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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman


001 1972 33.jpg

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.

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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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