Golden Tram Weekend

Golden Tram Weekend

Blackpool is famous for its tramway. For many years it was the only UK town where trams remained in operation. The tracks which run along the coastline between St Annes and Fleetwood aren’t just a means of transport, it’s also a tourist attraction! The old style Heritage Trams run at weekends throughout the year, and there are lots of special events. Thanks to Visit Fylde Coast correspondent Barrie C Woods for this article and photos, he went to the Golden Tram Weekend in February 2019.

In the above photo: No one can accuse Blackpool of not providing public services! In this view of the North Pier loop sits the ‘shop’ balloon 711 being passed by classmate 715. A Flexi-tram comes south, hard on the heels of Box No. 40 en-route for Starr Gate. Then on its left one of the new Enviro400 No. 431 heads north, as a Stagecoach on route 68 plies south on its way to Preston.

Golden Tram Weekend

Spring had definitely sprung at Blackpool over the weekend of 23/24th February 2019.  A lovely warm sun, gentle breeze, calm seas, donkey rides, even dancing on the beach! Fish & chips, a ‘kiss me quick’ hat or two!  But most of all it was a ‘Gold’ tram running weekend!

Blackpool was amazingly busy for the time of year, okay I know it was half term, but to see so many people were there was quite tremendous.

Heritage trams were out in force and often well packed. Eight were out each day, plying between Pleasure Beach, North Pier, Little Bispham. Some even ventured as far as Fleetwood Ferry and to the southern terminus at Starr Gate.

Two of the ‘B Fleet’ Balloons were about. No.711 (above) complete with Snowplough (just in case) was acting as the shop at North Pier loop. 700 looked superb as it traversed the promenade. Both were in the pseudo Flexi-tram liveries.

Balloon No.700 on the way to Little Bispham, in the classic view with the famous tower behind.
Balloon No.700 on the way to Little Bispham, in the classic view with the famous tower behind.

Open Topped in the Beautiful February Weather

In more traditional green and cream liveries were 715 & 717. The single deck contingent included the refurbished and modernised 680, the ex-towing railcar, on loan from Heaton Park. The superb 1937 built Brush car 621 (below) was busy with virtually full loads when I saw it. We even had an open boat in operation, No. 600.

Built in 1937 by Brush, one of twenty such Rail Coaches No.621 looks superb after its recent refurbishment as it trundles along
Built in 1937 by Brush, one of twenty such Rail Coaches No.621 looks superb after its recent refurbishment as it trundles along

The 1914 built Box-car No.40 was also very popular, giving some sprightly runs along the prom on occasions. The 24th was in fact its last day of public service at Blackpool as it goes back home to Crich very shortly, after a loan to Beamish.

1914 built Blackpool Box No. 40 is en-route for Little Bispham, where it will turn on the turnaround loop. In the Background the famous Tower
1914 built Blackpool Box No. 40 is en-route for Little Bispham, where it will turn on the turnaround loop. In the Background the famous Tower

Other recent developments include progress on the Standard No.143 which is hoped to emerge from Rigby Road in August.

The 1952 built Coronation No.304 has been out on test, it will make a welcome addition to the fleet very soon.

Modernised Balloon No. 707 is now in the paint shop, so hopefully that too will soon grace the prom later this year, whether it will return in its previous livery remains to be seen.

Progress at Talbot Road

Progress is also apparent with the tram extension to North Station. The tracks are now completely laid except the final part into what will become the station terminus.

At the junction of Talbot Road and the Promenade the new tracks are now in place from both north and south directions to Blackpool station
At the junction of Talbot Road and the Promenade the new tracks are now in place from both north and south directions to Blackpool station

At present Wilkinsons store still occupies the site. The plan is now to build a temporary terminus, until the Supermarket can be closed and demolished.

A superb weekend all round; the next ‘Gold’ weekend is planned for 23/24th March 2019.

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