A Covey Of Enthusiasts In Talbot Square
Brilliant sunshine combined with the sight (and sounds) of trams traversing up Talbot Road as well as testing out the three way junction across the Promenade at North Pier drew out a lot of familiar faces (including that of the writer) earlier this week. Finally after much anticipation on the part of Council, Transport Operator, Developer and the public, Blackpool's low floor trams exercised their right to take a sharp turn inland from the Promenade and on to Talbot Square in broad daylight. Some previous nocturnal tests had occurred but this was the first time that a regularised operation of trams to and from the new terminus complete with scissors crossover at Blackpool North took place. The sun shone down on the initial journeys, marking the first time trams had passed in front of the Town Hall since 1962 when the Marton service was replaced by bus route 26 and a handful of isolated movements from Marton Depot then ensued. Survivors from the great tram cull inside the depot later thankfully straggled past the Town Hall - while a memorable occasion saw the Western Train carefully make its way (on the wrong side of the road) as far as the new ABC Theatre which opened to a Cliff Richard premier show. After depositing its VIP guests the 'train' then reversed (this time on the correct track) to return to Talbot Square and the connecting link on to the Promenade tramway. This would be the final use of tram tracks in Talbot Square until this week.
With a feeling of deja vu - the writer came to see the wheels literally turning full circle in Talbot Square as Bombardier car 001 and sister cars were shepherded on the new three way track junction across the Promenade and up Talbot Road. Needless to say in addition to the many contractor and operator high viz attendees on hand for the trial runs, a veritable who's who of transport enthusiasts gathered to record testing of this first street track extension in living memory, James Millington, Nick Meskell, Brian Turner, Mike Morton, Gary Mitchell were among many familiar faces on hand in Talbot Square. This portends well for the formal opening of the new service running to Blackpool North. Ironically the last tram to run from the railway station to Fleetwood on the traditional route will shortly be leaving Blackpool for the last time to take up service in another part of the country.
Michael Morton takes on a confrontational role at the Talbot Square stop. The former bank building is now an apartment block - making exceptional views possible for future enthusiasts renting or buying a south facing flat. Michael is taking a break from Prague and central European systems to record this rare event.
Nick Meskell checking his remaining battery power alongside 001.
Nick Meskell and Gary Mitchell confer on aperture settings as 001 slowly passes by. Michael Morton remains on the far side of the tracks standing on the Talbot Square inbound platform stop.
Inbound passing through Talbot Square which has a solitary tram stop just in front of the tram off camera. (see above images).