Tuesday 28 February 2023

Transpora North West Enviro 200s in Cleveleys

YX68 URG turning from Cleveleys Promenade into Thornton Gate on service 24 to Fleetwood
Three Transpora North West ADL Enviro200 MMCs were spotted operating on service 24 in Cleveleys on 28th February. YW68 PDV & YW68 PDX are 10.8m 39-seat Enviro200s, new to Stuarts of Carluke in Lanarkshire in 2019, and still retain that company's blue livery. YX68 URG came from Powell's Bus Company of Rotherham.

Ex-Stuarts Enviro200 YW68 PDV on Cleveleys Promenade on service 24 to Blackpool

Enviro200 YW68 PDX arriving at Cleveleys bus station on service 24 to Poulton
Enviro200s YW68 PDX and BTS 570 with Enviro400 City 419 at Cleveleys bus station

Sunday 19 February 2023

Balloon 713 Pictorial

Balloon 713 in Metro Coastlines livery, northbound at the Tower in April 2008

713 was the last Balloon to be completely rebuilt, prior to 720 which received widened platforms (but has seen little use) and 717 which was a heritage rebuild. The four preceding heavily rebuilt Balloons had all been completed with rather unflattering flat front ends, thus eliminating all vestiges of their streamlining. 713 was like a breath of fresh air when it emerged, comprising a fully rebuilt body that still retained the classic 1930s streamlined appearance. The tram has received several colour schemes over the years, including a few iterations that were mostly white.

713 in normal passenger service at Foxhall Square, on a special to the Cabin on 26th May 2013
713 on driver training at Anchorsholme in April 2006, carrying advertising for Asda
713 wore this very short lived advert during the Conservative Party Conference at Blackpool in autumn 2007
713 stripped of its advertising vinyls, in Heritage Tour service at Fleetwood on 19th February
713 in heritage service at the Tower, with flat fronted rebuild 718 on 26th August 2017
713 on North Albert Street in Fleetwood in heritage service on 19th February
713 on Lord Street in Fleetwood with BTS Enviro 232 on route 74 to Preston on 19th February

Wednesday 8 February 2023

Balloon 710 returns from Fleetwood

The DAF tractor unit of Railway Support Services leaving Wyre Dock with 710 on its trailer
Balloon 710 is better known to the general public as the tram who killed the Coronation Street character Alan Bradley in the popular TV soap series in the 1980s. Thanks to popular demand, the tram has been saved from its long term outside storage in Wyre Dock at Fleetwood, and made the relatively short journey home to Rigby Road on the afternoon of Wednesday 8th February. Balloon 710 was owned by the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust, and has spent many years in outdoor storage at Fleetwood, initially being stored at a haulier's yard from 2011, before moving the short distance to Wyre Dock in July 2013, along with other trams owned by the FHLT. A low loader belonging to Railway Support Services arrived on the Wednesday morning to collect 710. The extending trailer was very long, and only just managed to gain access to the compound where the trams were stored. After a slow loading process, 710 was eventually extricated from the yard and transported to Blundell Street in Blackpool, where it was unloaded with the assistance of Unimog 939. Balloon 710 will become part of the 'Tramtown' display at Rigby Road tram depot, and it is planned to receive a cosmetic repaint before going on general view.

Railway Support Services low loader turning round at Fleetwood fish dock

A view along the low loader of the trams in the Wyre Dock compound
Balloon 710 inching up the rail ramp of the low loader
710 making its way slowly along the low loader
Balloon 710 being chained down onto the low loader
The transporter of Railway Support Services reversing out of the Fleetwood storage yard
The Railway Support Services low loader turning right from Lytham Road into Hopton Road
The transporter turning left into Blundell Street alongside the fitting shop
Balloon 710 being unloaded from the trailer down the rail ramp
Unimog 939 arriving from the tram depot
Balloon 710 being pulled off the low loader by Unimog 939

Trams at Wyre Dock in Fleetwood

Four of the trams in storage at Wyre Dock, from the left 637, 710, 673 and 683
On Wednesday 8th February, six former Blackpool trams remained in open storage at Wyre Dock in Fleetwood. The trams have been stored in a compound next to the fish dock for nearly 10 years, since July 2013. The remaining trams were Balloon 710, Brush 637, Railcoach 678, Twin Set 673/683 and Centenary 641. Later that day this number would drop to five, with Balloon 710 due to make the short journey back to Blackpool.

Balloon 710 with Twin Cars 673 and 683
Centenary Car 641
Twin Car Motor 673 on the left, with Trailer 683 on the right
Railcoach 678