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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Elegant Travel Around Marton

There was a time when Whitegate Drive presented a continuous avenue of mature trees through which sleek quiet running trams accelerated between the frequent stops along this ever busy Marton service (frequency of 3 and 4 minutes). Colin MacLeod captured the essence of those days through many photos he took from his home which overlooked the trams close to Hornby Road. The trees were planted as part of the town's expansion eastwards towards what would become Stanley Park - giving a welcome elegance to stylish Edwardian upper middle class residences along the newly built Drive from Devonshire Square to the Oxford Hotel. Arrival of the electric tramway in 1901 accelerated development of fields and farmland with Whitegate Drive gaining an upmarket reputation.

Here we see the passage of one of the habitues of the tram service - either 13 or 18, both of which had destination apertures panelled over above their centre entrances. The clean smart lines of the tram and absence of passing road vehicles marked those more leisurely years. The tram is just approaching the outbound stop at Hornby Road which had been relocated from the far side of the road junction at this point (out of view to the right of the camera). A single passenger is preparing to board. The light and airy interior is evident - a result of this class being intended for summer only use when built in 1939.

Enviably Colin enjoyed a ringside, or more correctly bedside view of the tramway, given that his bedroom fronted onto Whitegate Drive exemplified in this example of his fascination with the town's trams in those now far-off years. Marton's Tram Depot lay several stops further south along Whitegate Drive providing stylish accommodation for both the Marton service car fleet and summer season trams on the Promenade. The Depot also served as an interim home for withdrawn buses awaiting collection by contractors. Its large wooden doors allowed glimpse on to lines of trams in the summer months when depot staff left the doors wide open. Photo : Colin MacLeod

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