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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Fleetwood's American Connection

The other side of the Atlantic - Fleetwood, PA and its Council Staff.

In America's heartland the town of Fleetwood is twinned with its English counterpart on the Lancashire coast. It proudly displays this transatlantic link in its official signage above and the Town Council pose before their official seal.

Fleetwood, PA is famous for having been the founding home of the Fleetwood Metal Car Body Company which established its assembly plant (still standing) more or less in the same period as the Fleetwood Ice Company was building its then modern ice production buildings to serve the port's seagoing trawler fleet (also still standing at Wyre Dock).

The Fleetwood Auto Company was taken over by what became General Motors during the 1920s. Fleetwood brand then became the top of the range model of the GM group's Cadillac division. Fleetwood Cadillac was to be the favoured saloon for America's corporate elite and politicians to the present day with early models being highly collectable in the automobile heritage sector. After takeover by GM production was moved to a large newbuild assembly plant in Detroit. Just as at Wyre Dock, the Fleetwood Automobile was sited adjacent to the mainline of the Pennsylvania Railroad for ease of shipment of material and finished vehicles within the US. Whereas the Fleetwood Ice Company and Wyre Dock was at the heart of the enormous railway sidings and infrastructure built up by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway operating on the line from Preston and Poulton all the way to the town's riverside ferries. Transhipment of trainloads of landed fish would thus transform Britain's diet over successive decades - with evidence lasting to the present day along Blackpool's seafront in its countless 'fish and chip' establishments. Regrettably the fish today is landed elsewhere and transported to Fleetwood by road - with the railway line being disconnected at Poulton.

Ironically there is a Fleetwood station in the suburbs of New York city - on the busy Metro North Harlem Hudson commuter line running out of Grand Central Station north to Westchester and Putnam Counties. As a commuter on this line for many years I took personal satisfaction in passing through the Fleetwood station every day en route to Manhattan having parked my Cadillac at Brewster North where my family lived during the 1990s.

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