BLACKPOOL’S heritage trams are set to make a welcome return to the Golden Mile next month.
The much loved vehicles – including the Bolton 66 – will embark on their first journey since they ceased operating as a commuter service at the end of the Illuminations last year.
The fleet will operate alongside the new Bombardier ‘supertrams’ from Good Friday and weekends and bank holidays until the school summer holiday in July when they will operate daily.
Bryan Lindop, (right), customer services co-ordinator at Blackpool Transport, has been tasked with managing the future of the resort’s iconic fleet.
He said: “This is great news, we cannot wait for the heritage trams to return, they are synonymous with Blackpool.
“The special thing is it will be the only place on the UK mainland where you can ride on a vintage tram on a public transport network and from now on, the heritage tram operation will be a whole new ball game. Once the new system opens, vintage trams will no longer legally be able to operate in conventional stage carriage service and they will therefore become a pleasure ride.
“What we are doing in Blackpool in tramway terms has never been done before, the operation will be the direct equivalent of running heritage rail tours on a main line railway.”
The heritage trams will operate between the Pleasure Beach and Little Bispham, running every day throughout the summer holidays and every night during the Illuminations.
The illuminated trams will make a welcome return and are expected to run more frequently throughout the evening than in previous years.
Bryan said: “I plan to spring some surprises as the season progresses and over the coming years I hope to progressively restore the fleet back to its former glory.
“The cost of operating, maintaining and conserving our vintage fleet presents a daunting challenge, but I am committed to delivering a quality heritage attraction for Blackpool.”
Trevor Roberts, Blackpool Transport’s managing director, added: “There was much speculation about whether heritage trams would operate at all, but I’m delighted to say they will be here from Easter this year.
“Illuminations tours will be bookable in advance and for the first time in many years, Illuminated trams will remain in service for the entire evening.”
Heritage trams include the illuminated cars such as the Western Train, HMS Blackpool and Trawler, and a range of other restored trams which have seen sterling service over the decades, including the oldest, Bolton 66 dating from 1901, Box Car 40, the double deck open top Princess Alice, two single deck boat trams dating from 1934 and the restored Balloon Car 717.
n A Heritage Tour and £5 for children, with a family ticket available for £30 for two adults and up to three children.
Commercial network tickets are not valid on tours but the heritage tickets will be valid on the LRT system and across the commercial bus network.