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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Goodbye Blundell Street

And one might add 'Goodbye Princess Street' as far as the days when trams were able to trundle along these once important parts of Blackpool. Blundell Street was of course the site of the town's initial tram depot, housing as it did the conduit cars which made up the early promenade service from Cocker Square south to what was once called Victoria Pier and sandhills beyond.

Gradually the depot gained a much larger capacity as the tramway company was taken into public (Corporation) ownership and the troublesome conduit power system replaced by overhead wires. The latter being amply demonstrated as far more reliable and efficient following the opening of the company tramroad line from Talbot Road Station northward towards Fleetwood across open terrain and farmland in 1898.

The further opening of tramways to the town's eastern boundary and expanding workers housing being built at Layton, together with the vast increase in passenger numbers prior to 1914 - caused additional extensions to the Blundell Street tram depot, including temporary wooden extensions (more like large sheds) affixed on the western side of the building. The war years required the Corporation to assign a significant amount of space inside Blundell Street to the production of munitions casings, in common with industrial and other tramway operators. When time came for eventual demolition of the building, a cache of artillery shell casings was found behind blocked up cellars below the depot, causing much consternation on the part of contractors.

Today, housing development has encroached along both sides of Rigby Road and destined to spill over on to Blundell Street as far as Tyldesley Road with Princess Street acting as the northern boundary of the new residential district. Remnants of the tramway which formerly connected Blundell Street with the Promenade - actually the original link for all trams until the new depot was built adjoining the bus garage, with its more purposeful track connection along Hopton Road - still lingers on in sections.

Below Princess Street track, overhead poles still remain in position as of today.

Note the built up rail - a final job of the permanent way crew a decade ago.

Blundell Street track remnants - cut through for sewage, water and other utility contractors for housing development which will see Blundell Street totally disappear in the final phase of construction from 2018/2019. All Photos today by John Woodman

Scenes of trams rumbling along these tracks on enthusiast tours and special workings on to the Promenade line at Foxhall are now receding memories - with the entire area destined for a new role removing the original industrial nature of this part of Blackpool. Only the transport operation remains as a distinctive feature and reminder of former times - for the moment at least.

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