The weekend of 22nd and 23rd June saw the latest special event weekend on Blackpool’s heritage trams with not only a gold timetable in operation but also the Totally Models event, held in Rigby Road Depot itself. With this the third year of this particular event it has now established itself as the largest tramway model exhibition in the country with plenty of layouts on display for visitors to take a look at.
Concentrating on the “big” trams running on the heritage service it was a standard pattern of six cars allocated to running between Pleasure Beach and Fleetwood (and points in between) plus an extra tram running depot shuttles from Hopton Road to Cabin to give easy access to those wanting to visit the exhibition – which also included the chance to have a behind the scenes tour of the depot. An extra stop at Foxhall Square was also in use for the heritage cars.
On the Saturday a varied selection of trams were allocated to service with Standard 147, Boat 227, Boat 600, Brush 621 and Balloon Cars 713 and 715 on the promenade service and Balloon 700 a familiar sight on the depot shuttles. Balloon 717 was also out on a Private Hire in the afternoon running from North Pier/Tower to Fleetwood with a wedding party on board. Then on the Sunday the day started with the six main trams being Standard 147, Centenary 648, Railcoach 680 and Balloon Cars 700, 711 and 717. Both Boat Cars were down to run but weren’t able to operate to start with but they soon came out and replaced 147 and 700 for the remainder of the day. Meanwhile Balloon 723 ran on depot shuttles.
For an added fee of £6 visitors to the model exhibition at Rigby Road could also enjoy a guided tour around the majority of the accessible depot. For those who participated in this they could see Lytham 43 and Paisley 16 (Glasgow 1016) stored in the Body Shop waiting their chance to move through the workshops whilst Bolton 66 and Balloon 707 – the latter of which has now been repainted but still awaits further attention before being cleared for a return to service – were in the Fitting Shop. With the Electrical Compound being considered the most secure area of the main depot it is usually full of trams and it was no different during these tours. At the rear stored Boat 230 is still in situ with Twin Car 675+685 alongside with their overhaul seemingly having stalled whilst other projects are concentrated on. Current major restoration project Standard 143 is also currently in the Compound and in addition Brush 634 and Balloon 703 (still in its guise as Sunderland 101) can be seen stored in this location.
Finally, the weekend also saw bus shuttles linking the two main railway stations in the town along with the depot and the prom.
* We will have a further small selection of images from the big trams running during Totally Models in a future update of British Trams Online.