Monday 30 April 2012

Box 40 ventures to Fleetwood

Box 40 running down Lord Street in Fleetwood on a private hire
Blackpool and Fleetwood Tramroad Company Box car 40 was used on a private hire to Fleetwood today, taking a party of people to the North Euston Hotel. This is the first time that 40 has been to the Ferry since 2009. While the party had their meal in the North Euston, 40 had to return to Thornton Gate to lay over, in order to allow service cars to continue using the line, due the one tram at a time token system in use on the Fleetwood street track section.

Box 40 passing Fleetwood Ferry after dropping its passengers off in Bold Street
40 returning from Thornton Gate to pick up its passengers in Pharos Street for the return journey
Box 40 on the former tramroad near Rossall Farm
Southbound Flexity 008 passing Box 40 laying over at Thornton Gate

Friday 27 April 2012

Flexity 013 Night Arrival

Flexity 013 being unloaded from its transporter just after 23:00 on Friday night
Flexity 013 arrived at Hull docks on the morning of Thursday 26th April, but due to the fact that a police escort could not be provided that day the tram had to stay in Hull, despite the move having been planned for weeks. The transporter finally left Hull the following morning (Friday 27th) at 06:30, but only got as far as Hartshead Moor Services on the M62 motorway in Yorkshire, as the tram transporter had been stopped by local police who'd decided that it was one metre too long to travel, despite the fact that 12 Flexities have already been delivered using this very same route without any problems! 013 was finally allowing to leave Yorkshire after the evening rush hour on Friday, arriving in Blackpool later that evening. The unloading upon arrival was a fairly swift affair, with the tram being driven into Starr Gate depot under its own power just before 23:30.

Flexity 003 on the 23:00 service to Fleetwood Ferry passes 013 being unloaded
013 being slowly winched down the transporter ramp
The pantograph being raised on 013 in preparation for being moved into the depot
013 about to enter the depot under its own power just before 23:30

Flexities 009 & 012 Receive Vinyls

Flexity 009 approaching the Starr Gate stop, about to enter service for the first time since receiving its new vinyls
Flexity 2 trams 009 and 012 both made their debuts in passenger service this week with newly applied vinyl trim. 009 is seen above about to run its first passenger trip to Fleetwood Ferry since receiving its new vinyl branding. 012 made its first appearance in service yesterday, and is seen below approaching Starr Gate terminus today.

Flexity 012 approaching the Starr Gate terminus wearing its new vinyl branding and fleet numbers

Monday 23 April 2012

Boat 607 leaves Blackpool for Crich

Boat 607 being pushed from Hopton Road into Blundell Street by the Unimog
The restored and repainted interior of 607
Boat 607, which has been restored for the Tramway Museum Society by Blackpool Transport for the princely sum of £95,000, left Blackpool this morning for its new home at Crich. The tram was pulled out of the depot and pushed into Blundell Street by a Unimog, before being pushed and winched onto Scotts low loader, which had remained in Blackpool since last Friday when it moved 143 for the LTT. After the trolley base, pole, lifeguards, windscreens and other spares were loaded, the low loader departed for Crich at 10:30.
607 being pushed and winched up the rail ramp onto the low loader
Boat 607 tied down, all spare parts loaded and ready to go
607 bids farewell to Blackpool for the last time, and heads off down Lytham Road for a new life at Crich
607 on the Golden Mile in its last year of service, loading passengers at Central Pier on 25th April 2004
Boats pass at Victoria Street in June 2003, the LTT's 605 is now at Beamish and 607 has found a new home at Crich

Saturday 21 April 2012

700 on Heritage Tour

Prototype Balloon 700 providing a bit of variety on the Heritage Tour
Balloon 700 was used on the heritage service today, and although this is not really a heritage tram any more, due to the addition of widened doorways and the removal of its bumpers, lifeguards and swing-over seats, the tram is still popular with enthusiasts, and would be a lot more popular if it was painted back into a heritage colour scheme, despite the modern additions. 706 "Princess Alice'" is still suffering from electrical problems, and was replaced by the Frigate part way through the day.

706 failed again today with electrical problems, seen here at North Pier on 15th April
Frigate 736, seen exiting Little Bispham loop, replaced faulty tram 706 on the Heritage Tour today
Standard 147 running the heritage service on 15th April

Friday 20 April 2012

Standard 143 returns to Brinwell Road

Scotts low loader turning from Hopton Road into Lytham Road with 143, beginning the short journey to Marton
717 pulling 143 out of the depot into Hopton Road
The LTT's preserved Blackpool Standard 143 returned back to secure storage at their depot in Marton today. 143 was hauled out of Rigby Road depot and moved into Blundell Street by heritage Balloon 717 in the morning. Scotts Heavy Haulage loaded the tram onto their low loader at midday before making the short journey to the LTT depot in Brinwell Road. Actually getting the tractor and trailer unit into the LTT depot proved to be rather tricky, but Scotts managed to 'thread the needle' with their usual expertise.

143 being winched onto Scotts low loader in Blundell Street
Scotts low loader heading off down Lytham Road towards Marton
143 and low loader having just arrived at Brinwell Road
Scotts low loader manoeuvring into the LTT depot at Brinwell Road, note the trailer wheels on full lock
Scotts low loader slowly inching through the doorway of the LTT depot
143 being pulled down the rail ramp by Scotts little green loader
Standard 143 in its final position, alongside Railcoach 279 and Coronation 663, in Brinwell Road depot

Thursday 19 April 2012

First Metrolink Tram withdrawn

M5000 car 3004 passing now withdrawn T-68 tram 1011 on 24th March, with the CIS Tower in the background
The first of the Manchester Metrolink T-68 trams has been withdrawn this week, with 1011 being the first to be selected for withdrawal from the 20 year old Ansaldo Firema fleet. The T-68 trams have become increasingly unreliable of late, and further examples are expected to be withdrawn over the coming months.

1003 is the only one of the old T-68s to receive the new yellow livery, seen here in Piccadilly Gardens in March

Monday 16 April 2012

Rigby Road Line Up

Centenary 642 and Balloons 724, 700 and 717 lined up on the fan at Rigby Road depot
Today saw trams 642, 724, 700 & 717 lined up on the depot fan, the three Balloons having all been given a wash.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Flexities still failing in service

Flexity 008 stranded at Pleasant Street, with its passengers making their way across to the adjacent Route 1 bus stop

The incidence of Flexity 2 trams failing in service is still occurring, much to the inconvenience of the travelling public. On Saturday 14th April, Flexity 008 failed at Pleasant Street at 10:00 while heading for Fleetwood Ferry. Most of the passengers left the stranded tram and headed for the nearby Route 1 bus stop. In the meantime the crew inspected the rear bogie, which was presumably indicating a problem on the drivers console. After several minutes, the passengers at the bus stop (who had been complaining about trams breaking down and not running often enough) were beckoned back to the tram, as the problem seemed to have cleared itself. 008 continued its interrupted journey northwards again.

The tram crew inspecting the suspect rear bogie of 008

The passengers reboarding Flexity 008 after the crew had declared it operational again

Thursday 12 April 2012

Great North Steam Fair

Marton Box car 31 in a brief moment of sunshine at Beamish on Thursday 12th April
The Great North Steam Fair at Beamish began on Thursday 12th April, unfortunately accompanied by heavy overcast weather and rain in the morning. The upside of this was that instead of an all open-top tram service as planned, Sunderland 101 (Blackpool 703) was used in all day service, although the obvious downside was that Boat 233 (605) stayed put in the depot due to the inclement weather, apparently the electrics aren't waterproof. Fortunately the rain held off long enough in the afternoon for Boat 233 to be brought into passenger service at around 15:30. Marton box car 31 was also in use throughout the day, so eventually all three Blackpool trams were out together.

Sunderland 101 (Blackpool 703) passing the superb 1929 East Yorkshire Motor Services Leyland Tiger TS2
Blackpool Boat 233 (605) on its first passenger trip at Beamish, respendent in its new 1930s livery
Boat 233 alongside Ravensworth Terrace in Beamish town, on its second circuit in passenger service
Birkenhead 20 and the 1928 Fowler B6 crane locomotive "Duke of York"
Leeds Works Car 6 and a 1929 Foden steam tractor
The 1929 EYMS Leyland Tiger TS2 which has been immaculately restored by Bluebird Coaches

Monday 9 April 2012

Heritage Service Day 4

Balloon 717 at Bispham, making its debut on the heritage service, passing northbound Flexity 001
Balloon 717 at Wilton Parade
Day four of the Heritage Tours brought heavy cloud and rain, fortunately this meant that all enclosed cars were required, which saw the debut of Balloon 717 on the heritage service. The other tram on the tours was the distinctly non-heritage illuminated Frigate 736, but it was very appropriate given the amount of standing water around!
Frigate 736 sailing south through the rain at Warley Road

Sunday 8 April 2012

Easter Sunday

Flexity 004 at the Cabin, with seagulls soaring in the wind on the updraft from the cliffs
Easter Sunday was another cold, cloudy and windy day, which was perfect weather for the seagulls soaring on the updraft from the cliffs at the Cabin, as seen above with Flexity 004 waiting in the tram station, having just reversed over the crossover on a short working to the Cabin.

004 reversing over the crossover on a short working to the Cabin

Bolton 66 about to pick up passengers at the Cabin
Heritage tram output on the third day of the service was provided by Bolton 66 and 706 "Princess Alice", unfortunately though in a similar turn of events to yesterday, 706 failed in service and had to be towed back to the depot by the Unimog around lunchtime, being replaced on the heritage tour by 147 as on Saturday. Princess Alice is seen below heading south at Lowther Avenue, before it was withdrawn from service due to more problems.
706 and Flexity 010 pass at Lowther Avenue