The past few days have seen two old favourites return to the rails – one at Crich and the other up in Blackpool. While at Crich it was a tram which ran last year for the Blackpool tram it was a return to service for the first time since the tail end of 2020. The two trams which we’re talking about are Leeds 180 and the Blackpool Western Train.
The saga of the Blackpool Western Train has been well publicised with its overhaul being delayed by the you know what. Withdrawn from service in December 2019 after being used for Santa Specials and the like in Blackpool the idea was that the tram would be overhauled over the winter and be ready to run again in the 2020 Illuminations. Enter a global pandemic and the furloughing of staff which meant it missed the entire illumination period.
Work continued into 2021 and after a successful test run it was cleared for service more and returned to action during the evening of Friday 10th September. It is now due to run throughout the extended illumination period with tours pre-bookable through the Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours website at https://blackpoolheritage.com/illuminations-tours/.
Meanwhile, Monday 13th September at the Crich Tramway Village saw Leeds 180 return to service for the first time in 2021. 180 had not been commissioned earlier in the season with fewer trams than usual required for service but with the weather turning the enclosed nature of the tram is likely to be popular running through the Derbyshire countryside.
180 ran again on Tuesday 14th September when it formed a three tram service with two other Leeds cars – 345 and 399. All three are due to run the first service of the day at Tram Day on Saturday 18th September to help celebrate 345’s 100th birthday.