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Blackpool Trams

Discussion in 'Other Public Transport' started by EbbwJunction1, 21 Sep 2015.

  1. EbbwJunction1

    EbbwJunction1 Member

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    As far as I can recall, I've never travelled on the Blackpool Trams, although it's something that has interested me for a while.

    I've been looking at a possible trip to the North West at the end of October, and this would give me an opportunity to travel on the trams. I would, therefore, like to ask for some advice on this, please.

    1. What's the best rail route to get to the southerly terminus (Starr Gate)? I think that it looks to the Blackpool South line, getting off the train at Squires Gate and walking from there to the tram stop.

    2. If I just took one through northbound journey to Fleetwood, how would I get back to the main line? It looks to me as if I'd have to take the ferry to Knott End and then a bus to Lancaster - is this right?

    3. If I took (say) one full journey and then returned to the entre of Blackpool, would you recommend the train service from Blackpool North to Preston?

    4. Finally, I'd probably be in the area during the week commencing 26th October. Is this likely to be a busy time (especially with regard to the Blackpool Illuminations), please?

    Thanks very much!
     
    Last edited: 21 Sep 2015
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  3. WestCoast

    WestCoast Established Member

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    1. Yes, Starr Gate stop is a 5-10 minutes walk from Squires Gate rail station, on the Blackpool South line.

    2. Fleetwood - Lancaster via Ferry and Bus would be one rather pleasant if a little slow way, but the Ferry is not always running due to the tide etc. You could also catch the 80/82 Fylde Villager bus service from Fleetwood to Poulton-le-Fylde on the Blackpool North - Preston line.

    3. It's a frequent service and just a 10 minute walk away from North Pier tram stop, with a variety of traction including 142s, 150s, 156s, 158s, 185s and 221s, but while the scenery is mostly pleasant, it's nothing out of the ordinary either.

    4. If you travel during the day, when the illuminations are not on yet, then the trams are unlikely to be packed. The Blackpool trains might be a little busy, but getting a seat is most likely. It is half term week for some schools in England, so Blackpool itself will probably be quite busy but nothing extreme I'd say.
     
  4. EbbwJunction1

    EbbwJunction1 Member

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    Thanks very much - this is very useful.

    I've checked the bus service from Fleetwood to Poulton-le-Fylde, and I've found a Preston Bus service (No. 75) which fits the bill quite well. There's also a bus from Knott End to Poulton-le-Fylde (Blackpool Transport Services No.
    2C) which allows me to take the ferry. This means that I won't have to go to Lancaster as I can take the train to Manchester from Poulton-le-Fylde.

    It's given me some food for thought - thanks again for your help.
     
  5. WestCoast

    WestCoast Established Member

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    You're very welcome.

    Sorry, it is indeed the Fylde Villager 75 from Fleetwood to Poulton, got the numbers mixed up there. I have also remembered there is a more frequent service (every 30 minutes) on the Stagecoach 84 which runs from Fleetwood to Poulton via Cleveleys.

    The 2C would be quite a pleasant ride too from Knott End to Poulton, if that's an option.

    The final option is the Blackpool Transport 14, running every 10 minutes, which would take you directly from Fleetwood to Blackpool North station on a leafy inland route. If you're short of time might be an option.
     
  6. EbbwJunction1

    EbbwJunction1 Member

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    Thanks again!
     
  7. duffield

    duffield Member

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  8. EbbwJunction1

    EbbwJunction1 Member

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    Thanks very much.
     
  9. EbbwJunction1

    EbbwJunction1 Member

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    Well, I made my visit to Blackpool last Tuesday and had a very good day on the trams.

    I started from Manchester Victoria and went to Squires Gate via Preston, and then walked to Starr Gate. The tram was waiting for me having just arrived, and after a short wait we set off to Pleasure Beach. I changed there for one of the Heritage trams - a single decker "boat type" (I don't know the makes, I'm afraid) and went along the front to the North Pier. When we got there, the crew said that the tram was being extended to Cabin, so I stayed on. From Cabin, I re-joined one of the modern trams and went from there to Fleetwood Ferry.

    I had several options from Fleetwood; one was to cross the estuary on the ferry and get the bus to Poulton-Le-Fylde and the train from there back to Manchester, or to stay with the trams and go back to Blackpool. After a short walk around Fleetwood, I decided to take the second option and went back to Cabin on the modern tram.

    After a short while, no heritage tram had arrived, so I took a modern tram back to North Pier where a heritage tram was waiting to go to Pleasure Beach. I took this service on a round trip and ended my day on the trams at North Pier, from where I walked to Blackpool North station.

    From Blackpool North, it was a direct trip to Manchester Victoria and thus ended a good day. I was impressed by the trams, both heritage and modern, and also by the large number of loal people who were travelling on them.

    Thanks to the crews of both types of trams, as they were very helpful, and also to those of you who helped me with my trip planning.
     
  10. Peter Mugridge

    Peter Mugridge Established Member

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    The Boat cars were built by English Electric - as were the Balloon double deckers.
     
  11. EbbwJunction1

    EbbwJunction1 Member

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    Thank you; is there anywhere I can get details of what cars are used for the heritage services, please?
     
  12. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

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  13. EbbwJunction1

    EbbwJunction1 Member

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  14. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    Glad you had some rides on proper Blackpool trams as well as the ubiquitous Europlastic moderns.

    The original Blackpool Tramway was a true transport gem!
     
  15. 47802

    47802 On Moderation

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    Maybe but a lot of locals didn't use them, where as they do now, modernisation was long overdue, depending on whether you wanted a modern useful transport system, or a tourist attraction old relic, clearly the extension to Blackpool North will make it much more useful
     
    Last edited: 7 Nov 2015
  16. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    I don't doubt the new system has its merits.
     
    Last edited: 7 Nov 2015
  17. EbbwJunction1

    EbbwJunction1 Member

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    I did wonder before I went there how much the locals used them.

    It's obvious from my experiences that they do indeed use them. It also looks to me as if there's a fair number of "local" journeys, i.e. someone catching a tram for just a couple of stops rather than taking a long trip from one end to the other.
     
  18. WestCoast

    WestCoast Established Member

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    I grew up in Blackpool and it's true that most locals tended not to even consider using the tram as the buses were seen as being faster, more frequent, more comfortable and cheaper - it really struggled outside the main promenade section especially in Winter. Also outside the tourist season and core Bispham - Pleasure Beach section it was often operated using Centenary Cars which were IMO about as exciting as a Pacer or Parry People Mover.

    The Flexities and stops are much nicer now and are easily accessible to passengers with wheelchairs, passengers pushing buggies and older people (of which many live on the Fylde Coast) - it's also as quick or quicker than the bus now.

    As a former local, I think the mixed modern with heritage tours operation is what the tramway really needed to keep it running for the next 100 years as both a tourist attraction and relevant mode of transport.
     
    Last edited: 10 Nov 2015
  19. Cliveblackpool

    Cliveblackpool Member

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  20. craigybagel

    craigybagel Established Member

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    I'm sure I remember reading when the new trams were introduced they were still limited to 50kmh by the linespeed and not the 70kmh that they are capable of. Is this still the case?
     
  21. AngelicUpstart

    AngelicUpstart Member

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    Yes, on the section south of the Cabin, where the track is completely unfenced it is 30kmph. North of the Cabin to Fishermans Walk 50kmph. Finally I think it's either 20 or 30 kmph down the shared road to the Ferry.

    Too many uncontrolled pedestrian crossing and stops still probably a bit too close together to get up to 70kmph. One of the sections they may have managed it, Norbreck to Little Bispham, is also currently subject to a TSR due to the southbound platform being built at the new Norbreck North stop..
     
  22. craigybagel

    craigybagel Established Member

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    Cheers, haven't been on a run north of Little Bispham since the new tramsncame in to find out for myself. It does seem like a waste though - Sheffield manages 40 mph street running!
     
  23. Cliveblackpool

    Cliveblackpool Member

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    Blackpool Gazette Article
    ''Tramway threat in budget proposals''
    10:27Wednesday 18 November 2015

    Blackpool’s tram link to Fleetwood could be lost after County Hall chiefs threatened to stop funding its share of the tramway.

    The proposal to cut funding for the Lancashire portion of the track is among a raft of measures put forward by Lancashire County Council (LCC)as it tries to plug a £65m hole in its finances left by Government cuts.

    If approved, the authority would stop its £280,000-a-year contribution towards the upkeep of the line in Wyre.............
    http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/n.../tramway-threat-in-budget-proposals-1-7576382
     
  24. WestCoast

    WestCoast Established Member

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    There is definitely an economic case for the tramway in the borough of Wyre and they surely can't expect Blackpool to fund their portion of the permanent way?
     
  25. 158756

    158756 Member

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    It doesn't really matter if there's an economic case or not. The council can't pay. Also in transport funding for the Knott End ferry and all subsidised buses are to be axed.
    The council report acknowledges that it is possible the tramway through Wyre will close, and affect the viability of the whole tramway.
     
  26. EbbwJunction1

    EbbwJunction1 Member

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    Well, that would be a real shame - and, a surprise, as most of the trams that I saw were very well filled so there's obviously a demand.

    It looks as if I may have made my journey just in time, though.
     
  27. WestCoast

    WestCoast Established Member

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    It seems everything has been sorted :grin:

     
    Last edited: 14 Feb 2016
  28. Old Yard Dog

    Old Yard Dog Member

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    Yesterday I had my first ride on the Blackpool trams since modernization. The run from Starr Gate to Fleetwood was very pleasant, apart from some overcrowding on the southern & central sections as they were still running a winter service on Easter Saturday. Having two conductors on board instead of one-man operation makes a massive difference to timing.

    However the run back, on a different unit, was totally spoilt by the tight mesh of black dots covering most of the windows. You could hardly see anything through them. Has it not occurred to Blackpool Transport that some passengers might want to see sea views, exotic crossovers and turning circles and even, in season, the illuminations? Are advertisements on the side of trams really so important?
     
    Last edited: 27 Mar 2016
  29. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Contravision = contraintelligent and will probably in the end lose more passengers than gained by the ad revenue.
     
  30. GrimsbyPacer

    GrimsbyPacer Established Member

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    They's always messed over windows with adverts.
    It was the same on the 80s rebuilt Balloon Cars, which are all gone now. :(
     

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    Last edited: 28 Mar 2016
  31. Peter Mugridge

    Peter Mugridge Established Member

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    There will be some Balloons and other oldies out throughout this summer; the heritage service will be running again. This year also sees the return of 737, the trawler illuminated tram.
     

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