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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Abingdon Street Makeover

Through the decades Abingdon Street has seen ever evolving changes to transport services along its relatively short distance. Up to 1962 trams slowly made their way past the GPO and Market to pick up homebound shoppers on daily trips into town. Bus services of all types traversed this once busy commercial centre which has now fallen on hard times. Coop & Naylors stationary shop served the needs of young and old (I still have a hardback notebook for recording Blackpool buses in the early 1960s - embossed with the business name in gold. They did things with style in those days. Across the street almost stood Bateson's - the town's premier toy and hobby shop with three levels of model tr

A Dreck Weekend By The Seaside

November is never an inspiring month - especially in a coastal resort. The visitors have left, the shows have closed, peoples minds pivot towards the inevitable commercialism which has taken over a Christian festival and in 2019 a surge of political activism further intrudes on daily life. Blackpool struggles to find any silver linings and even the awkwardly familiar heritage trams do little to brighten the promenade or turn heads. Another 'Gold Weekend' attracts few punters despite promise of frequent service of ever changing cars running here, there and everywhere amid the reduced headway of regular trams. Grey overcast sky and damp surrounds is backdrop to a weekend turnout attractin

I Belong To Glasgow

Straying from Blackpool's long familiar promenade scene Rigby Road Publishing is now preparing a further title for 2020 using images taken by the Author during his several youthful visits north of the border from 1959 up to the demise of Glasgow's tram system in 1962. I was fortunate enough to ride on 'caurs' still operating several routes across the city while it was in its industrial prime, with shipbuilding and steam locomotive manufacture very much a mainstay along the Clyde. The city's tram system was distinctive through the diverse types, beginning of course with the by now venerable 'Standards' which came in two flavours, 'Hex Dash' and 'Round Dash' denoting the front end styling

Goodbye Galway Avenue (Shelter)

Devonshire Road hosts Service 7 running between Cleveleys Bus Station and Blackpool Town Centre. It has been thus for many years whilst Bispham Road is served by the 9 which also has a long history traversing Bispham Village, Layton and sundry other long familiar stops en route. With long residential stretches and quality homes built in the days when houses actually provided comfortable living space, gardens front and rear, high ceilings, thick walls and much to commend them to family living - the stops heading north from Talbot Road tend to feature unblemished shelters, mostly of the original BCT green and cream styling from the 1970s. These are now classic reminders of former times and

Electric Buses Heading Our Way

Blackpool has tinkered with the potential operation of trolleybuses when the issue of replacing Marton's trams arose in the late 1930s and subsequently in the immediate aftermath of World War Two. In both cases the issue was caused by deteriorating condition of the Marton tramway track - which was subjected to high frequency service year round with frequent stops and many curves along much of the route. A costed budget for the use of trolleybuses was submitted in the 1940s together with use of Marton tram depot for stabling replacement electric vehicles. Upgraded trams with modernised control systems (VAMBAC) and new resilient wheel bogies won out - at least for a transient decade or so

Beeching Redux

Amid nationwide breastbeating by politicians of all hues and persuasions Britain's ill-performing rail system is given short thrift by many. From outright renationalisation to revisiting the ill-judged surgery undertaken in the 1960s overseen by a Home Counties self serving 'expert' - the unlamented Dr Beeching. Privatisation of the remaining railway system carried out with unseemly haste by the equally unlamented Major Government has rendered untold profits to private companies whilst serving to make rail travel commuting a misery for countless millions. As we are entertained by promises of nirvana tomorrow on all manner of our daily lives by those chasing voters to empower Britain's nex

Waterside Footfall

Not the Knott End Ferry but somewhere just as exotic ! T3 Tramway signed at the Kadikoy subway line linking this Asian part of Istanbul with the European side Could this be Talbot Road with light rail on the doorstep of nightlife cafes? Above - exceptional wall mosaics on Istanbul's metro stations The Fylde's coastline is a smorgasbord of urban development and ribbon of leisure experience for visitors. From the high tech avionics sector based on Warton to gentle green swathes fronting the Ribble estuary at Lytham with its especial shopping streets; the grandiose AKE scholastic hub nearby morph seamlessly into St Annes on the Sea - a purpose built seaside town built for Lancashire's industr

Concorde on Rails : Thankyou UK taxpayers

Amidst the daily grind of political party soundbites, half truths and outright lies besetting the country through wintry weeks of electioneering - intentions to press ahead with the High Speed Train project are gaining traction in the media (no puns here). Public disquiet over the monumental sums being thrown at the apparent urgent need to whisk travellers up and down the country (well actually between Crewe and London in the first instance) caused the Government to call time out on the project just before things got hot and heavy in Parliament. This resulted in a report - apparently to be published imminently which will outline the case for continuing on with throwing taxpayers money at t

Corporation Street Terminus

Corporation Street has been a favoured terminus for Blackpool Corporation buses since the late 1930s. Generations of green and cream vehicles have pulled up for the inevitable fag break and mug of tea over decades. Today the location is the same with several stops for different services but the background has changed from the old market site to a 1960s building for British Home Stores - now sadly gone inherited by the less than gracious B&M discount pile them high and sell them cheap operator. A tidy up of the bus stances in the past weeks has seen angled parking for the different services negotiating there way around the tight turns from Talbot Square to this busy street. The colours h

Wyre Dock Nocturne

Colin MacLeod (as usual) organising the first candidate/victim .... Inside 678 with a sunny end up of Brush Car 300 in the background 678 somewhat the worse for wear but still with original features following withdrawal. Following major corporate changes at Associated British Ports and the creation of a new property development business entity earlier this year - the company's management team now in charge of asset management have been focussing on Fleetwood. Various specialist firms and external consultants are reviewing options for the regeneration of Wyre Dock and the entire waterfront land owned by the company. This week a private meeting has been arranged to allow ABP Property executi

Snaps From The Sixties

A Marton Vambac traversing Dickson Road - probably on a Sunday Enthusiasts Tour organised by the redoubtable Late Keith Terry. Marton Vambac Car 11 on a valedictory enthusiasts tour in 1962 seen here at the tram terminus on Dickson Road with a service car behind. Television crew filming - but returning to Hopton Road from a director's shot at North Pier - or so it seems below. The driver acknowledging photographer (Colin MacLeod) and intrigued visitors on Lytham Road. Note that the tram is towing the Rocket in this case. Below - an earlier scene at North Pier with a passing Coronation and Duty Inspector plus member of the Tram Engineering staff watching the proceedings. Red Bank Road host

A Lament for Leeds

For those of us of a certain age with memories stretching back into the middle of the last century there is a more than just a twinge of nostalgia at the 'back to the future' antics of today's politicians especially at local level in British towns and cities waking up to the advantages of electric powered urban transport. As the 1950s rolled on so did the lengthening list of transport systems giving up on the tramcar in favour of supposedly more cost effective diesel buses. Even places which still held firm to the tram's cousin - the trolleybus, such as Ipswich, Walsall, Reading and more - were persuaded by the same old industrial manufacturers of the merits of buses over fixed path elect

Blackpool's Trams and Buses in the 1960s A further Title NOW AVAILABLE

The latest new title from Rigby Road Publishing is now available. Blackpool's trams and buses in the 1960s is recounted with many new photos of the town's transport during a hectic decade of change. Now online from our Shop and the Visitor Centre on Blackpool Promenade, as well as Toys2Save in Cleveleys (opposite the tram stop) - the new book retails for £26.00. Profusely illustrated in A4 Landscape format over 120 pages the title provides a flavour of how Blackpool's transport operation provided services on long familiar routes. The demise of the town's street tram services is recounted in brief; as is phasing out of the centre entrance bus fleet in favour of open rear platform double d

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

 

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