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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

The old order changeth

Blackpool Transport's fleet livery styles contrasting against the concrete bunker which blights the Talbot Gateway development as it stands. Fortunately there are

winds of change blowing around this particular part of Blackpool with the full expectation now of tram rails being laid (imported from Germany or Austria of course -and not from south Wales) in the foreseeable future. The consequence, it seems, of an agreed sale or transfer of ownership, of the Wilko property.

This will free up land for a new alignment of the planned Talbot Road extension from from the promenade - to facilitate a seamless? interchange between heavy rail, light rail and town bus services. All to be revealed.

Importantly the fleet livery of Blackpool Transport is morphing from the bright yellow and black of the Trevor Roberts management years - to the softer lemon and grey of the Jane Cole era. The contrast in style, approximately five years apart, is evident in the image of a 2015 Citaro bus with a Trident in the yellow and black (and swoop) rendition introduced just a few years previously (itself replacing the 'Line' branding of the previous Manager). Remarkably Blackpool's buses and trams were known for just two fleet colours in nearly a hundred years. Maroon (later red) and white with lots of black and white lining out up to 1933 and then dark green and pale cream with silver trim and beadwork from 1933 up to 2000. In the latter years one Manager. in efforts to save on paint shop costs, ordained a mainly all over cream style on the buses and half cream and upper works green on the trams. He also had a dislike of the chrome external trim which was wholly eliminated. One radical change introduced in 1972 brought forth 'plum and custard' colours for a small fleet of one man operated trams then being introduced (as a major cost saving measure). The paint didn't wear well so a red and cream style replaced it on the thirteen OMO cars. The next Management change in 1975 brought a return to green and cream on the buses which was a definite improvement. Residual use of heritage trams on the promenade provides a taste of how Blackpool's trams looked before external advertising besmirched their appearance. The single preserved Blackpool Transport Atlantean still operated locally by Catch22bus Ltd - remains a working example of the fleet livery from the 1970s - this bus is set to stay on the company's routes for the balance of the year (maintenance allowing) after which EU regs will ban operation of psvs without low floor disability access. So ride it while you can in service on the 22 and 12 routes of Catch22bus - quite a contrast to a Trident or a Citaro - not to mention the new double deck delivery to BTS planned for 2016.

We are told that the yellow and black livery is set to go the way of 'Metro Coastlines' style - a colourful feature of Steve Burd's management years (2001 -2009). Hopefully one or two examples of the Trident buses in this unique style (for a UK urban bus operator) will be retained in their originating 'Line' brands of the 11 and 14 services - plus one in the current yellow and black - swoop and all... These deserve to become a feature in any projected transport heritage scheme now under study - just as much as the profusion of 'heritage' trams conserved at Rigby Road. The times they are a'changing. Image John Woodman

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