Saturday, 28 July 2012

Balloons Day of Glory

Council liveried Balloon 700 north of Lowther Avenue, heading to Fleetwood Ferry on the Flexity replacement service
Around 0630 on Saturday morning, a motorist driving a blue MG convertible lost control of his car at Harrow Place on the South Promenade and struck a lamppost, the driver unfortunately suffering fatal injuries. The car ended up stranded across the tram tracks, thus blocking the exit route for trams departing Starr Gate into service. The only Flexity to make it into service before the closure of the tram tracks was 012. Blackpool Transport made the decision to use some of the serviceable widened Balloons from Rigby Road to assist with the shortfall, with 700, 709, 718 and 724 being pressed into service, Optare Solo buses were also used as part of the Flexity replacement service. Around lunchtime the tram tracks on the South Promenade were reopened, enabling the Flexities to begin entering service, at which point the Balloons began running into depot, starting with 724 and 718 which returned to Rigby Road around 1300, 709 ran into Starr Gate depot at 1330, with 700 running into Rigby Road about the same time. Balloons 700, 709 and 718 were all making their first normal service runs of 2012, 724 having already made its debut into service on 5th April. 700 had previously put in an appearance on the Heritage Tour in its all white guise on 21st April, but this was its first service use, and also its debut into service in the newly applied purple and white Flexity livery.

Southbound Balloons 724 and 718 pass Flexity 009 on a short working to Little Bispham at North Pier
Flexity 004 entering service while Balloon 724 runs to Manchester Square before returning to Rigby Road depot

Balloon 718 arrives at the Tower stop as Flexity 004 heads north for Fleetwood Ferry
Flexity 009 on a short working to Thornton Gate passes southbound 718 making its last service trip of the day
Sealife liveried 709 passes the Sealife Centre on its way to Starr Gate
709 was the only Balloon to run the full length of the system to Starr Gate, here passing RML 2290 at Central Pier
Optare Solo 244 was one of the buses used on the Tram Replacement service, seen here on South Promenade

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