Monday, 16 April 2018

Trains return to Blackpool North

156469 at Poulton-le-Fylde on the 1245 service to Manchester Airport 

Monday 16th April saw a limited train service resume on the Preston to Blackpool North line, after being closed for several months due to upgrade and electrification work. An hourly service is currently being operated between Blackpool North and Manchester Airport, with rail replacement buses still running to supplement the trains. Driver training trains were noted running in between the hourly passenger service.

156472 passing at speed through Layton towards Blackpool North

156491 at Blackpool North, note that platform 1 is still a fenced off work area

150220 leaving Blackpool North on driver training

Saturday, 14 April 2018

40s at 60 event on the ELR

Visiting locos 40012 "Aureol" and D213 "Andania" at Bury Bolton Street Station

To mark the 60th anniversary of the English Electric Type 4 (Class 40) entering service with British Railways, the East Lancashire Railway held a special three day diesel event from 13th to 15th April. The 40s at 60 event saw five Class 40s in service, supported by a Deltic and Class 50 also. Resident 40s 40106, 40135 and 40145 took part plus 50015 "Valiant", along with visiting locos 40012 "Aureol", belonging to The Midland Railway Trust, D213 "Andania" from Barrow Hill and D9009 "Alycidon" courtesy of the Deltic Preservation Trust. Pioneer Class 40 D200 was on loan from the National Railway Museum at York, and was displayed at Bolton Street Station at Bury throughout the event.

D213 "Andania" departing from Bury on the 1616 service to Heywood

The noses of D213 "Andania" and D200 at Bolton Street Station, Bury

40135 and 40012 double heading the 1056 from Bury to Heywood

40012 and 40135 double heading the 1056 Bury to Heywood service

40106 "Atlantic Conveyor" at Bury on the rear of the 1315 train from Heywood

40135 waiting at Ramsbottom with 40145 arriving on the 1250 from Bury to Rawtenstall

D9009 "Alycidon" at Ramsbottom on the 1447 service to Heywood

50015 "Valiant" at Ramsbottom Station on the 1322 shuttle to Bury

D200 from the National Railway Museum on display at Bury

Thursday, 5 April 2018

147 on midweek Heritage Tours

Balloon 715 and newly repainted Standard 147 passing each other near Manchester Square

Thursday 5th April dawned bright and sunny in Blackpool, and as newly repainted Standard 147 was rostered to be one of the two trams on the midweek Heritage Tours that day, the chance had finally arrived to get some some sunny shots of this tram in action.

147 at Gynn Square returning from the Cabin and heading for the Pleasure Beach

147 at Gynn Square on the first Cabin service of the day

Standard 147 southbound at Central Pier

147 heading south at Talbot Square past the junction for the new line to North Station

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Standard 147 back in Heritage Tour service

Standard 147 gleaming in the sunshine during the midday crew break at the Pleasure Beach

Newly repainted Standard 147 re-entered Heritage Tram Tour service over the Easter weekend. As already detailed on the Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours website, 147 has had quite a lot of remedial work done to it since it returned from its period of loan at Beamish Museum. The tram now looks resplendent in the 1930s style of the Blackpool Standard green and cream livery, and is ready for many more years of Heritage Tour service.

A broadside view of 147 showing the Blackpool Corporation fleet name between the decks

The two oldest double deck trams in the heritage fleet, Bolton 66 and Standard 147

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Rail Grinder visits Blackpool

The German rail grinder in use near the Lifeboat Station on Central Promenade
A Swiss made Meili VM8000 rail grinder belonging to Goldschmidt Thermit Railservice of Germany is in Blackpool this week. The vehicle was being used to grind the rails of the southbound track between the Tower and Central Pier on 20th March. When in use the VM8000 deploys four retractable rail wheels in order to run along the track, the road wheels being lifted clear of the ground. The grinding work was being done in between the normal Flexity tram service, with the vehicle raising its rail wheels and driving clear of the tram track on its road wheels to let each service car pass by.

Grinding the southbound rails opposite the Sealife Centre
The rail grinder in use near the Tower tram stop
A close up of the grinding mechanism and rail wheels
The rail grinder is operated via two remote control consoles

Monday, 19 March 2018

Blackpool's Newest Flexity

Flexity 018 at Anchorsholme Crossing
Flexity 018, which was newly delivered on 15th December last year, was noted in passenger service today. Here are a few views taken on the northern half of the tramway on Monday 19th March. The two new trams look quite smart in their factory fresh shiny finish, and they contrast quite markedly with the now faded purple cabs on the original sixteen Flexities.

Flexity 018 on Pharos Street in Fleetwood
Flexity 018 heading north along Lord Street in Fleetwood

Monday, 5 March 2018

Large Logo Class 37 at Preston

DRS 37402 about to depart from Preston Station on the 2C47 to Barrow-in-Furness
Direct Rail Services 37402, wearing the BR large logo heritage livery, was noted operating the 2C47 from Preston to Barrow-in-Furness on Monday 5th March.

DRS 37402 ready to leave Preston on the 1004 to Barrow

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Balloons on Private Hire

Balloons 718, 717 & 723 loading up with passengers at the Imperial Hotel
Three of the heritage tram fleet took part in a private hire on the evening of 27th February. Balloons 717, 718 & 723 picked up a large party of guests from the Imperial Hotel shortly before 18:00, just after sunset. The plan was for the three trams to run south down to Starr Gate, then return their passengers back to the Imperial Hotel.

Balloons 723, 717 & 718 on a private hire at the Imperial Hotel

Open Topper on the Coastliner 21

Sightseeing Manchester open top Trident W501 RBB in Cleveleys on the Coastliner 21
Due to a temporary vehicle shortage on the Coastliner 21, one of the Sightseeing Manchester open top Tridents was noted in service on the Fylde Coast on Tuesday 27th February. W501 RBB, an Alexander ALX400 bodied Dennis Trident, was rather a long way from its usual stamping ground in Manchester, but was a pleasant diversion from the usual run of the mill buses to be seen running along the Promenade.

Sightseeing Manchester Trident W501 RBB in Cleveleys on the 21 to St Annes
Sightseeing Manchester open top Trident W501 RBB at Cleveleys Bus Station

Monday, 26 February 2018

Old Layton tram route track

Old tram tracks revealed on Talbot Road near the junction with Abingdon Street on 25th February
The realignment of essential gas, water and electric pipes along Talbot Road, to make way for the new tram extension to North Station occasionally unearth some of the old tram track. Utility work excavations have have recently revealed a short section of the former Layton route track close to the junction with Abingdon Street.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Heritage on the South Promenade

Brush Car 621 at Starr Gate about to leave for Fleetwood on Saturday
The February Winter Gold weekend began on Saturday 24th February, with clear blue skies being the order of the day. The timetabled service operated between Starr Gate and Fleetwood Ferry, with trams 623, 715, 631, 621, 701 and 717 in use throughout the day, with Balloon 700 serving as the heritage shop stationed on the loop near North Pier. Sunday saw more of the same fine sunny weather, with trams 701, 713, 680, 630, 723 & 718 running the tours. Around midday Railcoach 680 was taken out of heritage service and replace by Brush Car 621.

Balloon 717 bound for Starr Gate along the South Promenade
Brush Car 631 rounding the curve on the approach to the Starr Gate terminus
Balloon 715 heading for Starr Gate along the South Promenade
Brush Car 623 setting off from Starr Gate on a run to Little Bispham
Balloon 701 approaching the Pleasure Beach on a tour through to Fleetwood
Balloon 723 at Starr Gate heading north on a Heritage Tour on Sunday morning
Railcoach 680 at the Pleasure Beach on the first run of the day to Starr Gate
Balloon 713 at the Pleasure Beach heading north towards Little Bispham
718 at Starr Gate after unloading its passengers at the temporary Heritage Tour stop
Brush 630, on loan from the Tramway Museum at Crich, on South Promenade

Brush 621 from Starr Gate to Fleetwood Ferry

621 approaching the terminus at Starr Gate on Saturday 24th February
The Winter Gold weekend on 24th & 25th February saw heritage trams operating a regular timetabled service from Starr Gate to Fleetwood Ferry. Saturday 24th saw Brush Car 621 in all day service, and as most of the day was blessed with unbroken sunshine, this gave many people their first chance to photograph 621 in all its glory for the first time. On the Sunday 621 was due to remain in Rigby Road depot, but around lunchtime Railcoach 680 was taken out of service and replaced by Brush 621 on the 'C' timetable, just in time for the tram to make its second run of the weekend to Fleetwood, again in full sunshine. This selection of photos combines shots taken over both days, showcasing 621 at both Starr Gate and Fleetwood plus several points in between.

621 at Starr Gate terminus about to make a run to Fleetwood on Saturday 24th February
621 pauses at the Pleasure Beach on its northbound journey to Fleetwood Ferry
621 heading north along Lord Street in Fleetwood on Sunday 25th February
621 at Fleetwood Ferry on Sunday 25th February
621 approaching the heritage tram stop on Pharos Street in Fleetwood
621 heading south along North Albert Street in Fleetwood
621 passing Cleveleys Park Methodist Church at West Drive
Balloon 717 at the Pleasure Beach with 621 returning from a run to Fleetwood Ferry