Above : The way we were.
Recent statements in the Blackpool media indicate that the owners of the Wilko property on Talbot Road are putting a planning application forward to develop another site in the town centre near to the Winter Gardens. A decision by the Council is expected in March and barring unforeseen objections this may pave the way for the current store to transfer to the new location in one or two years time.
Acquisition of the Wilko property which ironically occupies the footprint of the original North Station building is integral to further redevelopment of the area known as 'Talbot Gateway'. The next phase would incorporate alignment of a tram terminus for the short on street extension from North Pier on which a double junction had been inserted during light rail construction.
No final plans for the track layout up Talbot Road or the interchange facility for both buses and rail passengers have so far been made public. Given the additional width of the Bombardier vehicles compared to Blackpool's former fleet, it is unlikely that a double track layout would be permissible along Talbot Road. Nor is it likely that trams would find a way to co-join the railway platform and terminal at the existing railway station - however desirable. It is expected that the Blackpool North station and its track layout will be subject to major rebuilding with total closure for at least six months in 2016 or early 2017. This is to provide for longer (and more) trains to be handled with expectation of electrification to follow.
There will be no shedding of tears with demolition (or at best) complete rebuilding of the Wilko property - given its rude and crude structure dominating the immediate environs of the station approach and a much improved first phase of the Talbot Gateway scheme by developers Modus. It appears there may be light at the end of this particular tunnel.... In the meantime - one of the famous 'Pantograph' cars stands outside North Station terminus on Dickson Road waiting to move to the tram stop northbound for Fleetwood in 1960.
Image : John Woodman