Public delight at tram cash pledge

WHAT a response!

Blackpool Transport bosses say they have been overwhelmed with the public's reaction to getting the Western Train Tram back on track.

The company's e-mail system has been blocked and the postbag left bulging after lottery bosses pledged 278,000 to restore the iconic tram.

A Gazette-backed campaign helped force Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bosses to have a re-think about dishing out the cash bonanza after they originally turned the bid down.

Tram bosses are confident once the contracts are signed next week, work to revamp the 1962 tram will begin within the next few weeks.

They hope its first public appearance will take place at the Illuminations switch-on in 2008.

Bryan Lindop, from Blackpool Transport, said: "The response from the public has been amazing. We have had loads of e-mails and letters backing the project and even offers of help from people.

"It just shows us how many people are passionate about getting the Western Train Tram back to where it belongs – carrying visitors along the Golden Mile, all lit up.

"The red tape should all be dealt with by the end of next week and then it's a case of finding a space in the depot to start the work so our engineers can get to work on her."

Tram enthusiasts from across the county have welcomed the cash from the HLF and hope this is the start of more cash for projects on the Fylde.


Philip Higgs, trustee of the Lancashire Transport Trust, said his group were due to hold talks with Blackpool Transport bosses over the work on the Western Train Tram project.

He added: "The funding news is excellent for the transport heritage in Blackpool.

"We will offer all the help and support we can to make the Western one of the best trams in the world once again.

"We are hoping to keep people up-to-date with the latest developments on the tram project through our website where people can see what progress is being made.

"The project should not be rushed and I think two years is a realistic goal.

"It is only when you get into the shell of the tram that you notice how much work needs to be done.

"This is an ambitious project and I am looking forward to helping Blackpool Transport any way I can."