Thursday, 31 January 2013

Driver Trainer and Promenade Road Works

Optare Delta driver trainer 970 passing southbound on the northbound lane of the promenade alongside road works
The new block paved 'shared access' promenade in Blackpool is currently a bit of a shambles, with road subsidence, missing blocks having to be replaced with new patches of tarmac and continuing maintenance work, entailing temporary traffic lights and contra-flows, to patch up the sub-standard road surface of what is supposed to be a major North-South trunk route between Lytham and Fleetwood. The previous tarmac dual-carriageway that ran between Central Pier and North Pier, which coped with the heavy traffic flows on this section, has been dug up and replaced by an inferior single carriageway at great expense on the whim of Blackpool Council. This has culminated in the present farcical situation whereby the promenade is now unusable between the Metropole Hotel and Central Pier during busy periods, due to the road capacity being halved and the traffic being continually held up because of uncontrolled pedestrian crossings at three locations, and now the Council want to add an additional crossing opposite the Tower to compound the situation! Blackpool's Optare Delta driver trainer 970 is seen passing the Tower, with the southbound lane of the promenade closed off due to defective block paving being replaced, necessitating northbound traffic to run over the non-roadway section of block paving.

Friday, 25 January 2013

More Snow due for Blackpool

Brush car 627 in the snow at the Pleasure Beach on Monday 21st January
With heavy snow and sleet forecast in Blackpool for the rest of the day from lunchtime (it's already been snowing lightly for a couple of hours), here are some views of Brush car 627 and the Rocket in the snow on Monday 21st January.

The Rocket surrounded by snow on Gynn Square roundabout on 21st January

Monday, 21 January 2013

Snowplough 701 in action again

Snowplough 701 between Cavendish Road and Lowther Avenue on its return journey to Starr Gate depot
Today's snow saw snowplough 701 in use again, to clear the system from Starr Gate to Fleetwood Ferry and return. Meanwhile snowplough 723 stayed tucked up inside Rigby Road, parked in front of the electrical bay away from the front of the depot.

Snowplough 701 passing Thornton Gate tram stop on its journey north to Fleetwood

701 takes a short break on the loop at Fleetwood Ferry while Flexity 004 passes by on the way to Starr Gate
701 just south of Cavendish Road this morning, clearing the snow off a cross walkway as it journeys south
701 entering the confines of Starr Gate depot, after traversing round the turning circle

More Snow in Blackpool

Flexity 007 north of Lowther Avenue heading for Fleetwood on the morning of 21st January
After last Friday's light covering of snow in Blackpool, residents woke to snow again this morning, this time though the snow continued on and off all day, reaching about 2 cm deep in the worst hit areas around South Promenade before the thaw set in as temperatures crept above freezing during the morning. The Flexity 2 trams coped admirably with the snowy conditions, with no gaps in the service noticed during the day.

Flexity 008 at the tram stop in Bold Street at 8.20 am, showing that Fleetwood missed most of the snow yet again

Flexity 012 passing the Pharos Street lighthouse in Fleetwood, with just a light dusting of snow on the ground
Flexity 012 northbound through Victoria Square in Cleveleys, which only received a dusting of snow like Fleetwood
Flexity 015 between Cavendish Road and Lowther Avenue bound for Starr Gate
Flexity 015 approaching the Lowther Avenue tram stop, showing that Blackpool received a complete covering of snow
Flexity 009 passing a snow covered Brush 627 at the Pleasure Beach
Flexity 008 approaching the Pleasure Beach along the South Promenade

Friday, 18 January 2013


Balloon 701, fitted with its new snowplough, leaving Starr Gate depot ready to be used in action for the first time
The morning of Friday 18th January saw some short but heavy flurries of snow in Blackpool, which covered the tram tracks with a thin layer of snow, this gave snowplough Balloon 701 a chance to be used in action for the very first time. 701 left Starr Gate depot at 11:15, running all the way through to Fleetwood Ferry where it stopped for a short crew break on the loop before returning to Starr Gate. It is not clear why the decision was made to use the snowplough, as there was barely a covering of snow in Blackpool, and even less in Cleveleys and Fleetwood. Meanwhile back at Rigby Road, snowplough equipped Balloon 723 was noted powered up with its lights on at the front of the depot, in case this tram too was needed for snow clearance duties, in the event it wasn't needed and was stood down in the afternoon.

The engineering crew check the plough on the front of 701 before setting off along the promenade
701 sets off along the promenade from Starr Gate depot, ploughing the very thin layer of snow that had accumulated
Snowplough 701 passes Brush car 627 at the Pleasure Beach, with Flexity 015 following closely behind
Snowplough 701 taking a crew break on the loop track at Fleetwood Ferry, note the total absence of snow here
Flexity 010 bound for Starr Gate passes Balloon 701 at Fleetwood Ferry
701 rounds the curve from North Albert Street into Lord Street in a snow free Fleetwood town centre
Earlier on back at Rigby Road depot, snowplough fitted Balloon 723 had been powered up in case it too was required

Flexities in the Snow

Flexity 004 southbound near Lowther Avenue in blizzard like conditions
Blackpool received a light dusting of snow this morning, just enough to provide the first chance to get some shots of the new Flexity 2 trams in near white out conditions. The snow only lasted for a few hours, and by noon was beginning to disappear rapidly.

Flexity 013 unloading passengers at the Lowther Avenue tram stop
Flexity 013 departing Lowther Avenue bound for Fleetwood
Flexity 004 at the Starr Gate terminus before the snow started thawing
Flexity 015, having just left the depot, using the crossover to enter service from the Starr Gate terminus
Flexity 015 approaching South Pier, with snowplough 701 in front heading for Fleetwood
Flexity 009 southbound at South Pier
Flexity 007 southbound at Foxhall Square with the snow still falling but starting to thaw already
Flexity 008 at the Rossall Beach stop in Cleveleys, the snow has now stopped and is beginning to thaw

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Catch 22 now running every 20 minutes

Ex Lothian Buses Volvo Olympian P269 PSX southbound on the Catch 22 service in Blackpool on 15th January
From January 14th 2013, the Catch 22 route run by Classic Bus North West increased its service frequency from twice an hour to every 20 minutes. The more frequent service requires an extra two buses to operate it (in addition to the four previously used), enabling a greater cross section of the CBNW fleet to be seen in regular daily service. The Catch 22 service seems to be coming more established with the public, as each of the buses pictured here was carrying passengers, unlike in the early days of the service last year when spotting buses running empty was quite normal.

Recent addition to the CBNW fleet, ex Stagecoach Manchester Volvo B10M R898 XVM, seen at the New Bonny St stop
Ex Blackpool Optare Metrorider P502 UFR headed for Mereside on the Catch 22 in Bank Hey Street on 14th January
Ex Transdev London Dennis Dart X512 UAT stopping in New Bonny Street to drop off passengers on January 15th
Ex Stagecoach London Dennis Dart V163 MVX on the first day of the new 20 minute Catch 22 service on January 14th
Ex Transdev London Dennis Dart X533 UAT leaving the stop at New Bonny Street in Blackpool on January 15th

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Friends of 40 Tour in Pictures

Blackpool & Fleetwood Box car 40 on Lytham Road at the start of the 'Friends of 40' tour to Fleetwood
A selection of views taken during yesterdays tour, when the 'Friends of 40' hired Box car 40 to take them to their annual meal at the North Euston Hotel in Fleetwood. See Saturday's posting for more details of the tour.

Box car 40 turning at the crossover at Foxhall before heading south to the Pleasure Beach

Flexity 014 stops to pick up passengers at Manchester Square while Box car 40 heads south to the Pleasure Beach

A broadside view of Box car 40 on the turning circle at the Pleasure Beach

Box car 40 waits on the loop while service car 009 passes by heading north at the Pleasure Beach

Box 40 and Flexity 003 pass each other at Bispham tram station

Box 40 paused for a photo stop on Little Bispham loop before returning south again to Bispham

Linesmen attending to the overhead on the main line at Little Bispham while Box car 40 passes on the turning circle

Box 40 heading towards the Ferry along North Albert Street in Fleetwood

Southbound Flexity 003 passes Box car 40 stabled on the outer loop at Fleetwood Ferry

Box 40 waiting on the outer loop track at Fleetwood Ferry 

Dennis Trident 309 on route 14 passes Box car 40 at Fleetwood Ferry