on September 22, 2010
Blackpool trams are one of the iconic sights of the town which everyone has heard of and wants to use when they go on holiday. The tramline dates back to 1855 and runs for 11 miles from Starr Gate to Fleetwood, the section along the seafront is the part which is the most famous and the trams here run parallel to the seafront and the road. Blackpool trams are the only original trams in the UK as the rest of the country abolished them in favour of building road networks although a few cities like Edinburgh have now realised the benefits of a tram network and are building new tram lines.For the tourist the main tramline runs along the seafront and promenade with services running both ways roughly every ten minutes. There are stops by many of the main tourist attractions including the North Pier and Blackpool Tower. To catch a tram you simply wait by the stop and stick your hand out and the driver will stop.The trams are mainly double decker although a few single deck vehicles exist too and there is a large step up from the roadside posing a problem for those with restricted mobility or pushchairs. Once you are inside the tram they are nothing special as they look exactly like tired old double decker buses and you don’t have fantastic views from the windows on the bottom deck. The seats are slightly smaller than you would expect from a modern form of transport and there is very little luggage space. The trams get very busy during the main tourist season and they are also heavily used by locals, especially old age pensioners who can use their free bus pass on the tram. The fact the tram does not have to negotiate the heavy traffic of the promenade or the traffic lights makes them quicker than the bus to get from A to B but there is also a lot of stopping and starting at each stop to let people on and off.The trams prove to be an expensive way to travel along the main tourist areas as they operate a flat fare policy, it was around £2 for a single adult ticket for the mile long journey from North Pier to the tower and you could not buy a return ticket. If you are going to travel the full distance of the tramline then the fare becomes far more reasonable but they could do with reducing the fares for those just wanting to travel a few stops. It is possible to buy passes for 3 days or a week which will save you money if you intend to make a lot of journeys by tram.The trams come to life during the illuminations when many of the trams are lit up in bright lights including one decked out to look like an old fashioned steam train. The tram company run illumination sight seeing trips on open deck trams during this time and it is an ideal way to see the lights and be in the middle of the action. Sightseeing trips will cost around £6 per adult and are well worth the money to see the lights.I was disappointed that the trams felt so ordinary as a means to get from A to B and also cost a lot of money for a short trip. I would however recommend that you use them during the illuminations for that true Blackpool experience.
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