JOHN'S BLOG: TRAM TALK TODAY

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The Way We Were - 2

A sequence of passing scenes starting with the wartime bus shelter at what was originally Layton Windmill / Hoo Hill stop. A Line 11 Excel finds no takers as it heads towards Layton Institute. Below : Jubilee 762 passes Bispham's classic Tram Station (still standing) in its 'ReBlackpool' branding in 2010. The former Cleveleys Odeon cinema structure (later the Orion) has collapsed onto the adjoining roadway and narrowly missing the tramroad track. The demolition company having obviously misjudged their strategy for dismantling the landmark structure. Centenary 643 slowly traverses past having been instructed to slow to walking pace past the site. Quite remarkably nobody was injured

The Way We Were

In the absence of Blackpool's trams we are publishing intermittently images of the town's familiar transport now absent 'for the duration' taken from our archival collections. The scene at North Pier with the former northbound shelter and historic Centenary tramway marker framing restored Balloon 237 in its wartime livery guise.

Question Mark Over 2020 Season

Going Where No Tram Has Gone Before. A new dimension needed for Blackpool's illuminated tram displays. This is how Rigby Road delivered their ideas in the early 1960s. Rebranding trams West Midland's style. The new clean and dynamic look now applied to the light rail service to Wolverhampton from the Grand Central (New Street Station) terminus in Birmingham's centre. Just imagine Blackpool's fleet being given a similar makeover and the impact it would bring on Talbot Road and North Station terminus. The Government's understandably urgent insistent messages for UK citizens to stay at home except for essential needs, and closing down non-essential workplaces - means that the country's re

Tram Service Halted

Events outpace news stories on this Blog. A blog had been prepared for today concerning the reduction in frequency of the tram service to Fleetwood from Starr Gate this week. In fact only a half hourly service had been running from the weekend. However today Blackpool Council ordered the tram service suspended for the time being. An effort to reduce the number of visitors to the town being cited. The Promenade Bus Service 1 is expected to substitute for the trams until further notice. More details in due course.

Rigby Road Publishing * - CVD 19

We are pleased to confirm that orders for our titles are being honoured during the present emergency. Nearly all titles remain in stock at present with some however in limited supply. ** We need to advise following receipt of orders today that we now have ten copies left of the latest title 'Municipal Transport 1960s'. Books are being posted within 48 hours of orders being received - second class mail. The commemorative book on Blackpool's Bus Centenary originally planned for publication towards the end of 2020 has had to be delayed and we are hoping it will be ready for Easter 2021. More details will be confirmed over the course of the year. A further title in the 'Municipal Transport

All Change

The quite dramatic changes to our lifestyle mandated in recent days by the threatening rise of a global pandemic have no precedent unless one goes back to global conflicts and the 1940s. All levels of society now find themselves threatened by shortages of foodstuffs, energy and health provisions for the very ill. Limitations and restrictions on travel are already evident in announcements by national rail operators cutting back on services and examples of London Transport and London Underground station closures. And this is before the main 'hit' and impact of the corona virus actually takes hold in this country. The decision to end Blackpool's heritage tram tours is thus a small item on a

National Emergency

The dominant news this month is the invasive virus now affecting all our lives. No country or location is immune to the dangers of this infection emanating from China. Only now is the UK government fully awake to the dangers and untold consequences of the Corona Virus - and having to adjust with rapidity its early assumptions. Other european countries are rapidly issuing blanket border closures and drastic limits to freedom of movement across their borders - while the UK ponderously considers changes that may need to be made in due course. The impact of this health risk is being abundantly felt by government agencies at all levels with society as a whole. Economic consequences will be

Curzon Street For HS2

As Blackpool grapples with the slow drawn out process of redeveloping the original site of the Talbot Road Railway Station later known as Blackpool North - in Birmingham a brand new railway terminal is being created at Curzon Street. This will provide a smart interchange for HS2 serving the centre of Birmingham and avoiding the city's crowded New Street station at capacity from existing services. New Street station was the subject of a comprehensive development above the station platforms and tracks - being rebranded as 'Grand Central' with a gleaming exterior and popular rendezvous featuring multiple restaurants (fast and otherwise) and retail outlets. New Street Station / Grand Centr

The Auckland Project - Lessons for Fleetwood and the Fylde

No not the New Zealand dock area regeneration scheme complete with vintage tramway - but the one in the north east in County Durham. A lively article in today's Telegraph records the effort underway to reverse half a century of transport blight caused by the Home Counties number cruncher - Beeching - with closure of the railway serving towns and small communities to the west of Bishop Auckland. Penned by Jonathan Rusher founder of the Auckland Project with aims for regeneration of a railway pioneering region and communities focussing in and around Bishop Auckland. Not just another heritage railway scheme to indulge the aspirations of steam engine fanatics - but a broad based economic revi

*Blackpool Bus Centenary Book Delayed*

Whilst much has been written about the trams by expert local authors the bus side of Blackpool's transport network have received only intermittent coverage through the years. This is most surprising given the unique styling adopted from the 1930s as well as the more unusual vehicles which made the system a 'special case' for enthusiasts. As a result of government imposed restrictions from March 2020 on social mobility and the uncertainty over how long these will remain in place - the intended publication date for the Centenary book has had to be deferred to 2021. We are now planning for the book's launch to coincide with the actual centenary of bus service operation by Blackpool which will

Only Yesterday

Even casual observers will notice the incremental changes to once familiar locations where our trams and buses ply their trade. A big change is looming with demolition of the concrete blot on the town landscape on the site of the original North Station. However smaller alterations are worth recording. In Fleetwood - the tram stop at Ash Street has taken on a whole new look together with rebranding to 'Fisherman's Walk'. On Dock Street the town's supermarket ASDA has replaced what were an integral part of the fishing industry's services and supply businesses. Cleveleys West Drive tram stop is now upgraded with low platforms. Below : Whilst at Rossall the former tramroad station stop ha

March 1st Good Riddance Northern Rail

A red letter day for Blackpool rail passengers as well as countless tens of thousands having to use the northwest's railways. The German operator of Northern Rail as it is known has been removed from its 'tenancy' of this rail franchise and replaced with a UK Government nominated management. Finally freeing the northwest of England from the c;utches of foreign control albeit through a partnership with a UK operator. Slow trains, late trains, disappearing trains, old trains and minimal capacity trains being the hallmark of this franchise for far too many years. It's yet a further nail in the coffin of Britain's privatised rail network instigated by a Tory Government in the dying days of

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

 

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