Monday 31 August 2020

Blackpool Heritage Tours Return

Balloon 717 passing the replica Spitfire at the Gynn on Bank Holiday Monday
August Bank Holiday Weekend saw the return of Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours to the Promenade, but not in their usual format due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. There was no hop-on, hop-off allowed this time, no chance for families to spontaneously take a ride on the old trams as in previous years, and while the open Boats looked very tempting over the fine weekend, only pre-booked journeys were possible. Instead of trams running approximately every 15 minutes, there were only five tours during the whole day. Two types of tour were on offer, the Promenade Tour from North Pier to Bispham, Pleasure Beach and back to North Pier, and the Coastal Tour, running through to Fleetwood instead of Bispham. The 1030 Bispham and 1300 Fleetwood tours were operated by Balloons, the 1130 Bispham tour used a vintage tram, and the afternoon tours at 1400 and 1530 saw Boats in use each day. All trips needed to be pre-booked online in advance via the Heritage Tram Tours website, and the mandatory wearing of face masks was required (apart from people who were exempt). Trams could only be boarded at North Pier, although those wishing to leave a tour could do so at any of the heritage stops.

Balloon 717 at Gynn Square on the first tour of the day on 31st August

Brush Car 621 on driver refresher duties on 30th August

Standard 147 at Gynn Square on a Promenade Tour on 31st August

Boat 227 passing the Spitfire at Gynn Square on 30th August

Boat 600 at Little Bispham on Bank Holiday Monday

Bolton 66 at Gynn Square on the vintage Promenade Tour on 30th August

Balloon 715 returning from the Coastal Tour to Fleetwood on 30th August

Monday 24 August 2020

Coronation 663 returns to Blackpool

Coronation 663 on its low loader in Lytham Road after arriving from Heywood

Blackpool Coronation 663 has returned from Riley & Son Locomotive Engineers in Heywood, near Bury, where it's been since 22nd August 2018. The work done at Riley's was a complete rebuild of the Maley & Taunton HS44 bogies, using many new components. Following completion of the bogie work, 663 was transported back to Blackpool on a low loader of Reid Freight Services of Stoke-on-Trent, using the same truck that moved the tram to Heywood in 2018. Coronation 663 was loaded onto the transporter at Heywood on the morning of Monday 24th August, on arrival at Blackpool around 1:30 pm the tram was unloaded and moved into the depot, with the aid of Engineering Car 754.

Reid's low loader reversing from Lytham Road into Hopton Road

Reid's Mercedes-Benz Arocs 4158 SLT and low loader reversing along Hopton Road

Reid's low loader manoeuvring into position in Blundell Street

Coronation 663 beginning to descend the unloading ramp

Coronation 663 half way down the unloading ramp

BTS Enviro 230 on staff bus duty passing Coronation 663 back on Blackpool rails

Engineering Car 754 leaving the tram depot to collect Coronation 663

Coronation 663 being pushed along Hopton Road by Engineering Car 754

Engineering Car 754 shunting Coronation 663 into Rigby Road tram depot

Tuesday 4 August 2020

New Preston Bus Livery

20702 on Route 31, one of eight Solo SRs bought for the Park & Ride operation in 2008

Rotala owned Preston Bus have begun to repaint their fleet into the Diamond Bus two-tone blue colours in earnest over the last couple of months. Most of the buses painted so far have been Optare Solo SRs, but the Preston fleet is so diverse that even among the Solo SRs there are variations of vehicle type and livery style. Since the acquisition of Preston Bus by Rotala Plc in January 2011, many different vehicle types have made an appearance in the fleet, some of the current buses are even fourth hand. A batch of four brand new Wright Streetdecks entered service in July, being the first new vehicles to be delivered in the striking blue livery.

Optare Solo SR 20016 in a livery variation with light blue above the windows

Optare Solo 20000 leaving the bus station along Tithebarn Street on route 43

Former Malta Public Transport Solo SR 20877, note the air conditioning pods on the roof

Wright Streetdeck 40716 on Carlisle Street approaching the bus station

Ex London Dennis Trident 40632 in plain blue, on Fishergate Bridge at the railway station

Optare Solo SR 20703, one of two running without any fleet branding

Scania 30116 with blue roof and front, on route 89 to the Larches estate

Saturday 1 August 2020

Blackpool Buses in Preston

Enviro 562 on Tithebarn Street, with Preston bus station in the background

Since Sunday 19th July, Blackpool Transport have been operating rural routes 74 and 75 between Fleetwood and Preston on behalf of Lancashire County Council.

Route 74 runs from Fleetwood via Poulton and Elswick to Preston, whereas route 75 mostly follows the former Preston Bus operated route, running via Cleveleys, Poulton-le-Fylde and Kirkham to Preston.

The pictures shown here were taken between 21st and 31st July.

Enviro 584 approaching Preston bus station along Carlisle Street

Enviro 568 on Fishergate bridge in Preston on route 75

Enviro 574 leaving Preston bus station on route 74 to Fleetwood

Enviro 577 having just turned off Ringway in Preston on route 75

Enviro 580 leaving Preston bus station on route 75 to Fleetwood

Enviro 570 approaching Preston bus station on route 74

Enviro 568 on Lancaster Road in Preston on route 75