Lancashire

Blackpool unveils the first of its new tram fleet

Blackpool's new Bombardier tram
Image caption Blackpool's new Bombardier trams will run alongside its heritage trams

The first of Blackpool's new fleet of trams has been unveiled.

The Bombardier Flexity 2 light rail vehicles are part of a £100m upgrade of the famous Lancashire tramway, running between Blackpool and Fleetwood.

As well as 16 new trams, a new depot has been built at Starr Gate. Four million people use the trams annually.

The new trams which have improved access for passengers and touch screens for the drivers, will run alongside the resort's heritage trams.

They will start being used from Easter 2012.

Blackpool has the UK's longest-running tram operation, which last year celebrated its 125th year of operation.

'Unique heritage vehicles'

"Providing a modern tram service that operates as an effective transport system while still offering visitors and residents the opportunity to enjoy uninterrupted views of our coastline is something unique to Blackpool," councillor Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said.

Image caption Blackpool's heritage trams draw visitors from around the world

Germar Wacker, from the Berlin-based company Bombardier Transportation, said Blackpool was seeing the global launch of its new tram development, no-one had been allowed to see the vehicles before today.

"It will be a fascinating mix of these unique heritage vehicles, combined with the ultra modern technology of today," he said.

"The vehicles are being built in Germany and Austria and will be delivered over the next few months, after training they should be operating from around Easter next year."

Each vehicle will be about 32m long and 2.65m wide, with five sections. The trams can carry about 74 seated passengers, with room for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Following Bombardier's contract success in Lancashire, the Queensland Government in Australia has also ordered 14 of the same trams for its Gold Coast Rapid Transit system.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites