Blackpool’s tram system is back in action following a £100m project to modernise infrastructure and rolling stock.
The majority of its heritage fleet has been replaced by 16 low-floor Bombardier-built Flexity 2 trams.
The heritage fleet will operate during weekends and during the peak tourist season. Seven miles of track has been renewed and a new depot built at Starr Gate. Transport minister, Norman Baker MP, toasted off the new fleet.
‘Trams are good for passengers, good for the local economy and good for the local environment and the travelling public enjoy using them,’ said Mr Baker.
‘Blackpool’s trams are absolutely on the right track.’
The £100 million investment was necessary because of the poor condition of the infrastructure and the need to make the rolling stock more accessible to the elderly and disabled. Converting the heritage tram fleet, which will operate as a separate service, was impractical.
The majority of the heritage trams, some of which date back to 1927, have been bought for preservation.
To speed up journeys the number of tram stops has been reduced and the remaining stops have had raised platforms constructed to enable level boarding.
This, along with faster acceleration of the new trams, will reduce end-to-end journey times by approximately 15 minutes.
In 2010 Blackpool celebrated its 125th year of operation, as the longest operating tram system in Britain.