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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

More bus storage stuff

Titan TD4 heads a lineup of Blackpool's last pre-war buses after withdrawal in Marton depot in 1958 Photo : John Woodman

Marton tram depot also made room for buses from time to time. This usually involved assigning storage space on the southern most tracks of the structure. In this case the last of the 1937 Titans have been taken out of service, delicensed and await collection by the scrap merchant. The Department took pains to paint out the Corporation crest on the lower side panels and remove the destination blinds, front rear and side .

Although whether this in anyway changed the fact that these were clearly recognisable as Blackpool Corporation vehicles is highly questionable.

This last batch of operating buses of this series were repainted with cream roofs in the mid 1950s - removing the dark green wartime paint which significantly altered their original as delivered appearance. The same location was used for other pre-war bus withdrawals prior to collection including the 1939 Leyland 'Cheetahs' and 'Gondolas'. One 'Gondola' survived much longer in Marton Depot. Number 118 was hidden away at the very back of the depot having been given an enclosed structure for us as a wartime Canteen Bus to provide sustenance to air raid damage crews. Very well appointed inside with a large side opening flap to allow dispensing of tea and other comestibles - the bus was subsequently bought by a local trader who positioned it on South Shore Coach Park adjoining Waterloo Road where it fulfilled precisely the same role to visitors. This particular vehicle survived yet further in prolonged preservation in a local enthusiast's back garden but regrettably the body structure fell victim to outside storage and it inevitably disintegrated. The vehicle's last PSV Registration licence was extracted by the Author during one of his many depot visits and at least this remains conserved, if not the actual vehicle.

Of course Marton Depot was also hallowed ground for tram enthusiasts especially keen to see (and sit in) a 'foreign' car which also was kept very much out of sight at the back of the building. Southampton 45 was rolled out on to the depot track fan in the full sunlight of Whitegate Drive for several enthusiast tours - part of a pilgrimage it would seem, but it was never operated further on the system, probably due to lack of licensing and other formalities. Its presence was entirely due to the goodwill of Walter Luff who allowed its storage after the tram was given 'notice to quit' by Leeds City Transport in the early 1950s. Fortunately the Crich museum project had got off the ground by the time Blackpool's Transport Committee similarly issued a similar eviction order - and the rest is history of course.

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