JOHN'S BLOG: TRAM TALK TODAY

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Follow the regular updates on the Trust's projects, comments on Blackpool's bus and tram network and transport issues around the UK and further afield.

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Blackpool's Transport in the 1950s

Our title 'Municipal Transport Heyday' covering the 1950s and the story of Blackpool's buses and trams during an evolving decade which saw the Coronation Cars enter service and the introduction of the first trailer car set (in 1958) has been well received. So much so that only a half dozen copies are in stock. Any enthusiast wishing to ensure he or she has a copy of this title in their collection should place their order online this week to avoid disappointment. A handful of copies are available at Yates Collectables on Waterloo Road, the Visitor Centre on the Promenade near North Pier (and the Heritage Tram Tour stop), and at Toys2Save Collectables shop in Cleveleys opposite the tram stat

More on the new buses

Blackpool's Central Library - (another Carnegie gift) is a pleasing backdrop to three of the new ADL buses introduced on Service 4 to Mereside this week. The temporary routing being due to ongoing roadworks in Blackpool which are likely to continue over the winter. Loading outside Blackpool Central Library. Both Images : GK Woodman

ADL takes over the 3s and 4s

As promised a fleet of smart new single deck buses in the now all encompassing 'Palladium' brand took over the back street services 3 and 4 on Monday this week. They presented an impressive sight negotiating numerous tight curves and narrow residential streets around Blackpool, Anchorsholme and Mereside -as well as the town centre with its many road diversions. Bispham Village stop Monday June 25 and the Palladiums arrive ! Rear profile detail on 236 at Bispham Village first day in public service. Side view and profile in gleaming sunlight departing from Bispham Village.

Classic Trams in the Sunshine

Crich Tramway Village hosts a gleaming well maintained collection of preserved trams now a passing memory for many visitors. The amazing summer weather was on hand during my visit last Thursday en route to Oxford. Fortunately one of the operating cars was Blackpool Standard 40, providing that open balcony breeze on the top deck; whilst LUT 158 served as the other running car with totally open top deck and Edwardian features once familiar to far earlier generations. School visits loved that ride. In the Work Shop another London tram, LCC Number 1, is a work in progress now gaining (or regaining) its familiar shape, but coated in dark blue with a distinctive upward white vee on the dash.

Bye Bye Pink

Another rebranding exercise on a British light rail fleet is now imminent with the change of operating ownership of the West Midlands line between Birmingham Grand Central terminus (aka New Street) and Wolverhampton. The incongruous flamboyant swish pink grey and silver styling is about to be swept away with a more sombre all over blue reminiscent of Walsall's municipal fleet. Birmingham tram terminus outside 'Grand Central' aka New Street Station . A class act. West Midlands Metro swish branding about to be replaced. The restaurant and food floor is amazing inside. A visit this weekend to Birmingham afforded chance to sample the on-street line through the city's commercial district and

Broadway Dragons

Not something from 'Jurassic Park' or formidable landladies ! Actually the term given to centre entrance low floor cars introduced in New York City (Manhattan) in 1911. These quite formidable all steel built trams were designed in response to problems caused by ladies fashions of the time which limited lateral movement of their feet caused by the 'hobble skirt'. New York being particularly fashion conscious prompted the New York Railway company to design a very low floor car (conduit power) for its premier Broadway service. Below : An example (5083) loading at the northern terminus of the Broadway line in summer 1914. Note the open windows and driver's side cab door (and window). Im

Ian Stewart RIP

Remembering Ian Stewart - the great tram illustrator and staunch supporter of the STTS

More Goodbyes

Even Blackpool's trams carry notices of impending new buses on Services 3 and 4. School peak loading of a Solo on Service 3 at Bispham Village today. Whilst below a Resort Pass Branded Solo also on Service 3 departs from the disgraceful shelter stop on Warbreck Hill Road. Local Ward Councillors 'Danny & Michele' (the Scotts) finally woke up to the wretched condition of this abomination of a bus shelter which has been in this state for several years and despite complaints from residents has remained as a blot on the Warbreck Hill landscape for much of this millenium. Wake up Blackpool Council. It will be interesting to contrast the smart new buses due to begin service on the 3 and 4 ro

Goodbye Solos

Residents of North Shore will say goodbye to the familiar Optare Solo buses this week. New replacement models are due to take over Services 3 and 4 in a week's time. Below : crowded Talbot Road with the condemned Wilko building as backdrop and a Solo passes its larger BTS cousins en route to Mereside :

Colorado Springs : Both Narrow Gauge and Broad Gauge PCC Cars

A railroad museum has been a constant feature of Colorado Springs but rarely featured in UK media online or other. A visit by my daughter and son in law (with expensive camera equipment) to the State last month ensured at least some coverage of the location, along with the unique Fort Collins museum line with its sole operating 'Birney Car' - see earlier Blog. Provenance of the equipment at Colorado Springs is unclear but certainly a number of the PCC cars were originally from Philadelphia (intended I believe for an operating line which did not transpire). A sole PCC from the narrow gauge Los Angeles system acquired several decades back is a rare survivor and seen here below. Sorry fleet

Ian Stewart RIP

Following on illness from early this year Ian Stewart passed away on the 15th of June. Ian's prolific work in colour renderings of tramcars to an exact detail is most evident in the two definitive books on the Glasgow system for which he was responsible with others, in editing and publishing through the Scottish Tramway and Transport Society - STTS. Both are authoritive testimony to the city's transport heritage. His work and role in support of the STTS with its eminent pursuit of recording Scotland's diverse tramway history over the years is evident in profuse articles and drawings published in the Society's material. Ian contributed to the founding title of Rigby Road Publishing wit

Glasgow's Loss

Let Glasgow Flourish is the motto for this great city on the River Clyde. Glasgow's trams, buses and trolleybuses all at one time or another carried the coat of arms on their side panels against distinctive fleet colours of cream, green and cadmium orange. News overnight of yet a further devastating fire engulfing one of the city's most famous buildings - the School of Art which had previously been badly damaged in flames and was close to being fully restored, is indeed a tragedy of considerable proportions. Angular outline of stalwart 1125 on the 9 Service - heading towards Dalmarnock Depot on Argyle Street. Great trams - classic destinations - winding tracks and sett paved streets - amaz

Perth or Bust

Thanks to intrepid traveller Derek Redmond we are pleased to provide some very recent images from the Whitman Park Tramway Museum in Western Australia. Derek was on a family journey (and is still travelling) but took the opportunity to revisit this outpost of tramway heritage; one which rarely features in news coverage in the 'old country'. Derek's mission was to track down (literally) a still extant example of a low floor centre entrance tram developed in the US in the early 1900s. Two such cars were exported to Australia one of which went to the Perth tram system and which has managed to survive all these years, albeit in a tired shape and minus its unusual running equipment and electri

Solos Bow Out

The sight of the nimble bright yellow branded single deck 'Solo' buses wending their way around North Shore and Cleveleys - as well as through the town to Mereside on services 3 and 4 is coming to an end. From June 25th a new generation of Blackpool single deck buses will take over these services a special launch is planned by BTS with details at BTS information offices and online. Another journey to Mereside with a Solo negotiating the left hand turn on to Warbreck Hill Road and then to Gynn Square. A familiar journey for residents in North Shore. The distinctive black and yellow branding was introduced by the previous BTS MD, Trevor Roberts, who took an immediate dislike to the 'Metro

Buses of All Colours

The bus side of things in Blackpool is even more interesting than the predictability of trams in 2018. Blackpool Transport is about to introduce its new fleet of single deck buses which will take over from the now veteran 'SOLOs' on Services 3 and 4 in two weeks time. A special launch is being planned by BTS with displays at Tesco's bus stance at Mereside and at Cleveleys Bus Station on the day itself. Buses no longer gravitate to Market Street and the new bus stops created along its frontage due to the road closures which bar vehicles from entering from Talbot Square on a one way system. So Blackpool Transport's customer services face on to signage directing visitors to a 'Revolution'

Making Tracks

The rubble strewn area surrounding Blackpool's Town Hall throughout what was once familiarly known as Talbot Square and up Talbot Road (as far as Abingdon Street) is still giving up its formerly hidden tramway history. Contractors are now fully engaged in preparing groundwork for the new generation of services which will once more bring electric trams from the Promenade, through Talbot Square and up to Blackpool North railway station (or close proximity to its precinct). Work is correctly being carried out in phases with the Talbot Square and Talbot Road to Abingdon Street section being prepared for tram track installation first. The connection over the promenade and station stop platform

Cleveleys Draws Crowds on Sunday 10th

The sun shone throughout Sunday for yet a further Cleveleys Auto Show on the seafront and in the town's shopping district. This drew record crowds to ogle and photograph the enormous displays of cars of all ages and types together with the proud owners monitoring their charges. Below : Icecream and exotic autos...... In what has become an important summer festival for Cleveleys - the impressive promenade frontage now provides the setting for automobiles polished to a high shine. Organisers have dextrously assigned individual areas to themed specialist displays ranging from 'muscle cars' to 1970s family cars. Of course the classic vintages from the 1930s onwards together with Americ

Blackpool's North Pier Shines Forth

Peter Sedgewick and his family - Owners of Blackpool's three, yes three, iconic seaside piers have outdone themselves in their revamp of the North Pier in 2018. A massive investment in refurbishing the pier to highlight its historic features and entertainment role over many decades was put on show on Saturday May 9th with a special family Open Day inviting visitors and residents to enjoy this iconic part of Blackpool's seaside attraction. Below : last minute cleanups as the crowds arrive on Saturday morning with the new miniature train ready for its first rides in a very hot sun. The flags are a very nice touch - not an EU star in sight.. Above where once a long jetty continued out into

Gay Pride on the Prom

Blackpool's contribution to Gay Pride was enhanced with brilliant sunshine and an exciting parade along the promenade on Saturday. Both Blackpool Transport and the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust made their respective contributions through the open top special bus in BST's heritage fleet and special banners and new adornments on the static tram display featuring former Centenary Car 641 held by the FHLT at its display site opposite the Pleasure Beach. Blackpool Transport's special open top bus giving a topical platform in the parade seen here passing the former Savoy Bowl building. Meanwhile back at the Pleasure Beach - the FHLT display tram is enhanced with new visuals and Gay pride flag

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

 

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