Illuminated Tram Parade. Photo: Barrie C Woods

Illuminated Tram Parade

It’s back! Your favourite FREE night out at the Blackpool Illuminations – it’s the Illuminated Tram Parade!

Illuminated Tram Parade

Watch this space for details of whether there will be a parade during Lightpool Festival 2024!

See Blackpool’s unique fleet of illuminated Heritage Trams travel in convoy along the promenade in an evening of celebration of light! It’s a truly magical Illuminations experience!

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Featuring at the Illuminated Tram Parade…

In previous years, the illuminated tram parade has featured a battleship, trawler and Great Western train travelling in convoy.

Spark! Drummers lead the tram parade
Spark! Drummers lead the tram parade

They’ve been joined by the high-impact drumming and superb choreography of the Spark! LED drummers, Lumidogs and a cast of illuminated giant puppets. Plus magical lanterns and all of YOU dressed in your own lights!

A show not to be missed and a sight you’ll never forget. When the fleet of illuminated heritage trams take to the tracks in convoy – it’s a celebration of light and an amazing sight to see.

The Illuminated Tram Parade is a relatively new event, part of the Lightpool Festival. In only a couple of years it’s become a firm favourite with young and old alike.

These fab photos from the event are with thanks to our friend Barrie C Woods.

Many thanks to steam and transport enthusiast Barrie C Woods for this piece and accompanying photos.

Barrie is a regular contributor and often sends in photos and articles on transport themes. This article is about the World’s first Illuminated Tram Parade, which took place as part of LightPool 2017.

Illuminated Tram Parade, photo Barrie C Woods

Triple Tram Treat – the First Tram Parade

Many thanks to steam and transport enthusiast Barrie C Woods for this piece and accompanying photos. Barrie’s a regular contributor to Visit Fylde Coast and often sends in photos and articles on transport themes. This article is about the World’s First Illuminated Tram Parade, which took place as part of LightPool 2017.

October 26th 2017, at 16.50 hours… It’s a beautiful, cool evening along Blackpool Promenade. Dusk’s approaching, the sun’s quietly setting behind a bank of distant grey clouds. The tide’s in but the sea’s calm, and for a change there’s no wind to battle against. Miles of illuminations will soon be switched on, all the way from South Shore to Bispham.  

I arrived at the Pleasure Beach tram turn-around, it was fairly quiet, the ‘High’ season was well past by now, and there was an autumn nip in the air. Not a tram in sight. The Pleasure Beach rides were still active, with the occasional scream emanating from the ‘Big One’ breaking the quietude, as yet another fully loaded set of cars dropped the almost vertical descent at over 80mph! The occasional waft of fish & chips captivated the nostrils – what else you expect in Blackpool?

Almost silently the double-deck Standard Tram, Bolton No.66 glided into the Pleasure Beach stop. It would soon return to Rigby Road depot – a day’s work completed. With nothing else to amuse me I followed it on my bicycle towards the Tower. After half a mile I spotted some movement ahead of me at Manchester Square – not actually a Square but a ‘T’ junction on the Prom. I’d spotted something my informant had advised me of.  

The Trams Appear…

The American 4-4-0 illuminated tram and carriage had just emerged from the depot and was heading south towards me. I doubled back and a quick glance revealed the Frigate was following close behind. Back at Pleasure Beach looking northwards I saw the ‘New’ LED covered Trawler CEVIC was also on its way. 

Trams depart to begin the parade
The Fisherman’s Friend sponsored Trawler tram ‘CEVIC’ No. 737, begins loading for its parade along to the Tower. The Frigate and American 4-4-0, are ready to leave.

Things are happening…

People were beginning to gather and an air of expectancy was brewing. A number of Blackpool Corporation staff appeared, then slowly the American 4-4-0 with its carriage obediently following turned into the tram stop.

The Frigate drew in behind it and the Trawler likewise. A unique sight, never before had the three illuminated trams been out on parade together. Darkness was still half an hour away but as it enveloped us the three trams lights began to shine to their full glory. More and more people arrived to view the spectacle, each tram was fully booked, many were turned away.

At Pleasure Beach the three trams begin to glow as dusk approaches.At Pleasure Beach the three trams begin to glow as dusk approaches.

The three illuminated trams at Pleasure BeachThe three illuminated trams at Pleasure Beach tram stop

I got back on my bike and headed north, with darkness almost upon us. An autumn moon shone down on the proceedings – as I got nearer to the Tower the crowds intensified and I had to dismount and walk.

Party Time!

Outside the Tower was a stage, with live music blaring out and shattering the calm, in fact the whole place was now abuzz. Thousands of people jostling for a position across the Comedy Carpet. Ice creams and children’s light sticks and glowing windmills being sold by the dozen.  

Suddenly Blackpool’s famous overhead illuminations sprang into life. The Flexity tram service had to be stopped, no way would they safely pass through the melee.

Then in the distance amongst the overhead illuminations and plethora of car headlights, other lights appeared. Approaching us along with distant drums, sounding out a marching theme, with an eerie glow emanating from where the sounds came from.

With darkness now almost upon us the ‘Spark’ drummers lead the three trams towards the TowerWith darkness now almost upon us the ‘Spark’ drummers lead the three trams towards the Tower

This was Spark! by Worldbeaters Music. A unique and thrilling show that combines high-impact drumming, superb choreography and stunning lighting design.

A Fabulous Parade

The lights and drums came closer, the crowds now jostling for position, the tram lines now completely blocked. Gradually Spark came into view with their unique and specially constructed drums glowing with LEDS and smoke haze.

Spark are certainly ‘wowing’ the crowds, the three trams line up patiently behind them. the 4-4-0 at the head, Nos. 733 & 734Spark are certainly ‘wowing’ the crowds, the three trams line up patiently behind them. the 4-4-0 at the head, Nos. 733 & 734

Behind came the American tram, its bell clanging loudly as if in defiance of all the other noises. Then the Frigate ‘HMS Blackpool’ and the Trawler ‘Cevic’.

Other groups had joined in the parade, the whole place now alive with music and the three trams glowing brilliantly.

After a short stop to disgorge passengers the trams continued north to turn on the Bispham turn-around and head south to collect their passengers for the return journey to Pleasure Beach. The music played on – an incredible spectacle. What an evening!  

The sun sets and the moon rises at the Comedy Carpet in front of the Tower, the three trams slow to disgorge their passengers.The sun sets and the moon rises at the Comedy Carpet in front of the Tower, the three trams slow to disgorge their passengers.

Mobile phones are working overtime at the Tower to Capture the unique spectacle.  Here the two ships come sailing in!Mobile phones are working overtime at the Tower to Capture the unique spectacle.  Here the two ships come sailing in!

As HMS Blackpool, No. 736, passes, the LED strewn Trawler draws in.

As HMS Blackpool, No. 736, passes, the LED strewn Trawler draws in. 

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