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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Another Tram Train Interchange

Blackpool is no stranger to Cardiff buses (or tram) given the number of buses leased or purchased by Catch22Bus over the past few years all of which arrived complete with bi-lingual signage and initially with Cardiffbus livery. Only one Cardiff (or indeed Welsh) tram has operated in Blackpool and this was for a few weeks and not for passengers.

Cardiff Corporation Tramways Water Car 131 did what it said on the label, carried water in a large tank and spread it over the street track in the days of that city's tramway operation. Ironically it became the sole surviving preserved Cardiff tram after the system closed in the late 1940s. Trolleybuses took over many routes until they too succumbed to motorbus operation in the 1960s.

The Welsh Government is now on the verge of approving a new light rail or 'metro' network for Cardiff and its surrounding communities. The plans call for a transport 'hub' in the city centre which will bring together both buses, mainline train services as well as commuter lines; plus a planned metro system which will no doubt utilise some of the local railway services not dissimilar to Newcastle and Manchester.

The new station designed to handle a quadrupling of passenger usage over coming decades will incorporate a train and metro platform interchange not dissimilar to that found in the upgraded Manchester Victoria station. Blackpool North will not quite achieve the seamless interchange originally envisaged during the present upgrade but it will present a more passenger friendly appearance internally and externally. Escalators will deliver passengers up (and down) a level between the station and the new tramway terminus to be constructed on what presently is the site of the Wilko store and property - to be demolished. A scissors crossover before the stub twin tracks will allow flexible and peak working for trams which service this new town centre extension. Final determination on the service scheduling is yet to be made by BTS and no doubt initial trial workings may well provide interesting and short lived options. Below : A transport interchange of sorts - at Cleveleys Bus Station. BTS 355 shares a stance with ex Cardiff Catch22Bus - both heading for Blackpool.

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