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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Another Fine Book From Nick Meskell

John Woodman

Followers of Blackpool's trams will be thrilled with the latest masterpiece by Nick Meskell in the second volume of his trilogy covering the decades from the 1950s up to the launch of the light rail era in 2011. Volume Two 'Blackpool Trams' deals with the years from 1968 up to the Tramway Centenary Year 1985. Pin sharp images, most in full colour, bring home the sights and scenes now lost to recent history, but still remaining vivid memory for those fortunate enough to have lived in or visited Blackpool during those years.

Crew operation was still very much a feature of the trams up until One Man Operation began in earnest in the 1970s. Redesign of much of the fleet, beyond mere 'tinkering', kept the Body Shop and Engineering staff busy throughout this period. ;DeVambacing; the Vambac Coronation cars being just one of many tasks ordained by management, with eventual withdrawal from service of the entire class (save one example). Home designed one man cars morphing from 1930s Rail Coaches being an essential changeover, with two seperate experimental double deck trams similarly being given major remodelling to test larger capacity application sans conductors.

Each class of tram is seperately dealt with, along with engineering cars and the illuminated fleet, while transformational advertising is dealt with through profuse photographs. The fateful head on collision between Balloon cars 705 and 706 receives detailed coverage, along with the unique snowfall requiring clearance of the seafront track by a convoy of three coupled Balloons.

So much detail is packed into this volume that it renders my own intentions for further titles on Rigby Road Works from 1983 somewhat superfluous. Strongly recommended reading and addition to enthusiast bookshelves without delay given the limited run. Volume Three will no doubt complete the story up to the tramway upgrade and introduction of the Bombardier cars in 2011.

Forty Pounds provides 280 Pages of profusely illustrated information, much of which is new to the writer (who was living in Northern Ireland and the US during the entire period). Highly recommended and well done Nick. Front Cover and sample page from the Illuminated Tram segment.


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