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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

PS - gale force winds and tram depots on the Fylde coast

Of course there was an even more notable (and relevant) example of the Fylde coast's susceptibility to gale force westerly winds - apart from the many vessels blown off course and onto the local coastline.

An earlier tram depot erected off what is now Lytham Road, close to Squires Gate Lane (as it was then) housed the gas powered trams of the Blackpool, St Annes and Lytham company. Whereas Blackpool opted for home grown electric powered trams from the off - its southern neighbour decided that German originated gas-powered mechanics sufficed for their pioneering operation which ran along the coastline to Blackpool. Quite apart from the methodology involved: fume laden lower decks and rather slow propulsion requiring manual assistance of passengers from time to time, the 'gas trams' were a novel experiment but no competition for overhead electric power systems which were quickly evolving.

Nonetheless the demise of the unlamented gas tram operation and its owning business was brought about through a violent storm that destroyed the small tram depot housing the fleet. Sited not too distant and slightly inland from what is now Starr Gate - this earlier destruction wrought on a local tram depot of the time was an ironic omen. Perhaps sensing the vulnerability of large structures to the prevailing weather condition in this part of the country - both Blackpool Corporation and the more sensibly inclined Blackpool & Fleetwood Tramroad made sure their depot structures were solidly built and sited some distance from the seafront. Lessons it seemed have not been learned (in Brussels perhaps?).

Examples of other electric tram depots positioned against a seawall elsewhere and surviving in good order would be gratefully received - on a postcard please !

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