Rocket tram shines for the cameras

The cosmetic restoration of Blackpool’s famous illuminated Rocket tram, 732, is making remarkably speedy progress with work on the external lights now almost complete. When the tram made its last appearance on the Blackpool tramway for a special farewell tour in 2002, it was only used on the condition that its illuminations were kept switched off, due to the delicate condition of the aged wiring.

However, the Rocket now looks magnificent again thanks to the efforts of Blackpool’s Illuminations Department, who are carrying out the work on the tram at their premises close to Blackpool Airport. The tram looks so good that it was featured on the local BBC TV North West news programme earlier this week, which will no doubt add to the already huge amount of interest in this unique tram’s return to the limelight later this month! 732 was also displayed for a press launch previewing the 2012 illuminations in its current temporary home, and is expected to move to outside display at Gynn Square ahead of the switch-on ceremony which will take place on 31st August.

Readers of this website may also be interested to hear that one of the new attractions in this year’s illuminations will be a series of Nickelodeon characters, including Spongebob Squarepants. With a Flexity also featuring an image of the popular cartoon character, it’s good to see that the spirit of Jubilee car 762 is very much alive and well in Blackpool following the departure of the original Spongebob tram for Crich last year!

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5 Responses to Rocket tram shines for the cameras

  1. Deckerman says:

    Whilst it will be excellent to see The Rocket once again taking part in the Illuminations, though now admittedly only in static format, I can’t help thinking about it’s position being open to possible abuse.

    Whilst I am sure that the Illuminations Department will barrier it off, remember that in around 2005, the “Carousel” illuminated horses that were also barriered off and were in exactly the same position on the Gynn Roundabout, were so badly damaged by drunken vandals one night, that the whole attraction had to be taken down and broken up for scrap.

    8 damaged fibreglass horses that they have the moulds for to relatively easily replace them, is one thing, but a unique and irreplaceable piece of Blackpool’s transport history is another.

    I’m sure it’s been thought of and I sincerely hope that nothing happens to her, but I am genuinely concerned. Once she’s gone, she’s gone.

  2. Ken Walker says:

    That’s exactly what I was thinking, also with the “jubilee tram” at Pleasure Beach. There being lots of people about doesn’t seem to be a deterrent to vandals these days, especially after a few cans of pop they don’t seem to care who sees what they are up to. These vehicles are going to be very vulnerable late at night, and as Deckerman says I just hope this has been taken into account

    • Deckerman says:

      Yes, Ken,

      I was thinking of the Jubilee Car as well and if I’m honest, that’s potentially going to be even more vulnerable, being where it is. Ok it’s near the crowds, which can be good whilst they are there, but brings the knowledge of it’s position to lots more people, who might then come back when a bit er…lets say… “happier” and perhaps when there aren’t quite so many about But yes, sadly even it being crowded, doesn’t always stop some of them.

      Plus, at least the Gynn is relatively built up with houses and hotels overlooking it. Pleasure Beach doesn’t really have that many.

      I don’t think for a minute they haven’t thought of it, but equally, I think they underestimate the tenacity of a “tanked up” visitor and it only takes one nutter..once.

      All you need is someone who perhaps didn’t like the Jubilee or for that matter…no reason at all, judging by Blackpool’s “usual” standard of clientele, and …Oh dear!! Bit extreme perhaps, but dafter things!!

      Anyway, here’s hoping. Fingers crossed.

      • Ken Walker says:

        If as you say the carousel was wrecked at the Gynn when fenced off there’s no reason why such a thing couldn’t happen again. Once these people are tanked up they don’t need to have not liked the jubilee or any other excuse for that matter. The real problem is that these trams will be completely isolated from the running line so if an unforeseen risk does present itself, it won’t be possible to just tow them back to Rigby Road or Starr Gate out of harm’s way for the night. Any movement will take time and planning to carry out. Which is why I feel sure that those involved will have taken measures to protect them.

        • Deckerman says:

          Totally agree mate.

          Just hope they have that last “incident” into account.

          I know Richard Ryan ( Director Of Illuminations) well and I’m sure he will treat it sensibly, but it is still a worry.

          Time will tell.

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