Mind the curve

April 26, 2016

The operation of light rail vehicles aka trams over curves and junctions in normal service is a smooth and quiet progress unaccompanied by squeals and thuds over track joints.   When the North Station service is opened with a frequent passage of trams in both inbound and outbound directions negotiating the existing track junctions on the Promenade one should expect this to be without the excessive rattling sounds which many of Blackpool's  Bombardier fleet exhibits.  For the benefit of Councillors - modern trams do not tend to have running equipment with the characteristics of the units now rumbling up and down the promenade.


 The type of curve and junction to be negotiated by the North Station bound Flexity2 fleet on their way passing the Town Hall and Council Chamber.   This is Ghent with that city's new Flexity2 tram making a sharp turn not dissimilar to the Talbot Square junction - but without any objectionable noise or track imperfections in evidence.  


In the 1950s Blackpool bought an entire fleet of 25 new trams which looked impressive on the outside but which proved to be the worst acquisition in the system's entire history.  The entire class were withdrawn from service well before their expected full life cycle - having given nothing but grief  to Rigby Road engineering staff.  Let us hope that the experience is not now repeated with the Bombardier products.  This town has enough problems to deal with as things stand. Second opinions would be prudent on the North Station project before public money is committed to more of the same tram design and present flaws as far as noise is concerned.   


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Working to conserve for display, trams and artefacts of the longstanding coastal tramway serving Blackpool, Thornton Cleveleys and Fleetwood.


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