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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

A look back in time : PS

Nostalgia is wonderful when one can cast one's mind back over fifty years to the moments briefly captured on a simple camera and film allowing 12 or 36 images.

And all in vivid black and white.

Balloon car 250 (713) rumbles over the three way junction at Royal Oak en route to 'Squires Gate and Airport' with a light load of passengers. Both driver and conductor (he can be seen sitting on the steps catching a breeze from the open platform door) are wearing summer linen jackets. Notable in the background is the original 'Dog & Partridge' Public House which would soon be demolished for a mundane angled block still in situ on this site.

The tram boasts a marvellous handpainted advertisement for an exhibition of rock making by a Blackpool company celebrating its one hundred years in this once famous confectionery specialty. A trip to the seaside was never complete without returning with a stick (or multiples thereof) of rock candy for friends and family.

The Lytham Road service was augmented with Balloon cars during the summer timetable. Shortworkings to Highfield Road were common to avert queues of trams lined up at the Squires Gate terminus crossover. Other short workings also used the Station Road crossover but this was a far less frequent occurrence. In addition to Balloon cars, both Standards and the boat cars were to be seen on Lytham Road in ordinary service.

Royal Oak was the scene of the busiest section of street tramway in Blackpool. Not only were Squires Gate service cars with a high frequency in summer months the principal sight, but Marton service cars terminating at Royal Oak for a brief (3 or 4 minute) and every third Marton car continued on to Station Road junction and the short straight stretch ending by the promenade (for a slightly longer layover) - all added to the 'glamour' of this particular location for tram enthusiasts of the time.

Depot workings both from Rigby Road to Marton Depot and vice versa were a rare feature sometimes captured on film by energetic enthusiasts with bikes !

PS :

I am reminded by a fellow enthusiast from those halcyon days of Blackpool trams that Royal Oak also saw Circular Tour cars traversing the junction from Lytham Road onto Waterloo Road as they wended their way around the Marton line. No

immediate image to hand but by way of variant I have added an image of 159 about to reverse at the Highfield Road crossover on a short working. The student conductor next to the tram stop is retrieving the bamboo pole to turn the trolley before reversing back over the crossover. The indicator reads 'Talbot Square' which in those days meant North Pier. The days of the Squires Gate service are numbered as new bus stop poles have been erected prior to introduction of the number 12 service in October 1961.

Both Photos : John Woodman


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