Tuesday 28th August provided the opportunity for an early preview of the 2012 illuminations spectacle in Blackpool. On this evening the promenade road was closed off to all vehicular traffic apart from bicycles, for the now annual ‘Ride The Lights’ event, and this also gave visitors and residents the chance to see both trams which are starring in this year’s display.
The illuminated Rocket 732, now in situ at Gynn Square roundabout, had already been fully lit on a few occasions recently to test its new lights but for many people, this was their first chance to see the tram in over a decade and it certainly caused plenty of heads to turn! Equally popular was Brush Railcoach 290 (627), now on display near the Pleasure Beach following its transformation into the Diamond Jubilee tram. Unlike the Rocket, this was the first time that 290 had been fully illuminated since its release from Kirkham Prison where the cosmetic work had been carried out. The striking white and gold livery has been further enhanced with light bulbs, including festoons hung from the trolley tower, and the artwork displayed in the saloon windows is also lit creating a stunning effect. Another imaginative touch has been the replacement of its headlights with blue bulbs which certainly stand out in the dark!
Both trams should be illuminated each night for nine weeks, starting on Friday 31st August when the lights are officially switched on by some of the heroes of the UK Olympics team. Congratulations and thanks must go to all who were involved in making these two trams available for display, including their owners, the Lancastrian Transport Trust and the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust, whose imagination has allowed both trams to enjoy a glorious return to the limelight following several years of neglect.