The numbers of the Flexity2 class in Blackpool have swelled again, with car 013 arriving in town late on Friday 27th April. Although the rumour mill had suggested that the tram had arrived some two weeks ago, this turned out to be false. The number 13 is of course considered unlucky by many people, and car 013 did little to disprove the theory as its arrival was delayed on two occasions due to a few unforseen events!
013 actually touched down in the UK on Thursday 26th April, but it had to wait almost another 48 hours before it finally reached Starr Gate depot for the first time. The tram spent all of Thursday at Hull docks as a police escort was unavailable and therefore the extremely long vehicle could not be permitted to travel. When it did eventually set off on what should have been the simplest part of its long journey from Germany, it only made it into Yorkshire before being halted by the Police! Apparently the load was declared too long to travel during peak hours, and the lorry had to be stabled at a safe location until the evening, when it finally completed its journey. The tram was unloaded at Starr Gate in darkness, thankfully without any further incident, and was then driven under power into the nearby depot. There, the new arrival will receive final commissiong work before it joins its twelve sisters in service. It is unclear why 013 had to travel after dusk when all of the other Flexities apart from 001 had been moved in daylight, although one possibility is that this decision might have been due to roadworks. It will be interesting to see whether any of the three further trams expected in the coming weeks will also have to travel after the fall of darkness.
In other news, 012 has become the latest Flexity2 to enter service meaning that, other than 013, all of the class that are in Blackpool have already run. 012 is already fully branded, although 002 is not and apart from one isolated outing has been confined to use on driver training duties. It is understood that this tram will be returning to Germany fairly soon for some attention whilst under warranty, and it is believed that the car will be providing a return load for 014 when it reaches Blackpool.