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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

A Quick Look Back

Blackpool's transport scene has undergone so many changes that it is hard to put a definitive year or period which sticks out more than any other. Each evolving era is recalled by a new livery, new tram, new bus, new manager, new marketing strategy.

Today attention is being focussed on current works enabling the first new tramway extension in Blackpool since the early 1920s when the south promenade/clifton drive line was built from the Pleasure Beach terminus. A lengthy period of upheaval on Talbot Road and at North Pier is already the topic of frequent complaints in local media. Coupled of course with the parallel remodelling of tracks and platforms at Blackpool North - complete with erection of new gantrys for the overhead electric power wiring.

Two more Bombardier units will augment the initial sixteen strong fleet, more or less the same design as the earlier versions.

The bus operation is itself experiencing a radical makeover aimed at uplifting the image of bus services. A fast expanding fleet of new vehicles in the now formal livery of Blackpool Transport Services is edging out the recently familiar yellow and black colours introduced in 2009 by previous Manager, Trevor Roberts. Currently Service 7 retains the earlier style and this too will inevitably change once the 'rail replacement' contract ends next year freeing up the sizeable number of new ADL Enviro vehicles assigned to it. Blackpool's Optare 'Solo' single deckers, nimble as they are, after holding down most of the 'back street' lower loading routes, are also now due for replacement. Trials of potential replacements have been an intermittent sight during 2017. No doubt the final selection has been made or is near.

Change goes on. Brave announcements for the first tranche of the new ADL double deck buses in 2016. The design can be seen in the high frequency 'shuttle' service to Preston Station on rail replacement duties.

Two very different era. Former Standard Car 143 in its latter Engineering Car format and looking a little the worse for wear stands at North Pier whilst a queue patiently waits to load OMO car 9 in its smart new 'plum and custard' colours - during an off season period (note the lack of traffic). Standard 143 awaits completion of a retro rebuild to its original 1920s condition with open platform and balcony style. OMO 9 is no more but two sister cars fortunately are preserved, one in Blackpool and the other at Clay Cross store in care of the TMS.

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