Blackpool tram sets sail once again

Another of Blackpool's famous illuminated trams is back in service after a £46,000 restoration.

Tuesday, 11th October 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 7:46 pm
To get another of our illuminated trams back on the tracks is wonderful. Pic: MARK BILLINGTON

The Fisherman’s Friend Trawler tram carried its first passengers through the Lights on Friday after three years off the tracks.

It was withdrawn in 2013 but is now brighter than ever after its 524 old-style lamps were replaced with 24,500 modern LEDs.

It means there are now three illuminated trams in service, with the Western Train and HMS Blackpool Illuminated Frigate being the others.

And for the first time in many years Blackpool Transport has all five illuminated trams back under its wing.

The Rocket which was already at the Rigby Road depot has been joined this month by the Hovertram on a long loan from its owners the North East Land, Sea and Air Museum in County Durham.

It is hoped these can also be restored eventually.

Fisherman’s Friend, owned by the Lofthouse family of Fleetwood, put a substantial sum of money towards refurbishing the Trawler tram.

Bryan Lindop, heritage tram manager at Blackpool Transport, said: “It has been a long project between ourselves, the Lofthouse family and the Illuminations Department with a lot of input from our volunteers as well.

“To get another of our illuminated trams back on the tracks is wonderful.

“The trawler was withdrawn at the end of 2013 because it had become very tired looking.

“I got in touch with the Lofthouse family and they wanted to be involved with its conservation and they provided a substantial sum to get the ball rolling.

“It has been given a full repaint internally and externally and it will be the brightest tram in the fleet, and yet use a third of the electricity compared to before.”

Enthusiasts got the chance to enjoy two special tours on board the Trawler tram on Friday before it went into normal service on Saturday.

Bryan added: “We’re also delighted the Hovertram has come back to us. It has been a dream of ours to have all five illuminated trams back at Blackpool Transport.

“We have a team of volunteers who carry out the work, but we need to fundraise for the parts and hopefully these two will also be back in service eventually.”