JOHN'S BLOG: TRAM TALK TODAY

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No March Or Protests Here

Referendum Result in Blackpool Voting District 23 June 2016 Total Number of Ballot Papers Counted : 66,959 Total Number of Votes Cast in Favour of Remain : 21,781 Total Number of Votes Cast in Favour of LEAVE : 45,146 Against a flood of contrived outcries over the Government's Prorogation of Parliament what is it that elected representatives of the people don't get from the outcome of the 2016 Referendum ? The closer this Government inches to the legal date by which the UK Leaves its Membership of the European Union - the more frenetic the angst is being expressed by those determined to negate the outcome of a national Referendum from which 52% determined their desire to see Britain re

Promenade Follies

Blackpool's annual Lights Switch On is with us complete with promenade closure and tramway service dislocated. Amid the due diligence now underway to review the exact circumstances by which a young cyclist found himself under a tram last week - some attention should be given to the visibility of Blackpool's trams. The fact is that the colours and livery design of the Council owned light rail vehicles are a danger to other road users and pedestrians. Having a dark purple frontage with no light toned relief is thoughtless in terms of health and safety. Perhaps this is most apparent on our trains which are all provided with bright yellow front cab colours. No doubt the railway inspectorat

Stanley Park - Best Green Space in England

Blackpool's green space - Stanley Park - received the nomination from a national charity this week as being the best park in England. Opened in 1926 Stanley Park was initially planned to be connected with Marton's tramway by a new branch off Whitegate Drive running into the park itself. However the Town Council had set its mind against further street tram expansion by that time and instead a small fleet of diminutive open 'toastrack' buses operated a shuttle service to the Park's main entrance from the Promenade. A special 'Bus Station' was built into the entrance perimeter wall which is still in place but hidden by later concrete cladding. In fact it was merely a metal shelter with bri

Ride The Lights : Close The Promenade And The Tram Service

The serious incident involving a young person on South Promenade on Monday is a tragic event which called for rescue teams releasing the victim from underneath the tramcar. Quite understandably he is undergoing medical specialist attention for severe injuries. There is now a formal investigation ongoing to determine the sequence of events and exact circumstance in which the tram and young cyclist became in conflict. This must run its course before definitive statements on the tragedy. Apparently a future course of action being looked at is to stop the trams from running at all on the promenade during this annual evening/nighttime event. Just why an essential light rail service needs to be

Correction : Not Quite Forgotten Fleetwood

Our Posting on Monday this week drew reference from published media news reports of a Billion Pound fund to aid regeneration of town centre (below). I am advised from an informed source that in fact FLEETWOOD was included in an original list (July 5, 2019) of English towns standing to benefit from this Government initiative. In fact the listing had just been expanded to one hundred town centres across England - of which both Blackpool and Kirkham are beneficiaries. I stand corrected and now all three Fylde Local Authorities are included in the Government's funded scheme aimed at regeneration of high streets. Another policy announcement from Number Ten this holiday weekend posted a £1 Bi

HS 2 3 4 to 15 ?

Before Beeching. Blackpool Central Station with real trains providing plenty of seats, no standing and frequent services. Image : John Woodman Archive There are so many competing headlines each day that it is difficult to determine which has the most implications for the people of this country. However the woes of Britain's railways have been a constant feature week in week out for the past few years. Not the least of which is the abysmal set up which the country's train services have been cynically contrived through rushed policies of the unlamented Major administration. Now news today that the present Government has rightly determined to scrutinise the state of play with the much

Once Upon A Time On Abingdon Street

For those of us with long enough memories the name 'Bateson's' will bring back immediate memories of a Blackpool institution - namely the leading toy and hobby shop in the town centre. Located on Abingdon Street in the 1950s then a thriving commercial thoroughfare which also boasted 'Coop & Naylor' - a quality book and stationary store, as well as 'Hunters' the upmarket mens apparel and store on the corner with Clifton Street. The GPO was actually a busy major postal office with various departments and counters; trams of course rumbled frequently past Abingdon Street Market - also a thriving venue in the era before out of town retail centres or supermarkets. Bateson's was forever a mecca

Council At Work

Road closure of Corporation Street behind the former BHS block is allowing Blackpool Council's operational services team to continue with the redesigned bus stance layout. This provides for angled bays similar to the successful format installed on Market Street. Smart new signage has appeared informing all and sundry of the improvements being made to transport infrastructure at this point. Of course Corporation Street has been a favoured bus terminus for nearly eighty years with successive generations of Blackpool's municipal services.

Scottish Memories

For those of us old enough to recall the later years of Glasgow's once amazing tram system with 'caurs' scarred and worn still dominating certain districts and the city's principal commercial centre - it is reassuring to see survivors now carefully tended and in display condition. This is a far cry from their final chapter in the early 1960s. Such was the size and scale of Glasgow's tramway that it still merited several operating depots almost to the end : Maryhill, Denniston, Partick, Dalmarnock and of course the huge workshops at Coplawhill with industrial cranage over the lines of repair tracks. Coplawhill was noteworthy for its seperate 'Paint Shop' as well as the extensive Permanant

Blackpool's Premier Coachbuilder - Once Upon A Time

The name HV Burlingham was forever associated with innovative styling and craftsmanship in UK bus and coachbuilding industry. Set up by a Norfolk cabinet maker who moved to Blackpool following the end of the First World War - the company he founded bearing his name went on to be a market leader and important employer in the town from the early 1930s up to takeover by Hendon-based Duple Coachbuilders in the early 1960s. The company was favoured by Blackpool's municipal transport department from 1935 onwards - becoming almost exclusive supplier of new bus bodywork to the Corporation right up to the mid 1950s. However its customer base was extensive and included large operators such as Scotti

Weather Stops Planes & Other Matters

Blackpool's weekend airshow highlight was summarily cancelled (or at least the Saturday part) due to exceptional bad weather bringing gales, rain and difficult flying conditions. Fortunately Sunday proved to be far less stressful for pilots, organisers and visitors. A sizeable crowd filled the central promenade and north pier frontage to gaze (and hear) the anticipated flypasts of extremely fast military aircraft, and the aeronautic tactics of more leisurely planes doing stunt flying. As the images below show - attention of the crowds was firmly fixed seaward despite the familiar competing transport attractions behind them on the promenade. The delights of a 1930s double deck tram are spur

Ireland's Hard Border - Back In Time

This is what a hard border used to look like. Army bulldozers at work breaking up road crossings on the Northern Ireland border with the Republic at the height of the 'Troubles' as they were euphemistically termed. The cabs were fitted with bullet proof additional protection. FV was a Blackpool vehicle registration code in former times - but this is a military registration.

Blackpool Town Centre 9 August 2019

A brief walk in the town centre avoiding looming rain clouds found new markings on the Talbot Square 'Trams Only' roadspace assigned to the three way track junction. Whether or not these will be sufficient to deter vehicles is highly questionable given the many incidents which are a feature of the Anchorsholme crossing. Roughened road surface or red colouring such as that used for bus stops is a greater deterrent to uncertain motorists. Blackpool Transport's Heritage double decker (332) was noted on the Promenade service 1 being both immaculate and standing out from the now common garden 'Palladium' buses dominating the town's transport services. BTS first version of its business logo mak

Palladium Rules - Nearly

The introduction of the 'Palladium' brand seems like only yesterday, whilst in fact some five years ago Blackpool received with a flourish the delivery of ten brand new Mercedes 'Citaro' model buses in the grey silver and black branding complete with off yellow flourish. Their arrival allowed improvement to Service 5 to Victoria Hospital with a spacious interior and larger seating capacity. They would remain 'one offs' in the Blackpool fleet procurement. Since 2015 the Citaros have been joined by successive deliveries from Alexander Dennis, beginning with the company's new Enviro double deck design which caught BTS management attention at a commercial show. This has now become the 'pa

Ireland's Trains

Rear Driving Unit of Intercity set waiting departure at Cork Kent Station. New development underway in background. Below : rear unit of Cobh local service set from Cork and illuminated route map in our coach - showing station stops from Cork to Dublin- a two hour journey. Very comfortable seating with plenty of leg room unlike UK cramped rolling stock. Below : Standard DART electric set at Howth terminal station. An uninspiring colour scheme for the system. Approaching Connolley Station with a glimpse of a diesel freight engine in the yards. And from the other side of the DART coach a remarkable surviving piece of steam railway insfrastructure visible from Connolly Station platform :

Dublin's Buses

Tea on a Routemaster in Dublin passing Trinity College ? Dublin's city buses are bright, colourful and everywhere ! O'Connell Street with its single track in view. The parallel street has the line in the other direction.

Blackpool's ADL Buses Augmented

Almost surruptitiously Blackpool Transport introduced yet a further tranche of new ADL single deck buses into service at the end of July. Neatly conforming to the bodywork of earlier examples now used on the 3 and 4 (and other) services replacing the Solo vehicles - these latest deliveries are long wheelbase versions and take over Service 6 between Mereside and Grange Park. Their arrival reinforces yet further the Palladium branding now dominant on the bus side of BTS operations. Numbered in the 500 series they are yet another success for the Falkirk company in its strengthening relationship with Blackpool Transport. Some selective images taken today featuring the ADL presence on the Fyld

Howth Transport Museum

Ireland is not noted for attention to road or rail transport preservation. This is despite the considerable railway heritage that would have been very worthwhile conserving for future generations. The Giants Causeway line (in the North) being a particularly regrettable closure followed in the 1950s by the Hill of Howth tramway. Fortunately at least some examples of cars from both tramways were preserved and can be seen at Howth and the excellent well funded Cultra Museum in Northern Ireland. The Republic's transport museum is kept behind closed doors courtesy of the Howth Castle Demesne and its owners. Open only for a few hours on weekends in summer months, it at least holds in close

Number 8 to Dalkey

Dublin's last tram ran in 1949 on the lengthy route as far as the now upmarket suburb of Dalkey. A mix of large bogie cars and two axle trams rumbled through the very narrow streets of Dalkey all the way from the imposing city centre terminus opposite the GPO. Here they entered through an equally narrow gate on curving track into a depot track fan with three seperate structures. Amazingly the depot remains intact although the interiors have had concrete flooring added and stripped bare of any residual tramway infrastructure. Outside however the tracks and points remain much as they were set in cobbles and bearing the manufacturers marks. I was informed by knowledgeable locals that a pr

Tram to the Train - Dublin

Dublin's light rail system presently involves two very extended lines all operated by a fleet of Alstom Citadis units from two depots. In addition there is a seperate electric rail network connecting suburban and extended communities around the capital. Known as DART - this operates heavy rail trains out of the mainline stations : Connolly, Pearse, Heuston. Rather like the intended plans for Blackpool North the terminal station on Amien Street now known familiarly as Connolly - is linked to the light rail network through a short on street branch which ends in a double track terminus complete with scissors crossover. Escalator and elevator bring travellers up to the higher level train con

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

 

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