Saturday, 13 April 2019

The Pennine Blackpool Express

Jubilee Class 45690 "Leander" on the Pennine Blackpool Express at Poulton-le-Fylde

A steam special excursion train visited Blackpool on Saturday 13th April.

The "Pennine Blackpool Express" left London Euston at around 07:10, pulled by preserved Class 86 E3137 "Les Ross", heading north along the West Coast Main Line, picking up passengers at Milton Keynes, Rugby, Nuneaton, Crewe and Preston.

At Preston, Jubilee Class 45690 "Leander" was attached to the rear of the train and hauled by the Class 86 to Blackpool North, with a scheduled arrival of 11:18.

Around three hours were spent in Blackpool, allowing the passengers time to visit the town and its attractions.

At Blackpool North the Class 86 electric loco was detached so that it could re-position to Carnforth to await the return of the steam hauled special later in the day.

The steam leg of the journey was due to depart from Blackpool at 14:04, travelling via Bamber Bridge and Blackburn, joining the Hellifield line at Daisyfield Junction and tackling the steep climb up to Wilpshire Tunnel. A long descent then followed towards the 48-arch viaduct over the River Calder at Whalley. After Clitheroe the train continued to follow the Ribble Valley towards Hellifield, where there was a water stop scheduled.

The last section of the journey to Carnforth included the steep climb at 1 in 100 from Settle Junction up Giggleswick Bank, following the Bentham Line via Wennington before finally reaching Carnforth. Here the steam loco "Leander" was uncoupled from the train which then returned via the WCML to London Euston behind the Class 86 electric loco, with a scheduled arrival of 22:27.

The Pennine Blackpool Express arriving at Blackpool North behind Class 86 E3137

Jubilee Class 45690 "Leander" with the Pennine Blackpool Express at Blackpool North

Thursday, 11 April 2019

2019 Great North Steam Fair

Marton Box 31 and Fleetwood 40 entering service at the museum entrance

The annual Great North Steam Fair took place at Beamish again this year, running from Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th April. Visiting vehicles of interest were Blackpool & Fleetwood Box Car 40 from Crich, Manchester 765 from Heaton Park, 15 inch gauge steam locomotives River Irt and Katie from the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, plus the usual varied selection of rare and unusual vehicles from all around the country. The first day on Thursday saw completely blue skies all morning with plenty of sunshine on offer throughout the afternoon, which made a pleasant change as the weather in the North East can be very fickle at times.

Manchester 765 leaving the Edwardian town

Box Car 40 ascending the steep incline from Pockerley

Marton Box 40 at the museum entrance

Sunderland 16 at the Pockerley tram stop

Marton Box 31 and a Fowler traction engine at Pockerley

Blackpool & Fleetwood Box Car 40 in the Edwardian town

A 1926 Leyland Lioness, new to Bradford Corporation but with a replica charabanc body now fitted

Daimler CVG6 number 220, new to Rotherham Corporation in 1954

A 1921 Leyland G7 with Dodson Charabus bodywork

A 1915 Pierce Arrow R8 lorry built in Buffalo in the USA

The 2007 replica bus is now wearing the livery of Venture Travel

River Irt giving rides on newly laid 15 inch gauge track behind the miners cottages

Peckett 2000 was giving passenger rides from Rowley Station

Saturday, 6 April 2019

2019 UK Coach Rally in Blackpool

DJ19DJT is a brand new Volvo 9900 making its debut in the fleet of D.J. Thomas of Port Talbot

The 65th annual UK Coach Rally was held in Blackpool over the weekend of the 6th & 7th April. The 2019 rally began on the Saturday with a road run commencing from Middle Walk, the coaches arriving back there about two hours later. Following the road run a series of individual driving tests for each of the coach drivers took place on the lower promenade below the Metropole Hotel. After each entrant had completed their driving test, they drove to the Tower Headland where they were lined up for display with the other coaches. Go G VIP won the 2019 Coach of the Year award for their Van Hool TDX21 Altano.

The Van Hool TDX21 Altano of Go G VIP was awarded 2019 Coach of the Year
Volvo B9R Plaxton Elite A8EYC of East Yorkshire Coaches leaving Middle Walk

Neoplan Tourliner MC17BEE of Manchester Bee Coach Hire

 A 1981 Volvo B58-56 with Plaxton Supreme IV body, new to Johnson Bros of Hodthorpe

A Van Hool TX17 Astronef of Go Goodwins from Eccles, Manchester

A Beulas Mythos bodied MAN RR4 26.480 of Blakes Coaches from Tiverton

Coopers Tours Volvo B8R Plaxton Panther JS19JCS

PUL 91Y, a preserved 1983 Mercedes-Benz O303/15 arriving on Middle Walk

Some of the coaches lined up on Middle Walk after their road run

A Van Hool Astron T917 belonging to Archway Travel of Fleetwood

Glen Valley H14GVT, a Volvo B9R Jonckheere new to Parks of Hamilton

Heritage Extras

Boat 227 passing Stagecoach 15573 at Coral Island

As Saturday 6th April was the first day of the annual UK Coach Rally in Blackpool, the Heritage Tram Tours ran twice the normal number of trams for the day. Instead of the usual two car weekend service, four heritage trams were in use throughout the day, with Standard 147 and Balloon 723 along with Boats 227 and 600 all operating the Promenade Tour service.

Balloon 723 heading north on the Golden Mile

Boat 600 making the most of the sunshine on the Golden Mile

Standard 147 southbound near Central Pier

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Talbot Square Platform

The new eastbound tramway platform at Talbot Square 

Paving work has now been completed on the platform for the eastbound tram stop in Talbot Square, which is part of the North Station tramway extension. Presumably any additional work such as signs and seating, etc will be deferred until the new line is ready for opening in a few years time.

A view looking up Talbot Road showing the new tramway platform