Wednesday 31 October 2012

Balloons on Specials - Day 3

Balloon 707 put in its first appearance of the week, substituting for 713 which was in use the previous two days
The third day of Balloon use during half term saw the same output as the previous two days apart from flat-fronted Coral Island Balloon 707 substituting for modernised Balloon 713. The weather deteriorated even further today, with strong winds and heavy cloud during the morning giving way to heavy rain showers by lunchtime.

Balloons 718 and 719 pass at the Pleasant Street tram stop on the North Promenade
Balloon 709 is seen travelling southbound approaching the Pleasant Street tram stop
Balloon 719 northbound at Pleasant Street on its way to Little Bispham
Balloon 718 sharing the North Promenade with the wind and the Seagulls

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Balloons on Specials - Day 2

Balloon 719 ran the first special of the day, seen here later on passing Flexity 009 at the Pleasure Beach
Tuesday saw the second day of the Balloon experiment, with the same five trams running the daytime specials as yesterday. There was a lot less sun around today, the weather becoming particularly dark and gloomy after lunchtime. The day saw the occasional short working again, with 719 turning back at the Tower in the morning instead of running through to Little Bispham. The trams entered service in the order 719, 713, 709, 718 and 700.

Balloon 718 entering Lytham Road bound for the promenade, ready to take up its duty as the fourth special
Prototype Balloon 700, very briefly bathed in sunshine while waiting at the Pleasure Beach
Balloons 719 and 713 pass each other at the Pleasure Beach while running on specials
Balloon 719 and Flexity 001 on driver training pause together for a few minutes on the Pleasure Beach loop
Balloon 719 about to turn back at the Tower (not heading for Cleveleys!) is passed by southbound 709

Monday 29 October 2012

Balloons on Specials

Rigby Road depot in the morning, with several Balloons waiting to begin running on specials after 0900
Monday 29th October saw the beginning of the five day experiment to test out running Balloons on specials in between the timetabled core Flexity service. Five Balloons were used on the first day of operations, notably 700, 709, 713, 718 and 719, running from Pleasure Beach to Little Bispham in between the service cars. Predictably things didn't always go according to plan, with the specials ending up bunched towards the south or north of their area of operation at times during the day. Flexities were also occasionally held up by Balloons in front, and Balloons were even noted running one behind the other, despite the plan being to slot them in between the Flexities. Short running was used to try and get some trams back on schedule, with at least one northbound Balloon being turned back south at North Pier.

Balloon 700 was the first special of the day out, leaving Rigby Road depot around 0925
700 on the first special, having turned south at Foxhall after leaving Rigby Road depot
Balloon 719 making its service debut after being fitted with widened platforms and receiving the new Flexity livery
Balloon 718 taking a short break on the Pleasure Beach loop
Balloon 713 northbound at Waterloo Road
Sealife Centre Balloon 709 southbound at Gynn Square
Balloon 719 and Flexity 005 pass each other at Central Pier
Balloons 719 and 709 pass near the St Chads Road stop
719 on its first day in service since being fitted with widened platforms and receiving the new Flexity style livery
Balloon 700 on its last northbound trip, on reaching Little Bisham it returned to Manchester Square and back in

Saturday 27 October 2012

Catch 22 buses receive route branding

Catch 22 route Dennis Dart X533 UAT seen carrying new route branding and fare details today in Cleveleys
The Classic Bus North West Catch 22 buses are beginning to receive route branding. Dennis Dart X533 UAT was noted in Cleveleys carrying route info vinyls above the windows and with fare prices displayed on a side window.

Work commences on fence at Rigby Road tram depot

A JCB digging foundation holes for the new permanent fence that is to be erected in front of the tram depot
Foundation holes were being dug at Rigby Road depot this morning, in readiness for erecting a new permanent fence in front of the tram depot, to replace the temporary fencing that has been in situ for a couple of years. 

Friday 26 October 2012

Daleks and Flexities

Northbound Flexity 007 passes the Doctor Who Dalek illuminations tableau near Lowther Avenue
Blackpool Illuminations Department have had some Doctor Who Dalek and Tardis illuminated features for the last few years, these are normally attached close to the top of lamp posts along the promenade. This year a tableau has been created with some of the models near to the Lowther Avenue tram stop, comprising of five Daleks and a Tardis. The new positioning of the Daleks makes it much easier to include them in tram photos.

Southbound Flexity 015 passes the Dalek illuminations tableau near to the Lowther Avenue tram stop
A closer view of the five Daleks and Tardis on the Doctor Who illuminations tableau
The Supreme Dalek and Tardis which are part of the Doctor Who illuminations tableau

Monday 22 October 2012

Supertram in the Autumn

Supertram 122 at Hillsborough Park bound for Meadowhall, note the destination display has not been changed
An afternoon visit to the Sheffield Supertram system on Saturday 20th October presented the chance to take a few sunny photographs before heavy cloud completely obscured the sun by early afternoon. See for more photos from this visit.

Sheffield Supertram 103 arriving at the Meadowhall Shopping Centre on a Yellow Line service
Sheffield Supertram 122 running beneath the M1 on Tinsley Viaduct, on a Purple Line service to Herdings Park
Sheffield Supertram 106 at the triangular junction at Park Square on a Blue Line service to Halfway
Sheffield Supertram 105 crossing Park Square bridge on a Blue Line service to Malin Bridge
Sheffield Supertram 110 on the approach to Park Square bridge on a Blue Line service to Halfway
Sheffield Supertram 106 in Hillsborough, turning off at the junction to Malin Bridge on a Blue Line service
Supertram 122 in Hillsborough bound for Middlewood, note the interlaced trackwork at the junction for Malin Bridge

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Southport in the day of the tram

The Botanic Gardens terminus on Harry Moore's 7mm Southport tram layout, with two Brush cars and a toastrack
Harry Moore exhibited part of his 7mm scale model layout of Southport Tramway at the North West Garden Railway & Narrow Gauge Exhibition at Lytham High School on Saturday 13th October. This layout is still a work in progress, there are more modules constructed but space precluded showing them at the weekend. The sections that were shown represented the Botanic Gardens line and part of Churchtown, plus the Corporation tram depot at Canning Road, Blowick. The Southport trams on the layout consisted of two excellent scratchbuilt brass 7mm models of 1901 Southport Tramways Company Brush cars, that had been fully enclosed after being takeover by the Corporation in 1918, plus a United Electric Car Company four wheeled toastrack tram.

ex Southport Tramways Company Brush car No 7 passing through Churchtown on route 7
Brush car No 7 at the Botanic Gardens terminus before departing for Smedley Hydro Hotel on route 8

ex Southport Tramways Company Brush car No 1, approaching the Botanic Gardens on route 1

The Southport Corporation tram depot at Blowick, with Liverpool Bellamy & Green Goddess cars inside
Southport Corporation Brush car No 1 and Toastrack No 31 at the Botanic Gardens terminus in 1932

Monday 15 October 2012

Catch 22 Fleet Update

Ex Stagecoach North West Volvo B10M R899 XVM turning round at the end of the route in Victoria Square, Cleveleys
The Classic Bus North West Catch 22 route, which operates a half-hourly weekday service between Mereside and Cleveleys, has been running for several weeks now. Saturday operations are currently limited to one bus an hour, although this is planned to become half-hourly from 10th November, presumably when more crew become available after the Sea Front 12 service ceases operations for the winter. The regular performers on the 22 route are four Dennis Darts which used to operate in London, an ex Blackpool Metrorider, with the latest addition being a former Stagecoach North West Volvo B10M. The six buses most frequently used on the Catch 22 are shown here, although only four buses are actually required to operate the weekday service frequency.

Ex Stagecoach London Dennis Dart V163 MVX in Cleveleys, carrying a new overall advert for Bispham High School
Former Stagecoach London Dennis Dart V162 MVX in Cleveleys, in CBNW's trademark all red livery

Ex Transdev London Dennis Dart X512 UAT, southbound on route 22 in Talbot Square, Blackpool
Former Transdev London Dennis Dart X533 UAT running southbound past the Tower on the Catch 22 route

Ex Blackpool Optare Metrorider P502 UFR bound for Mereside on the Catch 22 at Victoria Square in Cleveleys

Thursday 11 October 2012

304 leaves Blackpool for Beamish

Coronation 304 turning from Burton Road into Vicarage Lane, bound for Beamish on the back on Allelys low loader
Coronation 304, which has been in open storage in Blackpool with five other Lancastrian Transport Trust trams, has departed on a short term loan to Beamish museum, with the aid of sponsorship from Trams Magazine. The low loader of Allelys Haulage did not arrive until 4.40pm on Thursday afternoon, leaving very little daylight left in which to load the tram. After some initial problems aligning the front bogie with the rail ramp, the rest of the loading went without incident, and the transporter with 304 onboard left the storage yard in Marton at 6.55pm.

Coronation 304 and OMO 8 just before 304 began to be winched onto Allelys low loader
304 being slowly winched up the rail ramp onto the low loader of Allelys Haulage
304 safely off the concrete yard onto the rail ramp of the low loader
304 in position on the low loader and ready to be chained down
The tractor unit reconnected to the front of the trailer in readiness for departure
304 and low loader ready for an early evening departure to Beamish just after dusk