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Blackpool Gets A New Tramway

Apr 29, 2008
Blackpool's and Fleetwood's historical tram way has recently received a big cash injection from the government to improve it from the classic old fashioned tramway it currently is, to a fantastic new light rail system.

The future of Blackpool's iconic trams has been secured thanks to Government funding.

The 285.3 Million scheme will see the Blackpool and Fleetwood tram system extensively refurbished bringing it up to 21st century standards as well as introducing new trams.

This investment is the centre piece of the Governments forthcoming response to the Blackpool Task Force report. which recommended ways to regenerate the area.

Councillor Peter Callow, Leader of Blackpool Council said: 'It is a real vote of confidence in Blackpools future as a successful resort. I am sure that it will encourage much needed private investment in the town.'

Improvements will include refurbishment of the track and tram stops out to Fleetwood, as well as 16 new fully accessible trams. The historic trams will continue to serve Blackpool's famous seafront promenade.

Every year the tramway carries nearly 4 million passengers, around 75% of which are visitors to Blackpool making it vitally important to the tourism economy.

The decision marks the start of detailed planning of the refurbishment. It is envisaged it will take four years to complete starting in late 2009. The Council will endeavour to keep the disruption to a minimum by carrying out work during the winter months.

Rail Minister Tom Harris, who announced the news in Blackpool, said: 'At over 120 years old, the Blackpool and Fleetwood tramway is part of the local heritage as well as an important part of the local transport system.'

'I want to make sure that tourists and local people alike can continue to enjoy the tram in years to come and make sure it lies at the heart of the town's current regeneration plans.'

'We will continue to work with Blackpool Council. Lancashire County Council and local MPs so they can deliver a modem
tramway that is attractive to passengers and value for money for the taxpayer. I am glad that we are working towards safeguarding the future of this iconic system for future generations.'

The entire tramway was closed for the first time in its history in November to enable emergency works to carried out.
Thanks the hard work of contractors, Birse and Colas Rail the majority of the track as reopened in time for the Easter weekend.

Trams were running between Starr Gate and Uncle Tom's Cabin from Good Friday with the rest of the track having a phased opening over the following weeks.

The council would like to thank everyone for their patience whilst the work has been carried out. Where possible disruption has been kept to a minimum and hopefully residents and vistors alike will experience a marked improvement from the old track.

While I do love the classic trams riding up the promenade, I personally think this is a great moment for both towns and its people. It amazes me to see how much this town has changed in the past ten years.
About the Author
John Gygax is a writer who has lived in Blackpool for over 30 years.
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