Sunday, 24 September 2017

Brush 621 Pictorial

Brush Car 621 with its fresh paintwork gleaming in the sunshine at the Pleasure Beach
Recently refurbished and repainted Brush Car 621 made its public debut this weekend, as part of the 80th Anniversary of the Blackpool Brush Car celebrations. There was very little sunshine in evidence throughout the three day event, especially during "Brush Car Friday" and on the Saturday. Sunday 24th forecast more of the same, but fortunately their were a few lighter patches of cloud which let the sun filter through on the odd occasion during the day. The following shots of 621 were taken at the Pleasure Beach, when the sun made a very brief appearance around 9.30 am on the Sunday morning.
Brush Car 621 leading the line-up at the Pleasure Beach on Sunday morning

Brush Cars 621, 623, 630 & 631 lined up in numerical order at the Pleasure Beach
A broadside view of 621 in hazy sunshine on Sunday morning

Friday, 22 September 2017

Brush Car 621 Launch Day

Brush Car 621 being shunted around the depot prior to making its public debut
Brush Car 621 made its post restoration debut as part of the 80th Anniversary of the Blackpool Brush Car weekend, on Friday 22nd September. 621's entry into Heritage Tour use was as part of the Brush Car Friday specially timetable service, which saw four Brush cars operating on "Cleveleys Flyers" between the Pleasure Beach and Cleveleys. The trams used for this Brush Car only event were 621, 623, 630 and 631.

Brush Car 621 parked on Hopton Road
A line-up of Brush cars 621, 623, 630 and 631 on Hopton Road
A line-up of Brush cars 631, 630, 623 and 621 on Hopton Road
Brush Car 621 at Cleveleys on the first "Cleveleys Flyer" of the day

Monday, 18 September 2017

Brush 630 arrives for 80th Anniversary Event

The low loader of Scotts Heavy Haulage reversing from Lytham Road into Hopton Road
Brush Car 630 arrived in Blackpool during the early evening of 18th September, after making the journey from the National Tramway Museum at Crich on the low loader of Scotts Heavy Haulage. Brush 630 is on loan from the Tramway Museum Society in order that it can take part in the 80th Anniversary of the Blackpool Brush Car event that is taking place this coming weekend. 630 was unloaded during the hours of darkness and in rather wet weather.
Scotts low loader reversing into Blundell Street past Balloon 715 waiting to leave on a private hire

Scotts low loader reversing from Hopton Road into Blundell Street
Scotts low loader reversing along Blundell Street
Brush Car 630 being pulled off the low loader trailer by Unimog 939

Monday, 28 August 2017

Ribble Running Day at Lytham

1939 Ribble Leyland 2057 contrasts with a 2017 Blackpool ADL Enviro 400 in Lytham town centre
The fourth Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust annual running day and display at Lytham Hall was held on Monday 28th August. The event enables enthusiasts to photograph and ride a selection of preserved buses from various local operators, and a regular free bus service was operated from Lytham Hall around Lytham St Annes. In addition to buses from the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust's own collection, there were preserved vehicles from other local operators such as Lytham St Annes Corporation, Blackpool Corporation, Liverpool Corporation and Fishwick's of Leyland amongst others. Many of the buses on display around the hall were used during the running day, providing a colourful sight for the locals enjoying a quiet sunny afternoon in Lytham town centre.

1934 Lytham Leyland Lion LT5A No 24 on Clifton Street in the centre of Lytham
1962 Ribble Leyland PD3 1775 on Park Street in Lytham town centre
1976 Park Royal bodied Ribble Atlantean 1397 on Park Street in Lytham
1972 Ribble Bristol VR 1995 at the main entrance of Lytham Hall
1957 Liverpool Corporation AEC Regent A267 on Clifton Street in Lytham
Stagecoach Ribble Volvo Olympian 2234 negotiating the narrow entrance arch of Lytham Hall
Stagecoach Dennis Trident 17012 in its new White Lady livery arriving at the entrance to Lytham Hall

Sunday, 27 August 2017

August Bank Holiday Sunday

Brush Car 623 running down Lord Street in Fleetwood on an afternoon Heritage Tour
The timetabled Heritage Tram Tour output on Bank Holiday Sunday was provided by Bolton 66, Brush 623, Centenary 648, Railcoach 680 and Balloons 715 & 718, with Boat 600 assigned to specials. The tram service was disrupted again in the afternoon due to the Livewire Festival that was taking place on the Tower Headland, and from 3.00pm the Heritage Tour service was restricted to running between the Tower and Starr Gate. The Flexity service was again split into two, with the northerly section operating between North Pier and Fleetwood Ferry, and the southern section working between the Tower and Starr Gate.

Boat 600 heading south near the Tower
Brush Car 623 passing Boat 600 at Central Pier

Balloon 715 on a Heritage Tour to Starr Gate, passing Flexity 012 at the LRT platforms
Balloon 715 and Bolton 66 passing at the temporary Heritage Tour stops opposite Coral Island amusements
Centenary 648 heading south along Lord Street in Fleetwood on Sunday afternoon

Saturday, 26 August 2017

August Bank Holiday Saturday

Balloons 723 & 717 operating on Heritage Tram Tours near the Tower on Saturday afternoon
The first day of the 2017 August Bank Holiday heritage weekend in Blackpool started off bright and sunny. The timetabled heritage tram output on the Saturday was provided by Box 40, Railcoach 680 and Balloons 713, 717, 718 & 723, with illuminated Frigate 736 operating on specials. Due to the Livewire Festival that was taking place on the Tower Headland over the weekend, tram sevices were disrupted after 3.00pm, with the Heritage Tram Tour service being restricted to running between the Tower and Starr Gate. The Flexity service was split into two, with the northerly section operating between North Pier and Fleetwood Ferry, and the southern section working between the Tower and Starr Gate.

Balloons 718 and 713 passing at the temporary Heritage Tour stops opposite Coral Island amusements

Balloons 717 and 723 passing at the temporary Heritage Tour stops opposite Coral Island amusements

Balloon 718 at the temporary Heritage Tour unloading stop near the Tower

Railcoach 680 passing the Metropole Hotel, returning from a run to Fleetwood
Balloon 717 using the crossover at the Tower to return south to the Pleasure Beach
Box 40 working through the Livewire Festival area prior to it being closed to trams
Frigate 736 using the crossover at the Tower during the truncated heritage service on Saturday

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Enviro 200 MMC Demonstrator

Enviro 200 MMC demonstrator YX17 NLF at The Gynn heading up Dickson Road
Blackpool Transport currently have an Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 MMC demonstrator on loan. YX17 NLF has been noted in passenger service on routes 3 & 4, running between Cleveleys and Mereside. The MMC variant is the third generation Enviro 200 to be produced by ADL.

Enviro 200 MMC demonstrator YX17 NLF turning from Warley Road into Dickson Road
A rear view of Enviro 200 MMC demonstrator YX17 NLF in Cleveleys

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Birkenhead 20 on the Prom

Birkenhead 20 on test at the Gynn with Head of Heritage Bryan Lindop at the controls

Wirral Tramway based 1900 Milnes built Birkenhead open-top tram No. 20 was spotted on test on the tramway this morning, at Gynn Square. At the controls of Birkenhead 20 was none other than the Head of Heritage, Bryan Lindop. This was a proving run for the tram in preparation for it entering Heritage Tour service.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Blackpool Trams at the Airshow

Flexity 004 and its walking guide, with a youth on a bicycle leaning against the moving tram
The free annual Blackpool Air Show was held over the weekend of the 12th and 13th of August along the seafront. The air show attracted very large crowds, and the Flexities did a marvelous job of bringing visitors to the show from all along the Fylde Coast. The tram service was so popular that many intending passengers had to stand and watch as fully loaded trams passed them by. The airshow display area was centred between North Pier and Central Pier, and this part of the Promenade saw the largest concentration of people watching the flying display. With the air show drawing very large numbers of visitors into the resort, it was inevitable that many of them would be unfamiliar with the concept of a tram service. During the show the tram tracks were continually being used as a pedestrian pavement and cycling route by both children and adults. Because of the density of the crowds, and people constantly spilling over on to the tram tracks, many trams were being escorted through the busiest areas of the Promenade by a guide walking along in front of the tram. One Flexity was even observed with a youth on a bicycle leaning on the side of the moving tram. It's amazing that there were no serious accidents, but fortunately these seem to have been avoided due to the care of the tram crews and their walking guides, with the assistance of security staff employed to help keep the crowds at bay. The presence of heavily armed policemen equipped with assault rifles and pistols was a slightly disconcerting sight to some people along the Promenade, but they were there for a very good reason, to dissuade any would be terrorists from committing atrocities. One only has to remember what happened on the promenade at Nice in France not so very long ago to understand why it was felt necessary to deploy armed police at this very well attended (and quite vulnerable) public event.

Air show crowds watching from both sides of the platform barrier at the Tower tram stop
Balloon 715 at North Pier with police and crowd security personnel passing each other
Balloon 717 passing one of the many police cars to be seen along the promenade

Heavily armed policemen patrolling along the Promenade with a Flexity approaching
Boat 600 heading south at the Tower on Sunday afternoon
Operational Firearms Commanders, armed with assault rifles and pistols

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Centenary 645 returns to Blackpool

Centenary 645 at Windy Harbour Caravan Park, showing some of its broken and boarded up windows
Hot on the heels of the move of loaned Birkenhead 20 from the Wirral to Rigby Road depot, Scotts made the short journey to Little Singleton to collect Centenary 645. It was shortly after 4.00pm before Scotts Heavy Haulage arrived at Windy Harbour Caravan Park to collect 645, and as it transpired it would be a long and protracted procedure recovering the Centenary Car from the caravan site. On measuring both the tram and the trailer, it was discovered that the latter was fractionally too short to load 645 onto its flat bed. To overcome the slight hitch it was decided to construct a sloping rail ramp on the trailer bed so that the end of the tram could be positioned above the low loader's rear wheels, thus resolving the problem. After a long and tiring loading process, 645 was finally chained down to the low loader late on the Thursday evening, eventually being unloaded back in Blackpool some time after 1.00am the next morning! The ultimate plan is to restore 645 back to operational condition for use in the heritage fleet, this tram carrying the final incarnation of the Centenary fleet modifications.

The pantograph tower being removed from the roof of 645
Centenary 645 being pulled from its resting place towards the trailer
Centenary 645 making its way gingerly up the rail ramp

Centenary 645 being hauled up the rail ramp onto the trailer

Centenary 645 being hauled onto the low loader with the tractor unit's crane
Centenary 645 inching its way to its final loading position on the trailer
Centenary 645 chained down onto the low loader trailer of Scotts Heavy Haulage