First tram ready to roll into town

An artists impression of the new Blackpool tram.

An artists impression of the new Blackpool tram.

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THE first of Blackpool’s fleet of 16 new supertrams will arrive in the resort next month for their worldwide launch.

The resort will be the first destination globally to introduce the Flexity2 tram built by Bombardier.

It will be unveiled at the £20m tram depot at Starr Gate on Thursday September 8.

Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member for transport on Blackpool Council, said; “We are all looking forward to seeing the new trams.

“I have seen pictures and if they are in reality as good as the pictures show, we are going to be delighted with what we see.

“We know they want to make the arrival of the first tram a special day and I anticipate it will attract a lot of people to the town who are tram enthusiasts wanting to see the first one.

“To begin with, the new trams will have to go through a series of trials along the southern end of the tramway.

“Following that gradually the rest of the trams will arrive and hopefully next Easter we will see them in full operation.

“I think that will be a boost to the town and adjoining towns because the link to Fleetwood is very important.”

Blackpool secured the cash for the £100m upgrade of the tramway in 2008.

Coun Peter Callow, who was council leader when the Government agreed the funding, said: “It has taken a long time to get to this stage but what it has amounted to is the saving of the tramway in Blackpool.

“If we had no trams, what a tragedy that would have been.

“Now I’m sure everybody is looking forward to seeing the new trams going up and down the Promenade.”

The first tram will have been subjected to a series of tests at the factory in Germany where it has been assembled before it is shipped to Blackpool.

Following delivery, each of the 16 vehicles which make up the fleet will undergo further testing on the tracks here in the resort, with drivers also having to undergo extensive training.

Each tram has 74 seats with standing capacity of 150.