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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

New Year ... New Directions!

The ghastly calendar year 2020 is finally behind us and that particular slate is now wiped clean. We did not escape entirely unscathed as technical issues towards the end of the year caused an interruption in postings on the Tramtalk site, hopefully with this offering, normal service is resumed!

Wyre Dock Fleetwood is to gain a Fish Business Park; long sought and finally approved and funded through ABP and Wyre Council’s shared engagement. This puts an end to the lengthy efforts of the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust with various supporters to utilise the Fish Dock for a commercially led scheme which would have allowed the Trust’s trams to be presented in a year round heritage attraction. Other strategic plans are being acted on to aid with renewal of Fleetwood’s commercial district and infrastructure. We are hopeful this extends to a new rail link to the national network at Poulton whether using tramtrain technology or heavy rail vehicles. The exponential growth of hydrogen fuel powered rolling stock and elimination of diesel power is a healthy changeover to be welcomed.

Accordingly the Trust is now working to place its collection with caring hosts, ideally on the Fylde coast. Exploratory exchanges began in 2020 with several interested sources, unfortunately interrupted by the ever present gift to the world from China. We are cognisant of the parallel initiative underway at Rigby Road which is facing radical change due in part to Blackpool Transport (and Council’s) commendable strategies to go ‘all electric’ with a new generation of buses. The obvious call for a ‘smart’ transport heritage display and showcase of local transport history is now ever more pressing.

Elsewhere the town is finally rid of the blot on the landscape which became a ‘Wilko’s’ outlet and contractors are busy preparing foundations for a modern complex that provides for both a new hotel as well as business space and most importantly, the terminus for a tram service. The cleared site is set to emerge as a distinctive adjunct to the Council’s bold redevelopment ‘Talbot Gateway’ with the prospect being held out of further demolition along Talbot Road itself to create an avenue of ‘progress’ for visitors arriving by train.

Blackpool Transport, like all other operators, has faced considerable challenges in maintaining bus (and tram) services – which now extend as far as Preston over the past months. The town is fortunate in literally ‘owning’ its local transport provider – as opposed to the bland corporate monoliths now dominating many of the UK’s towns and cities (and rural communities). The Christmas Season now passed saw characteristic seasonal fixtures adorning many of its buses – alongside expanding exhortations to the wider public on ever present threats to health. A winter period we are not likely to forget in a long time.

Our 2021 Annual Calendar is on sale – featuring Blackpool buses over the early period of their inception in 1921. The follow on 2022 Calendar will continue recognition of the contribution made by staff and vehicles operating from Rigby Road. > Visit our on-line shop

And finally there is just the small matter of this country regaining sovereign independence from a top heavy bureaucracy in Brussels.

Free at last.


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