The turmoil in Westminster following on the Referendum result, resignation of the Prime Minister, implosion of confidence in the Leader of the Opposition within the Shadow Cabinet are just two salient challenges facing the UK Government and all of its Departments of State. The focus of Government Departments is now on the implications to all aspects of UK policy and administration by the decision to leave the European Union. Normal Parliamentary and Government business whilst not suspended has priorities elsewhere in the coming weeks and months, with the added likelihood of a General Election before the end of the year.
Consequently procedural issues affecting Blackpool's light rail extension and due processing in Whitehall (and Westminster) can expect delays. The well honed targets forecast by the Council Executive are understandably thrown into dissaray. A great pity given the impressive work already carried out and placed before the public during June.
Elsewhere along the tramway itself a replacement shelter is being erected to replace the one serving the southbound line between Bispham and Norbreck at Sandhurst Avenue. This was 'blown away' during a particularly violent storm over a year ago. Further north a spate of road traffic accidents (not actually involving trams) at the only road crossing between Cleveleys and Anchorsholme has given rise to formal inquiries on the future safety of the arrangements at this busy point. Fortunately no serious injuries have resulted from the increasing number of collisions by cars and other vehicles - at least to date. Nonetheless the lack of filter lanes for traffic crossing the line from both the north and south direction are a cause for confusion by drivers unfamiliar with this junction. Similarly the tendency for drivers at Cleveleys Victoria Square making a U turn from the northbound lane to then head south having crossed the tramway at this traffic light controlled junction which has a large number of pedestrians crossing (many frail or elderly) is an issue of concern.
The FHLT Centenary Car 641 has seen its bogies and end fender treated to a smart application of black paint much improving the external 'look' of this tram. Efforts to rebrand the tram from its current Blackpool Football Club appearance are likely to see a new theme applied for 2017. Above : Bogies in the shadows while the tram's formidable fender shines with its new black paint - courtesy of Colin MacLeod.