Sunday, 28 October 2012

There's no business like snow business!

An early Xmas card scene of 304 operating in passenger service for the first day at Beamish. (c. A Kirkman)
If 304 were an animal it must be taking some adjusting to the weather in the North East. Snow in October - now I think that really is unheard of in Blackpool but winter came early at Beamish and Alan Kirkman took this shot of 304 with snow on its first day in passenger service at the museum.
Fellow LTT tram 703 (101) in the wintry afternoon suunshine. (c Beamish Blog)

Saturday, 27 October 2012

304 runs at Beamish

Darkness falls at Beamish whilst 304 adjusts to the new surroundings of the museum tramway where it is on temporary loan.
Coronation 304 made it's first movements at Beamish on the evening of Wednesday 24th October - the first Blackpool Coronation car to ever operate away from its native system.
Following some remedial work and further testing, Blackpool Coronation 304 is expected to be placed into service this weekend and the following two weekends; as always, subject to the usual caveats. Meanwhile, tonight, tomorrow and next Wednesday nights will see the Beamish tramway at full stretch for the Halloween evening events.
David Umpleby from the LTT has led the project to operate 304 at Beamish and the co-operation of Paul Jarman and the Beamish trammway group volunteers is greatly appreciated.

LTT Strategy Review

It is no secret that the trustees of the Lancastrian Transport Trust (LTT) have found themselves under considerable pressure recently with ever falling levels of donations (the trust's primary source of income) due to the recession whilst costs have continued to increase. Highlights such as the return to service of the trust's "flagship" vehicle (Blackpool Coronation Tram 304) at Beamish have been countered by negative publicity surrounding the necessity of moving some of its other trams to temporary outside storage in Blackpool.

As a result of this the trustees themselves have made a decision to instigate a full independent review of all its activities with a view to developing, quickly, a strategy to deliver a sustainable future for its vehicles. The organisation needs to refocus on its key aims and objectives and to develop a business plan to move more quickly towards achievement of its key goals. 

This review will be led by Dave Holden. Dave will be working in conjunction with the existing Charity Trustees and other key individuals involved in the trust's activities. He has over twenty years experience in the fields of both vehicle preservation and public sector financial management. He was a Board Member of the North West Museum of Transport in St Helens for thirteen years, acting as Chairman for five years. He led the organisation through the period when its premises were being refurbished and when its collection of assets was reviewed in order to deliver a financially sustainable museum project for future generations to enjoy.

Areas to be considered as part of this review, so far identified, are as follows:

1) Existing and estimated future costs of premises for vehicle storage

2) Duplication of vehicle types within the collection

3) Duplication of vehicle types compared with others already deemed to be "preserved" elsewhere

4) Identification of the "core collection" of vehicles that best portray the transport heritage of the Fylde Coast

5) Ways of maximising donation income from supporters and the general public

6) Ways of increasing the profile of the trust and its activities

7) Ways to moved forward key projects to completion (eg: standard tram car 143)

8) Potential partnership working with other like minded organisations

9) Ways of obtaining commercial sponsorship to expedite certain restorations

10) Ways of generating more volunteer support to assist with the day to day running of the trust

Over the past fifteen years the trust has delivered some superb achievements (Coronation Car 304, OMO car 8, Blackpool PD3 529 for example) but has also, at times, struggled to cope with the demands that it places on the available free time of its trustees. This has, inevitably, resulted in certain difficulties that now need to be overcome to ensure that the organisation moves forward successfully.  

Further updates on the progress of the review will be published here on a regular basis.  

Friday, 12 October 2012

304 departs for Beamish

Our preserved Coronation car 304 departed its temporary home in outside storage in Marton for a short term loan to Beamish Museum on 11th October. Haulier Alleleys were employed to move the tram to the North East, and departure took place during the early evening following loading up which was initially delayed as the leading bogie of the tram seemed unwilling to follow a straight path towards the waiting ramp. It arrived at Beamish the following day.

304 loaded for the journey north on 11th October (c.Alan Robson)
Following commissioning and driver training, and subject to clearance tests on the museum tramway, it is hoped that 304 can quickly enter service at Beamish, thus becoming the first Blackpool Coronation car to ever operate away from the Blackpool tramway.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Coronation 304 to visit Beamish!

We are very pleased and really quite excited to announce that the Lancastrian Transport Trust's superb 1952 Blackpool Coronation tram No.304 will be paying the Beamish Tramway a visit this autumn. We are still firming up the details (so usual caveats apply), but it is hoped to have 304 here and commissioned in time to take part in our October 6/7 enhanced transport weekend (which as mentioned elsewhere is the hoped for public debut of No.18 in steam as well as possibly one other new railway resident at the Museum - watch this space!).
The outline plan is then to operate 304 each weekend for a total of five weekends, making its final appearance on November 3/4 (the November enhanced transport weekend). It may appear at other times but at this stage its operation is subject to successful commissioning and driver training, this being another VAMBAC car (see posts on Blackpool 11 for information on this sophisticated control system). Passengers (and crews!) can therefore look forward to a smooth ride and powerful acceleration! This is a big tram, at 50ft long, and we will have to undertake some careful gauging to establish whether it can utilise the full route at Beamish (clockwise offering clearance advantages through the town vs counter-clockwise running).
Understandably there are the usual ifs and buts regarding the commissioning process and testing before entry into service, but hopefully this visit will give enthusiasts a wonderful reason to visit Beamish this autumn, LTT members a chance to see three of their trams in operation and 304 will give our visitors a real flavour of 1950s public transport and just what a brave new World it promised to be...
304 at its temporary storage site following the "great tram exodus"
The transfer of 304 to Beamish will ensure this valuable tram moves from its current temporary outside storage as soon as possible, and upon its return it is planned that 304 will move direct to undercover accommodation.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

The great tram exodus

This week has seen our six remaining trams leave Blackpool Transport premises which for some has been their home since they were new. I am sure many enthusiasts and supporters of the LTT are asking why and the logic in them being moved to temporary outdoor storage.
Back in January 2012, BTS agreed under pressure from Blackpool councillors to sanction continued storage of our trams at Rigby Road depot for 12 months at a cost of £1,000 per month plus VAT but BTS inserted a clause into the agreement that if their was no progress on the proposed future home at Thornton Gate within 6 months then the trams would be evicted and, if not removed within one month the ownership of the vehicles still removed would pass to BTS for them dispose of as they saw fit. This clause was contrary to the Council's stated position of a 12 month tenure.
Of course, subsequently there has been no progress at Thornton Gate - the tramway contractors are still occupying the site, so no lease has been forthcoming (a requirement of lottery funding) and we can make no preparations for our proposed transport heritage centre on the site. At a BTS Board Meeting in July, the Directors apparently agreed unanimously to therefore evict the LTT trams and we made arrangements to hurriedly find alternative accommodation.
Our Brinwell Road depot is awaiting a future upheaval and shunt around of vehicles and it was hoped that temporary undercover accommodation could be secured in ther adjacent new bus operating garage of Classic Bus North West. Unfortunately, the turning arrangements precluded this (after a try with Brush Railcoach 287/624) and so our fallback option of outside storage in a secure, CCTV and security guard protected site has become the home for our trams.
Too much of a tight squeeze. The length of the low loader precluded temporary storage at the CBNW bus operating depot and against a deadline for removal of the trams it was decided for expediency to revert to our fall back option of storage in a secure yard opposite the former Busworks' site.
Whilst many may feel that this is a retrograde step, readers should be aware that the last eight months has not been easy - Coronation 304 has had some seat cushions slashed, 632 was damaged in a shunting accident and 715 too was damaged and a very poor repair done to the cab end, 704 has had controller parts and further glazing robbed from it whilst the Rocket's platform had already been crushed in a shunting accident some years ago. We have kept tight lipped about this until now but we were getting increasing concerned about the conservation of our trams - which we were no longer allowed access to.
632 after being damaged in a shunting accident  - we were never informed about the accident but found out about the damage a few weeks later. It was subsequently repaired by BTS but only after we witheld storage fees.

Of course, Classic Bus North West (CBNW) financially supports the LTT - a necessity in these times of austerity when the LTT's costs continue to increase whilst regular donations have plumeted in recent years - it is generally recognised that we are living through the hardest financial climate since the 1930s and many charities are recording significant reductions in income. The LTT is no exception which is why it has supported CBNW's operation of the "SeaFront 12" bus service. Where did our supporters expect the £1,000 tram storage costs would come from in addition to the LTT's other expenditure??
The move to outdoor storage is a temporary measure and plans are already in hand to move them indoors before the onset of winter. It is a great pity that our relationship with BTS under the present management has deteriorated to the extent that it has - and now we have no ties whatsoever with the organisation we have enjoyed a constructive relationship with until 2010, we are free to develop our plans without constraint.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Rocket lights the night sky

Today, the Rocket was illuminated for the first time since appearing on the roundabout at Gynn Square and it looks superb! It is the first time that the tram has appeared fully illuminated in public since 1999. Still to be added is the astronaut that will be suspended above the tram to add to the 2012 featured display.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Swift 570 on the move

Former Blackpool AEC Swift 570 has been on the move recently and is pictured here ready for transfer back to Brinwell Road depot. It is displaying service 22 - a route to be revived by Classic Bus North West from September 2012.

Rocket lands at Gynn Square

After a rapid makeover by the Illuminations Dept team, the illuminated Rocket landed during the early hours of Tuesday 14 August on Gynn Square roundabout! The tram has been treated to a complete repaint and external rewire with the advert panels rewired with fluorescent lighting and LED bulb coloured lights. Over the next couple of weeks, the feature will be completed and the Rocket will be amongst one of the most high profile displays for the Centenary of Blackpool's illuminations.
Philip Higgs, Trustee said "Richard Ryan and his team at Blackpool Illuminations have been great to work with and it has been great to see the tram transformed from its years of neglect at the back of Rigby Road tram depot to an eye-catching display for 2012".

Friday, 27 July 2012

Tramnik One lights up

Blackpool's Illuminations Department have made excellent progress with the refurbishment of the our preserved Rocket tram (732) which they are overhauling for static display during this year's illuminations. The Rocket is set to make its return to Blackpool's Promenade as the centrepiece of a 'space theme' display which will occupy Gynn Square roundabout this year, returning the tram to prominence for the centenary of Blackpool's illuminations.  
Progress so far has seen the tram stripped of most of its external illuminations (although not yet those from the nose cone, as seen here), which will be replaced, whilst the lighting circuits to the headlamps and advertising panels have been repaired and energised. The cab has received a repaint in dark green, carried by the tram in its latter years in use and replacing the original blue, much improving its appearance.

The lower skirt panels and rear fins, removed to assist with transportation of the car from Rigby Road, will be replaced by removable sections to allow for future movement of the tram.

Monday, 9 July 2012

To boldly go where no tram has gone before!

Today saw a major step forward with Blackpool Rocket 732. Having been in the trust's care for 10 years the rocket was moved from Rigby Road to the lights dept at Squires Gate.

This is so further progress can take place on plans for the Rocket to be static in the lights Centenary in Blackpool this year.

As can be seen a lot of work was needed to be able to move 732 including the removal of the rear platform. This was badly damaged in various shunts over recent years and so with the impossible task of moving the tram with this on the decision was made to remove this, as well as the skirting which would foul the low loader. This will be replaced on removable sections for future transportation.

The controllers etc will be recovered and so can be displayed in the future.

A big thank you to David Umpleby who has supervised the move from the LTT's perspective and to Richard Ryan, Illuminations Director for making this happen.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Veteran Lytham 19 gets a further health check!

An impressive line-up of local Lytham St Annes buses last week with 19 on the lift for MoT preparation
At 66 years of age, Lytham 19 is no spring chicken of a bus. Indeed, from November 2012 it will qualify for MoT exemption - the equivalent of a free bus pass! Nevertheless, No.19 passed a further health check today after being subjected to its annual medical and its last official MoT test. Although many of 19's outings are in connection with private hires for Classic Bus North West, the company maintain & inspect the vehicle throughout the year and fund all maintenance and repair work on the bus. However, mileage is restricted and 19 rarely ventures away from the Fylde coast but today it stretched its legs for the 130 mile round trip to Martins of Middlwich for its MoT - our local VOSA testing station at Kirkham being fully booked for MoT slots until mid July!

Olympian 401 next for MoT prep

401 on the vehicle lift at our Brinwell Road depot - 28 May 2012
Following the successful MoT pass of Lytham PD1 No.19, our veteran from 1946, the next vehicle to be assessed for MoT preparation is former Blackpool Transport Leyland Olympian No.401. New in March 1983 as Trent 701, this vehicle was operated by Blackpool Transport from 1997 to September 2010 and was acquired for preservation in January 2012. Current plans are to get 401 through a Class VI MoT test and then arrange a full repaint.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

MoT prep for Routemaster 521

Routemaster 521, formerly RM1583, following its arrival back at the BusWorks and prior to being lifted.
Former Blackpool Transport Routemaster 521 has moved to the BusWorks site for MoT preparation work after an absence off the road since October 2010. Still looking shiny with its 2004 applied paintwork, 521 will be submitted for a Class VI psv test during mid June. Whilst off the road, several parts have been removed to keep other Routemasters on the road, earning their keep on hire work but now it is definately time to get this Routemaster operational again.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Blackpool PD3 outings

Front and back picture of 516 and 529 at Brinwell Road depot
Extrcting Blackpool PD3 516 from Brinwell Road depot allowed us the opportunity to get this picture of 516 and 529 together. Due to other commitments, 516 has spent most of 2010 and all of 2011 off the road but soon the bus will be re-submitted for an MoT Class V. 529 meanwhile has recently passed another Class VI PSV test at Kirkham's VOSA station, following some structural repairs to the platform step riser.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Fylde 79 restoration progress

Some further steps forward on the restoration of Fylde Atlantean 79 (HRN99N) have been made in recent weeks and during a shunt at the BusWorks site to move Ensignbus sponsored restorations of RTW335 & Metropolitan MD60 into the newly designated workshop area, 79 was captured on camera. The extent of the strip down can be seen and the next stage is to grind off the corroded steel "top-hat" sections for replacement. The BusWorks has commissioned a local fabrication company to make the replacement Northern Counties style top-hat sections.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Ribble 1997 out on test

Former Ribble Bristol VRT 1997 (OCK997K) has been out on test runs today after its accelerator and fuel supply problems were remedied earlier in the week. Effort is now being focused on this bus to allow it to return to use in 2012.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Luff launches the Boat at Beamish

Daphne Luff, daughter of General Manager Walter Luff who introduced the streamlined fleet of trams to Blackpool in 1933, officially launched repainted Open Boat "233" at Beamish on Sunday 22nd April. After expertly smashing a bottle of champagne against the coupler socket, Daphne unveiled the legal lettering proudly showing her father's name "WALTER LUFF - GENERAL MANAGER". After the formal ceremony, invited guests were taken to Beamish town on the Open Boat for afternoon tea.
Later in the afternoon, shareholders were treated to a supervised Tram Driving Experience on the LTT's other preserved tram operating at Beamish, Balloon car 703(101).

Friday, 20 April 2012

Standard 143 returns!

Following discussions with Blackpool Transport, Standard car 143 has today returned to the LTT's Brinwell Road depot for restoration work to be completed. 143 had moved to Rigby Road back in August 2010 for completion of BTS' pledged commitment to the project. However, the preparation work required for the tramway upgrade and the realisation of the extent of heritage tram operation has resulted in the project to complete 143 for operation on the tramway being shelved.
In recognition of the original agreement and as an act of goodwill, Managing Director Trevor Roberts agreed to BTS donating the overhauled trucks and motors to the LTT. Following this positive step, arrangements were made to return 143 to Brinwell Road for completion work which will allow the Heritage Lottery Fund to "sign-off" the project which is a stumbling block towards our application to HLF for the proposed Thornton Gate project.
Although the reality of 143 not realising its original aim of returning to operation on the tramway is of course disappointing, we would like to place on record our thanks to Blackpool Transport for overhauling the trucks and motors which is a significant contribution to the project. The removal of 143 leaves Brush Railcoaches 624 & 632, Balloons 704 & 715, Coronation 304, OMO 8 and Rocket 732 stored at Rigby Road depot.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Boat launch details

Open Boat 605/233 will be officially launched at Beamish on Sunday 22 April. A small formal ceremony and handover will take place at 14:00 at the tram depot. All LTT suupporters are welcome to attend.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Beamish and the Boat

Boat car 605(233) entered service at Beamish on Thursday 12th April on the first day of the museum's popular Great North Steam Fair. It is the car's first passenger carrying duties since withdrawal from service in Blackpool back in October 2009 and subsequent preservation by the LTT. It was exactly 6-weeks previously that 605 had arrived at the museum and in the interim period the tram has been fully repainted and commissioned for duty.
On Sunday 22 April, an official launch of 605 is planned at the museum. Watch this blog for details...

Monday, 9 April 2012

Buses and Brinwell Road update

With all the tram news recently, we should not overlook developments at Brinwell Road and on the buses. Firstly, after some negotiation with our landlord, it has been decided to continue the lease on Brinwell Road depot and make changes to the configuration of the BusWorks' site. Nevertheless, the Brinwell Road depot has been tidied up and vehicles have been exchanged between the Blackpool and Weeton premises - transferring "non-runners" to Weeton to give greater flexibility at the Brinwell Road site.
The shunts have prompted a renewed effort to get some "quick-win" bus projects back on the road for 2012; Blackpool Routemaster 521, LUT Fleetline 97 and Ribble Bristol VRT 1997 - see our Facebook page for regular updates.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Boat 233's makeover revealed

233 ventured outside this morning in order that coachpainter, Dave Newsome, could inspect his handywork in daylight. The tram looks superb and a final push to complete a number of details and commissioning will now follow - however, it is not yet rain-proof, so cannot venture out in inclement weather!
It is not too late to become a shareholder in this Open Boat with a number of exciting benefits. Click here to find out more...

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Boat 233 transformed!

Dave Newsome, the Busworks' painter, is making a great job of transforming the appearance of Boat car 605 into its original style livery (and renumbered 233), as recorded in these photos taken by Peter Barlow of the Beamish Tramway Group. It is now in familiar colours and progress today is centered on rubbing back the green and top-coating this. Cream to follow, then the details and lining in the dark green shade. Looking good - unlike the weather!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Maiden voyage for Boat at Beamish

100 years ago the White Star Line were making finishes touches to the Titanic that captured the world headlines for all the wrong reasons on its maiden voyage. On 26 March in 2012, our Open Boat car has undergone its own voyage at Beamish following the great efforts of the Beamish volunteer tram group. Rubbed down ready for repainting, 605/233 basked in the afternoon Spring sunshine on its trial run following the refitting of its trolley tower.
Watch the YouTube video

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Work to resume on Railcoach 279

After a pause in the tram's restoration, work has resumed on Railcoach 279 this week. The trolley tower and steel bumpers have been sent away for shotblasting and should return later this week. All timberwork to complete the interior trim and the pre-panelling work around the cabs is on hand and arrangements are being made to get this fitted.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Lytham 61 sees the light of day

One of the results of the exit plan from Brinwell Road depot is that several vehicles that haven't seen the light of day for many years have emerged, giving the opportunity to take photographs. Lytham 61, a Northern Counties bodied PD2 is one vehicle that has been tucked away since 2003 but on 20th March it was extracted and towed to our Weeton premises.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Brinwell Road Depot departure

The Lancastrian Transport Trust has taken a review of its depot portfolio and from the end of March will be vacating Brinwell Road Depot. This follows discussions with Classic Bus North West and the BusWorks who also use the space. With the potential of Thornton Gate to house many of the trust’s collection of road and rail vehicles as well as Weeton for long term storage it was felt that Brinwell Road could not be sustained in the long term.

The more frequently used vehicles will be housed at BusWorks with the Classic Bus North West fleet. The less regularly use and buses in long term store will be moved to Weeton with the rest of the collection. Most of the trams will remain at Rigby Road, where a storage agreement has being agreed, but this has increased the Trust’s monthly outgoings. This leaves a small number of trams and buses to be stored on a private site. Not forgetting Blackpool 703 and Blackpool 605 at Beamish.

These are very important times for the trust, and certainly very challenging times. Although ideally this situation would not be happening as it takes away the efforts on restoration being put into the massive task of removing the vehicles etc, it was felt that with the current high cost of storage that this is the most cost effective measure.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

LTT trams at Beamish update

Work on Open Boat 233/605 is progressing well at Beamish with rubbing down of the paintwork in hand ready for a repaint prior to Easter in original style livery. The trolley tower has returned after shotblasting whilst the controllers & circuit breakers are being serviced in preparation for the busy summer ahead of it.
With '605' requiring a slot in the workshop, it's space in the un-wired section of the depot has been taken by Balloon 703/101 which is having a rest after a very intensive period of operation over the winter months. It has certainly proved popular with the Beamish tram crews - welcoming the enclosed cab, driver's seat and wipers, just like the reaction in Blackpool back in 1933 when the railcoaches were introduced! The Balloon will be in action for the Great North Steam Fair at Beamish and the official launch of the repainted Boat car on Sunday 22 April.
See Beamish Transport blog for more details.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Sharing the Boat!

Following the successful issue of shares in Balloon car 715 during 2010, the LTT is now offering shares in Open Boat 605 which has recently been transferred to Beamish for an initial two-year loan.
The funds raised through the share issue will be used to undertake further work on 605 and fund the ongoing storage costs of the LTT tram fleet in Blackpool.
British Trams Online has generously donated £1500 towards the cost of repainting 605 back into its original livery style - but more is needed to cover the cost of the car's acquisition, storage costs incurred at BTS and the scope of the work required to tidy up 605 for operation at Beamish. Shareholders will also get a chance to drive the tram! Find out more

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Boat 605 docks at Beamish

Open Boat 605 departed for Beamish on Wednesday 29th February, after our leap year proposal was accepted by the museum for a two year loan of the tram. Travelling via the M55 and M6 motorways north to Penrith, 605 stayed at Scotch Corner overnight after crossing the Pennines on the A66. It arrived at Beamish on 1st March at 08:15 and touched down one hour later. As usual Scotts Heavy Haulage did an excellent job and the tram was safely unloaded before the start of the day's tram service.
No time was lost in washing off 28-months of dust and dirt accumulated since it last operated in service on Blackpool promenade back in October 2009. Meanwhile, the Beamish Tram Group volunteers started work on dismantling the trolley tower ready for shotblasting and restoration work.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

By Boat to Beamish

Open Boat 605 is to travel north to Beamish on a two year loan agreement and sponsorship from British Trams Online. After several weeks of discussions, 605 will depart from Blackpool on Wednesday 29th February and will be prepared for operation as one of the exhibit's for the Great North Steam Fair (12-15 April). After this event, 605 will be repainted in original livery style, funded by British Trams online, ready for regular operation on the busy Beamish tramway during the summer months.

605 was withdrawn from service in October 2009 and has been stored ever since at Rigby Road. The loan agreement will allow 605 to join sister LTT tram, Balloon 703 which is operating in the guise of Sunderland 101, and the LTT Trustees welcomed the opportunity to see 605 back in operation at no cost to the Trust. British Trams Online is thanked for contributing towards this exciting development and we feel sure that 605 will be another welcome addition to the Beamish tramway.

Paul Jarman, the Keeper of Transport at Beamish, says: “I am delighted that we have been able to further develop our relationship with the Lancastrian Transport Trust and that they are entrusting us with another of their priceless tramcars. The aim will be to commission it into service for Easter and run it for the holiday period, culminating in our four day ‘Great North Steam Fair’. With a new outlook on future developments, 605 will fit right in and hopefully become as popular with visitors and staff as Blackpool 703/Sunderland 101 has become.”

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Work restarts on Fylde 79

Work has re-started today on Fylde Atlantean 79's. This vehicle was acquired by the LTT back in March 2002 and restoration started in 2005 but stalled due to other commitments. Now, a slot has been allocated at the Busworks site where volunteers will be invited to assist with the restoration work.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Rocket tram to shine again?

Following discussions within Blackpool Council's Illuminations Dept., the idea of reawkening the Illuminated Rocket as one of the projects to celebrate the centenary of Blackpool Illuminations has been adopted as one of the prefered projects. The LTT were approached some weeks ago about the possibility of the Rocket being displayed, but as a 'static' exhibit at a very prominent location and not as a mobile operating tram. Talks with potential sponsors are now taking place and if these are successful then the Rocket could move to the Illuminations Department during March for the work to begin. On 22 February, a meeting took place between LTT, Blackpool Transport and Blackpool Illuminations dept to discuss the logistics of moving the tram from Rigby Road tram depot.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Towing Car 671 joins LTT collection

Trailer towing car 671 has now been acquired from Merseytravel in exchange for 637 & 687 that had previously been acquired for spare parts only. It is proposed that 671 joins the LTT collection to represent the towing cars that operated singly - including this car (when numbered 281) after rebuilding in 1960.
As part of a thinning down of the tram fleet, Twin car unit 671/681 was 'mothballed' after 2007, but it did return to traffic for the 2010 illuminations. As the light rail era drew ever closer, the unit was withdrawn from service and sold during 2011 to Merseytravel. However, in a separate transaction, 671 was returned to Blackpool in February 2012 for preservation in an exchange deal that has resulted in the car's separation from its coupled trailer.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

HLF to visit Thornton Gate

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is to visit Blackpool and the proposed Thornton Gate site in Wyre Borough following a pre-application to the HLF, submitted in December 2011. This is a very positive step forward and gives the LTT the opportunity to present in more detail the plans for a Transport Heritage Centre at Thornton Gate and for HLF officers to outline their criteria for the next stages of the application process. The news follows an offer of lease from the site's owners Blackpool Borough Council.
Since 1994, the HLF have awarded £528million to more than 3,000 projects across the North West, sustaining and transforming the region's heritage.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year & New Website

Firstly, all the very best for 2012 to all our members and supporters. Let's hope it is a good one - it will certainly be a challenging one for the LTT with our development plans for the Thornton Gate site.
A new year also brings a new website. After around 7 years, I thought it was time to completely refresh the LTT website and rethink the content and structure. Over the Xmas period, thanks to the award winning and highly functional 1&1 web host, this was speedily achieved and the result looks much better. I hope you will enjoy it!
Philip Higgs - Trustee