JOHN'S BLOG: TRAM TALK TODAY

Disclaimer :   The opinions and commentary voiced on this page are those of the author and do not have automatic endorsement of the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust (Registered Charity) unless otherwise stated.

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FHLT's Fleetwood Graveyard

A ghoulish tour of the FHLT trams currently stored at Wyre Dock is being arranged Saturday 18 July at 1230 for invited guests wishing to pay their respects to : Twin Set 673/683 Motor Unit 680 Trailer 681 Trailer 687 Balloon 710 Balloon 726 Brush Car 637 Brush Car 625 Centenary Car 641 Centenary Car 643 Flowers by arrangement ! Black tie please or sombre clothing. Mourners should indicate attendance to the FHLT online using this website to receive a personal invitation - numbers are limited onsite. Details of arrangements to be confirmed individually. The FHLT's mausoleum in the sun at Fleetwood.

David Ellor - preservationist number One

Long before the internet, digital cameras and mobiles - when bus (and tram) preservation was very much considered an eccentric pastime with a modest number of dedicated followers, Blackpool was fortunate in having a local garage owner with practical means for pursuing his 'hobby'. David Ellor's father had created a successful business on Whitegate Drive in the early 1930s - the Bellevue Garage - facing immediately an incessant passage of trams running towards both the Royal Oak and Talbot Square. On his father's death David acquired the business. While he had the sad task of towing a great many of Blackpool's famous centre entrance (Blackpool built) Corporation buses to scrapyards in We

What Comes Around Goes Around

Blackpool Transport's bosses decided the town's bus services needed a revamp in time for the summer season. On 28 June various revisions will be put into effect. Perhaps importantly the Promenade service 1 which offers an alternative to the trams on which the NoW Cards cannot be used by non Blackpool holders - will have its frequency improved and a slightly longer running time. The queues which build up along the promenade from nine and ten in the morning at stops serving hotels and B&Bs - tend to involve long boarding times and the lower decks of the double deck vehicles quickly fill up to capacity. The desire of NoW card holders to avoid having to pay fares on the trams is understand

What price a decent railway here?

The announcement by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin that railway modernisation to the tune of £35 BILLION over the period of this Parliament has been 'derailed' and major upgrades for the national network - north of Watford have been put on hold / delayed / shelved / paused / or simply kicked into a very large field of long grass, is now the latest political nail in the north of England's coffin. While local County Councillors waffle back and forth about the merits of approving (or not) a single site near Blackpool where international investors could validate the potential of literally Billions of pounds worth of shale gas energy waiting to be unlocked - the deferrment of already dela

2016 - HERITAGE TRAM CALENDAR

The Trust's 2016 Tram Calendar goes on sale next week with online orders being taken. This latest version involves the participation of Blackpool Heritage Trust and its team following collaborative discussions in June. The 2016 calendar theme is Blackpool's amazing illuminated tram creations through the years - with unique images of most (not all) of the products from Rigby Road's Workshops since 1912. One missing example is the 'Trawler' which is to undergo a revamp in the near future and resume 'trawling' in 2016. The FHLT with Rigby Road Publications and the Blackpool Heritage Trust will have copies available from early July.

A GHOST ON THE PRESTON ROAD

Heading out of Preston on Wednesday I had to rub my eyes at the sight of a speeding blue and white single deck bus. Its cutaway rear entrance was an immediate giveaway as it had to be the former Leyland demonstrator bought by Lytham St Annes Corporation in 1934. This bus was saved from the scrapman by initiatives of David Ellor, a Blackpool garage owner on Whitegate Drive (more about Dave in a later Blog). The bus was then passed on to private ownership in the south of England - eventually migrating to Canada where it rested out of doors in the company of another Lytham St Annes bus from the 1930s. Eventually repatriated to England much later it was subjected to a total makeover and det

Pullman Trams Lytham to Fleetwood

In 1924 Lytham St Annes municipal tramway operation took delivery of ten new double deck and open platform trams numbered 41 to 50. These were to be the only new trams purchased by the local authority. Their quite luxurious lower deck saloon with deep sprung leather seats with armrests and curtains on the side windows - gave them the title 'Pullmans'. The trams settled down to twelve years running back and forth as far as the Gynn junction from Lytham, and the later terminus at St Annes Square (in the final year before bus replacement). In 1928 Blackpool Corporation Tramways purchased ten impressive (at that time) single deck trams to operate the Fleetwood service from North Stati

Ghosts of the Gondolas

Blackpool's buses were once as distinguished as the town's trams. Not only did the tram system get a total makeover during the 1930s - but its buses probably even more so. A streamlined design emerged in parallel to the new rail coach and double deckers built at Preston. The same designers produced a prototype double deck bus with innovative styling, complete with centre entrance and dual staircases. In 1936 this bus (numbered 120) broke new ground in design stakes - and became the basis of successive deliveries to Blackpool totally eventually 95 double deckers by 1940 (together with single deck versions numbered 1 - 18). In parallel to the summer season open 'boat car' design - Bla

Suits You Sir !

Design features and work on the Football tram project are proceeding with the involvement of increasing numbers of companies and organisations. Centenary Car 641 was measured up for front panels to cover the cab glazing at both ends last week. Blackpool Coach Services Ltd. are providing special metal coverings. The company has a team of staff with experience in a wide range of coachbuilding work at their Marton operation. This includes work for Blackpool Transport Services over the years. Links Signs and Graphics team are designing the panel vinyls and graphics to go on the tram featuring Blackpool's past teams, players over successive generations. Archivist John Cross has provided im

More Fathers Day

Obviously not the happiest of scenes with my daughter seemingly exhausted and terribly bored in front of the Baltimore light rail car 5015 which took us to Cromwell (I think). My wife issues instructions to Andrew to get into the photo (off left!). We all went on to a Baseball game at the then new Baltimore stadium built on the site of former railroad yards. We all enjoyed that part of the trip! Many years later and now married - Jessica and her husband took a long drive to New England, stopping on the way (naturally) at the Kennebunkport trolley museum. Husband Steve kindly took an album of photos in their visit which included a ride on open car 303 of the Connecticut company - fam

Father's Day

I cannot count the numberof times I've coerced, dragged or made false promises to entice my children (all three of them) to accompany me on this or that pilgrimage to one or other tram museum or tramway system. Now that they are well free of parental influence and making their own way in life, I still manage to persuade my daughter and oldest son to bring back souvenirs of their travels to foreign parts. My daughter spent a week in Israel staying with a friend from her school days in Oxford - very recently. Her brief stopover in Jerusalem had some of that system's modern trams passing her hotel. Earlier travels to Istanbul and Buenos Aires likewise saw souvenirs in the form of 'snaps'

BLACKPOOL STANDARDS - 1

The sight of Standard car 147 rumbling along the Promenade is tangible evidence of a familiar tram that once upon a time was the mainstay of Blackpool's tram services. Some forty two examples were built to a conservative design produced by the Tramways staff in the aftermath of the Great War, when an urgent need to replenish many of the worn out tram fleet demanded action. Apart from seven cars bought in from Hurst Nelson, of which 147 was one, almost all of the class were built in the Rigby Road Car Workshops. Three prototypes were assembled in the confines of Blundell Street Tram Depot. Seventeen of the Standard trams were subjected to further 'upgrades' with both the open driver pla

Waterloo le 18 Juni 1815

Two hundred years ago to the day - tens of thousands of men marched across rolling fields towards their deaths in the face of musketry, cannon fire, bayonets and cavalry charges. Farmland near to the outlying village of Waterloo became synonymous with a climatic battle that marked the end of the Napoleonic era. Much like its naval predecessor, Trafalgar, the outcome of the day was cause for national celebration (in Britain) as well as capitals of European sovereign states who joined together in common cause against the 'Corsican Tyrant'. Commander of the Allied Armies (Prussia, Russia, Austria, Britain et al) - the Arthur Wellesley Duke of Wellington, was memorialised up and down the cou

HOME DERBYS - By Tram

Blackpool FC will play home at Bloomfield Road to Fleetwood Town FC on November 28 whilst Fleetwood Town will be at Home to Blackpool FC on April 23 2016. The very first time that these two Fylde coast teams in the Football League will be facing each other in regular season games. No doubt supporters of both clubs will avail themselves of the tram service connecting both Grounds on Match Days. The Football Tram display featuring Centenary Car 641 will carry a special destination blind as part of its unique design features when it is launched at the Ride the Lights night on the Promenade. This was briefly shown at a press call in Fleetwood where 641 is being prepared by the FHLT team

Blackpool Trolleybuses - well almost

Whilst unsubstantiated stories of Blackpool experimenting with a trolleybus on Lytham Road in the late 1920s (using a trailing skate) surface from time to time - the only proven occasion on which a trolleybus actually operated in Blackpool was during the management tenure of Tony Depledge. A transport conference held at the Pembroke/Hilton Hotel on the Promenade prompted one enterprising consortia to bring over a dual powered trolleybus from Nancy to Rigby Road. Electrical crews erected a stretch of trolleybus wiring along Blundell Street and over the sidings track behind the Workshop buildings. For a very brief two days - the Nancy vehicle was put on display with trolleybooms on the wi

Blackpool's 'Brush Cars' :

284 / 621 Beamish Museum - Preserved 285 / 622 Anchorsholme, Blackpool - School Classroom use - Preserved 286 / 623 Heaton Park - MTMS - Preserved* 287 / 624 LTT > BHT Former Permanent Way Car - Preserved 288 / 625 Private Ownership - Preserved 289 / 626 Private Ownership - Preserved 290 / 627 FHLT - Preserved 291 / 628 Body removed - used as a rail carrier trailer by BTS/Bpl Council 292 / 629 Scrapped 293 / 630 NTM Crich - Preserved* 294 / 631 BTS / BHT - Preserved* 295 / 632 LTT > BHT - Preserved(*) 296 / 633 BTS - 'Trawler Illuminated tram' 'Preserved'* 297 / 634 Private Ownership - NEETT (Loan) - Preserved 298

BUS NOSTALGIA 300 298 246

Whilst Blackpool's classic trams are very well represented in the preservation stakes - not so the equally unique bus fleet and its centre entrance designs from the 1930s. Successive generations of locally built buses (by Burlingham in Marton) made an equally striking impression as their counterparts on rails. Over two hundred streamline vehicles, both double and single deck versions, ensured that Blackpool Corporation Transport stood out nationally as an operator of classic designed buses - at least up to the mid 1960s. At the end of the day only three of these double deck examples managed to escape the scrapyard initially; and one single deck version. Fleet Number 298 was 'saved' b

Waterloo Road Please

June 18th this week sees the bicentenary of that famous battle just south of Brussels - and a little north of Charleroi. This final and bloody chapter ended the Napoleonic era - heralding a hundred years of relative peace on a continent beset by all manner of warring encounters between countries large and small, up to then. Naturally the rise of Prussia - read Germany - in the 19th century was not without considerable bloodletting involving neighboring Denmark, Austria and France. But enough of the history lesson stuff. Waterloo is commemorated in Britain through streets, monuments and most famously a large railway station from which millions have embarked from the capital to the 'conti

Cunning plans ?

Amid the outburst of comments elsewhere there are a few thoughtful observations on the most recent arrivals in Fleetwood. By way of feedback - the Trust, in conjunction with the Owner of the four trams literally rescued from probable oblivion at Knowsley, do have plans for the quartet. Firstly it has been agreed that one of the Brush cars is to be used as a source for 'spare parts' for other groups/museums, and in fact initial exchanges have already taken place with interested Principals. If any groups who have not so far contacted the FHLT/ Owner via this website wish to express an interest in specific components or features - they should do so as soon as possible. This tram has bus s

In Plain English

For those 'enthusiasts' who think its a joke to trespass on private property there is one point of entry on to Wyre Dock with 24/7 manned security gate which is on notice to report and detain unauthorised 'persons' attempting entry on to private land. The Trustees met with ABP Management today on a number of current issues including misrepresentation in order to gain entry on their site. Be assured that ABP are intolerant of illegal entry. The FHLT have time for responsible approaches from enthusiasts. The Trustees are arranging a private viewing of their collection on the Saturday preceding Tram Sunday. Guests will be free to take photographs to their heart's content during this one-o

Working to conserve for display, trams and artefacts of the longstanding coastal tramway serving Blackpool, Thornton Cleveleys and Fleetwood.

 

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