• Our booking engine at tickets.railforums.co.uk (powered by TrainSplit) helps support the running of the forum with every ticket purchase! Find out more and ask any questions/give us feedback in this thread!

Blackpool Trams News

Towers

Established Member
Joined
30 Aug 2021
Messages
1,718
Location
UK
@davehsug, me too! Was in town last week and we both felt that the current service clearly just isn’t enough. Out of curiosity I looked at BT’s website and their recruitment ads for tram drivers and I have to say the pay was surprisingly poor, I can’t imagine that helps with the shortages. Very pleased to see that the ‘B fleet’ is finally getting some use, I was interested as to whether the drivers are paid staff however - I presume they aren’t using volunteer labour to run the commercial service?
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

davehsug

Member
Joined
8 Jul 2014
Messages
230
@davehsug, me too! Was in town last week and we both felt that the current service clearly just isn’t enough. Out of curiosity I looked at BT’s website and their recruitment ads for tram drivers and I have to say the pay was surprisingly poor, I can’t imagine that helps with the shortages. Very pleased to see that the ‘B fleet’ is finally getting some use, I was interested as to whether the drivers are paid staff however - I presume they aren’t using volunteer labour to run the commercial service?
Yes, much as I'd love to drive a tram, I doubt that there is ebough money to get me to drive one along a crowded promenade at anymore than walking pace! I'd be a wreck in seconds!
First time I've knowingly seen a backup tram running, I thought it must be on a heritage tour, until I noticed it said Pleasure Beach, and I waited outside the hotel for a while to check, and it stopped at South Pier northbound, Runnung to "Tower - Central Promenade". I was a bit surprised as surely all of the Flexcitys can't possibly have been in service. I assume it's to do with the ease of reversing on a short trip, unless it was running with a single guard, but then I've been on Flexcitys with one guard anway..
 

philthetube

Established Member
Joined
5 Jan 2016
Messages
3,771
I suspect that Blackpool corporation do not realise how much it actually costs them to run and inadequate service, it is not just a case of not getting money from passengers not travelling, it is also a case of not getting cash from travelling passengers as conductors are not able to make their way down the trams.

Threr are no more conductors being taken on this year, although I think drivers is probably a bigger issue,
 
Joined
6 Sep 2011
Messages
976
Location
Blackpool south Shore
I can't believe they have cut so many trams.
Looking at 30th August 2021 timetable - Stargate - Fleetwood had a 15 minute service from 8am (return just before 9am) until last tram 23.15
Evenings had 7.5 minute service extra tram from 5pm Star Gate to little Bispham.
Plus 2 no1 buses per hour all day - Star Gate to Fleetwood. Please reinstate, probably wishful thinking.

On the heritage trams, I heard that you need a conductor on each floor.
 
Last edited:

Harvey B

Member
Joined
11 Mar 2019
Messages
1,018
That would require Blackpool Transport using their modified Ballons on regular services, something they are very averse to for some strange reason. Wheelchair access is their reason, but it's quite a weak reason, as the Flexitys are and disabled passengers can be directed to use them.

I did ask the question when I was there about the modified balloons running in passenger service. I think the issue itself may stem from the fact that only 3 - 4 drivers and no conductors at Starr Gate sign them (and there were no plans to have us trained on them due to a severe lack of staff), so they have to pay the heritage volunteers to run the services instead, something Blackpool Transport didn't particularly like the idea of doing.
Wouldn't it be beneficial for Blackpool Transport to use the Winter Season to their advantage so they can train all their LRT staff on the B Fleet?

It really does sadden me that they're never used for their intended purpose
 

Tramfan

Member
Joined
19 Mar 2011
Messages
362
Location
.
Wouldn't it be beneficial for Blackpool Transport to use the Winter Season to their advantage so they can train all their LRT staff on the B Fleet?

It really does sadden me that they're never used for their intended purpose
I'm not sure there's any need to any more, Blackpool Transport have gone through the entire summer season running the basic 15 minute frequency (which has been in place since October last year, and therefore in operation throughout the winter period too), which only requires 9 out of the 18 Flexities.

Even now the illuminations is on, we still have just the 15 minute frequency in the evenings (between Starr Gate and Little Bispham) and the bizarre 22 min/8 min split southbound
 

Robertj21a

On Moderation
Joined
22 Sep 2013
Messages
7,536
Is the problem a lack of staff or a lack of interest running a more frequent service ?
 

philthetube

Established Member
Joined
5 Jan 2016
Messages
3,771
There is a real need , Bispham to Tower, many passengers left behind at stops past Norbreck, problems biggest on Market days.

They will always be short of drivers while the wages remain low, better money available in other jobs as soon as the summer starts.
 

LOL The Irony

On Moderation
Joined
29 Jul 2017
Messages
5,335
Location
Chinatown, New York
Wouldn't it be beneficial for Blackpool Transport to use the Winter Season to their advantage so they can train all their LRT staff on the B Fleet?
Can't as the illuminations now run through to the end of the year. They only have January - Easter as an off season now, which can be a period as short as a little over 3 months.
It really does sadden me that they're never used for their intended purpose
Indeed. It was a giant waste of money and they've spent the last 10 years sitting around doing essentially bugger all.
Is the problem a lack of staff or a lack of interest running a more frequent service ?
Probably both.
There is a real need , Bispham to Tower, many passengers left behind at stops past Norbreck, problems biggest on Market days.
I've thought for a while now that a Bispham - Pleasure Beach service would be perfect, alternating North Station with the Fleetwood Ferry - Starr Gate services, giving a 7.5 minute frequency through the busiest section.
 

philthetube

Established Member
Joined
5 Jan 2016
Messages
3,771
Can't as the illuminations now run through to the end of the year. They only have January - Easter as an off season now, which can be a period as short as a little over 3 months.
The service running now is the same as the one operating all last winter, so no off season.
 

Leedsbusman

Member
Joined
9 May 2021
Messages
210
Location
Layton
Can't as the illuminations now run through to the end of the year. They only have January - Easter as an off season now, which can be a period as short as a little over 3 months.

Indeed. It was a giant waste of money and they've spent the last 10 years sitting around doing essentially bugger all.

Probably both.

I've thought for a while now that a Bispham - Pleasure Beach service would be perfect, alternating North Station with the Fleetwood Ferry - Starr Gate services, giving a 7.5 minute frequency through the busiest section.
It would only be a 7.5 minute frequency throughout if it took 15 minutes to get North Pier to North Station and back!
 

davehsug

Member
Joined
8 Jul 2014
Messages
230
Can't as the illuminations now run through to the end of the year. They only have January - Easter as an off season now, which can be a period as short as a little over 3 months.

Indeed. It was a giant waste of money and they've spent the last 10 years sitting around doing essentially bugger all.

Probably both.

I've thought for a while now that a Bispham - Pleasure Beach service would be perfect, alternating North Station with the Fleetwood Ferry - Starr Gate services, giving a 7.5 minute frequency through the busiest section.
Of course. There's a reason why the old running patterns evolved the way they did, and it was simply need. The basic Starr Gate - Fleetwood sevice, suplemented by specials running Pleasure Beach - Cabin during the morning peak, Pleasure Beach -Bispham during the day, with Pleasure Beach - Tower/Talbot Square at peak times. I suppose these days that Pleasure Beach doesn't need the same level of service, as it's an "all-day" stay, rather than a few hours in the afternoon. A basic 15 minute service is just so inflexible and loses BT revenue & friends. But then these things aren't new, it must be very difficult arranging to move thousands of people over fairly short distances, where loading is heavily affected by things like the weather. I do think they should do more when heavy loading is easily predictable & fairly regular though.
 

ValleyLines142

Established Member
Joined
25 Jul 2011
Messages
6,857
Location
Gloucester
I dread to even think how inadequate the service was during the summer; pre-modernisation whenever we went to Blackpool (and I've been to Blackpool more times than I've had cooked dinners!), if we walked down to the prom and saw a tram coming we wouldn't bother rushing for it as we knew another one would be along shortly, or you'd wait for a particular one if you saw it in the distance. Now, if I see a tram coming, I leg it to the stop as I know I've got at least 15 minutes to wait!

Again, prior to modernisation, there used to be a timetabled Starr Gate to Fleetwood service, a timetabled Starr Gate to Cleveleys service plus a few extras in between. Now, if I was to plan it, I'd have the Starr Gate to Fleetwood services every 15 minutes as per, plus a Pleasure Beach to Cleveleys service as per, and then in addition a couple of heritage trams being used as a reserve between Pleasure Beach and North Pier, the busiest section. It should be almost virtually turn up and go along the Golden Mile at the very least. Optimistic I know, particularly from an operational perspective, but I know what Blackpool is like!
 

Harvey B

Member
Joined
11 Mar 2019
Messages
1,018
Can't as the illuminations now run through to the end of the year. They only have January - Easter as an off season now, which can be a period as short as a little over 3 months.

Indeed. It was a giant waste of money and they've spent the last 10 years sitting around doing essentially bugger all.
Surely 3 months should be enough time for Blackpool Transport to get a substantial amount of their tram crew trained on the B Fleet. Although if they've been constantly understaffed since covid, there might not be the time or resources to get enough Tram crew trained on B Fleet.

In My Opinion they should have really looked into ways they could have made regular use of a long time before Covid even happened.
I've thought for a while now that a Bispham - Pleasure Beach service would be perfect, alternating North Station with the Fleetwood Ferry - Starr Gate services, giving a 7.5 minute frequency through the busiest section.
Sounds like a good Idea. BT really needs to be upping their game and running a more frequent service at this point in the year. A 15 minute service is unworkable
A basic 15 minute service is just so inflexible and loses BT revenue & friends. But then these things aren't new, it must be very difficult arranging to move thousands of people over fairly short distances, where loading is heavily affected by things like the weather. I do think they should do more when heavy loading is easily predictable & fairly regular though.
I dread to even think how inadequate the service was during the summer; pre-modernisation whenever we went to Blackpool (and I've been to Blackpool more times than I've had cooked dinners!), if we walked down to the prom and saw a tram coming we wouldn't bother rushing for it as we knew another one would be along shortly, or you'd wait for a particular one if you saw it in the distance. Now, if I see a tram coming, I leg it to the stop as I know I've got at least 15 minutes to wait!

Again, prior to modernisation, there used to be a timetabled Starr Gate to Fleetwood service, a timetabled Starr Gate to Cleveleys service plus a few extras in between. Now, if I was to plan it, I'd have the Starr Gate to Fleetwood services every 15 minutes as per, plus a Pleasure Beach to Cleveleys service as per, and then in addition a couple of heritage trams being used as a reserve between Pleasure Beach and North Pier, the busiest section. It should be almost virtually turn up and go along the Golden Mile at the very least. Optimistic I know, particularly from an operational perspective, but I know what Blackpool is like!
Agreed! I think it's stupid running The Trams at a 15 minute frequency during their peak season. It needs to be every 10 minutes at the very Max when Blackpool is in Peak Tourist Season (Usually from June until November)
 

Tramfan

Member
Joined
19 Mar 2011
Messages
362
Location
.
I don't think there's been a 10 minute daytime frequency during the illuminations period since the new fleet came in, the frequency always seems to drop to every 15 minutes daytime to enable a more frequent evening service in previous years.

When I was there in the summer, the 15 minute frequency was mostly coping fine, other than the Saturday morning hotel rush. Wouldn't surprise me if years of poor frequency and the resultant crush loading as well as constantly leaving people behind at busy times has put people off. Then again, this year we had the £2 bus cap which didn't apply to the trams, the 24 hour ticket was withdrawn and fares went up (£3.20 for a single) which may be factors as well.
 

Towers

Established Member
Joined
30 Aug 2021
Messages
1,718
Location
UK
In a deeply deprived area like Blackpool, tram driving really ought to be a decent, respectable job. It’s clean, professional and has a degree of skill and responsibility involved, and it’s rather sad that it’s so poorly paid as to be unstaffable. Is this an issue on systems elsewhere in the country?
 

Xenophon PCDGS

Veteran Member
Joined
17 Apr 2011
Messages
32,546
Location
A semi-rural part of north-west England
In a deeply deprived area like Blackpool, tram driving really ought to be a decent, respectable job. It’s clean, professional and has a degree of skill and responsibility involved, and it’s rather sad that it’s so poorly paid as to be unstaffable. Is this an issue on systems elsewhere in the country?
What is the current rate of pay for tram drivers in Blackpool?
 

Towers

Established Member
Joined
30 Aug 2021
Messages
1,718
Location
UK
What is the current rate of pay for tram drivers in Blackpool?
The job ad was up a few weeks back but has now gone; I think it was c.£22k. I was surprised it was less than the advertised rate for a bus driver, which apparently is around the £25k mark.
 

Tramfan

Member
Joined
19 Mar 2011
Messages
362
Location
.
The bus network has been struggling with shortages as well, although it does feel like the trams are becoming the poor relation again. The state of some of the stops with rusted shelters, wiring exposed and missing timetable information was noticably poor when i was there, and the trams themselves are have badly faded paintwork on the front and some threadbare seating
 

Harvey B

Member
Joined
11 Mar 2019
Messages
1,018
I don't think there's been a 10 minute daytime frequency during the illuminations period since the new fleet came in, the frequency always seems to drop to every 15 minutes daytime to enable a more frequent evening service in previous years.
I might be wrong but I'm pretty sure that the maximum wait for a tram used to be no more than 10 minutes before Covid happened
 

Tramfan

Member
Joined
19 Mar 2011
Messages
362
Location
.
I might be wrong but I'm pretty sure that the maximum wait for a tram used to be no more than 10 minutes before Covid happened
In the summer yes there was a 10 min frequency, but once the illuminations switched on, they used to drop to every 12 mins, now only every 15 mins.
 
Joined
6 Sep 2011
Messages
976
Location
Blackpool south Shore
Found a copy of timetable starting 30th August 2021.
Illumination evenings half the service, and loss of 2 x No 1 buses per hour (avoided illumination traffic and diverted inland)
No fun travelling on them - Packed like sardines.
Talbot Road / Holiday Inn service
Testing / training drivers - someone said Christmas onwards.
 

Attachments

  • Tram-timetable-20210830-82c66778.pdf
    385.1 KB · Views: 32
Joined
8 Aug 2014
Messages
71
Any word on when the North Station extension is set to open?
The official line is still "By Easter 2024". The Holiday Inn site is looking less like a building site every day, although it is still a building site. The platforms were de-wired some time ago to make the building work easier, they still need rewiring. The subway is still a work in progress but is getting closer by the day. High Street is now a road once more, but not yet open. So lots of little bits of progress, just not enough yet to move on.
 

JD2168

Member
Joined
11 Jul 2022
Messages
997
Location
Sheffield
I went past the location of the North Station stop last week & it looked a way off being useable for passengers, especially if the winter weather is not good & delays construction further.
 

Grumpy

Member
Joined
8 Nov 2010
Messages
1,077
The Holiday Inn site is looking less like a building site every day, although it is still a building site. The platforms were de-wired some time ago to make the building work easier, they still need rewiring. The subway is still a work in progress but is getting closer by the day. High Street is now a road once more, but not yet open. So lots of little bits of progress, just not enough yet to move on.
Had a look yesterday.
All the above comments still seem to apply so not much progress in the past month

1702894771142.jpeg
 
Joined
8 Aug 2014
Messages
71
Still pencilled in, very lightly I suspect, for Easter.

There has been quite a lot of work on the site, you need to remember that the tram extension is only part of what's happening. For instance, all the hoardings that have been up for most of the redevelopment have gone and been replaced by temporary fencing. Bus stops and pavements have mostly been replaced. The hotel is nearly there externally, a lot of interior fitting is done and it's taking bookings from mid-June. The subway is a lot closer to being finished.

The tramway was always going to come in last, even though most of it was built first.
 
Joined
6 Sep 2011
Messages
976
Location
Blackpool south Shore
Trams service suspended yesterday, today, and onwards -

  • Tramway Suspended
    Today 04:53
    Tramway suspended until further notice due to high wind speeds. Causing sand build up in the rails and potential damage to the infrastructure. We will keep you updated throughout the day.
    Sorry for any inconvenience.
  • Tramway Disruption
    Today 11:37 - 23:58
    Due to the tramway suspension we are currently operating a bus replacement service. There is a bus replacement from Starr Gate heading North at 1145, 1300, 1400, 1515 and 1615.
    There is a bus replacement from Fleetwood Ferry heading south at 1150,1250,1405,1505 and 1720. Due to low resources after 1818 there will be no bus replacements unfortunately. Please plan ahead and use the bus network or arrange alternative travel. Apologies for the inconvenience caused.
 

Top