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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Summer Specials

John Woodman

The sudden arrival of summer bringing with it what seem to be unseasonably high temperatures (for the UK) has seen Blackpool inundated with visitors over recent days. Blackpool Transport have responded with additional trams to deal with the volume of passengers along the seafront. These include use of the 'Millenium' 'B' fleet double deck trams with two examples in service today. The writer sampled 707 which was running with its top deck closed and filling its bus type fixed seating on the lower deck whilst the conductor politely advised wannabe travellers with buggies and other mobility aids that the tram was not accepting these in the constricted space.

Whilst my journey brought me to the Pleasure Beach and then back to the Tower, the second example was noted with Fleetwood Ferry as its destination and top deck passengers passing northbound. A distinctive route/journey card for this supplemental service was noted next to the controller in the cab. A particularly distracting 'health and safety' feature on these trams was the incessant warning messages every time the tram's doors opened - something which is really 'over the top' in actual service.

It was refreshing to see these heavily remodelled former 'Balloons' actually providing the service for which they had been further modified - albeit in a limited number. A further feature on the tramway at busy loading points along Blackpool's promenade were special 'platform staff' to aid in dealing with excessive crowds. My journey was during a relatively calmer part of the day so this new feature was not in demand; however it was noticeable the number of waiting passengers uncertain as to whether the green and cream double decker was actually a service car and needing to ask the conductor before boarding. Such has been the frequency of use of these trams on 'heritage tours' that any tram that is NOT one of the Bombardier models in Council livery is viewed as being potentially a premium fare service. An unfortunate derivative of the Tour operator's use of these trams under the 'heritage tour' banner.

Definitely not wanted onboard a 'Millenium' car! Pleasure Beach southbound platform with the duty passenger helper in evidence. A colleague was also posted on the northbound platform. Below : Millenium 707 actually in regular service but only one conductor and closed top deck.

Journey's end for 707 at the Tower with unloading passengers - some masked with a platform staff attendant in view. The tram went on to travel northbound from North Pier.

Below : By way of contrast a colourful Bombardier with 2021 branding passes the Visitor Centre. The colours being a big improvement over the Council's now dated styling.

Bus type seating looking forward from the centre platform inside the 'Millenium' model.

All images taken by John Woodman today.


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