Blundell Street Tramway on its Way Out
Above : one rail only leading to Princess Street in the background.
It is several years since trams last rumbled their way along Blundell Street's single track to and from Princess Street and the Foxhall pub on the promenade where a linking line allowed access on to the Promenade's tramway. Currently contractors are busy with expansion of 'Foxhall Village' which is a housing development on the northern side of Rigby Road. Having taken over the original Gas Works and Tram Depot site which called for considerable ground remediation (and track removal) the development is inching its way over Blundell Street on to the western property line which has seen the former boarding house buildings demolished and site cleared.
The intention is for housing to become a continuous development on to the western side of Tyldesley Road and bounded on the north by Princess Street. Blundell Street itself will disappear in the new scheme and with it recognition of the Blackpool Councillor who gave the street its original name. No trace of the tramway origins will remain on completion of the development despite the historic relevance of the depot site and tracks which ran alongside. As far as is known the remaining single track on Princess Street will remain in place for the time being although utility work may require removal of sections similar to the appearance currently of the Blundell Street tramway.
It should be remembered that Princess Street was the original tramway connection from the promenade to the very first depot erected to house a modest ten strong fleet of conduit cars arriving in 1885. The track has remained in place (although replaced over time) ever since in the same position curving on to the site of the former depot in its original 1885 position. Blundell Street Depot was substantially expanded and rebuilt in the immediate pre-war World War One period housing offices and staff facilities at the northern end of the building. A series of very small and cramped workshops and stores were included along the western edge of the building together with basement cellars uncovered during demolition of the structure. This episode was the cause of much alarm at the time due to the contractor's crew uncovering a cache of World War One Artillery shell casings left more or less forgotten since their manufacture in 1916/1917. Rigby Road offices and adjoining properties had to be evacuated whilst the Bomb Squad were called in to investigate and declare them safe having simply been produced as casings and without any explosives material present. A few examples were carefully retained as 'souvenirs' of this particular chapter in the tram depot's long history. Rigby Road Publications are planning for a further book on the 1910-1919 decade to appear next year which will include a lode of stories and features of a period when the Fylde coast hosted three quite seperate and contrasting tramway operations.
One rail on Blundell Street leading onto Princess Street track still in place as far as the Foxhall Pub.
Contractors at work with utility excavation on the eastern side of Blundell Street all of the structures on the western side have now been demolished and land cleared in preparation of a new housing extension from the current development to the east. This road and alignment will completely disappear over the next several months. BTS Offices in the distant background.