We often write about days to remember for the Blackpool tramway – but Monday 26th March was a day that Blackpool Transport would probably rather forget about! This is because of two separate incidents, which affected both LRT and heritage trams, and caused major disruption to passengers.
The day’s woes started when a motor car was involved in an altercation with a tram at the Larkholme Lane traffic lights, Anchorsholme. Just to add insult to injury, the tram affected was Flexity 018 - the newest tram in the fleet, which had only debuted in service a few weeks earlier! 018 sustained some dented and scratched panels at one end. The tram service was affected for approximately three hours due to this incident, with the Line 1 bus service put under considerable pressure as a result. No tram replacement buses were sent out, possibly a consequence of current staff shortages at BTS.
Unfortunately, accidents involving cars and trams seem to be increasingly common of late, whilst there have been a worrying number of issues with motorists driving onto reserved tram track and subsequently getting stuck so far this year.
Whilst the breakdown gang were attending to the chaos at Anchorsholme, Brush Railcoach 621 suffered a rare breakdown for this normally reliable class of tram, with a controller fault crippling it at Waterloo Road on a northbound heritage working. This caused enough concern for the pantograph to be lowered. With engineers otherwise engaged, Balloon 717 was sent to the rescue and ran ‘bang line’ to retrieve the defective Brush car, before propelling it back to Rigby Road, with loanee Brush car 630 replacing its sister for the rest of its shift. This is believed to be the first time that 621 has failed since its celebrated return to service last September; not bad going really for an 81 year vehicle which had been stored between 2004 and 2017! Nonetheless, this was definitely a very bad day at the office for Blackpool Transport, and one that many passengers would not care to re-live any time soon!