Balloon 715 promotes Tram Sunday

Blackpool Balloon 715‘s recently applied 1990s green and cream livery has recently been enlivened by the addition of between-deck advert banners for the annual Fleetwood Festival of Transport, more commonly known as Tram Sunday. This is the most prominent advertising to be applied to a member of the Blackpool heritage fleet to date and also revives a tradition of similar adverts worn by the Balloon cars for many years.

715‘s new adverts virtually fill the between-deck panelling on both sides and feature dark blue lettering and a colourful logo showing various forms of transport, on a pale blue background. Oddly, the name ‘Tram Sunday’ dominates the adverts, despite people connected with the event frequently insisiting that this is not what it is called! No dates feature, suggesting that the contract may not solely be for this year. The adverts were seen by the public for the first time when the tram operated on the green service on Saturday 23rd May, although the tram did not stay out all day as it was swapped for Brush car 631 after developing a minor fault. Hopefully 715 will now be seen on the promenade frequently throughout 2015, helping to publicise the Fleetwood event.

The addition of adverts to a heritage tram may be criticised as it has arguably spoilt the appearance of the freshly painted 715; however whilst the advert itself may be new, the style is certainly appropriate to this class of car. Indeed each summer season such advertisements were applied en mass to the Balloons and when the 1990s livery dominated, it was actually quite rare to see one without any external adverts at the height of the season. At least a fairly plain liveried car has been chosen, and as well as helping to promote a tram-related event, the revenue gained from the advertising contract will no doubt be a welcome boost to Blackpool Transport’s heritage tram activities.

Glorious sunshine shows off 715's colourful new adverts for Tram Sunday as the tram stands at Pleasure Beach alongside Standard 147 on 23rd May. (Photo by Bradley Jones)


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22 Responses to Balloon 715 promotes Tram Sunday

  1. Ian Banks says:

    What a mess spoils the whole tram I know its good advertising.

    • Mark says:

      That’s quite a bold statement to make and if I may say so, quite a pathetic one. Just because it’s not to your taste does not give you the right to be so rude.
      Personally I think it does one of two things, makes excellent use of advertising to promote the Transport Festival and the Tramway, and also 90% of the fleet in the 90’s carried between deck advertising making this tram even more authentic.

  2. Johnny says:

    How can representing something that is a true reflection of how it would of run in the 1990’s ‘spoiling’ it!!

  3. Phil Hart says:

    If it had been one of those ludacrous all over vinyl ads that were added to some trams then you could complain.
    Same if the tram was in the wartime livery as there were no adverts then.

  4. andy h says:

    I am sure it will peel off after the event.
    I am in favour. Looks good.

  5. Deckerman says:

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I for one, do agree that it is in keeping with it’s era of chosen livery and therefore in my humble opinion at least, it doesn’t spoil the tram at all. In fact I think, if anything, it rather enhances it. Also, as noted in the article, don’t forget the valuable revenue of course that it raised that then, at least in part, goes towards continuing to support the heritage tram service. Of course anyone who prefers a different style is welcome to sponsor one that is perhaps more to their liking I suppose.

    Now just to hopefully finally, put into context the comment in the article itself regarding the wording for the event.

    Whilst it is true that the committee has usually referred to the event by the title of the Fleetwood Festival of Transport, this is, as has been stated previously in some detail, been because that is the event’s full official title.

    However, its alter ego of “Tram Sunday” is used also, because, rightly or wrongly, that is how it is more usually known locally and indeed further afield to probably the majority of it’s visitors.

    In fact when, after a claim that the event had become “Tram-less Sunday” on a year when admittedly fewer trams had been available, (as of course they are provided purely by the kindness of BTS and over which the committee had no control,) they dropped the unofficial title completely, more than anything to show that the trams, though most certainly a big part of the event, they were not and are not, the sole criteria, but that this was in fact – all of the available transport, in a bid to lessen the harm that such an unfair and untrue tag could give the event that they work so hard to stage, for free, for so many visitors each year.

    But this then just sadly led to much confusion that the FFoT was somehow a different or even extra and new event and so the term “Tram Sunday” was brought back in, but in parenthesis, to show it was purely a nickname. Therefore it is now acknowledged as being in common usage and as such, also using the “Tram Sunday” term, then hopefully reduces any such future confusion.

    Therefore this nickname has been acknowledged as a relevant, easier and shorter name and as long as it doesn’t then become an excuse to amend it to a less beneficial, untrue and unfair term, as sadly it had in the past, I am sure that the committee will continue to add it to the event’s more official title to show the continuity and uniqueness of the event.

    I hope that clears up the reasons for the usage of the term now once and for all, but if not, then anyone is more than welcome to come and join the organising committee, to then work towards the continued success of the event and perhaps then suggest an alternative name for it and to see if it can be titled more accurately.

    On that note, I am led to believe that certainly for this year’s event, the perhaps unfair tag it had once received, hopefully shouldn’t be an accusation that can legitimately be leveled at it, as at last count, there should be in the region of 11 heritage trams on display at, or on service to, this years “Tram Sunday”…. sorry, my mistake.. Fleetwood Festival of Transport.

  6. Paul D says:

    Virtually all fleet liveried balloons carried site adverts in the 90s so it is very much in keeping with tradition, and most appropriate to be advertising a (loosely these days) tram related event – I’d rather it be that than ‘Joe Blogs’s junk shop’ or some corporate national brand.

    If you want to be really critical possibly it is a little bit too deep for the straight adverts – the ‘T’ format side adverts were sometimes deeper and one of those might have been even better!

    • John says:

      A T side on 701 might look nice Paul? 😉

    • Ken Walker says:

      Funny that, I also thought that the vertical size was slightly too big, being right up to the green band at top and bottom, and doesn’t quite look right. But that is a minor personal observation and not a criticism. At least it is an advert that is relevant to the heritage operation, not an overall advert, and most importantly not a dreaded contravision one!

  7. John says:

    My only criticism is that it should, for that period, technically have the cream panel visible around the advert. Apart from that its advertising a Heritage event – it could be much worse! Advertising the event on Heritage also shows that these events should and can support each other.

  8. John says:

    I’m intreagued by 11 Trams at this year’s event. Where are you going to put them all? It would certainly make a change from the 4 which normally appear.

    • Christopher Callan says:

      Intrigued me as well. Obviously Blackpool will be operating a Gold Timetable. So that is the 6 Car Output. Perhaps statics as usual. But 11 would be fantastic.

    • Deckerman says:

      From memory, it should be made up of 4 on service for half the day, a different four in the other half and 3 statics. But this does apparently need to be confirmed fully yet. However it should theoretically be achievable.

      I don’t recently recall only seeing four. Again, from memory, there were two statics last year and about 5 on service, so that’s up to seven at least. Though years back, there have admittedly been some times when there have been fewer than that.
      But to be fair, as stated above, it is a completely free event. No visitor pays anything to attend, so the committee really cannot fund the sponsoring of cars. So again as stated above, they have to rely on the kind support of BTS as to how many they can supply to them.

      Obviously, if anyone feels that figure is deemed to be too low, then I’m sure that the committee would be only too happy to accept any offers of financial support to possibly increase that figure.

      Otherwise, the numbers of available cars will have to stay at BTS’s very kind (and by the committee at least,) very gratefully received, available tramcar numbers. But hopefully they will still be sufficient to please the vast majority of visitors to this completely free and unique event.

  9. John says:

    Certainly when I visited in 2013 there were only 4. Two parked on Pharos Street and 2 Boats running a shuttle. I can’t speak for last year as I wasn’t there!

    • Deckerman says:

      I’ll check John, but I think there were more than that over the whole day. You may have been there at a quiet time in 2013 possibly between changeovers etc.

      But please always remember, even if there were only four, it is totally up to what BTS give the committee. It is a totally free event so they cannot pay for them. And even if BTS want to send more, it is still then up to how many crews they could then muster, though hopefully with the volunteers being involved now, that might be less of a problem in future thankfully.

      And of course, as always, if some see their efforts as not good enough, then instead of just voicing it on here, perhaps they can either fund more cars themselves, or join the committee and see how “easy” it is to sort it! That would be perhaps more constructive. Just a suggestion!

      • Andrew Waddington says:

        It was definitely just four cars in 2013 – 230 & 600 on shuttles and 631 & 706 on display. Last year had six cars – shuttle service was 40 & 706 all day plus 167 which was swapped for 230, with 147 & 717 parked on Pharos Street. Incidentally the all time record for the most vintage cars at Tram Sunday was nine cars in 1985.

        Whilst I would be happy to see eleven heritage trams at this year’s event I will believe it when I see it! A gold (six car) service is what is being advertised and I would expect that is what we will get, with the possibility of one or two static exhibits as well as or instead of. To be honest whilst swapping cars would be good for variety it does increase the amount of dead mileage and as this event is targeted more at the general public than enthusiasts, a selection of six good ‘crowd pleasers’ seems the best option to me. That said I look forward to seeing what the heritage tours team will come up with as they usually deliver!

        • Deckerman says:

          Fair enough. I will bow to your more informed knowledge, but as stated previously, it is always solely down to firstly what BTS has kindly and generously made available to the event, as the committee cannot afford to pay for them, it being a totally free event. And even if there were fifty, it then again comes down to how many crews there are available to operate them. So again, until someone comes forward to perhaps sponsor more, the cars available coupled with the crews to operate them, will always have to be at the level BTS can generously sort on the day.

          So it would be really nice to just occasionally hear about it being great that its still on ( sadly unlike other similar events ) and how great it is that it potentially shows our hobby off to the greater public in a light that they can appreciate and perhaps even wish to join, especially for the next generation, all whilst giving everyone an unique free day out.

          Rather than just .. “Oh dear, only four that year”.. or “I’ll believe it when I see it” etc etc. It really makes all the hard work SO worthwhile!!

          I would hope that if there is a changeover that there is no dead mileage as it would be sensible to use their return as a journey, but we will see and again, that’s up to BTS.

          Anyway, as I say it is still being sorted, but that figure was mentioned I believe, so yes, we will see what we will see.

          So whether its just four or much more, couldn’t those that don’t wish to actually enable more to come, just perhaps be pleased that it still actually exists?

          • Andrew Waddington says:

            You seem to be taking my comments in a negative light – it wasn’t meant to be. As for people helping, don’t forget that the number of trams appearing at this year’s event (be it 4 or 14) will have been inflated thanks to the use of volunteer crews, so already there are enthusiasts who have made a positive contribution to this year’s event.

            Re: my comment on dead mileage, a bit seems inevitable as there is no heritage tram stop at Manchester Square so runs between there and Pleasure Beach or North Pier are generally empty.

  10. Alan Kirkman says:

    I quite accept that cars in 715s livery carried adverts both normal and T side. What was also obvious to anyone with eyes is that there were Good adverts and Bad adverts some quite suited the shape and livery and some often national campaigns were really quite Garish or Gloomy. That what is so sad about the Tram Sunday Advert, poor colours and poor design it looks like a quickly blown up letterhead! Now think back to say the MER Events adverts to remember what could have been. This looks gloomy tatty and halfhearted. Is that the Image they wish to show of an event that desperately needs to drag itself up by its own bootstraps? Good idea Shockingly Slipshod implementation exactly what you’d expect to see unveiled in Britain on the day of the Eurovision Song Contest!

    • Deckerman says:

      Ok Alan, it appears that you obviously could do a far better job, so perhaps instead of just venting it on a tram fan website, (excellent one though it is) could you not give your constructive suggestions to the committee themselves, or better yet, join it. I know they don’t mind criticism, as long as it’s constructive, rather than being just a little offensive!

      Though quite how an event that in 2014, attracted over 80,000 people to it, brings over £2 million annually to the local economy (WBC’s own figures) and has apparently attracted a sizable Arts Council grant, needs to ” drag itself up by it’s bootstraps” is perhaps a little puzzling.

      But I am sure that you will advise us.

      In the meantime, sorry Alan, if you’d rather be just mean, unfair and frankly a little offensive to something that only tries to do good and costs you nothing, then this jury awards you.. Nul point!

    • Mark says:

      I’ve got an idea, why don’t you put your hand in your pocket and offer to pay for one that meets your standard? They’ve done the best they can with the funds available. I’m sure they’d welcome a donation…

  11. Deckerman says:

    Ok. Andrew. Fair enough. My apologies.

    I was part of the organising team for many years and am still very proud of all the committees efforts, both past and present, so perhaps I get a bit defensive sometimes.

    It just still gets a little frustrating to get these negatives, when they try to do so much for absolutely no reward, to put on such an (in my opinion) excellent, free, fun family event that possibly more than any, spotlights the subject of our interest to the general public and then perhaps contributes more than any other event to rider numbers on the heritage fleet, thus supporting the heritage service and perhaps even brings new fans to our hobby.

    And I suppose it is only a handful out of, I presume, many hundreds if not thousands of followers on here, so perhaps I should put it in better context. I have now dealt with it and many thanks. I hope, if you are able to attend, that you can enjoy the day at least.

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