Tuesday 16 March 2021

Blackpool Tram Benches

The two stainless steel tram benches in Talbot Square
A pair of stainless steel tram benches were installed adjacent to The Counting House pub in Talbot Square in Autumn 2020. The benches are based on a Brush Car and an OMO Car, although artistic licence means that they are merely inspired by real trams rather than being miniature replicas. The benches were designed by artist Andy Hazell, and another two will be positioned at the North Station terminus of the new tramway extension when it is completed. The four tram benches were funded by a £17,000 grant through the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership under its Growth Deal. The seats have proved to be very popular with the public, and this conspired with the lockdown, restrictions on travel and the vagaries of the weather, has meant that six months have elapsed before I've managed to get to Blackpool to get some decent sunny shots of the benches while unoccupied.

The tram benches in Talbot Square

The OMO Car tram bench

A profile view of the Brush Car tram bench

A profile view of the OMO Car tram bench

The Brush Car tram bench

Monday 15 March 2021

Harrow Place to Fisherman's Walk Tram Service

Flexity 011 stopped at the Harrow Place terminus for passengers to alight
On Monday 15th March, trams in Blackpool were operating between Harrow Place and Fisherman's Walk in Fleetwood. Engineering work on the track at Starr Gate and around Fleetwood Ferry necessitated a truncated tram service, although by late morning the work at Fleetwood Ferry had been completed, and trams began running to the northern terminus of the line once again.

Flexity 005 using the facing points at Abercorn Place to cross to the northbound line

Flexity 013 using the facing crossover to the northbound line at Abercorn Place

Flexity 011 up against the barrier on the northbound line near Abercorn Place

Flexity 011 with track welding taking place on the curve to Starr Gate

Flexity 005 approaching Harrow Place on its way to Fisherman's Walk

Flexity 013 bound for Fisherman's Walk, 5 minutes later (at 1110) the line to Fleetwood Ferry reopened

Flexity 013 with its destination now changed to Fleetwood Ferry due to the line being reopened

Flexity 012 at Talbot Square heading south to Harrow Place

Thursday 11 March 2021

Trams to Fisherman's Walk

Flexity 016 and Coastliner Buses Optare Versa YJ10EYZ at the beginning of Lord St in Fleetwood
On Wednesday 10th March, the partial tram service because of engineering work was extended from Little Bispham to Fisherman's Walk in Fleetwood. The last section of the tramway being worked on was in the area of Fleetwood Ferry, where track welding was taking place on the curves of the terminus loop line. A track barrier was in position on the northbound line preventing trams from encroaching onto Lord Street, trams used the crossover at this point to regain the southbound line for the return run to Starr Gate. All photos were taken on 11th March.

Flexity 005 on the crossover at Fisherman's Walk

Flexity 003 crossing to the southbound line at Fisherman's Walk

Flexity 008 using the crossover at Fisherman's Walk

The guard of Flexity 016 manually setting the points at Fisherman's Walk crossover

Flexity 008 stopped at the barrier at the beginning of Lord Street

The stop sign blocking tram access to Lord Street in Fleetwood

Track welding taking place on the Pharos Street curve at Fleetwood Ferry

Wednesday 10 March 2021

Track Welding

Track welding taking place on the curve at Starr Gate on 22nd February

Part of the ongoing engineering work on the Blackpool Tramway over the last few weeks has been track welding. Strange white tunnels have been popping up along various curves on the tram system, including at Starr Gate, the Metropole and Gynn Square. The white tent like structures are presumably to protect the welding gang from any inclement weather, although welding has been undertaken in some locations without the aid of these tents, notably at Cleveleys. Where worn rail was identified on curves of the sleeper track sections, the solution was simply to replace the old rails with lengths of new rail. On grooved tram track, where the rail is embedded in concrete, it is less disruptive to build the worn rail up (usually on curves) by the use of track welding on the surface of the rail.

The white tent concealing the welding work taking place at Starr Gate on 22nd February
Track welding on the northbound curve near Cleveleys tram stop on 1st March
Grinding the freshly welded rail alongside the Metropole Hotel on 16th February

Monday 8 March 2021

All Change at Little Bispham

Flexity 016 waiting at Little Bispham, with a stop barrier blocking the northbound line
On the afternoon of Monday 1st March, the northern terminus of the partial tram service (due to ongoing engineering work) was moved from Bispham to Little Bispham. Trams have been running between Starr Gate and Little Bispham for the past week now, with passengers who wish to travel further north having to transfer to the number 1 bus service at Little Bispham. Blackpool Transport updated their service information this morning to notify passengers that the trams will continue to terminate at Little Bispham until further notice, as the engineering work is subject to further delays.

Flexity 008 turning short at Little Bispham on Tuesday 2nd March

Starr Gate bound Flexity 016 passing the track barrier at Little Bispham

Flexity 012 entering the loop at Little Bispham on 6th March

Flexity 016 entering Little Bispham turning circle on 6th March

Flexity 017 passing the northbound track barrier at Little Bispham on 6th March

Flexity 003 heading south out of the turning circle at Little Bispham on 2nd March

Flexity 015 exiting the loop at Little Bispham on its way to Starr Gate

Tuesday 2 March 2021

Unimog 939

Unimog 939 returning to Starr Gate depot on 22nd February
Recently refurbished Unimog 939 has been out and about attending to the overhead during the recent tramway closure for essential engineering work. The Unimog has received a new paint scheme of overall yellow, replacing the previous colours of orange and yellow. During its overhaul a modern flashing light bar has been fitted to the roof of the cab, replacing the single orange warning beacon.

Unimog 939 attending to the overhead at Norbreck on 22nd February

Unimog 939 on New South Promenade on 22nd February

Unimog 939 working near Beach Road in Cleveleys on 1st March

Unimog 939 with the snowbroom attachment fitted, towing Brush 634 in February 2016

The Unimog recovering 706 which had lost its trolley head, near Central Pier in September 2015

Monday 1 March 2021

Tram service extended to Bispham

Flexity 012 entering the centre track at Bispham, with an orange barrier blocking the northbound line
Since Monday 22nd February, a partial tram service has been in operation in Blackpool due to essential engineering work taking place on the system. The work had actually begun a week earlier, but involved a complete closure of the tramway during its initial stages. During the first week of resumed service, trams initially only operated between Harrow Place and Cabin, extended later on in the week back to Starr Gate. By Monday 1st March enough track was clear to enable a Starr Gate to Bispham service to be operated, with trams reversing on the centre road at Bispham. All the photos shown here were taken on 1st March.

Flexitity 010 crew manually setting the points for the southbound line at Bispham

Flexity 012 switching to the southbound line at Bispham

Flexity 002 waiting on the centre track at Bispham, with the line to the north barricaded

Flexity 012 terminating at Bispham while 010 awaits its departure time for Starr Gate

Flexity 010 terminating on the centre road at Bispham before reversing direction