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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman


John Woodman

To commemorate one hundred years of municipal transport in Blackpool latterly through the Council owned company - Blackpool Transport Services Ltd., a long weekend of special bus displays and heritage services are being organised for July 2 to 4. Full details are available on the Blackpool Transport (BTS) and Fylde Transport Trust website.

For readers keenly waiting for the Rigby Road Publishing title - Centenary of Blackpool Buses long promised for this month - we have to advise patience as this book is being deferred to end of this year - or first quarter 2022.

Blackpool's trams are continually in the limelight - deservedly so as a result of the pioneering role the early electric system played in the 1880s' and the continuity of tram service ever since. The town's buses on the other hand have been very much in the background, despite the much larger route network and vehicle fleet which dominates services up to the present day.

While a sizeable number of trams have survived from the 1930s. the bus fleet since then has attracted minimal attention from the preservation lobby. As a consequence only one solitary single deck bus from the 1930s is in private care. Blackpool's later fixation with traditional rear open platform double deck buses lasted up to final deliveries in 1968 at a time when most other bus operators had moved to front entrance vehicles. It did however ensure that a considerable number of Blackpool's MCW bodied Leylands were acquired for museum collections. Sadly only two examples of the town's unusual Burlingham bodied centre entrance design are still extant (below); both in private collections and both in need of major restoration. It would be nice to think that funds raised from the Bus Centenary events through donations and tickets will be used to support renovation of these two 1950s classic Blackpool vehicles (246 and 300). Both vehicles are equally icons of Blackpool's heyday as a Britain's foremost holiday resort - even more so having been built in the town by local craftsmen in Burlingham's Preston New Road factory.

Rigby Road Works Body Shop in action in the 1950s. Burlingham bodied 213 receiving its smart new paint job after overhaul. Photos : Courtesy Don Crossley Below : 1957 and the new order with recently delivered MCW bodied 307 inevitably heading for Talbot Road Bus Station as it 'swings' around Layton roundabout en route from Cleveleys on Service 9B (Cleveleys to Blackpool via All Hallows Road).


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