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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Marking Seventy Years Continuous Reign

John Woodman

1952 saw Blackpool Corporation Transport completing delivery of the second tranche of postwar buses numbers 251 - 300 and the arrival of the first of the 'Coronation' class trams from Charles Roberts factory in West Yorkshire. The resort was recovering from the war years and subsequent austerity although rationing remained in place for certain foodstuffs. Britain remained very much encumbered with social heirarchies; with flat caps denoting manual labour and 'working class', whilst trilbies were deemed essential for middle class and bowlers denoted senior managers

Photo : Courtesy Michael Morton = one of two Jubilee BTS buses

Trams were very much seen as passe while trolleybuses were deemed to still have a future. Diesel buses were very much the most acceptable means of urban transport and new coach designs such as the famous 'Seagull' design from Blackpool firm H V Burlingham were transforming long distance road travel. The town's football club was at the height of its postwar fame winning the FA Cup for the first (and only) time and parading their success on top, of a Seagull coach along the sea front.

Below : The Gazette celebrates the Coronation

So much change over seventy years has transformed society that it is unrecognisable from the heady celebration of the Queen's Coronation. Certainly the town's transport scene is entirely different apart from long familiar bus services retaining their original numbers such as the 7, 9, 11 and 14. And of course the solitary tram service covering the same coastal route from Fleetwood's estuary terminal to the exposed turning circle at Starr Gate. Long gone are the once prolific street tram services in Blackpool and much of the associated infrastructure. With exception of the Rigby Road transport site which remains for the most part almost frozen in time. This too is set to change in the near future with advent of all-electric buses taking over from the present (and latest) fleet. Blackpool Transport's once famous cream and green livery gave way to evolving styles under successive Managers = not necessarily for the better. It will be interesting to see whether the changeover to all-electric bus operation will bring about a further fleet rebranding. Likewise the very tired Council ordained and dispiriting paint style of the trams in regular service.


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