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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Custom House Quay - A Further Urban Waterfront Regeneration Project

The strategic value of waterfront properties in urban locations is fast gathering recognition in UK towns and cities. Benefitting not just coastal resorts with leisure based economy. Glasgow is the latest Authority to invest in strategic new regeneration of a stretch of riverfront land along the Clyde, and adjoining the city's central districts. Announced this week Custom House Quay envisages a mix of leisure, residential, large hotel and related commercial use to provide a whole new recreational area in proximity to St Enoch Square, Argyle Street and Buchanan Street. A City Deal backed project envisages rebuilding riverside quays and insertion of green park space along the north side of

Foreign Owned And Over Here

Britain's railway privatisation rushed through in the dying stages of John Major's unlamented government - is now representative of all that is wrong with privatisation of national utilities under the Conservatives. With possible exception of Chiltern Trains running into London from Birmingham, Oxford and points in between, and the credible management of Scottish rail services (and those of Northern Ireland) under devolved governments - many of the country's rail services are owned and managed by foreign entities. Perhaps most notably the lamentable franchise covering the northwest of England now branded as 'Northern'. It is perhaps no surprise that the City Region Mayors of Manchester an

Alexander Dennis Gets New Owners whilst Pacers Find Second (or Third) Lives :

Blackpool Transport's relationship with its principal bus supplier - Alexander Dennis of Falkirk is now entering a new phase with the acquisition of ADL by Canadian group NFI Inc announced this week. Blackpool Transport has transformed its fleet with deliveries of new environmentally 'clean' vehicles over the past four years - and further buses on order. Blackpool's interest in moving towards an all-electric bus fleet is a strategy awaiting implementation but with definite plans already announced. These include redevelopment of the company's operating base at Rigby Road to accommodate transformational technology. What impact the news this week of ADL's sale to a Canadian firm will have on

Getting Reacquainted - With Crich

A brief visit to Crich over the holiday weekend coincided with a calendar special event for the museum. Blackpool's Standard car 40 in immaculate red and cream colours was a popular ride for the many family visitors clutching children who needed especially long dwell times unloading from the top deck. Of particular interest was a real favourite of mine - Jubilee Car 762 which attracted many riders of all ages. Having last ridden Jubilee Car 761 on the final night of traditional tram operation in Blackpool (pre-light rail) it was tantalising to hear again the sounds emanating from behind lower deck panels of the power technology on these Blackpool designed and built duo. Sadly 761 which

More Images From Sandtoft

A rare visit to the UK's principal collection of trolleybuses at Sandtoft this past weekend warrants further glimpses of this noteworthy specialist transport museum. The small town of Maidstone operated a compact system with conservative light brown livery on its trolleybuses. One survivor (72) was on display at the time of my visit. Elsewhere a duo of Bradford trolleybuses were parked away from the main storage and display area - above right. Below : a very long way from home was this exile from Edmonton, Canada with typical GM 1960s style bodywork. Number 189 shows off its somewhat alien looks at Sandtoft. By way of contrast the offside profile of a classic Bournemouth pre-war troll

And Now For Something Completely Different

My travels this weekend brought me to Sandtoft in northeast Lincolnshire. I finally had the chance to ride on a British trolleybus at the excellent museum tucked away near the M62. There are just three places where you can actually see trolleybuses meandering past in the UK : Sandtoft which is exclusive to the trolleybus enthusiasts, Carlton Colville with its own excellent collection on a working line which intermingles with trams; and at the Black Country Museum similarly operating examples from the Midlands along with old trams. I believe that the Beamish Museum may be planning for a trolleybus route into the planned 1950s townscape but with only one Newcastle example to hand (at pr

Rigby Road Titles - News

A quickie to remind readers (and others) that the title 'Municipal Transport Heyday' is now available through a reprint. This covers the decade of the 1950s and Blackpool's transport in those busy years. We will have reprint copies of 'Blackpool Corporation Tramways - Motorbus Operations 1921 - 1932' available from next week, together with the 2020 Souvenir Tram Calendar - how the years fly past ! And ....... One Hundred Years of Blackpool's Buses - is a work in progress due later next year. The follow on sequel to the 'Heyday' title is being prepared for publication this October - 'Municipal Transport Rationalisation'. This covers the 1960s and a host of changes starting of course with

The Old Order Changeth

A week today voters will go to a poll the Government, Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and sundry others never wanted nor envisaged. The EU Parliamentary Election of 2019. The UK will vote for the very last time, regional representatives to the European Parliament as MEPs. Despite the UK Referendum on Membership of the EU in 2016 when a majority of votes counted in the final tally as NAYES - Britain has managed to lurch unsteadily towards 23 May 2019 still pinioned to Brussels. The Conservative Party, nominally holds the poisoned chalice that is HM Government, in a Parliament riven by dissent, petty ambitions, indetermined party leaders and an overall malaise - and grimly determine

Talbot Road Travails

With strong sunshine and an interlude between the two May Bank Holidays that bookend this month - work is ongoing to correct problems with the road surface that was undertaken with installation of new track on Talbot Road. It would appear that the quality of the surfacing material in places is suspect and consequently resurfacing is required. This is being undertaken by Contractors to meet the overall specifications of the Council (and other project Funders). Additional work on the tram crossing over the Promenade is in evidence - although no overhead wiring is in evidence at present. This is no surprise given the extended delay to acquiring the Wilko property which is to be demolished to

Blackpool Follows The Capital

News over the weekend featured the latest all electric doubledeck buses being launched in London. WrightBus of Northern Ireland following up on the successful and unique 'Borismaster' double deck design for London with several hundred examples traversing the capital's streets - has just delivered its first all electric double deck design. London's air quality problems are being accentuated by traffic emissions 24/7 to the extent that there is a credible threat to health in the city's central districts. So much so that Transport for London (tfl) and attendant local government (Mayor of London) are pursuing faster introduction of all electric buses at the same time as penalising diesel and

Global Warming + Rising Sea Levels = Coastal Flooding

Surviving remnant of the Blundell Street Depot approach track leading into what is now an extending housing development on Council land. Blundell Street leads off right. Princess Street still retains its access tram track but now seriously truncated in parts. The heavy duty warnings coming from authoritative institutions and national agencies on the consequences for the planet of consistent temperature rise by a further 1.5 degrees plus - is something everyone has to give attention to. From global business, investment and finance, construction and development to individual property owners. This is especially relevant to communities on coastal locations and near watercourses both large a

A Blast From The Past

On returning to the UK from extended work in the USA in 1994 - a first port of call was a visit to Blackpool to join an FTS Christmas Tour. My last being during the 1985 Centenary Year with a memorable ride on Dreadnought 59 in the amazing procession along the promenade - followed up by a trip to Fleetwood on the Hill of Howth car restored specially for the 1985 celebrations. Uncovering images of the 1994 tour it brought back the memories of Balloon Car 700 (237) and this tram's transformations over the past two decades. For those recalling previous times - some reminders of how 700 looked on a Christmas tour. : Below : Awaiting the tour participants enjoying their repast at the North

More Important Matters

Following on the very public thumbs down for both Tories and Labour at the English Local Elections on Thursday this week it was timely to have at hand the leading player of the recently formed Brexit Party at an event hosted at the AFC Fylde football stadium at Wesham today. Scourge of the UK's two main political parties, Nigel Farage, spoke to a packed audience this Saturday along with Ann Widdecombe and the Brexit Party MEP Candidates for the European elections to be held (in the UK) on 23 May. A clearly informed team of Brexit candidates nominated for NW MEP regional seats were on hand to acclaim their support and engagement with the objectives of the new Political Party literally enter

Find The Trees In Blackpool

As urgency grips public concerns on our planet's climate condition and ever threatening warnings of critical moves to an seemingly inevitable tipping point of an increase to a further 1.5% in global temperatures - Britain's politicians squabble over the intentions of a national referendum result and exclusion of much else. Whilst it may be but a speck on the overall equation of actions to reverse global warming trends - the importance of trees and their foliage soaking up Co2 emissions has seemingly passed Blackpool by. There are a total of four, yes just four, trees planted in the entirety of Blackpool's town centre. Far outnumbered by drinking establishments and laughingly termed 'amuse

Rigby Road Publishing - 2019 Titles

We are pleased to announce the following : Blackpool Corporation Tramways - Motorbus Operations 1921 - 1933 is being reprinted and will be available in May. See our Shop Page to order Municipal Transport Heyday - Blackpool Buses and Trams 1950 - 1959 is being reprinted and will be available in May. See our Shop Page to order 2020 Souvenir Blackpool Tram Calendar will be available late May See our Shop Page to order Municipal Transport Rationalisation - Blackpool Buses and Trams 1960 - 1969 is in the course of preparation and will be available from October 2019 100 Years of Blackpool's Buses - Tilling Stevens to Alexander Dennis 1921 - 2020 is in the cou

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

 

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