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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

A whole other time

The intensity of interest being shown in the comings and goings of solitary 'heritage trams' comes just a tad late in the day; given the dispersal of many of Blackpool's traditional fleet to museum groups, including the FHLT which is host to thirteen 'exiles' from the great Rigby Road cull of 2010/11.

Pleasure Beach turning circle remains the focus of much attention given the heritage tour starting point for surviving traditional cars able to operate along the Promenade within guidelines negotiated by Blackpool Transport. Within the past ten years - this point on the tramway could still boast a cluster of trams waiting for the Duty Inspector to allow them to depart northbound at peak periods.

But this was nothing compared to the highpoint of the tram service in the late

1950s and early Sixties. Queues of trams on the more extensive track layout in

those years - would be a regular feature during the summer months. Summer 'Extras' and countless short workings involving Standards, Balloons, Boats and

whatever three working depot's could push out their doors - would provide a

spectacle well worth witnessing. Seven Balloons (just!) are in the frame below complete with one of the Department's Overhead Tower Wagon. The Inspector's office (its 1960) provides much the same feature as the present day (perhaps it now deserves a Blue Plaque from Blackpool's Civic Trust).

Above : illuminated Standard 158 is added to the mix of 'Extras'; not that visitors would appreciate hard wooden seats after climbing the twisting staircase to the top 'saloon'. Far more comfort to be found on a Balloon car.

Both Images : John Woodman

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