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.