September 11 saw further bus service diversions introduced in the town centre as a result of closure of the important traffic junction in front of the Wilko site on Talbot Road and Dickson Road. New stops and routings to the 3 and 4 services involve traversing Abingdon Street avoiding the 'Talbot Gateway' area in which the Wilko property is sited. Similarly there are no longer any buses passing along Talbot Road from Bickerstaffe House and Sainsbury's store to and from the Dickson Road junction.
Contractors began the job of breaking up the road surface in front of the Wilko site this morning (see images). This is where the street tramway will deviate from Talbot Road on to a reserved terminal point once the Wilko store and car park are demolished and the site cleared completely. The street tram track is already well advanced towards this point from Talbot Square, whilst in Talbot Square itself excavation continues in the area of the tramway's intended curving connection from the Promenade (where double track pointwork is already embedded from both southbound and northbound lines).
Much of the former tramrail connections at this location have already been uncovered and removed, but more sections still remain under the Promenade awaiting closure of traffic during the winter period. Thus both ends of the new extension will be dealt with more or less at the same time with the straight running section along Talbot Road itself having been completed this year. Below : the initial road surface excavation begins at the intended tramway entry point on to the Wilko store site (awaiting demolition) seen today.
Traffic free junction in all directions. The original tramway curving onto Talbot Road from the Dickson Road tram route has already been removed in previous roadwork not too long ago. However the Layton line continued on passing the former Bus Station and Car Park in the background and remains undisturbed for the moment.
Abingdon Street opposite the Market and a temporary Bus Stop for Services 3 and 4 is now positioned almost exactly where the Abingdon Street inbound tram stop was sited on the former Marton tram service all those years ago. The classic facade of the GPO (no longer a post office of course - and awaiting a new role) and Abingdon Street Market itself a former Garage in the 1920s - ensure at least some architectural merit sustains this part of the town centre (although the retail trade is moribund at best).
Images : John Woodman