Sunday, 31 March 2013

Heritage Tours Day Three

Bolton 66 arrives in a heavily overcast Fleetwood on the first Heritage Tour run of the day
Easter Sunday saw the third day of the Heritage Tour weekend in Blackpool, with Bolton 66 leading the way with a run to Fleetwood, followed out by 706 as the other Heritage Tour car for the day. In the morning Boats 230 and 600 were rostered for specials, despite the weather being cloudy and rather cold. The Boats hadn't been in operation for very long when they were swapped for Balloon 717 and Box 40, which were much more suited to the chilly conditions. Balloon 717 managed a run through to Fleetwood on specials later on in the afternoon, and as on the previous day the weather picked up by mid-afternoon, with blue skies becoming much more evident.

Bolton 66 departing from the Pleasure Beach northbound on the Heritage Tour, with Boat 230 behind on a special

Boat 600 on a special at North Pier reversing over the crossover before heading back south again

Boat car 230 on a special at the Pleasure Beach, awaiting passengers at the Heritage Tour stop

706 Princess Alice approaching South Pier running on the Heritage Tour, seen from northbound Balloon 717

Bolton 66 southbound at St Chads on the Heritage Tour, seen from northbound special Balloon 717

Box car 40 running south at North Pier on a special, as seen from 717 on a northbound special to Fleetwood

Balloon 717 basking in the low afternoon sun in Pharos Street at Fleetwood as it stops to collect its passengers again

The sun was still shining when 717 paused to unload at the Heritage Tour stop in Cleveleys on the return journey

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Heritage Tours Day Two

Boat 230 arriving at North Pier to begin running on specials, with Standard 147 heading south on the Heritage Tour
March 30th was another very chilly day in Blackpool and saw Standard 147 and Balloon 717 on the Heritage Tours, with Box 40 and 706 running on specials. 147 handled the first tour of the day, and operated through to Fleetwood as timetabled. Around lunchtime 706 Princess Alice ran an extended special journey right through to Fleetwood Ferry, and on returning to Blackpool went into Rigby Road depot for a crew break. After their break the crew came out of the depot with Boat car 230, which then proceeded to operate on specials between North Pier and the Pleasure Beach. All in all another very interesting day, full marks to Bryan Lindop and the heritage crews for making it all happen.

Box car 40 taking a break on the Pleasure Beach loop
706 Princess Alice at Fleetwood on a special, some brave souls travelled all the way from Blackpool on the top deck!

Balloon 717 departing from the Heritage Tour stop at North Pier

Boat 230 and Balloon 717 basking in the chilly afternoon sun, with 230 already loaded up ready for its departure

Boat 230 with a good load of passengers, departing from the Pleasure Beach heading north on a special

Friday, 29 March 2013

Heritage Tours to Fleetwood

Box 40 just after arriving at the alighting stop at Bold Street in Fleetwood on the first heritage run of the day
Day one of the 2013 Blackpool Transport Heritage Tour season saw Box car 40 running all the way through to Fleetwood Ferry on the first journey of the day. By the time that the tram had arrived at the heritage stop in Cleveleys, it was already full to capacity in the saloon, the only space available being in the rear driving vestibule. The pattern of operations during the day was Box 40 and Bolton 66 were assigned to the Heritage tour, while 706 Princess Alice and Balloon 717 operated specials between various destinations throughout the day. The day was rounded off with Bolton 66 making the full run to Fleetwood, arriving in Bold Street at 18:25, just as the light was beginning to fade.

706 Princess Alice loading up passengers at the Heritage Tour stop at Bispham

Balloon 717 having just pulled off the loop at North Pier reverses over the crossover heading for the Pleasure Beach

Bolton 66 pulling up at the Heritage Tour stop on the Pleasure Beach loop

Box car 40 heading south along the Golden Mile as seen from the top deck of Balloon 717

Balloon 717 working through to Fleetwood on a special is passed by southbound Flexity 015 at North Pier

706 Princess Alice passing the Lucky Star amusement arcade as it approaches the Pleasure Beach in the afternoon

Bolton 66 on the last heritage working of the day arrives at Bold Street in Fleetwood at 18:25 as dusk begins to fall

Thursday, 28 March 2013

New Heritage Tour Stops

Flexity 010 picking up passengers at Cleveleys with the new northbound Heritage Tour stop sign in the foreground
In advance of the Heritage Tours beginning again on Friday 29th March, two new set of stops have been installed in readiness for the selected journeys that are being extended through to Fleetwood Ferry. New Heritage Tram stops have been erected at Cleveleys, Bold Street (alighting only) and Pharos Street (boarding only) in Fleetwood, the stops are located at pavement level away from the platforms for the Flexity 2 trams. For more information on this years Heritage Tours, see Blackpool Transport's Heritage Tour website.

The new Heritage Tour alighting stop at Bold Street in Fleetwood with Flexity 010 awaiting its departure time
The new Heritage Tour boarding stop at Pharos Street in Fleetwood with Flexity 010 heading for Starr Gate
The new Heritage Tour tram stops in Cleveleys, showing their locations relative to the high level platforms

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Promenade Closure Bus Diversions

Blackpool Promenade during the roadworks closure, with Flexity 003 passing by on driver training on 19th March

Blackpool Promenade is scheduled to be completely closed between Central Pier and North Pier due to roadworks from 18th to 28th March. All bus routes that use this section of the promenade have had to be diverted inland. Note these roadworks do not affect the tram service.

Northbound service 1 operates as normal to Central Pier, then turns right into Chapel Street, Central Drive, Albert Rd (with an additional stop outside Argos), Regent Rd, Cookson St, Talbot Rd, to the Promenade and then resumes its normal route.

Northbound services along Central Drive continue on to Albert Rd (with an additional stop outside Argos), Regent Rd, Cookson St, Talbot Rd, Clifton St, Abingdon St, Talbot Rd then back on their normal routes again.

Southbound service 1 operates as normal to Talbot Square, then left onto Talbot Road, Dickson Road, Springfield Rd, New Larkhill St, Grosvenor St, Church St, Park Rd, Reads Ave, Central Drive, Bethesda Sq, Kay St, Chapel St and then turn left onto the Promenade and then resumes its normal route.

Southbound services follow their normal route to Market St, then via Church St, Corporation St, Talbot Rd, Dickson Rd, Springfield Rd, New Larkhill St, Grosvenor St, Church St, Park Road, Reads Ave, Central Drive then back on their normal routes again.

These route diversions also affect the Catch 22 service and Stagecoach services, which follow the same diversions that Blackpool Transport are using.

DAF 362 leading a convoy of buses eastbound along Albert Road on the northbound diversionary route

Solo 249 on service 5 heading up Albert Road on the northbound promenade diversion
Trident 316 leaving New Larkhill St, with the new Talbot Gateway Council offices under construction in the background
Trident 331 southbound on Grosvenor Street at Church Street, on the service 11 to Lytham
523 on Promenade service 1 to Starr Gate, entering Park Road at Church Street on the southbound diversion
Optare Excel 214 on service 17, southbound on the diversion along Park Road , with a service 1 Trident following
Green Solo 245 on Park Road at the junction with Hornby Road, on the southbound diversion of service 5
Trident 313 on service 1 turns right from Park Road into Reads Avenue, heading down towards Central Drive

Monday, 25 March 2013

Rawtenstall 23

A bulkhead from the dismantled body of Rawtenstall single-deck car 23 which is to be rebuilt at Heaton Park
After the speeches marking the re-entry into service of Stockport 5 at the Heaton Park Tramway Spring Gala on Sunday, it was officially announced that the process to rebuild Rawtenstall single-deck tram 23 is to begin. Rawtenstall 23 was built in 1912 by the United Electric Car Company in Preston, and after the tram was withdrawn in 1932 it was used locally as a garden shed for many years until being rescued for preservation. Sadly due to a lack of suitable accommodation it was decided to completely dismantled the tram body, and unfortunately some components appear to have been misplaced over the years. A suitable truck and electrical equipment have been acquired for the tram from various sources. Hopefully one day this tram may be rebuilt and enter passenger service alongside Manchester 765 and Stockport 5 in Heaton Park.

A manufacturers photograph of Rawtenstall 23 showing how the finished tram should look when it is completed

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Heaton Park Tramway Spring Gala

Blackpool 623, Stockport 5 and Manchester 765 parked line abreast at the Lakeside terminus of the tramway
The Manchester Transport Museum Society held their Spring Gala at the Heaton Park Tramway on March 24th, three cars were operational, these being Blackpool 623, Stockport 5 and Manchester 765. In the morning a small ceremony was held to mark the 80th anniversary since tramcars last ran down Middleton Road outside the park gates, the Lord Mayor of Manchester made a short speech and then cut a ceremonial ribbon. Stockport 5 was launched into service in the afternoon after a few speeches, complete with the full set of adverts that have been applied recently. Stockport 5 had been due to visit the museum at Beamish this Spring, but unfortunately the move was cancelled due to logistical reasons. After Stockport 5 had been relaunched into service, the three operational trams formed a cavalcade near the Middleton Road gates, they then proceeded together to the Lakeside terminus. At Lakeside, 623, 5 & 765 were positioned line abreast on the three track layout there, the first time that three trams have been lined up side by side at this terminus.

Blackpool 623 operated the passenger service in the morning, seen here passing LTT owned Blackpool PD3 No 529
623 passes Stockport 5 carrying the Lord Mayor of Manchester from the depot down to the Middleton Road gates
The Lord Mayor of Manchester performing the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Middleton Road gates
The Lord Mayor of Manchester and former councillor Keith Whitmore holding a Route 15 information board
MTMS Chairman Bob Hill, John Whitehouse and Martin Bryan after the speeches at the Stockport 5 relaunch
The cavalcade of trams gather at the Middleton Road gates before proceeding in convoy to the terminus at Lakeside
Stockport 5 and Manchester 765 on the new depot approach tracks at the Lakeside terminus of the tramway 

Saturday, 23 March 2013

First Centenary in Green & Cream

Centenary 643 at Broadwater Caravan Park in Fleetwood in its new cream and green colour scheme on 23rd March
With the anticipated work by Blackpool Transport to restore Centenary 648 to an earlier guise, and the possibility of it returning into green and cream, the other extant Centenary cars on the Fylde coast have been rather overlooked. Blackpool's own heritage Centenary has been unexpectedly beaten into second place in the race to return green and cream by another of the local Centenarys. The previously black and white Centenary 643 at Broadwater Caravan Park in Fleetwood has been repainted, in a mostly cream colour scheme with two green bands along one side of the tram only and on both cab ends. The tram was delivered to the caravan park by Scotts Heavy Haulage in January of 2012, and has remained in its existing Metro Coastlines black and white colour scheme up until this new repaint.

The green bands on the opposite side run along the full length of the tram

643 being delivered by Scotts Heavy Haulage to Broadwater Caravan Park on 13th January 2012

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Permanent Way Buses

Blackpool Council Track Services department Atlantean 270 and Balloon 722 near to the Cabin in June 2007

The recent work to the rail joints at Foxhall Square saw the track gang being accompanied by their new mobile mess room, Metrorider 1064. This bus has been converted from former Blackpool Transport 512 (S512 LHG), an Optare bodied Metrorider delivered new to the operator in 1978. The vehicle is now painted in Blackpool Council colours and is used by their Track Services department as a mobile mess room, replacing Atlantean 270 which had been used for this purpose since 2006.

Blackpool Council Track Services department mobile mess room 1064 at Foxhall Square on 5th March
Metrorider 512 while in use as a mobile mess room during the tramway overhead replacement programme in 2010
Blackpool Council 270, former Blackpool Transport Atlantean 350, seen on the cliff top near the Cabin in 2007
Track Services department 262, a former Hull Atlantean, in use as the mobile mess room at Broadwater in 2004
Former Blackpool Corporation 1959 Metro Cammell bodied PD2 in use as the Illuminations Dept mess bus in 1981
Centre entrance Burlingham bodied Leyland PD2 Permanent Way bus 298 in use at the Pleasure Beach in 1973