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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Lytham's Trams - A Magnus Opus

Following on his remarkable book on the Blackpool & Fleetwood Tramroad and its successor operator - Blackpool Corporation, Brian Turner has turned incisive scrutiny to his home town, Lytham and its colourful tramway in a new book 'Lytham Trams'. published privately. The hardback volume of 224 pages carries the fullest account of the Fylde coast's southerly tram operator, from inception with German technology of the day (originating in Dessau) to closure of the tram service and replacement by all-Leyland buses in 1937.

The Lytham system - essential a coastal service conjoined with Blackpool's municipal line could have, and indeed should have survived, allowing extension of the Blackpool modernised tram fleet during the 1930s. Instead parochial political snobbery on the part of a handful of local Councillors in St Annes saw off highly favourable terms by Blackpool's Manager, Walter Luff, in favour of bus replacement from Lytham to Adelaide Place in Blackpool. Disjointed sea-front services thus remain to the present day with the consequences of this 1930s' decision still festering at Starr Gate as passengers transfer across a busy Promenade road junction between Blackpool's light rail terminus and buses continuing south to St Annes and south Fylde districts.

Brian Turner has done an excellent job in sifting through archives and records, both public and privately held, to provide a finely detailed account of the trials and tribulations of the 'blue trams'. This included revealing background to the circumstances behind the sudden resignation of the then municipal operation's General Manager. A splendid assembly of pictorial material brings to life the character of the tramway and its staff, as well as the communities it served. And of course the system's tram fleet and depots covering both the gas and electric tram era.

Highly recommended reading for those of us living on the Fylde coast (and beyond), Brian's work having covered two of the three tram operators which provided services in the emergent years of electric (and gas) powered connectivity from Fleetwood to Lytham - now has the task of giving similar exceptional attention to the Blackpool Corporation Tramways system (and successor entities). Hopefully we won't have to wait too long for a similar masterly book.

Lytham St Annes 'Pullman' car all decked out to promote local businesses in 1930s. 'Forward to Prosperity - Buy in Lytham St Annes'. I followed this encouraging message only yesterday by visiting Lytham's busy shopping district. John Woodman Archive

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