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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Old Wine Matures Ever So Slowly

John Woodman

Age doesn't weary Colin MacLeod it seems - he just keeps chuckling while making sure local hostelrys stay solvent. Having had the almost unique circumstance of being born and raised in a flat overlooking Whitegate Drive, passing trams ensured he had sleepless nights Colin is one of the longlasting tram enthusiasts still around to tell the tales of bygone Blackpool transport and in particular the finer details of Marton's tram service up to its end in 1962 - almost sixty years ago.

Sharing with the author a particular love (not a peculiar love) for the swish of Marton's superb fleet of postwar 'Vambac' cars as well as the steady rumble of English Electric railcoach wheels along street tram rail, Colin was present at the final night of the line. Jointly we invested in a small wreath to fit onto the end of Standard Car 48 which Marton Depot staff arranged to be the very last tram to run to Royal Oak terminus - adding some home made notices as well.

Not your normal Marton tram. The Western Train cautiously edges its way into Abingdon Street with the GPO as a backdrop. Actually the very last tram to run on Marton tracks (albeit as far as the new ABC theatre on Church Street). Observant readers will note the tram is travelling on the wrong track on this singular journey from Talbot Square. I believe this was one of Colin's gems.

Our shared fascination with the tram depot had earned acknowledgement from the staff to the extent that we were invited to join them at their 'Wake' held in the depot offices following on the arrival of the last trams from Royal Oak and Talbot Square (and the departure of the Transport Committee Members and Department management on new buses at conclusion of the final tram journeys to the Depot).

Ever since Colin has reminisced of those times to anyone within hearing range, and shared his marvellous photos of the Marton tramway - usually taken from rooftops along the route. Several have appeared in my excellent books on Blackpool's transport scene over the years, expecially the edition devoted to the Marton route and its history, Copies still available from our online shop if anyone is interested!

His birthday this week (today) prompts this blog as Colin's vintage matures yet a further year - happy birthday - your special pills in the post.....

A once familiar sight during summer season. Marton Depot doors wide open with an imposing line of remaining 'Standard' trams inside. Photo John Woodman


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