Iconic Blackpool tram to make Prom return

WE have lift off.

One of Blackpool's brightest and most iconic trams looks set to make a return to the Promenade in 2009 – with your help.

The illuminated Rocket Tram blasted its way up and down the seafront from 1961 until 1999 when it was retired from service.

Now due to popular demand, there is talk the novelty vehicle could be restored – but the help of the public is needed for the car to join the Western Train, currently being revamped after a Gazette campaign, back on the tracks next year.


Bryan Lindop of Blackpool Transport said: "We are in the process of launching interesting proposals with the Illuminations Department to carry out a museum standard restoration of this tram car.

"By bringing the rocket out of storage we want the public to see that it is still here in Blackpool.

"The rocket and the Western Train were definitely the most unique cars of a fleet of five that were built from 1959 to 1965.

"It would be wonderful to see it back on the Prom."

Blackpool Illuminations and Blackpool Transport plan to work jointly on restoring the tram.

It is estimated the operation would cost in the region of 150,000. Sadly, due to health and safety reasons, passengers will no longer be able to ride in the rocket.

Michael Wilcock, head of Illuminations, said: "We get more queries about the Rocket Tram than any other part of the Illuminations.

"Obviously, this scheme is costly but the public can play a part in bringing a piece of Blackpool's history back to life.

"We are in the process of setting up a Friends of The Illuminations group to work on such projects.

"We visualise the future of the Illuminations show being more interactive, people have told us they want to see the rocket return, so that is what we will aim towards.

"The group would help us shape the future of one of the country's best, free attractions."

Christine Grimsted, 51, from Kingston Avenue in South Shore, was one of the last people to drive the rocket in 1999. She said: "We used to have two astronaut dummies sitting in the front seats and the children loved seeing them – their faces lit up.

"It would be brilliant to see it return."