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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Electric Bus Trial

The statement by the Government and Chancellor this week of a funded trial conversion of an urban bus system to all electric vehicles might just favour Blackpool Transport's own strategy to go 'all electric'. A £25 Million tranche of funding is being assigned to a specific town or locality to cover the costs of conversion from diesel powered vehicles to all electric models - at least places Blackpool's publicly owned company (BTS) in pole position to be selected for this windfall grant. Given that BTS have been undertaking due diligence on requirements for a new bus garage and service facility configured for a new electric powered fleet of next generation buses - the town is logically hig

Rigby Road Publishing Update

Our latest title in the series 'Municipal Transport' dealing with the 1960s is scheduled to be published at the end of October : 'Municipal Transport Rationalisation 1960 - 1969'. Orders are being accepted through our Shop Page. The delayed title on Blackpool's buses is now scheduled for end of 2020 and revised to commemorate Blackpool's Bus Centenary in 2021. More details will be made known next year.

Eyes On The Capital

Launching briefly into a mini rant on the politics of this country - disturbing as they are for everyone, no matter their views on the Brexit drama taking hold of Westminster - there is no question that the United Kingdom is presently in the grip of the mother of all constitutional crisis. Reconvening a Parliament of two years engaged in a bitter political battle with itself is the rerun of a platform for all too familiar figures to grandstand and pontificate - endlessly proclaiming entrenched and well rehearsed opinions. The country has had enough of this self absorbing inquest on the national referendum 'our' political parties charged themselves to respect when the outcome was known. A

143 Takes Centre Stage

The Trustees and their supporting team of the Fylde Transport Trust can be rightfully proud of seeing Standard Car 143 make its first appearance on the Promenade last night. The sight of this open fronted reminder of Blackpool's tramway in the 1920s was almost too true to be believed when it rumbled slowly and carefully past the Tower to the North Pier loop. A gathering of admiring enthusiasts soon clustered around the tram as Jane Cole,, MD of Blackpool Transport Services Ltd., was invited to 'do the honours' by launching 143 in traditional manner with a bottle across its 'fender'. Thereafter invited guests were taken on the tram to the Pleasure Beach loop and escorted to the top floor

Blackpool In The 1920s

The launch today of open balcony 'Standard' tramcar 143 resplendent in its as built 1924 appearance prompts a nostalgic trip back in time to a decade when electric trams dominated the resort's centre. Municipal red and white lined out colours for both trams and the newly introduced bus fleet presented a completely different appearance from the green and cream which would follow by the mid 1930s. Not a streamline tram or bus in sight - with the tram fleet very much redolent of systems up and down the country. In 1923 Tramways Department's recently completed and expansive complex taking up much Corporation land at Rigby Road was a hive of industrial activity producing new trams whilst modi

Sorry : No Real Time Information

Blackpool's light rail service is the only operation of its kind in the UK devoid of real time tram arrival information on its station stops. This omission is noticeable when something goes wrong on the tramway due to breakdown, accident or some other incident which prevents the service schedule being maintained as advertised. There would seem to be a cavalier attitude towards this lack of electronic information based possibly on the lack of public reaction to having to wait for interminable periods and having to guess if and when a tram might actually show up. Blackpool Council and Lancashire County Council are responsible for the tramway infrastructure and provision of lineside passeng

Blackpool's Push For Zero Carbon Transport & the Global Green Movement

The images of hundreds of thousands marching today to protest against despoilation of the earth's resources now bringing real threat to a global future - is a wakeup call to all politicians whatever the party label. These are the voters influencing elections tomorrow and for generations ahead. Platitudes and band-aid reactions simply won't work anymore on young generations concerned that their lives are already at risk from environmental damage being done by callous land hungry developers and an indifferent public sector. Blackpool may be deficient in seeing protests of the scale (or any scale) seen elsewhere today throughout Britain and the wider world. But there is a one local proacti

Fylde Transport Trust Endeavours

Next Monday evening, all being well the remarkable journey of former Blackpool Standard tram 143 will have completed its seemingly interminable programme of restoration begun earlier this century. Standard Car 143 was a burnt shell of its final Engineering Car 3 condition when it was acquired by the then Lancastrian Transport Trust from Blackpool Transport Services. This was a point when the tram's remains and future were deemed questionable at best. Removed from BTS premises at Rigby Road the tram body was taken to the LTT's Marton premises with the ambitious objective of it being restored to original as built open balcony and open platform condition. Through fits and starts this comm

London Exemplars : LCC 1 and MET 331

As Blackpool's transport followers await the emergence of Standard Car 143 from its extended retro restoration now imminent an equally important moment is pending at the National Tramway Museum, Crich where final work is underway on returning LCC 1 to its as built 1932 condition. This car was the very last tram design to emerge from the Council's Charlton workshops intended as the forerunner of a fleet to improve the almost static condition of London County Council's tram services frozen in time for nearly two decades. Nicknamed 'Bluebird' with its extravagant dark blue and white colours and numbered '1' as a forerunner of what was to be a whole new series of similar cars - in fact it enco

Rear End Views

Driving behind a Blackpool bus can be a visually stimulating experience when it has been treated to a creatively designed rear side vinyl. BTS have moved on from the neat well defined advertising panels on the back of the fleet to a full on layout for select customers. Mercedes Citaro 556 shows off its rear vinyl on Talbot Road. Respect Your Chips ? Below a similar theme this time on the back of an ADL Enviro vehicle And a return to Corporation green and cream branding first introduced on Blackpool's trams and buses in 1933 by Walter Luff. As applied to 'heritage bus' 332 on the 1 Service. East Lancashire Trident 330 displays the dramatic scheme introduced by Trevor Roberts in 2009. Onl

Political Fiddling Whilst Global Temperatures Rise

The parliamentary machinations at Westminster will become the subject of forthcoming books and probably a movie or two in due course - such is the colourful cast of characters filling media airwaves over the past months (if not years). Tempted as I am to add my own six pennyworth of comments from the seaside on current events in Parliament - the overwhelming sense of national disquiet and barely contained widespread public anger on the Brexit saga causes me to hold off such ruminations. Far more pertinent to matters on the Fylde coast are warnings and prediction of sea level rises caused by melting icecaps to a level which in time will overwhelm coastal areas around the British Isles (and f

Brief Encounters

A chance detour off Lytham Road today brought me to the long familiar Hopton Road depot tracks where a duo of classic Blackpool restored and sort of restored double deck cars basked in the sun. Being prepared for a private tour (for London Transport Museum visitors I was reliably informed) purple and white 700 in Blackpool Council colours, and 717 in its finely restored cream and green waited for their next duties touring the Illuminations.Below : the duo provide a neat contrast in Balloon car restoration on the track fan today. Anyone for Great Eccleston ? Central Promenade and the 'Golden Mile' around 1950 with a 'snap' of this strolling foursome in smart attire for the period. The al

Abingdon Street Sights

The consequence of closing the promenade was traffic delays in and around the town centre and rerouting of many, if not most, of BTS bus services using the terminal points on Market and Corporation Streets. Rerouting of buses for brief periods to satisfy visitor priority road closures has become an all too familiar facet of Blackpool's transport operation. Whereas only accidents and road construction obliged buses to change the course of their service - now summer and autumn months are littered with this and that sponsored run, walk, ride or parade. Of course this provides fascinating scenes for camera wielding enthusiasts (everyone now has some form of visual recording device). The aut

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

 

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