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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Tribute to Marton Trams - 2018

The Marton tram service has managed to retain its allure for both transport historians and heritage interests, as well as Blackpool residents through the years. Even though the trams last ran along Church Street and Whitegate Drive over fifty five years ago impressions are still fresh for those fortunate enough to have been around in their final decade of operation.

Not only was there a dedicated fleet of smooth running trams to operate what had been a three minute frequency service between Royal Oak and Talbot Square, but there was also an equally impressive depot building along the route. Complete with imposing facade and an airy interior housing rows of trams during the winter season, but mostly empty on fine weather summer days when every tram that could run was turned out as 'Extras' along the promenade.

Blackpool's most profitable tram service - the famous and original 'Circular Tour' shared the route from Royal Oak all the way round to Talbot Square with the fast and frequent service trams, providing visitors with a view of the town's prosperous district around Marton. All of this would end in 1962 with the replacement of the service by buses on the new 26 Service - lacking both the high frequency or charm and individual character of the trams.

Our original book published in 2013 on this famous Blackpool tramway sold out last year with a final few copies. Since then I have received continuing requests for a reprint. Rigby Road Publishing will therefore go back to the drawing board this year to update the 2013 title and add to this first edition with new images and material. We will be inviting expressions of interest in reserving individual copies from April this year with publication planned for late October 2018.

Town centre scenes from another age. Abingdon Street facades in the top view haven't changed that much, but styles and transport are very different in 2018. Shoppers load up this rail coach on its first stop after leaving Talbot Square before heading up Church Street. Ladies wore hats and milliners were kept busy in the 1950s.

A slight altercation between tram and car on the very sharp turn into Clifton Street. The parked cars didn't help matters in those days. Blackpool Constabulary were quick on the scene with no less than three 'Bobbies' viewing the damage (on the car) along with a host of curious public. At least one bowler and two trilbys are in evidence. The GPO retains its imposing and dominating facade at the top of Clifton Street - when it was a functioning post office with a civic role. The tram's driver is patiently awaiting the removal of the offending car from in front of the tram so he can complete his journey down to Talbot Square terminus - passengers, such as there were having long vacated to continue on foot down Clifton Street. Such were experiences on the Marton tramway in its last decade.

Both Images : John Woodman

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