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

Monday, 13 March 2017

Marton 31 departs for Beamish

The low-loader and escort van of Calkeld heavy Haulage ready to depart for Beamish
Marton Box Car 31 was loaded up in Blackpool and departed for its long trip home to Beamish on the morning of 13th March. Calkeld Heavy Haulage were ready bright and early with their low-loader in Blundell Street, and before long Unimog 939 emerged with 31 from the electrical compound in the depot. The Unimog positioned 31 in Blundell Street at the foot of the trailer rail ramp, at this point Calkeld took over and winched Marton 31 onto the back of the low-loader. All that remained was for the tram to be chained down to the trailer, then after a short crew break the transporter and tram departed from Blundell Street shortly after 10 am.

Marton 31 being dragged out of the tram depot by Unimog 939
31 being pulled onto the trailer by the electric winch on the rear of the tractor unit
31 being winched on by the tractor unit with aid of a pulley on the side of the trailer
Dennis Trident 307 passing 31 chained down onto the low-loader in Blundell St
Calkeld's transporter threading its way between the traction poles into Hopton Road
Marton 31 and low-loader making the turn from Hopton Road into Lytham Road

Friday, 10 March 2017

2017 Enviro Pictorial

Enviro 413 leaving the Aldi store bus stop on Poulton Road in Fleetwood
More of the 2017 order of Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 City buses are entering service every few days in Blackpool. Here is a selection of photos taken over the last week of the latest ADL Enviros in use on their intended home route, the service 14 from Fleetwood to Peel Park, with buses photographed so far being 411 to 414, 416 to 418 and 420. Some of the 2016 batch of Enviro 400 buses have also been noted in use on the 14 this week.

Enviro 416 passing Fleetwood Library on North Albert Street
Enviro 412 passing The Iron Horse pub restaurant on Fleetwood Road North in Thornton
Enviro 411 at the junction of Lord Street and Station Road in Fleetwood
Enviro 420 on Elm Street in Fleetwood
Enviro 418 passing the lighthouse on Pharos Street in Fleetwood
Enviro 417 at the Gardeners Arms on Fleetwood Road South in Thornton



Enviro 414 passing St Peter's Church on Lord Street in Fleetwood