Help save resort 'Western Train'

THE battle is on to save one of Blackpool's most famous trams.

For almost 40 years the illuminated Western Train blazed a power-packed trail down the resort's famous tram tracks.

But today the old favourite is a sorry reflection of its former glory.

Bosses at Blackpool Transport have now launched a 300,000 bid to restore the children's favourite.

However, those behind the campaign say the thousands of pounds of Lottery funding needed to strip and rebuild the tram will only be handed over if the public shows its support.

Steve Burd, managing director of Blackpool Transport, appealed for enthusiasts and families who enjoy riding the decorated trams to show their support.

He said: "It will cost the best part of 300,000 to refurbish the tram and we hope to get the bulk of that from the Lottery. But they are spending the public's money so we need to prove that we have support from the people of Blackpool.

"We want to hear from all sections of society and we are especially interested in getting young families and local schools involved.

"The Lottery are keen the project has an educational aspect and we will be writing to the schools to find out if they would use it as a resource."

To that end the tram would play host to a permanent exhibition on the history of the tramway and the Illuminations.

He added: "The illuminated trams are an important part of our rich cultural heritage in Blackpool and having them back on show would add to the range of attractions we have to offer.

"We have had comments from people in the past asking where these trams are and when they will run again, so we know there is backing out there.

"What we need is a concerted campaign to show the Lottery that people want to see the Western Train restored."

Letters of support should be sent to: Western Tram Restoration Project, Blackpool Transport, Rigby Road, Blackpool, FY1 5DD.