Blackpool Heritage Trams future uncertain amid £1m bid to fix faulty building

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“The roof is not only the most expensive single item on our To Do List, it’s also the most essential to keep out the elements, protect the fleet and make less onerous, the remaining repairs.”

Two heritage trams in front the famous Blackpool tower

Two heritage trams in front the famous Blackpool tower (Image: Right Move)

The team behind Blackpool Transport’s Heritage Trams have expressed that they need to obtain vital funding in order to carry on.

The vintage vehicles have been running for more than 100 years, mostly as a visitor experience since 2014, and led largely by a team of volunteers.

Housed and maintained at the Rigby Road bus depot, there is now an urgent need for funding in order to build a new roof and preserve the historic vehicles.

 

The current building, which houses a fleet of more than 35 vintage trams, is in vital need of renovation.

The roof must be completely replaced first in order to prevent water ingress, quickly followed by regeneration of the building to give better structural integrity and protect the trams from the torrent of Fylde Coast wind and rain.

Two heritage trams near the pier in Blackpool

Two heritage trams near the pier in Blackpool (Image: Blackpool Heritage Trams)

Bryan Lindop, head of heritage at Blackpool Transport said “Replacing our roof is the first step on a journey that will secure the future for our famous trams in their rightful home, whilst underpinning our strategy to develop a long-term vision for a visitor attraction.

“The roof is not only the most expensive single item on our To Do List, it’s also the most essential to keep out the elements, protect the fleet and make less onerous, the remaining repairs.”

Until recent years there wasn’t a long-term intention for the transport operator to continue the running of Blackpool’s Heritage Trams.

The renovation of the Blackpool Tramway and introduction of modern, light rail trams in 2012 replaced the operation of the now Heritage Trams.

It is only the dedication of a team of volunteers and collaborative working with partners across the resort, which has enabled the vehicles to continue to delight residents and visitors to Blackpool’s seafront.

Blackpool Heritage has now launched an ambitious fundraiser seeking £1million in donations from people all over the world. This will enable the first, most costly, and most important part of the restoration plans to begin which is the installation of a new roof.

HMS Blackpool Tram

HMS Blackpool Tram (Image: Blackpool Heritage Trams)

Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours has served more than a quarter of a million customers over the past seven years, playing an important part in Blackpool’s cultural, educational and heritage offering.

The famous Blackpool Illuminations also depend on the show stopping illuminated trams to bring the seasonal event to life, all of which are operated from the Rigby Road Depot.

Bryan Lindop added: “Whilst a million pounds is deceptively easy to say, I fully recognise it’s a big ask, but when all’s said and done, it’s a big roof!

“I have always believed in the incredible power of lots of people working collectively together for a common cause, and a lot of people making a small contribution can have a major impact on the outcome. Will you help us raise the roof?”

You can find out more about this exciting project at www.blackpooltransport.com/fundraiser.