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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Blind Alley

The new Order : no blinds here - push a button to select the correct digital destination and route number sequence : 9 to Cleveleys on Bispham Road.

Blackpool Transport's bus scene is rapidly changing after the influx of ten new buses from Alexander Dennis in the upmarket two tone grey, silver and yellow

highlight styling adopted from 2015. Most of the Company's other double deck bus fleet have had their former blinds removed and replaced with the LED destination screen technology. Those that haven't - early series Tridents - are marked down as being scheduled for withdrawal and replacement when the next tranche of new double deckers arrive from Scotland (if forecasts are to be relied on).

Single deck Solos remain similarly with traditional hand adjusted destination blinds but these too will eventually find replacements no doubt with the new technology in place. The days of the driver peering through a small aperture above his head while turning an equally small handle to find the correct location on his bus/tram blind for his destination will soon be a thing of the past. As will the need for this traditional feature of bus and tram construct. Examples of the original linen destination blinds are now very much collectors items (and always have been). Produced at Rigby Road Workshops they are a 'written' record of earlier routes and destinations. Once familiar stops such as 'Talbot Road Bus Station' 'Central Station' 'Bispham Clinic' 'Bispham Depot' 'Oxford' 'Royal Oak via Marton' 'Squires Gate via Lytham Road' and much more, recall ever changing route patterns and principal termini for buses and trams operated by Blackpool Corporation. Whoever recalls buses with 'Greenlands' on their destination blinds, and where was it? A free copy of Volume One of Tribute to Rigby Road Works to the first correct respondent - but please - no tram or bus enthusiasts need apply.

An especial effort is underway to record the diversity of tram destination blinds which were part of the original tram system. Some of these are appearing on the heritage tour trams with an exactness of previous decades - thanks to the work of Peter Watts who has taken it upon himself to ensure this part of our transport history is comprehensively registered.

Signs of the times - Trident 311 itself will pass into history taking its destinations blind feature with it. Image : John Woodman Archive

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