Saturday and Sunday 2nd and 3rd September was the Bus Driver of the Year Competition 2017. Held along North Shore with the base being at the Hilton Hotel. On the Sunday driving trials were held starting at the Metropole Hotel and running along the middle promenade and back round along the prom road.
Buses from all over the UK with Dundee and Bournemouth being the furthest seen. Although Solent might be further. Stagecoach brought a 67 registered single decker and Solent brought a lady driver. Overall some smart buses on show including the Blackpool one’s, being a credit to their operators and localities.
On Saturday it was a gorgeous day but on Sunday it rained. Wasn’t too bad though. Here are some photos:
A fine evening with a classic sunset and thousands of people riding along the prom in all kinds of wonderful cycle contraptions while the road was closed to anything with an engine. An illuminated heritage tram service joined in this preview of the Blackpool Illuminations.
Monday 28th August, Bank Holiday, The Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust held their Ribble Event and Running Day at Lytham Hall. Throughout the day there was a regular shuttle service from St Anne’s Pier, Fairhaven Lake and Lytham to the event. Plenty of people took advantage of this.
There were a number of guest buses and coaches in all about 20 vehicles. Here are some of our photographs. It’s intended to add more but these have been used on various other media.
At the Network Rail information event at Poulton today, July 31st, we were told the line between Preston and Blackpool North will be closed in mid-November 2017 and re-open on a date in March 2018. A rail replacement bus service will operate.
This will also close the line to Blackpool South but the line between Kirkham and Preston will re-open in January which will enable trains to Blackpool South. The rail replacement from Blackpool North and Poulton will then run to Kirkham.
It was stated that trains to Poulton will not be run from January to March as Blackpool North is being re-modelled and there will be a lot of engineering trains and the electrical operation of the line needs to be tested and approved.
Power will be switched on for use in March 2018 but it will be up to the train operating companies what services they run on it. The Network Rail rep agreed that the companies have said they will run electric trains from May 2018, but it is up to them.
Other points raised were that Poulton station canopy will be restored sympathetically.
The line to Fleetwood is dotted in to the main track at Poulton on the plans and could be re-instated, obviously at a cost.
Forgot to ask about the Blackpool No 2 and Poulton signal box although we have been previously told it will definitely be demolished and control will be from Manchester.
To be honest there wasn’t a lot to see at the consultation. They provided 100 A3 pages of engineering data with 90 sheets listing nuts and bolts and a bland video. The 4 or 5 representatives were available but it did seem like they were trying to avoid offering anything to question.
In general it was a disappointing event, there is no information supplied as a summary or takeaway and you need to be ready with your questions to ask for any information.
It is a big close down period and surprising it’s being allowed.
The track between Preston and Blackpool is slowly being electrified. Bridges have been raised and the track lowered in places, curves have been straightened and points removed to improve speed. In late 2017/early 2018 Blackpool Station will be remodelled and the signalling control transferred to Manchester. The wiring will be finished and new electrified services will be operated from May 2018.
This will involve closing the line from Preston to Blackpool North and South in winter and Network Rail are holding information events at various locations along the route to provide information about the next phase of work. These are:
Wednesday 26 July 16:00-19:00 at Kirkham Town Council, The community Centre, Mill Street, Kirkham, PR4 2AN
Monday 31 July 16:00-19:00 at Poulton Civic Centre, Breck Road, Poulton-le-Fylde, FY6 7PU
Monday 21 August 16:00-19:00 at The Lund Vicarage Church Hall, Clifton, PR4 0ZE
Tuesday 22 August 16:00-19:00 at Ashton Methodist Church, Wellington Road, Preston, PR2 1BU
Tuesday 29 August 14:00-18:00 at Blackpool North station, Talbot Road, FY1 3AZ
We hope most trains will be electric although those to Blackpool South and those from Blackpool North to York will still be diesel.
The Blackpool Air Show, Saturday and Sunday 12/13 August on the Tower Headland. Every year this is a great event with big crowds. Free entry. The show is open at 10am, the flying starts at 1.15pm.
The Typhoon opens with a roar and wakens anyone feeling drowsy, the Breitling Wing Walkers doing their acrobatics during aerobatics is always inspiring. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Red Arrows and many others, see the Visit Blackpool website for the full schedule.
A relaxed morning drive to Preston Docks for a look at the Ribble Steam Railway. A quick coffee in the cafe and then walk round the museum. A mixture of industrial locos and some ex-BR stock. Take the 11am train, a saddle tank, pulling a mixed load of a corridor and compartment carriage, a buffet carriage and an open plan carriage. Then a walk round the museum and the workshop. Plenty of potential with the locos in the workshop but you wonder how long it will take to restore them.