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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

North Station Interchange - the original one

The recent blog featuring Blackpool Transport buses in the forecourt of Blackpool North railway station reminded me of the equally convenient (for travellers) connecting tram service outside the former station terminal building.

Beginning in 1898 trams running north along the then undeveloped Fylde coastline started their journey from a simple stop within a few yards of the busy LNWR and L&Y railway station building. Running as a 'tramroad' with railway style station stops starting at the Uncle Tom's Cabin reserved track - the Blackpool & Fleetwood cars made a fast (very fast) journey into Fleetwood. In those days there were few official stops along the reserved part of the line - housing and commercial development followed quite quite quickly before the Great War.

Metallic shields removed from the original North Station terminal building before its demolition and now a heritage feature in the current Blackpool North station.

Destination blinds fitted on to the modern 'Pullman' cars introduced by Blackpool Corporation from 1928 gave credence to the railway nature of the service with 'All Stations to Fleetwood' being one of several unique destinations solely for this route. The cars were also fitted with pantographs after an inspection of 'foreign' systems and current collection by Blackpool's Tramway Electrical Engineer. This removed need for 'swinging the trolley' at each end terminus or intervening short working and was unique to these superior cars.

The 'Pantographs' as they would come to be known - ironically after the pantographs had been replaced with Blackpool's ubiquitous trolleypole system, would continue to serve the Fleetwood line right up to 1961. In later years the terminus on Dickson Road was moved slightly south so that trams terminated literally right in front of the North Station building. Departing north a queue barrier was installed opposite what was the 'Odeon' cinema - a classic structure of the late 1930s. This was as good a transport interchange as visitors could expect. Only the Excursion platforms were a short distance away further east and again in a twist of inexplicable fate - the Excursion terminal has now become the main railway station for Blackpool. In two year's time Blackpool's trams will again come within a few yards of arriving (and departing) trains. What goes around comes around - if one is patient enough.

You can't get any closer than this to your train connection. The single track terminus outside Blackpool North station as it was up to 1960. Photo copyright & courtesy NTM

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