British Trams Online at 15 – Tram Loans: Manchester 765

Another tram which has enjoyed loan periods at two separate tramways over the past 15 years is Manchester 765, a tram which usually resides in its home city at the Heaton Park Tramway but has also been seen in Blackpool and at Beamish.

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In Pictures: North Station extension preparatory works

As we have reported on these pages previously the preparatory works for the extension of the Blackpool Tramway up Talbot Road to North Station commenced during November. This first stage of the works will see utilities moved out the way from the alignment of the tramway as well as some infrastructure changes to allow the tracks to be laid, presumably during 2017. Glyn Hill has been in town to see current progress on the works.

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British Trams Online at 15 – Events: Variobahns introduced on Tramlink

In preparing this series we have tried to include as many different tramways across the UK but when we came to look at London Tramlink we had to think what key events have actually taken place over the past 15 years. Having opened before British Trams Online started and not having seen any extension built it has been one of the most consistent tramways in this period but one significant event was the introduction into service of a new class of tram – the Stadler built Variobahn.

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Damning report released into tram-train pilot

It has been delayed, it is well over budget and now the tram-train pilot – which will eventually run between Sheffield and Rotherham – has been heavily criticised by the Public Accounts Committee. As well as being very critical of the way the project has been managed the Committee also have concerns over the benefits of the project and lessons for the future.

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Fares to increase on Midland Metro

As from Tuesday 2nd January 2018 most fares will be increased on Midland Metro although City Hop and Group Fares will remain frozen at 2017 prices. In all cases all fares will still be cheaper for those paying by Swift Pay as You Go smartcard.

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Around the World in 18 Trams: Zurich 1307 with trailers 620 and 616

We have a real golden oldie for you as we continue our world tour of trams. We visit Zurich in 1959 for this latest image.

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In Pictures: Edinburgh mock-up gets ready for Christmas

It isn’t long until Christmas (only 11 days to go!) and Edinburgh Trams is getting into the festive spirit. We have already seen tram 276 in its special Christmas/Hogmanay livery but up at Edinburgh Airport the mock-up tram – now in use as an information centre – is now all dressed up for Christmas!

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In Pictures: More snow for Midland Metro

After its first dusting of snow the West Midlands has continued to be at the forefront of the heavier snowfall for the country (as far as trams are concerned anyway) with two more periods of the white stuff falling on Midland Metro. The heaviest snowfall came on Sunday 10th December which saw 5 inches on the ground in places causing problems for local bus services although nothing major for Midland Metro services. Andy Walters braved the cold for us again.

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British Trams Online at 15 – Tram Loans: Newcastle 114

A lot of this series has been of trams from Crich heading off to other locations on loan but there hasn’t been a huge amount of traffic in the opposite direction, indeed the only trams to visit Crich did so for one specific event – Electric 50. We have already featured Blackpool Balloon 711 but another tram to visit was Newcastle 114 from Beamish.

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British Trams Online at 15 – Events: Seaton Tramway 40th Anniversary

You probably won’t be surprised to find out that a number of our anniversary events feature actually concerns significant anniversaries on tramways from across the UK. We have already been on the Isle of Man for the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway 140th and in this edition we head down to Devon to look back at the 40th anniversary of the Seaton Tramway.

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Luas Cross City line opens

At 1400 on Saturday 9th December the crucial Cross City line on Dublin’s Luas network was officially opened with services on the Green line now extended to travel through to Broombridge. The current Taoiseach Leo Vardaker – a former Transport Minister – was on hand to help pull away a special Red and Green bow from the front of tram 5006 as it arrived onto the new line.

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Plans for new Midland Metro penalty fare approved

A new £70 penalty charge for passengers travelling on Midland Metro without a ticket is set to be introduced by the end of 2018 after the West Midlands Combined Authority board approved the plan. This new charge would replace the current £10 penalty.

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British Trams Online at 15 – Tram Loans: Blackpool & Fleetwood Rack 2

Another tram not originally intended to travel to Blackpool for the 125th anniversary was Blackpool & Fleetwood Rack 2 but following the problems with transporting double deckers from Crich it was offered as a substitute and thus made its way home for the first time since 1998.

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Around the World in 18 Trams: Hong Kong 68

Another visit to Hong Kong as we continue our trip around the world. This time around we see double deck tourist tram 68.

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In Pictures: 110 fails on Supertram

On Friday 8th December Stagecoach Supertram 110 failed at Bamforth Street and with a repair not able to be completed on the scene 115 was coupled to the errant tram and pushed it through to Malin Bridge. The fault was obviously not too major though as 110 was back in service the following day. Stuart Cooke was on the scene to take these photos.

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In Pictures: Metrolink puts up the Christmas decorations

As has become traditional Manchester Metrolink have added vinyls to a few of their trams to celebrate Christmas. 3011, 3025 and 3032 are amongst the trams which have received the vinyls which feature Noel the elf along with some “lights” added to the windows. Photos from Dave Elison show the temporary vinyls.

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British Trams Online at 15 – Tram Loans: Lisbon 730

There are three operational Portuguese trams in the UK and all three of them have been loaned at some point in the past 15 years. We have already seen Oporto 273’s aborted loan to Blackpool but this time we take a look at a tram from Lisbon which enjoyed a much more successful loan, it is 730.

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British Trams Online at 15 – Events: Birmingham City Centre extension

It may not have expanded as much as some of the other UK second generation tram systems (yet – that will be for our next big anniversary maybe!) but one of the main achievements of the Midland Metro system over the past 15 years has been the opening of the short, but significant, extension into Birmingham City Centre as far as Grand Central (New Street station).

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Trams move in and out of the Crich workshop

As reported previously, some further shunting of various trams took place at Crich Tramway Village on Saturday 25th November ready for the next phase of the depot refurbishment work to get underway. However, there were also a few trams being moved between the workshop and the depots as this article will clarify.

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Santa joins Heritage Tram Tours

Father Christmas took time out of his extremely busy schedule to make the first of three visits to Blackpool on Saturday 9th December, when the Heritage Tram Tours team operated the first of their 2017 ‘Santa Specials’. This saw a total of six historic trams grace the promenade – quite an impressive total for the winter period, indeed this compares quite favourably with the pre-upgrade era!

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