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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Poles Coaches and Trams

No not the central european version but the upright load bearing overhead type. A leisurely visit to North Pier today was noteworthy for the appearance, almost overnight as it were (and probably was), of newly installed overhead poles lining the three way track junction in Talbot Square. Painted glossy black - hardly a welcoming shade for visitors or residents, this most recent infrastructure now awaits a web of span and power wires to change yet again the appearance of this public space.

New overhead poles have also been embedded along the promenade tracks in front of North Pier - but this time painted white. New span wires and pull offs have been added, replacing redundant wiring from poles now scheduled for removal.

Poles Galore. Newly installed overhead poles at North Pier and redundant example. Black painted overhead versions in the background in Talbot Square - hardly attractive.

One coach entrant passing the Tower Building with its classic facade (the Building). Below : East Yorkshire Coaches has some young admirers. Volvo shows off its latest styling in front of another classic Blackpool building - the flags are the giveaway.

The promenade and Middle Walk was enlivened by shoals of smart new coaches attending an industry event which has become an annual or semi annual feature. All manner of current designs were on show and undergoing driver trials on the Middle Walk before joining the ever increasing display on the 'Headland' opposite the Tower. Some quite exotic vinyl and paint schemes accompanied individual entries - on vehicles from all parts of the country and its 'dominions'. Below : A distinctive entry was Wahl Coaches of Stratford On Avon with a period Mercedes vehicle - one of five examples which this operator has in service I was told. Most unusual for a UK operator with very conservative paint scheme.

Below : the company owner giving final polish and attention to the motive power in the rear of Yorkshire Rose Holidays entrant.

Complementing the colourful coach exhibits were Blackpool Heritage Tour trams which included the repainted Standard 147 and its realigned dedication to 'Michael Airey' former BTS Bodyshop Manager. The new position on the lower side panel next to the platform cannot be considered an improvement, and might well have been the result of persistent lobbying by dedicated 'snappers' wanting a more perfect image. Who knows what prompted this latest naming twist in the Paint Shop ? Hopefully restored Standard 143 when it finally appears is spared the indignity of similar whims.

Newly repainted Standard 147 passes yet another Blackpool iconic building - The Imperial. Reinstated 'Michael Airey' dedication is barely distinguishable on the lower side panel - hardly worth the bother removing it from the front ends of this tram.

Impressive Balloon 723 with a period BTS paint scheme and less than iconic Promenade buildings in the background (on both sides of the track).

Bringing up the rear - a very commendable vinyl display on the cab of Mr Johnson's haulage and breakdown vehicle in attendance behind the Metropole Hotel. A highly imaginative rendering of his favourite vehicles no doubt. The lining out and lettering is a very nice touch sadly rare on Britain's road haulage vehicles (or buses). Well done.

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