Another of Blackpool’s new Flexity2 trams has now debuted on test, with car 007 making what is believed to have been its first ever appearance on the main line on Tuesday 13th March. Regular followers of the latest developments in Blackpool will probably remember that this tram arrived complete with a broken corner cab window at one end, which has now been replaced. Pleasing news is that this car has also received its full livery with vinyls applied, including fleet numbers, as the preparation of the class for service early next month gets underway. 007 was used for driver training on its first day out and hopefully it will now become a common sight on the tramway, although sharing its number with that of a famous secret agent, it may well prove to be a little camera-shy!
Indeed, the use of the Flexities is expected to increase considerably soon, with ‘ghost running’ rumoured to commence next week. This will involve trams running to a timetable as if they were in service, allowing not only the vehicles themselves, but also the proposed running times allocated to them, and any other revised operating practices, to be thoroughly tested. This should enable any necessary tweaks to the service provision to be made before the tramway re-opens to passengers, in order to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible when the all-important launch takes place in early April. However, the exact details of the service that will be offered remain a closely-guarded secret, although it is thought that the intensive testing period will see trams reach Fisherman’s Walk again. This would leave the street section through Fleetwood as the only part of the line left to re-open, and the only potential obstacle to the entire system being open again in time for Easter, for the first time since September 2009!