Sunday 31 January 2016

Winter Heritage Day 2

Railcoach 680 pauses at a very wet Bispham on its return journey from Thornton Gate in Cleveleys
The gale force winds that held sway during Saturday had abated by the second day of the January Heritage Tram Tour weekend, only to be replaced by drab, dismal, wet weather throughtout the day. This was definitely a day for riding and not photography, however for the record the early morning tram output as recorded at Bispham was Frigate 736 to Little Bispham, Railcoach 680 to Thornton Gate, Centenary 642 turning at Bispham, Twin Set 675/685 on the first Fleetwood run of the day, then 700 and 147 both turning at Little Bispham. Centenary 642 and Railcoach 680 both suffered from problems and had to return to the depot during the day, being replaced in Heritage Tour service by Balloon 717 and Brush Car 631.

Twin Set 675/685 southbound at Anchorsholme Crossing, returning from the first run of the day to Fleetwood
Standard 147 passing Norbreck Castle Hotel on its way south to the Pleasure Beach
Centenary Car 642 leaving the Bispham heritage stop in order to reverse direction using the centre loop

HMS Blackpool heading south through Bispham towards the Pleasure Beach

Balloon 700 bound for Little Bispham passes southbound Railcoach 680 at the Bispham heritage stop

Saturday 30 January 2016

Winter Heritage Gold

Twin Set 675/685 at the Pleasure Beach, showing off one of the new coloured destinations added to the blind
Saturday 30th January saw the first day's output of the new expanded Heritage Tram Tour operations for 2016. Although the forecast of 50 mph winds and a temperature of 5 deg C weren't exactly ideal, the day started out full of promise with six Heritage Trams rostered to operate the Gold timetable service. The trams left Rigby Road depot in the following order, Box Car 40 heading for Pleasure Beach and the first Fleetwood run of the day, Illuminated Frigate 736 headed north for Bispham, Brush Car 631 heading for the Pleasure Beach and then Bispham, Centenary Car 648 destined for Little Bispham, Balloon 717 heading north to Cleveleys, and finally Twin Set 675/685 bound for Bispham. Early in the morning Centenary 648 failed at the Pleasure Beach with electrical problems, and had to return to Rigby Road depot to be replaced in service by Centenary 642. The weather did its best to dampen people's spirits, ranging from rain, sun, hail and heavy clouds, with gale force winds throughout the day, but most of the visiting enthusiasts were undaunted and thoroughly enjoyed themselves, making the most of this rare winter outing for the heritage fleet.

Balloon 717 arriving at the Pleasure Beach on a Heritage Tour, during one of the brief sunny spells of the day
Brush Car 631 laying over at the Pleasure Beach before heading north to Little Bispham
Box Car 40 approaching South Pier on the return leg of its journey to Fleetwood Ferry
736 HMS Blackpool leaving the Pleasure Beach with a healthy passenger load bound for Fleetwood
Centenary 642 arriving at the Pleasure Beach having replaced the defective 648 on Heritage Tour service
648 heading for Little Bispham, unfortunately this tram suffered electrical problems later on at the Pleasure Beach

Thursday 28 January 2016

719 on Driver Training

Balloon 719 at Central Pier in use on heritage crew driver training duties on 28th January
Purple Balloons 711 and 719 were noted on the Promenade being used for heritage crew driver training on 28th January.

Sunday 24 January 2016

Lytham 43 arrives at Rigby Road

The lower saloon of Lytham Pullman tram 43 being delivered to Rigby Road tram depot
The only surviving tram from the Lytham St Annes Corporation Tramways system arrived at Rigby Road depot on 24th January to join the growing Heritage Tram fleet. The lower saloon of Lytham Pullman car 43 has been in preservation for many years, latterly in kit form, and at one stage it was going to be converted into a railway carriage for use on the narrow gauge West Lancashire Light Railway. Fortunately the tram was secured for preservation by Robert Mortimer, who has spent the last couple of years painstakingly reassembling and restoring the tram body to the stage where it was ready for acceptance by the Heritage Tram Trust on long term loan at Blackpool for eventual restoration into a fully working tramcar again. The Lytham Tramway system closed down in 1937, but prior to this Lytham trams were frequent visitors to the Blackpool system and could be seen operating as far as the Gynn.

A view showing how Lytham tram 43 might look when it is eventually restored to operating condition

Thursday 21 January 2016

Norbreck North Progress

Flexity 004 passing a lorry delivering fresh tarmac to the new Norbreck North tram stop that is being built
The task of constructing the new tram stop at Norbreck North is about halfway through now. Work has nearly been completed on the southbound platform, with the tarmac surface having been laid on the platform and adjoining pavement on the Promenade. The northbound platform is still in the early stages of construction, with work partway through laying the bricks and concrete blocks for the wall along the edge of the new platform. Through service trams are being controlled by a temporary stop sign situated between the rails.

Northbound Flexity 002 waiting at Norbreck North for a workman to remove the temporary stop sign

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Domino's Pizza all-over Advert

Former Select Bus of Swansea Dennis Dart T144 DAX at Mereside with its new Domino's Pizza all-over advert
Catch 22 Bus Dennis Dart T144 DAX was outshopped with an overall advert livery for Domino's Pizza late last year. The bus was captured in full sunshine on 20th January, on the first completely sunny day in Blackpool since last October!

Catch 22 Bus Ltd's Domino's Pizza liveried Dennis Dart T144 DAX on Midgeland Road in Marton

Tuesday 19 January 2016

New Double Deck Buses for Blackpool

An Arriva London Enviro 400 City during a short visit to Rigby Road depot on 12th October 2015
Blackpool Transport have placed an order for 10 Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 City buses. The new buses will be similar to the Enviro 400 City models that are currently in service with Arriva London, and their 72 seat bodies will feature Wi-Fi, E-leather seating, wood effect flooring and USB charging points, as well as having a glazed staircase. The new vehicles will be painted in the same grey and yellow colour scheme carried by the Palladium branded Mercedes Citaros, and will be used to replace existing buses on the service 9 from Blackpool to Cleveleys. See for the official press announcement from Alexander Dennis Limited.

A rear view of the Arriva London Enviro 400 City that paid a vist to Rigby Road depot on 12th October 2015

An artist's impression of an Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 City in Blackpool Transport's Palladium colour scheme

Sunday 17 January 2016

Trams in the Snow

Flexity 005 at the Bold Street tram terminus in Fleetwood just before sunrise on Sunday 17th January
The first snowfall of the year was experienced on the Fylde Coast on the evening of Saturday 16th January. Although it had only been a fairly light fall of snow, because the temperature was still at freezing point in the morning it enabled a few intrepid enthusiasts to venture out and take some snowy tram scene photos.

Flexity 005 southbound towards Starr Gate at Anchorsholme crossing
Flexity 001 heading down the incline at Little Bispham towards Anchorsholme crossing
Flexity 011 northbound at Lowther Avenue early on in the morning on Sunday 17th January
Flexity 014 heading towards Fleetwood at Rossall School on 17th January