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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

By Tram To Stanley Park

While Blackpool's Council considered and then rejected proposals in the design for the new ''Stanley Park' in 1925 for an extension off the Marton tramway to the Main Gate entrance of the park development - thousands of miles away to the west another Stanley Park was provided with electric tramway access. British Columbia and its principal city - Vancouver had both a city tramway (with open observation car service) and an interurban network which extended considerable distances to inland communities. The city's 'green space' also developed in the 1920s was accessed by a new tram service with terminal loop by the park entrance.

Stanley Park tram terminus (Vancouver). A British Columbia Electric Railway car (possibly a convertible type which allowed side panels to be removed in hot weather) stands at the Park's terminal loop (a la Starr Gate). A Vancouver PCC car follows in the background.

Vancouver was one of three Canadian cities to gain delivery of new 'PCC Cars' during the Second World War. The other two being Montreal and Toronto. Their control technology was adapted for Blackpool's trams in the postwar era and ironically became integral to upgrade of trams on the Marton service from 1949. The famous 'silent running' Marton Vambac cars were synonymous with this service which ended in 1962 with all but one of these trams being scrapped. The exception (11) was saved through initiatives elsewhere in England and latterly is now a working exhibit on the East Anglia Transport Museum near Lowestoft.

Blackpool's Marton tram service was used by visitors to the Park with Conductors announcing 'Next stop for Stanley Park' as trams approached Hornby Road (in both directions). As previously referenced the Transport Department created a special bus service to Stanley Park in leiu of a tram extension. This operated from the Promenade opposite the Woolworth's Building initially using open buses but such was the popularity of the Park the Department was obliged to add whatever spare buses were available at peak times during the summer months.

In later years this service was given over to three older double deck buses which had their top decks removed leaving just the front section in place. Neatly repainted with stylish external advertising the 1940 centre entrance buses were a novel means of travelling to Stanley Park for a few years during the 1960s.

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