Dare we mention 2020? Blackpool reveal special event dates

Yes, it may only be mid-October 2019 but Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours are quick off the mark with first information on their special events for 2020 with outline dates already revealed. The familiar pattern of Winter Gold and standard Gold weekends throughout the year will take place again with the “big one” the September Spectacular – which marks the 135th anniversary of the tramway – taking place over the weekend of 26th and 27th September.

These dates only relate to the more intensive operating days when usually six trams are in service but it is still very early to say the exact pattern for operation during this events and whether there will be a few tweaks to the offering. Roughly in the same dates as in 2019 there have been some small moves of Winter Gold weekends to try and achieve a more even spreading out of events and don’t forget the early May Bank Holiday is on a Friday this year and so the dates of that Gold weekend are accordingly altered.

The dates are as follows:

Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th January: Winter Gold

Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th February: Winter Gold

Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th March: Winter Gold

Saturday 11th to Monday 13th April: Easter

Friday 8th to Monday 10th May: May Day Bank Holiday

Saturday 23rd to Monday 25th May: Spring Bank Holiday

Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st June: Totally Models

Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th July: Tram Sunday Weekend

Saturday 29th to Monday 31st August: August Bank Holiday Weekend

Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th September: September Spectacular (135th Anniversary Weekend)

Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd November: Winter Gold

Saturday 5th, Sunday 6th, Saturday 12th, Sunday 13th, Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th December: Christmas & Santa

With this pattern being the same as in 2019 there is bound to some complaint that it is a stagnant set of events but the making and breaking of these events will be the tram output (oh, and the weather!). And to that end we will all be keeping an eye out on the Rigby Road Workshops during the next few months to see what comes out and into service!


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5 Responses to Dare we mention 2020? Blackpool reveal special event dates

  1. John1 says:

    Stagnant? Maybe the dates are predictable but that’s all that will be…………..its Blackpool 135 after all…………

  2. Andrew Waddington says:

    Blackpool 135, is this going to be a thing? I’ve never heard of 135th anniversary events being a big deal before – but hey, this is Blackpool!

    I do think that 2020 COULD be a great year for the heritage operation – certainly if 143, 279 & 304 (spot the connection between those three?) all run that will be a huge boost to the fleet and provide some extra wow factor! Personally I still feel there are too many ‘event’ days; realistically we can’t expect to be amazed every time when there are 11 Gold weekends in the year. Just a couple of really special enthusiast events would be a real positive, on Bank Holidays I think its probably more important to cater for day trippers and holidaymakers who aren’t that interested in trams but can be persuaded to take a ride if they see something that catches their eye. Regular Boats on the prom (weather permitting of course!) are of more value than regular trips to Fleetwood in my opinion.

    Hopefully the depot open day will be repeated next year as well, I didn’t make it but by all accounts it sounded brilliant – exactly the sort of innovative event that Blackpool needs!

  3. Nigel Pennick says:

    Perhaps they could fit a heritage tram with batteries for the 135th and run it up and down Talbot Road as a preview to the opening on the 140th anniversary.

  4. Chris Callan says:

    I’d certainly challenge the word “stagnant” in terms of the Heritage Tram Tour Operation at Blackpool. As the word actually implies its in same position year on year whereas id argue that is not the case in some areas as its been going backwards at an alarming pace for some time. The existing agreed operating format does not (and id argue never will) deliver the revenue the operation needs to push things on and secure the collections long term future.

    The current custodians approach to address the revenue shortfall is simply running more and more more trams on more and more days (turning what was suppose to be a premium/special tour format using lovingly/carefully restored individual examples to celebrate traditional tramway into something more akin to parallel alternative service experience) The obvious consequence in first instance is devalues “heritage” brand. The longer term consequence (which already we are starting to see the damage) is said usage levels stretch workshops and push tramcars harder and harder. I look at the likes of the Western Train and just despair surely nobody left defending that… The core of the retained fleet increasingly feels tired (simple things like painting trucks, deep cleaning, sorting basic faults, re varnishing internally externally would help but hard to escape the bigger ticket engineering stuff fast creeping up on fleet truck overhauls, major body work etc..)

    It’s going to be important winter for operation arguably most important since its inception. Can they really afford to have another season like the one drawing to a close? Id argue quite strongly not… With a desperate need for a renewed focus on quality over quantity right across operation (including events, operating days and indeed operational fleet size) the chances of the operation securing a museum etc will increase. I am sure am not only one hoping that the number of operating days is dramatically reduced with them instead focusing efforts on actually filling trams with fare paying passengers. Some argue that even if a tram is sailing up and down empty it has value (mobile billboard). In contrast id argue damage of trams routinely been seen empty by wider public (and indeed partner organisations). That without even considering the un-calculated cost of wear and tear etc.

  5. John1 says:

    Andrew. You are forgetting who the Events Manager is! When has making up an Anniversary ever stopped him before! 🙂

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