The sights and sounds of trains rumbling in and out of Blackpool North have just a month before closure of the entire line from Preston to the Fylde coast. From November 11th contractors have complete control of the tracks and freedom to correct platform and track alignment at Blackpool North as well as the erection of overhead power cables throughout the line from Preston. Blackpool South and the south Fylde single track from Kirkham junction will remain diesel operated.
Preston Station at least has some smart signage installed ready for the closure of the Fylde train services from November 11th and their replacement by equally smart Blackpool Transport brand new buses.
Above : Clearance of track, platforms and other railway lineside equipment already advanced either side of the remaining functioning train platforms at Blackpool North.
Warning signs have been erected at the Carleton Crossing showing maximum height clearance for road traffic, among other necessary cautionary features. Work is already underway at Blackpool North in reconfiguring the external platforms with new installations and a large site adjoining the Devonshire Road overbridge has been cleared for contractor materials and other needs.
Blackpool Transport will have taken delivery of its further tranche of double deck buses from Alexander Dennis during the course of the ensuing four weeks. These (or most of them) will have been fitted with special lower deck luggage holding pens and racks to they can provide additional storage space while operating the Preston to Blackpool rail replacement services from November 11 to next April. New signage is in place at Preston Station to guide arriving passengers to the bus stands for the Fylde stations and Blackpool (North and South). It is not clear whether all buses will make stops at the intermediate stations to Blackpool North - taking in Kirkham, Poulton Le Fylde, Layton and Blackpool North - as well as the more numerous stops along the south Fylde line to Blackpool South.
It is apparently unlikely that Blackpool will find itself with a smart new terminal station. The capital costs of a new structure to replace or otherwise improve the dated concrete hall which hardly offers a welcoming flavour for visitors (or residents) apparently are not in anyone's budget for this major line upgrade. A bit like the abysmal tram shelters from cobbled together kits which adorn the upgraded promenade tramway to Fleetwood - a sort of afterthought by the project team on that one - smart tram depot lousy passenger facilities along the line. Nothing changes up north.