Saturday, 13 August 2022

Blackpool Airshow 2022 - The Trams

Northbound Flexity 016 pauses at the Tower tram stop, while 001 and 006 head south
The 2022 Blackpool Airshow took place over the weekend of 13th and 14th August under glorious blue skies and blessed with warm weather, maybe a bit too warm for some! This was the first time that the airshow had been held for three years, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. However this post isn't about the aircraft, but the trams that were operating on the Promenade under extremely difficult operating conditions, mainly due to the large crowds that surrounded and spilled over onto the tram tracks between Central and North Piers. Due to the density of the crowds, each tram had to be preceded by a guide walking along in front of the tram, on the busiest section of the central Promenade. Note, all the photos shown here were taken on Saturday 13th August.

Flexity 002 and Bolton 66 slowly making their way through the crowds near North Pier
An unidentified Flexity heading north from the Tower tram stop
"I'm sure there's a tram track around here somewhere!"  Flexity 011 heading north
Pedestrians walking in front of Flexity 008 at the Tower, while 001 heads north
Balloon 700 heading north on a Coastal Tour near the Tower
Boat 227, seen through the crowds, on a northbound Promenade Tour
Bolton 66 following one of the walking guides at the Tower
Flexity 009 and passing cyclists near the Tower tram stop
The Avro Lancaster of the BBMF banking around over North Pier during its display routine

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Wrightbus battery-electric demonstrator on loan to Blackpool

The Wright Electroliner heading north on service 1 in Cleveleys
Blackpool Transport currently have a Wright StreetDeck Electroliner dual-door battery-electric demonstrator bus on loan. The Wright Electroliner (LY71 GJE) has been noted in use on Promenade service 1 over the last couple of days, complete with a roving conductor, and was shadowing BTS ADL Enviro 445 on the morning of Tuesday 9th August. The demonstrator is finished in a rather attractive shade of blue, standing out from the rest of the grey buses in use along the Fylde Coast.

Electric bus and tram (Flexity 002) alongside each other in Bold Street, Fleetwood 

The Wright demonstrator on The Esplanade in Fleetwood
The Electroliner leaving the Affinity shopping outlet at Fleetwood
A rear view of the demonstrator as it turns right onto Dock Street in Fleetwood

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Brush 627 leaves for a new home in East Anglia

Brush Car 627 at the Pleasure Beach in May 2002 carrying an overall advert for Coral Island
Brush Car 627 (original number 290) departed from Blackpool for a new life across the other side of the country in East Anglia on Thursday 28th July. Brush 627 (290) was owned by the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust (FHLT), and had been purchased in 2011, along with several other trams, for a proposed new tram museum in Fleetwood. Since plans for the Fleetwood museum fell through, other uses for the collection of trams stored on Fleetwood Fish Dock have been pursued. Brush Car 290 (as it had been renumbered) was put on display on a short section of track within the Pleasure Beach turning circle for a number of years, until finally being moved to Rigby Road tram depot for dry storage in 2015. The East Anglia Transport Museum, at Carlton Colville near Lowestoft, have purchased 627 (290) to add to their existing collection of operating trams, which include Marton Vambac 11 and Blackpool Standard 159. Late on the morning of 28th July, a low loader of Reid Freight Services arrived in Blundell Street to collect 627 for the long journey to the opposite side of the country. Before 627 could be loaded it had to be turned around, as the towing box on the end of the tram facing the trailer was missing. After 627 had been turned with the aid of the depot fork lift truck, the loading process could begin. Once 627 was safely loaded and chained down, Reid's low loader departed for the long journey to East Anglia around 1425.

Brush Car 627 being towed out of the depot along Hopton Road by the fork lift truck

Brush 627 on Blundell Street (notice the missing towing box)
John Woodman and Colin Macleod of the FHLT bidding farewell to 627 (290) on Blundell Street
Brush 627 being hauled onboard the trailer using the tractor unit's electric winch
627 being winched onto the low loader trailer of Reid Freight Services
Enthusiasts and spectators watching the loading process of Brush 627
A rear view of Brush Car 627 loaded onboard Reid's transporter
Reid Freight Service's low loader ready to depart from Blundell Street
Reid's low loader making the tricky manoeuvre from Blundell Street into Hopton Road
627 on display at the Pleasure Beach in June 2015, with Brush 631 on Heritage Tour service

Sunday, 17 July 2022

Tram Sunday returns

Balloon 700 at Ash Street with Boat 227 leaving on a Mini Tour to Thornton Gate
After an absence of two years due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Fleetwood Festival (I hesitate to use the word Transport) has returned for 2022. Due to a pre-existing commitment, I was only able to visit Fleetwood during the final hour as the festival was winding down and the vehicles were beginning to leave. Over the years Fleetwood Festival of Transport (or Tram Sunday) has become increasingly less of a transport event and more of a general town carnival, in particular the number of visiting preserved commercial vehicles has been dwindling for some time. This year Balloon 723 and the Trawler were on display in Pharos Street, with 707 being stabled at the Ash Street end of Lord Street. Preserved Blackpool Leyland PD3 501 was parked with the two trams in Pharos Street, and Queen's Platinum Jubilee liveried BTS Enviro 422 was on display in North Albert Street. There were various opportunities to ride on the heritage trams from Ash Street, with Boat 227 providing mini tours to Thornton Gate, and Balloons 700 and 717 operating a shuttle service to North Pier in Blackpool.

Balloon 723 and the Trawler on display in Pharos Street

Balloon 700 loading at Ash Street with 707 and Flexity 009 in the background
Balloon 707 at Ash Street with a sales stand in front of it
Queen's Platinum Jubilee ADL Enviro 422 on display in North Albert Street
Flexity 016 changing direction at the temporary northern terminus at Ash Street
Preserved Blackpool Leyland PD3 501 on display in Pharos Street

Sunday, 10 July 2022

Balloon 723 in Fleetwood

Balloon 723 and a high speed police car at Fleetwood Ferry on 10th July
A few photos of Balloon 723 in its recently painted 1990s style livery in Fleetwood, on the 1040 Coastal Tour from North Pier on Sunday 10th July.

Balloon 723 and Flexity 013 passing at St Peter's Church in Fleetwood

Flexity 003 passing Balloons 723 and 707 at Fleetwood Ferry
Balloon 723 heading back down Lord Street towards Blackpool
Balloon 723 heading along North Albert Street in Fleetwood
A long zoom shot of Balloon 723 and Enviro 408 on Lord Street

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Four trams in use during the final day of testing on Talbot Road

Flexity 010 and 017 passing each other on Talbot Road on 5th July
Tuesday 5th July was the last of five planned days of route testing on the North Station tramway extension along Talbot Road. The final day of testing saw four trams in use simulating a normal service, these being 010, 014, 016 & 017. The very last tram to leave North Station was Flexity 017, which departed from the terminus just after 1410, before heading off down Talbot Road to the Promenade to conclude the current period of tests.

Flexity 016 waiting at the traffic lights at the top of Talbot Road

Flexity 014 heading east along Talbot Road
ADL Enviro 433 passes Flexity 010 waiting at the Talbot Square tram stop
Flexity 017 entering Talbot Square from the Promenade
Flexity 017 and Enviro 400 City 432 pass each other on Talbot Road
Flexity 016 heading up Talbot Road from the Promenade
Flexity 016 heading west passes Flexity 014, waiting at the junction with Dickson Road
Flexity 017, the last tram down Talbot Road, passes Enviro 408 at the Dickson Road junction

Monday, 4 July 2022

The second week of North Station testing

Flexity 010 waiting for the traffic lights on Talbot Road at the junction with Abingdon Street
The first day of the second week of test running on the North Station tramway extension saw Flexity trams 005, 010 & 013 in use on the Talbot Road line.

Flexity 005 heads off down Talbot Road, passing Enviro 408 at the Dickson Road traffic lights

Flexity 005 leaving the North Station tram terminus
Flexity 013 approaching Talbot Square as it heads west down Talbot Road
Flexity 005 in Talbot Square with the choppy waters of the Irish Sea behind