BLACKPOOL & FLEETWOODTRAMWAY UPGRADE
BLACKPOOL AND FLEETWOOD TRAMWAY
• The tramway is synonymous with the area; it is a tourist attraction in its own right. In fact the Blackpool and Fleetwood tramway is the only tramway to remain in continuous operation within the United Kingdom.
• The first promenade section was opened in 1885 between Cocker Square, near Talbot Square and Dean Street, near South Shore.
• When fully operational the existing tramway carries approximately four million passengers per year, over 85% of which travel in the peak tourist season between Easter and November.
THE TRAMWAYS YESTER‐YEARS
• 1885 – First track laid between Cocker Square and Dean Street • 1895 ‐ Lytham Road – this ran along Lytham Road and Squires
Gate Lane and also connected back onto the promenade down Waterloo Road, this route was closed in 1961
• 1898 – Blackpool and Fleetwood Tramway open rival line from Gynn Square to Fleetwood Ferry, The lines were not connected until 1920 when Blackpool Corporation took over the running of both lines.
• 1898 ‐ Dickson Road – connecting Gynn Square with North Station until 1963• 1900 ‐ Promenade track extended from Cocker Square to Gynn Square• 1901 ‐ Central Drive and Marton routes – these ran along Central Drive until 1936 and
Church Street, Whitegate Drive and Waterloo Road up to 1962 when the remainder was also closed
• 1902 ‐ Layton – running along Talbot Road to Layton Cemetery until 1936• 1903 ‐ South Pier along to Pleasure Beach was added to the promenade section• 1926 – Pleasure Beach to Starr gate completed the south shore promenade tramway.
• Depots – The system has had a number of tram depots, at various locations, along the routes to accommodate the differing vehicles that were utilised on the system.
• Fleetwood – Bold Street Depot opened in 1899, capacity 4 trams, closed as a tram depot in 1920 and subsequently demolished in 1973
• Fleetwood – Copse Road Depot opened in 1898, capacity 18 trams and was closed in 1963.
• Bispham Depot on Red Bank Road (where Sainsbury’s now is) opened in 1898, had a capacity of 36 trams, was closed as a depot in 1966 and later demolished in 1983.
• Marton Depot – situated on Whitegate Drive (where the Petrol Station and TescoDirect is) was opened in 1901, had a capacity of 50 trams and was closed in 1963.
• Blundell Street Depot – now an open air car park, was opened in 1885, held 45 trams and was closed and demolished in 1982.
• Rigby Road – a repair works was established in the early 1920’s on the former Highways Yard. The present depot buildings off Hopton Road, were opened in 1935 and today are still in use for the Heritage fleet.
• This had allowed around 10km of track to be replaced out of the total route length of 18km
• Over the years prior to this current project, substantial sections of track have been replaced.
• The Department for Transport did grant funding for emergency work, prior to 2009 on the tramway totalling £11.8m. The work, including 5km of track replacement and two new electrical substations, was completed over three years ago.
• The Rigby Rd Depot area, including the track and certain buildings, were in need of upgrading and replacement. The existing trams were also not up to modern or compliant standards.
• Whilst around 10km of the system had beenmade compliant, there still remained around 8km of track that needed to be replaced.
• The most important point is that Blackpool Tramway operated withdispensation from required legislation; this was essentially due to its continuous operation for 125 years. However, this could not have continued indefinitely, and without confirmation of investment to ensure compliance with current legislation, the tramway would have had to be reduced to a short heritage/tourist operation.
JUSTIFICATION FOR THE SCHEME
These regulations will be mandatory by 2019. The regulations require easy access into vehicles through level boarding, with no steps. They require space inside trams for wheelchairs and pushchairs and priority seating. The existing tramway and vehicles were not and could not be made to fully comply with the requirements of the Regulations
• There were two key areas of legislation that had to be addressed:‐
1. The Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (RVAR) were introduced to meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. They are designed to apply to all mobility‐impaired people using rail vehicles.
JUSTIFICATION FOR THE SCHEME
2 Railway Safety Principles and Guidance (RSPG)
Responsibility for the regulation of health and safety on railways and tramways rests with the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR). Guidance for tramways is further set out in Railway Safety Publication 2.
The guidance is extensive and includes information on vehicles, track, tram‐stops, highway junctions and pedestrian crossings. Again, neither the existing vehicles or the existing tramway infrastructure complied with the requirements of this guidance.
• The upgrade of the tramway was, therefore, essential in order to ensure that all aspects complied with all legislation and guidance.
FULL SCHEME OUTLINE
• The three work areas were :‐– Track works, highway alterations & new
raised platforms – BAM Nuttall– New tram depot ‐ VolkerFitzpatrick– Supply of new vehicles ‐ Bombardier
• The overall scheme was split into three distinct work packages to address the somewhat specialist nature of the project’s composition.
• These works were put out to tender and the appointment of successful contractors/suppliers were in place by June/July 2009
• Work commenced for the new depot in September 2009, at Starr Gate and November 2009 on the track works at Central Pier.
• Track Reconstruction – the remaining existing track sections reconstructed between Starr Gate and Fleetwood.
• These replacement track works sections were ‐
– Starr Gate to Pleasure Beach ‐ 1.55km
– Central Pier to Gynn Square ‐ 2.55 km
– Little Bispham to Thornton Gate – 2.0km
– Fisherman’s Walk to Fleetwood Ferry – 1.45km
• The different elements which made up the full
reconstruction of the tramway are summarised on the following few slides:‐
• The former paved track has been replaced with a more
durable coloured concrete surface. This type of surface
is now in place from Starr Gate to Uncle Toms Cabin
• The replacement rail within this structure
is encapsulated with a rubberised sleeve
which will reduce the vibration and noise
associated with the old rail.
• Tram Level Crossings incorporating Signal Heads– South Strand & Larkholme Ave.
• Highway Works ‐ In order to achieve the improved journey times and comply with legislation, all highway crossings had to be reconstructed to provide tram priority and improved safety. Some of these included new signals and tram detection, which prioritise the passage of trams through the junction
• New Full Tram Signal Junctions– Little Bispham ( Princess Way), West Drive, Cumberland Ave,
Westmorland Ave, Rossall Lane, Broadwater Ave & Radcliffe Road
• New signal Controllers/Alterations to Existing Signals– Manchester Square, Fleetwood Road (Queens Prom/Kelso Ave),
Anchorsholme Lane (Kelso Ave) & Victoria Square
• Separation Works– Highway works along the Metropole section of the
tramway segregating the trams and road traffic.
• Road Closures– Lauderdale Ave, Vicarage Ave, Clarence Ave,
Stockdove Way & Stanley Road.
• Platforms ‐ The identified stops will all have platforms which are 280 mm high and 32m long with ramps to ground level.
• Facilities such as shelters, seats and passenger information are provided
as required at each location.
• They comply with the Disability Discrimination Act and all other relevant legislation.
• The present 61 stops have been rationalised with some relocation and reduction for timetable purposes and design issues
• Depot – The Rigby Road Depot is in need of repair and the track there requires replacement. In addition, the existing facilities are not suitable to accommodate or maintain a fleet of modern trams. Initial schemes to site a new facility on and around the current facilities at Rigby Road were unworkable and a new location was required
A site for the new Depot which would maintain and service the new tram fleet needed to be on or near to the existing lines, it was envisaged that a reduced Heritage fleet could also move to this new site sometime in the future, in a separate dedicated building complete with visitor facilities. Proposals for the new depot were submitted for planning permission and approval was received at the end of June 2009.
NEW TRAM DEPOT BUILDING‐ STARR GATE
The site of this new building was at Starr Gate on the area previously occupied by a go cart track and public car park. Its appearance therefore had to be to a high standard given the site’s prominent position on a major route along the promenade.
This new facility will stable and maintain the 16 new trams and be able to carry out any major maintenance activities on the remaining heritage fleet as well.
NEW VEHICLES• New Vehicles ‐ The new timetable required 16 new trams for a 10 minute end to
end service. The new trams are single deck with an appearance similar to most European cities. They are approximately 32 m long with multiple doors and a seating capacity of up to 74 people. The Bombardier Flexcity 2 is a new design and the Tramway is the first customer. The tram had its worldwide launch at the Starr Gate depot on the 8th Sept 2011.
Space is included for wheelchairs and mobility impaired passengers with priority seating.
• We have been advised that the existing vehicles can continue to operate, even after 2019 and still be compliant with legislation. This is because a 10 minute frequency service with new fully DDA compatible vehicles will be operating on the system.
• This will ensure that the presence of the historic vehicles, which is a key attractionof the system for many users, will continue.
• Around 10 vehicles will undergo minor modifications to doors and steps to allow boarding from the new tram stop platforms.
Existing trams currently being retained ( November 2011)
•Engineering vehicles ‐ 2 No‐ (754 & 260)
•Double Deck Balloon Trams – 10 No to be altered to use new platforms (700, 701, 707, 709, 711, 713, 718, 719, 720 & 724)
•Illuminated Vehicles ‐ 4 No – Great Western Train (733/734), Frigate (736) & Trawler (737)
•Vintage Vehicles ‐ 9 No – Box car (40), Bolton car (66), Standard Double Deck ‐ fully enclosed (147), Coronation Tram (660), Standard Double Deck – open ended (143), Refurbished Double Deck balloon tram (717) not widened at doors (Philip R Thorpe), open top Balloon Tram (706) Princess Alice, & Boat cars (600 & 602).
•Reserve Cars ‐ 2 No – Balloon car (723) & Rail Coach (631)
•Visiting Vintage Specials ‐ 5 No – trams not owned by BTS of which arrangements have still yet to be made
Ancillary works to further upgrade aspects of the tramway were also
undertaken in addition to the main project.
• All the overhead lines have been renewed with a larger cable in preparation for the power increase to 600 volts DC.
• Traction poles from Thornton Gate to Fleetwood have been replaced
• All existing traction sub stations have been refitted with new switchgear and transformer rectifier units to facilitate the new power requirements
• 5km of concrete panel fencing alongside the tramway has been replaced
• The colonnades between Cocker Sq and Gynn Sq were strengthened using mass concrete backfill below the tram track.
• A new traction sub station has been built at Fleetwood Ferry
• The procurement process for the various work and vehicle packages commenced in July 2008.
• The submission for full approval was made to DfT in April 2009
• Final approval was announced by the Minister of Transport in June 2009, work on site started in September 2009.
• The Starr Gate depot was effectively completed during the summer of 2011
• The first tram was delivered August 2011, tram No 16 is due July 2012
• The majority of the track construction work was undertaken in the quiet winter months. The overall construction period was 3 years
• New passenger service commenced Easter 2012, with the Minister of Transport opening the system on the 3rd April 2012.
PHOTOGRAPHS‐ TRAM DEPOT
BOMBARDIER FLEXCITY 2
PHOTOGRAPHS‐ TRACK WORKS
PHOTOGRAPHS‐ TRAM PLATFORMS
BACK TO THE FUTURE