Friday, 26 September 2014

701 Launched

Newly repainted Balloon 701 and former Blackpool Routemaster 521 pose together at Fleetwood Ferry
Balloon 701 was officially launched into heritage fleet service on Friday 26th September, with a short ceremony taking place on the loop at North Pier to mark the completion of the repaint into Blackpool Routemaster style livery. Some short speeches were made by Harold Blythe, the Chairman of the Fylde Tramway Society, and Bob Mason, Director of Delivery for Blackpool Transport Services, before the tram loaded up with passengers and performed a special round trip to Fleetwood Ferry and return. After the tram returned to North Pier it then ran out of service to Rigby Road depot, where the crew took their crew break before 701 emerged again to take its place on the evening Illuminations Tours, operating from the Pleasure Beach loop.

Balloon 701 approaching North Pier on its way from Rigby Road depot to take part in the short launch ceremony
FTS Chairman Harold Blythe and BTS Director of Delivery Bob Mason shake hands after the speeches at North Pier
Three generations of vehicles lined up at Fleetwood Ferry, Balloon 701, Dennis Trident 322 and Routemaster 521
Balloon 701 posing for the photographers in the late afternoon sunshine at Fleetwood Ferry
Former Blackpool Routemaster 521 drawing up alongside Balloon 701 for a short photo session
Balloon 701 loading up at the Pleasure Beach for its first Illuminations Tour of the evening

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