressive than it once was in terms of transport interest, there remains plenty to entertain the average visitor and the return of vintage tram rides at the event seems to have been welcomed, hopefully ensuring that a similar pattern will be followed next year and well into the future.

Finally, following some inaccurate claims in the local media, we must set the record straight to clarify a few matters. All four of the heritage trams at this event were provided by Blackpool Transport, and the Lancastrian Transport Trust had no involvement despite what has been stated elsewhere. Although the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust were present, none of the group’s trams appeared at the festival and the tram the talk was held inside, 631, is owned by Blackpool Transport and not the Trust!

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7 Responses to Trams return to Fleetwood Transport Festival

  1. Enthusiast says:

    A few points that i have to make regarding the “talk”

    1) Poor bloke at the back seemed to fall asleep.
    2) Poor BT Staff were locked out of their own tram. Why were the doors locked and every window closed.
    3) As you rightly pointed out an enthusiast appeared to be turned away (from a distance looked unnecessarily aggressive pretty clear gesture that he wasnt welcome…) Considering how many people were their was quite difficult to move around freely… quite easy to set off in ample time and arrive late out of their control..

    But back to what matters. Cracking Event. Well done BLACKPOOL TRANSPORT. Cracking Boat trips. Cracking Format. Loved my trip on 631 at the end.

  2. Frank Gradwell says:

    When we were riding on 706 the Sunday shuttle to Thornton Gate was mentioned

    We thought this was a means to “park and ride” to Ash St, but no such luck – this was out and back with doors locked.

    A minor point – we went up on a Flex, but would far rather have been on 230 and 600

    And why were 706 and 631 detained for so long at Pharos St? It appeared they were not allowed to go before the BTS Transit was ready to act as a red flag.

  3. Andrew Blood says:

    You could have travelled to Fleetwood on 0one of the Boats if you had been at North Pier at 9.45am. 631 and 706 could not return to Blackpool until the road had been cleared of exhibits. Its a bit hard for a tram to travel along the track when it is blocked by a vintage car!

    • Deckerman says:

      Correct Andrew and the road closure was effective until 18.30. Additionally, at the request of BTS, the power was turned off in the whole section until at least then, just in case any flag, marquee, stray balloon ( the inflatable type, not the tram) touched the wires. Health and Safety and all that!

  4. Frank Gradwell says:


    I used to exhibit at Tram Sunday – you are required to vacate Lord St etc by 16.00.

    Some people obviously have very slow watches

    • Deckerman says:

      I am not disputing that that was as it was when you were exhibiting in the past Frank, but it is a totally new organisation running the event now and so as the vehicles and crowds were known to stay later and later year on year, especially when the event enjoyed good weather which it usually does, it was decided to extend the road closure times to 18.30, as it was this year. It was felt that then people can disperse at a more leisurely pace and that thereby makes it both safer and more enjoyable. Hope this explains the revised situation.

      • Deckerman says:

        Plus, just to prove that the old timings now no longer apply, you would possibly have noticed that there was certainly no shortage of Police officers and Council guys in attendance, especially towards the end.

        If the road closure had still ended at 4pm, I’m fairly certain that there is very little chance that nothing would have been done about it by any of them for another 2 and a half hours! I can assure you, it is now closed until 6.30pm for the reasons stated previously. Cheers.

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