Tuesday 24 June 2014

Rocket Recovered to Rigby Road

Scotts hauling the Rocket onto the back of their low loader using the hydraulic arm on the rear of the tractor unit
On the evening of 24th June, Scotts Heavy Haulage began the process of recovering the Rocket illuminated tram from the large roundabout at Gynn Square, where it has been sat exposed to the elements for the last two years. It was in July 2012 that the Rocket first departed from Rigby Road depot, making the short journey to the Blackpool Illuminations Department near the airport where the tram was given a cosmetic makeover with new LED lighting fitted, before being moved onto Gynn Square roundabout for display during the illuminations season. Scotts arrived at Gynn Square just after 6:00 PM on Tuesday evening, and constructed the rail ramp, loaded the tram and departed again all in the space of two hours, beginning the journey back to Rigby Road at 8:10 PM. Once parked up in Blundell Street, the unloading took place with the aid of Unimog 939 which finally propelled the Rocket into the depot confines at 10:00 PM. The return of the Rocket now completes the planned Heritage Tram collection at Rigby Road, and brings to a conclusion the Lancastrian Transport Trust's involvement with tramcar preservation.

The Rocket being pulled across the rail ramp bridge built between the static display track and the low loader trailer
The Rocket nearly loaded onto the trailer, showing how one side of the roundabout was blocked off to road traffic
The Rocket safely tied down onto the low loader in readiness for the tractor unit to hook up to the trailer again
With the Rocket securely chained down onto the back of the low loader, Scotts begin to prepare for the departure
Scotts low loader about to reverse off the roundabout at Gynn Square
Scotts low loader carefully reversing off the Gynn Square roundabout with its precious cargo safely loaded onboard
Scotts beginning the short but circuitous journey from the Gynn Square roundabout back to Blundell Street
Scotts low loader beginning the climb up Warbreck Hill Road away from Gynn Square on the way back to the depot
Scotts low loader reversing from Lytham Road into Hopton Road
Scotts low loader making the tricky manoeuvre from Hopton Road into Blundell St via Home Bargains loading bay
Unimog 939, with its rail guide wheels lowered, beginning to slowly pull the Rocket off the back of the low loader
The Unimog slowly pulling the Rocket off the back of Scotts low loader using an extended rigid drawbar
 The Rocket being pulled round the curve from Blundell Street into Hopton Road by Unimog 939.
Unimog 939 propelling the Rocket through the gates into Rigby Road tram depot at 10pm on 24th June

Monday 23 June 2014

704 returns to Rigby Road

Scotts transporting Balloon 704 past the Bloomfield Road ground of Blackpool Football Club on the way to the depot
The last tram of the former Lancastrian Transport Trust collection has been returned to secure undercover accommodation at Rigby Road depot, where hopefully one day it will become an active member of the heritage fleet. Balloon 704 has been purchased by a mystery owner, whose wish is that the tram eventually be restored to its original 1930s open top "Luxury Dreanought" configuration. Scotts Heavy Haulage collected Balloon 704 from open storage in Marton, where it has been sat exposed to the elements since September 2012, after the LTT tram collection were evicted from Rigby Road depot. The tram, with its bogies that were all askew, first had to be dragged into position to be lined up with Scotts trailer, this was achieved by Blackpool Transport's Unimog pulling the tram away from the yard perimeter fence and straightening the bogies. Unfortunately when 704 was halfway up the rail ramp, it was found that Unimog 939 had pulled it slightly too far into the yard, the problem was resolved by using a heavy duty recovery vehicle, owned by Fylde Motor Company, winching 704 back towards the fence again, with the cable running through the fence into the recovery company's yard, which was conveniently located the other side of the fence! After the protracted loading procedure, due to problems lining the tram and bogies up, Scotts transported 704 to Blundell Street without further incident. The tram was pulled off Scotts low loader using Unimog 939, unusually requiring its rail wheels to be lowered first so that it could travel part way up the rail ramp to connect the extended drawbar to 704. The Unimog was then used to tow and propel 704 into Rigby Road depot, and the tram was coincidentally stabled on the road next to open top Balloon 706 Princess Alice.

Unimog 939 pulling Balloon 704 away from the fence and lining the bogies up with Scotts low loader trailer
A heavy recovery vehicle belonging to the Fylde Motor Company winching 704 back towards the fence
Unimog 939 pushing 704 up the rail ramp as the hydraulic arm of Scotts tractor unit pulls it up
704 loaded up and chained down on the back of the low loader, the last of the LTT trams to leave the storage yard
Scotts low loader exiting the industrial estate in Marton and about to join the start of Burton Road
Scotts low loader turning left out of the Burton Road industrial area in Marton onto Vicarage Lane
Scotts low loader heading south along Vicarage Lane in Marton at the start of its short journey to Blundell Street
Scotts low loader about to turn right from Bloomfield Road into Lytham Road on the last leg of its journey to the depot
Scotts low loader with 704 onboard reversing the last few yards from Hopton Road into Blundell Street
Scotts low loader parked in the unloading position alongside the fitting shop in Blundell Street
Unimog 939, part way up the ramp and with its rail wheels lowered, begins to pull 704 off the back of the low loader
Unimog 939, with its rail wheels now stowed, slowly pulls Balloon 704 down the rail ramp off the low loader
704 touches down on Blackpool rails again two years after last leaving them for open storage with the LTT in Marton
Balloon 704 being propelled into Rigby Road depot by Unimog 939 after a trouble free unloading
Future open top Balloon 704 was stabled on the road next to the existing open top Balloon, 706 Princess Alice

Sunday 22 June 2014

Heritage Buses at Totally Transport

Lytham 19, Blackpool 529 and Lytham 70 waiting to operate the Totally Transport heritage bus service on 22nd June
During the Totally Transport event on 22nd June, the Lancastrian Transport Trust operated a free heritage bus service. The buses used throughout the day were 1946 Lytham Leyland PD1 No19, 1968 Blackpool Leyland PD3 No 529 and 1964 Lytham Leyand PD2 No 70. The free bus service started from the northern end of the Totally Transport event, opposite The Star pub, and departed approximately every 15 minutes or on demand, running a circular route past the airport and back. Routemaster RML887 was also in use on the Seafront 12 promenade service operated by Oakwood Travel. Another Blackpool Leyland PD3, No 512, was seen about during the day, and was driven to Fleetwood Ferry during the afternoon so that it could be photographed alongside Pantograph Car 167 when it operated the tour through to Fleetwood.

Blackpool PD3 No 529 heading along Clifton Drive with the Big Blue Hotel and Pleasure Beach in the background
Lytham Leyland PD2 No 70 heading south on Clifton Drive past the Big Blue Hotel near the Pleasure Beach
Lytham Leyland PD1 No 19 turning onto Clifton Drive from Harrowside on the heritage bus service
Blackpool Leyland PD3 No 529 loading up at the heritage bus service stop as Standard 147 passes heading south
Former Blackpool Corporation Leyland PD3 No 512 at Rossall on its return trip from Fleetwood Ferry
Routemaster RML887 running on the Oakwood Travel operated Seafront 12 promenade service

Trams at Totally Transport

Pantograph 167 passing a line of preserved buses on New South Promenade during the afternoon of 22nd June

Sunday 22nd June saw the 10th Totally Transport event taking place on New South Promenade in Blackpool. One of the highlights at this years event was the operation of the Heritage Tram Tours all the way to Starr Gate, passing all the participating preserved vehicles along the way. A temporary Heritage Tour stop was positioned opposite the Solaris Centre, and the tours were operated mainly between North Pier and Starr Gate, although passengers were unable to board or alight from the trams at the southerly terminus for operational reasons. Some runs during the afternoon ran short, only operating between the Pleasure Beach and North Pier due to crew breaks, this had the rather unfortunate effect of there being no heritage trams running between the Pleasure Beach and Starr Gate for long periods during the afternoon. The trams in use during the day were Standard 147 and Boat 230 during the morning, being replaced by Bolton 66 and Boat 600 during the afternoon, with Pantograph 167 operating all day. The event was a great success with excellent weather and good loadings on the heritage cars, with the highlight of the day for many being a reserved ticket only run on Pantograph Car 167 from the Solaris Centre, south to Starr Gate then all the way to Fleetwood Ferry before retuning to the Solaris Centre.

Boat 230 passing Harrow Place on its way to collect passengers at the temporary stop opposite the Solaris Centre
Standard 147 picking up passengers at the temporary Heritage Tour stop that was located opposite the Solaris Centre
Boat 600 with a good passenger load passing the line of preserved buses parked along the New South Promenade
Boat 600 passing Flexity 001 at the Starr Gate terminus of the tramway
Bolton 66 passing the preserved vehicles of the Totally Transport event lined up along New South Promenade
Pantograph Car 167 passing preserved former Blackpool Corporation Leyland PD3 No 512 (HFR 512E) at the Ferry
167 passing St Mary's Roman Catholic Church on Lord Street in Fleetwood on the return leg of the afternoon tour
167 on the former Blackpool and Fleetwood Tramway Company tramroad at Rossall, returning to Blackpool

Friday 20 June 2014

Totally Transport trams moved to Starr Gate

Brush Car 631 turning onto Lytham Road on its way down to the Promenade junction at Manchester Square
Due to the traffic light work at Manchester Square still not being finished yet, several heritage trams were moved from Rigby Road depot down to Starr Gate on 20th June, in order to be in position for the Heritage Tour operations planned for the Totally Transport event on Sunday June 22nd. Five trams left Rigby Road depot shortly after 11:00 am, these being 600, 631, 717, 66 & 167. Once the five trams had been safely transferred to Starr Gate, the Western Train was moved north from Starr Gate depot back to Rigby Road, as it will not be required for the event.

Brush Car 631 passing the ongoing traffic light work at the Manchester Square/Promenade intersection
Balloon 717 about to enter Starr Gate depot after its run south from Rigby Road depot
Bolton 66 passing BTS Dennis Trident 317 at the Starr Gate terminus of the service 1 bus route to Freeport
Boat 600 about to enter the running shed at Starr Gate depot after its trip from Rigby Road
Pantograph 167 about to enter the Starr Gate depot confines after its trip down the Promenade from Rigby Road
The Western Train pauses briefly on Hopton Road after its journey back from Starr Gate depot