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Trams Rock In Blackpool!
Member Name: T4imbo3107
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.
Summary: You cant go to Blackpool without.......
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