Sunday 13 August 2017

Blackpool Trams at the Airshow

Flexity 004 and its walking guide, with a youth on a bicycle leaning against the moving tram
The free annual Blackpool Air Show was held over the weekend of the 12th and 13th of August along the seafront. The air show attracted very large crowds, and the Flexities did a marvelous job of bringing visitors to the show from all along the Fylde Coast. The tram service was so popular that many intending passengers had to stand and watch as fully loaded trams passed them by. The airshow display area was centred between North Pier and Central Pier, and this part of the Promenade saw the largest concentration of people watching the flying display. With the air show drawing very large numbers of visitors into the resort, it was inevitable that many of them would be unfamiliar with the concept of a tram service. During the show the tram tracks were continually being used as a pedestrian pavement and cycling route by both children and adults. Because of the density of the crowds, and people constantly spilling over on to the tram tracks, many trams were being escorted through the busiest areas of the Promenade by a guide walking along in front of the tram. One Flexity was even observed with a youth on a bicycle leaning on the side of the moving tram. It's amazing that there were no serious accidents, but fortunately these seem to have been avoided due to the care of the tram crews and their walking guides, with the assistance of security staff employed to help keep the crowds at bay. The presence of heavily armed policemen equipped with assault rifles and pistols was a slightly disconcerting sight to some people along the Promenade, but they were there for a very good reason, to dissuade any would be terrorists from committing atrocities. One only has to remember what happened on the promenade at Nice in France not so very long ago to understand why it was felt necessary to deploy armed police at this very well attended (and quite vulnerable) public event.

Air show crowds watching from both sides of the platform barrier at the Tower tram stop
Balloon 715 at North Pier with police and crowd security personnel passing each other
Balloon 717 passing one of the many police cars to be seen along the promenade

Heavily armed policemen patrolling along the Promenade with a Flexity approaching
Boat 600 heading south at the Tower on Sunday afternoon
Operational Firearms Commanders, armed with assault rifles and pistols

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