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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman


Once upon a time Blackpool's transport department had ownership of five tram depots and a storage sidings - all under its direct control. Rigby Road, Blundell Street, Marton, Bispham and Copse Road Depots were all staffed facilities with resident trams of all types. The Bus Garage with an outside parking area was sufficient for the entire fleet of vehicles, although at one time during the war years and shortly thereafter, a former coach company building on Bond Street was acquired to hold withdrawn buses until final disposal.

With the exception of Copse Road Depot - used by the Permanent Way staff as their base of (usually nocturnal) activities and a store for all manner of essential materials from rail to ballast; each depot was given a dispersal or track allocation board. This provided at a glance an immediate knowledge of where individual trams were located on site - and their condition - if not operational.

Hooks embedded on the boards allowed metal discs or tags carrying individual tram fleet numbers - to be altered from one part of the board to any other on an almost daily basis. In Rigby Road's case the Works Bodyshop, Paint Shop, Electrical Compound were all assigned seperate space on which tags could be updated as trams moved in and out of specialist tasks.

This fascinating record of a January day in 2011 prior to the removal of many cars sold off in the fleet culling exercise - shows all of the Centenary cars grouped on tracks 8 and 9, except for 641 which is being prepared for departure to care of the FHLT, and 645 similarly being made ready for departure. Several trams acquired by LTT remain at the depot; whilst FHLT Brush Cars 621 and 627 await transfer to Kirkham Prison. The two Jubilee cars are already gone from the depot scene. 761 would eventually return from exile in 2014 by joint agreement with BTS. The Body Shop is giving attention to Boat Car 607 - also destined for Crich.

January 10, 2011

Contrasting profiles and colours mark the positions of four Centenary Cars in the depot on this date.

642 (yellow) and 648 (purple and white) were retained by BTS. 643 (black & white) went off to a caravan park where it would be repainted (and remodelled inside) by its new Owners. They then gifted it to the FHLT. Red 646 was moved to another Caravan Park near to Thornton by the same Owner, where it remains today.

Both Images :

John Woodman

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