Friday 26 July 2013

Seafront 12 extended to St Annes

Former Stagecoach Volvo B10M R898 XVM passing St Annes Pier on the newly extended Seafront 12 service
The Seafront 12 service of Classic Bus North West had its route extended southwards from the Pleasure Beach to St Annes on 20th July. After leaving the Blackpool boundary at Starr Gate, the route continues south along Clifton Drive North past the sandhills. On entering the built up area of St Annes, the route takes a right turn down Todmorden Road onto the North Promenade, continuing past St Annes Pier onto the South Promenade, taking a left turn into Lightburne Ave at the Chadwick Hotel. Another left turn is made at the end of Lightburne Avenue onto Clifton Drive, this time heading north-west to regain the original route by running past the sandhills and back to Blackpool.

Ex Lothian Buses Volvo Olympian P269 PSX has received a new vinyl advert for the Wallace and Gromit themed "Thrill-O-Matic" ride, similar to the advert already carried by 12m Metrobus F69 SYE.

Ex Lothian Buses Volvo Olympian P269 PSX turning off the South Promenade onto Lightburne Avenue in St Annes
Former Stagecoach Volvo Olympian P915 RYO heading past the Grand Hotel on the South Promenade in St Annes
12m MCW Metrobus F69 SYE making a wide turn from Todmorden Road onto the North Promenade in St Annes
MCW Metrobus F69 SYE heading north past the sandhills, with the partially demolished Pontins camp on the right

Princess Alice on Test

706 Princess Alice heading past the Tower on the way back to the depot after performing a test run on 26th July

Open-top Balloon 706 Princess Alice was noted out on the tramway on test this morning, still displaying "Private Hire" on the blinds from when it was last used on Tram Sunday on 21st July.

Sunday 21 July 2013

Tram Sunday

Brush 631 on Lord Street in Fleetwood at 07:45, arriving to take its place as a static display tram in Pharos Street

After the hot sunny weather that we've had for the last couple of weeks, Sunday 21st July turned out to be overcast with cloud all day. Spirits were not to be dampened by the dismal weather though as Tram Sunday saw the debut of Brush car 631, complete with modified paint scheme and wooden lifeguards fitted (to replace the snowplough type that it previously carried). 706 Princess Alice and Brush car 631 left the depot for an early start arriving in Fleetwood around 07:45, in order to take their places as static exhibits next to the lighthouse in Pharos Street. Boat cars 230 and 600 followed later on, with 230 picking up the civic dignitaries at North Pier, both trams proceeding to Fleetwood with 230 arriving at Ash Street at 10:30. Unusually 230 stopped at the platform at Fisherman's Walk to unload its passengers, thus disproving the theory that it's unsafe for heritage cars to use the new Flexity platforms, as no passengers were to be seen falling down the tiny gap between the tram and the platform edge! The Boat cars ran a circular tour between Ash Street and Thornton Gate during the day, and continued to use the northbound platform at Fisherman's Walk to unload their passengers, without any undue incidents being noted. Throughout the day the normal Flexity service terminated and reversed at Fisherman's Walk, a process not made easy by the hundreds of people wandering over the tram tracks north of the crossover points in Lord Street. After the day's proceedings were wound up, 230 and 600 returned to Blackpool, with 631 and 706 having to wait until the roads were cleared and power restored to the overhead line on the Fleetwood street track. 706 and 631 departed from Pharos Street at around 18:50, to make their return journey in heritage service complete with passengers onboard to Blackpool.

Balloon 706 passing St Peter's Church in Fleetwood at 07:45 making its way towards its display position in Pharos St

Brush car 631 heading along North Albert Street towards its display slot in Pharos Street

Brush car 631 after taking up its position as a static display exhibit next to the lighthouse in Pharos Street

Blackpool's Town Crier Barry McQueen posing for the camera after disembarking from Boat car 230 at Ash Street

Boat cars 600 and 230 pass each other at Fisherman's Walk while operating the Thornton Gate round tour service

Boat 600 loading up with passengers at a temporary stop while Flexity 010 reverses to head south at Ash Street

Boat car 600 southbound at Rossall Square while running on the Ash Street to Thornton Gate tour service

Boat car 230 northbound at Rossall Square while running on the Ash Street to Thornton Gate tour service

Brush car 631 passing the clock tower in Fleetwood at the end of the days proceedings on Tram Sunday

Saturday 20 July 2013

Back to the Centenary

706 and 648 pose together at Fleetwood Ferry before performing the last run of the day back to Blackpool

The Fylde Tramway Society ran a tour on 20th July using newly repainted Centenary car 648 and open-top Balloon 706 Princess Alice. The format of the tram tour was that 648 and 706 departed North Pier at 12:00 and ran to Fleetwood together, on the return journey the trams split at Bispham, with 648 continuing to the Pleasure Beach and 706 returning to Fleetwood. The rest of the day consisted of a timetabled Fleetwood to Tower shuttle service being run (although passengers could not alight at the Tower). The day wound up with both cars running their last trip together from Thornton Gate to Fleetwood, then back to Blackpool and returning to the depot after 7:00pm.

Balloon 706 and Centenary 648 arrive in Fleetwood on their first run of the day on the FTS afternoon tour

Centenary 648 in Bold Street after arriving on one of its runs from the Tower

Centenary 648 taking its break on the outer loop at Fleetwood while Flexity 015 passes by on the way to Starr Gate

648 loading in Pharos St, displaying slight damage on the corner panel sustained when hitting a bollard on the curve

Centenary 648 stops at Bispham to drop off passengers while heading south to the Tower

Southbound Flexity 003 passes Centenary 648 waiting at the North Pier heritage stop

648 and 706 pass each other at Cleveleys in the late afternoon while running the Fleetwood to Tower shuttle service

706 and 648 shortly after arriving at the Bold Street terminus in Fleetwood at 18:40 behind service Flexity 004

Balloon 706 leads the returning pair of trams through Rossall on the last run of the day from Fleetwood to Blackpool

Centenary 648 approaching Rossall School at 19:00 on its final trip from Fleetwood to Blackpool

Thursday 18 July 2013

Topless in Blackpool

F69 SYE negotiating the roundabout at Gynn Square on 13th July, with the Rocket in the background

1988 ex China Motor Bus 12m MCW Metrobus F69 SYE (original fleet number ML81) has now been operating on the Seafront 12 service of Classic Bus North West for nearly four weeks, since 21st June. On 16th July it was decided that it was time to sample the delights of this massive vehicle, while the warm sunny weather is still with is. The Metrobus was fairly lightly loaded during the day, but this made it all the more pleasant for riding on the top deck with unobstructed views all around. CBNW plan to extend the Seafront 12 service from the Pleasure Beach to St Annes with effect from 20th July. This selection of photos were taken on July 16th unless annotated otherwise.

F69 SYE at Cleveleys Bus Station on 24th June, ready to begin the journey south to the Pleasure Beach

F69 SYE stops to pick up passengers in Cleveleys on 24th June

F69 SYE passing southbound Flexity 010 near to the Wilton Parade tram stop

F69 SYE passing the Rocket on the roundabout at Gynn Square

Southbound F69 SYE passing the Metropole Hotel near North Pier on 13th July

F69 SYE passing southbound Routemaster RML 887 running on the Seafront 12 service near Central Pier

F69 SYE dropping off passengers at the Lucky Star amusement arcade opposite South Pier

F69 SYE pauses at the Big Blue Hotel alongside the Pleasure Beach before heading north to Cleveleys

A rear view at the Pleasure Beach shows the full height advert for the Wallace and Gromit themed "Thrill-O-Matic" ride

The vast size of the top deck which seats 60 passengers is seen as the bus pulls into a stop near St Chads Road

Volvo Demonstrator

MCV bodied Volvo B7RLE demonstrator BF12KWT is currently on loan to Blackpool Transport, seen on service 20

A Volvo B7RLE with MCV Evolution single deck bodywork is currently operating with Blackpool Transport as a demonstrator, and has been noted in use over the last couple of weeks on service 20 between the Pleasure Beach and Marton Mere.

Saturday 13 July 2013

Tram Jam at Gynn Square

Flexity 016 at Gynn Square with the ambulance alongside, and southbound 008 and 003 waiting at the tram stops

Shortly before midday on Saturday 13th June, Flexity 016 had just left the Gynn Square stop when a passenger fell over and hurt himself, requiring the tram to be suddenly stopped and an ambulance called for. When the ambulance arrived it pulled alongside 016 and the passenger was transferred from the tram to the waiting ambulance. During the time that Flexity 016 had been waiting for the ambulance to arrive, and the tram finally being given clearance to leave by an inspector, quite a backlog of service cars had built up behind it. Six Flexity trams passed Gynn Square southbound within the space of 10 minutes between 11:58 and 12:08, ie 016, 008, 003, 009, 004 and 006.

Flexity 009 waiting for clearance at Gynn Square with 004 holding behind at the Cliffs Hotel tram stop

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Blundell Street Depot

Loading rails onto a dumper, note the underground room in the foreground where the shell casings were discovered

The final visible signs of Blundell Street Depot are now beginning to disappear as the demolition process draws to a close, part of the end wall and a cellar are all the remain of the brickwork still in situ. Today saw many of the old rails being loaded onto dumpers for removal from the site, some of these rails are being given to the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust for use in their projected tram museum project in Fleetwood. During the demolition process an underground room was discovered at the Rigby Road end of the building after a digger fell through the concrete roof, the cellar room contained what appeared to be ammunition. In view of the potential danger a bomb disposal unit was dispatched to the site, and Rigby Road was cordoned off for four hours. It turns out that these were empty First World War shell casings, as part of Blundell Street depot had been used for producing munitions during WWI.

Old rails being removed from the site of Blundell Street Depot on 10th July, note the deep excavations behind

The piles of old rail that were being disposed of by the contractors on the morning of 10th July

Blundell Street Depot on 24th November 1979, with Permanent Way car 624 and a demic Balloon in store

Centenary 648 update

Centenary 648 in the Fitting Shop with the paintwork nearly complete, as seen from Blundell Street on 10th July

Centenary car 648 was noted receiving attention in the fitting shop at Rigby Road depot today. The cab end of 648 was visible through the open doorway from Blundell Street, showing that further work has progressed since it was on display in a partly painted condition on Hopton Road on 25th May. The end detailing of the cab is almost finished, with a bumper now fitted and the paintwork with Corporation crest nearly completed, apart from the pale green lining which is still absent. 648 is due to make its public debut on the FTS "Back to the Centenary" tram tour on Saturday July 20th.

651 at Little Bispham in 1985, before it was renumbered to 648 to fall in line with the Centenary numbering system

Thursday 4 July 2013

Trams at the Fish Docks

Balloons 726 and 710, with Trailer 683 under wraps, at the fish docks in Fleetwood, 678 is to the left of 726 out of sight

Thanks to the kind courtesy of Colin Macleod, a series of photos are reproduced below showing the four Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust trams after they had arrived in the Associated British Ports fish docks at Fleetwood on the 2nd and 3rd July.

Scotts Heavy Haulage arrive at Fleetwood Docks with Railcoach 678 on 2nd July

Scotts Heavy Haulage entering the storage compound at Fleetwood Docks with Railcoach 678 on 2nd July

Scotts Heavy Haulage entering the storage compound at Fleetwood Docks with Balloon 726 on 2nd July

Scotts Heavy Haulage entering the storage compound at Fleetwood Docks with Balloon 726 on 2nd July

Railcoach 678 and Balloon 726 were both moved to their new storage facility at Fleetwood Docks on 2nd July

Scotts reversing Twin Set trailer 683 through the gates of the storage compound on Fleetwood Docks on 3rd July

Twin Set trailer 683 being unloaded at Fleetwood Docks on 3rd July, with 678 and 726 visible to the left

Balloon 710 just after it had arrived at Fleetwood Docks, with 678, 726 and 683 (under wraps) already in position