Posted by: SB Websites | November 2, 2012

02/11/12 News Update

304 Moves to Beamish

Lancastrian Transport Trust owned Coronation car 304 has now moved to its temporary home at Beamish where it will be used in service for three weekends. 304 entered service for the first time at Beamish on the 27th of October giving passengers the first time to experience this tram since 2010 where it was last used in service at Blackpool.

Repainted Balloons Return to Service

Modified Balloons 711 and 719 have both made their debut this week since receiving the modified centre doors and repaint into standard purple and white livery.  719 was the first to re-enter service on the 29th of October and was then joined by 711 on the 2nd of November. Inside, the trams remain largely in original condition with 719 still wearing yellow panels and ice cream vinyls on the staircases from its former Walls Ice Cream days as well as the front panel moldings making it stand out from the rest of the class.

719 is seen at Pleasure Beach on the 29th of October, giving a very different look compared to last year’s appearance in black and gold as an advert for The Pleasure Beach’s Hot Ice show.

Flexity 002 Returns

After leaving Blackpool for Bombardiers Bautzen factory in Germany in May, 002 has been the least seen Flexity and is believed to have only carried passengers on one day.  002 then returned to Blackpool on the 1st of November carrying full vinyls and was driven to the depot under its own power. This now means that for the first time all sixteen Flexity’s are at Starr Gate depot though it should be noted that 006 has now not been used for over a month, the reason for this is unknown.

Modified Balloon Cars Return to Service

As well as a chance to see 711 and 719, the October Half Term saw the first opportunity to see multiple Balloon cars in service where they were used in-between Pleasure Beach and Little Bispham to provide extra capacity on what is usually the busiest week of the year for the tramway. Five trams were required for the 12 minute frequency with trams leaving depot from around 9:15 to 9:45 and returning at 16:00 to 16:30. Tight timings of an hour round trip meant that journeys became late with trams noted terminating at North Pier and Cabin with bunching occurring throughout the day, though no major problems have occurred all week apart from 719 suffering door problems on the 30th of October which will hopefully mean they are used more frequently next year. So far, all serviceable Balloons have been used for at least one day except Millennium 724 while 720 remains out of service requiring repairs to its smashed pair of doors. While Blackpool Transport successfully increased the capacity during the week, it is questionable why the decision has been made to not use the trams at weekends which is usually even busier than during the week.

713 and 718 are seen at Pleasure Beach on the morning of the 29th of October, with bunching already beginning to occur with only a few minutes between these two trams and 719 also following close behind.

Classic Bus North West introduces’ Catch 22′

Classic Bus North West launched their new service 22 in late September, in competition with a variety of Blackpool Transport operated routes. Passenger loadings appear to be good, no doubt due to the very low fares of £2 single and £4 day ticket as well as the many offers available such as ‘Families for a Fiver’ giving unlimited travel for a day every Saturday and school holiday.  The route uses mainly Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Darts, but a Volvo B10M / Alexander PS, an Optare MetroRider and Volvo Olympians regularly also appear on the service.

Dennis Dart X512 UAT is one of the vehicles carrying branding for the service, while still sporting a grey skirt from its days with Transdev London.

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