A business meeting in Manchester this past week used a BTS bus journey to and from Preston Station on rail replacement duties, then Northern train to Oxford Road with the
short walk to St Peters Square with its four track tram station and constant coming and going of the Metrolink fleet.
The BTS contract service direct to Preston took a rather disjointed route from Blackpool North to Chapel Street via Central Drive and then on to the Kirkham road. A more direct journey would have brought us to Preston New Road and the same Kirkham direction. However the experience was without traffic delays and arrival at Preston amid a cluster of Blackpool's smart new buses was a rare experience.
A glimpse of Preston Station's newer entrance from the connecting bus services. Perhaps Blackpool North might similarly benefit from distinctive signage?
Shoals of Blackpool Transport buses gather at Preston Station - a rare sight soon to pass into the history books in two weeks time.
Manchester is a hive of investment, new construction and development enhanced by the streams of yellow trams in one's and two's continually passing along the two city centre routes. Despite the woes of the north south divide Manchester is living up to its reputation as a leading centre for the 'northern powerhouse'' initiative launched by George Osborn. My meeting at the Midland Hotel was to aid kickstarting the 'Fleetwood Quays' development which is now gathering pace.
Britain's leading tram system with style, colour and smooth running trams on an expanding network complimenting impressive property development taking place in this part of the 'Northern Powerhouse'.
The return trip to Blackpool allowed a sampling of the alternative rail replacement service which stopped at Kirkham (and Wesham), Poulton Le Fylde and Layton stations. I was pleasantly surprised at the smoothness of the journey and the vehicle's negotiating its way through Kirkham and Poulton centres - stopping precisely at the correct station drop off (and pickup) points. I availed myself of using the Layton Station bus stop on Benson Road - all the way from Preston by Blackpool bus. Well done Blackpool Transport.