Forty lucky members of the public were on board, each one had got hold of their ticket through the draws held in Blackpool and Wyre. They were joined by dignitaries who accompanied them to celebrate their long awaited return.
At Cleveleys, the tram was greeted by a cake in its own image made by Enticing Cakes, and a champagne reception. MP Paul Maynard was there, along with the Leader and Chief Executive of Wyre Council, Cleveleys Councillors and members of the Association of Commerce and Trade, to celebrate the return of the trams. Unfortunately it was raining heavily at this point so most of the event took place in the tram shelter, but it didn’t put a dampner on the exciting proceedings!
The VIPs from Cleveleys joined the tram as it travelled along the rest of its journey to North Euston Square at Fleetwood where it was greeted by a brass band and another crowd of people eagerly waiting for a sight of it. By this time, the rain had eased to a slow drizzle, as the Mayor of Wyre made a speech from inside the tram, welcoming it to the town.
The whole party enjoyed a Civic Reception at the North Euston Hotel, where Alan Marsh, the Chair of Fleetwood Town Council, started the speeches by welcoming everyone to the historic event and explaining how pleased the Town Council were to have been involved in the celebration.
Tim Ashton, LCC Portfolio Holder for Transport went on to say that the £100m investment in the completely new tram system built to modern safety standards is unique world-wide, and is also intended to support the regeneration of Fleetwood through investment and creation of a mobile workforce and therefore support the creation of new jobs.
Fleetwood MP Eric Ollerenshaw rounded up the speeches by reading out a list of the projects that are happening in Fleetwood and the huge amount of money that’s being invested now and for the future, making the point that there is a lot happening and a lot of effort being made and that Fleetwood can move forward, with everyones support.
Abby Rose Clarke had been waiting patiently to present flowers to the Mayors, and got her chance to hand out the bouquets to much applause.
After the reception and buffet, the skies cleared and the sun came out, as the passengers made their way back to the Fleetwood Ferry Tram Stop for the official photos and their return journey back to Festival House.
Trevor Burns, a regular Visit Cleveleys reader, was one of the lucky passengers on the tram. You can see a gallery of Trevors photos on the Visit Cleveleys Facebook page. He told us:
‘As one of the chosen few drawn out of the hat to travel on the Launch of the Blackpool and Fleetwood Tramway (thanks to VC) I thought you might be able to make use of the evidence of my trip. From start to finish it was an excellent day, except for the weather early on. The organization, considering much of it was done on the hoof, was first class, given the little preparation time available to them. ALL the staff, officials press, radio were helpful and friendly. The North Euston food was delicious and the staff did a pretty good job in spite of the slightly overcrowded conditions. The Blackpool Transport people bent over backward to accommodate us, even to the point of taking those of us who were interested on an unscheduled tour of the new depot at Star Gate. All in all a delightful day and an excellent send off for a new era of transport on the Fylde. All thanks to VC and WBC for giving us the opportunity of a lifetime.’
Tram launch at Cleveleys, thanks to Andy Whitlam for this photo
First tram to arrive at Fleetwood, thanks to Andy Whitlam for this photo
New tram, seen at Fleetwood on launch day