Balloon 723 launch event confirmed

Previously known as Blackpool’s ‘Scruffy Surprise’, the appearance of Balloon car 723 has been transformed over the past two months with a full repaint in the 1980s green and cream livery, finally returning this tram to an immaculate appearance. To celebrate its return to regular service, 723 will be launched with a special late afternoon tour on Friday 29th April, acting as a warm-up to the activities of the Bank Holiday weekend.

With its repaint now completed, 723‘s first duty will commence at 1615 on 29th April when the car departs from Hopton Road on its maiden voyage. Unusually, passengers will be able to board outside the heritage tram depot offering the rarity of a ride along Lytham Road onto the promenade. The tram is timed to depart from North Pier at 1630, Cabin at 1637, Bispham at 1642 and Cleveleys at 1652 before arriving at Fleetwood at 1710. The car will then perform a full system trip, due to arrive at Starr Gate terminus at 1815. A run to Thornton Gate will follow and 723 should then run to Pleasure Beach before heading back to Fleetwood Ferry, departing from the northern terminus for the second time at 2040. The tram then heads back to the depot with the special tour expected to end at 2125.

To enjoy 723‘s first public runs in its newly repainted condition, as well as the novelty of an evening ride to Fleetwood aboard a Balloon car, a special £10 fare will be charged. This price applies to all passengers whether or not they remain on board for the whole of the event, and as a bonus a souvenir certificate will also be included.

Although 723 has run infrequently as a member of the heritage fleet since 2013 – initially in its expired ‘Sands Venue’ advert livery, and more recently in the tatty green and cream livery which had been uncovered once its external vinyls were removed – this tour marks the proper start of its new life as a fully fledged heritage tram, providing another guise in the evolution of the Balloon class to the fleet. Hopefully its return will be warmly received and the inaugural tour will be another success, ahead of what should be a busy season for the tram.

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5 Responses to Balloon 723 launch event confirmed

  1. Kev says:

    Great news and the chance for an evening tour! But could we please have just one with some notice? I wonder if there is a market for selected evening/early evening tours through the year with various cars.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      I suspect that would do quite well, particularly if tied in with other events and advertised in advance. An illuminated car running to Fleetwood in an evening would be something pretty special I think!

  2. alan says:

    As well as the late notice it is unfortunate to clash with the FTS Meeting. I think that will harm attendance both on the tour and at the FTS meeting.

    It is suggested by some that the FTS should become the “Official Supporters Association”, which as an FTS member I agree with, but some staff in BTS including some Heritage crews seem to have a serious downer on the Society and clashing like this wont help.

    As many FTS members will be in Town early on Friday, an earlier start and finish aprox 7pm at Cleveleys would have been perfect for both organisations.

  3. Kev says:

    To be fair there is time to have a ride and do the meeting. Having been to a meeting once I have to say that they don’t seem to be the same set of people you see riding and key FTS figures (both past and present) are rarely seen out anyway! Therefore the only clash is for people such as yourself there for the weekend. Agreed on unfortunate timing though. Saturday evening would probably have been more accessible – certainly for those with weekday work commitments and would have got more bums on seats.

  4. Kev says:

    Now this raises an interesting question re FTS being a supporters association – I would be inclined to think the Trust, when it comes into official being with Charitable status, should have its own. I would be more inclined to join/donate as you have no guarantee FTS money would go to Heritage. There IS enough room for both associations and to work together.

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