Saturday 30 June 2012

Seafront 12 Open Toppers

Ex London Transport MCW Metrobus A945 SUL laying over at the Cliffs Hotel on Seafront 12
Newly repainted with a red front, former London Transport MCW Metrobus A945 SUL has joined the operational fleet of buses on the Seafront 12 service in Blackpool. A945 SUL previously ran in open-top form for City Sightseeing in Scotland, before becoming part of the Classic Bus North West fleet.

MCW Metrobus A945 SUL has now joined the fleet of buses operating the Seafront 12 service
The other open topper running on the Seafront 12 service is former Crosville Bristol VR DCA 528X
Seafront 12's 'spare' bus is ex Blackpool Metrorider P502 UFR, seen here approaching the Cliffs Hotel

Friday 29 June 2012

SpongeBob Flexity

Flexity 015 making its debut in service, carrying an advert for Nickelodeon Land at the Pleasure Beach
Flexity 015 ran in passenger service for the first time today, with yet another new advert for the Pleasure Beach, this time for Nickelodeon Land. The previous tram to advertise Nickelodeon Land was Jubilee 762, which is now at Crich still displaying the advert. 015 is the fifth Flexity to 
enter service with adverts, and the fourth one to carry adverts for the Pleasure Beach, which all
look very similar apart from the centre section below window vinyls.

The centre section vinyls featuring SpongeBob SquarePants on the Nickelodeon Land advert
Flexity 015 was still in fleet livery without adverts on Monday 25th June, seen here with 717 at Starr Gate

Wednesday 27 June 2012

014 in service with new advert

Flexity 014 at North Pier with its new advert for the Pleasure Beach
Flexity 014 was noted in service today with the new Pleasure Beach advert that was applied a few days ago, which features a photo of the Big One roller-coaster on the centre section of the tram.

The centre section of 014 features a photo of the Big One roller-coaster

Monday 25 June 2012

Final Flexity 2 delivered

The transporter and Flexity 016 cresting the brow of Squires Gate Lane railway bridge at 1230 on Monday
The last new Flexity 2 for Blackpool was delivered today, when 016 finally arrived two days later than originally planned, having been delayed twice since its arrival at Hull docks on Saturday.
016 crested the railway bridge on Squires Gate Lane at 1230, bringing to a close the delivery of the sixteen Flexity 2 trams, although 002 still has to be returned from Bombardier after being sent to Germany for rectification work on 12th May. After a slightly longer than usual unloading, due to having to back the brakes off on each wheel first, 016 was finally driven into the depot at 1430.

Flexity 016, the first to be delivered with vinyls and fleet numbers already applied, on Squires Gate Lane bridge
The transporter crosses the central reservation of Squires Gate Lane in order to cut off the sharp corner at the lights
The transporter leaving New South Promenade and crossing the bus loading bay to gain access to the tramway
016 and transporter rounding the curve onto the Promenade to the final unloading position
The transporter now in the final unloading position over the depot stub line, with 011 passing southbound
Flexity 016 waiting to be unloaded while service cars 011 and 013 pass each other in front of the depot
016 being winched down the ramp onto Blackpool rails, the last of the new Flexity 2s to perform this manoeuvre
Flexity 016 being slowly lowered down the ramp with the aid of the remote controlled winch
With 016 now unloaded and the transporter ramp already being folded away, service car 012 passes by heading north
The sun finally puts in an appearance, just as 016 is about to be driven into the depot under its own power
The last of the new Flexity 2s to be delivered is driven safely into Starr Gate depot at 1430

Saturday 23 June 2012

014 outshopped with Pleasure Beach advert

Flexity 014 is the fourth of the new trams to carry advertising, this time for the Pleasure Beach amusement park

The fourth Flexity to carry advertising, and the third advert for the Pleasure Beach, was noted while Flexity 014 was being shunted around the depot complex this morning. The roof panels on 014 all carry the words "Pleasure Beach", while the lower centre section vinyls show a picture of the Big One roller-coaster floodlit at night.

The below window vinyls on the centre section of 014 show a photo of the Big One roller-coaster floodlit

Flexity 015 makes an appearance

Blackpool's latest Flexity 2 to be delivered (two weeks ago), seen on the promenade head shunt in full livery branding
Blackpool's newest Flexity 2 tram, which managed to arrive virtually unnoticed on Friday 8th June, made a short foray onto the promenade this morning. Flexity 015 was spotted on the head shunt around 1145, with full vinyl branding and fleet numbers now applied, it quickly vanished back into the depot again to be stabled on the first maintenance road.

Flexity 015 returning back into the depot environs after a repositioning shunt
Flexity 015 entering the engineering side of Starr Gate depot

Friday 22 June 2012

Olympic Flame hitches a tram ride

Standard 147 at West Drive with the torch bearer proudly carrying the Olympic Flame along the platform
The Olympic Torch procession was greeted on the Fylde Coast today by driving rain and strong winds, as have many other events this 'summer'. Part of today's relay was to include a tram ride for the Olympic Flame from Rossall School to West Drive in Cleveleys. A boat car had originally been selected for this job, but due to the atrocious weather conditions on the day it was wisely decided to use Standard 147 instead. The Olympic Flame made the journey on 147 inside a miner's lamp for safety, being transferred to the Olympic Torch when the tram arrived at West Drive at about 1705. On leaving West Drive tram station the torch bearer transferred the Olympic Flame to the next runner's torch. From here the rest of the journey into Blackpool was via the usual relay procession.

The next torch bearer waiting patiently for the tram to arrive at West Drive, in miserable weather conditions
147 arrives at West Drive with the torch bearer carrying the Olympic Flame inside a miner's lamp for safety
The torch bearer who carried the flame from Rossall School on 147 transfers the flame to the next bearer's torch
The Olympic Flame has now been transferred to the next torch ready for the bearer to continue the journey south
Stagecoach Wright StreetLite 43007 which was part of the Olympic Torch procession

Thursday 21 June 2012

Classic Bus Service 12

Ex London Routemaster RM 1568 alongside Blackpool Transport's red overall advertising Trident 315
Blackpool Transport aren't the only people running heritage vehicles along the sea front, since the 2nd June London Routemasters have been a regular sight on the promenade. Classic Bus North West have introduced the new Seafront Service 12, which operates between the Cabin and the Pleasure Beach using a mixture of vehicle types, including RM and RML Routemasters, Olympians and an open-top Bristol VR, along with other buses which may appear from time to time. The new service operates every 15 minutes between 0900 and 1800, and is already proving popular with visitors, with many being seen having their photographs taken in front of the classic red London buses.

Classic bus against a classic backdrop, RML 2290 passing Roberts' Oyster Rooms near North Pier
All red Routemaster RML 887 negotiating the roundabout at the Gynn, heading for the Pleasure Beach
RM 1568 heading for the Cabin passes RML 2290 at Gynn Square
RML 2734 heading south passes ex Lothian Buses Volvo Olympian P269 PSX at the Pleasure Beach
RML 887 heading north past the Metropole, showing the classic open platform on the Routemasters
Routemaster RM 1568 at the Tower, with the stage used for Elton John's concert just visible in the background
Ex Lothian Olympian P269 PSX passes former Crosville open-top Bristol VR DCA 528X near North Pier
Ex Dublin Bus Volvo Olympian N324 NHG approaching South Pier
Ex Crosville open-top Bristol VR DCA 528X at the Pleasure Beach
Former Blackpool Leyland Titan PD3 No 529 making a rare appearance on the 12 on a very wet 9th June
Ex Blackpool Metrorider P502 UFR passes RML 2290 at the Big Blue Hotel near the Pleasure Beach 

Monday 18 June 2012

Tram service disrupted due to Elton John concert

The seating for the Elton John concert extended over the tramway and main road in front of the tower
On Saturday 16th June, the Tower headland saw its first use as a concert venue, with Elton John playing to a crowd of 11,000 people on a specially constructed stage. As the temporary seating for the concert went over the tramway and road, this was obviously going to cause some travel disruption over the weekend. From late Friday evening until Sunday afternoon, the tramway operated in two separate halves. The northern section operated from North Pier to Fleetwood Ferry, while the southern section shuttled between Starr Gate and Manchester Square (turning at Foxhall). This operation saw as many as three and four trams at a time together at North Pier, and at times all three tracks were occupied adjacent to the southbound North Pier stop, near Festival House. This bottleneck meant that some southbound trams had to unload their passengers adjacent to the North Pier entrance, well short of the platform which was occasionally occupied by another tram. The disruption to the tram service lasted until Sunday afternoon, as the clearing of the concert seating had been delayed due to the poor weather over the previous night.

Trams on the northern section of the tramway turned at North Pier, 008 seen in service with 006 on the loop in reserve
Trams on the southern section terminated at Manchester Square, Flexity 009 is seen turning at Foxhall

Elton John in concert at the open air arena in front of the Tower
Flexities 010, 011, 012 & 013 at North Pier at 20:30 on Saturday evening, while the concert was still under way
012 unloading passengers short of the platform at North Pier on Sunday, due to trams already occupying the stop
Flexities 008, 012 & 010 at North Pier on Sunday morning (the full tramway was only opened again in the afternoon)
By Monday all the seating had been removed, the stage was left for a John Barrowman concert the following weekend