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Blackpool Heritage Tram Depot Tour: A hidden attraction but one not to be missed

Blackpool Attractions

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Blackpool Heritage Tram Depot Tour: A hidden attraction but one not to be missed


Blackpool means different things to a great many people. For some it is the Pleasure Beach, others the Tower, Piers, Fish & Chips on the promenade or simply a stick of Blackpool Rock and a ‘Kiss-me-quick’ hat. What does define Blackpool however are the famous Blackpool trams which have plied their trade along the seafront since 1885. This is one of the oldest electric tramways on the planet and certainly one of the most famous. Indeed without the trams, Blackpool just wouldn’t be the same.

Since 2012 the well-known tramway received an upgrade and the trams themselves were replaced by brand-new ultra-modern vehicles, however the existing tramcars were retained and used as a reserve fleet or as heritage vehicles. These are based at the Rigby Road depot and have proven to be hugely popular with tourists thanks to regular heritage tours along the promenade and as far as Fleetwood.

Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours are now giving visitors a chance to see the famous trams up close and get behind the scenes at the famous Rigby Road depot. For a small fee, a guided tour by an extremely knowledgable and entertaining guide shows all the nooks and crannies at Rigby Road and visitors can see trams come and go as well as climb aboard one of the vintage vehicles. Intrigued by the prospect of gaining access to this working depot, we went along to see what the fuss was all about.

On arrival at Rigby Road, we joined a number of other visitors at the depot gates. A couple of vintage trams were readying themselves for their passengers and it was immediately clear that far from being merely a museum, this really is a working depot. As such, upon entry we were issued with the regulatory hi-viz vests and welcomed by John and his team. John was to be our guide for the tour and it was immediately apparent that he knew his stuff.

We were then taken on a tour of the depot and surrounding buildings which included the paint-shop and main depot where numerous vehicles were stored in various states of repair. This is an operation which relies heavily on volunteers and there can be no doubting their commitment to keeping these trams on the road, indeed the staff here were awarded the prestigious honour of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2020 and this was a well deserved reward for their dedication and commitment.

Trams of all shapes and sizes are to be seen in the depot – some operational and others awaiting restoration. All of these vintage vehicles sit under cover although the roof of the depot is in need of some serious repair and hopefully this will be implemented in the near future. We were given a history of the Blackpool Tramway as well as that of the various trams themselves, while comings and goings at the depot could be witnessed at relatively close quarters.

The whole tour lasted around one hour and 45 minutes and this was an ideal time to get a real feel for the place. This was a thoroughly informative and interesting tour of one of Blackpool’s lesser-known ‘attractions’ but it was certainly one which we have little hesitation in recommending to families of all ages.

Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours offer regular tours of the Rigby Road depot which is located less than 5 minutes walk from the centre of Blackpool Promenade. This is a tour not to be missed and further details can be found by visiting Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours.



All photos by Glen Laidlaw