In Pictures: First passenger tram runs to North Station

Whether you take it as being 88 years (trams on Talbot Road) or 61 (trams to North Station) there’s no doubt its been a long time (and it seems for a lot of that we’ve been waiting for the thing to be built and open!) but finally on Wednesday 12th June the first passengers enjoyed a ride on the latest UK tram extension to North Station, Blackpool at the start of several days of special launches.

The first day saw a special trip from Starr Gate to North Station with competition winners on board become the official first tram. The newest of all the trams in Blackpool, 018, was the chosen tram for this journey with its making way along the extension mid-morning and becoming the first of many firsts for the line over the coming days.

Thursday 13th and Friday 14th June will see further special trips onto the extension with Flexity2 trams whilst Saturday 15th June will see the first heritage tram running onto the line with passengers (Balloon 700 has already run a test onto the line earlier this month to check everything was OK). Special tickets have been on sale for these trips over the past few weeks with various packages available, some of which have included tours of Starr Gate Depot and a go on the tram simulator.

But back to 12th June and things almost got off to a bit of sticky start as a protest by taxi drivers blocked roads around the town centre. They were protesting against the Council refusal to stop unlicensed taxis from setting down in Blackpool which led to severe congestion and saw buses diverted and delayed (some by as long as an hour). Fortunately, the Police had cleared the area ahead of the first tram and 018 was able to run along Talbot Road unheeded.

018 also debuted some new vinyls on the day – advertising the link between train and tram now possible at North Station.

018 makes it way up Talbot Road with the first trip with passengers on board. (Photograph by Michael Morton, 12th June 2024)

A view of the tram as it about to go through the front door of Wilko’s!

After its break at North Station 018 now returns along Talbot Road with the Police keeping a close eye on things. Note the new adverts “FROM TRAM TO TRAIN”. (Photographs x2 by Steven Hughes, 12th June 2024)

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