1st September - 5th November 2017
Blackpool Illuminated Trams
To celebrate the centenary of Blackpool Illuminations, Blackpool Illuminations Department have refurbished ´Rocket Tram´. This tram was last in service in 1999 and build in 1961. It was originally built on a standard tram chassis and the passenger compartment angled up as if the ´Rocket´ was climbing in altitude. It last ran on the tracks in 2002 but due to the age of the cabling the Illuminations were not allowed to be switched on. It is believed that due to current health and safety and risk analysis passengers will never be allowed to travel on this tram. So the refurbishment has been limited to the display parts of the tram. While it would be great to se this tram trundling along the prom in all it´s illuminated glory thanks to the Illuminations Department and Lancastrian Transport Trust it can now be seen as a static display at Glynn Square.
To celebrate the Queen´s Diamond Jubilee Blackpool Illuminations department and Blackpool Transport have decorated a heritage single decker tram. It is positioned opposite Blackpool Pleasure Beach next to Venus Reborn.
Blackpool has a new fleet of 16 brand new trams made by Bombardier. The trams are called Transportation Flexity 2 trams, they are a brand new design with low floors. These new trams will be used as the regular tram service for tourists and commuters alike. A selection of ´Heritage Trams´ will run in the tourist season and during the illuminations.
The Blackpool tramway is the only surviving first-generation tramway in Britain, dating back to 1885, and serving the Lancashire town of Blackpool and its suburbs. It is one of the oldest electric tramways in the world. The tramway is run by Blackpool Transport, who are owned by Blackpool Borough Council.
The oldest part of the tramway, along Blackpool Promenade, was opened on September 29, 1885, originally using conduit collection. It was the first practical electric tramway in the world, just six years after Werner von Siemens first demonstrated electric traction. On July 1, 1898 a new line - Blackpool and Fleetwood Tramroad - was opened. In 1899 the electric supply was converted to overhead power; the Promenade was later widened and the tram tracks separated from road traffic.
The other surviving part of the tramway is the Blackpool and Fleetwood Tramroad, linking Blackpool to Fleetwood on railway-type sleeper track, originally with street running at both ends; trams in Blackpool now go straight onto the Promenade without sharing space with road vehicles, except for a short street stretch, north of Talbot Square, running past the Metropole Hotel. At the northern end of the line, trams continue to share Lord Street, Fleetwood with road traffic.
Thanks to the lack of street track and extensive investment in the 1930s, Blackpool was the only town in Britain that retained its trams. Between 1962 and 1989, Blackpool had the only urban tramway in the UK. (The last English city to lose its conventional trams was Sheffield in 1960; the last in the UK was Glasgow in 1962. The opening of the Manchester Metrolink in 1989 heralded a revival.)
Blackpool is notable today as one of the three surviving non-heritage tramways to use double-deck trams, the others being in Hong Kong and Alexandria, Egypt; they are, however, outnumbered by single-deck trams. The Blackpool tram fleet is diverse. Some of the 1930s trams are still in regular service in virtually unchanged condition; others have had their bodywork rebuilt. Occasionally, historic trams are borrowed from the National Tramway Museum for public service. The trams run from Starr Gate in the south to Fleetwood in the north. Some services (especially in busy periods such as during the Blackpool Illuminations or Bank Holidays) start or terminate short, either at Cleveleys, the foot of Red Bank Road in Bispham, or at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. This is to allow a more intensive service through the centre of Blackpool. During the Blackpool Illuminations specially-decorated trams carry passengers through the illuminated area
The illuminated Western Train style tram has been rebuilt and is back in operation for the 2010 season. This has only possible due to public support.