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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Congratulations Blackpool Transport

A milestone was reached over the past year in the number of passengers carried on Blackpool's trams. BTS recorded over 5 million passengers using the eleven mile line between Fleetwood and Blackpool. Whilst this might not seem remarkable when set against the volume of users on other UK light rail systems, it needs to be borne in mind that Blackpool's line remains very much seasonal with huge variations in traffic as well as a lack of year round 'commuters' to and from offices and places of business.

Move down the Car please.

Perhaps more remarkable is the fact that the entire service is borne by just sixteen vehicles with only a very minor contribution from the retained modified double deck trams. Two more units are on order from Bombardier to supplement the base fleet at Starr Gate in anticipation of the extension of services to North Station. Whether this proves sufficient to meet additional demand will no doubt be proven quite quickly once the extended line is built. Starr Gate Depot itself has finite capacity for housing further units and any more light rail vehicles beyond the eighteen examples will pose problems for storage and maintenance at this particular location.

Perhaps in the medium term thoughts might turn to a second depot to the north of Blackpool - with Council owned land at Thornton Gate offering potential for a supplementary facility (much like Bispham Depot) during the visitor season. It is quite certain that the Fylde coast's light rail system is not going to limit itself to the present layout for ever and a day. Congratulations to the staff and team at Starr Gate and Rigby Road for this important achievement 5,000,000 and counting.

The busy scene greeting tram drivers in Blackpool during summer months (and illuminations).

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