Fresh from our report that Blackpool Balloon car 700 was set to exchange the swing-over seats on its upper deck, with the fixed bus seats in Brush Railcoach 631, comes news that the tram has returned to Rigby Road having spent several weeks at Starr Gate depot. Presumably this means that the seat swap has now been carried out, allowing 700 to return to its usual home for its winter hibernation. The tram was noted back at Rigby Road at the beginning of this week.
However, the B Fleet have retained a presence at Starr Gate, as sister car 719 has now moved there, apparently for some routine servicing. 719 was of course the second of the modified Balloons to enter service painted in the new purple and white fleet livery, and was in fact repainted at Starr Gate during the autumn. Hopefully this is a positive sign that the B Fleet will be used more extensively in 2013 than they have been this year.
Meanwhile, back at Rigby Road, Balloon 723 has reportedly moved into the Fitting Shop for unspecified reasons. The rumour mill suggests that it may be receiving centre platform modifications, which would take the B Fleet up to ten cars, although this should be considered as mere speculation unless it is confirmed by Blackpool Transport. 723 was used several times for testing purposes last winter but has been confined to the depot since the tramway re-opened in April, so it remains to be seen why this car has entered the workshops now.