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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

And Now Somewhere Completely Different

One of several distinctive Lancashire tram and bus operators in former times was Blackburn Corporation Transport. The trams were finally replaced by buses in the aftermath of World War II as new buses became available from manufacturers and Blackburn's final route closed in 1949. Both buses and trams were given a very sombre olive green and cream livery with panel lining out. The trams were of an angular upright design on 4 feet track gauge -quite high off the ground with no dropped end platforms. Number 52 is typical of the enclosed double deck fleet waiting for its next journey to Darwen. This is wartime with headlamp covers affording just a sliver of downward angled light and white painted fenders (although these are somewhat dirt encrusted). A protective shield is fitted over the breaker circuit on the overhead wire which was required on all tram and trolleybus systems in the war years to diminish flash exposure.

The system managed to maintain a jointly operated service with Darwen whose two 'Balloon' style double deck trams in crimson and cream made a sharp contrast with the conservatively styled Blackburn fleet. Darwen had one of the smallest municipal fleets in the country managing less than ten cars solely to operate the Blackburn service between the two towns.

We can see open topper 33 outside Ewood Park Ground on 5 February 1944 no doubt on a match day given the following image showing the long line of open top trams waiting for the final whistle headed up by 36. No especial cosetting of football fans in those days - concrete terraces and basic amenities and a cold windswept ride home after the match. Mind you entry through the turnstiles was just a modest shilling or so. The destination blind leaves nothing to the imagination.

This is the Ewood Park Football Siding - a not uncommon feature of tram systems with popular football clubs needing fast dispersal of crowds after each home game.

All Images Copyright John Woodman Archive

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