On the evening of Friday 1st December, Blackpool welcomed its newest tram – Flexity 017. This is of course one of the two new trams which have been ordered from Bombardier to supplement the existing fleet in anticipation of the new extension to North Station, for which more trams will be needed to provide the core timetabled service. We will cover 017‘s arrival in more detail at a later time, but for now we focus on its journey from Hull following arrival in the UK.
017 was captured leaving Hull docks at around 1000 on the Friday morning, in what could well be the first photos of the tram on British soil following its arrival from Germany. The massive transporter unit then took its precious cargo to Blackpool – but not before stopping off at Bolton Services on the M61, where it was also photographed by a sheer fluke! It was stabled there for a while during the afternoon, before continuing its journey by road to Blackpool, finally arriving at Starr Gate depot at around 21oo, having come via Cleveleys and then travelled along the tram tracks itself south of the Metropole hotel, so that the lorry could bypass the roadworks at North Pier (appropriately which are part of preparatory works for the tramway extension!). There it was unloaded by 2300 and driven under its own power into the modern depot, where it will be commissioned ahead of its forthcoming entry into service.
Somewhat surprisingly, all of the vinyls (including fleet numbers) have been applied to the tram already which should speed up its entry into service. Externally it appeals to be identical to the other 16 cars in the fleet, although once it is released to traffic this will confirm whether or not any subtle differences exist.