Blackpool’s famous heritage trams will launch their most extensive service yet as they gear up for the new season this weekend.
Last year it is estimated around 80,000 people enjoyed a ride on one of the resort’s vintage fleet prompting organisers to increase the offer for 2016.
Using a mix of volunteers and paid staff, the heritage service is now covering both its operational and engineering costs while still being supported by Blackpool Transport from its base in Rigby Road.
This year will see more weeks added to the daily timetable to cover more of the school holidays, the return of the selected weekend ‘gold’ service with six trams operating, and a total of 22 trams out on the tracks at different times compared to 20 last year.
The service will officially launch on Good Friday, with Easter Sunday seeing the introduction of the Marton Box Car on loan from the Beamish Museum. More open days are also planned at the Rigby Road depot in the wake of last year’s success.
Bryan Lindop, head of heritage at Blackpool Transport, said; “On the enthusiasts weekends last year, we were running to maximum capacity, so we have increased the staffing levels this year so we can bring other vehicles out if we reach a peak.
“This is the fourth year of the heritage tours and they are bringing people to Blackpool from all over the country and from Europe as well.
“We have had people from Russia who travelled here because they wanted to ride a doubledeck tramcar and there are only two places in the world you can do that - Blackpool and Hong Kong.
“I would say the passengers we get are roughly made up half and half of tram enthusiasts and tourists.”
The regular trams will run as normal.