Hi, Welcome to my blog. It will contain my latest sightings, links to my latest photos and info pages and any relevant news updates. It will be updated when possible.
On Thursday 2nd June, I headed down to Blackpool for the day to see the Jubilee Heritage Tram Parade.
I arrived in Blackpool around 11.30am and it was already very busy and my usual car park of choice at Pleasure Beach was already full, however I managed to get parked outside the Solaris Centre at Harrowside. I walked up the prom to Manchester Square and round to Rigby Road depot where the trams for the parade were beginning to be shunted round and sorted into order before heading out to the Prom and down to Pleasure Beach for the parade.
The first tram out was red and cream liveried Boat car 227, which was to lead the parade, it was stabled on Hopton road, whilst Balloon 723 was shunted down to the far end of the depot fan and 717 was shunted onto the Electrical compound track to release Boat 600 to move off depot to be stabled on Hopton Road behind Boat 600. Next out was Brush Car 631, which was moved out onto Hopton Road and parked up behind 227 and 600. The fourth tram to leave depot was a nice surprise in 90s Green and Cream liveried Ex Towing Railcoach 680, which was making its first appearance since March 2020 (pre lockdown).
After the trams were checked over by their crews, 227 and 600 departed Hopton Road, turned on to Lytham Road and onto the prom. After being reversed at Foxhall, they made their way to Pleasure Beach for the parade. Once 227 and 600 were clear of Lytham Road, 631 and 680 followed suit.
Next the Frigate 'HMS Blackpool' 736 was brought out on to Hopton Road to reverse onto Blundell Street where it stabled alongside the Fitting Shop wall. Balloon 723, freshly out the Paint Shop in the modernised balloon version of the 90s Green and Cream with black window surrounds, was then shunted out onto Hopton Road and then shunted back into one of the depot roads to release Fisherman's Friend trawler 737. 737 was also shunted out onto Hopton Road and reversed onto Blundell Street in front of 736. 80s Green and Cream liveried Centenary car 648 was then brought out and headed straight to the prom to take up position 5 in the parade. 648 was followed by the Western Train (733+734), which came out with the carriage leading so that it was facing the correct way once it changed ends at Foxhall.
Once the Western Train was clear of Hopton Road, the trawler (737) was turned on the triangle so it was heading out in reverse, with 736 completing the same move with both trams then departing towards the prom. One final shunt move saw Balloon 717 moved off the electrical compound track and onto Hopton Road before being moved further back the depot fan to release Bolton 66. Balloon 717 would then be the next tram to depart towards the prom followed by Balloon 723, Balloon 700 and Millenium Balloon 707.
I then walked down to Pleasure Beach where the loop was choc-a-block with heritage trams, passengers, sightseers and enthusiasts! After a few photos on the loop, I took up position near the entrance to the loop and photoed the parade, which featured 13 trams. These were:
Once the parade departed, I walked up towards Manchester Square to see the trams returning, with all bar Boat 227, Boat 600, Bolton 66 and Balloon 717 returning to depot. Rather than running straight in, The Western Train ran to Pleasure Beach and back to Foxhall where it reversed in.
Boat 227, Boat 600, Bolton 66 and Balloon 717 operated a Heritage service between Pleasure Beach and Bispham between 4pm and 7pm, however Boat 600 failed at Bispham and was replaced by Balloon 723. After 7pm, the Western Train operated two evening tours between Pleasure Beach and Little Bispham to round off an excellent day.
Well done to everyone at Blackpool Transport, Heritage Tram Tours and Tramtown for organising such an excellent event!
More photos from the day can be found at: https://scottishtrains.zenfolio.com/p50243848
Over the Bank Holiday weekend of 30th April - 2nd May, Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours held a Vintage Weekend with Heritage trams running along the prom every 15 minutes and hourly to Fleetwood. As well as the trams, there was vintage bus rides to Fleetwood and to Lytham St Annes!
I visited on Saturday 30th April and after a reasonably quiet journey down the M74, M6 and M55, I arrived at Blackpool and parked up at Pleasure Beach at 9.30am, in the reasonably warm sunshine! I walked from Pleasure Beach up to Manchester Square then round to Rigby Road depot to see the heritage trams coming off depot and going into service.
Heritage trams in Service were Route A: 631, B: Boat 600 (in place of the advertised Boat 227), C: Illuminated Frigate 736, D: Centenary 648, E: Balloon 715 and F: Bolton 66. Also out was Balloon 717 on a private hire.
At 10.30am I joined the first of two Tramtown tours of the day and as it was a good deal drier and sunnier than my last time on the tour in February when it snowed! The tour began outside in the yard where after the safety briefing, we walked along the side of the workshops past the depot fan and round to the Paint Shop.
In the paint shop was Balloon 723, which has been stripped of it's Christmas vynals and had the 80s livery that was underneath the vynals sanded down ready for a repaint into an as yet undisclosed livery. It was interesting to hear that the trams are still hand painted using brushes rather than being spray painted as the brushed on paint gives a thicker coat that lasts longer in the harsh salt and sand ladened environment of Blackpool. We also heard how there is now only one painter, who deals with all the heritage tram fleet as well as touching up bus panels as well, the painter does a fantastic job with some stunning paint jobs on display on the heritage fleet!
The tour then moved into the Body Shop where Brush Car 634 in its new Terror Tram advert was stabled awaiting attention prior to a potential entry into service later this year, also there were the bodies of Lytham 31 and Glasgow 1016, both of which are future major restoration projects. It was interesting to hear how both trams came to be snapped up by Heritage Tram Tours and the future plans for both trams. One current major restoration project on the tramway is that of Balloon 704. 704 has been stripped to its basic framework awaiting the fitting of a new underframe as it's current one is life expired and drooping at the ends. Once some repair work has been done on the current body frame, 704's frame will be transferred onto a new underframe that we will see in the next part of the tour, the fitting shop.
In the fitting shop, we see the large array of blacksmiths tools and the forge that alot of spare parts are made in. Due to the age of the fleet, parts are not available off the shelf so have to be made. One item that has been made recently from scratch is a complete replacement underframe, which will go under Balloon 704. The underframe for 704 which was built by one engineer working from a set of plans initially drawn up 90 years ago and found in the heritage archives. Again, this highlights the 'can do' attitude of the staff and volunteers at Heritage Tram Tours, Tram Town and Blackpool Transport.
Also in the Fitting Shop was Standard 143. Standard 143 was transferred to the Fylde Transport Trust in 2003 to restore from a fire damaged works tram back to its original condition as a 1924 built Standard Car. As it was discovered that there was an issue with one of 143s motors following restoration, the motors from Standard 147 have been transferred to 143 to allow the tram to enter service hopefully by the summer and 147 will also be back in service once the repaired motors have returned from the company who are repairing them.
Another feature of the Fitting shop that we got to see was the gas ring that is used to remove old tyres from the tram wheels and for the fitting of new tyres.
We then crossed over to the main depot building, where it is safe to say that the roof is in a sorry state and full of holes. Part of the reason for Tramtown being set up and the tours running is to help to raise some of the money required to replace the roof and to allow the tram fleet to be in a far more protected environment which will protect the heritage fleet from the elements. Future plans also include the current engineering facilities in the workshops being moved over into the main depot as well as the building being used as a visitor centre for the tramway, however not of the 'stuffed and mounted' variety where every tram in it becomes a non runner. Tramtown want the trams to be running out on the prom and also eventually to bring visitors to Tramtown by tram!
One thing you'll notice when you visit Tramtown is that there are always improvements from your last visit! In the space of 2 months, some new viewpoints have opened up within the sheds allowing you to get closer to and photograph more of the fleet, various parts of the depot have received a new coat of paint including the track numbers having been repainted on the ground on the depot fan. Last time we got to sit onboard Bolton 66, this time we got to sit on board Coronation 660 and found out some of the interesting history of the fleet of 25 Coronation trams that were meant to revolutionise the tramway in the 1950s but had a short working life and were mostly scrapped by the 1970s.
We were then taken to the first of the new viewing areas opened up where we heard some of the history of the illuminated fleet in front of the long stored Hovertram 735. The viewing area also gave the chance for a close look at Brush cars 625 and 632 as well as Twin Car trailers 681 and T2.
The next new viewing area gave a view of Princess Alice - Open topped Balloon 706, which is awaiting a new underframe and the long stored 'Tramnik 1' the Rocket tram 732. The final stop of the visit was to the Electrical Compound to see the Western Train and a visit to the shop, where I purchased a TramTown planter for my garden!
Before I left Tram Town, I asked our helpful guide if I could get a couple of photos of Balloons 700 and 703 and Railcoach 279, which is nearing completion of its restoration back to a series 2 EE Railcoach.
I would definately recommend a visit to TramTown for not just enthusiasts, but anyone who is interested in history! Tramtown run tours of the depot every Saturday and Monday both as a depot tour (approx. 1 hr 30 mins) or as a family tour (approx. 45 mins). Available dates and times can be found on their website: https://blackpoolheritage.com/guided-depot-tours/
After the tour, I made my way back to the prom and caught Centenary tram 648 to Pleasure Beach (to put my new planter in the car!). I then caught Bolton 66 to Bispham, where I got off to take some photos! Next I caught Balloon 715 to Little Bispham and back before switching to Boat 600 for a rather breezy run to Thornton Gate and back to Bispham! I then caught Centenary 648 to Little Bispham then back down to Pleasure Beach, where I took some more photos then headed home!
More Photos from my trip can be found at: https://scottishtrains.zenfolio.com/p820301502
Today as I was driving along the M74 and passing Hamilton Services (Northbound only services between Junction 6 Hamilton / Motherwell and Junction 5 Raith Interchange) I happened to notice one half of one of one of the new Glasgow Subway Trains on the back of a low loader in the lorry park so decided to visit the services to investigate!
It so happened that the other half of the same set was also parked up at the far end of the lorry park! The as yet unidentified set number was enroute to Broomloan Depot from Altenrheim in Switzerland and was being held at Hamilton Services until later in the day when the remainder of the route into Glasgow was a bit quieter with less traffic.
Glasgow Subway have ordered 17 Stadler built 4 car Metro trains to replace the 32 1970s built Metro Cammell Motor Cars and 8 1992 built Barclay trailers which are currently used on the system. The new trains are made up of 2 longer outer cars with 2 shorter centre cars and should be roughly the size of the trains they are replacing, with the added advantages of being fully accessible and each vehicle being interconnected, which is not the case just now. Once fully in service, these trains will eventually operate in Driverless mode, with the stations being adapted to have platform screen doors, where the screen doors line up with the train doors and open and close at the same time as the train doors.
The Sheffield Supertram network is a series of three tram and one experimental Tram-Train line in the city of Sheffield, with the Tram-Train line also service the town of Rotherham.
The Supertram network opened in stages between 1994 and 1995 as follows:
An additional extension in the form of a Tram-Train line, where the Tram-Train operated as a normal tram from Cathedral to Meadowhall South / Tinsley opened in 2018. Just past this stop, there is a junction which takes the tramway onto the Heavy rail network, and after a quick stop to change from Tramway control to Network Rail signalling, the TramTrain travels along the heavy rail line, with stops at Rotherham Central, where the stop is configured with tram train platforms and heavy rail platforms next to each other, before the line continues onwards to Rotherham Parkgate. If and when the heavy rail line to and through Rotherham is electrified, the built in switching equipment to allow the trams to change from the tramway's 750 volt power to the 25Kv Network Rail OHLE will come into use.
The services are formed with three colour coded routes and the Tram-Train serving the city centre, suburbs, shopping centres and park and rides with 50 tram stops around the city.
The 4 routes are:
The routes themselves featured a mixture of on street running, seperate reservations and running on former / or alongside current heavy rail lines and all meet in the City Centre with all services serving the main stops of Cathedral, Castle Square and Fitzalan Square. Some impressive structures were built to carry the tramway over roads and existing railways with the bridge over Commercial Street and Park Square roundabout being particularly stunning. Just south of that bridge is also an impressive triangular junction allowing trams from the city centre / Malin Bridge / Middlewood to head left to Meadowhall / Rotherham Parkgate or right to Herdings Park / Halfway. The third end is rarely used and is mostly used for depot runs or diversions. Nunnery Depot, where the full fleet is maintained, can be found on the Yellow Route.
The tram fleet is made up of two types of tram, these are the Duewags, consisting of 25 trams (numbered 101-125) and the Class 399 Stadler Citylink tram-trains (made up of 7 tram-trains numbered 399201-399207).
Built in 1992, the Siemens Duewag fleet have been the mainstay of the three all tram lines since the system opened. Each tram contains three articulated sections with two driving ends and a central section. The doors are found in the driving ends with 40% of each tram being low floor and step free access. Each tram holds 86 seated passengers with up to 155 standing passengers also accomodated.
Each tram has a maximum speed of 50mph and with every axle powered, can manage the gradients, some as steep as 10% across the network with ease.
Each tram underwent an overhaul between 2006 and 2009 with the majority being painted in the standard red, yellow and blue Stagecoach livery, with some exceptions.
Unfortunately due to not having the relevant Network Rail safety systems and crashworthiness, the Duewags cannot be used on the Tram-Train route between Meadowhall South / Tinsley and Rotherham Parkgate.
|101||Stagecoach Standard||In service|
|102||Stagecoach Standard||In service||Following an accident in 1995, 102 was reformed with a driving end from 111|
|103||Stagecoach Standard||In service|
|104||Stagecoach Standard||In service|
|105||Stagecoach Standard||Accident Repairs||Currently at Kilmarnock Bonnyton works for accident repairs|
|106||Stagecoach Standard||In service|
|107||Stagecoach Standard||In service|
|108||Stagecoach Standard||In service|
|109||Stagecoach Standard||In service|
|110||Stagecoach Standard||In service|
|111||Advert for Prettylittlething.com||In service||Following an accident in 1995, 111 was reformed with a driving end from 102|
|112||Advert for Stagecoach Supertram: on track for a greener future||In service|
|113||Stagecoach Standard||In service|
|114||Stagecoach Standard||In service|
|115||Stagecoach Standard||In service|
|116||Advert for XPO Logistics||In service|
|117||Stagecoach Standard||In service|
|118||Advert for Prettylittlething.com||In service||Following a collision in 2015, 118 was reformed with a driving end from 120.|
|119||Stagecoach Standard||In service|
|120||Sheffield Corporation Blue and Cream||In service||Following a collision in 2015, 120 was reformed with a driving end from 118.|
|121||Stagecoach Standard||In service|
|122||Stagecoach Standard||In service|
|123||Stagecoach Standard with 21st Anniversary Window vynals||In service|
|124||Stagecoach Standard||In service|
|125||Stagecoach Standard||In service|
Stadler Citylink Tram-Trains:
Built in 2015, the Stadler Citylink Tram-Trains have two main uses, numbers 399201-204 are allocated to operate on the Tram-Train service between Cathedral and Rotherham Parkgate , with numbers 399205-207 being used as Tram only and can operate on the Blue, Purple or Yellow routes to provide additional capacity.
Due to 201-204's wheels being profiled for heavy rail and 205-207's wheels being profiled for tram track, 201-204 are confined to the Tram-Train route and 205-207 are confined to tram routes.
The TramTrains consist of three sections and are fully low floor. They hold 96 seated and 150 standing passengers and have a maximum speed of 60mph.
|399201||Stagecoach Standard||In service||Tram-Train line use only|
|399202||Stagecoach Standard||In service||Tram-Train line use only. Named 'Theo' 399202 reformed with part of 399204 following a collision with a road vehicle on a level crossing.|
|399203||Stagecoach Standard||In service||Tram-Train line use only|
|399204||Stagecoach Standard||In service||Tram-Train line use only. 399204 reformed with part of 399202 following a collision with a road vehicle on a level crossing.|
|399205||Stagecoach Standard||In service||Tram line use only|
|399206||Stagecoach Standard||In service||Tram line use only. Initally used on Tram-train route, wheels reprofiled to tram profile 2020.|
|399207||Stagecoach Standard||In service||Tram line use only|
I only had just over 3 hours to spend in Sheffield on the 12th on my first ever trip to the area so had to make the most of it. I met up with @JamesTGlossop from Twitter, who showed me round! Firstly from Sheffield Station, we bought Day Tickets from the onboard conductor for the excellent price of £4.60 and headed into Sheffield onboard 108 on a Blue Route service towards Cathedral.
After a short time photoing here, we caught Tram 122 on a yellow route service to Meadowhall South / Tinsley, where we caught 399201 to Rotherham Parkgate then back to Meadowhall South/Tinsley. We then walked round to Meadowhall Interchange and caught 120 on a Yellow service as far as Netherthorpe Road.
After a few photos there, we caught 106 on a blue route service to Park Grange Croft, then 112 to Granville Road, where we got off and walked back to Sheffield station taking a few photos on the way!
On the day of my visit, trams on the Blue Route were terminating at Beighton / Drake House Lane due to overhead line issues.
Tram-Train 399201, 399203
Yellow Route: 122, 103, 101, 120, 102, 113
Blue Route: 115, 108, 112, 111, 117, 106, 123
Purple Route: 124
Not In Service (0): 109
On depot: 116, 119, 121
I'd definately recommend a visit to Sheffield for the trams and the Tram-Trains and hope to go back there sometime soon! For photos from my trip, either click on the links in the fleet lists above or visit my gallery at: https://scottishtrains.zenfolio.com/p1025895743
BR Blue liveried 47614 and BR Large Logo liveried 47593 'Galloway Princess' are seen heading south through Carluke with 0Z42 Mossend - Carlisle High Wapping Sidings light engine move 27.2.22
BR Large Logo liveried 47593 'Galloway Princess' and BR Blue liveried 47614 and a set of Intercity Mark 3's pass through Greenfaulds with 1Z59 London Euston - Inverness 'The Clansman' railtour 26.2.22
The weekend of 19th and 20th February saw Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours first 'Gold Weekend' of 2022. The weekend was due to start of Friday 18th with an evening tour onboard the Western Train, however the tail end of Storm Eunice put paid to that and an additional tour operated on Saturday 19th instead.
The Gold Weekend saw the use of 6 heritage trams on a series of workings from Pleasure Beach to Little Bispham, Thornton Gate or Fisherman's Walk in Fleetwood. Due to gas pipe works in Fleetwood, both the service and heritage trams could not reach Fleetwood Ferry so terminated at Fisherman's walk instead. There was also the chance for a twice daily run by heritage bus to Fleetwood and back on both the Saturday and Sunday and twice daily tours of Rigby Road Depot.
The initial allocation for the Heritage Fleet on the Saturday was Diagram A: Balloon 717, Diagram B: Brush Car 631, Diagram C: Millennium Balloon 718, Diagram D Boat 600, Diagram E: Bolton 66 and Diagram F: Centenary 648. This was to be Centenary 648's first run in service since pre pandemic in early 2020. Due to the poor weather, Boat 600 and Bolton 66 were removed from the roster and replaced by the more suitable enclosed Brush Car 621 and Balloon 715.
I arrived in Blackpool around 10.15am to torrential rain. By the time I got parked at Pleasure Beach and made my way to Rigby Road depot, the rain had turned to rather large flakes of snow and spotted enroute were Brush Car 621 and Balloon 717! I was booked on to the 11am tour at Rigby Road and luckily we were allowed in early to take shelter in the main tram shed!
The tour began with a trip to the Fitting Shop, which incidentally was the warmest building on the tour! In the Fitting Shop was Standard 143, which had been getting attention to it's motors and was being prepared a potential return to service at Easter!
We were also shown the Blacksmith's forge and some of the tools used. Due to the uniqueness of the heritage fleet and the lack of spares, many of the replacement parts are home made in Rigby Road depot, an example of homemade parts was also layed out in the fitting shop in the form of a brand new underframe for Balloon 704, which was built by only one person!
Balloon 704 has been stripped to a shell for a heritage restoration back to 1950's style. It was good to hear that a second new underframe was also in the pipeline, this one being for open top Balloon 706, which is currently withdrawn.
We also saw the gas burner that is used for the removal / fitting of tyres to the wheels. Also seen in the Fitting shop was a couple of refurbished truck frames from a Centenary car.
Next we were taken into the Paint Shop, it was interesting to hear that all the buses and trams are still hand painted, being worked on at the time was a single and a double deck Palladium bus as well as the replica tank tram. The replica tank tram was a project by some local colleges to replicate a vehicle that would have been created from the body or around the frame of a disused tram on many systems across the country during World War 1 to raise money to buy tanks. There was also an interesting array of art work and posters on the wall.
After the Paint Shop we moved next door and visited the body shop where the body and frames of Lytham 43 and Glasgow 1016 are stored along with a large scale model of Standard car 40, which was used as part of a display back in 1985 for the Centenary year.
In the Body Shop, Work was well underway on the bodyframe being carried out on Balloon 704, which as mentioned above had been stripped to a shell for restoration to commence. Once its new underframe is complete, the old underframe will be rolled out from underneath it and scrapped, whilst the new frame is rolled underneath the body frame and work can commence on the restoration. Also in the body shop was Brush Car 634, which was repainted into Terror Tram advert during 2021, complete with skulls on the end, a recreation of an advert carried by the tram in the late 1990s. 634 was awaiting the fitting of a trolley tower and pantograph, to allow it to re-enter service for the first time since 2004.
One of the main reasons the tours are taking place is to help to raise funds to repair the roof of the main tram shed, which is in a terrible state with holes and leaks everywhere and that's where we headed next! We were firstly taken into the Electrical compound, which being the driest part of the main depot is used to store the boat cars and some others that are awaiting attention. Boats 600, 227 (602) and 230 (604) along with Centenary 642, Standard 147 and Millennium Balloon 707 were seen in there. We were then taken along the rear of the main sheds, where we saw some of the withdrawn trams such as Balloon 726, Coronation 304, Balloon 720, Brush car 290, Twin Cars 676+686 and 272+T2. We were then taken into Bolton 66 for a heat! At this point the main tour was over, though I would like to thank Paul, who took me round to the far side of the sheds to photo the hovertram, Balloon 708, Brush 625 and 632.
I then headed back to the prom and by this time, the snow had halted and had began melting. It was a strange sight seeing Brush Cars 621 and 631 with their fronts covered in snow! I caught Brush Car 631 up to Bispham for a few shots of the trams in the snow, then caught 718 down to North Pier. On reaching North Pier, Balloon 711 had appeared in the loop and was being used as the shop tram and the sun had came out! After getting a few photos at North Pier, I walked back along the prom in the wall to wall sunshine, taking photos of the t rams on the way. I reached Pleasure Beach at 3.20 and was hoping to catch a couple of photos of 648, however the tram had suffered from a loss of power fault and by the time it was repaired, it was over 20 minutes late in reaching Pleasure Beach. 648 was returned to depot and Balloon 711 took over the remainder of 648's duties. It was at this point it was time for me to head back home.
Overall, it was an enjoyable day, I'd thoroughly reccomend the depot tour though you will need to be quick to book as they are fully booked up for months! More photos from the day can be found at: https://scottishtrains.zenfolio.com/p490848536
My entire collection of Blackpool Tram photos from 2003 to today can be found at: https://scottishtrains.zenfolio.com/f595940839
I was clearing out my Portable Hard Drive and came across a list of some of my journeys of class 303s and 314s from 2000 and 2001. It's not a complete record as it only features the days that I actually remembered to keep a note! It does however give a snapshot of what was operating on both the Argyle and Cathcart Circle lines in the final years of 303 operation.
Class 303s in service during this period were: 303001, 003, 004, 006, 008, 009, 010 (till Dec 2000), 011, 012, 013, 014, 015, 016, 019, 020, 021, 023, 025 (till Sep/Oct 2000), 027, 032, 033, 034, 037, 043, 045, 047, 054, 056, 058 (till Sep 2000), 065, 070, 077, 079, 080, 083, 085, 087, 088, 090, 091.
29th August 2000:
30th August 2000:
1st September 2000:
4th September 2000:
5th September 2000:
6th September 2000:
7th September 2000:
8th September 2000:
11th September 2000:
13th September 2000:
14th September 2000:
8th September 2000:
5th December 2000:
6th December 2000:
7th December 2000:
8th December 2000:
11th December 2000:
12th December 2000:
13th December 2000:
15th January 2001:
23rd January 2001:
30th January 2001:
7th February 2001:
13th February 2001:
19th February 2001:
20th February 2001:
25th February 2001:
6th March 2001:
7th March 2001:
8th March 2001:
19th March 2001:
They worked as 5Z50 from Crewe and as 5Z51 back to Crewe mid afternoon as ECS workings as test runs and route learning prior to working on tour duty to Glasgow Central on Thursday 26th January. 87002, the coaching stock and DVT 82136, looked fantastic in their heritage livery and a massive well done goes to all those who restored the vehicles back to this livery.
Most of my Photographs and sightings are from my favourite locations in the Lanarkshire area, including