THE best in Europe – that’s Blackpool’s £20m new tram depot.
Workers are putting the final touches to the state-of-the-art depot at Starr Gate, built in 18 months by contractor VolkerFitzpatrick, which will welcome the first of the resort’s 16 super-trams in September.
The trams will be the most up to date in the world ensuring the depot has had to be kitted out with the latest technology.
The depot completion is a huge milestone for the tramway which was opened in 1885 and is the only one in the UK to have remained in continuous operation.
Paul Grocott, programme manager for the tram upgrade, said: “We have got a very modern depot, as well as being a new landmark building.
“We are now testing all the equipment and training those who will carry out the maintenance.
“We had a heritage tram here for the first time on Monday.”
Facilities include the town’s first automatic tram wash, a storage area to house all 16 trams, and a high-tech maintenance area boasting six berths.
There are modern lifting systems and a wheel maintenance facility that cuts repair times down from a week to just eight hours.
Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member for transport on Blackpool Council, said: “It’s exciting, something we are really looking forward to. I think residents and visitors will be delighted and come next Easter it’s going to be a tremendous addition. There were concerns from residents in the area. I’m not suggesting all those have been erased but I think there is a new feeling that we have built something outstanding.”