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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Balloon 710 / Cleveleys Shelter / Gazette Front Page

John Woodman

The news of Balloon Car 710's potential demise and future has captured the attention of a growing number of well wishers and online comments (elsewhere) pondering the fate and future of this famous member of the Blackpool tram fleet. At the same time Blackpool's week long testing of trams up and down Talbot Road to the Blackpool, North tram terminus is front page news today along with reports of damage to an iconic bus shelter on Victoria Road in Cleveleys,

First things first. I visited our storage site at Wyre Dock (yet again) today to be interviewed by Radio Lancashire (BBC) correspondent Andy Mitchell who is no stranger to Blackpool's trams and buses. A 'package' feature on NUmber 710 will be aired shortly to include excerpts of the infamous episode on Coronation Street in which the tram was given its minute of fame. Both the Daily Mirror and the Blackpool Gazette carried feature articles on the future for the tram following my Blog two weeks aga - which itself generated a flurry of concerns among the heritage community online. The same Blog however stimulated helpful responses offering potential avenues that may ensure the tram's survival and display in a more invigorated state than the condition 710 is in currently. Some images taken this morning at Wyre Dock being relevant. I very much appreciate the offers of assistance from a number of people contacting me from around the country, several of whom I have followed up personally with more likely to follow.

Wyre Dock today. Balloon 710 stands proudly (still) albeit weatherbeaten amid expanding greenery. Joining it in splendid isolation can be seen Brush Car 637/300 looking for a new home - Motor Unit 678 in dull black, and twin car set 673/683 with much original finish. Centenary car 641 stands isolated elsewhere on the site - another exile with a great pedigree in English tram history bereft of a saviour at this moment. Images by John Woodman

Moving on to Cleveleys the same Gazette carried news of a fire damaging the historic wooden bus shelter on Victoria Road in Cleveleys serving the Holmfield Road bus stop. The shelter was a very early example for travellers using the original bus service between Cleveleys Tram Station and the railway station at Thornton Village - a service which began in 1921 and inaugurated Blackpool Corporation Tramways first motor bus service. Below : the shelter from a distance today

Testing of trams up and down Talbot Road between the promenade and the new terminus built on the Talbot Gateway development got similar and more positive attention from the local paper today with front page headlines. Work on the Blackpool North tram terminus is proceeding apace along with completion of the new Holiday Inn hotel and four star restaurant (Marco White) more or less structurally complete at this stage. Further construction around the tram terminus (two track stub with scissors crossover and island platform) is awaited with promise of modern office block and retail. One suspects that Blackpool Council/Transport may well be in the market for further new trams to handle the traffic post 2023.


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