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Blackpool Trams

 

Blackpool Trams
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Boat cars are open top single decker trams with centre entrances and walkways, built in 1933 by English Electric. Of the 12 boats originally built 4 remain in service - numbers, 600, 602, 604 and 605.

Balloons- the popular name for a series of double decker trams constructed in the years 1934-5 by English Electric.

Brush Trams Built in 1937 by Brush, these single decker vehicles were extremely similar to the Railcoaches previously bought from English Electric. Of the twenty trams originally constructed, seven remain in service.

Illuminated Trams These are among the most popular views on Blackpool Promenade, and range from service trams decorated with lights to spectacular themed cars- the Blackpool Belle, the Rocket, the Western Train, HMS Blackpool, the Hovertram, the Trawler. However, only HMS Blackpool and the Trawler remain in service although the Western Train should be back in operation in 2008.

Vintage Trams Historic cars from Blackpool and other towns such as Stockport and Bolton. Among the favourites with visitors and locals.

Railcoaches were built by English Electric between 1933 - 1935 and in total the fleet consisted of 45 trams, but the majority of these have since been scrapped or rebuilt as illuminated trams, twin cars or one person operated trams.. With their sunshine roofs, wind down windows, heating and clocks the railcoaches were well received and were in service all year round and were used on every tram route in the network.

Centenary cars
are one man operated, single decker trams built by East Lancashire coachbuilders in the late 1980's. They have had a history of unreliability and break down and other trams have frequently had to be used to fill in for them. In a particularly dramatic incident the braking system in a Centenary Tram got frozen in the off position and it travelled along the Promenade with no means of stopping it. The tram crashed into some cars near the Metropole before rolling to a standstill outside Blackpool Tower.

Twin Trams
Single-decker pairs consisting of power cars and trailers.

Jubilee Trams
are double decker vehicles consisting of rebuilt balloons.

Millennium Trams These cars made from 1998 to 2004 are balloons rebuilt with flat front ends.

Vambac cars
These trams built in 1939 operated the Marton route and by 1963 all had been scrapped except one tram which is preserved in a transport museum in East Anglia.

Standard Trams.
Over 40 of these were built in the 1920's as traditional double decker open fronted vehicles.

Coronation Trams Another car with a troubled history. Built in 1953 the 25 coronation trams were the most expensive ever owned by Blackpool and they were popular with the public. however they were beset with numerous problems and saddled the tramway with ever increasing repair bills. By 1971 all but three of these trams had been scrapped, and only one still operates in Blackpool.

Pantograph cars
Constructed on 1928 these last operated in 1961 and have since mainly been scrapped or rebuilt as illuminated trams, with one tram being preserved.

Blackpool trams
are vitally important to the resort's tourism economy and are also an efficient working transport system carrying almost four million passengers every year, 75% of whom are visitors to the resort. An £85 million scheme has been put in place to provide an extensive refurbishment of the Blackpool and Fleetwood tram system bringing it up to 21st century standards and introducing new trams. This is part of the Government's response to the Blackpool Task Force report which made recommendations to regenerate the region. The improvements made will include a refurbishment of the track and tram stops out to Fleetwood and 16 new fully accessible trams. For the first time in its 120 year history the entire service was closed down in November 2007 to allow necessary work to be carried out on the Blackpool Trams system, with the majority of the track reopened in time for Easter 2008. It is envisaged that the new refurbishment will take four years to complete commencing in late 2009, and endevours will be made to minimise disruption by carrying out work during the winter months. Blackpool trams are iconic symbols of the resort and are instantly recognisable as part of the town's essential defining characteristics.






Blackpool tramway
system began in 1885 - the first town in Britain to have such a means of transport, and it is the only tramway to have continued uninterrupted to the present day: after 1962 Blackpool had the last working street trams in the country and this remained the case until the 1990's when a later generation of trams were introduced in cities like Manchester and Sheffield. As well as being a functional working transport system the trams add greatly to the charm of Blackpool, and are as much a part of the Town's heritage as the illuminations, tower and piers.

The present fleet dates mainly from the 1930's including the double decker balloon trams, with newer vehicles brought into service in the 1980's. In addition, there are several rebuilt older vehicles, as well as vintage trams in regular operation. Today's tramway is 11 miles long extending from Fleetwood to Starr gate, although at one time much of the town was covered by the network. There are several different types of tram in operation.

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