Sunday 29 July 2012

Balloons on Specials

Balloon 700 on a special behind service car 006 at the Fleetwood Ferry stop in Bold Street
As there were no heritage tours scheduled today due to faulty points at the Pleasure Beach, it was decided to employ the two sets of crews on specials instead. The trams selected were Balloons 700 and 709, running northbound to various destinations, and turning back at the Foxhall due to the Pleasure Beach loop being out of bounds because of the points problem. The day afforded the many enthusiasts that were around plenty of opportunities to get sunny shots of the Flexities and Balloons passing each other, and also the chance to ride Balloons in normal service instead of on a heritage tour. A selection of photos taken during the mid afternoon are shown here.

A broadside view of 700 at Fleetwood Ferry
Balloon 700 on a southbound special passing Fleetwood Ferry
Northbound Flexity 015 passes 700 at Cleveleys tram station
Balloon 700 southbound at Cleveleys
Balloon 700 and Flexity 006 pass at the northbound North Pier tram stop
Balloon 700 on a short working to Cabin before returning back to Rigby Road depot
Balloon 709 at Cleveleys on a special to Thornton Gate
Flexity 013 and Balloon 709 pass each other at North Pier
Balloon 709 on a special to Cabin, before returning to Manchester Square and back to the depot

Saturday 28 July 2012

Balloons Day of Glory

Council liveried Balloon 700 north of Lowther Avenue, heading to Fleetwood Ferry on the Flexity replacement service
Around 0630 on Saturday morning, a motorist driving a blue MG convertible lost control of his car at Harrow Place on the South Promenade and struck a lamppost, the driver unfortunately suffering fatal injuries. The car ended up stranded across the tram tracks, thus blocking the exit route for trams departing Starr Gate into service. The only Flexity to make it into service before the closure of the tram tracks was 012. Blackpool Transport made the decision to use some of the serviceable widened Balloons from Rigby Road to assist with the shortfall, with 700, 709, 718 and 724 being pressed into service, Optare Solo buses were also used as part of the Flexity replacement service. Around lunchtime the tram tracks on the South Promenade were reopened, enabling the Flexities to begin entering service, at which point the Balloons began running into depot, starting with 724 and 718 which returned to Rigby Road around 1300, 709 ran into Starr Gate depot at 1330, with 700 running into Rigby Road about the same time. Balloons 700, 709 and 718 were all making their first normal service runs of 2012, 724 having already made its debut into service on 5th April. 700 had previously put in an appearance on the Heritage Tour in its all white guise on 21st April, but this was its first service use, and also its debut into service in the newly applied purple and white Flexity livery.

Southbound Balloons 724 and 718 pass Flexity 009 on a short working to Little Bispham at North Pier
Flexity 004 entering service while Balloon 724 runs to Manchester Square before returning to Rigby Road depot

Balloon 718 arrives at the Tower stop as Flexity 004 heads north for Fleetwood Ferry
Flexity 009 on a short working to Thornton Gate passes southbound 718 making its last service trip of the day
Sealife liveried 709 passes the Sealife Centre on its way to Starr Gate
709 was the only Balloon to run the full length of the system to Starr Gate, here passing RML 2290 at Central Pier
Optare Solo 244 was one of the buses used on the Tram Replacement service, seen here on South Promenade

Friday 27 July 2012

Flexity 012 receives new advert

Flexity 012 southbound at North Pier with a new advert for
Flexity 012 was noted in service today with new single sided advert for (a luxury hotel website).

The centre section advert for on Flexity 012

Monday 23 July 2012

Flexity centre section adverts

011 became the first Flexity to carry an advert (for Redrow Homes) on 9th June, but only on one side of the tram
Beginning with the Redrow Homes advert which made its debut on Flexity 011 on 9th June, here are some closer views of the centre section adverts that have appeared since then on Blackpool's new supertrams. The Pleasure Beach have been a sponsor of several of the adverts on the new trams, all with a common style of plain text on a gold colored background along the roof level panels, with the centre section of the tram featuring the theme of each advert on the below window vinyls. When the adverts on Flexity 010 had been completed on 20th July, these made a refreshing and colourful change from the run of six Pleasure Beach adverts that had been applied over the previous weeks.

14th June saw the first Pleasure Beach sponsored advert appear, for the Ice Skating Arena on Flexity 006
The Big Blue Hotel scheme on 005 became the second advert sponsored by the Pleasure Beach on 17th June 
Flexity 014 was outshopped with a Pleasure Beach advert featuring the Big One roller coaster on 27th June
Flexity 015 carried an advert for Nickelodeon Land (at the Pleasure Beach) on its first day in service on 29th June
11th July saw Flexity 004 enter service with an advert for the Hot Ice Show at the Pleasure Beach
An advert for the Ripley's Believe It or Not attraction at the Pleasure Beach appeared on Flexity 013 on 13th July
A colourful traditional looking advert for the Grand Theatre appeared on one side of Flexity 010 on 19th July
20th July saw an advert for Stanley Park's Art Deco Cafe appear on the other side of Flexity 010

Friday 20 July 2012

First Flexity to carry two Adverts

Flexity 010 at Pharos Street with its new multi-coloured advert for the Grand Theatre
Flexity 010 has became the first of the supertrams to carry two different adverts, one side of the tram carries an advert for the Grand Theatre while on the other side there is an advert for Stanley Park's Art Deco Cafe. These two designs make a pleasant change from all the look-alike adverts for the Pleasure Beach that have been applied to six of the new trams, these adverts have the same plain font and text colour on identical gold backgrounds right along the roof line panels. 
The Grand Theatre advert on Flexity 010 has multi-coloured roof line graphics that feature a mixture of words and pictures in a billboard style, while the Stanley Park Cafe advert uses an Art Deco font type in black and pink on a white background along the roof panels. These adverts show what can be done with a little bit of imagination, the Pleasure Beach roof adverts appearing rather plain and uninspiring by comparison.

The reverse side of 010 carries an advert for the Stanley Park Art Deco Cafe

Sunday 15 July 2012

Tram Sunday

Balloon 700 moves forward into Lord Street (to clear the crossover) waiting for heritage Balloon 717 to arrive
The Fleetwood Festival of Transport, otherwise know as Tram Sunday, saw two Balloons running down Lord Street together early on Sunday morning. Balloon 700 made its debut in the recently applied purple and white colour scheme as worn by the Flexities. 700 turned up at Ash Street at 0740, then had to wait for Balloon 717 which was stuck behind Flexity 011, the first service tram of the day. 717 duly arrived, then just after 0800 the two Balloons ran in convoy along Lord Street and North Albert Street, to take up their display positions in Pharos Street shortly after 0815.

700 with Flexity 011, the first service tram of the day, waiting to reverse on the crossover at Ash Street
Balloon 717 following 700 down Lord Street 
Balloons 700 and 717 making their way down Lord Street towards their display location in Pharos Street
700 passing Poppy's cafe in North Albert Street
Balloon 717 following 700 along North Albert Street 
700 pauses at the Fleetwood Ferry stop in Bold Street for 717 to catch up
717 takes up its display position in Pharos Street behind 700
Balloon 700 sat in Pharos Street waiting for the crowds to arrive
700 and 717 in Pharos Street shortly before they returned to the depot at the end of the day
A side on view of 700 in Pharos Street
Just a reminder of what has been lost by the desecration of this tram, wartime liveried 700 in Pharos Street in 2005

Saturday 14 July 2012

New Routemaster on Seafront 12

Routemaster RML 2391 approaching the Cliffs Hotel on the Seafront 12 service
An addition to the fleet of Routemasters running on the Seafront 12 service was noted today, when RML 2391 was spotted near the Cliffs Hotel this afternoon. Routemasters previously seen running on the Seafront 12 have been RM 1568, RML 887, RML 2290 and RML 2734.

More Flexity adverts

Flexity 004 at Anchorsholme Crossing with a new advert for the Hot Ice show at the Pleasure Beach
Two more of the Flexity 2 trams have appeared carrying new adverts this week, both sponsored by the Pleasure Beach and both continuing their style of plain text on a gold coloured background along the roofline, with the centre section vinyls showing the theme of the advert. 004 carries a Hot Ice advert while 013 is advertising Ripley's Believe It or Not, both attractions being at the Pleasure Beach.

Flexity 013 southbound at Anchorsholme with its new advert for the Ripley's Believe It or Not attraction

Friday 13 July 2012

Twin Set trailer 684 leaves Blackpool

Twin Set trailer 684 on Scotts low loader, with a pantograph for 674 and a box of spare parts
Following the departure of Twin Set motor car 674 yesterday afternoon, today saw matching trailer 684 take its turn to be loaded ready for the long journey to the North East. 684 was pulled out of the depot by Unimog 939 and moved into Blundell Street in front of Scotts low loader. Loading began at around 1845, with 684 being pushed to the foot of the ramp by Scotts little Avant 635 loader, the trailer winch then took over at this point to haul the tram onto the low loader. Loading was trouble free, but it wasn't until 2125 that the show finally got on the road, when Scotts low loader departed Blundell Street with its load of 684 bound for temporary outside storage at Gateshead, joining 674 and 647 which were taken there earlier in the week.

684 part way up the ramp of Scotts low loader, about to leave Blackpool rails for the last time
Winch end view of 684 part way up the rail ramp onto the trailer
Dismantling the rail ramp, with 684 safely loaded onto the back of the trailer
Everything safely loaded and strapped down onto the trailer ready for departure.....
.....but it was to be another hour before the convoy finally set off, with darkness gathering quickly
Scotts low loader with lights ablaze turning into Lytham Road, about to head off on the long journey to Gateshead