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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman


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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