News 2010


End of the season again.  

As has been normal for the last few winters, the tramway closed after the end of service last night to allow the renewal of the trackwork.    It is expected that the tramway will remain closed until Easter with renewals expected between Church street (near North Pier) and Gynn Square and from Little Bispham to Thornton Gate.


Liverpool 762, 2, 273 and 167 return home

Following the end of the celebrations, 2, Porto 273 and Pantograph 167 have returned back to the Tramway Museum at Crich whilst Liverpool 762 has returned to Birkenhead.


The tramway celebrated its 125th anniversary today with a procession of eight trams from running from Pleasure Beach to Bispham and back again. Trams Rack 2, Box 40, Marton 31, 147, 600, 706, 660 and OMO 8 formed the procession.

It was hit or miss as to wether OMO 8, which had only made its first test run since restoration this morning would run. 

715 to be fitted with a transponder

LTT owned Balloon 715 is to be fitted with a transponder to allow it to travel north of Bispham.


125th Anniversary Weekend

I've just returned from the 125th Anniversary Weekend and what an exellent weekend it was.  A full report can be found on the 125th Anniversary Page.


632 fitted with Transponder

Brush Car 632 has been fitted with a transponder to allow it to travel north of Bispham.   Meanwhile Twin cars 671+681 and 673+683 and unrefurbished balloons 701, 715 and 726 have been returned to service for the illuminations while Sheffield 513 and Stockport 5 are being prepared for service, however none of these trams are fitted with transponders and are restricted to journeys between Pleasure Beach and Bispham.

143 and 279 not featuring in Celebrations

Standard 143 and Railcoach 279 will not be taking part in the 125 celebrations as they wont be complete on time, however OMO 8 is expected to be ready.   Birkenhead 762 arrived in Blackpool on Monday.

Oporto 273 arrives in Blackpool

In a surprise change to the line up for the 125th Anniversary Celebrations Oporto 273 has arrived in Blackpool.   This happened as Johannesburg 60, which was supposed to be coming to Blackpool from Crich had to turn back due to damage caused to paintwork and glass by low hanging branches enroute on the low loader.   Blackpool Standard 40 and Leeds 399 now wont be coming for the same reason.   Pantograph 167 and Blackpool and Fleetwood Rack 2 have arrived and have been seen out on Driver training.   Marton 31 and Birkenhead 762 are also coming from Beamish and Birkenhead respectively. Whilst out on Driver Training, 273 derailed and dewired at Pleasure beach and has subsequently was withdrawn from the forthcoming celebrations.

Brush 626 departs.

Refurbished Brush Car 626 became the first refurbished tram to depart Blackpool during August following its sale to Merseytravel, the new owners of the Birkenhead Tramway.   626 is set to operate on the tramway, which could be the subject of an ambitious and exciting scheme to extend it into a new development being planned.    Also set to follow is the LTT's Boat 605 which is expected to go there on loan.


Summer service restarts and the Tram Service returns to Ash Street

Following the theft of the Overhead line north of Thornton Gate and the replacement of the original poles with brand new ones, the tram service was finally restored between Cleveleys and Ash Street yesterday.   The new summer timetable which replaced the 5 car Pleasure Beach - Cleveleys service has been replaced by an 11 car service with a 20 minute service using 6 trams between Pleasure Beach and Ash Street and a 20 minute service using 5 trams between Pleasure Beach and Thornton Gate.   This reduces to 30 minutes between Pleasure Beach and Ash Street and 30 minutes between Pleasure Beach and Bispham using 4 trams and 3 trams respectively.  

This new timetable requires 11 double decker trams to operate it, which gives a problem as there are only 9 double deckers which can be used north of Bispham.   To make up the numbers, 672+682 and 675+685 the 2 remaining serviceable twin cars are required to make up the numbers and are expected to see use on route 2, route 5, route 12 or route 15 which run in early.   The timetable still gives no leeway for any breakdowns or unavailiable cars.   To combat this, withdrawn twin cars 671+681 and 673+683 are expected to be returned to service, indeed 671+681 was rumoured to be getting shunted round the depot today.

723 receives a new advert

723 returned to service on 20th July in a new allover advert for the Sands Venue, which is opening soon next to the Tower, replacing the 80's Green and Cream livery previously carried.   My report from my holiday in Blackpool is now online click on July 2010 on the side bar to read it.  


News Roundup

Testing and Driver Training starts north of Cleveleys

Training has resumed north of Cleveleys following completion of the rewire and pole replacement between Thronton Gate and Ash Street.   Some Centenaries, Brush and balloon trams have been seen on the northern stretch.  The service is expected to return to this stretch of line on 26th July.

619 and 716 depart whilst 765 arrives

Long Term stored Balloon 716 departed Blackpool for the last time yesterday when it was loaded onto a low loader and transported to its new home in Perth.   It is not known what will happen to the tram but it has been bought by Ptarmigan Transport Solutions who provide consultancy and training services in the transport industry.    Also on the move is Vanguard 619 which has gone to Heaton Park tramway as a swap for Manchester 'Calafornia' Tram 765 which has come to Blackpool for the 125th Anniversary Celebrations.   765 will return to Heaton Park later in the year but it is not known whether 619 will return to Blackpool.

632 returns to service

Brush Car 632 made its long anticipated return to service last week at Totally Transport and in typical Brush Car style and unlike the Centenary Cars performed faultlessly .   The tram has been repainted in 1970's livery and fitted out with roof box adverts for the Blackpool Tram Shop at the North Pier which is owned by the publishers of Trams Magazine.   632 looks amazing and is expected to see extensive use on specials over the next 2 years.   Coronation 660 saw a rare appearance in service at the event however it had to be replaced by the trawler following a persistant door fault.     

703 makes farewell appearance

Balloon 703 made its final appearance on the Prom on 7th June for a photo charter in it's new guise of Sunderland 101 and painted red and white.   703 ran to Bispham, then Pleasure Beach and back to depot.   As the tram is classed as withdrawn and thus no longer insured to carry passengers in Blackpool, it was driven around empty.

Plenty of specials at the Weekend.  

With the disapointing 20 minutes daytime and 30 minutes evening timetable continuing and no weekday specials, its pleasing to note that a number of specials are seeing use at the weekends.  A number of trams have seen use so far this year including:

641, 642, 643, 644, 645, 646, 647, 648, 761, 762, 626, 630, 631, 632, 672+682, 675+685, 706, 707, 709, 711, 717, 719, 723, 724, 602, 604, 737, 147, 66, 660

new advert for 719 whilst 644 loses part of its advert

719 has been in the works and had the lighting boxes and some of the shapes from the former Walls ice cream advert removed.   The tram received new between deck panelling and was painted all over black in preperation for receiving an advert for the Pleasure Beach replacing withdrawn balloon 721's advert.    644 has lost the Fleetwood Market side of its advert which was painted out whilst the Farmer Parr's advert on the other side remains.


News roundup

Trams returned to Blackpool on Good Friday (2.4.10) with the service mainly being operated by Centenary Cars.   Specials have been limited with 761 and 762 , 626, 630 and 631 being the regulars with fleeting appearances from 602, 604, 147,66, 737, 719, 724 and 717 also seeing use.

The service has been limited to Pleasure Beach - Cleveleys due to the overhead wire being stolen north of Thornton Gate.   The overhead team are currently rewiring and are expecting to repoen the line to Ash Street during June.

Since the last update, Balloon 712 has left the tramway to become a static exhibit at Crich tramway museum under its previous guise of tram 249 in 30's green and cream.   Also departed recently was Balloon 702 and Brush Car 623 which have moved to a new museum in Manchester until new accomodation can be built at Heaton Park.

On the repaint front, 626 has been repainted in 60's Green and Cream, 632 has been repainted into 70's Green and Cream and received 622's old trucks, 641 has been returned to all over orange, 645 has returned to all over red, 703 has been repainted into Sunderland red and Cream in the guise of Sunderland 101 in preperation for it move on a 5 year loan move to Beamish, 711 has received a vynal wrap advert for Blackpool Zoo whilst 709 has received an updated advert for the Sea Life Centre.

I'm off to Blackpool on Friday for the weekend so hopefully I should have some new photos next week.


News roundup

Trackwork almost complete on Central Prom.  

The trackwork which has been carried out over the winter is almost complete with work on the temporary join between the new and old track at Victoria Street tramstop being worked on at the moment.   Everything looks on course to be complete for the tramway reopening at Easter.  

Driver Training recommences

Driver training has been taking place on the section of track between Foxhall and Pleasure Beach in preperation for the re-instatement of the tram service at Easter.   Brush Cars 630 and 631 have been used for this role whilst Centenary car 643 has seen some use as well.

More trams sold

More sales of trams have taken place over the last few weeks meaning that all the unrefurbished trams that were up for sale are now sold.   For all the benefits of knowing that a number of the trams now have a safe future unfortunately this means that most of these trams will not run again in Blackpool.   At present it hasnt been revealed who has bought most of the trams.  

What has been revealed however is that 623, 680, 702 and 704 have been bought by the MTMS who own Heaton Park tramway.   Heaton Park have ambitious plans to further extend the existing tramway and see 623, 680 and 702 as forming a piviotal role in the operation of the majority of services.   704 has been bought initially for spare parts but may eventually be restored as an open-topper.  

It has been reported that Balloon 716 has been sold as a static exhibit at Farmer Parrs in Fleetwood.  

Meanwhile 630, 648, 762 and 672+682 have been donated to the National Tramway Museum at Crich, however 630 and 672+682 probably wont move there until 2012 as they are still required for service whilst 648 and 762 wont move till at least 2015 once their book value has depreciated.

What will run in Blackpool during 2010?

With the news of all these sales, there will be a depleted pool of trams to choose from.   Also it has been confirmed that trams not fitted with transponders and low voltage equipment to operate them, will be unable to operate north of Bispham due to the fitting of controlled lights at the road crossing just south of Little Bispham.   Trams which will be fitted with transponders are:

66, 147, 600, 626, 630, 631, 641-648, 700, 707, 709, 711, 713, 717, 718, 719, 720, 723, 761, 762, 733+734, 736, 737, 672+682 and 675+685.   (It hasnt been confirmed whether 700, 718 and 713 will be able to run this year)

other trams expected to be availiable for service but not fitted with transponders are 701, 706, 40, 660, 304, 602, 604.     Also availiable from the LTT collection are balloon 715, brush 632 (making its return to service after 5 years in store), railcoach 279, standard 143.   There is also 671+681, 673+683 and 674+684 which are technically withdrawn but could be reinstated should the need arise.

Visiting trams (arriving later in the year) - Marton 31, Standard 40 and Pantograph 167, Leeds 399, LCC 106, Johannesburg 60 and Oporto 273 and Marton Vambac 11. 

703 gets a repaint.

Balloon 703, now owned by the LTT, has entered the paint shop to be repainted into Sunderland Red and White livery prior to going on a 5 year load to Beamish museum.   Sunderland had a similar style car to the Blackpool Balloons and 703 will make a nice addition to the Beamish fleet.


First Twin Set to enter preservation

It has been announced that Twin Set 676+686 has been bought by the LTT for preservation.   676 is unique as it is the prototype twin set motor vehicle.   It originally was used with fellow twin motor 675 (known as 276+275 back then) and later with T6(686).   This move will allow the important (50's - 60's) trailer operation period to be represented in preservation.   676+686 is due to be repainted into 70's half green / cream livery.   It is also expected that there will be at least another 2 twin cars preserved by other charities / tramways in the near future.

712 repainted

712 has moved into the paint shop to be repainted back into 30's green and cream livery prior to its move to Crich for preservation.    Meanwhile 641 has been repainted in a new coat of orange paint in preparation for the return to service of the trams at Easter.

What will the operational fleet be like for 2010?

Following the sale of some of the fleet and with some balloons expected to be unavailiable as they are being fitted with door pods to allow them to remain in service post 2012, what will the fleet look for this year?

Trams still in the fleet that could be used.

Centenary - 641, 642, 643, 644, 645, 646, 647, 648

Jubilee - 761, 762

Balloon - 700*, 701, (702), 706, 711, (712), 713*, 715, 717, 719*, 720*, 721, 723, 726  

Brush - (622), (623), 626, 630, 631

Millenium - 707, 709, 718*, 724

Boat - 600, 602, 604, (605)

Twin - 671+681, 672+682, 673+683, 674+684, 675+685

Vintage - 5, 40, 66, 147, 304, 660

key - () thought to be / known to be sold very unlikely to run

* - receiving door pods, unlikely to run this year



More trams to be preserved.

Following on from the news that 703, 632 and 605 have been preserved is the news that boat 607 will be preserved by the Tramway Museum at Crich following the tram's loan period at Beamish.   607 hasnt operated in Blackpool since 2004 when it was withdrawn as part of the reduction in the size of the operating fleet.   It is expected that 607 will be operational at Crich.   Also following 607 to Crich will be Balloon 712.   712 unlike 607 is expected to be a static exhibit and will be repainted into 30's green and cream livery.   It is not known yet whether 712 will remain at Blackpool during 2010 and be able to be used for service or if it will move during the season and not be used.   715 has also been saved with the LTT buying the tram.   715 is expected to remain in service at Blackpool until the final unrefurbished trams are withdrawn in 2011.   It will however receive a repaint into 70's Green and Cream livery.   The LTT have a shares issue planned.   Further details can be found on their website.

Blackpool report that as well as the trams already mentioned above that there are other trams that are earmarked for new homes although in some cases, their new homes havent been disclosed yet.   The full list of trams that have been scrapped, left / sold / been earmarked for sale since 2000 are

OMO - 5 (Crich - 2000), 8 (LTT - 2005), 11 (Scrapped 2000)

Boats - 605 (LTT -2010), 607 (Crich -2010)

Brush Cars - 622 (unknown - 2010 /11 /12), 623 (unknown -2010 /11/ 12), 624(259) (LTT - 2006), 632 (LTT -2010), 634 (Rushden Transport Association - 2009), 636 (SET Derby - 2009)

Twin Car - 677 (Scrapped 2007), trailer 687 (LTT -2009)

Railcoaches - 679 (LTT -2008), 680 (unknown -2010/11/12)

Balloons - 702, 704, 708 (unknown 2010/11/12), 703 (LTT - 2009), 712 (Crich 2010), 715 (LTT -2010), 722 (Scrapped 2009)

Heritage - 619 (unknown 2010), 753(ex 143) (LTT - 2003)


The paint shop is expected to be busy in the coming months in preperation for the return of the trams at Easter.   The following repaints have happened or will happen soon
720 has been painted in all over white

712 is expected to receive 30's green and cream

715 is expected to receive 70's green and cream

641 is expected to be repainted following the expiry of its current advert

626 is expected to be repainted green and cream and see a return to use as a dedicated driver training car.

Door modifications continue on balloons.

Work has started on adding the door pods to some of the refurbished balloon / millenium fleet.   720 is complete whils work is at different stages on 700, 713, 718 and 719.