Plans for Blackpool 619 relaunch event confirmed

As announced a few weeks ago, Sunday 26th March will not only mark the start of another season at the Heaton Park Tramway but will also see the relaunch into service of Blackpool Replica Vanguard 619. With this tram running for the first time since 2017 (save for some use during Lightopia in December 2022) the day will, unsurprisingly, have a Blackpool theme including a two tram service plus three visiting buses.

When it returned to service in December 2022 it was mentioned that there were still some finishing touches to be completed on 619 and the past few months have seen the volunteers at the tramway hard at work on these. This included a visit from Heritage Painting who completed the paintwork, featuring the application of traditional style numbers. And now these are done the tram is ready to meet its adoring public once more!

The day will see 619 joined by Blackpool Brush Car 623 in a two tram service whilst it is planned that a third Blackpool tram will be on display – Balloon 702. But that’s not where the Blackpool connection ends as there will be not one, not two but three buses which once ran on the resort visiting. As previously announced the Fylde Transport Trust will be taking AEC Swift 570 (although its now not able to take passengers from Blackpool to the event as it will be coming directly from their storage facility at Great Harwood) whilst the Martin Gurr and Gary Conn collection, representing Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours and Blackpool Transport, will be providing Optare Delta 138 and Optare Solo 288.

The full timetable is as follows:

1200 – Speeches by Manchester Transport Museum Society Chairman, Geoff Senior (who was involved in the construction of 619 in 1987)

1215 – 619 enters service alongside Brush 623

1430 – 619 and 623 will operate a special photography trip from Middleton Road alongside the visiting buses concluding in a grand line-up of all vehicles at Lakeside

1600 – end of service with 619 making a special trip into the Middleton Road Gates stub, with her nose poking out of the park gates to wave off the visiting buses. The trams will then return to Middleton Road Depot

All that is on Sunday 26th March.

Following the start of the new season, the tramway will be open:

Sundays – 26th March to 1st October

Saturdays – 3rd June to 26th August

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