Saturday 25 June 2016

Armed Forces Day in Blackpool

Bolton 66 passing some of the military vehicles that were on display on the Tower Headland
Saturday 25th June 2016 saw the National Armed Forces Day being commemorated in Blackpool, and as part of the tribute to the armed forces there were a variety of military vehicles on display around the town. A varied selection of military vehicles were on display on the Tower Headland, consisting of a US Army WW2 M8 Greyhound armoured car, a British Army Alvis Sabre light tank, a 1943 British Army Bedford OY mobile X-Ray unit, a Russian GAZ-66 4x4 truck mounted with a ZPU-2 14.5mm anti-aircraft gun and a Russian BRDM-2 amphibious armoured patrol car. In St John's Square a replica RAF Supermarine Spitfire was on display along with a Bedford QL refuelling tanker, these were joined mid-morning by the M8 Greyhound armoured car from the Tower Headland. Blackpool Heritage Tour trams in use during the day were Bolton 66 and Railcoach 680.

A US Army WW2 M8 Greyhound 6x6 armoured car
A British Army Alvis Sabre reconnaissance light tank
A 1943 British Army Bedford OY mobile X-Ray laboratory
A Russian BRDM-2 amphibious armoured patrol car
A Russian GAZ-66 4x4 military truck, which saw service with Soviet forces for many years
A Russian GAZ-66 4x4 military truck with a ZPU-2 14.5mm anti-aircraft gun mounted on the rear
The replica RAF Spitfire that was on display in St John's Square

Saturday 18 June 2016

Boating to Starr Gate

Boat 227 was the first departure from Starr Gate, seen at the temporary stop at the Pleasure Beach
The enhanced timetable heritage operations on Saturday June 18th saw the vintage tram fleet operating over the full length of the tramway, from Starr Gate to Fleetwood Ferry. The Heritage Tour trams were timetabled to leave Starr Gate around every 20 minutes, and departed northbound in the following order commencing at 1005, Boat 227, Marton 31, Boat 600, Twin Set 675/685, Centenary 648 and Boat 230.

Boat 600 being walked through the overhead frogs on the approach to the terminus at Starr Gate

Boat 230 passing the glitter ball opposite the Solaris Centre on New South Promenade

Twin Set 675/685 rounding the curve at Starr Gate as Boat 600 is walked through the overhead frogs
Marton Box 31 passing Flexity 010 at the LRT platforms at Starr Gate

Centenary Car 648 rounding the curve just before the terminus at Starr Gate

Friday 17 June 2016

DRS 37604 visits Blackpool North

Direct Rail Services 37604 on the Network Rail Monitoring train at Blackpool North
A Network Rail Infrastructure Monitoring train visited Blackpool on the morning of 17th June, hauled by a DRS Class 37/6 locomotive.  Direct Rail Services 37604 was at the head of the monitoring train, which was parked for several hours alongside platform 1 at Blackpool North Station, with DBSO control car 9702 at the rear.

Network Rail DBSO 9702 on the rear of the Infrastructure Monitoring train at Blackpool

Thursday 16 June 2016

Hovertram to return to Blackpool

The Hovertram parked up at the Illuminations Tour start point in Talbot Square in 1981
It has been announced that illuminated Hovertram 735 is to return to Blackpool for an extended loan period. 735's current owners, the North Eastern Electrical Traction Trust (NEETT) based near Sunderland, have agreed for the tram to return to Blackpool for an initial 20 year lease period. The Hovertram will require a considerable amount of work before it can be returned to operational condition, although internally the tram is in very good shape.

735 in its final condition, seen during a depot shunt in January 2003, just over a year after withdrawal

The lower deck of 735, showing the offset upper deck lowbridge gangway above the right-hand seats

735 in its original Shell advertising scheme, departing for Illuminations Tour service in Sep 1972

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Copse Road Tram Depot demolished

The former Copse Road tram depot in Fleetwood, with the demolition work beginning from the rear
The historic disused tram depot in Copse Road in Fleetwood is being demolished. The depot was built in 1897 for the Blackpool & Fleetwood Tramroad Company, and finally closed in 1963. The building was latterly used by Fleetwood Car Centre, but unfortunately it would seem that it is no longer required and the demolition crew have moved in. It would be a shame if the original stone depot name plaques were to be lost to posterity, as both of these were still intact at the time of writing.

The front half of the former Copse Road tram depot, which was still relatively intact on 8th June
The former Copse Road tram depot as seen in March 2012
One of the original stone name plaques that was still in situ on 8th June

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Trawler runs aground at Fleetwood

The 60 ton trawler Corentine stranded on a sandbank in the main channel to Fleetwood Docks
A 60 ton fishing vessel was sat high and dry on the 'Tiger's Tail' sandbank in the River Wyre at Fleetwood this morning. The trawler 'Corentine' ran aground in the river last night, the skipper was charged with ‘being a master, pilot, or seaman on duty while over the prescribed limit of alcohol'. When the high tide arrived an attempt was made to release the Corentine under her own power, but this was unsuccessful, so the assistance of the 10m fishing vessel 'Nicola Dawn' was called for, but this failed in its attempt to shift the trawler with the aid of a towline. More power was needed, and with the arrival of the tug 'Wyre Surveyor' to assist in the pull, the Corentine was finally towed off into deeper water on the high tide at 13:30. 

The incoming tide beginning to creep up slowly around the trawler Corentine
The Corentine remained stuck firmly on the sandbank as the fishing vessel 'Nicola Dawn' failed to move it
The tug/workboat 'Wyre Surveyor' that is operated by Associated British Ports coming to the rescue
The Wyre Surveyor beginning to release the Corentine from the sandbank
The Wyre Surveyor towing the Corentine into deeper water after being released from the sandbank
The Corentine returning to Fleetwood Docks under her own power after being freed from the sandbank