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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

And now for something completely different

Blackpool Town Centre has been busy over the past 48 hours with the Illuminations/Lights SwitchOn. The large stage set on the Tower Headland caused a split of tram services with trams running southbound from Fleetwood terminating at North Pier and then reversing, with their counterparts from Starr Gate terminating at 'Tower' and reversing to provide service southbound. The run up to the Switch On event meant the Promenade being closed from Talbot Square to Tower - and resulting enormous traffic jams on Friday afternoon into the evening. It must have been a nightmare for both bus drivers and passengers heading into Blackpool and also out of it from mid afternoon onwards. My own journey (by car) meant doubling back to Gynn Square on Dickson Road in the face of stationary traffic in and around the North Station and Talbot Road axis.

Barbara Windsor (Dame) was the Switch On Guest in front of record crowds for the event and preceding entertainment build up. Unfortunately today (Saturday) sees heavy rain spoiling the weekend for visitors. However an unusual surprise was on display courtesy of BTS in the form of newly repainted bus 524 Wright bodied Volvo which had hitherto carried a wrapwound vinyl for the Poppy Appeal since 2015. BTS are in the throes of rebranding the Plaxton single deck fleet (525 - 533) with makeovers being carried out in Blackburn. The returning vehicles being turned out in an enhanced 'Palladium' style conforming to the version applied on the Mercedes 'Citaro' buses launched in 2015.

However the Wright bodied 524 has been treated to a revisionist(?) livery of green and cream - with older style Blackpool Transport logo. This comes as quite a surprise to just about everyone, except perhaps the top floor of Rigby Road Offices of BTS, and the painters. My return journey from a food buying exercise at Morrisons was interrupted on St Annes Road at the sight of the rebranded 524 on the 7 Service heading my way. It was raining hence the inexact clarity but the overall impact is clear. Certainly an attractive contrast and nice gesture from the Company. Perhaps we might even see a Trident likewise emerge in that wonderful traditional Corporation fleet livery - who knows? Anything is possible in Blackpool........

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