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.

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Bank Closing, New Hotel, Filthy Shelters

Blackpoo l out of season is a pretty bleak experience even when the sun is shining. Work on excavating the area for the new Talbot Square tram stop inbound is immediately in front of the still imposing bank building housing up to today RBS. The Talbot Square branch of RBS is the last vestige of that company's business on the Fylde coast. With the bank vacating the building the chances are that it will be sold off to yet another bar/restaurant operator thus completing the transition of Talbot Square from its former civic space and cared for structures, both public and private. Below : outside RBS is ongoing excavation work for the new tram stop in

999

Rigby Road is the scene of Emergency Fire Crews of the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service preparing for drills involving a non-typical Blackpool tram today. A pristine Balloon car was positioned carefully alongside the Engineering Works to allow prepared training of new staff in procedures involving trams. In fact Blackpool and the Fylde coast are the only locations in Lancashire where trams operate - given the now seperate Greater Manchester (and environs) being under different local government jurisdiction. If the Preston Guild Line proposals manage to emerge with necessary capital funding - then a further system in the county could become a reality. Remodelled 723 in its retro fleet l

Cold and Blustery on the Fylde Coast

Winter's harsh winds and freezing temperatures have not halted work on the advancing track junction in Talbot Square linking finally with the 2010 pointwork opposite North Pier. Despite incessant seasonal cold exacerbated by wind chill - contractors continue with infilling new track on Talbot Road and the three way junction on to the Promenade. This includes associated work on realignment of paving and road junctions with improved features. New excavation for overhead poles to be embedded along the route, together with what will need to be extensive span wires over the Promenade track junction is now evident. The promenade itself being totally closed to road traffic in the vicinity all

Blackpool Local Plan Published

Today's Blackpool paper headline reveals the Local Authority's Local Plan covering development of sites for new housing as well as revising criteria for town centre commercial use. An immediate eye grabbing by-line referred to Rigby Road Tram Depot identified as one of the potential Council owned sites which could be the subject of new housing. This should be no surprise given the new housing construction which is ongoing along Rigby Road (facing the Transport operation) replacing former industrial and transport usage (Blundell Street Depot) from earlier times. Before anyone dashes off to register alarm and protest ; inclusion of Rigby Road Tram Depot is one of twenty two Council sites

UK Direction Next ?

The week has one dominant issue - Brexit together with the need for the UK Government with Parliament to get an immediate grip on steps necessary to provide confidence to investment and business; as well as reassurance to people whether desirous of this country remaining in the EU - or those (like the author) seeking an independent future untrammelled by Brussels diktats. Europe has fractured political consensus of the two main Parties. A minority Government is desperately now trying to bring together sufficient cross Party support to sustain an alternative negotiated withdrawal from the EU. Or to put the entire issue yet again in front of the national electorate for a further vote. The

Mystery Tram Or ?

This old photograph depicting the lower saloon of a tram being used as garden shed of shop is a mystery as to the origins of the bodywork. It bears nothing like a Blackpool or Lytham car. The only possibility is it could be two short saloons joined together with the right hand section covered by boards. In any event it presents an interesting mystery for those eagle eyed historians among readers of this blog. Ideas please on the back of an envelope !

Changing Times - BTS Livery Transition

Blackpool's transport scene is a bewildering menage of differing liveries and colours as the bus side undergoes radical change. The former yellow and black scheme introduced a decade previously under the management of Trevor Roberts, itself did away with the multicoloured 'Line' branding of his predecessor Steve Burd. We are treated to vestiges of this replacement styling on 'Trident' double deckers now very much evident on Service 7 and intermittently on other Services. Retaining the use of destination 'blinds' immediately identifies these buses are destined for early replacement and contrasting with the electronic lighting displays now the norm despite problems in recognition when facin

A Tale of Two Shelters

Whilst there is incessant fixated attention given to individual heritage trams - there is equal importance in giving air time to the fixed infrastructure serving a tramway which originated well over a hundred years ago. Of course most of the early artifacts and principal features such as three depots on the Blackpool to Fleetwood line have all been demolished or removed. However two interesting remnants from the halcyon days of the route remain as prominent features - at Bispham and Little Bispham. Built by Blackpool Corporation and designed in a period when styles were changing radically from Edwardian and 1920s norms - both tram station structures were intended as 'statement' buildings

290 A Historic Car Held in Trust

One of the first trams secured from Blackpool Transport by the fledgling group formed to launch a tram museum for Fleetwood in 2010 was Brush Car 290. Selected principally because of its role as the very last service tram to have operated from North Station along Dickson Road to Fleetwood in October 1963. Acquired in a garish all-over sponsor scheme for the Coral Island amusement venue on Blackpool Promenade, the car was promptly despatched to the care of HM Prison Kirkham. Over the ensuing year it was given care and attention by a small cadre of volunteers in the Prison together with work by Colin MacLeod who attended to replacement of the roof and gantry base among other features. Blac

641 An Old Favourite from 1984

Parked at the Pleasure Beach loop is a well disguised Blackpool tram. Owned by the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust Centenary Car 641 is actually a historic tram in its own right. When Blackpool Council in 1983 to commissioned construction of a totally new tram as a prototype for replacement of the by then worn out OMO class conversions - it would turn out to be the very last design of a British tram before light rail and disability access requirements changed forever the formatting of public service vehicles. The Centenary cars as they became known were criticised for their 'buslike' appearance by tram cognoscenti and fell way below the accepted norms of traditional tram design - or so it

2019 Enters from the Pacific

A tramway so far escaped mention in this blog. The all double deck operation of Hong Kong Tramways itself an international tourist attraction as well as a vital transport artery with trams every two or three minutes in peak time. This image of 'standard' HKT double decker 103 was taken last week for Tramtalk by Chris-Meyer Rassow en route back from Australia to the UK with a stopover in Hong Kong.

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

 

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