Monday 29 February 2016

147 departs for Beamish

Engineering Car 754 propelling Standard 147 into Blundell Street at 0755 in the morning
Standard 147 was scheduled to leave for the Living Museum of the North at Beamish on 29th February, in an exchange loan for Marton Box Car 31 which would be coming south to Blackpool for the season. 147 was shunted out of the depot onto Blundell Street by Engineering Car 754 before 0800 in readiness for loading. An early start to the day had been planned, but although the low loader left Leeds at 0630, it was a full seven hours later that it eventually turned up in Blundell Street at 1330, apparently due to a problem with the vehicle. The loading process took most of the afternoon, with Calkeld Heavy Haulage departing from Blundell Street at 1635, with 147 safely chained down on the trailer in preparation for the long journey north to Beamish in County Durham.

The transporter of Calkeld Heavy Haulage arriving in Blundell Street at 1330
Extending the low loader trailer to match the length of Standard 147
The depot fork lift truck pushing 147 up the rail ramp and onto the back of the low loader
717 returning from driver training, the last time that 147 and 717 will be seen together for several months
147 loaded on the trailer and being secured in position in readiness for transport
147 chained down on the low loader and ready to depart
Checking the overall height of the loaded tram and trailer before departure
The low loader of Calkeld Heavy Haulage threading its way between the overhead poles on Hopton Rd
Calkeld Heavy Haulage with 147 onboard, negotiating the turn from Hopton Road into Lytham Road
Standard 147 heading off down Lytham Road at the start of its long journey to Beamish Museum

Sunday 28 February 2016

Sun, Boat and Twins

Boat 230 approaching Bispham under clear but chilly blue skies
The second day of the February Heritage Tram Tour weekend continued on Sunday 28th February, with a mixture of sunshine and cloud. The gold timetabled service was in force again, with trams 40, 230, 648, 723, 272/T2 and 675/685 in use throughout the day. Boat 230 was used once again on the heritage service, despite it only being 2 deg C at 0900!

Twin Set 272/T2 at Bispham heading towards Fleetwood under glorious blue skies
Twin Set 675/685 at Bispham heading south, bound for the Pleasure Beach
Southbound Balloon 723 now looking decidedly scruffy, especially on the roof
Northbound Box Car 40 waiting at Foxhall, while Twin Set 675/685 reverses over the crossover
Centenary 648 passing Twin Set 675/685 at North Pier

Saturday 27 February 2016

Boating in Winter

Standard 147 southbound on a Heritage Tour service at Manchester Square
The second Heritage Tour weekend of the year started on Saturday 27th February. A gold timetabled service was in operation, with heritage trams 40, 147, 230, 715, 717 and 272/T2 opening the days proceedings. This was to be Standard 147's last outing in Heritage Tour service before the tram goes on loan to the Living Museum of the North at Beamish. Boat 230 made a rare winter timetabled journey to Fleetwood, despite the rather cool weather.

Twin Set 272/T2 heading north past the emergency track repair work at Manchester Square
Balloon 715 at Foxhall heading north to Little Bispham
Balloon 717 entering service, passing emergency track repairs at Manchester Square
A rare sight in Fleetwood in winter, Boat 230 heading south along Lord Street on a Heritage Tour

Friday 26 February 2016

Twin Cars 671 and 681 reunited

Trailer 681 leaving Wyre Fish Dock at Fleetwood on the back of Calkeld Heavy Haulage's low loader
After Calkeld Heavy Haulage had delivered Brush Car 634 to Rigby Road depot they then headed north up the Fylde Coast to Fleetwood. Calkeld's next assignment was to collect Twin Set trailer car 681 from the Wyre Fish Dock at Fleetwood and transport it back to Blackpool. 681 has been a rather itinerant tram, first purchased by Merseytravel as part of an aborted tramway project on the Wirral, the tram was stored for several years in an open yard at Knowsley in Merseyside. When Merseytravel no longer had a need for their ex Blackpool trams, several of them were purchased by a private individual and moved to Fleetwood for storage. The decision to purchase trailer 681 and reunite it with motor car 671 at Rigby Road is for a future commercial venture.

681 and transporter approaching the West Drive traffic lights on Amounderness Way in Cleveleys
Trailer 681 and transporter manoeuvring into the unloading position in Blundell Street
Trailer 681 being lowered off Calkeld Heavy Haulage's low loader with the aid of an electric winch
The interior of trailer 681 doesn't look in too bad a shape despite several years of outside storage
Trailer 681 being towed along Blundell Street towards the tram depot by the fork lift truck

Brush Car 634 returns home

Brush Car 634 on the back of Calkeld Heavy Haulage's low loader on Lytham Road in Blackpool
Brush Car 634 returned home to Blackpool on 26th February after six years in exile. 634 was purchased from Blackpool Transport in 2009 by Andy Ashton for private preservation, the tram was in outside storage for several years at Rushden, where Andy and his daughters spent a lot of time restoring both the outside and particularly the inside of the tram into its current excellent condition. Latterly 634 has been a resident at the North East Land, Sea and Air Museum at Sunderland for a couple of years, from where it began its journey back to Blackpool on 25th February. Andy has kindly agree to donate 634 to the Blackpool Heritage Trust, so that ultimately the tram can become part of the active heritage fleet, and once again operate on its home rails along the Promenade.

Unloading the trolley tower from the trailer with the depot fork lift truck
634 being lowered down the rail ramp off Calkeld Heavy Haulage's low loader by an electric winch
634 being lowered down the rail ramp off Calkeld Heavy Haulage's low loader by an electric winch
634 being pulled along Blundell Street by the depot fork lift truck
A view showing the tremendous amount of work that Andy and his daughters have done on the interior
Saloon clocks have been refitted to both ends of the tram above the cab doors
A brass plaque commemorating the work that Andy and his daughters have done on 634
Brush Car 634 being towed along Blundell Street by Unimog 939
Brush Car 634 being towed out of Blundell Street by Unimog 939
Brush Car 634 being shunted along Hopton Road into Rigby Road depot by Unimog 939

Thursday 18 February 2016

Enviro 200 Demonstrator

Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 demonstrator YX65 RLO being used on service 5 on Lytham Road
Blackpool Transport are currently evaluating an Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 single deck demonstrator. YX65 RLO is being trialled in passenger service alongside BTS's own Palladium branded Mercedes Citaros on the service 5, that runs between Halfway House and Victoria Hospital. BTS currently have on order ten ADL Enviro 400 City double deck buses, that are due to be received later this year for use on service 9.

A rear view of Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 demonstrator YX65 RLO on East Park Drive
Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 demonstrator YX65 RLO on Waterloo Road bridge on service 5

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Norbreck North Update

Flexity 011 proceeding at slow speed through the construction area at the new Norbreck North tram stop
Construction on the new tram stop at Norbreck North is progressing well, both of the platforms are now finished, with the final coat of tarmac now in place along with the new lighting stanchions. Work still remaining to be done includes adding the fencing, shelters and tram stop name posts, and laying of the safety plates in between the rails.

An overview of construction progress on the new tram stop at Norbreck North

Wednesday 10 February 2016

700 on Driver Training

 Driver Training Balloon 700 taking a short break on the Pleasure Beach turning circle
Balloon 700 was noted in use out on the Promenade on driver training duties again on Wednesday 10th February.

Balloon 700 northbound on driver training with Flexity 011 approaching the platform at the Pleasure Beach
Balloon 700 heading south past the Lifeboat Station while on driver training duties

Wednesday 3 February 2016

Training Trams Galore

Balloon 711 at Fleetwood Ferry while in use as a Heritage Tram crew driver trainer
Wednesday 3rd February saw no less than four purple and white trams in use on driver training duties in Blackpool. Fat door Balloons 700, 711 and 719 were in use training Heritage Tram drivers, and Flexity 003 was also out on the Promenade training service tram crew. The purple Balloons ranged over the full system throughout the day, from Starr Gate to Fleetwood Ferry.

Balloon 700 southbound at Central Pier on Heritage crew driver training
Balloon 719 heading north from the Starr Gate terminus while on Heritage Tram crew driver training
Southbound driver training Flexity 003 passing Balloon 711 on Heritage Tram crew training near Starr Gate