JOHN'S BLOG: TRAM TALK TODAY

Disclaimer :   The opinions and commentary voiced on this page are those of the author and do not have automatic endorsement of the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust (Registered Charity) unless otherwise stated.

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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The Manchester Enthusiast Christmas Cracker Weekend PS

A small correction to our previous Blog this week on the Manchester Museum of Transport Enthusiast event this coming weekend. Rigby Road Publishing Stand will only be open on Saturday as we have other commitments on the Sunday. If you are planning to stop by - please make a point of doing so on the 1st. Of course both the weather and Northern Rail Drivers Strike hardly helps planning on Saturday travel.

Blackpool's Old Buses

A noticeable increase in the numbers of yellow and black BTS double deck buses on various services has our interest and attention. Both Services 1 7 and 9 are often featuring the now dated 'Trident' type vehicles some of which are from the first tranche delivered in 2003 and now clearly past their shelf life expiry date (or nearly so). Riding an example today to Cleveleys from Layton showed up the contrast with the ADL model that is now Blackpool's standard double decker in its 'Palladium' fleet branding. A noisy rear engine, hardened seating with now dated moquette? were among the once familiar features that Blackpool's regular riders had become accustomed to. Inevitably these once clas

Talbot Road Update

In spite of the inclement weather with wind and rain in cold temperatures the contractors at work on the North Station tramway extension are rapidly pushing forward with track installation and road work. This is particularly evident with the three way junction being laid out on Talbot Square, together with preparatory groundwork for the new tram station stop (inbound) which is a feature of the extension. Some further images taken this week : An enormous pile driver and drill dominates Talbot Road in the above scene. Hectic work underway this week to complete pointwork and special track crossing at the junction of the twintrack northbound connection from the promenade leading into Talbot Squ

Manchester's Transport Enthusiast Showcase DECEMBER 1st

A reminder that this Saturday Rigby Road Publishing will have a stand in the popular annual Christmas period enthusiasts show in Manchester on December 1st/2nd. Crammed somewhere? within the Transport Museum Vehicle exhibits we will have our current titles on display together with updates on new books planned for 2019/2020. Below : A busy scene on Church Street in 1960 as a rail coach heads round the curve from Abingdon Street on its frequent journey from Talbot Square to Royal Oak. One of many new images planned for the next title in the 'Municipal Transport' series - covering the years 1960 - 1969. Photo : John Woodman For visitors with interest in the goings on in Fleetwoo

TramTrains Now Taking Pole Position

In spite of the cost overruns and lengthy delay in inauguration Britain's first tramtrain service linking Rotherham to the South Yorkshire tram service at Meadowhall, Sheffield is now finally operational. Tramtrain development has certainly notched up urban rail planners agenda in the past twelve months. There is now an inevitability to this hybrid rail mode gaining 'traction' across the country in the coming decade. Several initiatives are already being talked up or otherwise in the headlights of diverse groups and local authorities. Bristol to Portishead using a freight only rail line being one example, whilst Glasgow is finally taking seriously the need for a rail connection to its gr

Talbot Road Tramway Progress

Further views along Talbot Road with tram track installed and awaiting final completion in 2019 up to the terminus layout awaiting demolition of the Wilko store and car park. The section awaiting track installation between Abingdon Street and Dickson Road. This may well be provided with a crossover or stub track terminus and single platform pending the completion of the approved terminus on the site of the Wilko store top left. Plans for this finished section below : The green shaded tracks to be installed after demolition of the Wilko property and site preparation for the tram terminus plus new commercial buildings on either side. A walkway or escalator will lead down to the North Statio

Blackpool's New Street Tram Junction

The last time a tram traversed across the promenade from Talbot Square was in 1963 when a motley convoy consisting of a Balloon car, the remnants of the 'Gondola' and Standard 48 (the last) crossed from their journey which started inside Marton Depot where they had been marooned since closure of the Marton tram service the previous October. Surrounding them were trams sold off for scrap to a contractor who took over the depot to complete the dismantling work around the trio. Today contractors are busy reinstating the track connection from the Promenade on to Talbot Square and Talbot Road where the next extension has been mostly (but not completely) instated as far as the Wilko store entran

The Wilko Store Saga

Traffic through Blackpool town centre is in something of a snarled up state due in good part to the extended delay in demolishing the building familiarly known as 'Wilko'. The best intentions of planners at all levels have come to nought in delivering the tramway extension along Talbot Road to a new terminus abutting the North Station precinct. Legal issues and other obstacles seemingly are preventing the closure of the Wilko business in its present location. Much like a property chain transaction - expectations are for a new and alternative retail store to be constructed alongside the Hounds Hill Shopping Centre - which is to be (it is presumed) part and parcel of other leisure and retail

Blackpool's Ever Evolving Buses

The clash of styles which are visible on Fylde coast bus routes with the dwindling survivors from the Trident era which began some sixteen years ago, and still in their distinctive yellow and black fleet colours, and the now dominant 'Palladium' branded buses from Alexander Dennis - recalls a similar period. In 1933 a new Manager of the then recently named 'Transport Department' which replaced the 'Tramways Department' was minded to exercise his authority and own colour preferences for both trams and buses in Blackpool. Accordingly the 1930s witnessed makeovers starting with the trams from Corporation red and white to the newly introduced dark green and pale cream. New buses (and trams)

November 11th, 1918 - 2018

Centenary of the end of the Great War later known as the First World War is being marked with ceremonies across the globe. A gathering of Government Leaders in Paris is a focal point for Heads of State to mark the end of the bloodletting which began with an assassination in Sarajevo during the summer of 1914. Blackpool's beaches and promenade were crowded on a hot August weekend during which Britain declared war on Germany and began to implement long planned movement of troops and naval vessels to prearranged locations. The enormity and scale of human loss and physical devastation which then transfixed men and women of all ages across Europe is hard to comprehend; even with the depth of r

Farewell Ride On Birkenhead 20 Today

The weather managed to provide extremes for participants gathered at Rigby Road today for the final tour of Birkenhead Number 20 loaned from the Wirral Museum this year. The tram had experienced a sparse number of outings, partly as a result of a trolley dewirement fairly early on after its arrival - and subsequent workshop attention on its truck and wheels by agreement with Blackpool Transport. In fact it was not until the final week or so of the 'Lights' that the car ventured forth on Promenade Heritage Tour duties and a special tour for host organisation members from the Wirral (and elsewhere). A reference to the latter was made in a previous blog last month. I have a very positive

Glasgow 488 Comes Home

One of the more intriguing tram restoration developments now underway is the return to operation of Glasgow Standard Car 488 from its long sojourn in Paris following withdrawal in 1962. It is seen here prior to being transferred from Coplawhill Workshops in Glasgow to its then new residence at the St Mande museum courtesy of French transport enthusiasts : Number 488 is one of six examples of the thousand strong class of Glasgow's standard type 'caurs' still in existence. It is also the only Standard retaining familiar GCT colours which were a hallmark on the city's streets. It is therefore particularly inspiring that 488 is going to reappear in these same fleet colours when its restorati

Manchester Museum of Transport

Rigby Road Publishing will be present at the annual Manchester Transport Museum exhibitors show on December 1st and 2nd. Copies of our titles will be on sale together with redundant books and material from our archive - for collectors. We look forward to meeting our readers attending this always popular event on the heritage transport calendar in the northwest. We will be able to provide updates on the next publications scheduled for 2019 and respond to questions on past and future titles.

More Hectic Activity on Talbot Road

Work on completing repaving of the road junction linking Talbot Road with Topping Street and Dickson Road is continuing at a frenzied? pace with contractors busy over the next 48 hours so that traffic can begin to traverse this important section of the town centre from Monday. At the same time the Promenade will close completely at Talbot Square requiring considerable new diversions which will no doubt create even further dislocation for drivers. Below : the double track pointwork accessing Talbot Square from the Promenade awaits the connecting link to be installed in the next few months. The roadway section between Abingdon Street and Dickson Road remains very much closed and a lengthy

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

 

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