Saturday 30 August 2014

Fleetwood group trams at risk

Jubilee 761 southbound at Central Pier in April 2011, this is one of the FHLT trams potentially at risk of being lost
The Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust are looking at possibly reducing and consolidating their tram collection by potentially disposing of several of their trams unless new homes can be found for them. The trams on the hit list are Brush Car 621, Centenary 641 and Jubilee 761. The reason for these trams being at risk is that 621 and 641 are currently located in Kirkham Prison, and need to be moved by the end of the year. Jubilee 761 is being temporarily stored in Rigby Road depot, and this tram also needs to vacate its premises early in 2015. While it would be unfortunate to lose 621 and 641 to preservation, these trams are duplicates of vehicles already in the Blackpool Heritage Tram collection, however the potential loss of Jubilee 761 would be a more serious matter if anything were to happen to it due to lack of finances. More information can be found on the FHLT website.

Centenary 641 on a short working to Cleveleys in May 2010
Brush Car 621 northbound at the Tower in June 2002
Brush Car 621 about to become an inmate at Kirkham Prison in December 2011
Jubilee 761 being loaded onto Scotts trailer in December 2013, bound for temporary storage at Rigby Road depot

Scotts Heavy Haulage auction sale

Only a day after Scotts Heavy Haulage moved Pantograph Car 167 from Blackpool to the National Tramway Museum at Crich, an auction of many of their vehicles took place on Saturday 30th August due to company director Bryan Scott's decision to retire. Included in the auction was the Broshuis extending low loader trailer 'ST5' that has been exclusively used during the transport of trams for several years. Scotts Heavy Haulage are based at Alfreton in Derbyshire, which put them in an ideal position to act as hauliers for the preserved tramcars that required moving to and from the National Tramway Museum at Crich. Scotts have had a very long association with Crich, and have also won contracts to move many other preserved trams around the country over the years. If this key asset that was used for moving trams is sold during the auction, it remains to be seen whether Scotts will remain in the business of transporting trams.

Broshuis extending low loader trailer 'ST5' that has been used for transporting preserved trams for several years
Scotts ERF ECX MX05TYK being used to move Balloon 710 to Fleetwood's 'Tram Sunday', seen on 16th July 2011
Scotts Renault Premium Privilege EU07TVJ moving Centenary 643 to Broadwater Caravan Park on 13th Jan 2012
Scotts Scania S800SHH moving Brush Car 637 to Knowsley on 6th Feb 2012 after it had been sold to Merseytravel
Scotts Iveco Stralis 560 SP08EEO moving the Rocket to Blackpool Illuminations Department on 9th July 2012
Scotts MAN GN56HWK reversing Coronation 304 into a yard at Fleetwood on 8th Mar 2013, after its loan to Beamish
Scotts Scania R500 SF57UJL returning LTT OMO Car 8 from open storage in Marton on 11th June 2013

Scotts MAN V377DJU moving Balloon 702 to Heaton Park on 29th April 2014 after storage at the East Lancs Railway

Friday 29 August 2014

Pantograph 167 departs for Crich

Pantograph 167 loaded and ready to leave, on the back of the low loader of Scotts Heavy Haulage in Blundell Street
Pantograph Car 167 finally left Blackpool to return home to the National Tramway Museum at Crich on 29th August. 167 had spent the summer season on loan to Blackpool, arriving at the resort on the evening of 28th April. The tram debuted on Heritage Tour service on Saturday 24th May during the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, and last ran in heritage service on August 25th. 167 has had a very successful extended stay in Blackpool, performing both private hires and also seeing plenty of use on Heritage Tours. In contrast to its last visit in September 2010, when the tram failed and had to be withdrawn from proceedings, this time 167 has performed sterling service throughout its whole stay, and has proved a most valuable attraction each time it has appeared in service on the Promenade.

Unimog 938 pushing Pantograph 167 from Hopton Road into Blundell Street
Unimog 938 being used to propel Pantograph 167 up the rail ramp and onto the back of the trailer
167 being hauled onto Scotts low loader with the tractor unit's telescopic hydraulic arm

Pantograph 167 safely loaded on the back of the trailer of Scotts Heavy Haulage
Scotts low loader taking a short cut across the loading bay of Home Bargains to get onto Hopton Road
Scotts low loader making the tight turn from Hopton Road into Lytham Road
Pantograph 167 heading off down Lytham Road on its long journey back to the National Tramway Museum at Crich

Monday 25 August 2014

Anything Goes Monday

The highlight of the day was the return to service of Coronation 304, seen at Central Pier with some donkeys waiting
On the final day of the August Bank Holiday Heritage Tour weekend, the theme for the tram output was "Anything Goes", and that certainly proved to be the case. The morning tour to Fleetwood was operated by Brush Car 631 and Pantograph 167, the latter on its last day of operation on Heritage Tours before its return to Crich. Both trams ran to Fleetwood with maximum capacity loads, once again highlighting how popular the heritage operation weekends have become. Balloons 701 and 717 joined the throng just after midday. Brush 631 returned to Rigby Road depot early in the afternoon, to be replaced by Centenary Car 648. The final tram swap of the day occured after Pantograph 167 had returned to Rigby Road for a crew break. An hour and forty minutes after 167 had returned to the depot, which seemed like an eternity to the expectant crowd, the final tram of the day arrived at the Pleasure Beach. As was widely anticipated this proved to be the very popular choice of Coronation 304, making its debut on Heritage Tours as the first of the returned former Lancastrian Transport Trust trams to be reactived to operational status. The few trips that 304 made were, as was to be expected, in great demand, the tram running with standing loads on each occasion. For the final tour of the day, the round trip to Fleetwood Ferry, 304 was used backed up by Balloon 701 to cater for the large number of people wanting to sample a ride to Fleetwood and back. Thus this last tour brought to a close 2014's weekend Heritage Tour operations, with the last event of the year proving to be especially popular, probably due in no small part to the chance to ride Coronation 304 on Blackpool rails again for the first time in four years.

Brush Car 631 rounding the curve from Lord Street into North Albert Street on the morning tour to Fleetwood
Pantograph 167 on the sweeping curve alongside St Peter's Church in Fleetwood, passing southbound Flexity 003
Brush Car 631 and Pantograph 167 posing on the loop tracks at Fleetwood Ferry after operating tour number one
After arriving at the Pleasure Beach, 304 ran standing room only to Bispham, seen here waiting on the centre track
Coronation 304 loading up with passengers at the Pleasure Beach, with the Big One rollercoaster in the background

Centenary 648 returning from a Heritage Tour and running onto the turning circle at the Pleasure Beach
With 304 waiting on the inner loop, Centenary 648 arrives at the Pleasure Beach after operating a Heritage Tour
Coronation 304 running along North Albert Street in Fleetwood on the final Heritage Tour of the day
Coronation 304 and Balloon 701 operated the final tour of the day, the late afternoon run through to Fleetwood Ferry

Sunday 24 August 2014

Ballooning Sunday

A line-up of all four Balloons at the Pleasure Beach on Sunday 24th August, from left to right 701, 700, 717 & 706
The theme for the Heritage Tours on Sunday 24th August was Balloons, the morning saw the debut of 701 fresh in its newly applied Routemaster red and white livery, although the finishing touches had yet to be applied to the paint scheme. 701 ran the morning tour to Fleetwood, accompanied by 706 Princess Alice, 700 and 717 came out later to complete the line-up of Balloons for the day. In the afternoon Balloons 706 & 717 returned to the depot to be replaced by Boat 227 and Pantograph 167 after the crew breaks. Balloon 701 ran the late afternoon tour to Fleetwood.

Red and white liveried Balloon 701 running down Lord Street in Fleetwood on the first Heritage Tour of the day
Balloon 701 at Fleetwood Ferry turning into Pharos Street on the return leg of the morning Heritage Tour to the port
Balloon 706 Princess Alice returning to Blackpool along North Albert St in Fleetwood on the morning Heritage Tour
Balloon 717 departing from the Pleasure Beach turning circle on a Heritage Tour working to Cabin
Boat 227 leaving Rigby Road depot to enter Heritage Tour service, mid-afternoon on 24th August
Balloon 700 running in, still with passengers onboard who will alight before the depot in Hopton Road
167 taking a short break on the Pleasure Beach loop, with Brush Car 627 on its display track in the background
Pantograph Car 167 departing from the Pleasure Beach on a Heritage Tour to Bispham
Flexity 016 working on specials between Little Bispham and Pleasure Beach passes Balloon 701 on the turning circle
Red and cream Boat 227 at the Pleasure Beach, with red and white Balloon 701 passing by on the way to North Pier

Saturday 23 August 2014

Bank Holiday Boating

All three of Blackpool's open Boats on the Pleasure Beach turning circle, from left to right they are 600, 227 & 230
Saturday 23rd August was the first of three days of Heritage Tram Tours in Blackpool over the Bank Holiday weekend. Four open trams operated at various times throughout the day (using three tram crews), comprising Boats 227, 230 & 600 and open top Balloon 706 "Princess Alice". 227 & 230 performed the morning Fleetwood run, while 706 ran the early evening tour to the port. On the Saturday evening, Pantograph 167 operated a Grand Farewell Fund-raising Tour to Fleetwood, to help raise money for transporting the tram back to the Tramway Museum at Crich. Tickets for the tour were £20 each and the tram departed Hopton Road at 1930. The day stayed bright and sunny throughout, making for perfect boating weather and a great start to the heritage weekend.

Boat 227 heading up Lord Street, with a full load of passengers, on the morning Heritage Tour to Fleetwood

Boat 230 rounding the curve into Pharos Street, returning to Blackpool from the morning tour to Fleetwood

All four of the open trams on the Pleasure Beach loop, from left to right they are 706, 600, 227 & 230

Boats 600 and 230 taking a break on the centre track at Bispham, with 227 returning back south from Little Bispham

Boat 227 passing the famous Lucky Star amusement arcade which ceased trading and closed down two days later

Boats 227 & 600 on the Pleasure Beach loop, with 600 unloading its passengers after returning from a tour

Open top Balloon 706 is seen at Ash Street in Fleetwood returning from the late afternoon Heritage Tour to the town

Pantograph Car 167 is seen here at Fleetwood Ferry at 2050 on its second run to Fleetwood during the evening tour