Tuesday 28 December 2021

Balloon 700 on FTS Christmas Tour

700 exiting the turning circle at Little Bispham on the FTS Christmas Tour
Balloon 700 finally made its debut on a tram tour on 28th December, after having been repainted into wartime green and cream livery back in September. 
700 was being used on a private hire for the 2021 Christmas Tour of the Fylde Tramway Society, which operated over the whole tramway. Balloon 700 is part of the 'B' fleet, and as such still retains its widened platforms, new doors and fibreglass skirts, having lost its lifeguards and steel bumpers when converted to a 'B' fleet tram for use on the newly upgraded tramway. 700 had been due to make its debut into heritage service in wartime livery on Sunday 26th September, and was expected with great anticipation, sadly a door fault prevented 700 from operating in service during the Heritage Tram Tours Blackpool Tramway 136th Anniversary weekend.

700 about to enter the turning circle at Little Bispham
Balloon 700 on the turning circle at Little Bispham
700 northbound at Rossall on its way to Fleetwood

Tuesday 21 December 2021

Colourful Stagecoach in Preston

Scania N250UD Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC 15305 in a livery celebrating Stagecoach and Ribble service
During several visits to Preston in Lancashire over the last year, I managed to capture a selection of the varied and colourful liveries that can be seen on Stagecoach buses that operate throughout the region.

Scania N250UD ADL Enviro400 MMC 15295 on the X2 service from Liverpool to Preston
Scania N230UD ADL Enviro400 15911 advertising Blackpool on the rear of the bus
Scania N230UD ADL Enviro400 15699 in "The Lakes Connection" livery on service 41
Scania N230UD ADL Enviro400 15232 in Stagecoach Gold livery on service 125 to Bolton
Scania N230UD ADL Enviro400 15818 in the new (mainly white) standard Stagecoach livery
Stagecoach MAN 18.220 Alexander ALX300 Driver Trainer 22078
Scania N230UD ADL Enviro400 15247 in yellow long-distance Stagecoach livery
Scania N230UD ADL Enviro400 15566 in heritage Ribble Timesaver livery
Stagecoach owned Megabus Volvo B11RT Plaxton Panorama 50407 on service M11 to London

Thursday 9 December 2021

Single Line Working on the Tramway

Southbound Flexity 003 using the northbound line as it passes the works at Talbot Square
Due to track welding taking place at Talbot Square this week, the Flexity trams have been operating a single line service between North Pier and Cabin. Although the Blackpool Transport service updates on their website and Twitter feed indicate that it is the southbound track that is being used, on the day of my visit it was the northbound line only that was in use, with the southbound line being blocked by the work at Talbot Square. Notices posted on the southbound platforms also indicate that it is the southbound line only that will be in use, although the opposite proved to be the case, at least on the day of my visit, all rather confusing to the public.

Customer service notice confusingly stating that the southbound track only is in use
Plastic barrier blocking the southbound track and carrying customer information
Flexity 014 at Pleasant Street, picking up a southbound passenger from the northbound platform
Southbound Flexity 017 crossing to the northbound track at Cabin for its onward journey
Southbound Flexity 001 passing the work at Talbot Square using the northbound track

Saturday 27 November 2021

Storm Arwen Curtails Tram Service

Manually changing the points at North Pier with a point iron
Storm Arwen caused Blackpool's tram service to be cut back to North Pier from Saturday 27th November. A partially collapsed building on the corner of Springfield Road and Brighton Parade forced police to close the Promenade around the back of the Metropole Hotel. A partial tram service was in operation between Starr Gate and the North Pier tram stop, with trams reversing direction using the crossover near North Pier.

Flexity 002 crossing over to the southbound line at North Pier
Flexity 002 approaching the temporary northern terminus at North Pier
The partially collapsed building on the corner of Springfield Road
A close-up of the collapsed gable end on the wind damaged building

Sunday 21 November 2021

Magical Express Tour 723

Balloon 723 heading north past Coral Island on Sunday 21st November
Balloon 723 has received an overall vinyl wrap for a new festive seasonal service called The Magical Express Tour. The new tour takes 25 minutes and runs from the loop at North Pier to Pleasure Beach and return. The service operates every half hour on selected dates, commencing on 19th November through to Monday 3rd January 2022. Sadly 723 has lost its 1980s green and cream livery, which was repainted for the 2016 heritage season, after the removal of a black vinyl wrap overall advert for The Sands Venue that it wore for a few years. Until the application of the Sands advert, 723 had previously worn the 1980s style livery since 2008. Sadly upon removal of the Sands vinyls, the paintwork on 723 was badly damaged necessitating a repaint.

723 northbound at Central Pier on The Magical Express Tour
Balloon 723 at North Pier about to cross over to the southbound track
723 southbound on the Golden Mile with the new Star Flyer ride on the Tower Headland
The North Pole Tram Stop where The Magical Express Tour commences
Balloon 723 at Cleveleys in 2016 after being repainted into 1980s livery again
723 on heritage service at Cleveleys in 2013 wearing a vinyl advert for The Sands Venue
723 on Lord Street in Fleetwood in 2009 after it had been painted into 1980s livery the previous year

Tuesday 9 November 2021

Stagecoach Poppy Bus

Stagecoach 10534 on Carlisle Street near Preston bus station
Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 MMC 10534 is wearing a special livery for the 2021 Royal British Legion poppy appeal. 10534 was noted working on service 59 between Preston and Royal Blackburn Hospital on 4th November.

10534 turning out of Pole Street onto Lords Walk in Preston

Sunday 7 November 2021

Route 14 to Fleetwood Running Day

Leyland PD3 No. 516 passing Marsh Mill in Thornton on Fleetwood Road North
The Fylde Transport Trust held a "14s to Fleetwood" vintage bus running day on Sunday 7th November, operating on Route 14 from Blackpool to Fleetwood, as part of the 100 years of Blackpool Buses celebrations. The vehicles taking part in the event were four former Blackpool Corporation Transport buses, PD3s 516 and 529, Atlantean 334 and AEC Swift 570. The buses operated a 30 minute service between Blackpool North Pier and Fleetwood during the afternoon, starting at 1200 with the last bus due to return to North Pier at 1716.

Leyland Atlantean 334 passing Marsh Mill in Thornton on its way to Blackpool
PD3 No. 529 heading north in Thornton past Marsh Mill on Fleetwood Road North
AEC Swift 570 in Thornton heading north to Fleetwood

Saturday 30 October 2021

Preston route branding on Service 23

Preston Bus Wright Streetdeck 40807 showing the new branding for route 23
Preston Bus have introduced special branding for route 23 to Asda to mark 100 years of service on the route (as of next year). The side advert panels show a summary of the history of the route since it commenced operation in 1922. All the photos shown here were taken during a visit to Preston on 15th October.

The offside of Wright Streetdeck 40807 showing the route 23 branding
Streetdeck 40808 showing the application of the route branding on the rear of the bus
Streetdeck 40806 turning out of Pole Street on the approach to the bus station
Streetdeck 40719 (without route branding) on Lords Walk on route 23 to the bus station
Diamond Bus 40842 leaving the bus station on route 23 to Asda

Sunday 26 September 2021

Heritage Anniversary Weekend

Brush car 631 'Reginald Dixon' at Ash Street in Fleetwood, on the last heritage tour of the weekend
The 25th & 26th September 2021 saw Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours put on a special weekend of tram tours and events to mark the 136th Anniversary of the Blackpool Tramway. The trams that were in operation over the two days sometimes deviated from the planned output due to technical problems, etc. As well as the heritage trams operating on the Promenade, there were trams on static display in Blundell Street and on the depot track fan, in addition bus tours to Thornton and Lytham were on offer each day. A selection of the trams that were in operation over the weekend are illustrated here, with the notable exception of the Western Train, which I missed by the time it came out later on Sunday afternoon.

Brush 621 southbound on the Promenade near North Pier

Balloon 715 northbound at Foxhall Square on a Coastal Tour to Fleetwood

Boat 227 loading at the Heritage Tram Tour stop at North Pier

Balloon 717 at Cocker Square heading north to Cleveleys

Bolton 66 and Balloon 701 at the temporary heritage stops at Manchester Square

Flat fronted Balloon 707 at North Pier on shop duty

Bolton 66 southbound at the Tower

Centenary 642 at North Pier on its way to Starr Gate

Boat 600 at Foxhall Square heading for Bispham

Frigate 736 southbound at Gynn Square

Coronation 663 on display on the depot track fan

OMO 8 on static display in Blundell Street, between the Trawler & Engineering Car 754