Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Ribble Atlantean 1805 (RRN405) returns to the road

Ribble 1805 seen at Piece Hall as the last bus on 27th October 2013. Photo by Jono Niblock

After spending the last few years in store one of the trust's founding buses Ribble 1805 successfully passed its MOT in October.

This involved a lot of work on the chassis and rear framing including repairs to the fibre glass floor around the lower rear saloon. The work was as usual, more than was originally anticipated but was very pleasing for all involved when she was successfully given 12 months clean bill of health by Martins of Middlewich after a long run down the M6!

Following on from the news of the MOT pass and with the vehicle performing well the opportunity was taken for 1805 to attend the Heart of Pennine Rally on 27th October 2013.

As part of the event 1805 had the honour of been the last bus at Piece Hall, the event will no longer be running to the hall due to renovation work. The bus had full loads and was enjoyed by a lot of people on the day.

It is planned that 1805 will be attending several events over the forthcoming year.

This now means that the trust has an operating example from Blackpool, Lytham St Annes and Ribble once more. 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

622 moves back home - for now!

The new owners of the LTT's former depot on Brinwell Road required the space that 622 occupied following its repaint and so arrangements where made with Blackpool Transport to house the tram until it can be delivered to Anchorsholme Primary School. On 8th November therefore 622, looking superb in its Tigerrific livery, was moved by Scotts Heavy Haulage back to Rigby Road depot.
622 is winched onto the Scotts' low loader for transport back to Rigby Road depot.

Monday, 7 October 2013

A Tiger gains its stripes

The finishing touches are now being put to the paintwork on Brush Railcoach 622 prior to its delivery to Anchorsholme Primary School - the tiger stripes. 622 is really looking superb!

143 and 279 return home

The next stage of the merger of the BTS & LTT heritage tram fleets occurred today with Standard 143 and Railcoach 279 returning home to Rigby Road tram depot. 279 was collected by Scotts first, after being reunited with its trucks, with 143 following in the afternoon.
Hopefully, once the new charity is established, both these cars will receive workshop attention to return them both to active service in 2014 - this will be 143's 90th birthday year and the 80th anniversary of the English Electric Railcoach. It will also be 40 years since the last original style Railcoach could be seen in Blackpool, prior to rebuilding into OMO car 11.
279 showing the work in progress to rebuild the tram into its guise as a genuine English Electric Railcoach

143 exiting the LTT's Brinwell Road depot

Saturday, 24 August 2013

622 update

Now fully glossed on one side, Brush Car 622 is really beginning to take shape in its 1975 guise as the "Tigerrific" tram. This is the latest picture showing the authentic shades of blue and yellow, applied by the paint shop staff at Classic Bus North West. Still to add of course are the black roof stripes and Tiger graphics.

Cinderella Coronation gets makeover

663 has spent more years in preservation than it did operating, but in partnership with an LTT member restoration has now started after 37 years.
After spending more years in preservation than it did it operation, the Cinderella of surviving Coronation cars (663) is now receiving a makeover, 37 years after departing from Rigby Road tram depot. The restoration work is being funded by donations from a member of the LTT with the Trust contributing the value of Gift Aid received from the donations into the long awaited restoration project.

Work has already started on the first phase of the restoration of car 663 which will focus on the bodywork and it is intended that the tram will be restored to its early 1970s condition of green & cream with roof advertising boxes. A strip down of the tram has revealed the effect of several years of both outside storage and under leaking roofs, with some corrosion and rotten timberwork. However, the solid steel construction of these trams means that the problems are easily remedied.

663 was originally acquired for preservation by Graham Oliver. After residence at Lytham Motive Power Museum and later Steamport Transport Museum, Southport, No. 663 was acquired by the West Yorkshire Transport Museum intended for operation at a museum in Low Moor, Bradford. Although the museum, known as Transperience, opened to the public in the 1990s, it soon closed and the collection was dispersed. No. 663 passed into private preservation once again. Temporary residence at St. Helens Transport Museum (rejoining sister car No. 304) was secured but the tram later moved closer to the owner’s home in Richmond.

In February 2002, No. 663 was offered to the LTT collection free of charge after its owner decided to dispose of the car. Storage of the tram at Richmond continued until April 2003 when 663 returned to Blackpool after an absence of 27 years - it departed in August 1976. Since then the LTT has funded the car’s storage at £114 per month at Brinwell Road, totalling over £13,000!

Following the news that the LTT and BTS collections will merge and 663 was not included in the merger, an LTT member offered to fund the bodywork restoration of 663 to ensure its continued preservation and reverse the fortunes of this Cinderella tram. Eric Berry, trustee said “this is an example of people simply putting their money where their mouth is and making a very positive contribution to the preservation of Blackpool’s tramway heritage”.

Thursday, 22 August 2013


A very unusual, very popular transit vehicle is about to cross the Atlantic to resume its career of delighting riders on a waterfront route, albeit two oceans away from its original home.  1934 “boat tram” 233 will “set sail” on board a cargo ship in mid-September to join its twin in San Francisco, California, for planned operation on that city’s famous “F-line,” which serves the Fisherman’s Wharf and downtown areas with historic streetcars from around the world.
The arrangement between two not-for-profit preservation groups will benefit historic transit operations in both San Francisco and Blackpool, bringing a second boat tram to serve growing demand on the waterfront transit needs in the American city while providing funding to help restore a vintage double-deck Blackpool tram for possible future operation back on its home network.
Market Street Railway, which serves as the non-profit preservation partner of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (a department of the City and County of San Francisco), has acquired boat tram No. 233 from the Lancastrian Transport Trust (LTT).
No. 233 is one of 12 trams LTT acquired from Blackpool Transport when the tramway declared them surplus to operational requirements.  Recently, LTT and Blackpool Transport have announced the merger of most of their historic collections for potential joint operation.  However, since Blackpool Transport already has three boat trams, No. 233 was not included in this amalgamation and remained surplus. At the same time, LTT desired funding to continue its restoration of double-deck Blackpool Standard tram No. 143, built in 1924.
 “This arrangement benefits all parties involved,” said Eric Berry, Trustee. “We will now be able to continue restoration work on our historically important double-deck tram, whilst the three boat trams owned by Blackpool Transport continue to provide service there.” 
 “We’re delighted to be acquiring this boat tram, while helping LTT fund its restoration project,” said Rick Laubscher, president of Market Street Railway. “San Francisco’s transit agency has been operating an identical boat tram for 30 years; it’s one of the most popular vehicles in the city’s vintage streetcar fleet. Acquiring No. 233, will allow more people to ride this popular open-air vehicle type in San Francisco.”
Twelve of these open-topped boat trams were built for Blackpool Transport in 1934. Three still occasionally operate in Blackpool along the promenade on the Irish Sea, to the delight of riders and car 236 is preserved at the National Tramway Museum.  Over subsequent decades, other boat trams ended up in museums or were scrapped. One of these 12 boat trams, numbered 228, came to San Francisco in 1985 to participate in that city’s “Historic Trolley Festival,” a summertime demonstration project that grew into a full-time streetcar route called the F-line. 
The F-line runs six miles from Fisherman’s Wharf along the waterfront and then along the city’s main street, Market Street, to reach the Castro District.  The F-line carries approximately eight million riders per year as part of San Francisco’s regular transit system, called Muni, part of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. 
For the past 18 months, No. 233 has been on a two-year loan from LTT to Beamish, The Living Museum of the North, located in County Durham, England, just south of Newcastle upon Tyne.  There, it has joined several historic trams owned by the museum in ferrying visitors around the grounds.  “We are glad for the opportunity to have had this boat tram visit us,” said Paul Jarman, Head of Transport & Industry of the Beamish Museum.  “We wish it well on its voyage to its new San Francisco home.”
Shipping arrangements are currently being finalized, with boat tram No. 233 likely to sail from England in September, arriving in California in October. The latest news on the location of the tram will be available on

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

622 begins to look Tigerrific

Tram 622 is beginning to look Tigerrific. The tram is receiving a version of its 1975 all-over advert livery for Blackpool Zoo Park, perhaps one of the most eye-catching and iconic all-over advert designs carried by a Blackpool tram.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Lion roars again!

Former Lytham St.Annes Leyland Lion 34 joined the LTT collection back in July 2008 and has gathered dust in Brinwell Road depot ever since. However, the bus has now been adopted as a project by Classic Bus North West's apprenctice mechanic Joe Higgs who has, within a week, got the vehicle mobile once more. Recently, 34 was given a 75-point safety inspection and now an action plan is being put together to restore the bus for special events and private hire work.

Lion 34 on the hywemas receiving its 75-point safety inspection

Friday, 14 June 2013

Changes at the top!

Following the fantastic news that the LTT and Blackpool Transport are working together to create a new charitible Trust for the combined heritage tramcar collection, Philip Higgs has decided to step down from his role as a Trustee of the LTT.
Philip said "I have every confidence in Bryan Lindop's commitment and energy to develop the new charitible Trust in partnership with the LTT and other organisations. My own business interest in Classic Bus North West is an obvious impediment to the relationship that now needs to develop between LTT and Blackpool Transport. A fantastic opportunity now exists to create a first class heritage tram collection and perhaps a future tramway museum facility in the resort which has been an aspiration of the LTT since it was founded and the realisation of this will still have my full commitment."
Two of the many projects progressed by Philip Higgs during his period as a Trustee; Brush car 632 and Coronation 304.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Coronation 304 & OMO 8 return home!

Ahead of the development of the new Trust which will look after the combined fleets of heritage trams, Blackpool Transport agreed to accept delivery of two vehicles from the LTT collection, with both arriving at Rigby Road on 11th June. The moves represent the first actions resulting from the positive partnership that now exists between the LTT & Blackpool Transport to conserve and showcase Blackpool's tramcar heritage.
The first to move was Coronation Car 304, which moved from its temporary outside storage at Fleetwood. Thankfully, the efficient movement of 304 by Scotts Heavy Haulage allowed time for a second move, with OMO car 8 also returning to Rigby Road depot later in the day from outside storage at Marton.
Back home! 304 is shunted back into its stable at Rigby Road depot on 11 June.
Apart from the Unimog, this could almost me a scene from 1974 when nine "plum & custard" OMO cars were in service in Blackpool.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Blackpool Transport & LTT to merge Heritage Tramcar Collection

Blackpool Transport and the Lancastrian Transport Trust intend to merge their heritage tramcar fleets by the creation of a new charitable trust which will consolidate the combined collection.
This positive move will guarantee a safe future for a precious collection of former Blackpool trams which span the era from the 1920s to the 1970s, and allow them to be seen once again on the Blackpool tramway for the first time in a number of years. 
Eric Berry, Trustee and Founder of the Lancastrian Transport Trust, stated: “Several years ago, when the upgrade of the Blackpool and Fleetwood tramway was first proposed, we began to acquire for posterity key types of Blackpool tramcars to ensure that a representative collection would survive on the Fylde Coast for the benefit of future generations. At that time it was unclear if heritage trams would have a viable future alongside the brand new fleet of Supertrams.”
“However, now that the tramway upgrade has been completed we have witnessed Blackpool Transport, and Blackpool Council’s, outstanding commitment to retaining and operating a working heritage tram fleet in the town. We now feel it only correct that the trams which we had saved for the future should return to their home tramway and into the care of the new charity.” 
Head of Blackpool Transport’s heritage tram operations, Bryan Lindop, commented: “I am thrilled that the Lancastrian Transport Trust has recognised the work that Blackpool Transport has done to secure a firm future for the best of the heritage trams in Blackpool. It was always our intention to retain, and continue to invest in, our most significant heritage trams, and to showcase these unique vehicles on the Promenade for the delight of residents and visitors alike. The creation of a new charity for the combined collections will allow us to build on our strengths and fill in the gaps in each collection, allowing us to develop a truly world class collection of heritage trams, right here in Blackpool!”
Bryan continued: “What we now need to do is to work together to mobilise tram enthusiasts, supporting groups and other interested parties into helping us to achieve our aims, for the benefit of all. To see these trams back running on Blackpool’s famous seaside tramway would be fantastic, but it will come at a price!” 
Eric Berry concluded: “We have always seen the Blackpool tramway as the logical home for our collection of Blackpool trams, and are delighted that the creation of the new charity will make this possible and allow transport enthusiasts and the public the opportunity to experience travel on the transport of yesteryear, which has always been the Lancastrian Transport Trust’s main aim.” 
The two organisations will now work together to form a charitable trust to care for the expanded fleet of heritage trams. This will be managed independently of Blackpool Transport’s core business but supported by representatives from both sides, and will allow for the chance to explore funding opportunities not normally available to a commercial organisation. Operation of the heritage trams will be undertaken by Blackpool Transport, as operators of the tramway. 
OMO 8 on one of its rare outings since restoration by the LTT in 2010.
Under the proposals being discussed scenes such as this will once again be possible with heritage trams currently owned by Blackpool Transport and the LTT operating together again on the tramway. Blackpool Transport would be the operator but the heritage trams would be in the care of a charitible Trust.

Monday, 27 May 2013

LTT buses operate on Heritage Day

The loan of two LTT buses to Classic Bus North West on Saturday 25 May for its first Heritage Day proved to be quite a success. Blackpool 529 and Lytham 19 joined CBNW's own London Routemaster RM1568 on the 30-min Saturday service. This was the first working of a Blackpool PD3 on service 22 since back in 1988 when the type was withdrawn from service by Blackpool Transport. Many local passengers were surprised by the arrival of the vintage buses and enthusiasts, some travelling from as far south as London, enjoyed the heritage workings. Further heritage dates are now being discussed with CBNW.
529 captured on Langdale Road at Mereside

Lytham 19 basks in the sunshine at Bispham Village

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Heritage Day Timetable

529 will become the first Blackpool PD3 to operate on service 22 for nearly 25 years
Blackpool 529, Lytham 19 and an iconic London Routemaster will be operating on Classic Bus North West's "Catch 22" service this Saturday on the first heritage day. Full details have now been  published on the Catch 22 website. See
The CBNW depot will also be open to visitors and will feature a display of CBNW and LTT owned buses. It will be the first time that a Blackpool PD3 has operated on service 22 for nearly 25 years, with the last PD3s being withdrawn from regular service in November 1988.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Coronation 304 returns

Coronation 304 departed Beamish following its extended stay at the open-air museum on Thursday 7th March. The tram was booked to return to the LTT's Brinwell Road site, moved by Scott's Heavy Haulage, but unfortunately the length of the low loader and the critical tolerances required to access both the LTT's storage premises and the neighbouring Classic Bus operating depot forced Scott's to abandon the unloading of 304 as planned, despite several successful moves to & from the site previously.
304 being unloaded alongside former stablemates, Balloon 726 & Jubilee car 761
Arrangements were hurriedly made through John Woodmman of Friends of Fleetwood Trams to temporarily store 304 at the Halsall premises in Fleetwood alongside other former Blackpool trams whilst alternative undercover accommodation is now sought for 304.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

'Handybus' 575 assessed for Catch 22 Heritage Day

Handybus 575 posed on Langdale Road on Mereside whilst a Dennis Dart of CBNW passes by on the 'Catch 22' bus service
It was 2005 when Optare City Pacer 575 was last used by the Trust but this week has seen the minibus extracted and moved to Brinwell Road for assessment. It is one of a selection of buses being considered for the "Catch 22 Heritage Running Day" on Saturday 25 May. Although never operated on service 22, Handybuses were regulars on services 7/7A, 9 and 23/24/25 that share roads with the current 22 service. If prepared for MoT then Handybus 575 will be used on only a few special workings on the heritage day - but it is proposed to issue a detailed schedule prior to the day.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Catch 22 - Heritage Running Day

Buses from the LTT collection will be operating in passenger service on Saturday 25 May. In co-operation with Classic Bus North West, we are hosting a Heritage Running Day on "Catch 22" between Mereside and Cleveleys. Buses will operate every 30 minutes on the Saturday service and a selection of buses are being considered including Blackpool PD3 No.529, Routemaster 521 (RM1583), Atlantean 334 & Swift 570, Fylde 71, Lytham 19, Ribble 1997 as well as some other surprises. More details to follow...
Blackpool 521 & Lytham 19 will be amongst the vehicles selected for operation on the Catch 22 heritage running day on Saturday 25 May between Mereside and Cleveleys.
It is 25 years since PD3s last operated on service 22 to Cleveleys - the last examples being withdrawn from regular service in November 1988. 529 will be a definite on the Catch 22 running day.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Off to Preston with 1997

Our attempts to complete the restoration of Ribble Bristol VRT No.1997 have been frustrated by the bus developing a series of electrical and mechanical faults and us labelling them under the "not enough hours in the day" category. Well today we decided to fill a slot at Ribblesdale Electrics in Preston where 1997's faulty ignition, charging & warning lamp circuits will be rewired. This will bring 1997 another few steps closer to finally returning to use...
A snowy setting for 1997 on route to Preston for rewiring

Monday, 4 February 2013

LTT - where it all began

It is now 30 years since the first vehicles were acquired for preservation by the LTT (then known as the Lancastrian Transport Group). The group was formed as a result of Eric Berry and Philip Higgs both becoming involved in the preservation of early examples of low-height rear engined buses; Lancashire United Daimler Fleetline 97 and Ribble Atlantean 1805, both of 1962 origin.
After a period in store, both buses have been extracted for photographs recently and it is hoped that they will be MoT'd this summer for further use.
LUT 97 displaying X60 Blackpool posed at the former Mereside bus terminus with a BTS Dennis Trident passing in the background.
Same location but with Ribble 1805 showing off its Robertsons Bread advert revealed after its illuminated advert panels were re-rubbered to prevent water ingress.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Tigerrific tram to return

The iconic Tigerrific advert tram is to return! Car 622, acquired in 2010 to provide a set of overhauled trucks to roll under car 632 (sponsored by TRAMS magazine), was never intended for preservation. Following an approach by Anchorsholme Primary School in Cleveleys, car 622 is to gain a new lease of life as a static classroom within the school grounds and in respect of the tram's heritage, the Tigerrific style advert livery is to be reapplied.
Some interior upgrading will also feature in the work. Four seats will be removed at each of the cab ends of the tram to be replaced by a teacher's desk, whilst concealed fluorsecent lighting, floor mounted fan heaters and some power sockets will also be installed. However, the majority of the swingover seats will be retained for classroom seating. Work is expected to start on the preparation of the tram later this month with on-site delivery possibly during the Easter school holidays.
The work on 622 is being funded by Anchorsholme School, in partnership with Blackpool Council and with contributions from the ward budget of Councillors Tony Williams (Leader of the Conservative Group) and Paul Galley.