We all love the Illuminated Heritage Trams!

Illuminated Heritage Trams are a long standing tradition in Blackpool and they’re guaranteed to make you smile!

History of Illuminated Heritage Trams

The first illuminated trams were seen on our promenade in 1897. Early ones celebrated Royal visits and the completion of promenade works.

You can find out about the history of the first illuminated trams here, complete with some old photos of the first trams including the Gondola, Progress and the Blackpool Belle.

The video clip below of the Illuminated Heritage Trams is by Bruce Kitchener from YouTube

Todays Illuminated Heritage Trams

These days you’ll see three Illuminated Heritage Trams out on the Blackpool tramway during the autumn evenings of Illuminations season.

In this overview page we’ll give you links to photos, videos and more information about each one.

HMS Blackpool

The HMS Blackpool Tram is based on the Royal Navy Frigate of the same name.

Blackpool Illuminated Heritage Tram, HMS Blackpool Frigate
Blackpool Illuminated Heritage Tram, HMS Blackpool Frigate

Find out more about HMS Blackpool

Fisherman’s Friend Trawler Tram

The Fisherman's Friend Trawler Tram, one of the current Illuminated Heritage Trams
The Fisherman’s Friend Trawler Tram, part of the display at Tram Sunday

This beautiful tram has been fully restored and returned to the tramway bedecked in thousands of glittering LED lights! Here it is lit up at night.

Blackpool Illuminated Heritage Tram, Fisherman's Friend Trawler
Blackpool Illuminated Heritage Tram, Fisherman’s Friend Trawler

Find out more about Fisherman’s Friend Trawler Tram

Western Train Tram

Blackpool Illuminated Heritage Tram, Western Train
Blackpool Illuminated Heritage Tram, Western Train

The Western Train is a firm favourite, and it’s also the tram that carries Santa to meet excited children at Christmas time too!

Find out more about the Western Train Tram


Blackpool Illuminated Heritage Tram Tours

You can ride on these three amazing illuminated heritage trams when they’re lit up at night during the Blackpool Illuminations.

You catch a Heritage Tram Tour from the heritage tram stop at the Pleasure Beach adjacent to the tram turning circle.

Heritage Tram Stop, where you catch the Illuminated Heritage Trams
Heritage Tram Stop, where you catch the Illuminated Heritage Trams

A tour lasts on average 1hr 15 mins as you travel to Bispham and return back to the Pleasure Beach.

Tours run about every 20 mins from switch on time. The first tours are always the busiest so come back in about an hour if you don’t want to queue or wait.

Regular Heritage Tams are also used on the illumination tours. The double decker trams give an excellent view of the lights and the illuminated trams when they pass!. The double deckers often have coloured lighting for a better view.

PLEASE NOTE that you can ONLY board an Illuminations tram tour at the Pleasure Beach Heritage Tram Stop. Your will travel along the Golden Mile and through all the lights and past the tableaux to Little Bispham. Having turned round, on the way back you can get off the tram at any of the Heritage stops between Little Bispham and the Pleasure Beach.

The Heritage Tram stops are separate to the normal tram stops, they look like bus stops but are on the tramway.

Tickets are valid for one return journey, priced at £6 for adults and £3 children (2017)

Illuminated Tours Timetable

2017 Dates First Tour Last Tour -Sun- Fri Last tour – Sat
2 Sept – 14 Sept 2000 2100 2200
15 Sept – 21 Sept 1945 2100 2200
22 Sept – 28 Sept 1930 2100 2200
29 Sept – 5 Oct 1915 2100 2200
6 Oct – 12 Oct 1900 2100 2200
13 Oct – 19 Oct 1845 2100 2200
20 Oct – 28 Oct 1830 2100 2200
29 Oct – 5 Nov 1700 2100 2200

Heritage Tram Tours

You can also ride the traditional Heritage Trams throughout the day and they will also be out doing tours of the Illuminations too.

Heritage Tram being exhibited at Fleetwood Tram Sunday, run alongside Illuminated Heritage Trams
One of the Heritage Tram Fleet
Heritage Tram being exhibited at Fleetwood Tram Sunday

More about the fleet of Blackpool Heritage Trams here


Heritage Tram Tours FAQs and Helpful Hints!

• Can we pre-book tours? – Generally No, just turn up and pay the conductor on board The only pre-bookable tours are Great British Night Out, Guided Tours and Ghost Tours

• Do you operate every day? – Promenade Tours operate most weekends & school holidays Illumination Tours operate every evening during the Illuminations except Switch On night Illumination Tours start from Switch-On time until 9pm Sun-Thurs & until 10pm Fri/Sat

• Do you operate tours on Switch On night – No, we start on Saturday 2nd September This is because the Tramway is closed at Tower Headland for The Switch On event

• What time is best to catch an Illumination Tour? – The first tours are always busiest and then get quieter during the evening, an hour after switch on time is best for a shorter wait! Friday/Saturday are busiest! Tours take just over an hour and operate around every 20 minutes.

• Where do we catch an Illuminations Tour? – ONLY from Pleasure Beach Heritage Stop you can alight an Illuminations tour at other Heritage Tram Stops on the return journey

 Are all trams illuminated? – We use a mix of Illuminated and Heritage trams You can get a great view of the Illuminations from the Top deck of our Double Deckers!

• Can I get off and rejoin a tour (split tour)? – Daytime tours-Yes, Illumination tours-No

…and a few more!

 Are Blackpool Transport Saver/Day/24/One tickets valid on Heritage Tram Tours – No Heritage Day Tickets are available which also include modern tram and bus services

• Can we buy Heritage Day Tickets on all trams and buses – Yes, Heritage Day Tickets can be bought on any Blackpool Transport bus or tram service, remember and ask for HERITAGE! Heritage Day Tickets: Adult £11, Child £6, Family £25 – includes all tours/buses/trams

• Are Heritage Tram Tickets available online or on the Blackpool Transport App – No

• Can we pay by Debit/Credit Card – No, we only accept £cash on our tours

• Are concession passes accepted on Heritage Trams – No, these are not valid for tours

• Are Heritage Day Tickets valid for 24 hours – No, only valid on the day of purchase

• Can I hire a Heritage Tram – Yes, call Emma on 01253 209521 for more details!


Other Illuminated Heritage Trams

Hovertram comes Home!

The illuminated Hovertram, no.735 returned to Blackpool in September 2016 after an absence of nine years.

Hovertram arrives back in Blackpool, it was one of the Illuminated Heritage Trams
Hovertram arrives back in Blackpool

735 has been placed on loan to the Blackpool Heritage Trust for a minimum of 20 years from its owners, the North Eastern Electrical Traction Trust (NEETT). It had spent the last two years at their Sunderland premises.

After a four hour journey, the Hovertram arrived at the Rigby Road depot. It looks in better condition that you might expect, especially since it’s not run since the 2001 Illuminations.

It spent six years in store in Blackpool before leaving for preservation in Scotland in 2007, then being transferred to Sunderland in 2014. Its return reunites the entire collection of 1960’s built illuminated trams.

Blackpool Heritage Trust would like to thank NEETT for allowing the Hovertram to return home to Blackpool, and to the Blackpool Tram Shop for sponsoring the move.


The Rocket Tram

Rocket Tram on the Gynn Roundabout, one of the former Illuminated Heritage Trams
Rocket Tram on the Gynn Roundabout, one of the former Illuminated Heritage Trams

Not now on display but worthy of a mention in this section about the current illuminated trams, is the Rocket.

The Rocket Tram was a pioneer of the earliest days of space travel – remember that man didn’t walk on the moon until 1969. It came to the Blackpool tramway in 1961 and travelled the tramway until 1999.

It was a unique passenger experience, riding in a tram elevated at almost 30 degrees, with King Peter of Yugoslavia and General Neguib of Egypt dressed as astronauts in the cock-pit. They were two redundant characters from the then Louis Tussauds Waxworks.

By 2010 it was beyond the point of economic restoration so for ten years it gathered dust in the tram depot. A plan was put together to display it on the Gynn roundabout as part of the Illuminations Centenary display in 2012. It was removed in 2014 to make way for a refreshed display.

The Rocket Tram then joined the fleet of old Heritage Trams at the Rigby Road Depot along with the rest of the Blackpool Heritage Trust fleet.


Find out More

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