As extensively reported already on British Trams Online, the second stint of extensive heritage tram operation in Blackpool this year will occur over the forthcoming May Day Bank Holiday weekend, 4th to 6th May inclusive. Highlights of this period will hopefully include the re-launch of Brush Railcoach 631 on Saturday 4th May, subject to completion of its heritage makeover, and the return to service of Balloon car 701 for the first time since 2010 the following day. A full rundown of the provisional schedule of events is provided below.
Following on from the success of the Easter weekend, all of the trams listed below will run as ‘specials’. Two crews will be allocated to genuine heritage cars on each day, whilst two others will take cars from the ‘B Fleet’ of modified double-deckers. Whilst the heritage cars will only be able to load and unload at the usual special stops, the ‘B Fleet’ can use the platforms and will therefore effectively be supplementing the Flexities in normal passenger service. Normal fares will apply on these trams apart from a single run to Fleetwood each afternoon, which will be reserved for passengers who have purchased a heritage tour ticket, as an extra incentive to buy one. This journey will also only call at the ‘heritage’ tram stops, marked by the familiar green polo signs.
As at Easter, both heritage tour cars will also run to Fleetwood Ferry on each day: the first tram listed below will head straight to Fleetwood from depot in the morning, with the second ending its day with a journey to the northern terminus. This builds on the well-received operating patterns tested out at Easter, and hopefully it will prove just as popular second time around.
Naturally all advertised vehicles are subject to change, but the following trams are expected to operate over the long weekend:
Saturday 4th May
Heritage specials: 631 & either 706 or 717 (weather depending)
B Fleet specials: 700 (all day), 719 (AM) & 711 (PM)
Sunday 5th May
Heritage specials: Box 40 or a Boat (weather depending) & 701
B Fleet specials: 707 (all day), 718 (AM) & 713 (PM)
Monday 6th May
Heritage specials: 701 & 631
B Fleet specials: 709 (all day), 724 (AM) & 719 (PM)
Note that on each day, one of the rebuilt Balloons will be swapped over for one of its sisters part way through the day to offer even more variety and value for money. The Balloon which stays out all day will be the one that performs a trip to Fleetwood.
Hopefully this interesting programme will be well supported by tram enthusiasts, and the use of so many different trams will ensure that the weekend is completely different from Easter… and of course, the Spring Bank Holiday at the end of May will be different again with even more trams being reactivated!