Saturday 28 September 2019

Standard 143 on display

Standard 143, on display at North Pier in all its glory

This weekend saw the now annual September Spectacular weekend put on by Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours. Standard 143 put in its second showing of the week on the Promenade, unfortunately this time as a static exhibit at North Pier, due to the motor problems that had become apparent after its launch on Monday. The early morning weather on Saturday was atrocious, with leaden skies and heavy rain, luckily shortly after 10:00 this had blown over to be replaced by wall to wall sunshine for several hours. The clear weather meant that Standard 143 could be viewed in all its gleaming glory for most of the day, and what a pleasant sight it was.

Standard 143, unfortunately left rather too close to 718 for photography

A broadside view of Standard 143

Railcoach 680 passing Standard 143 at North Pier

Standard 143 and 718 which was in use as the Heritage Tram Tours shop

Friday 27 September 2019

FTS Illuminations Tour

Bolton 66 at Fleetwood with Balloon 717 on the Fish & Chips special behind

The Fylde Tramway Society had planned a tour of Blackpool Illuminations, including two trips to Fleetwood, on newly restored Standard 143 on the evening of Friday 27th September. Unfortunately things didn't exactly go according to plan right from the off, it transpired that the problems 143 had been experiencing during its launch event on the previous Monday were caused by a defective motor. With 143 sadly out of commission it was left to Bolton 66 to take up the reins. The tour arrived at Fleetwood Ferry somewhat later than planned, but unfortunately Bolton 66 could not continue due to suffering from a hot axle box. The group decamped from Bolton 66 and returned to Manchester Square on service Flexity 014. The tour was finally completed using the third tram of the evening, as Centenary 648 was brought out of the depot to collect the awaiting passengers at Manchester Square.

Bolton 66 at Fleetwood at dusk before the tram was abandoned here

Monday 23 September 2019

Launch of Standard 143

Standard 143 at North Pier before the short launch ceremony

The launch event for newly restored Blackpool Standard 143 took place on the evening of Monday 23rd September. 143 departed Rigby Road shortly before 6pm and made the short journey to the siding at North Pier. Jane Cole, the Managing Director of Blackpool Transport, officially launched the tram with a bottle of bubbly, before the invited guests boarded 143 for a run to the Pleasure Beach. At the Pleasure Beach the guests crossed the road for the official launch evening which took place in the White Tower Restaurant. After the celebrations were over the guests returned to 143 for a tour of the illuminations.

Standard 143 leaving Rigby Road tram depot for the launch event

143 being launched by Jane Cole, the Managing Director of Blackpool Transport

143 at the Pleasure Beach lit up by the lights of the illuminated Frigate tram

143 at the Pleasure Beach, with Balloon 718 and Engineering Car 754

A special cake was made to commemorate the launch event

Standard 143 at North Pier alongside Flexitys 012 & 013

Tuesday 17 September 2019

Balloon 711 on Specials

Balloon 711 loading at North Pier on 16th September

Balloon 711 has been working on afternoon and evening specials for the last couple of weeks, supplementing the normal Flexity LRT service. The general routine has been for 711 to leave Rigby Road depot around 15:00, work a round trip Starr Gate to Little Bispham service, with the crew then taking their break at Starr Gate. After the crew break 711 has been operating more Starr Gate to Little Bispham and return workings during the evening.

Balloon 711 and Flexity 006 at Starr Gate

Balloon 711 at Central Pier

Balloon 711 and Flexity 011 at Starr Gate

711 beginning its southbound run from Little Bispham on 16th September

711 entering the loop at Little Bispham with Flexity 010 passing by southbound

Balloon 711 northbound at the Cabin on 11th September

Balloon 711 heading south at Bispham on 11th September

Balloon 711 loading at the Tower tram stop on 11th September

711 using the crossover at Starr Gate to enter the depot confines and await its departure time

Balloon 711 waiting to enter service from Starr Gate depot with Flexity 004 passing

Sunday 1 September 2019

2019 Bus Driver of the Year

National Express West Midlands ADL Enviro400 MMC 6990

The National Final of the Bus Driver of the Year competition took place in Blackpool on Sunday 1st September. During the final, entrants gain points for successfully completing a series of tasks on the driving course, or correctly answering questions in the theory test. The driving part of the competition takes place along the North Promenade between Gynn Square and the Metropole Hotel, returning along Middle Walk where a further series of tests are set for the drivers.

Lothian Buses 1062, a Volvo B5TL Wright Eclipse Gemini 3

Xplore Dundee 4905, an Alexander Dennis Enviro400 new to West Midlands

Stagecoach ADL Enviro400 MMC 11213

Go-Ahead Ireland 11588, a Volvo B5TL Wright Gemini 3

London United LT1000, the last 'Borismaster' to be built

Lothian Country 575, a Volvo B5LH Wright Eclipse Gemini 3

Blackpool Transport ADL Enviro400 City 451

Bluestar ADL Enviro400 City 1245

Go North East Wright Streetdeck 6333

Stagecoach London ADL Enviro400 MMC 11033

East Coast Buses 20008, a Volvo B5TL Wright Eclipse Gemini 3

Stagecoach ADL Enviro200 MMC 26083

Blackpool Transport ADL Enviro200 MMC 570