Monday 27 May 2024

Spring Bank Holiday Heritage

Boat 227 and Balloon 717 at the North Pier heritage stops with Flexity 011 heading north
Spring bank holiday Monday in Blackpool saw six heritage trams in use during various parts of the day. The core service was provided by Boat 227 (tram A), Bolton 66 (tram B), Balloon 717 (tram C) and wartime liveried Balloon 700 (tram D). During the afternoon a fifth tram entered service, this being flat fronted Balloon 718, which later replaced Boat 227 which suffered a technical fault. Last of all Brush 631 was noted in service at Little Bispham at 1600, making it the sixth heritage tram that had operated during the day. Note all photos were taken on Monday 27th May.

Balloon 717 passsing 718 at the North Pier heritage stop
Balloon 700 turning out of Pharos Street on the 1300 Coastal Tour from Fleetwood
Bolton 66 heading south along the Promenade at North Shore
Boat 227 and Balloon 700 passing at the Gynn
Balloon 718 turning into Bold Street on the 1610 Coastal Tour from the Pleasure Beach
Balloon 700 passing the Cherry Blossom hotel on Warley Road
Bolton 66 passing Boat 227 at North Pier
Balloon 717 at Cocker Square on the 1455 Coastal Tour to Fleetwood
Brush 631 heading south at Little Bispham at 1600

Sunday 19 May 2024

Morecambe Vintage Bus Running Day

A 1934 Lytham Leyland Lion and 1953 Brighton, Hove & District Bristol KSW6G at the football stadium
The Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust held their annual Vintage Bus Running Day at Morecambe on Sunday 19th May. The event comprised of static vehicle displays, sales stalls and free rides on a wide variety of preserved buses, including several open toppers, which proved very popular under the wall to wall sunshine that greeted visiting enthusiasts. The RVPT operated free bus services from Carnforth railway station, Happy Mount Park and Heysham Village to the Morecambe Football Club and Promenade every 10 to 15 minutes throughout the event. There was also a Bare Circular that operated a frequent service from outside the Winter Gardens on the Promenade, stopping at Happy Mount Park and Bare.

Stagecoach ADL Enviro400 MMC 11146 on service 6A with a 1950 Morecambe & Heysham AEC Regent III

1962 Ribble Leyland PD3/5 1775 leaving the Mazuma stadium on the free bus service to Carnforth
1972 Ribble open top Bristol VR 1995 returning to the football stadium
1956 Ribble Leyland PD2/12 1467 loading up for the Bare Circular at the football stadium
1948 Lytham St Annes Leyland PD2/1 10 operating a free bus service
Economic Coaches of Whitburn 1948 Albion Valiant CX39N
1959 Crosville Bristol Lodekka LD6B DLB978 operating on the free bus service
1950 Todmorden Corporation Leyland PD2/1 18 with a Leyland lowbridge body
Barrow Transport Group partial open top Volvo B10M 928 with Ribble 1467 passing
1954 London Transport AEC Regent III RT4548
1958 Fishwick Leyland PD2/40 with a Weymann lowbridge body
1967 Blackpool PD3 512 and former Stagecoach open top Dennis Trident 17012
Morecambe 1951 Weymann bodied 73 and 1950 Park Royal bodied 72, both AEC Regent IIIs
1987 Blackpool open top Leyland Olympian 857
1970 Fylde Borough Transport Leyland Atlantean 77 with Nottingham style bodywork

Saturday 11 May 2024

The Northern Lights over the Fylde Coast

The northern lights shimmering over Mary's Shell on Cleveleys beach at midnight on 10th May
Not a tram or a bus in sight but something MUCH rarer, illuminations, no not the man-made sort, but one of the wonders of the natural world. I thought that the rarity of this unusual local occurence warranted posting the photos on here (they're best viewed in lower light conditions). Due to a recent period of intense solar activity on the sun, a series of unusually strong coronal mass ejections (eruptions of plasma and magnetic energy) were directed towards the Earth, and arrived in our atmosphere on the evening of 10th/11th May. The charged particles emitted from the sun collide with gases in the upper Earth's atmosphere, typically oxygen and nitrogen, generating geomagnetic storms which create vibrant displays of colour in the sky. These dazzling light displays are known as the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights, and are usually only visible from higher latitudes, such as Iceland, Norway and Scotland. The colours are caused by the solar wind colliding with gas particles high in the atmosphere, with oxygen generating green light and nitrogen blue or purple light, all this takes place 50 to 200 miles up in the atmosphere. The recent sun spot plasma eruptions generated an S5 solar radiation storm, which is the maximum on the S1 to S5 scale for measuring solar storms, creating the best display of the northern lights seen in over 20 years. This unusually strong solar activity meant that the Aurora Borealis was visibile in many parts of the world where it would normally not be seen, usually being restricted to northern latitudes. These photos were taken from Fleetwood and Cleveleys beaches between 11pm and midnight on 10th May (the colours can best be seen away from bright daylight).

The aurora over Fleetwood radar station and the lower lighthouse which was built in 1840
The aurora from Fleetwood beach looking over the River Wyre towards Knott End
The view from Fleetwood beach looking towards the former radar training station, built 1961
The northern lights over the lower lighthouse viewed from Fleetwood beach
The aurora borealis in the western sky looking towards the Marine Hall at Fleetwood
The colour displays of the aurora dancing across the moon over Cleveleys sea front

Monday 29 April 2024

Transpora South buses in Blackpool

 Transpora South Coast Enviro400 LF59XDZ on route 21 to Fleetwood on 24th April

A couple of Transpora Group buses from their southern operating areas were noted in Blackpool recently. Transpora South Coast ADL Enviro400 LF59XDZ was running on the Transpora North West route 21 between Fleetwood and North Pier last week. LF59XDZ was formerly with Abellio London, and is currently in the Transpora southern region livery of white with blue flashes. Transpora Bristol Scania Omnicity LX58CEV was spotted parked in Bispham, still in full Stagecoach London red livery, complete with LT roundels (minus the Stagecoach fleet names). The Omnicity appeared to have last been used on a rail replacement service, according to the destination blind.

Transpora Scania Omnicity LX58CEV complete with London roundels, parked up in Bispham on 24th April
A rear view of Transpora South Coast Enviro400 LF59XDZ at the North Pier stop

Thursday 25 April 2024

Days 2 and 3 of Talbot Road testing using Flexity 001

Flexity 001 using the scissors crossing as it approaches the North Station terminus
Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th April saw only one tram being used on the North Station tramway extension route testing. Flexity 001 commenced its runs up and down Talbot Road around 1630 on both days, with testing continuing into the evening.

Flexity 001 heading down Talbot Road over the Dickson Road junction
Flexity 001 and BTS Enviro 568 passing each other at the Abingdon Street traffic lights
Flexity 001 crossing over Dickson Road into Talbot Road
Flexity 001 passing Stagecoach Scania N230UD 15579 on Talbot Road
Flexity 001 waiting at the stop signal at the Abingdon Street traffic lights
Flexity 001 heading down Talbot Road towards the Promenade
Flexity 001 taking a left turn into Talbot Square from the Promenade
Flexity 001 sat at the North Station tram stop terminus

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Talbot Road Route Testing

Flexity 010 returning from its first run to the North Station tram stop at 1120

Route testing along Talbot Road to North Station resumed on Tuesday 23rd April after a two year hiatus, the last Flexity testing having taken place in July 2022. Two trams were in use at various times throughout the day, with Flexity 010 arriving at the North Station terminus at 1015 on its first run. After a significant pause due to technical issues, 010 made its way back down to the Promenade at 1120. Flexity 015 joined the proceedings at 1220, from which point the two trams trams continued testing the short extension line until the middle of the afternoon.

Flexity 010 pausing at the Talbot Square tram stop
Flexity 010 crossing to the southbound Promenade line at Talbot Square
Flexity 015 waiting on Talbot Road at the Dickson Road traffic lights
Flexity 010 and 015 at the North Station tram terminus
Flexity 010 and 015 at North Station terminus adjacent to the new Holiday Inn hotel
Flexity 010 leaving the terminus with BTS Enviro 456 heading up Talbot Road on route 14
Flexity 015 crossing the traffic lights at the junction with Abingdon Street
BTS Enviro 572 on route 6 to Peel Park passing Flexity 010 at Talbot Square
Flexity 015 passing 010 which is waiting at Talbot Square