In line with government restrictions we’ve cancelled and refunded all tours up to and including the 2nd of December.
Following a 6 month cessation of all heritage activities at Rigby Road depot brought about by a complete closure of the heritage works and the furlough of its staff, the engineering team began a phased return from circa September onwards. On our return, a priority target for us was to resolve the issue of the intermittently faulty traction motor on car 143. Prior to lockdown the motor had been sent to CPM Engineering in Manchester, a specialist contractor in rotating electrical machines and they determined that a full rebuild and restoration would be required costing £13,600. Everything then stalled as the country went into lockdown.
As Blackpool Transport had previously undertaken a £23,000 overhaul of the bogies, including a full overhaul and repair of the other motor by CPM as our contribution towards this project some years earlier, we felt we were honour bound to make good the newly failed second motor as part of our ongoing contribution towards the operational re-instatement of this lovely vehicle. CPM were duly contracted to undertake the work and we are awaiting the return of the motor. Once this has been fitted the tram will undergo a period of testing before release into traffic. As yet we can put no timescale on these events.
Today’s Press Release from Blackpool Transport has produced the biggest smile seen on a Heritage Tram for quite some time:
We’re very excited to announce that our famous Heritage Trams will begin running again on August Bank Holiday weekend. You must book online in advance to guarantee your seat!
We are starting the wheels turning on August Bank Holiday Weekend (29,30,31 August) and will then run from September. Then as we head to October and darker evenings our illuminated trams will join their fellow heritage trams, bringing that extra sparkle to the world famous illuminations.
This year, things will be a little different, as it will be a socially distanced onboard experience which makes it all the more special as our conductor safely seats you in your pre-booked seats.
You must book online in advance of your planned trip. Spaces are extremely limited so we suggest booking early to avoid disappointment. You will be seated with those in your booking so if you do not wish to be seated together please make separate bookings.
Whilst the extra safety measures mean this will be a different experience to the normal turn up and go services of the past, it means you can safely enjoy a Heritage Tram experience on Blackpool’s world famous tramway.
Ian Middlemiss, Head of Tramway for Blackpool Transport said: “Though we can’t offer the usual full service this year, we know that this Heritage experience will be as wonderful as always. Online pre-booking allows us to prepare for each individual journey and allows our conductors to provide a special and personal customer experience.
This is just the start of an incredible and unique journey for Heritage Trams as we wrap them into the heart of our Blackpool Transport team. Next year there will be an expansion of our operations that means you will see an advanced offer and unique experiences on our Heritage Trams.”
Martin Gurr, General Manager for Heritage Operations is working with the team of award-winning volunteers to deliver the required training for them to return to the tracks in August.
Our web site has been updated with all the new details of our tours and we’ve prepared a summary of the changes.
We just can’t begin to tell you how pleased we will be to see you.
We are delighted to announce that we have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
The volunteers who operate Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours, part of Blackpool Transport Services, enable the protection, conservation and operation of a unique fleet of vintage tramcars on the tramway for which they were built (one of only two tramways in the world to operate double-deck trams), thereby widening public access to a rich part of the nation’s heritage. In doing so they are developing a wide variety of skills, creating a major contribution to the welfare of their local community and fulfilling the purposes of wellbeing, learning and education.
Blackpool Heritage Trams are one of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteer groups from across the UK, including a community shop in Cornwall, an environmental group in Swansea, a group working with refugees and vulnerable people in Stirling and a thriving community arts centre in County Down.
Representatives of Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours will receive the award later this summer. Furthermore, two volunteers from Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2021, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.
Head of Heritage, Bryan Lindop says: “Having worked with this remarkable and talented group of volunteers now for over 5 years, it fills me with great pride to see them achieve this pinnacle of national recognition. It takes a lot of dedication, commitment, sheer grit and determination to maintain the high standard of excellence that they have become renowned for. The volunteers, the community that they serve and indeed the nation’s heritage adoring public who come to Blackpool to benefit from the sheer feel-good factor that the heritage tram tours create are inspiring new generations to cherish and appreciate their heritage; to participate in something culturally unique and life-affirming, and by doing so, ensuring that future generations will be able to continue to enjoy this inspiring public amenity.”