Monday 29 April 2013

Unimog called out to Cleveleys

The overhead line crew disentangling a plastic sheet from a wire hanger at the Orion Curve in Cleveleys
Unimog 939 was called out to Cleveleys this morning, due to some plastic sheeting being wrapped around an overhead wire hanger on the southbound track at the north end of the Orion Curve. The Unimog was driven into Cleveleys tram station and the rail wheels lowered so that the vehicle could be driven along the reserved track to the offending traction pole. The hydraulic jacks were deployed on the Unimog and the plastic sheet was disentangled from the wire hanger by the overhead line crew. Only one service tram was slightly delayed by the incident, this being southbound Flexity 006.

Northbound Flexity 008 passes Unimog 939 at Cleveleys as its hydraulic jacks are being retracted ready for leaving

Unimog 939 about to depart south along the reserved track using its steel rail guide wheels, with Flexity 006 behind

Friday 26 April 2013

002 back on Driver Training again

Elusive Flexity 002 back in driver training mode again today, after its brief outing in passenger service at the weekend
Flexity 002 has still not managed any decent spells of use in passenger service yet. After its brief appearance in service last Saturday, it seems to have reverted to its old ways of hiding out of sight or being used on driver training. 002 was noted out on training again today as it passed Central Pier.

Heritage Trams at Starr Gate

Box car 40 approaching Starr Gate depot, while Flexity 004 waits at the red signal until 40 enters the depot confines
Box car 40 was moved from Rigby Road depot to Starr Gate depot this morning. It was towed out of the depot as far as the crossover at Foxhall by the Unimog, with the trolley leading but tied down. At Foxhall the trolley was untied and raised onto the overhead wire, after which the tram proceeded to Starr Gate depot under its own power. Box 40 was put onto the left hand road on the engineering side of the depot at Starr Gate. On the same track that 40 was stabled on were Standard 147 and widened Balloon 713 (at the rear).

Box 40 enters the depot at Starr Gate, with Standard 147 already in the depot with Balloon 713 parked right behind it

Thursday 25 April 2013

Foxhall Square Points

New kerb stones being laid across the former turnout alignment at Foxhall Square, prior to new pavement being laid
The road surface was being dug up at the former Foxhall Square turnout earlier this week, where the Princess Street line used to branch off from the promenade. New kerb stones were being laid prior to the pavement being extended across the gap where the tram line used cross the prom. There are currently no plans to remove the redundant pointwork, it will simply be left in situ, similar to the points at Talbot Square that are unlikely ever to be used either.

Flexity 003 passing the newly tarmaced road surface where the Foxhall line used to branch off the promenade

Flexity 006 northbound at Foxhall Square, with the remains of the Princess Street track visible in the background

New Unimog at Rigby Road

Mercedes U1550 Unimog W726 PSF belonging to vehicle hire company "2rent", at Rigby Road depot on April 19th
Blackpool Transport have temporarily acquired themselves another Unimog overhead maintenance vehicle. Mercedes U1550 Unimog, registration W726 PSF, is currently on hire from specialist vehicle company "2rent". Whether this is a short term replacement for 939, Blackpool's own Unimog U1650, or just to supplement it is not known. Blackpool Unimog 939 was noted parked outside at the rear of Starr Gate depot earlier on this week.

Unimog 939 (at the right) with the Unimog that is on hire from specialist vehicle company "2rent", seen on 15th April

Saturday 20 April 2013

The Elusive Flexity

Flexity 002 on one of its rare appearances in passenger service, southbound at Central Pier at 1820 on 20th April
Named Flexity 002 continues to remain rather elusive since it returned from Bombardier. The tram has been noted on driver training duties on a few occasions, but has spent even less time actually being used in service. On Saturday 20th April, 002 put in one of its extremely rare appearances spending the day running on the Starr Gate to Fleetwood passenger service.

Flexity 002 heading towards Fleetwood on driver training duties at Cleveleys on 16th April

An end on view of Flexity 002 "Alderman E.E.Wynne" at Cleveleys on April 16th

Friday 19 April 2013

The End of the Line

The truncated end of the Foxhall line, with the trench visible where the track across the promenade has been lifted
127 years of Blackpool tramway history ended today, when the rails across the promenade at Foxhall Square were finally lifted and filled in with tarmac. The Foxhall line was originally laid to serve the then new Blundell Street Depot, which opened in September 1885 to house the original conduit trams that ran on the tramway. With the overhead for the line being disconnected on Monday, the lifting of the rails now seals the fate of this once historic section of tram line.

Laying new tarmac to fill in the gap where the Foxhall line used to cross the promenade into Princess Street

Rolling the newly laid tarmac that has filled the space in the roadway where the Foxhall line used to cross the prom

A view showing where the rails were disconnected from the new southbound point at Foxhall Square

Three days ago the track across the promenade at Foxhall Square was still intact, as seen on April 16th 

Monday 15 April 2013

Princess Street Overhead Disconnected

Flexity 013 passing the newly tied back Princess Street overhead wiring as it heads north through Foxhall Square
The end of an era has dawned for the original access track to the old Blundell Street depot along Princess Street. Last night the overhead line gang removed the junction frog at Foxhall Square, and tied back the Princess Street wiring to the traction pole next to the points. The overhead wires on the promenade now run straight through at the Foxhall Square junction, eliminating any future prospect of trams once again using the Blundell Street trackage as a diversionary route to Rigby Road depot.

Scenes such as this 2005 view of 711 diverting along Princess Street due to work at Man Sq will no longer be possible

Brush cars 630 and 631 returning to the depot via Blundell St in 2005 due to work on the new points at Manchester Sq

Sunday 14 April 2013

Olympian 325 on Seafront 12

CBNW Volvo Olympian N325 NHG passing Blackpool Transport Trident 337 at the Norbreck Castle Hotel
Classic Bus North West Volvo Olympian N325 NHG (ex Dublin Bus) has received an all-over vinyl wrap advert for the Blackpool Gazette newspaper. Today saw the first use of 325 on the Seafront 12 service, after a week spent promoting the newspaper. 325 was previously in a green and cream colour scheme and is normally used on contract service work for Blackpool and The Fylde College.

N325 NHG heading down Princes Way promenade at Little Bispham on its way to Cleveleys Bus Station

Alexander bodied Dennis Dart T145 AUA was also in use on the Seafront 12 service on 14th April

Volvo Olympian N325 NHG parked in Langdale Road, Marton during a big bus shunt on 8th March

Saturday 6 April 2013

The Resort Hopper

Optare Solo 258 at the Pleasure Beach wearing the new yellow vinyl branding for the Blackpool Resort Pass scheme
Blackpool Transport's route 20 began running again this year from 23rd March, using a mixture of double deck vehicle types. On Friday April 5th the route was relaunched as "The Resort Hopper", and began operating with a branded fleet of Optare Solos with yellow vinyl wrap advertising for the Blackpool Resort Pass. The service is being promoted as the route which links all of the attractions that take part in the Blackpool Resort Pass discount ticket scheme. Until Thursday 4th April, several of the 1994 Northern Counties bodied Volvo Olympians had been used on the route, however from Friday 5th April the route began to be operated by the new yellow branded Solos, although the odd double-decker has been noticed in use as a duplicate during busy periods.

Optare Solo 296, southbound at Central Pier, has just passed northbound Resort Hopper 259

A rear view of Optare Solo 294 at the Pleasure Beach, showing the vinyl route branding more clearly

Optare Solo 259 passing South Pier on the new Resort Hopper service

Optare Solo 294 at the Pleasure Beach awaiting to depart for Marton Mere

Optare Solo 294 southbound at Central Pier on The Resort Hopper service

Northern Counties bodied Volvo Olympian No 378 on the last day of double-deck operation of route 20 on April 4th

DAF DB250LF No 362, a former Bus Vannin vehicle from the Isle of Man, southbound on route 20 on April 1st

Friday 5 April 2013

Seafront 12 extended to Cleveleys

Ex Lothian Buses Volvo Olympian P269 PSX on the Seafront 12 service at Cleveleys bus station on 4th April
The start of the seasonal Classic Bus North West operated Seafront 12 service on 29th March along the promenade has seen the northern terminus of the route extended from the Cabin to Cleveleys bus station. The service is currently being operated by Olympians and Volvo B10Ms and will hopefully be joined in the summer by some 102 seater 12 metre MCW Metrobuses, converted to open-top condition for use by the The Big Bus Company in London and originally owned by China Motor Bus in Hong Kong. On school days the Seafront 12 southern terminus will be at the Tower.

Former Stagecoach Volvo B10M R899 XVM at Cleveleys bus station, about to depart for the Pleasure Beach

Former Dublin Bus Volvo Olympian N324 NHG turning right onto Rossall Road in Cleveleys

Ex Stagecoach Volvo B10M R898 XVM in Cleveleys on the first day of the extended 2013 Seafront 12 service

Former Stagecoach Volvo B10M R899 XVM southbound on the Seafront 12 service at Bispham

Ex Stagecoach Volvo B10M R899 XVM at the bus stop across the road from the North Pier tram stop

Former Stagecoach Volvo B10M R898 XVM outside the Sands Venue near to the Tower

Ex Lothian Buses Volvo Olympian P269 PSX at the weekend and school holidays only Pleasure Beach terminus

Ex Dublin Olympian N324 NHG at the Tower, note the ex Hong Kong replacement window fitted between the doors

F69 SYE, 1988 ex China Motor Bus MCW Metrobus ML81 parked outside the LTT depot at Brinwell Road in Marton

A sister vehicle to F69 SYE, China Motor Bus 12m MCW Metrobus ML48 at Causeway Bay in Hong Kong in 1993

Monday 1 April 2013

Heritage Tours Day Four

Twin Car 272+T2 at the Heritage Tour stop in Bold Street, shortly after arriving on the first heritage run of the day
Easter Monday saw the first Heritage Tour of the day worked by twin-set 272+T2 on the timetabled run through to Fleetwood, the other heritage working being allocated to Standard 147. The morning specials were 706 Princess Alice and Balloon 717. Princess Alice was swapped for Box car 40 in the afternoon, but an even more interesting swap was due to take place. As the driver of 717 was close to retirement, he had requested the rare opportunity to be able to take a Boat car all the way to Fleetwood Ferry. After taking 717 back to Rigby Road for his afternoon break, the driver duly arrived at North Pier with Boat 230 and big smile on his face when he saw the assembled crowd waiting to board. Fortunately the sun shone most of the way to Fleetwood, although it was still very chilly onboard, but the keen enthusiasts weren't likely to be put off the chance of riding a Boat in service to Fleetwood by a mere cold breeze. The day was finally wound up by Standard 147 running the last Heritage Tour to Fleetwood Ferry and back, and still the sun managed to keep on shining. Thus ended a very successful four day event on Blackpool Tramway, and a huge round of thanks must go to Bryan Lindop and the heritage crews and maintenance staff for making all of this possible. Roll on May Day weekend.

Standard 147 departs the Pleasure beach on the Heritage Tour, passing 706 bound for Cleveleys on a special

Balloon 717 on a southbound special at St Chads passes a northbound Flexity 2 in glorious sunshine

Fifty years of development in mass people movement are exemplified by Twin Car 272+T2 alongside Flexity 003

Box car 40 approaching North Pier on a special, having replaced defective 706 in the middle of the afternoon

The wishes of a retiring driver granted, Boat 230 ran on a special all the way from North Pier to Fleetwood Ferry

Standard 147 wound up the weekend's events with a run all the way to Fleetwood Ferry and back in sunshine