The construction work at North Station is now well underway with remarkable speed. Already the first new platform and track for what is likely to be Platform 1 has been laid on the southern extremity of the station land. New pre-cast platform underpinnings are being delivered on which the actual passenger levels will be fitted - whilst clearance of existing infrastructure is ongoing, including removal of contaminated earth. A large new materials storage area has been created on former housing land adjacent to the Devonshire Road bridge - as the former carriage siding also has to be reconfigured for new trains and overhead electrification on all tracks.
Meanwhile the station remains busy with the end of season visitors enjoying if that is the right word the final week of the 'Lights' and Blackpool's seaside offer. This is all set to end on November 11 when train service out of Preston to the Fylde will be replaced by buses furnished (for the most part) by Blackpool Transport.
Already utility crews have started work in proximity to the Wilkinson's property and North Station precinct in preparation for parallel contracts to begin groundwork for the installation of tram tracks from the Promenade up Talbot Road. However at present the railway upgrade has the lead in transforming Blackpool's long familiar station for modernised services and equipment. Some sample images taken today :
Track 1 and Platform 1 of the new station layout begin to appear on the southern side of the station approach with work proceeding on ground preparation for Track 2 and the platform completion on the left of this view.
An armada of digging equipment has been assembled in preparation for removal of the existing working platforms and tracks still being used. The land to the south of the station formerly part of the original train terminus approach tracks has been cleared and graded (to the right of this view).
Working platforms and tracks hosting the predictable Pacer units (and other diesel trains) still running into Blackpool North. But not for much longer.
Meanwhile outside the station precinct preliminary work has just begun on resiting utilities in quite a long process I was informed.
All Images : John Woodman