There’s been a tramway in Blackpool for well over 100 years. Blackpool trams have seen the Fylde Coast change and grow and evolve into the place it is today.
Up until 2011, the “Heritage” cars were the service fleet trams. Operating every day except Christmas Day, they travelled along the tram lines, carrying residents and visitors from A to B. Then a multi-million pound upgrade transformed the Blackpool tramway. The tracks were all relaid and a new, modern fleet of low-floor trams are now the service fleet.
However, the original Blackpool trams – with their distinctive ‘clickety-clack’ as they drive along – are still much loved. They’re as integral to Blackpool as fish and chips and the donkeys on the beach. A selection of trams from the original system have been restored and returned to passenger carrying duties once more.
Many of these original trams are over 80 years old and have been retained and superbly renovated. It’s a unique experience as nowhere else in the UK can you still ride a Heritage Tram on the line for which it was originally built.
Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours run most weekends throughout the year and daily during most UK school holidays. Of course you can also catch a famous Autumn Illuminations Tour and ride aboard one of the illuminated trams.
In the beginning…
Blackpool’s permanent electric street tramway was the country’s first. It opened on 29 September 1885. It originally ran from Cocker Street to South Shore – and has operated there ever since.
In the late 1800’s, huge numbers of working class people started coming on holiday to Blackpool. Transport had to be improved to cope with demand.
Back then, in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the tramway was far more extensive than it is today. In fact, trams were a popular method of transport in most towns throughout the UK.
Here in Blackpool a route went up Talbot Road from North Pier, travelling along Adelaide Street and on past the Winter Gardens. History is repeating itself, as that route is being redeveloped for the modern day. New rails have been laid at Talbot Road in readiness for the tramway interchange with Blackpool North Station.
- There are more photos of Blackpool in the olden days here.
- Trams also once ran beyond Blackpool to Lytham. Take a look at this gallery of old Lytham photos.
A modern renovation
On 3 April 2012, after a four year, £100m upgrade, the modernisation of the Blackpool Tramway was complete. Visit Fylde Coast went along to the launch event held in Fleetwood.
The old tram cars didn’t comply with modern access rules for disabled passengers. They have high steps up to the tramcars from the floor and an absence of suitable platforms. Without these adaptations and improvements, the tramway service would have had to cease.
So the huge project to modernise the tram way for the twenty first century began. The £100m of investment included new tracks and platforms plus a completely new tramway system for the future.
The modern, burgundy Flexcity Bombardier trams are a pleasure to travel on. They’re smooth and comfortable to ride on and have vastly improved the passenger experience.
In April 2012 they made their very first passenger journey along the Fylde Coast, marking the start of a brand new era of transport for residents and visitors.
- Along with the buses, the modern Blackpool trams are operated by Blackpool Transport Services Ltd.
Everyone loves the heritage trams. Part and parcel of Blackpool, they certainly haven’t been put out to grass! These vehicles operate as a heritage attraction, using their own special heritage tram stops which are separate to the new platforms.
Heritage Tram Tours operate at weekends throughout the year and daily during school holidays. You can also break your journey to enjoy a few hours at your destination before returning in style. Plus, look out for special events throughout the year.
- These old favourites are operated by Blackpool Heritage Trams.
Illuminated Heritage Trams
Here at Visit Fylde Coast we love the fleet of Illuminated Heritage Trams. We know you do too!
These favourites come out at night, usually during Illuminations season. You might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them at other times of the year too!
Festooned from one end to the other with thousands of lights, they’re a tradition in this seaside town. You can also ride them during the popular Illuminations tours.
- There’s much more information about all of the Illuminated Trams here.
The Blackpool to Fleetwood Tramway
The tramline stretches right along the Fylde Coast, mostly hugging the coastline.
At South Shore it terminates at Squires Gate at the big tramshed near to the seafront.
There it parts from the seafront to go through the centre of Cleveleys. It continues inland to briefly meet the seafront again at Fleetwood near to the North Euston Hotel and RNLI station at the Esplanade.
There are stops all the way along the promenade. With trams coming along every 20 minutes it’s not only an ideal way to get around, it’s also a good way to see the coast!
While you’re here…
Have a look at the homepage of the Live Blackpool website for more of the latest updates.
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