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


  1. So sad to see the Rigby road depot with very few stock left, Could we see pictures of the storage place where the survivors are kept.
    May we see the day when they all meet up, but NOT in storage, working!I think we spoke at rigby road this morning.
    I live next to Beamish Museum we have at least 3 of the gems here.

  2. The survivors are kept in many places around the country, a lot of the storage facilities are on private property and not accessible to the public. It wasn't me at Rigby Road this morning, I was only on the promenade today.