Extra running day for Blackpool’s heritage trams

As excitement for the next heritage tram running days in Blackpool grows, it is pleasing to report that Blackpool Transport have added an extra day to the list of occasions when the traditional tram fleet will be out on the promenade during 2013. It was previously expected that these cars would only be used on Bank Holiday weekends until the start of the illuminations, but they will now also be used on Sunday 23rd June, as well as at the annual Fleetwood Transport Festival as previously announced.

On 23rd June the popular ‘Totally Transport’ event will be held on New South Promenade, and this will co-incide with the operation of four different historic trams. Although the two events are not officially connected, hopefully the fact that both will take place on the same day will encourage those with an interest in different forms of transport to visit Blackpool and sample the heritage trams as well as the other attractions on offer that day. It is expected that a two-car service will run between Pleasure Beach and North Pier on this day, with both trams being swapped over part way through the afternoon to give extra variety and encourage visitors to pay for a day ticket to ride on all four cars.

The trams to be used on this day are not yet confirmed, but it is pleasing that Blackpool Transport are willing to run the vintage trams on another day. This means that there will be at least one day in May, June, July and August when it will be possible to ride on a heritage tram in the town and this appears to show that the company is pleased with the takings on the old fleet during the recent two periods of heritage operation.

In addition to the June 23rd event, further details have now been revealed regarding the intended role of the historic trams at the Fleetwood Transport Festival, which takes place on Sunday 21st July. This will feature two trams running tours between Fisherman’s Walk and Thornton Gate (probably Boat cars 230 and 600, weather permitting). Two other trams are due to be on static display in Fleetwood, and these are expected to be the recently painted Brush car 631 and ‘Princess Alice’ 706. As an added bonus, both tour cars will perform a single passenger trip from North Pier in the morning, and the highlight of the day will be a journey from Fleetwood back into Blackpool once the festival has ended. It is anticipated that tickets for this journey will be available to reserve during the day, so that enthusiasts can choose which tram they wish to ride on. The Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust will also be in attendance with talks on their future plans offered, and members of the organisation will be placed on board one of the static trams during the event.

Hopefully both of these events, along with the upcoming spell of heritage tram operation over the coming Spring Bank Holiday weekend, will be very succesful and prove once again that the level of interest and support in the classic tram fleet at Blackpool is more than enough to justify their continued presence on the tramway.

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7 Responses to Extra running day for Blackpool’s heritage trams

  1. Deckerman says:

    Whilst I am fairly sure that the main reason for the relative “thawing” of one of these 2 immovable objects regarding putting on heritage trams at an event effectively perceived to be run by ” the enemy “, is the potential extra revenue it will bring in, it is nonetheless pleasing to note that BTS has at least made this gesture, which it really didn’t have to do.

    It might be interesting to see whether the “other side” are able or willing to do the same, or not.

    LTT did after all presumably make the first move to sour the relationship by operating services against BTS, to which eventually, not surprisingly, they had to do something, namely evict the trams LTT owned.

    And certainly judging by the loading’s of the 12 service and to a lesser extent, the 22, I’d think LTT need BTS more than the other way round, so some sort of coming together might not be a bad idea, as this, “us and them” type situation, must be costing both organisations something and doesn’t really serve any useful purpose as regards the storage and restoration of, the valuable LTT tramcar assets. (Which are sadly now becoming less valuable day by day)

    Only time will tell what each will decide, but well done BTS for taking the initiative and at least not making both the enthusiasts and the public suffer a “Tram-less” ( Well, heritage tram-less anyway), event on the 23rd of June.

  2. Tommy Carr says:

    @deckerman, You can hardly say it would be a tram-less event. In 2010, trams only ran to pleasure beach and not Starr gate, but visitors were still willing to walk that extra few feet from where the event ended to the tram stop. The event usally comes up to pleasure beach anyway. It’s like saying that tram sunday has been a team-less event since 2001, because trams don’t run through the event, but run to the event. There would still be a turnout of 4 trams anyway, which is nearly as much as it used tobe.

  3. Deckerman says:

    Well, Tommy, Thanks for your comments, but to be fair, I didn’t say it was “Tramless”. If you read it carefully I said that it could be a “HERITAGE Tramless” event, had it not been for the recent actions of BTS. As you would no doubt agree, it was to be that they were only being run on Bank Holidays and 23rd June is not one.

    Last year, from memory, they could have run, but didn’t seem to and if memory serves, in the last couple of years of the traditional tramway, few, if any ran there either. And in contradiction to what you seem to think I meant, yes, I would indeed count heritage vehicles running just to the edges of event as being that they were serving the event. But in recent times I don’t recall heritage ones even doing that.

    That said, you can perhaps understand why that is so, with all that has gone on between BTS and LTT recently, but irrespective of whether they had run to it or not, the MAIN point I was making was that BTS have possibly now decided that it is time to stop such petty foolishness and all credit to them for that.

    It just remains to be seen, if this potential “olive branch “is picked up or not.

    Regarding Tram Sunday, I have been saying for some time that it hasn’t been “Tramless” there either. Some sadly disagreed, but that, as they say, is another story.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      There has always been some heritage tram presence on the prom to co-incide with Totally Transport; last year 706, the HMS & the Western Train all ran during the day. Of course the heritage service was booked to run every weekend so it could be argued that nothing ‘extra’ happened, although the rare appearance of the Train (which of course needs an extra conductor) on daytime tours was a welcome bonus.

      • Deckerman says:

        Well, as I said Andrew, it was from memory rather than stated fact, though I seem to recall there were complaints on the day about the lack of heritage cars on service, but I could be wrong.

        But, irrespective of that, my main point that most would hopefully agree with, is that despite the 2 organisations obvious “serious operational differences”, BTS/ Bryan/ Whoever has agreed not to continue to play the “I’m taking my ball home” game which could otherwise potentially have allowed this good enthusiast event to be diminished somewhat.

        And so might it just perhaps be hoped that LTT/ Classic Bus/ Whoever, might just take enough note of this to make an equally positive gesture and then hopefully start to pull back from the edge a bit, regarding all this bluster etc, that generally achieves either very little, or even nothing, except extra/ duplicate costs and bad feeling ( and potentially rotting tramcars), which surely no one here wants.

        Admittedly, BTS’s decision, I am sure was made, to a point, with an eye to the extra revenue it might create, but nonetheless, perhaps credit where credit is due for making the first positive move.

        • Andrew Waddington says:

          Oh absolutely – nobody wins in these squabbles and it’s great that BTS have decided to run the heritage trams on that day, something that will hopefully benefit everybody. I think there were some complaints regarding the lack of heritage trams south of Pleasure Beach last year, which will still be the case, but at least they will be out running and giving people extra incentive to visit for the day.

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