Blackpool’s trams have a habit of popping up when you least expect them - and not necessarily on the promenade tracks. From the Red Bank Road Hotel with its distinctive traditional ‘Inn Sign’ showing a Balloon Car - to the hoardings on Clifton Street covering (partially) the former site of the much lamented Yates Wine Lodge, Blackpool trams feature as iconic images. A remarkably accurate rendition of the Trust’s Jubilee Tram 761 faces out on to Clifton Street - albeit in overall red colours in a distinctive style.
Another red Blackpool tram can be found on the upper level of the new Sainsbury’s store facing North Station and the Council offices. This time it is an enclosed Standard car in pre 1934 livery and it is joined (somewhat remarkably) by the Oporto bogie car which briefly visited Blackpool from Crich. Pizza Express facing the Winter Gardens manages to include a Brush car as an internal design feature, while the Hounds Hill Shopping Centre included an image of Balloon Car 700 in its original wartime green livery.
Unfortunately the Tramway Inn on Victoria Road in Cleveleys, while full of fascinating photos of Blackpool trams on the inside of this chain restaurant and bar, doesn’t show any tram image on its outside signage - but its worth a visit just for the diverse images spread around most of the bar and restaurant area.
Another pub - the Bridge Inn on Lytham Road unusually features a Blackpool bus in former green and cream livery on its hanging pub sign - well worth a look just a few hundred yards south of the tram depot on Hopton Road. At the distinguished North Euston Hotel in Fleetwood - familiar to tram enthusiasts - there is a wonderful stained glass rendition of an early Blackpool & Fleetwood Company car over the south end of the public space inside. Regrettably there is little else on public view that recognises the important role that the pioneering tramroad provided for the town’s development. In fact the tramway remains the only rail link connecting Fleetwood to the rest of the Fylde.
One missing display from public view is the ‘lost’ tram stop and Centenary sign which was proudly unveiled at North Pier in 1985. It was uprooted during the major infrastructural work on the light rail project and has since disappeared. If anyone knows what happened to it - perhaps they might remind Blackpool Council of its importance and propose its reinstatement with due ceremony.