May 09 Report

Friday 1st May

I arrived in Blackpool at 5.30pm on Friday and Blackpool was extremely quiet. There was no specials out and the Cleveleys cars were on their way in. In service were, Fleetwood service - 761, 646, 648, 641, 645, 644, 642 and on the Cleveleys service was 622,630,631 and 721. There appeared to be a shortage of single deckers hence the use of 721 on service.

Saturday 2nd May

On to the Saturday and it was a warm and sunny day. I was up and out for a walk to depot in time to see the service cars going out. 646 was first out to Fleetwood with 644 first to Starr Gate whilst 641 was first out to Cleveleys. Fleetwood service was operated by 642, 644, 646, 761, 762, 648 and 645 with 641, 630, 631 and 622 on the Cleveleys Service. Saturday was also the day of the FTS organised depot tour at which 138 people attended. There was a pleasant surprise in store for all who were there when the beautifully restored Western Train was brought out from the depot. The amount of work that must have gone into the restoration of this tram is certainly worthwhile and the restorers must be commended for the excellent job they have done on this famous tram.

The tour started in the electrical compound where 726, 718, 600 and 66 were all receiving their annual docking and 737 was being prepared for service and it was soon required when it replaced 642 on the Fleetwood service. Next was a visit to the tram sheds where it was possible to photograph the Warship, 706 and the Western train on the fan and also a number of withdrawn trams such as 627, 632, 722, 513, 636, 602 and 680.

We then moved into the bus garage where we saw the new bus wash, the new Line 2 solos due to enter service this week as well as some withdrawn buses and vintage buses. Next it was off to the paint shop which had 2 ex London buses which were being painted into Line 1 livery and a line 14 bus in for a repaint. It was interesting to hear about how the paint shop still uses traditional painting techniques.

We then moved next door into the body shop where 720 was being pannelled and fitted with the new pods on the body sides. I was surprised at how much fibreglass was used on the the body of the tram with the domes, the single destination screen and the driver's door window panels. The final area of the tour was to the fitting shop where 647 was in to receive a new compressor and work to it's brakes. Also present was the bogies and motors recently removed and replaced from 719 and a recently overhauled float set of trucks and the bogies and wheels from the Ltt's Standard 143.

Then 706 and 736 took the party up to Fleetwood and then returned to Blackpool as specials, also featuring as specials were 707, 709, 721 and 147.

Sunday 3rd May

Sunday was also sunny but windy. A walk to the depot revealed that 737 was first out Fleetwood and 761 was first out Starr Gate. 622 was first out for Cleveleys. Trams out were Fleetwood: 737, 761, 648, 762, 646, 641, 645 and to Cleveleys 622, 630, 631 and 642. 644 replaced 737 during the morning whilst 721 replaced 622 during the afternoon. 3 specials came out in the afternoon with 147, 709 and 736 serving the prom whilst twins 672+682 and 675+685 did a full system tour. The service ended up in chaos after a fire at the abandoned Revils Hotel opposite the Metropole closed the tramway for 3 hours north of North Pier with trams parked one behind the other at Cocker Square.

Monday 4th May

Monday was cold, windy and rainy. A shortage of single deckers saw a suprise on the Cleveleys service. Trams on the Fleetwood service are 642, 644, 737, 761, 641, 645, 646 and the Cleveleys service was 622, 630, 631 and 147. On specials were 707, 709, 721 and 736. 717 and 619 were used on the tower - Thornton Gate shuttle for the FTS.