Campaigners launch £1 million appeal to help preserve Blackpool icon

Campaigners have launched a new appeal to raise money to keep a Lancashire icon running.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 12:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 1:06 pm
A heritage tram on Blackpool prom. Blackpool Heritage has launched an ambitious fund-raiser seeking £1 million in donations in order to build a new roof and preserve these historic vehicles
A heritage tram on Blackpool prom. Blackpool Heritage has launched an ambitious fund-raiser seeking £1 million in donations in order to build a new roof and preserve these historic vehicles

Blackpool Transport’s Heritage Trams have been running for more than 100 years, most recently as a visitor experience since 2014, led mostly by a team of volunteers. Housed and maintained at the Rigby Road bus depot, there is an urgent need for funding in order to build a new roof and preserve these historic vehicles for years to come.

Now Blackpool Heritage has launched an ambitious fund-raiser seeking £1 million 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.

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.

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

Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours has served more than a quarter of a million customers over the past 7 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.

HMS Blackpool Tram at Pleasure Beach. Blackpool Heritage has launched an ambitious fund-raiser seeking £1 million in donations in order to build a new roof and preserve these historic vehicles, which are also used during the Illuminations

Mr 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.