Monday, 25 May 2015

The Three Queens

The Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria line abreast in the River Mersey on Bank Holiday Monday
A unique event took place on the River Mersey at Liverpool on Bank Holiday Monday 25th May. To celebrate the 175th Anniversary of Cunard Line, all three of Cunard's ships were due to meet on the Mersey in a spectacular coming together of the whole fleet, which is unlikely to be seen again in Liverpool for a very long time. RMS Queen Mary 2 had arrived in the port on the morning of the preceding day, Sunday 24th May. At 1045 on Bank Holiday Monday, the Queen Mary 2 departed from the Pier Head and made its way down to the mouth of the River Mersey, where it performed a 180 degree turn to await the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. While the Queen Mary 2 remained on station at the mouth of the Mersey, she was passed by the Queen Elizabeth, which had sailed from the Orkney islands in Scotland, and the Queen Victoria, which had arrived from Guernsey in the Channel Islands. The Queen Mary 2 took up her position at the rear of the flotilla and all three ships sailed line astern along the River Mersey towards the Liver Building, they then slowed to a stop adjacent to the Echo Arena and performed a choreographed 180 degree turn until they were facing north. The ships then slowly manoeuvred into a line abreast formation in the centre of the river opposite the Liver Building. As the ships held their position mid-river, the RAF Red Arrows aerobatic display team made a flypast overhead on their way to a perform a display at Blackpool. At 1410 the Queen Mary 2 departed the city to continue with her cruise to Guernsey, while the Queen Elizabeth berthed at the Pier Head landing stage and the Queen Victoria remained anchored in the centre of the River Mersey. A few facts about the three Queens, the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria are both cruise ships that weigh around 90,000 tons and have a capacity of just over 2000 passengers. The Queen Mary 2 is a full ocean going liner and weighs in at 148,000 tons with a capacity of 2,600 passengers. The Queen Mary 2 is the last major ocean liner to be built since the QE2 back in 1969, and was constructed with 40% more steel than an equivalent cruise ship in order to be able to withstand the rigours and storms of regular transatlantic crossings.

The Mersey ferry Snowdrop in a WW1 style dazzle camouflage scheme approaching Seacombe landing stage
The Queen Mary 2 leaving the Pier Head at Liverpool in order to make its way towards the mouth of the River Mersey
The Queen Mary 2 performing a 180 degree turn around at the mouth of the River Mersey beyond New Brighton
Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria passing the Queen Mary 2 at the mouth of the River Mersey near New Brighton
The Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, with the Queen Mary 2 passing by Seaforth container terminal
The Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 being led up the River Mersey by the tug Svitzer Bidston
The Queen Elizabeth leading the Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 up the River Mersey in line astern formation
The Queen Victoria leading the Queen Mary 2 up the River Mersey towards the Liver Building
The cruise ship Queen Elizabeth leading the flotilla of three Cunarders up the River Mersey
The Queen Victoria passing the similarly named Victoria clock tower at the entrance to Liverpool Docks
The Queen Mary 2 bringing up the rear of the flotilla of three ships

The RAF Red Arrows display team performing a flypast over the three Queens and the Liver Building
The Queen Mary 2 leaving Liverpool in order to continue with her cruise towards Guernsey
The Queen Mary 2 departing for Guernsey as the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria remain on station in the river
The Queen Mary 2 passing the Seacombe landing stage as she heads off down the Mersey bound for Guernsey
The Queen Elizabeth draws up to the Liverpool Pier Head landing stage as the Mersey ferry Royal Iris passes by

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Green & Cream Saturday

Balloon 715 at the Tower sporting new side adverts for Tram Sunday in Fleetwood
The heritage trams on Saturday 23rd May were running to the green timetable, which uses four trams nominally operating every 20 minutes between the Pleasure Beach and Little Bispham. The theme for the day was "Green & Cream", with trams 147, 600, 648 and 715 running the service during the morning, Balloon 715 has also received full length between deck adverts for Tram Sunday in Fleetwood. Shortly after 1330 two tram substitutions were made, 147 returned to the depot with compressor problems and was replaced by Boat 230, 600 also returned to Rigby Road depot, being swapped for 706 Princess Alice. Later in the afternoon Balloon 715 also began to have compressor problems and was replaced in service by Brush Car 631. The 1610 departure from the Pleasure Beach offered a run through to Fleetwood Ferry, this being operated by 706.

Standard 147 at South Pier, about to be overtaken by an ambulance using the tram tracks whilst on a call out
Boat 600 southbound at the Cabin on an early morning heritage run
147 heading for the depot with a faulty compressor, followed by 600 also on its way to Rigby Road for a tram swap
Boat 230 coming off the centre siding at Bispham before returning to the Pleasure Beach
Balloon 715 heading south past Central Pier on a morning Heritage Tour run
Centenary 648 waiting for passengers at the southbound Heritage Tour tram stop at Bispham
Standard 147 turning short at Bispham while 715 passes by on its way to Little Bispham
Balloon 706 heading back south down Lord Street in Fleetwood after its late afternoon trip to the Ferry

Friday, 22 May 2015

Citaro Public Launch

Mercedes Citaro 551 taking part in the public launch of the new Palladium fleet of buses in St. John's Square
After yesterday's official launch event for Blackpool Transport's new Palladium branded Mercedes Citaros, today it was the public's turn to be introduced to the new buses. The public launch of the Palladium fleet took place in St. John's Square opposite the Opera House. Citaro 551 was the vehicle selected for the event, having been part of the official launch ceremony on the preceding day. 551 was on display for the public to inspect from 1000 until 1500, and Heart Radio were also in attendance throughout the event.

Mercedes Citaro 551 at the Palladium launch in St John's Square, with Heart Radio also in attendance
Mercedes Citaro 551 arriving in St John's Square ready to take part in the public launch of the new Palladium fleet
Mercedes Citaro 551 ready to take part in the public launch of the new Palladium fleet in St John's Square
Mercedes Citaro 551 at the public launch of the new Palladium fleet, with the Opera House in the background

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Palladium Launch

Mercedes Citaros 550 to 553 lining up before the Palladium launch event on the Tower headland
Blackpool Transport officially launched their new Palladium branded Mercedes Citaros in front of Blackpool Tower on Thursday 21st May. Six Citaros took part in the ceremony, with buses 550 to 555 lined up in numerical order on the Tower headland for the launch. The full batch of ten new buses are numbered 550 to 559, and they are painted light grey with a pale yellow band. The Citaros will be entering service on route 5 from Victoria Hospital to Halfway House on 31st May.

Mercedes Citaro 555 manoeuvring into position for the line-up on the Tower headland
The last bus to arrive on the Tower headland for the Palladium launch event was Mercedes Citaro 555
A rear view of Palladium branded Mercedes Citaros 550 to 553
Mercedes Citaros 550 to 555 lined up on the Tower headland at the official Palladium launch event
A profile view of Mercedes Citaros 550 to 555 on the Tower headland
Mercedes Citaros 550 to 555 (from right to left) lined up on the Tower headland for the Palladium launch event
A yellow ribbon being cut onboard Mercedes Citaro 550 to mark the official launch of the new bus fleet
The Blackpool Transport Board posing for photographs after the launch ceremony

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Cabin departure on Blue Timetable

Standard 147 heading north at the Cabin LRT platforms, with southbound Flexity 006 pausing to pick up passengers
Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours's basic service is provided by the blue timetable, which operates a shuttle service between the Pleasure Beach and North Pier using two trams. Commencing on 9th May 2015, the first trip in the morning that normally departs from North Pier at 1000 has now been extended so that it begins from the Cabin heritage stop. Similarly the 1640 departure from the Pleasure Beach in the afternoon now runs through to the Cabin instead of terminating at North Pier.

Standard 147 heading south after changing tracks by using the crossover at the Cabin
Centenary 642 leaving the siding at the North Pier heritage stop, with Flexity 002 passing by on its way south
Standard 147 on heritage service, passing the newly restored frontage of the Blackpool Tower building

Friday, 15 May 2015

Trident 330 receives new Tower advert

Dennis Trident 330 southbound at New Bonny Street with a new overall advert for Blackpool Tower
Another Blackpool Transport bus has just been given a new overall advert, the third one to be applied this year. Dennis Trident 330 has received a new vinyl wrap advertising The Blackpool Tower. The previous BTS vehicle to carry overall advertising for Blackpool Tower was Trident 312 in 2012.

A rear three-quarter view of Dennis Trident 330 showing its newly applied overall advert for Blackpool Tower
The previous Dennis Trident to carry overall advertising for the Tower was 312, seen at Talbot Square in June 2012

Thursday, 14 May 2015

New Madame Tussauds advert on Trident 329

Dennis Trident 329 at West Drive in Cleveleys with the new 2015 overall advert for Madame Tussauds
The second overall bus advert that Blackpool Transport have outshopped this year has recently been applied to Dennis Trident 329. The new vinyl wrap on 329 is an advert for Madame Tussauds in Blackpool, the previous overall advert for Tussauds being carried by Trident 315 in 2012.

A rear three-quarter view of Trident 329 showing its newly applied overall advert for Madame Tussauds
The previous Madame Tussauds advert on Trident 315, seen being passed by Classic Bus RM 1568 in June 2012