The Blackpool Heritage Trust have announced details of a very special working on Friday 26th September, to celebrate the completion of work to restore Balloon car 701 in its early ’90s red and white livery, sponsored by the Fylde Tramway Society. Although this latest repaint was unveiled to its admiring public last month, the livery decals were not quite finished at that time, hence the car will be launched officially now that this work is complete.
Rather than simply allocate the tram to illumination tour duty, it has been decided to run it to Fleetwood in daylight as an extra treat, allowing its immaculate paintwork, now complete with ornate lining out and FTS logos, to be better appreciated before the daylight fades. The tram will be launched at North Pier at 1615 on Friday 26th September by Bob Mason, Blackpool Transport’s Director of Delivery and current Acting Managing Director, along with FTS Chairman Harold Blythe. 701 is then scheduled to depart at 1636 for Fleetwood. It is due back at North Pier at about 1800 and will then head back to Rigby Road depot for a crew break before re-entering service to operate on illumination tours during the evening.
There will be no advance booking available for the tour to Fleetwood with 701 and tickets to ride on the tram from North Pier to Fleetwood and back will be sold on the tram at the bargain price of £5. Alternatively, passengers may purchase a £10 heritage day pass which will be valid on 701‘s Fleetwood working as well as on the evening illumination tours and all normal tram and bus services as usual, although a day ticket will not guarantee a seat reservation so anyone wishing to ride on the first trip is advised to arrive at North Pier early!
This latest venture is another excellent move from the operators of Blackpool’s popular heritage tram tours, and will provide another unexpected opportunity to enjoy this historic tramcar in daylight before winter sets in. Hopefully 701‘s launch event will be well attended and the very reasonable fare structure should ensure a full load of passengers for this special occasion.