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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

The hottest day - 19 July 2016

Families and strollers head to the seafront from Blackpool North - this morning.

Like the rest of the UK Blackpool sweltered in abnormally high temperatures today. Reaching well into the 80s (old measure) the town enjoyed, if that is the right word, clear blue skies, little in the way of breeze and hard radiating sunlight. The town's buses and trams gave little in the way of relief from the temperature - with the trams particularly ill suited to crowded conditions. Hopper windows doing nothing in terms of alleviating stressful working conditions for crews, notwithstanding the forced cooling systems kicking in when the cars pick up speed. Only the drivers would seem to be taken care of in their enclosed cabs, which is probably just as well. Ironically only the heritage tour boats were suited to the temperatures today and these were sparsely filled.

An increasing build up of traffic on Bispham and Devonshire Roads is now very noticeable as lane closures on Crossley Bridge reducing traffic to two lanes is causing very long tail backs reminiscent of motorway incidents. And this is before the bridge is completely closed to road traffic from early November. Devonshire Road and Talbot Road traffic light controlled junctions are already blocked by north south traffic crawling in both directions. In hot weather driver frustration may well lead to incidents at road intersections along these key arteries.

Work is underway to create a pedestrian only overhead crossing alongside the existing bridge (from 1931) to allow foot traffic over the railway from November. Cyclists will need to dismount to cross and access by mobility aids may be restricted. This will be in place by November. Below : a small section of the extensive scaffolding being erected on the western side of the bridge and Number 9 Service heading northward on the existing single lane.

North Station drew crowds of visitors by train keen to find relief by the seaside with surges of families traversing the quickest route to the promenade. A pedestrian census would be well worthwhile to gauge the likely demand for tram service from the station at peak weekends and holidays - with countless child buggies of generous proportions and inevitable luggage the proposed frequency and capacity could well be woefully inadequate. Welcome to Blackpool?

Contrasting types on the busy 14 Service to Fleetwood at its recently changed stop now on Corporation Street. A solitary tree (a rarity in Blackpool town centre) offers some shade. Both images taken late afternoon today.

BTS services are exceptionally busy with a variety of bus types being assigned to routes including the Palladium branded vehicles. Launch of the new ADL vehicles from next weekend may trigger a cascade of changes and possible withdrawals of older buses now past their sell by date (well almost) but kept in immaculate condition nonetheless by Rigby Road staff. All in all a fascinating day to witness the town's principal resource at work.

The best type of tram in service (on tours) today. Few takers though.

Above : a patient crowd waiting for the 'Circular' Service to arrive outside Council Offices on Corporation Street. Its after 5 pm and still over 80 degrees. Below : BTS drivers take the sun before their next duties on Market Street. The Food Lounge found no takers apparently.

Further down Market Street another queue patiently wait to board Excel 219 bound for Lytham on Service 11. The remaining examples of this class await withdrawal.

All Images Copyright John Woodman taken 19 July 2016

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