Monday 23 June 2014

704 returns to Rigby Road

Scotts transporting Balloon 704 past the Bloomfield Road ground of Blackpool Football Club on the way to the depot
The last tram of the former Lancastrian Transport Trust collection has been returned to secure undercover accommodation at Rigby Road depot, where hopefully one day it will become an active member of the heritage fleet. Balloon 704 has been purchased by a mystery owner, whose wish is that the tram eventually be restored to its original 1930s open top "Luxury Dreanought" configuration. Scotts Heavy Haulage collected Balloon 704 from open storage in Marton, where it has been sat exposed to the elements since September 2012, after the LTT tram collection were evicted from Rigby Road depot. The tram, with its bogies that were all askew, first had to be dragged into position to be lined up with Scotts trailer, this was achieved by Blackpool Transport's Unimog pulling the tram away from the yard perimeter fence and straightening the bogies. Unfortunately when 704 was halfway up the rail ramp, it was found that Unimog 939 had pulled it slightly too far into the yard, the problem was resolved by using a heavy duty recovery vehicle, owned by Fylde Motor Company, winching 704 back towards the fence again, with the cable running through the fence into the recovery company's yard, which was conveniently located the other side of the fence! After the protracted loading procedure, due to problems lining the tram and bogies up, Scotts transported 704 to Blundell Street without further incident. The tram was pulled off Scotts low loader using Unimog 939, unusually requiring its rail wheels to be lowered first so that it could travel part way up the rail ramp to connect the extended drawbar to 704. The Unimog was then used to tow and propel 704 into Rigby Road depot, and the tram was coincidentally stabled on the road next to open top Balloon 706 Princess Alice.

Unimog 939 pulling Balloon 704 away from the fence and lining the bogies up with Scotts low loader trailer
A heavy recovery vehicle belonging to the Fylde Motor Company winching 704 back towards the fence
Unimog 939 pushing 704 up the rail ramp as the hydraulic arm of Scotts tractor unit pulls it up
704 loaded up and chained down on the back of the low loader, the last of the LTT trams to leave the storage yard
Scotts low loader exiting the industrial estate in Marton and about to join the start of Burton Road
Scotts low loader turning left out of the Burton Road industrial area in Marton onto Vicarage Lane
Scotts low loader heading south along Vicarage Lane in Marton at the start of its short journey to Blundell Street
Scotts low loader about to turn right from Bloomfield Road into Lytham Road on the last leg of its journey to the depot
Scotts low loader with 704 onboard reversing the last few yards from Hopton Road into Blundell Street
Scotts low loader parked in the unloading position alongside the fitting shop in Blundell Street
Unimog 939, part way up the ramp and with its rail wheels lowered, begins to pull 704 off the back of the low loader
Unimog 939, with its rail wheels now stowed, slowly pulls Balloon 704 down the rail ramp off the low loader
704 touches down on Blackpool rails again two years after last leaving them for open storage with the LTT in Marton
Balloon 704 being propelled into Rigby Road depot by Unimog 939 after a trouble free unloading
Future open top Balloon 704 was stabled on the road next to the existing open top Balloon, 706 Princess Alice

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