Americas cup training by Phil Marsh

Travel by rail to the seaside tram festival and the 50mph sailing race off Portsmouth

Published: 14th July 2015

Take the train to Blackpool Trams, Fleetwood Transport Festival & South Coast America’s Cup trials

July brings many events but two stand out from the crowd. 2015 brings the 130th anniversary of trams being introduced to Blackpool and on the south coast, the America’s Cup will grab the headlines as the 35th event gets underway. The best way to travel to these coastal events is by rail as parking will be impossible and traffic congestion high!

The first event is ‘Tram Sunday’ on Sunday July 19 based around Fleetwood on the northern extremity of the Blackpool tram network. This is billed as the largest free event of its type and is especially relevant this year which celebrates the 130th anniversary of trams running in Blackpool.

Journey back in time

Today, the Blackpool tram system is largely operated by modern trams just a few years old but a heritage tram service runs every Saturday and Sunday until 8th November and on weekdays from Monday 27th July to Thursday 3rd September.

These run between North Pier and Pleasure Beach between 10am and 5pm with up to three services an hour using what is described as ‘open boat’ cars when the weather is good. If the weather is not good, enclosed trams are used. For special events, these heritage trams run to Little Bispham and Fleetwood.

To meet demand and to create a vintage atmosphere, six vintage trams will be used on July 19 in connection with ‘Tram Sunday’ running between Pleasure Beach and Fleetwood. For full information, email; heritage.trams@blackpooltransport.com.

The actual anniversary of the Blackpool & Fleetwood tramway will be celebrated over the weekend of 26th & 27th September.

What is the Fleetwood Festival of Transport?

The one day event is one of the oldest and biggest free family days out in the North West of England with visitors drawn by over two hundred different vehicles ranging from steam wagons, fire engines, vintage cars and bicycles. The event is based on the streets of Fleetwood which are closed to normal traffic.

The best way to travel to the event is to Blackpool North station which is served by Transpennine Express and Northern Rail services all running via Preston.

Sailing by rail on the South Coast

The America’s Cup World Series is a World Famous yaught racing event which forms part of the 35th America’s Cup programme. This kicks off at Portsmouth on July 23 with 45 foot foiling catamarans racing at speeds up to 50mph watched by an expected 100,000 visitors on the local seafront. The ‘America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth’ runs between July 23 to 26 inclusive and next year between July 21 and 24.

The host city will be staging a huge event over the race duration with the official event Race Village based on Southsea Common, supported by the Naval Base (technical team bases) and Historic Dockyard and also at Gunwharf Quays. The waterfront event will feature exhibits, music, food and drink stands, family entertainment, large screens and highlights/live coverage of the racing, prize-givings and concerts. Spectator areas range from no charge to expensive around the Race Village.

Parking in Portsmouth is difficult at the best of times but with the anticipated huge influx of visitors, the entry roads will be gridlocked. The best way to travel is by rail to Portsmouth Harbour which is a short walk from Gunwharf Quay.

The station is served by South West Trains from Waterloo via Havant and Eastleigh while Southern runs trains via Gatwick from Victoria and long distance trains from Cardiff, Newport, Bristol and Salisbury operated by First Great Western.

Tickets for all these rail services can be bought at www.redspottedhanky.com

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