May 25, 2015

 Hard to believe its over forty years since the emergence of Blackpool's one man operated trams from Rigby Road Workshops.    In 1972 on what obviously is a damp and overcast morning - prototype OMO 1 heads southbound passing the old 'Palatine Hotel' whose turreted frontage faces onto the Promenade.  In their startling yellow and deep maroon colours these trams heralded a new era which would lead to replacements - the 'Centenary Cars' just fourteen years later.  The

tramway's especial features:  paved reservation (ease of track repair) ; third track passing loop (short workings) ;  extensive enclosed shelters and special signage for Circular (and other) Tours visible on the righthand side.  


Almost 'continental' in profile the OMO Cars as they became quickly known - were an enormous break from the conductor operated centre entrance fleet.  Sadly the wooden frames and newly extended length combined with continuous heavy usage at the entrance year round - saw withdrawal during the following decade. Thankfully due to the initiative of  Philip Higgs and latterly Bryan Lindop - one example has survived in Blackpool;   while another lies dormant in a Clay Cross store owned by the TMS. 

 Smart looking Number 4 is arriving at Bispham Station with an Inspector about to find his footing.  The points boy hut and concrete shelter are typical aspects of this era.   Bispham Station boasts a clock in its edifice as well as crew facilities which were well used.   Unlike today where the semi-derelict structure is untended and uncared through local indifference.                  Both Images :   John Woodman 1972


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


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