Monday, 8 November 2010

OMO 8 on first enthusiasts' tour

OMO8 carried standing passengers again on its first enthusiasts' tour after returning to the tramway in September. On Saturday 6th November, OMO 8 operated a series of trips between Pleasure Beach and Bispham with one of the LTT's other popular preserved trams, Coronation Car 304.

8 performed faultlessly and rode exceptionally well - though don't forget how much of the tramway has been completely relaid since 8's last regular use back in 1992. Admittedly, there are still areas of 8 that need tidying up and paintwork attention, but the opportunity to take a ride on one of these cars for the first time in over 17 years was well appreciated. Thanks again to Blackpool Transport and the engineers who put the finishing touches to OMO 8 that made this possible.

Over this last weekend of the illuminations, LTT trams 8, 304, 632 and 715 all operated - with car 715 hired for shareholders of this particular restoration project.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Out and about with OMO8

OMO 8 carried its first fee paying passengers on the night of Thursday 4th November, for invited guests that had contributed to the restoration project or helped out the LTT during the course of the year. 8 operated a number of journeys through the illuminations and allowed us to get plenty of atmospheric photos in the winter drizzle.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Depot Open Day 31 October

Sunday 31 October is the your last chance this year to see behind the scenes at the LTT Depot. The depot is open from 1200 to 1600 with a range of vehicles on display and trade stalls from LTT and Ribble Enthusiast Club - admission is just £1. Further vehicles will be on display outside and a free bus service will run to/from Blackpool Town Hall departing from there at 1200 and every 20 minutes to 1600.

See LTT Depot Location for directions.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

OMO8 on Driver Training

OMO 8 was released for initial driver training on Wednesday 13 October and operated between Pleasure Beach and Bispham. There are still a few tasks to complete on OMO8 before passenger carrying is sanctioned, but it is planned to hold an enthusiasts' tour with 8 on Saturday 6th November.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Five years ago...

Five years ago, this is the sorry state that OMO car 8 had deteriorated to after thirteen years in store at the back of the tram depot. It's platform doors had been stripped off, all glazing had been cannibalised, seats were missing and all light bulb units, plus motors and compressor. We never imagined then that five years later that it would capture the limelight in the 125th anniversary procession.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Cinderella goes to the ball!

All eyes were on OMO tram No.8 for the 125th anniversary tramcar procession this afternoon, Wednesday 29th September. After remaining behind closed doors during the earlier anniversary tours and the Depot open day, Blackpool Transport staff worked hard to ensure that this tramway cinderella was able to star in the procession. Given that the creation of the OMO cars in 1970s secured the tramway's future, it was rightly the star of the show!

8 operated Depot - Foxhall - Pleasure Beach - Bispham - Depot, driven by a member of the workshop staff. The tram has not been signed off for passenger carrying and there remains issues to be resolved before this is possible.

It was only sixteen days previously that 8 returned to Rigby Road depot. Motors and a compressor were quickly refitted but electrical work was delayed due to other commitments, particularly commissioning refurbished Open Boat car 600 and on-going problems with Fleetwood 'Crossbench' car 2. Work re-commenced on OMO 8 after the depot open day and a morning test run took place prior to the 125th anniversary procession.

May 1992 was the last time 8 had ventured onto the Promenade - over 18 years ago. It was repanelled and painted in autumn 2005 before transfer to the LTT's Brinwell Road depot. A small number of volunteers have put the effort in to put 8's interior back together this year and seeing 8 turn under its own power once more after all these years certainly makes this effort worthwhile! Thanks to Blackpool Transport staff for the finishing touches that made this possible.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

LTT displays at BTS Depot Open Day

Blackpool Transport held an open day on Sunday 26 September as part of the tramway 125th anniversary celebrations. LTT trams 143 and 304 were on display, whilst OMO car 8 was in the electrical compound for continued preparation work.

Buses from the LTT collection were also displayed in the depot yard, with Leyland PD3 529, AEC Swift 570, Routemaster 521 and City Pacer 575 joined by PD3s 390 and 501 and various other preserved vehicles. It was the first public outing for the AEC Swift and City Pacer for several years and it is hoped to prepare both buses for increased use in 2011. Routemaster 521 has also been returned to use, following its successful MoT Class VI pass, having been off the road since October 2008.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Ghosts from the past...

One of the outcomes of the recent extraction of OMO car 8 was the need to shunt buses around the depot to access car 8. One bus which was able to see daylight once again was Blackpool centre-loader 246 seen here getting wet in the depot yard. Another bus extracted was Lytham Leyland Lion 34 and it is hoped to get this bus roadworthy again for 2011.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Balloon 703 leaves for Beamish

Next job for Scotts Heavy Haulage was moving preserved Balloon car 703 to its new home at the North of England Open-Air Museum in Beamish, County Durham disguised as Sunderland tram 101. In return, Blackpool 'Rebuilt Marton Box' car 31 will travel south to join in the 125th anniversary events.

...and Brush Car 622 is return load

The return load from Rigby Road depot was Brush car 622 which was acquired by the LTT for spares or possible future use - it is not yet considered to be 'preserved'. It has received the trucks (partly worn) that were under car 632 (restored to 1970s green & cream with advert boxes sponsored by Trams Magazine and the Tram Shop), it's motors have been removed for use in OMO car 8 and it's compressor used for car 143!

622's claim to fame is the attractive Blackpool Zoo Park advert livery it carried between 1975 and 1982 - although the tram didn't operate from November 1980 until Easter 1983 after it received accident damage.

OMO8 arrives back home

OMO car 8 left the LTT's Brinwell Road premises on 13 September for transfer back to Blackpool Transport's Rigby Road depot. The tram has been re-assembled by LTT volunteers including refitting seats, repainting the interior and cabs, replacing interior lighting and refitting platform doors.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Statement from LTT on Standard 143

Standard Car 143 touched down back on Blackpool rails on Thursday 19th August and represented a significant milestone in a restoration project that started back in November 2005 and has cost in excess of £80,000. In addition, Blackpool Transport (BTS) has spent around £20,000 overhauling the trucks and motors for the tram and the body and trucks were finally re-united the day before its delivery to Rigby Road tram depot.

When 143 was delivered to BTS there were still some outstanding bodywork jobs to be undertaken and it was understood that these would be undertaken on BTS premises. BTS also made a full assessment of the mechanical and electrical work to be completed by them and the ability to slot this into their work programme at the busiest time of the year. Added into the mix of issues to be resolved is a need to formalise a long term operating agreement between the Lancastrian Transport Trust and BTS that justifies BTS' expenditure and use of the LTT's £80,000 asset.

Since the original understanding between the LTT and BTS agreed back in 2005, BTS has a new Managing Director and Finance Director and a meeting with them has been scheduled to formalise a long term operating and financing agreement. This needs to be agreed and drafted in the context of 143 having a future role in a retained heritage fleet as part of the multi-million pound tramway upgrade.

Unfortunately, no work has proceeded on Standard 143 in the interim.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Standard 143 Back on the Rails

Standard car 143 returned to Rigby Road on 18th August after a seven year absence during which it has received a thorough restoration to original 1924 condition by its owners, the Lancastrian Transport Trust, at their Brinwell Road depot in Blackpool. The restoration of 143, the surviving parts of which where in a very poor condition when preserved by the LTT in 2002, has involved the fabrication of a brand new underframe and the construction of a completely new top deck. The LTT have spent upwards of £80k restoring 143 to its original un-vestibuled condition and with longitudinal bench seating on both sides of the lower deck - a condition not represented by any of the other preserved Blackpool Standard cars.

The move of 143 from the LTTs Brinwell Road premises to Blackpool Transport's Rigby Road depot was not without its complications, the biggest of which was manourvering 143 from its position in the corner of the depot to a position in line with the main doorway of the building. The trucks, overhauled by Blackpool Transport, were collected from the Fitting Shop and brought to Brinwell Road, where the car body was raised to allow the bogies to be rolled beneath. Once on its trucks it was winched aboard the the Scotts low loader, and then moved via Brinwell Road, Cornford Road, Clifton Road, Preston New Road, Oxford Square, Park Road, Bloomfield Road and Lytham Road to Blackpools tram depot, where it was unloaded the following morning.

The level of restoration undertaken by the LTT can be seen on the LTT fotopic site and on 143's blog

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Restoration starts on Balloon 715

Work started on Balloon Car 715's restoration to 1980s condition and return to green & cream livery style on 11 August. 715 has been transferred to the fitting shop at Blackpool Transport, and following this panelling repairs will be undertaken followed by a full repaint.

It is expected that the tram will be complete for early September, allowing it to operate on busy illumination weekends. With only 8 operational Balloon cars in the fleet (706, 707, 709, 711, 717, 719, 723 and 724), Blackpool Transport are considering reactivating 715 for service use in addition to cars 721 and 726, previously considered withdrawn. Cars 700, 713 and 718 are out of service awaiting new centre doors to suit the 2.65m width tramway platforms.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Boat car for Wirral Waters?

The LTT has begun discussions with Merseytravel concerning the possible loan of preserved Open Boat tram 605 for use on the Birkenhead tramway, which Merseytravel will takeover from Wirral Borough Council during September.

A significant expansion of the tramway is envisaged as part of the Wirral Waters regeneration project that is expected to see the a heritage themed line running through the heart of the project as a commercial tramway. Wirral Waters is one half of Peel Waters; two complimentary and balanced waterside projects on either side of the River Mersey.

Wirral Waters will transform the derelict docks in Birkenhead into a world class waterfront with mixed residential, employment and leisure amenities. Merseytravel are examining options for DDA-compliant tramcars that will offer a low-cost alternative to new build and compliment the tourism opportunities provided by the regeneration project. Planning permission for the Wirral Waters development, the largest regeneration project in the UK, was approved during the first week of August 2010

Friday, 6 August 2010

Coronation 304 - Saturday 7 August

Although the tram tours planned for 7/8 August have been cancelled due to the non availability of the original trams Coronation 304 will be operating two trips from North Pier on Saturday 7 August at 1100 and 1300 covering the Bispham to Pleasure Beach section of the tramway. Passengers may board at Depot at 1030 or North Pier at the times above.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Seats back in OMO car 8

Seat frames have been refitted to OMO car 8 making the interior look much more complete. The seat backs are in reasonable condition, but it is expected that the seat cushions will be retrimmed in dark green moquette. Also refitted this week are the platform door frames leaving only some rewiring work as the last major outstanding item before OMO 8 can return to Rigby Road depot for the 125th anniversary events in September.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Ribble RE on Rossendale heritage link

Ex-Ribble RE 366 is stretching its legs two days a week in the Rossendale valley on loan to Classic Bus North West. Two routes are being operated to link the Rawtenstall terminus of the East Lancs Railway with attractions such as the Russian Tea Rooms in Bacup and the Helmshore Textile Museum. It will run throughout the summer holidays on Thursdays and Sundays thanks to a European grant.

On Thursdays, the Rossendale Tour Buzz travels east taking in Rawtenstall, Lamberts Mill Shop, The Boo at Waterfoot, Lee Quarry, the Russian Tea Room in Bacup and the Fudge Village in Whitworth.

The bus will cover the west on Sundays taking visitors to the Weavers Cottage, Lamberts Mill Shop, Rossendale Museum, Helmshore for the farmers' market on the first Sunday of the month, Musbury Fabrics Mill Shop and the Helmshore Textile Museum, Winfield's and Haslingden for the Halo.

Tickets cost £2 for adults, £1 for children under 16 while a family ticket costs £5. Visit for timetable and attractions listing.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

OMO 8 restoration progresses

Restoration work on OMO car 8 is progressing at our Brinwell Road depot. The interior window mouldings have all been rubbed down and repainted cream in the last few weeks. This has allowed the green rexine-covered side panelling to be refitted, which in turn will now facilitate the refitting of the seat frames. A start has also been made on refitting the interior lighting, much of which had been cannibalised whilst in store from 1992.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Totally Transport Draws the Crowds

The sixth annual Totally Transport event took place on New South Promenade on Sunday 27th June, with glorious sunny weather helping to bring the crowds into Blackpool for this now very well established transport event. Due to the tram track works between Starr Gate and the Pleasure Beach, the event was extended to include the length of Ocean Boulevard, thus bringing the trams back into the spectacle, and Blackpool Transport assisted by operating some additional trams of interest, including Bolton 66, Standard 147, Boats 602 and 604, Brush Car 632 and open top Balloon 706 'Princess Alice'. The event included an enhanced display of cars, buses and commercials (as well as 200 visiting minis!), and also featured displays, models and exhibits within the Solaris Centre, and a good mix of stalls on the garden to the rear.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

632 returns to service

Brush Railcoach 632, acquired by the LTT in October 2009 for preservation, returned to the promenade for the first time since being mothballed at the end of 2004. Sponsored by the Tram Shop at North Pier and TRAMS magazine, 632 now looks superb with its roof advertising boxes, gill sans fleet numbers and BCT crests.

On its first day back in service 632 operated with Coronation 304 on a special timetable between Pleasure Beach and Bispham. A big thank you to Nick Meskell of Trams Magazine for making this project possible and bringing 632 back to life.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

632 to top the bill at totallyTransport

LTT's Brush car 632 is to return to use this weekend as part of totally Transport. On Saturday it will be "on tour" with Coronation 304 operating between Pleasure Beach and Bispham from 1030 to 1700.
Tickets are £10 each and available from Blackpool Tram Shop at North Pier. See for more details.

The on Sunday totallyTransport takes place. Around 400 vehicles are booked in, including classic cars, buses. Over 150 of the iconic mini will arrive around lunch time at the end of a road run from across the North. Stalls and models will be at the Solaris centre; the vehicle displays from Pleasure Beach to Starr Gate along New South Promenade. Seafront 12 bus service will run from Lytham Square to Pleasure Beach every 20 minutes during the afternoon with vintage trams in use from Pleasure Beach to North Pier including 632, Boat 602, Standard 147, Coronation 660 and Bolton 66. All subject to availability of course.

Monday, 7 June 2010

703 Farewell

Today saw the farewell trip for 703 - a round trip to Bispham and Pleasure Beach for photographers. Unfortunately it was not possible to carry passengers but Classic Bus North West open top Bristol VR 1995 shadowed the car and a handful of photo stops were made. The car now carries its Shop at Binns adverts and will be moving to its new home at Beamish Museum later this month.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Ribble 1997 moves for MoT prep

Work on the restoration of Ribble 1997 at the BusWorks site has now been completed and the vehicle has moved back to Brinwell Road for valeting. 1997 still requires MoT preparation work including brake servicing, accelerator repairs and other minor work before being submitted to Class VI test at VOSA Kirkham.

703's makeover complete

Balloon car 703 has now been released from the paint shop and is stored in the main depot awaiting its move to Beamish which is scheduled for mid-June. Now assuming its new identity as Sunderland 101, the car looks superb in its psuedo-Sunderland red and cream livery style.

Seat cushions and backs have been refitted, creating a matching set in the 1980s style lime green moquette. "Shop at Binns" has still to be fitted above the destination screen, and new destination blinds with Sunderland termini are on order.

A photographic session with 101 has been arranged with Blackpool Transport for Monday 7th June when "101" will leave depot at 14:00 and operate Depot-Bispham-Pleasure Beach-Depot. Because 101 is no longer in the operational fleet, no passengers will be carried but photostops will be arranged.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Brush Car 632 out of paint shop

Brush Railcoach 632 has been released from the paint shop looking superb in late 1970s half green and light cream livery that was once so typical of this class. Sponsored by TRAMS magazine, 632 will soon receive roof advertising boxes with adverts for the new North Pier based Tram Shop. 632 will also get black gill sans fleet numbers and Blackpool Corporation crests.

The project is a partnership between Trams magazine, the LTT and Blackpool Transport who will operate the tram on specials this summer. Currently 632 is in the fitting shop being prepared to receive the trucks removed from sister car 622 which is now withdrawn.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Open top 1995 repainted

Ex-Ribble VRT 1995 (OCK995K) has been repainted in Classic Bus North West fleet livery of the Southdown inspired apple green and cream livery. This vehicle is on long-term loan to the trading company from the LTT and recently 1995 passed through the BusWorks for rear panelling and upper deck floor repairs. It was decided to repaint 1995 in advance of the 2010 summer season, its first since 2007 when reverse Ribble livery was applied.

LTT Tram Repaints

The two LTT trams in the paint shop at Blackpool Transport are progressing well. 703, in Sunderland livery, is almost complete whereas Brush Car 632 is now undercoated in green & cream ready for 1980s livery.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Meet Sunderland 101

Balloon car 703 is looking superb in Blackpool Transport's paint shop and in the final stages of its transformation into Sunderland red and cream livery. The tram will assume a new identity as Sunderland 101 - the next fleet number that could have been applied to a bogie car in the Sunderland tramcar fleet. Still to come are "Shop at Binns" advertising and side adverts for co-sponsor, bus operator Go North East.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Brush Car 632 returns to service

Brush Railcoach 632 is to return to passenger service this year in a partnership arrangement between TRAMS magazine, the TRAM SHOP at North Pier, Blackpool Transport and the LTT.

632 last operated in October 2004 but on 30 March it was extracted from long term store and transferred to the paint shop. Here it will be repainted in late 1970s green & cream livery and advert boxes fitted with advertising for the Tram Shop. In this guise 632 will operate until November 2011.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

143's top deck arrives!

Although covered more extensively in 143's own restoration blog, this news update records the arrival of 143's new top deck from Gillett's of Wesham. It arrived on Wednesday 24 March and was fully assembled by the following day. Next week it will be trial fitted on the lower deck so the internal bulkhead partitions can be finalised - and then the lower deck can be shipped off to Blackpool Transport whilst the upper deck is painted, varnished and wired up.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Take a last look at 703 in green...

Take a last look at Balloon car 703 in Blackpool green and cream livery - it will soon be wearing Sunderland red and cream. Interestingly, car 703 has worn this 1980s style livery since 1999 but never wore the scheme during the 1982-1987 period when the majority of Balloon cars repainted were given the style. This was because 703 had been amongst the last repaints in the plain 1970s style back in 1981 and it wasn't repainted again until 1989 when Blackpool Transport had reverted to a much plainer livery style but in the post-deregulation shades of green & cream.

Keep viewing this blog for other announcements of the LTT's tram fleet.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

New home for Balloon car 703

Balloon car 703, acquired for preservation by the LTT in October last year, is now in the paint shop. However, following a repaint the car will soon be moving away from the seaside town for operation at the North of England Open-Air Museum in Beamish, County Durham thanks to sponsorship from bus operator Go-North East and the BusWorks in Blackpool.

But tram 703 will take on a new identity as a Sunderland tram following a makeover by Blackpool Transport funded by the two principal sponsors.

Sunderland used to operate trams of a design reminiscent to these Blackpool icons and to give 703 local significance to the Beamish museum, the tram will adopt Sunderland's streamlined 1930s red and off-white livery style. The 94-seat tram, built in 1934 should prove to be a popular crowd mover on the Beamish tramway which is used to transport visitors from the main entrance to the attractions located around the 300 acre site.

An impression of what 703 will look like, based on a photograph edited by Jason Cross, is shown opposite. It is not intended to restore the double destination screens before it moves to Beamish but this may happen during its initial 5-year loan.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Ribble 1997 repainted

Ribble 1997 has now left the Busworks paintshop after a complete repaint into original livery. It will now receive mechanical attention ready for an MoT and a return to the road for the rally season.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Twin Car joins the collection

Another significant addition to the LTT tram collection has been confirmed this week with agreement to purchase Twin Set 676 + 686 for the collection. 676 (as 276) was the prototype towing car converted from a conventional railcoach in 1957 and introduced into service in 1958. Its trailer, originally T6, was one of ten built new in 1960/1 and the pair operated together from 1961 to 2004. In 1969 the set was modified from single ended to double ended configuration by transferring one set of cab equipment from 676 to 686. This was the penultimate set treated and 676 was also upgraded at the time - having retained more railcoach features compared to the production units - and emerged with contemporary Darvic interior panelling. When restored 676+686 will be outshopped in their 1970 condition in half green and half cream livery.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Cherry Red for Ribble 1997

Ex-Ribble VRT 1997 (OCK997K) achieved celebrity status after clocking up 29 years passenger service and being the oldest bus (outside London) with FirstGroup. After life with Ribble, 1997 operated with Crosville and then Devon RedBus before finally becoming part of First Western National. It was withdrawn from service, still in RedBus livery, in January 2002 and returned north in August after acquisition by the Lancastrian Transport Trust for preservation.

Full restoration of 1997 commenced in September 2006 by LTT volunteers and now a vacant slot in the BusWorks' paint shop has allowed repainting in cherry red to commence.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Blackpool National returns

Blackpool National 2 542 (A542PCW) has joined the LTT collection. New in 1984 it ran until 1991 passing to United in Durham where it ran until 1999. Since then it has been an exhibition unit with Durham Constabulary and more recently Safe-in-Tees Valley. Retired in 2009 it has been donated to the Trust for eventual restoration.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Own a share in a Blackpool Icon

The double deck Balloon Car is one of the icons of Blackpool and the LTT are giving enthusiasts the opportunity to own shares in one of the cars acquired for preservation. Selling of shares in tram 715 will finance the restoration of the tram and repaint back into green and cream livery so that the tram can operate in this guise during the 125th anniversary year of the tramway.

Shares are being sold at £500 each but half shares at £250 are also available. If you are interested in acquiring a share then follow this hyperlink to view and print off a shareholder application form.

Application Form:

Friday, 8 January 2010

Balloon Car 715 acquired for Preservation

The Lancastrian Transport Trust has agreed the purchase of Balloon Car 715 from Blackpool Transport. However, in a radical move the LTT are to invite tram enthusiasts to become shareholders in a project that will return 715 to green & cream livery in the condition it emerged back in 1981. In this guise it will remain at Rigby Road depot and available for use until the end of 2011.

Details of the specific work to be undertaken on 715 are still being discussed with Blackpool Transport but a budget of £7,000 has been earmarked. Once the offer of becoming a share owner in 715 is finalised, details will be published on this website, allowing interested enthusiasts to own a part of a Blackpool icon.