Wednesday 6 December 2023

And then there were none

Twin Cars 673 and 683 sat in the sunshine at Wyre Dock in February 2023

Twin Cars 673 & 683 were spotted on low loaders today, being transported away from their long term storage compound at Wyre Dock in Fleetwood. The Twin Set has been moved to an as yet undisclosed location, within 20 miles of Blackpool, and they were noted crossing the Shard Bridge in the direction of Over Wyre around lunchtime. These two trams were last last ones remaining in open storage at the fish dock, bringing to an end the long running saga of the old trams at Fleetwood.

Twin Cars 673 and 683 seen at the fish dock on 5th December, the day before their move

A close up view of the end of trailer 683 at Wyre Dock in June 2023

Tuesday 5 December 2023

Brush 637 Then and Now

Brush Cars 637 and 622 at the Fleetwood Ferry terminus on 27th September 2003
Brush Car 637 was scrapped at Wyre Dock in Fleetwood on the morning of Saturday 2nd December. Here are a couple of before and after photos taken 20 years apart. The first shot was taken in September 2003 at the Fleetwood Ferry terminus, the second shot was taken this morning at Wyre Dock, showing all that remains of Brush 637 are its pair of EMB L6 trucks.

All that remains of 637 now are this pair of EMB L6 trucks seen at Wyre Dock on 5th December

Twin cars 683 and 673 are the only complete trams still in open storage at Wyre Dock

Monday 4 December 2023

Farewell Brush Car 637

Brush Car 637 passing Carousel Amusements near Central Pier in May 2004
One of the last remaining trams stored at Wyre Fish Dock in Fleetwood met its demise at the weekend. Brush Car 637 was cut up on site on Saturday 2nd December, all that remained visible of the tram a couple of days later were the bogies. The body of 637 was apparently in a very poor state, with plants growing inside the tram. Fortunately many spare parts including the motors and bogies have been saved in order to assist in the restoration of other preserved trams.

Brush 637 southbound at Manchester Square in June 1972

Brush 637 passing Standard 40 from Crich on display at Talbot Square during Centenary Year (1985)
Brush 637 during its storage at Wyre Fish Dock in February 2023

Friday 1 December 2023

More photos of Archway Travel's new 12.8m Volvo B8L

Archway Volvo B8L AC73WAY leaving Fleetwood along Amounderness Way heading for Poulton
A few more photos of Archway Travel's brand new tri-axle Volvo B8L with Egyptian built 12.8m MCV eVoSeti single door double-deck bodywork. The bus was delivered new to Archway a month ago, and is currently being used on route 607 that operates between Thistleton, Elswick, Great Eccleston, Singleton and high schools in Poulton-le-Fylde.

Volvo B8L AC73WAY turning out of Archway's depot on Copse Road on 28th November
Archway Volvo B8L AC73WAY on Amounderness Way in Fleetwood on 1st December

Monday 20 November 2023

Archway Travel's new tri-axle School Bus

Archway Volvo B8L AC73WAY leaving Fleetwood for the afternoon route 607 school run from Poulton
Archway Travel of Fleetwood have recently taken delivery of a brand new tri-axle Volvo B8L with 12.8m MCV eVoSeti single door bodywork. The monster school bus is fitted with 98 leather seats, and is equipped with a Euro 6 compliant Volvo D8K engine running at 350hp through a ZF Ecolife gearbox. This new acquisition is the largest capacity bus in the Archway fleet by some margin, and is similar to twin-door Volvo B8Ls with the same body style that are currently operating in Hong Kong with Kowloon Motor Bus.

AC73WAY leaving Archway Travel's yard in Fleetwood for an afternoon school run on route 607 to Elswick
Kowloon Motor Bus V6X128 (YE893) Volvo B8L 12.8m MCV eVoSeti (Wikimedia Commons)

Monday 13 November 2023

The Terror Tram heads east to Lowestoft

Reid's low loader leaving the bus yard at Rigby Road with Brush 634
The Terror Tram left Blackpool this afternoon at the start of a long journey to the opposite side of the country. Brush 634 is the latest Blackpool tram to make the long cross country trip to the east coast, where it is to be homed at the East Anglia Transport Museum at Carlton Colville near Lowestoft, alongside several other expat Blackpool trams. A low loader of Reid Freight Services arrived at Rigby Road depot shortly after midday. The weather couldn't have been worse for the move, as Blackpool was being battered by wind and rain from Storm Debi, which passed right over the resort, bringing gusts of up to 73 mph, driving rain and sea spray in from the Irish Sea. After an efficient loading process, the transporter headed off along Rigby Road at 3pm with Brush 634 onboard.

Brush 634 being towed out of the body shop by Unimog 939

Brush 634 being towed across the bus yard with Reid's low loader on the right
Brush 634 being winched up the rail ramp onto the low loader
Reid's low loader about to depart the depot with 634 securely chained down
Brush 634 heading inland down Rigby Road at the start of its very long journey

Monday 6 November 2023

Former Blackpool Plaxton Centro spotted in Bury

A former Blackpool Transport Volvo B7RLE at Bury Interchange (photo courtesy of Philip Higgs)
Former Blackpool Transport 530 was spotted at Bury Interchange at the weekend. BF60 UVO is a Plaxton Centro bodied Volvo B7RLE, and is now owned by Transdev Blazefield subsidiary Rosso for use on their Irwell Line services.

Volvo B7RLE 530 and Enviro 400 City 409 at Cleveleys Bus Station in Aug 2016

Saturday 14 October 2023

The Rough and the Smooth on the Irish Sea

The IOMSPC ferry Manxman seen from Cleveleys beach on its way to Heysham on 14th Oct
Two photos of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company ferry Manxman taken two days apart, from the same location, showing vastly different sea states. The top photo shows the Manxman about to pass Fleetwood on its way to Heysham on the 0845 sailing from Douglas in the Isle of Man on Saturday 14th October, with rough seas and at high tide. The photo below shows the Manxman on the 1415 sailing from Heysham taken two days earlier on Thursday 12th, with the sea like a mill pond and hardly any wind (unusual for the Fylde Coast). Both photos were taken from the sea front at Cleveleys over five miles distant from the ship. The third photo was also taken on Saturday 14th, showing the ferry still over the horizon making its way through the distant wind farms.

The ferry Manxman on the 1415 sailing from Heysham on 12th Oct with very calm seas

The Manxman (still over the horizon) threading its way through the wind farms on 14th October

Friday 6 October 2023

Former Blackpool Routemaster makes a comeback

Former Blackpool Routemaster 525 purchased for London heritage service (photo courtesy of Philip Higgs)
A former Blackpool Transport Routemaster will be making a comeback on heritage services in London soon. RM1650 (650 DYE) was one of the original Silver Jubilee buses that were repainted in an all over silver livery by London Transport for the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977. The bus was subsequently part of a batch that were sold on to Blackpool Transport in 1986, and ran for several years in the resort as fleet number 525. 650 DYE has been purchased for use on the Londoner Buses heritage route and LondonBus4Hire, and was collected from Cornwall on 5th October.

Routemaster 525 heading down Talbot Road on Service 12 to St Annes in 1987

Monday 2 October 2023

Rigby Road Tram Depot Closed

One of the closure notices attached to the fence in front of the tram depot
It was noticed over the weekend that the heritage trams at Rigby Road tram depot have become barricaded in the running shed behind a line of steel fencing. Attached to the fence are notices saying "Pending survey results, the Tram Shed will be closed until further notice. Access may only be obtained with written permission from Jess Brown, Head of Safety & Facilities. Unauthorised access will be classified as a breach of Health and Safety rules and will therefore be treated as gross misconduct". Perhaps an inkling of the impending closure was the appearance of several heritage and illuminated trams down at Starr Gate depot over the last few days. Tramtown tours have also been cancelled at short notice, which is a further clue as to what is happening. The fitting shop, and presumably paint shop, are similarly out of bounds with prohibition notices posted on the doors. In the absence of any official announcement (as of Monday 2nd October) read into this what you will at the moment.

The heritage trams barricaded in the running shed at Rigby Road

There will be nobody queuing up for Tramtown tours for the foreseeable future
Even the red heritage plaque is obscured by the steel fencing
The closure notice on the Fitting Shop door
Presumably the depot cat will be able to wander around the depot unchallenged

Saturday 23 September 2023

September Heritage Trams

Bolton 66 was the last heritage tram of the day to Fleetwood, seen here passing the Pharos Lighthouse
The September heritage tram weekend took place on the 23rd and 24th of the month. The scheduled output for Saturday was Railcoach 680, Balloon 718, Boat 600, Bolton 66 and Boat 227. The day started out dull with occasional spells of sunshine in the afternoon. The weather on Sunday was lousy for photography, being mostly miserable and wet, so all the photos shown here were taken on the Saturday.

Railcoach 680 at Bispham, with a BTS ADL Enviro400 City passing by
Boat 277 at Bispham, heading north to turn around at Little Bispham
Boat 600 approaching Bispham tram station
Balloon 718 pausing at Bispham on its way north to Fleetwood
Railcoach 680, Balloon 718 & Boat 600 meet at Bispham tram station

Sunday 3 September 2023

2023 Bus Driver of the Year Final

First Eastern Counties Scania N250UD ADL Enviro400 City 36918 at Gynn Square
The National Final of the 55th Bus Driver of the Year competition took place in Blackpool on Sunday 3rd September. Bus drivers from all around the country compete to be the top driver, and this year saw 12 buses being used, with 10 of them travelling from various parts of the UK to take part in the event. The competition commences from the seaward side of the Metropole Hotel, before proceeding along Middle Walk where a series of tests are set out for the drivers. The buses then navigate the roundabout at Gynn Square before returning south down the Promenade, where drivers are allowed to pick up and set down passengers at temporary bus stops positioned along the route. The winner of the 2023 Bus Driver of the Year competition was Lee Grantham from National Express, based at Acocks Green depot in Birmingham.

First Potteries low height Wright Streetdeck 35944, leaving the Metropole Hotel heading for Middle Walk
Stagecoach Manchester ADL Enviro400 MMC 11719 passing the Spitfires at Gynn Square roundabout
Lothian Buses Volvo B5TL Wright Gemini 3 445 leaving Middle Walk at Gynn Square
National Express West Midlands ADL Enviro400 MMC 7541
Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire open top Volvo B5TL Wright Gemini 3 13804
Go North West Volvo B5LH MCV EvoSeti 3061
McGill's Mercedes-Benz Citaro 0295 G3340 leaving Middle Walk at Gynn Square
Blackpool Transport ADL Enviro400 City 411 taking part in the event at Gynn Square roundabout
Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire ADL Enviro400 MMC 11637, based at Preston
McGill's 3359, a Mercedes-Benz Citaro 0295 heading south on the Promenade
Blackpool Transport ADL Enviro400 City 450 at Gynn Square, one of the early runners in the event
This tiny Subaru Sambar (with a VW body kit) could be a contender for the smallest bus at the event