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Fine weather during the evening of September 3rd prompted the decision to allocate red and cream Boat 227 to illuminations tour duty, joining the Western Train and Frigate in providing the three car output for the night. This is only the second recorded occasion on which a Boat has undertaken an illuminations tour on the upgraded system, following a solitary trip by 600 last year and, for 227, it represents a return to illuminations duties for the first time since 2010. The tram is pictured descending Gynn hill on the second tour it performed during the evening.
EYMS Bus & Coach Training on Twitter: "@EYMSEnthusiasts The day @EYBuses Routemaster 812 met the latest 'Routemaster' the #NewBusforLondon http://t.co/LJNztqulmK"
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Robin, George, Willy and Alice come out to play Day 2 of the August Bank Holiday weekend in Blackpool was a topless one, with the four cars scheduled to operate all being topless. For the first time since 2010 it was hoped to operate three Boat Cars simultaneously, with Princess Alice 706 making up the quartet. Such a scheduling could be expected to ensure that the weather would take a turn for the worse but, on the contrary, Blackpool basked in sunshine throughout the day; perfect weather for a spell of Boating. The highlight of the entire weekend was to be the reappearance of newly repainted Boat 602, sporting its fictitious red and cream 1920s style livery. However, with this tram being the last of the four to depart from the depot, it was left to Princess Alice 706 to open the proceedings, carrying a full load of eager passengers on the first journey of the day to Fleetwood. George Formby sponsored Boat 230 then appeared, followed by Little Willy 600 and then, wafting a smell of fresh paint, the red and cream Boat sailed onto the promenade and immediately grabbed all of the attention. Compliments flowed as people had their first opportunity to admire the latest product of Rigby Road workshops, with most agreeing that the new livery is one of the most striking ever carried by a Boat Car and a definite improvement on the faded coat of black and yellow which this tram previously sported. One significant alteration had occurred since the tram originally left the Paint Shop in its new colours. The red fleet numbers 602 applied on the cream bodywork experimentally had been removed and replaced by a set of chrome digits above the centre entrance, proclaiming the tram to be 227 once more. Thus, like its sister car 230, the red Boat will in future be known by its original identity rather than the post 1968 number 602 although, with its sparkling red ‘v’ it could easily be rubbed Robin, the red breasted tram! Despite not having turned a wheel since the penultimate day of the 2010 season, 227 performed impeccably throughout the day apart from a minor issue with its headlights on the first trip, an issue which was swiftly rectified by fitters. All four trams set about their usual duties of conveying eager enthusiasts and members of the general public along the promenade, directed around the system as required, and providing a welcome alternative to the Flexity operated core service. Meanwhile, at Rigby Road, the second of the weekend’s photo shoots was being organised and probably the most eagerly anticipated. From the depths of the depot emerged Coronation 660 to be placed on static display on Blundell Street along with sister car 304, a rare chance to see Blackpool’s two surviving Coronations reunited once more and providing a taster for the time, in the future when these two trams can join the active heritage fleet and carry passengers once again. The afternoon Fleetwood journey was placed in the capable hands of Boat 230, which again carried a full load to the northern terminus, while the other three trams continued providing short promenade journeys to North Pier as well as longer runs to Bispham and Thornton Gate. The fine weather had brought out the crowds and Blackpool was busier than it had been for a long time; with open top trams sailing through a sea of people it was reminiscent of the glory days of the resort. A slightly sour note occurred during mod afternoon at Pleasure Beach when an irate ‘enthusiast’ attempted to block people from taking pictures by standing in front of their cameras but this obnoxious gentlemen was soon dealt with by the assembled crowd and departed shame faced allowing those who had paid for the day’s events to continue their enjoyment. Photo opportunities occurred throughout the day, especially at Pleasure Beach when three of the quartet of trams were on the loop simultaneously but, unfortunately, the most sought after event failed to materialise, with the three Boats never appearing together at the same place. As the afternoon wore on and the sun continued to beat down, the trams began to perform their final journeys. For Boat 230 this was an unusual trip to Fishermans Walk, the first time a heritage car had ever terminated at this location during a Bank Holiday weekend whilst Princess Alice ended the day with a series of shorter promenade runs. The final trip of the day to Fleetwood was scheduled to be performed by 227 but, as one on the previous day, the crowds waiting to board were so large that a duplicate had to be arranged and both 227 and 600 sailed to the northern terminus, both carrying capacity loads. At Fleetwood the two Boats were briefly posed on the Ferry loop, providing a memorable sight in their contrasting red and green liveries, before both departed for North Pier, bringing the day’s events to a successful conclusion. Once again, Blackpool had pulled out all the stops to arrange a successful and enjoyable heritage day. The Boats have continued to be as popular as ever and the loadings experienced throughout the day were ample justification of the faith placed in the operation of vintage trams on the new system. One more day to go before it is all over for another year and, with the oldest trams in the fleet, waiting for their turn in the limelight, the final day of the Bank Holiday weekend should be just as enjoyable as the previous two. The photo shows red and cream Boat 227 pausing at the southbound heritage stop at North Pier taking on another healthy load of passengers bound for the Pleasure Beach. Published August 26th 2013
Boat 602 revealed in its new colours At 11.45am on August 13th the latest product of Rigby Road’s Paint Shop was revealed in all its glory; Boat 602 has been under attention for several weeks ahead of its relaunch as a member of the heritage fleet. With work now substantially completed, the Unimog was dispatched through the Bus Yard, returning with an immaculate 602 and giving the first opportunity to view the first ever red and cream Boat tram. After looking so neglected for so long, having last been painted fifteen years ago when it gained the yellow and black Handybus colporis for the second time, 602 has now been totally transformed. The livery is an almost exact copy of the original Boat scheme currently worn by sister car 600 but with red replacing the more familiar green and giving an indication of how these trams would have looked had the fleet colours not been altered the year before the Boats were built. The canopy top and trolley tower appears in cream as does the main body with the remainder of the canopy, the top of the body side and end ‘v’ appearing in red. Trucks, lifeguards and the windscreen surrounds are red and red lining out appears on the lower panelling and around the headlights. One particular pleasing touch is the inclusion of Corporation crests in the traditional position on the side panelling but in a red colour rather than the more usual green. Contrary to expectations, and in contrast to the last Boat repaint when 604 emerged as 230, 602 has kept its more familiar fleet number and has not reverted to its pre 1968 identity of 227. Red fleet numbers adorn the tram in the usual positions, with only the bumpers, presumably being painted in a coat of red, remaining to be fitted. Upon release from the Paint Shop, 602 was immediately shunted into the Heritage Workshop, a building which currently has a nautical theme inside with the Illuminated Frigate still a resident undergoing preparations for the illuminations and currently stabled with lights ablaze. After undergoing final preparations and presumably after a visit to the Electrical Compound, 602 should be fit and ready for its passenger debut planned for August 25th when it will take its rightful place on the prom once more as a fully fledged member of the heritage fleet, carrying passengers for the first time since 2010. The photo shows Boat 602 in all its glory, having just left the Paint Shop, being shunted by the Unimog into the Heritage Workshop, its sparkling coat of red and cream revealed for the first time. Published August 13th 2013
<b>A new bus route has been launched in the New Forest to add to tours of the national park.</b><p>The blue route will take passengers through the south-west area, including New Milton.<p>It is supported by a £3.8m Department for Transport (DfT) fund which aims to encourage car-free journeys in the New Forest …