Taking Stock - April 23, 2012

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One of the great things about living where we do, beside the seaside, is there are always plenty of places to go for a stroll.

Now, I’m very fond of Stanley Park, Blackpool’s hidden gem, and Lytham Green.

But, for me, there’s nothing better than a stroll down the Prom, not least because it’s right on the doorstep.

Since the makeover was finished (well, almost – come on chaps at Manchester Square) it’s been a pleasure to take the air – just as our original holidaymakers would have done back in the 19th century.

Over the last few months, though, I’ve noticed something missing – that familiar rumble of passing trams, Blackpool’s truly unique selling point.

Thankfully the trams are back, even if they are bright, shiny, new-fangled things, rather than those classic picture-postcard 1930s designs.

And very popular they appear to be proving.

I couldn’t resist going for a ride myself within days of the line re-opening – after all it’s not much of a walk from Gazette Towers and there’s one of the lovely new stops right at the end of my road.

So, onboard I stepped, a commuter rather than a holidaymaker.

The first thing I’d note is that while some things change, others don’t and, in the best traditions of Blackpool trams, departure was delayed by a good five minutes.

I’ll not hold that against our new tramway though – the journey home was lovely and smooth and over in no time.

Not that I’ll be making my tram commute a regular thing, especially as it costs £2 to get from South Shore to Squires Gate, yet only £2.50 to go all the way to Fleetwood.

With that in mind, I’ve already got my next adventure down in the diary for Saturday and Fleetwood Town’s last home game of the season.

A fiver return for the 40-minute journey down the coast compares well against the desperate hunt for a parking space closer to Highbury than Cleveleys.

I’m glad they’re keeping Blackpool’s heritage fleet alive though, even if the old models these days are only serving as a tourist attraction.

I will, though, miss that old rumble – you know, the one which meant you knew a tram was approaching North Pier when it was still in Anchorsholme.

The modern models almost seem to creep up on you, silent and sneaky as they glide along the seafront.

How that will work out with the summer crowds is anyone’s guess.

But, at least someone’s remembered to fit a horn to remind them to scoot out of the way – even if it does sound a little, well, girly.

How about beefing them up a little. Oh, and while you’re at it, add a bit of a rumble.

My Prom strolls just won’t be the same without it.