Monday, 26 January 2015

Twin Set Motor Car 671 returns to Rigby Road

Calkeld Heavy Haulage on Burton Road in Marton with 671 securely fastened to the low loader trailer
On the morning of 26th January a low loader from Calkeld Heavy Haulage arrived at Jackson's yard in Marton to collect trailer towing car 671 to transport it the short distance to Rigby Road depot. 671 had resided in the open at Marton for three years, since Scotts Heavy Haulage first moved the tram there in February 2012. This now means that all the former Lancastrian Transport Trust trams have found new homes again. The primary reason for the return of 671 is so that its leaf sprung bogies can be used under 279, to help in the recreation of an English Electric Railcoach, 279 is currently sitting on inauthentic rubber sprung Metalastik bogies from an OMO car. Calkeld handled the move with great efficiency, the whole operation taking less than 3 hours from start to finish.

671 in the yard at Jackson's Coaches of Marton before the loading operations commenced
671 being winched onto Calkeld Heavy Haulage's low loader in the yard of Jackson's Coaches in Marton
671 safely loaded onto the trailer of Calkeld Heavy Haulage in the yard at Jackson's Coaches of Marton
Calkeld Heavy Haulage making a three point turn in the yard at the rear of Jackson's Coaches in Marton
Calkeld Heavy Haulage turning right from Burton Road in Marton onto Vicarage Lane
671 heading off down Vicarage Lane in Marton bound for Rigby Road
Calkeld Heavy Haulage turning from Lytham Road into Hopton Road on the last leg of the journey
671 making the tight turn from Hopton Road into Blundell Street
Calkeld Heavy Haulage's transporter and escort vehicle parked up in Blundell St after the short journey from Marton
671 being lowered down the rail ramp using the electric winch on the rear of Calkeld's tractor unit
671 being lowered down the rail ramp using the electric winch on the rear of Calkeld's tractor unit
Unimog 939 pulling 671 off the low loader trailer of Calkeld Heavy Haulage
671 back on Blackpool rails again after a three year absence

Friday, 23 January 2015

Cardiff Darts join Catch22 Fleet

Former Cardiff Bus Dennis Dart 186, showing the livery that inspired the paint scheme used on the Catch22Bus fleet
Two former Cardiff Bus Plaxton Mini Pointer Darts have recently entered service with Catch22Bus Ltd. The vehicles concerned are 1999 built Dennis MPD T147 DAX and 2000 built X186 CTG, both buses entering service in their Cardiff liveries, although 147 has had orange vinyl applied above and below the windows first.

Former Cardiff Dennis Dart T147 DAX turning from Abingdon Street into Talbot Road on the 22 to Cleveleys
Former Cardiff Plaxton Mini Pointer T147 DAX on service 22 to Cleveleys at Clifton Street in Blackpool
Former Cardiff Mini Pointer Dart X186 CTG on Poulton Road in Layton on service 6 to Blackpool town centre

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

RML887 in action on the Catch22

Routemaster RML887 Cleveleys bound on Anchorsholme Lane at lunchtime on 21st January
Former London Transport Routemaster RML887 was spotted in use doing a bit of stage carriage work on the Catch 22 service in Cleveleys on the afternoon of 21st January.

RML887 about to cross the tram tracks at Anchorsholme Lane on its way to Cleveleys town centre
RML887 heading for Mereside along Kelso Avenue in Cleveleys

Friday, 16 January 2015

Balloon 715 to be used on Heritage Tours

Balloon 715 during the golden years of the tramway, seen with 708 in Bold Street in October 2004

Former Lancastrian Transport Trust Balloon 715 has been moved into the workshops for an assessment of the amount of work that will be required to return the tram to use this year. It has been determined that it will be feasible to return 715 to active heritage service without too much travail. Some of the more obvious rectifications required will be to the broken windows, panelling and some attention to the paintwork (possibly a repaint), all suffered as a consequence of its outdoor storage in Marton. With 715's return to use it will be possible at last to ride on a traditional Balloon in heritage service, as 701's body was modernised and 717 is really a modern interpretation of what a Balloon would have looked like, but in reality the tram was heavily modified during the course of its rebuild into 1930s appearance.

715 in probably its most controversial livery (although some people did like this scheme), at Central Pier in April 2011

Balloon 715 on the last weekend of traditional tramcar operation, northbound at the Tower on 5th November 2011

Balloon 715 on the very last day of traditional tramcar operation, at North Pier at dusk on 6th November 2011

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Flexity service terminates at Pleasure Beach

Flexity 004 approaching the temporary southern terminus, as 002 waits for any passengers on the northern platform
Due to the wind damage that was inflicted to the roof of Starr Gate tram depot on the morning of Saturday 10th January, the tram service was truncated at the Pleasure Beach until the loose panels on the roof of the tram depot could be secured. Southbound trams layed over on the Pleasure Beach turning circle before running round to the northbound stop as departure time approached, not that there are many people around at this time of the year on a wind swept promenade next to the closed Pleasure Beach.

Flexity 004 turning onto the Pleasure Beach loop in order to reverse direction before heading back to Fleetwood
Flexity 004 stops on the Pleasure Beach turning circle to await its departure time for returning to Fleetwood Ferry
Flexity 012 leaving the northern terminus at Bold Street in Fleetwood bound for the Pleasure Beach

Starr Gate depot damaged by wind

The damaged roof cladding on Starr Gate tram depot being secured with safety netting on Sunday 11th January
A gust off wind lifted the roof cladding off part of the new tram depot at Starr Gate on the morning of 10th January. Although the weather on Saturday morning was nothing exceptional, just a reasonably strong wind, a sudden gust lifted several roof sheets from over the engineering bay and office side of the depot. With the roof panels missing, vast volumes of fibreglass insulation were ripped out and blown all over the garden area and crazy golf course adjacent to the depot precincts. In view of the precarious state of the roof, the adjacent promenade roadway was closed for safety reasons, and the southern tram terminus moved north to the Pleasure Beach. On Sunday 11th January the tram service was still only operating between the Pleasure Beach and Fleetwood Ferry, although all the Flexities were based at and operating from the depot at Starr Gate as normal.

Flexity 014 leaving the confines of  Starr Gate depot to enter passenger service early on the Sunday morning
Starr Gate terminus remained unused for most of the weekend while the panels on the depot roof were secured
Flexity 015 leaving the depot to enter passenger service, surrounded by blowing insulation from out of the depot roof
Vast amounts of roof insulation were blown all over the area immediately surrounding the depot
Due to the roadway adjacent to the depot being closed, the number 1 bus service had to begin from Abercorn Place
The garden area around Starr Gate depot took on a strange appearance as it was 'decorated' with roof insulation

Monday, 5 January 2015

Balloon 717 on Driver Training

Balloon 717 heading north at Ash Street in Fleetwood on driver training
Heritage fleet Balloon 717 was in use on driver training on Monday 5th January and made a run right through to Fleetwood Ferry.

Balloon 717 at Fleetwood Ferry while in use on driver training on Monday 5th January
Balloon 717 heading south on the tramroad at Rossall while returning from a driver training run to Fleetwood