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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Curzon Street For HS2

As Blackpool grapples with the slow drawn out process of redeveloping the original site of the Talbot Road Railway Station later known as Blackpool North - in Birmingham a brand new railway terminal is being created at Curzon Street. This will provide a smart interchange for HS2 serving the centre of Birmingham and avoiding the city's crowded New Street station at capacity from existing services. New Street station was the subject of a comprehensive development above the station platforms and tracks - being rebranded as 'Grand Central' with a gleaming exterior and popular rendezvous featuring multiple restaurants (fast and otherwise) and retail outlets. New Street Station / Grand Central has its own tram station immediately fronting the station entrance with brilliantly branded trams on an intensive service running to Wolverhampton where the line and terminus is being extended (on street) to that town's main railway station. Midland Metro are engaged in completing yet another extension from the present New Street station terminus in the other direction as far as Five Ways - an important city road junction. This will curve its way through Birmingham's civic centre passing by museums, the main imposing library, conference centre and Brindley Place office complex.

Today it was announced that the excavations for Curzon Street Station have unearthed foundations and layout of an early railway turntable built by railway pioneers and possibly the very first such example in England. Curzon Street Terminal (station) will also like Manchester's Victoria Station have trams running into it providing excellent interchange between mainline (read HS2) travellers and the Midland Metro network now in the throes of expansion a la Manchester.

Whilst Blackpool may not have the scale of development in cities such as Manchester and Birmingham - it is nonetheless pursuing (in its own way) the logic of connectivity between heavy rail and light rail systems in urban centres. This is history repeating itself. Both Blackpool's main railway termini (Talbot Road and Central) were the focal point for connections between trains and trams of two seperate operators : Blackpool Corporation and the Blackpool & Fleetwood Tramroad. The latter actually providing its own connection between Fleetwood Station and Talbot Road, Blackpool. This latter service was absorbed into Blackpool Corporation Tramways in 1919 and continued to operate as a distinctly different line right up to 1963 - complete with its own depot (at Bispham).

Much like the Curzon Street locomotive turntable remains from the 1840s now unearthed in excavations for a 21st century railway terminus - the FHLT have in mind to commemorate the origins of the north Fylde coast's railway connectivity by positioning one of its trams as a special display feature within the new Talbot Gateway redevelopment. Discussions are underway to realise this, along with further installations in Fleetwood to similarly record the unique longevity of the port's electric tramway and its social and economic impact through to the present day.

The intention of the FHLT is to recognise

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