THE wraps have come off the first of Blackpool’s 16 new supertrams.
The Bombardier Flexity 2 light rail vehicles are part of a £100m upgrade of the famous tramway.
The trams are the most advanced in the world when they come into service with Blackpool Transport next Easter.
It marks a landmark for the 126-year-old tramway which was threatened with closure without the £100m investment which has also seen the track refurbished.
A spokeswoman for manufacturers Bombardier said the company had incorporated all the latest developments in tram technology in one vehicle for the first time.
She said: “We have been producing trams for a very long time across the world.
“What is so special is that we have taken the best of the trams we have produced to date and incorporated it all into one tram which is your tram in Blackpool.
“People in Blackpool will travel very smoothly on this very hi-tech vehicle.
“So we are very, very proud of this tram.”
Bombardier company president Andre Navarri was among the dignitaries at today’s launch at the new tram depot at Starr Gate.
And the colour and shape of the new model has remained a closely guarded secret right up to the day of the launch.
Among the innovations introduced on the Blackpool tram, officially called the Flexity 2, are conventional wheel set bogeys designed to offer a smoother ride, full low floor access for disabled users and people with prams, and an interactive touch screen in the driver’s cab.
Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “Providing a modern tram service that operates as an effective transport system while still offering visitors and residents the opportunity to enjoy uninterrupted views of our coastline is something unique to Blackpool.
“The new Flexity 2 model will help us improve access for people with prams or with wheel chairs for example and will run alongside our heritage trams.
“Today marks a significant milestone in modernising our tramway and I am delighted that Bombardier chose the new tram depot on our Promenade as a fitting backdrop for an international launch of their new model.”
Production of the trams began in August 2010 at Bombardier’s factories in Bautzen in Germany, and in Vienna, Austria.
Each tram has 74 seats plus capacity for 150 standing passengers.
The rest of the fleet will be delivered over coming months with testing taking place on the track ahead of the launch of the service.