Sunday, 19 April 2015

Wirral Heritage Tramway 20th Anniversary

Hong Kong built tram No 70 being driven out of Taylor Street depot at the start of the afternoon's proceedings
The Wirral Tramway celebrated 20 years of operation during the past week. The anniversary was commemorated on Saturday 18th April, with the normal two tram service being enhanced by the swapping of trams, so that a total of four of the operational tram fleet were in use at some point during the afternoon. Hong Kong built tram 70 was brought out and stabled on the spur track at the Taylor Street end of the line.The trams that operated in passenger service were Hong Kong built 69, Liverpool 762, Birkenhead open-top tram 20 and Lisbon 730.

Liverpool 762 at the Taylor Street end of the tramway, with Birkenhead 20 in the background
Hong Kong built tram No 69 departing from the Woodside Ferry terminus with the Liver Building in the background
The conductor of Hong Kong built 69 preparing to hand over the single line token at the mid-line crossing point
Birkenhead 20 and Lisbon 730 at the crossing point of the line at Pacific Road

1900 Milnes built Birkenhead 20 passing the Egerton lift bridge as the tram heads back to the Taylor Street terminus

Lisbon 730 with the Liver Building and the Liverpool skyline visible in the distance across the River Mersey

Liverpool Baby Grand 245 should hopefully make its debut into passenger service at some point during the year
Wallasey 78 and Liverpool Baby Grand 245 in storage at Taylor Street depot
Liverpool horse car 43 is being temporarily stored at Taylor Street while work is ongoing at the Pacific Road building

Warrington Milnes built tram No 2 is currently under restoration in the Taylor Street depot

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Sunny Saturday Boating

Boats 230 and 600 pass at Manchester Square on their first runs of the day on the Heritage Tour service on 18th April

All this talk of lovely warm weather that the country has been basking in for the last couple of weeks has been rather lost on people who happen to live on the Fylde Coast. The conditions have been unremarkably gloomy and cool on the Lancashire coastline of late, with no sign at all of the alleged "heatwave" that the rest of the country has supposedly been basking in. Saturday 18th April however managed to give us clear blue skies all day long, although it was rather cool due to the easterly wind. The sunny weather was the perfect opportunity to allocate Boat trams for use on the blue timetabled Heritage Tour service, and proper green and cream liveried Boats 230 and 600 shuttled backwards and forwards all day between the North Pier and the Pleasure Beach.

Boat 600 departing empty from the Pleasure Beach on an early morning weekend Heritage Tour run

Boat 230 passing South Pier on the blue timetable Heritage Tours on Saturday 18th April

Friday, 17 April 2015

New Mercedes Citaros Revealed

New BTS Mercedes Citaro 557 (BG15 BTY) undergoing driver familiarisation training at Rigby Road depot
Blackpool Transport had a staff launch of their new Mercedes Citaro Euro VI buses yesterday. There are 10 buses in the batch, and all are now believed to have been delivered to BTS. The buses used for the launch ceremony were 556 (BJ15 BEU) and 557 (BG15 BTY), both buses are in a grey and pale yellow livery, with full branding including free Wi-Fi logos and the brand name "Palladium" in three positions. The new buses are going to be used on service 5 from Victoria Hospital to Halfway House via Blackpool Town Centre, and will be receiving a public launch in May. These exclusive photos of the two staff launch buses were captured at Rigby Road depot this afternoon.

A rear view of BTS Mercedes Citaro 557 (BG15 BTY) undergoing driver training in the yard at Rigby Road depot
A front view of BTS Mercedes Citaro 557 (BG15 BTY) undergoing driver training in the yard at Rigby Road depot
New BTS Mercedes Citaros 556 (BJ15 BEU) and 557 (BG15 BTY) parked up in the yard at Rigby Road depot

Sunday, 12 April 2015

2015 Great North Steam Fair

Sunderland 16 loading up just after the museum opened on 10th April, with Newcastle 114 arriving from the depot
The 2015 Great North Steam Fair at Beamish took place for four days from Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th April. This event is one of the highlights of the year at The Living Museum of the North, and this year was no exception with a wide range of road and rail vehicles visiting over the fours days. The fair was blessed with bright and sunny weather, apart from the very last day which turned out to be wet. All the photos used in this report were taken during a visit to the event on Friday 10th April.

A 1913 AEC London B-type bus restored as a WW1 "Battle Bus" to commemorate the centenary of the Great War
A 1935 Oporto tram masquerading as South Shields 196 on the main street in the Edwardian Town at Beamish
A solid tyred 1915 Dennis fire engine from Aberdeen passing Ravensworth Terrace
Blackpool Marton Box car No 31 passing a 1929 Chevrolet lorry parked next to the bank in the Edwardian Town
A 1915 Robey traction engine towing a trailer on its way to perform a demonstation run around the site
Sunderland tram No 16 arriving in the Edwardian Town with a load of passengers from the museum entrance
A 1925 Vulcan VSC lorry (built in Southport) returning to the events field after a demonstration run
The Beamish replica Daimler bus arriving at the bus stop in the Edwardian Town street
An immaculate 1900 Allchin steam roller leaving the coaling yard at Beamish
A 1909 Yorkshire steam wagon preparing for a demonstration road run around the site at Beamish
Beamish's resident 1928 Northern SOS QL bus sitting in front of the tram depot in between demonstration road runs
The unique 1929 Sentinel DG8 eight wheel Tarmac steam lorry heading towards the Edwardian Town
One of the Beamish replica buses arriving at the pit village with a load of passengers
A 1928 Fowler road crane descending the steep hill down to the pit village
A 1931 Foden steam wagon arriving at the pit village to go on display next to the mine
An Erie steam shovel was giving demonstrations throughout the day

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Ballooning Saturday

Balloon 717 southbound at the Tower on the blue timetable Heritage Tour service on Saturday 11th April
Saturday April 11th saw three of the heritage fleet Balloons being used on the tramway. Routemaster liveried Balloon 701 was in use during the afternoon on an enthusiasts private hire, at the same time Balloons 717 and 706 were running on the blue timetable Heritage Tours between North Pier and the Pleasure Beach. The heritage service had started out the day with Centenary Car 648 in use alongside Balloon 717, however after lunchtime it was decided to swap the Centenary tram for something more befitting the sunny (but very windy) conditions, so open-top Balloon 706 Princess Alice was brought into operation for the afternoon shift.

Open-top Balloon 706 in Heritage Tour service on a sunny but very windy afternoon in Blackpool on April 11th

701 on Private Hire

Balloon 701 about to leave Bispham during a private hire with a group of railway enthusiasts on 11th April
Routemaster liveried Balloon 701 was in use on a private hire on Saturday 11th April. A group of railway enthusiasts had hired 701 for an afternoon tour of the tramway, visiting all points in between Starr Gate and Fleetwood Ferry, with a meal break at Bispham mid-afternoon. 701 seemed to exhibit none of the compressor related problems that had plagued the tram the week before Easter, and successfully completed the tour without incident.

Balloon 701 at North Pier during an afternoon system tour while on private hire to an enthusiast group

Thursday, 9 April 2015

New DAF Driver Trainer

Ex Stagecoach W471 MKU, a DAF SB200LF with Myllennium body, now in service with BTS as its new driver trainer
The former Stagecoach Sheffield DAF SB200LF with East Lancs Myllennium bodywork has finally entered service as a driver trainer bus with Blackpool Transport. W471 MKU was formerly fleet number 26101 in service with Stagecoach in Yorkshire. The bus was purchased by BTS way back in July 2013, and painted into driver training livery in the October of that year, two years down the line the vehicle has at long last begun to be used for the purpose for which it was originally purchased two years ago!
Optare Delta driver trainer 969 had been newly repainted into green and cream when seen on 10th September 2013

Optare Delta 970 in the old blue and yellow colour scheme, heading south on the Promenade on Sep 10th 2013