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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Looking Back On Lytham Road Tram Service

John Woodman

The almost straight stretch of street tram track from Manchester Square due south as far as Squires Gate Lane was once the home to a frequent service of Blackpool's trams traversing a busy commercial strip of shops, pubs and private boarding houses as far as the junction at Station Road. Here the tramway veered to the left on the apt named Skew Bridge, Almost acting as a boundary south of the bridge Lytham Road gained its air of residential respectability with ample houses shaded by trees all the way to Highfield Road where a neighbourhood shopping district marked the point for short working cars using the crossover were a frequent sight during the summer and illuminations season. Lytham Road managed to attract a varied mix of trams from Standards on Promenade extra workings, boat cars sedately running north on the popular Circular Tour service which branched off at Royal Oak junction to then circumnavigate the Marton tram route all the way back to Talbot Square terminus. Brush and English Electric rail coaches were predominant on the Squires Gate to Bispham service while Balloon cars were frequently seen working extras as far as Highfield Road together with the dwindling number of Standards. On the short stretch between Royal Oak and Station Road junctions Marton Vambac cars added to this procession of trams making a contrast with the Brush and English Electric models - the only place on the system where all three of these 1930s models could be seen sharing the same track.

A Standard car awaits its trolley pole being correctly positioned for the northbound journey from the track crossover at Station Road - a Brush car on the Squires Gate service patiently waits for the Standard to conclude its reversal on to the northbound track. Photo : John Woodman

Below : a distant Brush car proceeds along Lytham Road's sedate residential district with arboreal greenery on the western side of the road. Photo : John Woodman

The onset of the Illuminations weeks brought out every available tram from Marton Depot with cars preferring to traverse the Royal Oak junction on the southbound curve at Royal Oak and reverse on the crossover just beyond the Station Road junction to then process northward along Lytham Road to gain the Promenade at Manchester Square. All in all Lytham Road was a fascinating scene for followers of Blackpool. Of course all this menage of tram operation came to an abrupt end following the last night of the 'Lights'. Blackpool Corporation Transport's winter timetable kicked in with immediate reduction of service frequency and a six minute interval of trams from Squires Gate northward as far as Bispham. Marton's service extension along Station Road to South Pier ended along with the Circular Tour. The only supplemental services being timed to Blackpool Football Club's 'Home' matches at Bloomfield Road. Extra workings of Balloon cars on Lytham Road coincided with the pre-kickoff and immediate post match outflow of crowds. A line up of buses on St Annes Road served northbound destinations as ;Football Special' workings.

Below : Another Standard (160) handles the Skew Bridge incline heading north to Central Station with a Brush car on the Squires Gate service discretely following. A Lytham St Annes postwar Leyland is on the lengthy service from St Annes to Talbot Road Bus Station - in the distance. Photo : John Woodman


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