The new Blackpool trams began operating on April 4th 2012 – sleek, smooth articulated LRTs in a funky purple-and-white colour scheme.
It’s a superb service, all the way from Starr Gate to Fleetwood and back with space, comfort and ease. It cost £100 million.
The demise of the old fleet is regretted by some, but it really was past its sell-by date. Some trams dated back to the 1930s, and many had been rebuilt and patched like the hammer with three new handles and two new heads: [see Essentially Victorian Blackpool and Tram terminus].
The beauty of the promenade tramway, and the reason it survived, is its ability to shift holiday crowds, most of all at the illuminations. Blackpool trams have always been much bigger than buses, and they take up less road space because they mostly run on their own private tracks.
And the new ones, like the old ones, appear to be crewed by committees.
Unlike their predecessors, the new trams are free to holders of senior bus passes.
And if you want a nostalgia trip, you can pay buy a day-saver to use the heritage fleet, when it’s running: http://www.blackpooltransport.com/LRT1.aspx.
For details of Mike Higginbottom’s lectures on seaside architecture, Away from it all: the heritage of holiday resorts, Beside the Seaside: the architecture of British coastal resorts, Blackpool’s Seaside Heritage and Yorkshire’s Seaside Heritage, please click here.
The 80-page, A4 handbook for the 2013 Lancashire’s Seaside Heritage tour, with text, photographs, maps and a reading list, is available for purchase, price £10.00 including postage and packing. To view sample pages click here. To order a copy, please click here or, if you prefer, send a cheque, payable to Mike Higginbottom, to 63 Vivian Road, Sheffield, S5 6WJ.