It has been confirmed that the planned launch of Blackpool Standard 143 will be delayed until Monday 23rd September to allow extra time for the completion of the major restoration of the tram. As well as a number of snags found recently during the final stages of the restoration a slot needs to be found for the painting of the tram and this won’t now be until mid-September. The decision to delay the launch has been agreed between the tram’s owner the Fylde Transport Trust and Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours.
Bryan Lindop, Head of Heritage at Blackpool Transport, is quoted as saying: “The revised launch date of the 23rd September is a welcome blessing given the snags that have arisen in recent weeks beyond our control and which would ultimately have meant a breathless race to the finishing post. The vehicle can now be completed with a margin of comfort and give both parties a highly polished result, something that we can all be proud of.”
One of the main jobs which is still to be completed is the full painting of the tram. This will include full decorative lining which is to be completed by a company based on the Isle of Man – they don’t have an available slot for completing this work until mid-September which would have been too late for the original launch and it also now allows more time for the completion of the other remaining jobs to a high standard.
It had originally been planned that the launch would take place on Wednesday 28th August but this has now been postponed until Monday 23rd September at 1800. This will see the tram launched back into service with invited guests attending a function at the White Tower Restaurant, Pleasure Beach ahead of a full illuminations tour. Following its launch 143 is scheduled to run a tour for the Fylde Tramway Society on Friday 27th September before it will likely be the star of the September Spectacular weekend on 28th and 29th September – all subject to availability of course!
It may now be set to be launched a month later than planned but it is sure to be worth the wait once the finished tram is back in service!