Posted by: SB Websites | January 1, 2000

Blackpool Tram News

Blackpool Tram News follows all news on the Blackpool Tramway which includes tram restoration updates, route observations, livery changes and general news.

Other Websites:

Ron and Tons Blog – Bus nets focusing on the North East, but also from across the UK

North East Bus News – News on all the North East Bus Fleets

Northern Transport Photos – Regular photo updates from the Blackpool Tramway and North East Transport

SB Websites Facebook Page– All Updates are linked to the Facebook Page to make it easier for viewers to find updates that follow more than one of our websites. Remember to like the page!

Advertisements
Posted by: SB Websites | December 2, 2014

02/12/14 News Update

As there hasn’t been a news update for some considerable time, here is a round up of news from 2013:

LTT Trams Return Home

One of the most significant developments during 2013 was many of the LTT collection returning to Rigby Road for eventual use on the tramway. This process began on the 11th June 2013 with cars 8 and 304 loaded from their outdoor storage yards and returned to Rigby Road. Moving onto the 7th October and it was the turn for Standard 143, followed by Railcoach 279 later that day.

622 and 761 back at Rigby Road

Although not part of the retained heritage fleet, Brush 622 moved back to Rigby Road on the 7th November having had the base livery of its Tigerrific livery applied. This tram is still destined for use as a static classroom at Anchorsholme Primary School and is expected to make this move at some point during 2014. 761 is also not being retained, but has moved back for storage after the removal of trams from its storage yard. It still does not appear that the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust have moved much further forward with their plans so is likely to remain in storage for the foreseeable future.

648 Returns to Service

Equally pleasing was the return of Centenary 648 after its heritage overhaul and repaint into green and cream. This represented the first chance to ride on a Centenary car since 2011 after upgraded tramway commenced. The first day of use for 648 occurred on the 20th July when it was used alongside open top Balloon 706 ‘Princess Alice’ as part of a Fylde Tramway Society Tour.

2013 Heritage Service

The 2013 heritage service may have been operated on a reduced scale compared to the ambitious service during 2012 by only being operated on bank holiday weekends compared to every weekend and daily through holidays, although pleasingly loadings appeared to be very strong throughout the course of the 15 operating dates. Usually four trams were employed in traffic each day, being dispatched from Pleasure Beach to various destinations (usually between North Pier and Little Bispham) in contrast to the 2012 service where a 30 minute frequency timetable was operated. Three Fleetwood journeys were timetabled during the running days and proved to be very popular resulting in many duplicate journeys being operated, particularly during the August Bank Holiday weekend.  However, despite the popularity of the tours these will infact be decreased again for 2014 as will be described in the next post.

Modified Balloons in Service

Blackpool Transport made use of 2 of the elusive modified Balloons over the October half term period, albeit on a very limited basis. These specials ran for just two days, on October 26th and 27th which saw 700 and 711 in use.

Posted by: SB Websites | November 20, 2014

20/11/14 A look at the Edinburgh Trams

The Edinburgh Trams are the UK’s newest tramway which opened to the public on the 31st May 2014. The service operates using a fleet of 27 CAF Urbos 3 trams that provide a 10 minute frequency on the entirety of the route from York Place to Edinburgh Airport. The tramway currently stands at 8.7 miles in length and each tram is compromised of 7 articulated sections giving 80 seats and space for 252 standing passengers with a top speed of 43mph. Unlike many modern tramways across the United Kingdom, the trams feature a very high standard of interior with leather seats compared to most other tramways which have opted for cheap cloth seats. This certainly gives a much higher standard of ride quality for passengers, with the trams giving a very smooth ride.

Presently the tramway is carrying 90,000 passengers each week which is certainly promising, though not overly busy with trams rarely having standing loads. However, the tramway is still in its very early days so this is to be expected with a longer time frame required to see how much patronage will increase and to ultimately determine which (or if any) extensions will be built. A variety of phases have been suggested including extending operations past York Place to Newhaven, Haymarket to Granton and Islington Park and Ride to Newbridge though none of these are currently under development.

One controversial part of the tramway is the fare structure, with single tickets available for the City Zone at just £1.50 for any journey. This permits travel along every stop of the route except the airport, but if the airport is included in the journey the price then rises to £5. Return tickets are available only for the Airport Zone at £8, and day tickets are £3.50 for the City Zone and £9 for the Airport Zone.

Tickets

Posted by: SB Websites | November 19, 2014

19/11/14 Fleet List Update

The Blackpool Tramway Fleet List has now been updated, to reflect the many changes since the last edition. Most notable of these are the updated Flexity advertisements and the acquisition of the former Lancastrian Transport Trust collection. It can be viewed by clicking the link below.

The following UK Tramway Fleet Lists have also been updated:

3046

The Manchester Metrolink is arguably the most successful tramway as of late as shown above with 3046, with 90 of the new Bombardier M5000 trams now delivered making it by far the largest tramway in the UK. The line is currently expanding at a rapid pace with more scheduled in the future, including the recently opened Airport Line.

Posted by: SB Websites | September 17, 2014

17/09/14 Event: Electric 50 at Crich

One of the largest events in the history of tram preservation was held at Crich Tramway Village on the 13th and 14th September 2014, celebrating 50 years of electric tramcars at Crich. The event featured a very credible 25 trams in service each day, compromised of 10 trams out all day, 5 in the morning, 5 in the afternoon and an additional 5 during the cavalcade. All photos taken below were from the first day of the event (13th), with a similar format of operations for the second day.

For visitors who arrived at the event for 10am, a photo lineup was available consisting of Blackpool and Fleetwood Box 40 (although owned by the Tramway Museum Society it is still based at Blackpool and was making a temporary visit) alongside Blackpool and Fleetwood Rack 2. This was also one of the last opportunities to see the car in service as it is to be withdrawn after the 12th October pending overhaul.

40+2

The second lineup on the depot track fan consisted of two Newcastle open toppers, 114 on loan from Beamish Museum and long term stored 102 making a rare appearance out of the depot. 114 was on a short term loan, operating five days from Friday 12th – Tuesday 16th.

114+102

Blackpool Transport’s modified Balloon 711 was the third and final visiting tram for the event, showing how traditional trams can be converted to meet modern requirements. However, as many readers will know the plan for the modified Balloon cars has never materalised, making a journey on 711 not something that is regular and was a popular car throughout the day.

711

Also of interest on the day was the use of Jubilee 762, representing its first days use at Crich since it was withdrawn from Blackpool at the end of 2011. Unfortunately, its use was not entirely successful as it failed during its first journey thus ending its passenger carrying duties for the day, although it was subsequently repaired and in use again the following day.

762

Below are some more photos from the day:

Posted by: SB Websites | June 18, 2013

18/06/13 News Update

Flexity 002 Returns

After a long absence from passenger service having never settled into regular service, 002 can now be seen as a regular member of the fleet in service. After returning from Germany in November 2012 002 was generally the first choice training car and until May was still rare to see working passenger service. This now means that for the first time all 16 of the fleet are available for service, although 007 was involved in an accident on Tuesday 11th June at Rossall Square with a car jumping a red light so will be out of service until repair work can be carried out.

002

002 is seen at Central Pier on the 11th June 2013, where it should hopefully continue to be a regular sight along the promenade.

627 Recieves Graffiti

Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust owned Brush Car 627 is currently in the process of being repainted out of its Diamond Jubilee livery and into a controversial graffiti style livery that is unlikely to please enthusiasts. Though it could be seen the Jubilee livery was becoming increasingly worse for wear and the trams condition also appearing to deteriorate, the livery chosen for the tram is one that is certainly different to anything else which has been seen on a Blackpool tram and has been designed by street artist Inkie. The livery currently features a gold base coat and a blue haired woman on one side while the other side awaits its repaint.

LTT Trams to Return to the Promenade

In a very unexpected and welcome move, 9 of the Lancastrian Transport Trust trams will be moved back to Rigby Road to expand Blackpool Transport’s present heritage fleet. This move will see the creation of a new charitable trust managed by Blackpool Transport but will be supported by representatives from both sides. This exciting development will see cars 8, 143, 279, 304, 624, 632, 704, 715 and 732  all return to Rigby Road in the near future, of which 8 and 304 have already returned after a lengthy period of outdoor storage.  Out of the trams included in the deal, some trams will be able to operate sooner than others with 8 only requiring minor attention having only being used for a few days in 2010 after restoration. 304 is also a candidate for use having last ran at Beamish during November 2012. 632 and 715 are also intact so should both run once again in the near future, although have suffered some smashed windows during their time in open air storage at Marton. Equally exciting longer term proposals are for the restorations of 143 and 279 to be finished while the famous Rocket 732 is also to be fully restored and returned to service. This move shows there is a lot developments to come that should please enthusiasts, along with Blackpool Transports present projects with 648 due to enter service soon having been repainted into green and cream.

304

Having arrived back earlier in the day, Coronation 304 is seen on the 11th June 2013 having been offloaded and moved alongside Western Train 733+734.

Crown Carveries Flexity Advert

The latest advert to be applied to a Flexity 2 is for Crown Carveries which has been applied to 010, replacing the 6 month out of date Christmas Pantomime advert. The new design has been applied in the same style as all previous adverts with a strip above the windows and the lower panel in the centre car.

Heritage Tram Services

It is pleasing to report that the patronage for the 2013 heritage service is considerably higher than last year, with many full journeys compared to the light loads that were carried the previous season. The next day heritage trams will be in operation is for Totally Transport on the 23rd June which will see a total of 4 trams in service (2 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon) working journeys between Pleasure Beach and North Pier. This will then be followed by the operation of 2 trams (expected to be Boat’s 230 + 600 weather permitting) on the 21st July for the annual Fleetwood Tram Sunday.

631 Enters Service, 602 to Return

Brush 631 became the latest tram to enter the ever growing heritage fleet, entering service on the 4th May having been repainted into 1970’s livery but with cream around the cab windscreens. The tram also had traditional light clusters fitted along with swing over seats, giving it a much more authentic feel to its previous season in its expired Walls Ice Cream advert. After 648, the next tram to be reactivated is 602 which is to be repainted into a red and cream version of 1930’s livery providing a fleet of 3 Boat Trams each carrying a different livery.  It is also looking likely that Centenary 642 will be kept as a second operational Centenary car rather than originally being suspected to be used as a source of spare parts for 648.

Posted by: SB Websites | May 21, 2013

21/05/13 A Look at Twin 272+T2

Twin Car 272+T2 was numerically the second of the twin cars ordered by Joseph Franklin as part of a new project to introduce trailer operation. This therefore led to the purchasing of 10 brand new trailers from Metro Cammell, although due to financial constraints the decision was taken to use existing stock as the motive power. This came in the form of heavily refurbished 1935 English Electric Railcoaches which were fully refurbished and in the process lost their pointed front ends in favour of flat fronts in order to be more suitable to be coupled to a trailer. Railcoach 272 was the fourth of its type to be rebuilt for use with trailer T2 and the pair entered service in 1960, providing a totally new type of tram for Blackpool.

Initially the twin cars were only fitted with controllers in the motor car, but when they were permanently coupled the decision was then made to add motors to the trailer cars to increase their flexibility as originally they were restricted to operating round loops as they could not use cross-overs. Along with the other twin cars, 272+T2 was mainly used on the Fleetwood service, although were generally confined to use at busier periods and were not often used during the Winter.  In 1968, the fleet was renumbered with the set becoming 672+682 along with a repaint into green and cream.

Quite possibly one of the highlights for the Twin Cars was 2002 when due to the poor condition of track double deckers were banned from Fleetwood resulting in the fleet of twin cars providing the core service, one which was very rarely seen throughout their history.  As part of the twin car refurbishment programme in 2003 672+682 was repainted into Metro Coastlines Line 1 orange livery, matching the promenade buses with the other four refurbished sets (671+681, 673+683, 674+684 and 675+685) each given a different livery.

672+682

The tram was then withdrawn from service after becoming surplus to requirements in 2011 when the tramway closed for upgrade works. Initially it was hoped that the set would be preserved at the Crich Tramway Village, although like Centenary 648 this was eventually declined due to a lack of space. The future of the tram was once again unknown, until Blackpool Transport announced that it would be retained and prepared for service as part of the heritage fleet. After just under a year from its last use, the tram was repainted into its former 1960’s livery of all over cream with a green stripe underneath the windows and returned to service on the 14th September 2012. The future of 272+T2 looks bright, with it due to continue operating on its home tramway as part of the heritage fleet for many years to come.

Posted by: SB Websites | March 25, 2013

25/03/13 News Update

Heritage Trams On Tour

Although the Winter does not see any heritage trams used in public service, the Western Train made a rare outing on the Promenade on the 14th February.  This saw the Western Train 733+734 in use on private hire operating between Pleasure Beach and Little Bispham and was the first time  the train saw use since the end of the illuminations in November. Open Top Balloon 706 ‘Princess Alice’ was also in use during the Spring operating a private hire on the 13th March with both trams expected to be in use for the 2013 heritage tours.

Flexity 002 Named

Flexity 002 has became the first of its type to be named, in the form of Alderman E. E. Wynne who worked for Blackpool Council for 38 years and was the Mayor of Blackpool from 1972 to 1973.  The name has been carried on both ends of the tram ever since re-entering service in February, bringing the Flexity fleet to full strength with all 16 operational.

Extended Illuminations Season

A further benefit should be made to the tramway this year as the illuminations are due to run for a further week into November. The funding for this has been made possible thanks to Merlin Entertainments, who now have a several Blackpool Attractions including the Tower, Madame Tussauds and the Sealife centre.

Heritage Service 2013

It was known by many that the heritage service during 2012 had not been as successful as originally hoped, with many journeys carrying very light loads. The decision has therefore been taken to reduce the output for 2013, with the service operating over only bank holiday weekends. The first services will operate over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend from the 29th March till the 1st April and will use two trams operating between Pleasure Beach and Bispham with the same £10 day ticket being retained. However, on a more positive development the first and last tour of the day will extend to Fleetwood Ferry which will prove popular with enthusiasts, hopefully ensuring this year’s tours will be more successful. There are also many other interesting developments showing Blackpool Transport’s commitment to the heritage tours which includes 701 entering the heritage fleet, along with a farewell tour on Centenary 642 which will be used as spare parts for 648. Centenary 648 is also expected to be repainted into a variant of green and cream later in the year with work currently progressing on Brush 631 which has already included fitting of swing over seats from 700, traditional head lights and sprung bumpers while the exterior of the tram will soon be painted into a variant of green and cream.

600, 632, 717

600, 632 and 717 are seen at Pleasure Beach on the 26th June 2011. 600 and 717 will remain part of the growing heritage fleet and should be used throughout the year.

Posted by: SB Websites | March 9, 2013

09/03/13 Autumn and Winter 2012/2013 Poll Results

The Autumn and Winter 2012/2013 tram poll has now came to an end with Twin 272+T2 taking victory, undoubtedly due to it entering service in cream as part of the heritage fleet having gained 45.95% of votes. The twin car won by 10 votes with second place going to Rocket 732 with 32.43% (24 Votes), third place went to Balloon 700 with 13.51% (10 Votes) and last went to Brush 627 with 8.11% (6 Votes). Within the next week an article will be written detailing the history of 272+T2 and up to the present day showing how its role has changed over time.

672+682

672+682 (As it was numbered at the time) is seen at North Pier heading Northbound on a journey to Cabin on the 1st October 2011.

Below are the full results from the poll:

Twin 272+T2 – 45.95% – 34 Votes

Brush 627 – 8.11% – 6 Votes

Balloon 700 – 13.51% – 10 Votes

Rocket 732 – 32.43% – 24 Votes

A full news update will be posted tomorrow

Posted by: SB Websites | February 4, 2013

04/02/13 News Update

Flexity Update

Although there have been no new adverts this month to the Flexity trams, January has been notable due to the return of 002, 005 and 006 to passenger service after each having a lengthy lay-off. 002 is perhaps the most elusive having not carried passengers since its one journey in passenger service during Easter 2012 having remained on driver training ever since its return to Blackpool until late January when it carried out its first full day of passenger service. 005 has also been absent from the tramway during January, although the reason for this was not known and it has since returned to regular service. The third tram out of service recently is 006 which was last used in August 2012 and has since been stripped of various parts to keep other Flexity’s roadworthy. However, 006 has since been fixed and also re-entered service during January. This now means that for the first time all 16 Flexity’s are operational though it remains to be seen how long this lasts for.

Trams on Tour

The Winter season rarely sees any vintage trams in use which made for a welcome sight when Twin 272+T2 was used by the Fyle Tramway Society on a tour on the 29th December 2012. The tour lasted the majority of the day which included journey’s to Fleetwood providing a rare chance to see and ride on a historic tram operating over the whole tramway. A second tour occurred on the 5th of January where the ‘Friends of 40’ hired Box car 40 for a trip to Fleetwood, also making a rare Winter outing.

Snowplough in Service

With the majority of the country being hit by blizzards of snow causing transport to come to a halt in many places, Blackpool was largely unaffected with only a light dusting. However, on two occasions the snow was warranted bad enough to enable Snowplough Balloon 701 to be pressed into service where it performed runs to Fleetwood and back to clear the snow. This was thought to be a precautionary measure as the snow was unlikely to effect the running of the Flexity’s, especially in Fleetwood which escaped with a mild dusting. Balloon 723 was also fitted with a snowplough and remains based at Rigby Road and although prepared for service on a few occasions it was never required so remained in depot. With the month just turning to February there is still a chance the snow will return which could allow for more use of 701 and allow 723 to once again be seen on the promenade.

701

701 is seen at North Pier on the 25th September 2010, where it has remains in largely the same condition ever since.

Tigeriffic to Return

The Lancastrian Transport Trust have announced that the Tigeriffic advert applied to Brush car 622 will be returning this year in a similar format. The future of the tram is designated to be a static classroom at Anchorsholme Primary School in Cleveleys with a similar style livery being applied. To make the tram suited to its new role, changes will occur including the removal of the first two rows of seats at each end, fluorsecent lighting, floor mounted fan heaters and power sockets will be installed although the swing over seating will be retained. It is hoped that 622 will be moved to its new home during the Easter school holidays.

Autumn and Winter 2012/2013 Poll Reminder

The poll for the most interesting tram during the Autumn and Winter period is coming to an end soon with the closing date on the 28th of February. Currently, Twin 272+T2 is leading with 41.54% of votes and is followed by Rocket 732 with 33.85% so there is still time for the winner to change.  If you would like to vote and currently have not, this can be done by clicking on the link at the top of the page. The winning tram will have an article wrote from when it was new to the current day.

Posted by: SB Websites | January 1, 2013

01/01/13 Fleet List Update

The Blackpool Tramway fleet list has been updated to include the many changes over the past 6 months. These mainly show the advertisements that have been applied to the Flexity fleet as well as the changes to the historic fleet and the removal of the Lancastrian Transport Trust trams.  It can be viewed by clicking the link below.

The following UK Tramway Fleet Lists have also been updated:

196

One of the many highlights of the tramways across the UK during 2012 was Beamish, who have led the way with repaints of their existing fleets and tram loans through Birkenhead 20 and Coronation 304. One of the major projects for 2012 was the overall of Oporto 196 which was previously in Beamish brown and cream but was repainted into blue and yellow to revive the South Shields livery. With 196 now looking immaculate, it re-entered service during September and should continue for many years to come.

Older Posts »

Categories