In Pictures: Blackpool 717 undertakes the Full System Tour

Sunday 5th May saw the first of two planned “Full System Tours” in Blackpool run. Balloon 717 was the tram chosen to undertake the special route across the tramway which saw it cover several parts of the tramway which it isn’t usually possible to have a ride on.

A full four hours was given to the tram and its special route which saw it cover many crossovers and locations such as the centre lines at Bispham and Thornton Gate. It also made what is now a unusual appearance along Lytham Road and towards Rigby Road Depot with a trip along Hopton Road as far it could go. In addition the trip saw it head into Starr Gate Depot.

The next Full System Tour is scheduled to take place on Sunday 29th September. More details at

717 uses the crossover at Fisherman’s Walk, Fleetwood during the Full System Tour. (Photograph by Stuart Cooke, 5th May 2024)

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9 Responses to In Pictures: Blackpool 717 undertakes the Full System Tour

  1. Nathan says:

    Out of curiosity, can heritage trams use the new extension? I don’t particularly expect nor desire regular heritage tours up Talbot Road, but it would be nice to get a Brush car up there for the official opening.

  2. Mike H says:

    I understand Yes, but only pantograph cars, and not B fleet as they can’t open the doors on the wrong side which is needed to arrive on Platform 1 or leave from P2 at the terminus.

  3. John Hibbert says:

    Pantograph cars only? The wiring appears to include Blackpool’s usual multi-purpose frogs rather than more simple pantograph-only junctions.

    • Andy says:

      I had a close look at this very thing only yesterday, on my first trip to Blackpool in quite a few years. The frogs in use appear to be the fixed blade type, normally used with fixed-head trolleys, which most (if not all?) the current trolley fitted fleet are. So I’d say trolley fitted cars can run up to North Station. The only doubt would be the requirement to turn off the main line to cross the road from the Prom. Although a fixed head trolley and a fixed frog should follow the correct route automatically, I noted on an open boat yesterday that they often don’t and were always guided through crossings by a guard using a bamboo pole. I’m not sure how practical that would be when turning across the prom because the tram would likely need to stop in the middle of the road to allow the guard to get back on. Pull-frogs might work better but there could be maintenance issues because of the sand and salt environment.

      What I would really like to know is if a twin car can run to North Station? The curve to leave / join the promenade looks rather tight and I fear something similar to the old ‘can a coronation get around the Marton route?’ question might rear it’s head.

      • Kev says:

        If a Flexity can negotiate track, anything can. Its not a case of can trolleys go up there, we know they can because 754 has been up there on trolley but will they. The need to walk them through the incorrectly installed frogs will dictate that as a no on safety and practical grounds from what we are hearing.

    • Kev says:

      You couldn’t put a Pantograph only junction or trolleys couldn’t pass straight along the prom. Keeping poles off North station is sensible as it means no possible mishaps crossing the prom! And you aren’t having people trolley toward or away from a busy road.

    • John says:

      It’s because the overhead alignment is set to standard LRT positioning optimised for pantographs and not Blackpool’s usual compromise setup which means that trolleys don’t reliably follow the correct route, and that is why trolley cars currently have to be trolleyed through the new frogs on the main line at Talbot Square (and around Starr Gate Depot). That is just about tolerable on the segregated prom, it would not be safe to do on road space shared with other traffic.
      BT’s overhead team know what changes are needed, which includes repositioning frogs and aligning the wire on approach, but are not allowed to touch it until it is handed over from the contractors, and it would probably also need a 2-3 day closure of all traffic through Talbot Square to do the work which they won’t do during the season.
      Andy’s suggestion of Pull frogs, is a potential solution – I think the point at Pleasure beach is still a Pull-frog biassed for the loop.
      So I think it’s a case of “Not Yet” rather than “Never” for trolleys to North Station.

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