Saturday 25 March 2017

Second City Crossing

Metrolink 3072 rounding the curve from Cross Street into Princess Street
Metrolink have completed their second line to cross Manchester city centre, the aptly named Second City Crossing commencing passenger operation on 26th February. The new line diverts from the existing Metrolink network at a remodelled St Peter's Square, before turning left into Princess Street alongside the town hall then making a right turn into Cross Street. The line continues past the Royal Exchange Theatre before reaching the already opened section of the extension at Exchange Square, the only stop on the Second City Crossing, the tracks continue along Corporation Street and join the existing network at Victoria Station.

Metrolink 3083 passing the Royal Exchange Theatre as it heads towards Exchange Square
Metrolink 3104 bound for East Didsbury along Cross Street
Metrolink 3031 heading east along Princess Street, passing the side of the town hall (at the left)
Metrolink 3111 carrying a special advert to commemorate the opening of the new link
Metrolink 3071 at Exchange Square on a service to Rochdale Railway Station
Metrolink 3099 passing the Printworks on Corporation Street
Metrolink 3095 passing the Urbis building on Corporation St on its way to Victoria Station

Thursday 23 March 2017

The return of Balloon 703

Scotts Heavy Haulage reversing into the unloading position in Blundell Street

Former Blackpool Balloon 703 has spent several years in the North East of England, providing valuable passenger carrying capacity on the Beamish Museum tramway. During its stay at Beamish 703 has operated in a red and cream livery to represent fictitious Sunderland tram 101. 703 had already been withdrawn from service at the museum due to defects, and subsequently it was decided that the two streamlined Blackpool trams were no longer required for their collection. With Brush car 621 already having made the journey home to Blackpool last December, Balloon 703 finally followed in its path over three months later. 703 had been loaded onto the trailer of Scotts Heavy Haulage at Beamish the previous day, the low loader began the long journey to Blackpool on the morning of 23rd March, arriving at Blundell Street in Blackpool at 5.00pm. 703 was pulled off the low loader by Unimog 939, and shunted into the tram depot after Scotts transporter had departed.

703 passing the stadium of Blackpool Football Club on Bloomfield Road

The low loader manoeuvring into Blundell Street via Home Bargains loading bay

The trailer being lowered to the ground before the tractor unit is disconnected

The rail ramp being built ready for the unloading of 703

Unimog 939 pulling 703 off the low loader trailer

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Standard 147 returns home

Calkeld Heavy Haulage with 147 making the turn from Lytham Road into Hopton Road
Standard 147 returned home to Blackpool on Wednesday 15th March, the tram having been involved in a swap with Marton 31 from Beamish Museum for the last 12 months. With the return of 31 to Beamish on Monday, it was the turn of 147 to travel across the Pennines in the care of Calkeld Heavy Haulage, but in the opposite direction the day after. 147 left Beamish around midday on Tuesday 14th March, stopping overnight in Skipton before continuing the journey to Blackpool the following morning, arriving in the resort 24 hours after it had left Beamish. Unusually it was decided to unload the tram in Hopton Road, rather than the usual location in Blundell Street. A swift unloading followed, with 147 being pulled off the trailer and towed into the depot by Unimog 939. During the unloading process Balloon 717 arrived in Hopton Road, which then had to wait behind Calkeld's trailer until after they had departed.

The low-loader of Calkeld Heavy Haulage arriving in Hopton Road
Lining the low-loader up with the track before the unloading process could begin

Standard 147 on the trailer after the tractor unit had been uncoupled

Unimog 939 had to drive part way up the rail ramp to hitch up to 147

Balloon 717 having to wait in Hopton Road while 147 is unloaded
Unimog 939 pulling 147 off the trailer and down the rail ramp
Unimog 939 towing 147 into the confines of the tram depot

Monday 13 March 2017

Marton 31 departs for Beamish

The low-loader and escort van of Calkeld heavy Haulage ready to depart for Beamish
Marton Box Car 31 was loaded up in Blackpool and departed for its long trip home to Beamish on the morning of 13th March. Calkeld Heavy Haulage were ready bright and early with their low-loader in Blundell Street, and before long Unimog 939 emerged with 31 from the electrical compound in the depot. The Unimog positioned 31 in Blundell Street at the foot of the trailer rail ramp, at this point Calkeld took over and winched Marton 31 onto the back of the low-loader. All that remained was for the tram to be chained down to the trailer, then after a short crew break the transporter and tram departed from Blundell Street shortly after 10 am.

Marton 31 being dragged out of the tram depot by Unimog 939
31 being pulled onto the trailer by the electric winch on the rear of the tractor unit
31 being winched on by the tractor unit with aid of a pulley on the side of the trailer
Dennis Trident 307 passing 31 chained down onto the low-loader in Blundell St
Calkeld's transporter threading its way between the traction poles into Hopton Road
Marton 31 and low-loader making the turn from Hopton Road into Lytham Road

Friday 10 March 2017

2017 Enviro Pictorial

Enviro 413 leaving the Aldi store bus stop on Poulton Road in Fleetwood
More of the 2017 order of Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 City buses are entering service every few days in Blackpool. Here is a selection of photos taken over the last week of the latest ADL Enviros in use on their intended home route, the service 14 from Fleetwood to Peel Park, with buses photographed so far being 411 to 414, 416 to 418 and 420. Some of the 2016 batch of Enviro 400 buses have also been noted in use on the 14 this week.

Enviro 416 passing Fleetwood Library on North Albert Street
Enviro 412 passing The Iron Horse pub restaurant on Fleetwood Road North in Thornton
Enviro 411 at the junction of Lord Street and Station Road in Fleetwood
Enviro 420 on Elm Street in Fleetwood
Enviro 418 passing the lighthouse on Pharos Street in Fleetwood
Enviro 417 at the Gardeners Arms on Fleetwood Road South in Thornton

Enviro 414 passing St Peter's Church on Lord Street in Fleetwood

Thursday 9 March 2017

All change at Fisherman's Walk

007 arriving at the temporary terminus of Fisherman's Walk, with 006 awaiting its departure time
During the week of the 6th to 10th March, all Blackpool's trams were terminating at Fisherman's Walk in Fleetwood. The reduced length of the tram service was due to work taking place further along the line in North Albert Street.

A guard changing the points at Ash Street so that Flexity 014 can cross over to the southbound line

Flexity 004 crossing over to the southbound track for the return journey to Starr Gate

Saturday 4 March 2017

New Enviros enter service

Enviro 417 passing the Gardeners Arms in Thornton on Fleetwood Road North
Several vehicles from Blackpool Transport's large order of 25 new ADL Enviro 400 City buses have entered passenger service in the last few days. A handful of buses out of the batch were noted in use on service 14 on 4th March, vehicles spotted were 411, 413, 416 and 417, although there may have been more of the new Enviros out.

Enviro 416 passing the Little Theatre on Fleetwood Road North in Thornton
Enviro 417 heading east on Talbot Road in Blackpool town centre
Enviro 411 heading north along Fleetwood Road North in Thornton, opposite the Gardeners Arms
413 running the wrong way along Church St, due to Market St being closed because of road works