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Transport are considering reactivating 715 for service use in addition to cars 721 and 726, previously considered withdrawn.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.