Blackpool Transport's Western Train tram back on track after fundraising efforts
Blackpool's much-loved illuminated tram, the Western Train, is finally back on track thanks to generous donations from the public.
The Western Train tram was in the process of a full external rewire, body overhaul and repaint in 2019, before the pandemic began.
But as lockdowns came, the vehicle was left to gather dust in the tram workshop in Rigby Road, waiting for its rewiring to be completed.
Blackpool Transport launched a campaign in February to raise the £2,500 needed to buy wires and electrical fittings for the refurb, to enable the beloved tram to take its place back on the tracks under the dazzling lights of the Illuminations.
During the launch of the campaign, head of heritage Brian Lyndop said he was concerned the tram would miss yet another season if the money could not be raised in time.
"Ordinarily, we would have the money coming in to do the work on our beautiful, iconic vehicles," he said.
"Without the help and generous donations from the public, the Western Train is at risk of missing yet another season."
Fortunately, the campaign was a success - and on Friday September 10 the Western Train made its welcome return to the tracks after almost two years out of action.
A spokesman for Blackpool Transport said: "Earlier this year, Blackpool Transport raised £2,500 to allow for vital rewiring and maintenance works to take place on the famous Western Train Tram.
"Following the successful completion of works the Western Train returned to the rails on Friday September 10, for the first time since 2019."
The Western Train tram was introduced in 1962, and was modelled on a locomotive from 1960s children’s show Casey Jones, which took the then-popular Western genre and built a series of weekly railway-based dramas.
By 1999, however, it was withdrawn from service due to old age and for some time was under threat of being broken up for scrap.
But thanks to the Lottery Heritage Fund, between 2007 and 2009, the tram was completely rebuilt and fully restored to its authentic 1962 condition externally, while internally, the carriage was returned to its 1928 appearance.