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  • John Woodman

British Railways Returns to Blackpool

Motorists filling up at the Sainsbury petrol station might be forgiven at taking a second look at the familiar outline of a BR mainline diesel locomotive parked alongside on Friday afternoon (on the North Station side of the fence of course).

BR locomotive 37057 in British Railways dark green lined out livery of the late 1960s headed up another of the special engineering trains now a frequent sight on the Blackpool to Preston line. With traditional semaphore signal gantrys in the background it was a feeling of deja vu for this one time youthful engine spotter. Of course it was not a reversion to a nationalised railway network for which the UK is badly in need of - that would be too much to expect in today's privatised corporate world. But it did a least add a frisson of excitement for a few moments.

British Railways at work - if only for a few hours.

Electrification work is progressing in a steadily westward direction from the junction at Preston with the West Coast Mainline and the branch leading to Blackpool through Kirkham and Wesham, and Poulton Le Fylde. Blackpool North Station track layout will have to be adjusted to accept the electric sets and potentially long distance trains destined for the capital at some point. My understanding is that this will require complete closure of Blackpool North over several months scheduled for either this winter or next. Further traffic dislocation is set to occur as well due to bridge strengthening (or replacement) work on the overpass at Devonshire Road once the Crossley's Bridge replacement is completed. The latter is now well advanced with vehicles being allowed in both directions but with restricted flow - providing enormous relief to road users in the town.

With a General Election announced for June 8th and some vexatious speaking from the Labour Party on public issues and fundamental social problems - railway nationalisation has to be part of the political offer from the Left. Perhaps it has already started in Blackpool this week ?

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