Saturday, 2 May 2015

Balloon 715 Resurrected

715 at the Cabin with Twin Set 272+T2 passing southbound in rather dismal weather for the bank holiday weekend
Balloon 715 has emerged resplendent from Rigby Road works after repair work and a full repaint into 1990's fleet livery, and has taken up its duties as part of the Blackpool Heritage Tour tram fleet. The tram was last used in service during the end of the Illuminations in November 2011. Since 715 last ran it has endured a period of outdoor storage at a yard in Marton, departing from Rigby Road depot in September 2012 before being repatriated again to the tram depot in December 2013. During its time spent exposed to the elements the tram was vandalised, suffering several broken windows, thankfully this dark period in its history is now in the past and the tram hopefully has a brighter future as part of the Blackpool heritage fleet. The debut back into passenger service for 715 was on a tour organised by the Fylde Tramway Society as part of their 2015 Convention weekend. 715 first ran to North Pier where it picked up the party of passengers before heading down to Starr Gate, then round the loop and through the tram washer before running north to Fleetwood Ferry. The final leg of the FTS tour was from Fleetwood to Cleveleys, where the FTS members departed the tram in order to attend their annual general meeting. Balloon 715 then headed south where it took a break at Bispham before entering Heritage Tour service during the afternoon.

Balloon 715 sat in Rigby Road depot before its first use in service, with the freshly applied paintwork still gleaming
Balloon 715 running empty past the Tower on its way towards North Pier where the FTS tour commenced from
The Fylde Tramway Society party boarding Balloon 715 at the North Pier Heritage Tour tram stop
Balloon 715 rounding the curve from Fleetwood Ferry into Pharos Street to collect its passengers again
The FTS tram tour terminated at Cleveleys where the society's members left to attend their annual general meeting
Balloon 715 at the Cleveleys Heritage Tour stop, with Flexities 011 and 016 at the tram station platforms behind

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