JOHN'S BLOG: TRAM TALK TODAY

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Views from the bus

Two top deck 'snaps' taken by intrepid traveller David Gore from his journey through Poulton this week. The now lost track junction (and classic signal box) looking west on to the railway line from Poulton Station towards Blackpool. A lot of work still to do and in bitingly cold temperatures for the contractors involved on the rail electrification project into Blackpool. The view over the Breck Road railway bridge from a passing bus. Images : David Gore

An English Electric Tram in the snow

Well not quite on Blackpool promenade. Actually a postwar view of one of the more unusual exports from Preston - a bogie car on the Dombrowa - Sosnowicz line in southwest Poland. This was one of a small batch of trams built in the late 1920s for a line which formed part of a mining company operation owned by Scottish investors at Dombrowa. The service connected with trams operating from Kattowitz (as it was then in Germany) - the principal town in the equivalent of the UK's 'Black Country' network. The square ended cab design was very much an English Electric style of the mid 1920s. with Dearne & District's single deck fleet being good examples. Several of these even found their way o

Advance Notice - Tribute to Marton Trams * New 2018 Edition *

Catch the story of the tramway to Marton when Blackpool saw busy streets and a thriving town centre. Tribute to Marton Trams 1901 - 1962 will be published in April in a new edition with additional twenty four pages of images taken by Colin MacLeod who lived by the tram route on Whitegate Drive. Additional new images will also feature in the 144 pages recalling the history of this unique Blackpool tram service. First Copies of this 2018 Edition will be available to participants in the special tram tour being organised by Steve Palmer - April 21st. Please contact Steve directly for details. The new enlarged edition will be available at £29.00 plus £2.90 post and packing (UK and ROI only).

Vienna Interlude

Vienna is one of the world's great tram systems with a fabulously well maintained modernising fleet that symbolises Austria's capital through its ever present red and white colours. Just as Zurich is forever associated with its light blue and white trams - so Vienna has kept faith with a conservative livery of red and off white. Below : an example of a standard trailer - a rare feature these days with immaculate paint job and the system logo next to the fleet number 1432. By way of contrast is an ultra low floor car with six or seven sections? interspersed with obtrusive promotional panels ill-suited to the overall design. Number 782 is also on Line 1 (see the Graz blog) in this photo t

The Old Order Changeth

Blackpool's evolving municipal (publicly owned) bus operation has seen many chapters in its history since inception of the first motor bus service in 1921 linking Thornton Railway Station with the Cleveleys Tramroad Station. An album of images that reflect the fast changing styles, vehicles and liveries over nearly a century will be published by Rigby Road Publishing later this year. The past decade has seen three very different 'brands' under successive management with changes at the top heralding the introduction of a 'new look' in the bus fleet. The latest of course being 'Palladium' livery introduced complete with smart new vehicles by the current Managing Director, Jane Cole. Her p

Graz Interlude

I visited the city of Graz quite some years back now and was very impressed with the green and cream trams which dominated the city's transport network. An extended line on reserved track ran out to a historic church (with many steps to climb) but this was balanced by the area tram museum with quite a number of preserved cars from different systems on view. Much has changed over the past years with inevitable low floor cars ousting the almost standard Duwag type articulated cars (Austrian manufacture). Graz was one of the last European cities to operate two axle double ended cars with a number inevitably ending up in museums, including two I believe in the UK. One of these provides a com

Lessons from Media City

Greater Manchester is a powerhouse for the north of England, by no means the only one with Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle all having exceptional strengths in their own right. Joined up urban strategies and political engagement across Parties to achieve defined goals are a hallmark of economic success and achievement. Manchester's great asset (one of many) is it the ever spreading tentacles of its Metrolink system - and the singular branding (yellow and grey) which mark out an integrated network linking the neighbouring towns and communities with an ever vibrant centre. Where once numerous municipal tram and bus (and trolleybus) systems fed into Manchester's own substantial oper

Smart Police Car

A brief detour from the usual public transport theme of this blog was prompted by the dramatic vinyl design applied to a police vehicle seen this week in Cleveleys. Apparently a number of Lancashire Constabulary police cars have been given this 'makeover' which is certainly colourful and eyecatching.

Talbot Road Track

Utilities work on Talbot Road is now uncovering the tram track which was formerly used for Layton bound cars from Talbot Square. Contractors are finding this earlier tram route at every point along their excavations as can be seen in these cross sections photographed today. These images are from excavations just east of the Abingdon Street road junction on Talbot Road. All existing electric, water and gas mains are being realigned with new materials (examples seen in the lower image) so that work on removing the entire roadway and tramway heritage last used in 1936 - can begin. The Layton tramway, at least in the town centre was replaced in the mid 1920s with a doubling of the line betwe

Blackpool & The Fylde Coast - All Change

As previously covered in previous Blogs on this site - Blackpool is now undergoing change from its frozen state of the 1990s. A fresh breeze is blowing through the Council's team opening up new development across this Unitary Authority. Starting with repairing infrastructure at the town's road bridges - now nearing completion whilst the railway takes on a new look with gantrys now standing like sentinels along the trackbed leading from Poulton to Blackpool North. The destruction of the concrete Wilko building which now looms over the station approach and Talbot Gateway is scheduled for later this year - no doubt to great public applause. A bright clean dramatic design bringing a new h

Safety First

The terrible fatal crash on the Croydon Sandilands light rail system over a year ago which saw seven passengers killed in an overturned tram with many more injured, triggered a top level review of operating procedures and safeguards on UK systems. Further tram and light rail incidents, fortunately not on the scale of Croydon, but no less serious are now resulting in a new safety body being created to oversee all tram/light rail operators. The Snaefell Mountain Railway runaway last year was a further disturbing event which certainly caught the headlines and added to public concerns. Most recently a tram had to be halted after a child's buggy was seen caught between closed doors fortunatel

Lessons to be Learned from Europe

One of the classic 1920s centre entrance trams for which Rotterdam (RET) was famous. John Woodman Archive The team working on proposals for redeveloping Wyre Dock will be giving attention to waterfront schemes in Belgium and The Netherlands this summer. Visits to the coastal tramway running along the Flanders coastline from the border with France and Holland include meetings at the Fisheries Heritage Museum at east Dunkirk, and inspection of the Antwerp Transport Museum with its comprehensive display of the city's tramway heritage are planned. Ongoing radical development of older sections of Rotterdam's extensive port area with new commercial and leisure schemes will be the subject of dis

China Visitor to Wyre Dock

The Representative from the China-Britain Business Council joins Frank Heald for an almost obligatory photocall at Wyre Dock and FHLT trams during a visit last week. The Fleetwood Quays scheme is now subject to growing attention from public and private sector organisations and companies. Engagement with interests covering a wide spectrum is ongoing by Wyre Dock Development Ltd. in conjunction with Associated British Ports. This widening level of exchange with China brought a representative from the China-Britain Business Council to Fleetwood on 9 February. The fact finding visit organised with WDDL included discussions with Fleetwood Town Council's 'Back on Track' team and Wyre Council Me

Poulton Variations

Poulton Junction (or at least what's left of it). A train of wagons with ballast seen parked on the Blackpool to Preston line this morning. The Signal Box remains but is now only a memory as far as controlling the semaphore signals on the Fylde line. A token semaphore can be seen on the equally dormant Fleetwood branch line curving off on the right of the image. No doubt this will remain as a permanent memorial to another age. The track junction itself is of course disconnected. Below : same location and a glimpse of the newly installed overhead gantrys which are being embedded along the entire line from Preston to Blackpool North station. Poulton station is just behind the road

Cable Car Heritage

It was a scotsman who first originated San Francisco's cable car system after witnessing the struggles of horsedrawn loads attempting the steep inclines of that fast growing Pacific coast city in the 1880s. Perhaps it is no surprise that Edinburgh with more modest inclines boasted Britain's largest cable tramway operation until electrification in the 1920s. San Francisco is one of the world's most famous destinations for transport enthusiasts - with both a busy four line cable car system, plus expanding popular heritage trolleycar (tram) service; together with several light rail lines in the city itself. The cable car operation is an absolute mecca for tourists and provides an importa

That Marton Tram Book - the sequel

A new edition of Tribute to Marton Trams 1901 - 1962 is now in preparation with a further twenty-four pages added together with page revisions. Rigby Road Publishing will be taking individual orders for the 2018 edition from March when details of the print run are finalised.

The Way We Were - a fond look back

In the cold miserable days of February awaiting the onset of Spring 2018 it is worth a momentary look back to colourful scenes on Blackpool's trams some six years back : High Stepping onto those Centenary Cars Sorry no buggys unless folded - North Pier temporary stop Sunset catches queues and a Balloon Car and below - a splash of colour on an upgraded 'flat front' - slow loading at the Pleasure Beach. All Images John Woodman - October 2011

Transatlantic Travel - by tram

Quite a number of British trams have crossed the Atlantic over the years. Very early on emergent new electric tram systems in Britain had reason to import American built trams - to a UK styling. Liverpool being a classic example with centre entrance double deck open top cars followed by somewhat exotic German trams pulling matching trailers. The latter being more or less clones of similar types then operating in Hamburg. Sadly none of these found their way into museum collections. Trams from Glasgow, Leeds and Liverpool have all made a one way journey across the Atlantic - destined for the international collection acquired by the Seashore Trolley Museum some sixty years ago. Blackpoo

Talbot Road Reveals Its Memories

Directly opposite the former Railway Inn emerges further evidence of the original tramway which once carried passengers up Talbot Road from 1902 until its demise in 1936. Utilities realignment is now well underway ahead of total reconstruction of Talbot Road as far as the planned tram terminus on the site of Wilko's store in 2019. The Layton tram service operated from Talbot Square to Layton Cemetery gates and on completion over a hundred years ago opened up a whole new district of the town - in fact the roadway along which the tramway was constructed was called 'New Road' from the point where Talbot Road reached Talbot Mews. The newly exposed tram track section is close to what was orig

Going Back in Time - on a tram

There are a total of eight sites in the UK where one can ride on a vintage tramcar usually in the summer season. All except two operate less than an a handful of trams at any one time. The two exceptions being the granddaddy of tram museums in the Derbyshire Peak District - Crich (founded in 1959) and on Blackpool Council's seafront light rail line to Fleetwood. In addition the Isle of Man ensures its wholly traditional electric railway (MER) and Snaefell Mountain Railway (SMR) along with the Douglas horse car operation are kept operational to attract visitors. In Wales the nostalgic cable car line up the Great Orme continues more or less as built with its original four single deck ca

Working to conserve for display, trams and artefacts of the longstanding coastal tramway serving Blackpool, Thornton Cleveleys and Fleetwood.

 

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