Abingdon Street in better times. A four minute frequency service most of the day to Royal Oak along Church Street, Whitegate Drive and Waterloo Road. Image : John Woodman
Blackpool Council voted this week to approve the tramway extension to North Station. The Labour ruling faction voted in favour whilst the Conservative faction voted against with one exception. Councillor Callow (representing Norbreck Ward) argued in support of the taxi drivers who vocally opposed any trams running to North Station - on the grounds of traffic delays caused by traffic lights at Talbot Square/North Pier to facilitate trams turning to and from the North Station terminus (among other traffic issues). Citing earlier instances where Blackpool's street tram services were the cause of traffic holdups and ignoring the amazing success of Manchester's city centre street running trams Councillor Callow determined to keep Talbot Road sancrosanct for taxis, cars and buses. He was not successful.
I cannot recall trams causing traffic holdups on the 4 minute frequency Marton tram service all of which was on busy roads - nor Lytham Road when trams ran up to Squires Gate Lane from Manchester Square; and nor indeed the original North Station service which branched off from the Promenade at Gynn Square to travel along Dickson Road all the way to the North Station railway station. If anything it was the trams being held up by shoals of taxis lumbering around the town when wiser motorists kept well clear in busy periods - and most of us used the bus.
Councillor Callow has a crumb of comfort in seeing his stand overruled with the news that Blackpool Transport are adjusting the 9 Bus Service with a half hourly 9A that will run direct to Victoria Hospital from Cleveleys using the (new) Crossleys Bridge when it is finished next year. I well recall the 9A and its sister 9B service being my local bus routes to and from town. There was a 9C service which appeared intermittently in timetables as short workings to Bispham Clinic/Library.
The 9 Service will be beneficiary of Blackpool's new double deck buses due to arrive in July (all ten of them) which should prove interesting given that the service is going to experience a raft of delays and rerouting when Crossleys Bridge is closed to traffic for demolition after November 9th. A new bridge will be constructed over the following four - six months during which time overhead electric fittings will be installed for the Blackpool railways electrification programme now inching forward.
Back in time Crossleys bus stop on Bispham Road in 1960 and a slightly different bus on the 9 Service from Cleveleys. Note the once familiar destination - now sadly lacking.
Lytham Road in far better times with a rail coach heading to Squires Gate. Note the local shops and well maintained properties. Image : John Woodman