'Saved' Blackpool Trams At Risk

Discussion in 'Other Public Transport' started by BestWestern, 9 Nov 2011.

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  1. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    http://www.britishtramsonline.co.uk/oct11/newsblackpool3.html
    http://ltt-news.blogspot.com/

    Here we go :(

    After the widespread relief that most of Blackpool's historic tramcars had been saved from a tragic scrapping at the hands of an unsentimental Blackpool Transport, we now have the inevitable news coming through that actually it's not all quite so rosy.

    Now that the 'old' cars have graced the system for the last time proper, we hear that BT are in no mood for extending these unwelcome former workhorses any sympathy, and they want their Rigby Road depot emptied asap, (such is their pressing need to apparently fill it up with buses which currently have a very large parking area elsewhere on the site, as they have done for years). Several owners of various tramcars have struggled to find storage for them in time for the pre-set deadline of the end of the year, and things now look a bit tricky. The Lancastrian Transport Trust are the worst affected and say their various proposals for some form of museum within the town have been shunned by the council (who own BT), as have their requests to house their important collection at the Rigby Road premises.

    How very sad. How many of these cars will soon end up sat rotting in a field somewhere? :(
     
    Last edited: 9 Nov 2011
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  3. Crimson_Quiff

    Crimson_Quiff Member

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    I was down at Rigby Road depot on Wednesday night after a session in the pub! The trackfan is full of Leyland Olympians (the one's normally used on School Services in and around Blackpool). The depot lights were also off and on the last day (Sunday 6th Nov), after the last tram entered depot, I overheard one of the depot bods mention they were going to start cutting up the scrappers as early as Monday! As far as I know, nothing has come of that yet but it can't be too long now before the likes of the Centenary cars and 723 are sent on a date with the cutter's torch...

    Balloons 711 and 719 are, allegedly, part of the retained fleet and are to have the new doors fitted. But, personally, I think this is only rumour. I'll believe it when I see it...
     
  4. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    Have Blackpool Transport Services issued any recent formal statement with concern to the future utilisation of the Rigby Road depot and the trams currently stored there?
     
  5. ChrisCooper

    ChrisCooper Established Member

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    They are supposed to be doing another 3 with the modified doors, and will need them if they want to cover the planned 10min Pleasure Beach to Little Bispham service with modified balloons, unless they are planning on using Flexities as spairs for that service (wouldn't put it past them). 723 is listed as being retained. The only "scrappers" I know of are 642, 643 and 645, the latter which was already being broken on Sunday after failing in service to provide parts to get 643 running.
     
  6. theblackwatch

    theblackwatch Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    This shows that organisations need to realise that buying a vehicle is the easy part. LTT have been given plenty of notice to move these trams, did they have no plan in place for them when they bought them?
     
  7. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    That's a fair comment, reading between the lines in the attached reports it does sounds rather as though they had pinned all their plans on there being a museum of some type up and running, which the council clearly have no interest in, or them being allowed to store the cars at Rigby Road. To BT's credit, they apparently have offered to help the LTT find alternative storage. Still, it's a shame that nothing official is in the pipeline with regard to an attraction of some type, perhaps the best hope now is for the LTT to join forces with the group hoping to open a museum in Fleetwood?
     
  8. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

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    Maybe if the Heritage groups joined forces fundraising with the council they may be able to scrounge up some grant from somewhere for the original plan of a museum/visitor centre at Starr Gate.
     
  9. northernrail

    northernrail Member

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    What about 701?
     
  10. Cliveblackpool

    Cliveblackpool Member

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    Have BTS lost some of their parking, and are now desperate to use the tram depot?
    Rigby road would make a great tram museum, and all the infrastructure is there, and it is still connected to the tramway. Blackpool is losing a huge opportunity here. Blackpool Councillors today haven't the vision of their predecessors like Mayor John Bickerstaffe (Tower)
     
  11. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    No, they haven't lost any parking. They just don't want anything to do with 'old trams' any more by the looks of it. Yes, Rigby Road would have made a good tram museum, but of course it would cost money. Having spent copious millions of taxpayer's money on the 'new' network, Blackpool Council clearly have no desire to spend any of their own cash on what is a major part of their town's history. Shame, but not at all surprising given their new-found attitude.
     
  12. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    As part of the regeneration of Blackpool, with tourist attraction in mind and because of the long historical association with trams, a tramway museum would seem to be an obvious choice as a tourist attraction.
     
  13. astock5000

    astock5000 Member

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    There was a rumour that 701 would be overhauled and fitted with new plug doors, but from what I've read recently only 9 Balloons/Millenniums will get them (the 7 already converted, and 711 & 719).
     
  14. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    It's a real shame that something constructive couldn't have been developed with the Rigby Road site. Blackpool Transport has no real use for it, bus storage is simply an obvious way to do something with a building they would rather sell for housing development I suspect. What ought to have happened is a lease offered to a consortium, perhaps formed of Crich and the LCC, to use the premises as a joint visitor attraction and works. The site could be open to the public on weekends, with tickets perhaps including a ride along the 'Prom in something interesting and universally appealing to help draw in the crowds. The 'Tram Driving Experience' could be further promoted, and the hiring of private cars for functions and weddings developed as a business avenue. BT would then be earning something from lease and costs paid for the operation of the consortium's cars over the network, and the system would be getting the recognition of it's history that is so rightly deserves.

    Alas, we'll just stick some buses in there instead... :|
     
  15. Cliveblackpool

    Cliveblackpool Member

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    many thanks BestWestern

    I have heard that they are going to fill in the tram pits in the depot to enable parking of buses inside.:(
     
  16. ChrisCooper

    ChrisCooper Established Member

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    I don't know why they need more bus parking anyway as they already have a big depot next door. Ok most is outside, but the majority of bus companies keep most of their fleet outside, infact the majority of depots I can think of that are largely undercover are former tram depots anyway. There will also be all that empty space outside of the bus depot being wasted (unless they have plans to sell off parts of the bus depot). It's not like they are expanding, infact like most companies the fleet is getting smaller. A big chunk of the fleet is primarily for schools, and in many areas school contracts are being slashed.
     
  17. theblackwatch

    theblackwatch Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  18. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    This is ridiculous now, really. I wonder what it is that Blackpool Council have against the trams which made their own town so unique all these years. I'm hopeful that, despite their aggressive threats, the authorities would actually prefer not to have a front page story in the Gazette showing these historical vehicles being carted off to the scrapheap at their behest.

    We shall see...
     
    Last edited: 25 Nov 2011
  19. ChrisCooper

    ChrisCooper Established Member

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    I'm wondering how many years it will be before first the proper heritage trams (147 etc) go, then the modified Balloons. Then again, a few years after that the Flexity 2s will probably go too when the system closes down. Shame they are too wide to run in Nottingham as they will need some new trams in a few years.
     
  20. theblackwatch

    theblackwatch Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Is giving some a year to remove something they have bought really 'aggressive'? Anyway, according to http://www.facebook.com/profile.php....144429358990301.21640.144002195699684&type=1 it now seems some form of compromise has been reached - LTT have been given till the and of the year to come up with a credible business plan with regards to their proposed museum. The ball's now in their court.
     
  21. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    It's arguably more aggressive than it needs to be, considering that it's being done only due to the attitude of Blackpool Tranny's new management, rather than for any apparent reason. It appears from some of your recent postings that you are not at all sympathetic toward the heritage movement trying to save some part of the rich heritage that has now been thrown away?
     
  22. theblackwatch

    theblackwatch Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Actually, I'd love to see any plans for a museum come to fruition. The LTT have done some fantastic work in the past (Coronation 304 and OMO 8 spring to mind) but I'm not convinced that buying a load of trams for which there appeared to be no long-term home agreed was the best of ideas - hopefully I can be proved wrong. Any preservation scheme has to be realistic (buying something is the easy part - all you need is a chequebook!), and I do think the latest proposal, giving LTT a month to come up with its proposal, is a sensible compromise and will allow them to demonstrate that there is a workable solution to this.
     
  23. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    I would imagine it was probably a case of buy them or see them scrapped :| Thank goodness organisations like the LTT exist, and were able to step in here, or most of what they've bought would likely have been cut up, or at best end up hidden away somewhere never to run again. Again, the attitudes of BT are under the spotlight here, I somehow find it very unlikely they'd have done anything other then scrap anything that wasn't sold.
     
  24. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    As I have said before, Blackpool is an ideal place to have a Tramway Museum with its long association with trams and for the numbers of visitors who flock to this resort on holiday every year, where it could be properly marketed as a tourist attraction.
     
  25. theblackwatch

    theblackwatch Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  26. umontu

    umontu Member

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    Great news! Handy space for them too!
     
  27. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    So it looks like a total of two years for the project in hand, according to this report.

    How many trams will it hold?
     
    Last edited: 27 Dec 2011
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