Sunday, 18 June 2017

Is it a Tram or is it a Bus?

ACTV Translohr 20 arriving at Piazzale Roma in Venice from Favaro
It's a combination of a tram and a bus called a Translohr, a rubber tyred articulated tram style vehicle, guided by a single steel rail that's recessed into the carriageway, but with the wheels running on the road surface. The system was originally developed by Lohr Industrie of France and is currently in use in France, Italy, China and Columbia. The line illustrated here is part of the Tranvia de Mestre system, operated by Venice ACTV public transport and opened in 2015. The system is comprised of two lines, T1 and T2, which serve parts of the Venice commune, line T1 running from the mainland via a long causeway bridge to the island city of Venice.

ACTV Translohr 20 at the Piazzale Roma terminus of line T1 in Venice

ACTV Translohr 09 departing from the Piazzale Roma terminus in Venice
ACTV Translohr 01 leaving the Piazzale Roma heading for Favaro on the mainland

ACTV Translohr 01 at Piazzale Roma in Venice, ready to depart for Favaro on the mainland

ACTV Translohr 01 arriving in Venice, having just crossed the lagoon via the causeway

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Two days of tram moves

Brush Car 623 seen on Lytham Road after making the journey from Heaton Park on 6th June
On Tuesday 6th June, Scotts Heavy Haulage moved Brush 623 from the Heaton Park Tramway to Blackpool, where the tram will be on temporary loan in order that it can take part in the 80th Anniversary of the Brush Car celebrations on 23rd & 24th September. The following day Scotts were involved in two more tram moves, these being Brush 625 and Balloon 726 which were both transported the relatively short distance from the Port of Fleetwood to Rigby Road. 625 and 726 are privately owned, and are being stored in Rigby Road tram depot by a mutual agreement.

Brush Car 625 in Hopton Road after making the short journey from Fleetwood on 7th June
Balloon 726 leaving the Port of Fleetwood late on in the afternoon of 7th June

Saturday, 29 April 2017

FTS Depot Tour

A panoramic shot of Rigby Road tram depot during the annual FTS Convention weekend visit
As part of the Fylde Tramway Society's 2017 Convention weekend, a visit had been arranged around the Heritage Workshops at Rigby Road tram depot. While there were much of interest to see and hear during the tour, unfortunately an embargo was placed on the publication of any photographs taken inside the workshops, therefore the only record of this years visit is a panoramic shot of the depot taken from outside the main running shed.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

2017 Enviro 400 City Launch Day

The cavalcade of Enviro 400 City buses on New South Promenade
Blackpool Transport held a launch ceremony for their new 2017 batch of 25 ADL Enviro 400 City buses on Sunday 9th April. The proceedings began at Starr Gate tram depot, where several of the Flexity trams had been parked on the loop track and around the tram terminus to allow the depot to be used for the start of the days proceedings. The Enviros began to leave from Starr Gate at 0800, departing in numerical order beginning with 411 and ending with 435 at the rear of the parade. The cavalcade of 25 buses processed northwards along the tramway, with the majority of them turning off the tracks at Manchester Square to return to Rigby Road depot, 431 to 435 continued along the tram tracks and parked up at the Tower headland. Several of the new Enviros were required for passenger service that day, but 421 to 430 were gradually brought from Rigby Road and arranged in front of the Tower alongside 431 to 435, forming a display of 15 of the new vehicles. The Enviro display remained on the Tower headland throughout the afternoon until around 4pm.

Enviro 435, which had yet to enter service, arriving at Starr Gate with tyre blacking applied
Enviros 422, 423 and 424 arriving at Starr Gate
Enviros 434 and 435 entering Starr Gate tram depot
The Enviros beginning to line up inside the tram depot at Starr Gate
Flexities stabled on the loop track with Enviros queuing up alongside Starr Gate depot

The Enviros on the depot forecourt at Starr Gate with stabled Flexities in the foreground
The 25 Enviro 400 City buses at Starr Gate awaiting their departure time
The rear of the Enviro cavalcade heading north near the Pleasure Beach
Enviros 433, 434 & 432 waiting to take up their position on the Tower headland
Enviro 435 being walked into its display slot on the Tower headland
Enviro 430 manoeuvring into position on the Tower headland
421 to 426 which formed part of the display of 15 Enviro 400s on the Tower headland

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Second City Crossing

Metrolink 3072 rounding the curve from Cross Street into Princess Street
Metrolink have completed their second line to cross Manchester city centre, the aptly named Second City Crossing commencing passenger operation on 26th February. The new line diverts from the existing Metrolink network at a remodelled St Peter's Square, before turning left into Princess Street alongside the town hall then making a right turn into Cross Street. The line continues past the Royal Exchange Theatre before reaching the already opened section of the extension at Exchange Square, the only stop on the Second City Crossing, the tracks continue along Corporation Street and join the existing network at Victoria Station.

Metrolink 3083 passing the Royal Exchange Theatre as it heads towards Exchange Square
Metrolink 3104 bound for East Didsbury along Cross Street
Metrolink 3031 heading east along Princess Street, passing the side of the town hall (at the left)
Metrolink 3111 carrying a special advert to commemorate the opening of the new link
Metrolink 3071 at Exchange Square on a service to Rochdale Railway Station
Metrolink 3099 passing the Printworks on Corporation Street
Metrolink 3095 passing the Urbis building on Corporation St on its way to Victoria Station

Thursday, 23 March 2017

The return of Balloon 703

Scotts Heavy Haulage reversing into the unloading position in Blundell Street


Former Blackpool Balloon 703 has spent several years in the North East of England, providing valuable passenger carrying capacity on the Beamish Museum tramway. During its stay at Beamish 703 has operated in a red and cream livery to represent fictitious Sunderland tram 101. 703 had already been withdrawn from service at the museum due to defects, and subsequently it was decided that the two streamlined Blackpool trams were no longer required for their collection. With Brush car 621 already having made the journey home to Blackpool last December, Balloon 703 finally followed in its path over three months later. 703 had been loaded onto the trailer of Scotts Heavy Haulage at Beamish the previous day, the low loader began the long journey to Blackpool on the morning of 23rd March, arriving at Blundell Street in Blackpool at 5.00pm. 703 was pulled off the low loader by Unimog 939, and shunted into the tram depot after Scotts transporter had departed.

703 passing the stadium of Blackpool Football Club on Bloomfield Road


The low loader manoeuvring into Blundell Street via Home Bargains loading bay


The trailer being lowered to the ground before the tractor unit is disconnected


The rail ramp being built ready for the unloading of 703

Unimog 939 pulling 703 off the low loader trailer

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Standard 147 returns home

Calkeld Heavy Haulage with 147 making the turn from Lytham Road into Hopton Road
Standard 147 returned home to Blackpool on Wednesday 15th March, the tram having been involved in a swap with Marton 31 from Beamish Museum for the last 12 months. With the return of 31 to Beamish on Monday, it was the turn of 147 to travel across the Pennines in the care of Calkeld Heavy Haulage, but in the opposite direction the day after. 147 left Beamish around midday on Tuesday 14th March, stopping overnight in Skipton before continuing the journey to Blackpool the following morning, arriving in the resort 24 hours after it had left Beamish. Unusually it was decided to unload the tram in Hopton Road, rather than the usual location in Blundell Street. A swift unloading followed, with 147 being pulled off the trailer and towed into the depot by Unimog 939. During the unloading process Balloon 717 arrived in Hopton Road, which then had to wait behind Calkeld's trailer until after they had departed.

The low-loader of Calkeld Heavy Haulage arriving in Hopton Road
Lining the low-loader up with the track before the unloading process could begin

Standard 147 on the trailer after the tractor unit had been uncoupled

Unimog 939 had to drive part way up the rail ramp to hitch up to 147

Balloon 717 having to wait in Hopton Road while 147 is unloaded
Unimog 939 pulling 147 off the trailer and down the rail ramp
Unimog 939 towing 147 into the confines of the tram depot