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We came to Blackpool in winter time to support the sea side town. But we came to stargate to park up to use the tram to start the journey into a distant memory of when I was last there as a kid in 1979!!!!! no where to park!!!!!!!! who would build a tram line and then have no parking at the start of it to use it??? so had to drive up the main drag in the end we just drove up and then back down again. Took a few photo's and left! The Trams we saw had a hand full of people in them at any one stage and when i say hand full I mean like 2 people. No parking to get on at the start. Other than local streets and didn't feel I wanted to drop my camper van in front of some ones lounge window. why didn't they make the new trams look like the old ones to make it more retro tourist attraction instead it's a modern box sorry. Blackpool memories shattered. Been there done that see you in the next 30 years
Mention the place of Blackpool to some people and these days they may well say Premiership Football team, however the town is far well known for two other things. The Tower and the Trams and to get to one you could easily use the other. To give some idea about the Trams, these are a unique selling feature that serves the town well for the tourists and also as part of the local infrastructure of the area. To give some history, this is by far one of the most well known Tramways in the country and it could be said that has lead the rejuvenation in other areas of the country such as Croydon, Manchester and Birmingham. However the Blackpool Tramway is the oldest Tramway in the country as it is a first generation network. The network was opened in 1885 with a total running distance of 11 miles between Starr Gate near the Pleasure Beach in the south and Fleetwood in the north. The Trams carry an amazing 6.5 million passengers a year, the majority being in the Summer and early Autumn. All of the line apart from the last two miles runs along the coast and the views are amazing to see, especially if you are on the top deck of one the double-decker Trams that usually run the entire length of the system. Its by no coincidence that the Trams are made to be a focal point at all, after this is easily the oldest Tramway in the world, and at the time of year when the awesome Blackpool Illuminations are switched on and the amount of visitors to the town peak, the Trams come alive and are turned into mobile light shows with a plentiful amount of lights and decorations that turn the Tram from a humble method of transport into a boat or even a steam train and with the line covering the entire length of the lights as well means that the open top single decker Trams are used to allow the passengers the full experience of the Illuminations. To power the tram, electricity is fed from the overhead wires that are then fed into the Tram by means of a pantograph, coupled with the sound of the wheels as the Tram moves over the track then this gives a definitive sound that one can only be accustomed to Blackpool. I've been to Blackpool an number of times and have never found the need to use a Bus to get anywhere, seeing as all Hotels and B&B in the vicinity of the seafront are served then the Buses are few and far between. In fact I've never really seen a Bus with any sizeable amount of passengers on driving along the seafront whilst the Trams are a different story altogether as they have people who have had their breakfast and want to explore the area and see what is what. Having the Tram serve Fleetwood means usually these is a service every 45 minutes or so, not a problem but it will be busy. All Trams serve the Tower and also Talbot Square which is the far end of the shopping area of Blackpool from her out to Bispham and onto Fleetwood. I personally enjoy riding by this method, it is eco-friendly and you never seem to ride the same Tram twice, given the fact there seems to be so many in use, the total currently stands at an amazing 76. This is mainly due to the fact that there are a substantial number of models used, from the Double Decker Balloon cars to the strange looking Boat Cars that are single decked with an open topped roof, something that on a wrong day in Blackpool could mean the difference between a chill and a Cold! It is also this reason that the enthusiasts come to see the Trams as well, some of the Balloons Cars have had liveries added to advertise a show that is taking place in the town, usually at the Pleasure Beach., where as other companies such as Walls used an entire Tram to advertise its Ice Cream, to the extent that you could buy Lollies on board! With the fact that the Trams become part of the annual Illuminations and part of the celebrations shows how focussed the authorities are to give the visitors to the town a good experience. Also to raise the profile even further there are a number of Open Days and Festival weekends that are held to showcase visiting stock on the system and for visitors and enthusiasts alike a behind the scenes look at how the system is managed and maintained. I have been fortunate enough to be at tone of these; however the clips on You Tube do make me even more curious to be part of this. As well as rolling stock coming to Blackpool the stock has been sent out and quite regularly you'll see Blackpool Trams "on tour" at museums across the country which is a good advertisement for the system and again raises awareness. However in recent years the experience of the ride has become worse as track maintenance is required; this is felt more to the north as the track is uneven in parts and causes the vehicle to rock as the Tram passes over that specific part of the track. This in turn can give a nasty bout of motion sickness, even worse if the Tram is empty as there is no weight or down force and its more "life on the ocean waves" than a pleasantly smooth Tram ride! That's not to say that the system doesn't have its uses as this is a vital link for the people who work at the Pleasure Beach or in the Hotels. Occasionally the track is used to test new models of Trams for other areas of the country or even for a possible upgrade on the Blackpool system, and upgrading is really the buzz word at the moment. A major upgrade of the entire network is taking place with new modern Trams being purchased and delivered. This isn't any sort patch work solution, this is a full top to tail refurbishment of a system that has been patched in the past and will also ensure that the future of the Blackpool Tramway will continue for the future. In fact the first Tram was introduced to the public in a PR fanfare in the last week of September. This will mean that some of the older Trams can be "retired" to a heritage line as the modern replacements resemble those from the Croydon or the Sheffield networks. A major step up for the town and the tourist business. This also means that potential extensions can be added and further reduce the traffic nightmares that can haunt the central part of the town. I can remember when I was a child that an adult fare was just 36p, well that was about 25 years ago! These days the fares tend to change depending on the season. EG - Summer it's higher as there are more passengers, good business sense. However when I was there, which was the May Bank Holiday weekend I paid £1.20 which I didn't think was too bad as the Hotel we were staying at was a good 20 minute walk away from the Town Centre and I wanted to ride on a certain make of Tram. Okay... geek alert! Summer 2010 marked the 125th Anniversary of the opening of the Blackpool Tramway.
Blackpool trams are one of the iconic sights of the town which everyone has heard of and wants to use when they go on holiday. The tramline dates back to 1855 and runs for 11 miles from Starr Gate to Fleetwood, the section along the seafront is the part which is the most famous and the trams here run parallel to the seafront and the road. Blackpool trams are the only original trams in the UK as the rest of the country abolished them in favour of building road networks although a few cities like Edinburgh have now realised the benefits of a tram network and are building new tram lines. For the tourist the main tramline runs along the seafront and promenade with services running both ways roughly every ten minutes. There are stops by many of the main tourist attractions including the North Pier and Blackpool Tower. To catch a tram you simply wait by the stop and stick your hand out and the driver will stop. The trams are mainly double decker although a few single deck vehicles exist too and there is a large step up from the roadside posing a problem for those with restricted mobility or pushchairs. Once you are inside the tram they are nothing special as they look exactly like tired old double decker buses and you don't have fantastic views from the windows on the bottom deck. The seats are slightly smaller than you would expect from a modern form of transport and there is very little luggage space. The trams get very busy during the main tourist season and they are also heavily used by locals, especially old age pensioners who can use their free bus pass on the tram. The fact the tram does not have to negotiate the heavy traffic of the promenade or the traffic lights makes them quicker than the bus to get from A to B but there is also a lot of stopping and starting at each stop to let people on and off. The trams prove to be an expensive way to travel along the main tourist areas as they operate a flat fare policy, it was around £2 for a single adult ticket for the mile long journey from North Pier to the tower and you could not buy a return ticket. If you are going to travel the full distance of the tramline then the fare becomes far more reasonable but they could do with reducing the fares for those just wanting to travel a few stops. It is possible to buy passes for 3 days or a week which will save you money if you intend to make a lot of journeys by tram. The trams come to life during the illuminations when many of the trams are lit up in bright lights including one decked out to look like an old fashioned steam train. The tram company run illumination sight seeing trips on open deck trams during this time and it is an ideal way to see the lights and be in the middle of the action. Sightseeing trips will cost around £6 per adult and are well worth the money to see the lights. I was disappointed that the trams felt so ordinary as a means to get from A to B and also cost a lot of money for a short trip. I would however recommend that you use them during the illuminations for that true Blackpool experience.
A trip to the fabulous seaside resort of Blackpool isn't complete with a ride on the famous trams of Blackpool. Blackpool Trams are operated by Blackpool Transport Services Ltd which also runs the Blackpool Bus network around the Flyde coast. They are easy to spot with historic designs and shapes, they have stunning livery which make them easy to spot too, with some having rather wierd & unusual designs. But the network is due to be renewed to a light rail system... like trams in Sheffield & Manchester sometime in a few years I was told by Blackpool Transport Services Ltd the other month. The timetable is easy to use with trams running regulary during the day, everyday between Pleasure Beach & Fleetwood with trams starting at about 0745 until 0015. Trams stop at quite a few stops so may take time but it's a nice ride, not the most comfortable but thats part of the systems charm, but it goes right along the seafront and it's a great ride on the night with all the lights lit up. It stops at ALL the attractions and a lot of the seafront hotels too so easy to access from where your staying or where you want to get to. Tickets are reasonably priced with singles, returns, day tickets & travelcards for buses & trams all available. If your on a family day out why not get a family ticket, it'll save you money. Overall its part of the Blackpool experience, a trip isn't complete without going on the last remaining tramway of its kind in Britain with it's unique trams and pleasant views, even if it's just a small quick ride it's worth it.
You can't have a trip to Blackpool without having a tram ride. They run frequent, and there seems to be a stop quite close to every hotel on the seafront so journeys do take a lot longer than a bus due to the amount of stops. Now I know Blackpool's famous for it's trams but to be honest I only use them for the convenience as there is a stop by every attraction, piers, tower, pleasure beach etc. They don't have the most comfortable of seats and when you're on a full tram they tend to steam up and become quite smelly. The step on and off is quite steep and I've seen elderly people really struggle getting on and off, also the stairs to the top deck are quite narrow and steep. Standing is not allowed on trams and if a tram is full it will just go straight past you even if you're the only one at the stop, and also as the tram gets full the conductors count the empty seats and will only let that amount of people on, so if there's four of you and only 2 seats it's either split up or pass 'till the next one comes along. If you've a pushchair/pram, you'll only be allowed on if it's already folded. One plus point though is you don't have to worry about missing your stop as the conductors call out the name of every stop and usually the names of the hotels near that stop. If you decide to take a sightseeing trip along the whole length of the front or just ride the illuminations, try not to get a tram with advertising splashed across the windows as the view out is poor. Pricewise about 20-30p more than the bus.
Holroyd Smith had an idea that he could create a system where tram cars could run on power from a slot in the ground known as a conduit system. In 1884 Blackpool's Corporation decided to put this plan into action and the first rail was laid in March 1885 at Cocker Street, test runs soon began and the tracks were opened for the first time to the public in September 1885 making this the first electric street tramway in Britain and it now holds the title of the last traditional tramway in Britain (quite an achievement). To begin with the trams just rattled along Blackpool's sea front but in 1898 the trams started running out of Blackpool in to Fleetwood and Bispham as they still do today. The tram cars have of course changed over the years but one of the original cars known as Fleetwood Rack 2, an open sided single decker tram is still in existence today. Fleetwood Rack 2 was restored to its former glory in 1960 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Blackpool trams and also made a brief re-appearance on Blackpool's sea front in 1998 before moving on to Crich where unbelievably it still runs to this day. The conduit system was so unreliable that in 1898 it was converted into the overhead electric system that we see in use today. Now I could continue to spout tram history to you for hours but that would not only bore most but also show just how sad I really am so I will move on to present day and why I love the Blackpool trams so much. From a very young age I was taken to visit Blackpool yearly by my parents and grandparents and grew to love everything about the place (if you have read my other Blackpool reviews I am sure you will know that). I have many favourite things about Blackpool but one of my most favourite is beyond doubt the trams. I used to just enjoy riding on them as a kid but now I not only enjoy my journeys on them but have grown a real fascination into everything about them. The current tracks stretch from Starr Gate in the south, just past the famous Blackpool pleasure beach to Fleetwood in the north a distance of just over eleven and a half miles. Along these tracks will run many different shapes and colours of tram cars, over the years there has been a double decker done in the Michelin tyre companies colours sporting a giant Michelin man, a chamber of horrors single decker featuring some of the ghoulish characters from the waxworks and recently one can be seen kited out in the colours of one of the pleasure beaches best rides Valhalla and sporting the giant skull on the side. Apart from just decorative painting there are also some trams running that have special designs, such as the topless single and double deckers or the old style side less toast rack tram car design which was famous in the 1930`s and was recently restored to once again travel back and forth along the famous golden mile. During the illumination period a few of the tram cars will change shape using just lights to create the effect, the amazing lighting effects are used to transform the appearance of an everyday tram car into that of a boat, a steam train or a rocket, these trams are then used to ferry tourists along the massive stretch of illuminations. These illumination tours are without doubt the best way to see the lights (well apart from walking) and they are also the best way to get a long memorable journey on one of Blackpool's famous trams. During the peak seasons at Blackpool there will be a tram passing you every few minutes with the tracks being able to run between 60 and 70 trams at any one time. During the quieter times at Blackpool the trams will run around every 15 minutes instead which still allows you to travel by them very easily. Many people will travel along the prom by tram just to have tried out a tram ride for themselves but for many people including Blackpool residents they are a way of life with people using them regularly to get from one end of the prom to the other or just nipping a couple of hundred yards along the road, if you purchase a tram card you can jump on and off as many trams as you like so they are without doubt the most convenient method of transport along the prom. Carrying seven million passengers every year the trams are as well as an excellent form of transport also a major tourist attraction so even although so many of them run during peak season you could still find one trundling past you with the driver indicating that he is full and another is on its way. Of all the fancy trams that run today my favourite is still the double deckers painted in the old fashioned cream and green livery of The Blackpool Transport Department, they for me are indicative of what the tram system is really all about and they portray the tradition and history of the trams better than any other. The cost of travelling by tram has of course like everything else gone upwards rapidly in recent years but they are still a very reasonably priced way to travel, during my last visit to Blackpool I found myself on the trams several times with most journeys costing me around £1.20 and being that they were mostly from one end of Blackpool's enormous promenade to the other it was money well spent. The best thing about tram travel is without doubt its convenience, if you have walked around the pleasure beach or perhaps the tower or maybe you have just been padding the prom till your feet ache then you just wander over to a tram stop and within a few moments one will appear and you can rest your weary feet and let the tram ferry you in comfort to your next destination. The actual tracks in Blackpool run parallel to the road and have very few fencing barriers so you have to take care when you have kids that they know to look both ways when crossing the tram tracks just as when crossing the road. At the more open parts of the tracks the tram drivers will give regular blasts of their horns to remind people that they are there. The speed of the trams when in the built up area of the prom is not that fast but serious injury would still occur by being hit by one so remember to take great care when crossing the tracks. Blackpool is an amazingly fun place but if you took the trams away from it there would be a massive hole left that nothing could fill. All along the prom you will see people photographing and taking video footage of the trams as they pass by, they really do capture the imagination of adults and kids alike. As a photographer I have taken countless photos of the trams over the years, from stationery in their garage to in full flight on the Blackpool to Fleetwood track I have taken hundreds of images of them and of all my photography work my many tram pictures are right up there amongst my favourite. So I will finish by saying that if you are planning a visit to Blackpool then make sure you take at least one trip on a tram whilst there and if you have no plans to visit Blackpool then think carefully about making some even if it is just to take in the tram system and the history that goes with it. Thanks for reading! ©2008 thebigc1690
Did you know that Blackpool had Britain’s first electric street tramway? No? Well read on for more fascinating facts! Seriously though the trams in Blackpool started running in 1885 and the route was extended to Fleetwood in 1898. The tram tracks run along the seafront, except for a very short distance where the track passes on the landward side of The Metropole Hotel near to the North Pier. The route now stretches from Starr Gate in the south, a few hundred yards past the Pleasure Beach, to Fleetwood in the north and is a total of eleven and a half miles long. That’s eighteen kilometres if you’re interested. The trams are one of Blackpool’s favourite tourist attractions, carrying seven million passengers every year. They run every few minutes during the summer, but only every twenty minutes during the winter, and the only days they don’t run are Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. I suppose a skeleton service on Sundays and Bank Holidays would be rather self-defeating if you think about it! There are plenty of different trams and a maximum of 65 can run on the tracks at any one time. There a double decker and single decker trams, both of which have open top versions, or toast racks as we always called them, to run in the summer. I remember being at Blackpool as a little girl and always wanting to go on the toast rack whatever the weather! Dad would always come upstairs with me and let mom sit downstairs where it was warmer! Some of the trams bear the old fashioned cream and green livery of The Blackpool Transport Department, but many of them are painted with the most amazing adverts. Look out for the ones advertising the Pascalle de Terror (a fear experience just outside the Pleasure Beach), Valhalla, Blackpool Zoo and many more. The trams are a main feature during the Blackpool Illuminations too. There are about four specially built trams which ar e made in various shapes, a spaceship, a steam train, a paddle steamer and I’m sure there’s at least one other but I can’t remember what the design is! These trams are illuminated and provide visitors with a complete tour of the illuminations. They start from the North Pier and travel up to Bispham where they turn round and go all the way to Starr Gate and then back to the North Pier. I think the full tour costs about £5 – I may be mistaken, it’s been a couple of years since we went on it. Incidentally the first real ‘date’ my partner and I had was a day trip to Blackpool which he had arranged so that I could travel on one of the illuminated trams, as it was something that I had always wanted to do. So you see, the trams are an aid to romance too! Blackpool trams have a sinister side too – well, almost! Alan Bradley, the man who stalked Rita on Coronation Street was eventually killed running in front of a tram! So look both ways before you cross the track, just as you would before you cross the road. The tracks are safe to walk on – in fact the comedians in Blackpool always tell the joke of the little old lady who asked if she would get electrocuted if she put her foot on the track. She was told no, not unless you cock your other leg over the overhead cable! The prices on the trams are still reasonable, in my opinion anyway! We were there a couple of days ago and it cost us £1 for most of our journeys, which tended to be between the Central Pier and the Pleasure Beach. It cost us £1.20 from the Pleasure Beach back to the Imperial Hotel, which is between Gynn Square and the North Pier. Travel cards are available, which can be used for journeys by tram, bus or handybus between Lytham Saltcotes Road and Fleetwood. The current costs are as follows: One day travel card – adults £4.50, senior citizens and children £4.00 Three day travel card – adults £12.00, senior citizens and children £10.00 Five day travel card – adults £15.00, senior citizens and children £12.50 Seven day travel card – adults £16.00, senior citizens and children £14.00 A word of warning though the travel cards on not valid on organised excursions or the illumination tours. The main advantage for me with the trams, apart from appealing to the child inside me, is the fact that they are SO convenient. I never have to think about timetables as the trams are so frequent and it’s great to be able to hop on a tram back to the hotel after a day on the Pleasure Beach has worn me out!!
I have lived in Blackpool all my life but to be honest I have only started going on the trams recently. The tram instructors are really friendly and will willingly help you on with a pram in tow. The trams go right from the south of Blackpool(nr ST Annes)through to Fleetwood and it goes straight down the prom which when the illuminations are on esspecially is a lovely ride. Once getting into Fleetwood it seems quite strange as the trams go straight through the town centre and they have the right of way above the cars. There are differant types of trams and I do believe a tram from the 1940's has come homne to Blackpool in the last week and will be up and running again next year. During the summer they have openair trams and through the illuminations they have illuminated trams which I think is £3 per poerson to see the whole of the lights whch is a bargin in itself when you see the que of traffic that are waiting to go by car. I think it is a must for all visitors as you can reach almost every part of the town by a tram.
The Blackpool trams are a major tourist attraction in the town as well as a very practical way of getting around. The trams travel along the promenade, taking visitors between all the piers and the Pleasure Beach theme park, as well as many other attractions along the way. There are tram stops at regular intervals all the way along the sea front so it is easy and very convenient to use. Trams come along every few minutes so there is never long to wait. From the north of the town the tram lines continue right up to Fleetwood, which is about a 45 minute journey from the centre of Blackpool. If you are travelling to Fleetwood, or are going to use the trams on a few occasions during a day, then it is worth buying a ticket for all day travelling. These are about £3 each for adults. There are trams of all different sizes, makes and designs of which some are single deckers and some are double deckers. For children that have never seen a tram, then this is an experience they will always remember. Each tram has a least one conductor for collecting the fares and some of these men and ladies are real characters, and certainly are a great source of information about Blackpool. During the illuminations a number of the trams are decorated with hundreds of lights, depicting things such as boats or characters. You may go on some of the rides in the Pleasure Beach at Blackpool, but a tram ride is one ride not to be missed.