Officially retired from active service at the close of last season due to the completion of the tramway upgrade to light rail status, it was generally thought the twin cars would never grace the sea front again.
But as we all know, Blackpool is a place that’s full of surprises and Blackpool Transport seems to be playing its part in the regeneration of Blackpool’s heritage.
In a low-key launch, car 272, took to the tracks for a short early evening ceremony at the Pleasure Beach turning circle, before departing on a daylight tour to Little Bispham and back, returning to the fun park to undertake the first Illuminations tour of the night..
Blackpool Transport managing director Trevor Roberts saus: “Our commitment and support for the heritage operation is highlighted by the re-introduction to service of one of these unique and interesting vehicles.
“We decided to return this particular set as closely as possible to original livery. This will be the first time this vehicle will have sported this livery style since December 15, 1964.”
And his message to Memory Lane readers is: “If you thought the return to service of the George Formby Boat tram in June was good, just wait until you’ve seen this one.”
The company’s director of delivery Bob Mason, says: “Originally introduced to Blackpool in 1958, the twin car tram and trailer sets fulfilled a valuable role, carrying millions of happy holidaymakers and locals across the busy Fylde coast. As part of the town’s vibrant tramway history we all felt it was extremely important for this much-loved class of tram to continue to illustrate Blackpool’s unique heritage.
“Our dedicated engineers and coach painters have carried out another exemplary job to an exacting standard and we are very proud of their commitment to provide superb quality craftsmanship.
“I am sure the tram will prove to be a very popular addition to our heritage fleet. I also hope this helps to illustrate beyond any doubt, our commitment as a company to the heritage operation.”
Blackpool Transport’s customer services co-ordinator Bryan Lindop says: “We are immensely grateful for the kind sponsorship of Graham Oliver, a private individual who has made a generous contribution towards the repainting of this vehicle. His valued involvement has enabled this project to grow from a nice idea to working reality.”
Memory Lane reader John Garnham, of Cherry Tree Road, Marton, who took the launch photograph, says: “I decided to travel in the trailer section which turned out to be an excellent smooth and quiet ride comparable to modern vehicles, The roof windows, an original feature, also gave a fantastic light and airy feel. The staff were very friendly too, a big plus for that.
“Following the daylight trip, the unit was put into service on Illumination Tours which it is ideally suited for and at £5 for adults is actually cheaper than last year.”
John adds: “Blackpool Transport and Bryan Lindop, in particular, have done a great job and it’s very good to see that the iconic heritage aspect of Blackpool’s tramway is quite capable of playing it’s part in providing good public transport and visitor attraction.”