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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

The Great Days of Blackpool's Transport

John Woodman

While today's followers (and users) of Blackpool's trams and buses may feel they are benefitting from one of the country's more 'progressive' transport systems, those of a certain age will know better. As the town struggles to see completion of the redevelopment at the former North Station site with a much needed extension of the tram service to the vital mainline railway terminal, it is worth bearing in mind that trams ran to North Station for nearly seventy years until a wave of bus conversions saw the town's street running lines replaced with buses between 1961 and 1963.

Lytham Road, Marton and Station Road, Dickson Road survived in the postwar years with trams every few minutes frequency. In usually immaculate green and pale cream colours, Blackpool's bus and tram operation was cited as an exemplary municipal transport asset. The Transport Department maintained nearly 300 vehicles while servicing the needs of other municipal departments including the ambulance service, the airport, general purpose transport fleet. Additionally Council Car Parks came under the jurisdiction of the Department with acres of land given over to private vehicle parking - usually filled in the summer season. Talbot Road Bus Station was another Department asset providing a busy (and popular) hub for terminating services in the town centre, while over four levels of car parking space enclosed within a cream facia tiled structure. Not only Blackpool Corporation Transport services used the cavernous interior but equal provision for the cherry red buses of Ribble Motor Services, cream and dark brown of Scout Motor Services and contrasting prussian blue and white buses of Lytham St Annes Corporation comingled on services to Fylde destinations and further afield. Below : Lytham Road heyday with double decker trams and buses handling crowds at Bloomfield Road football ground - the years when Blackpool FC was in the top tier of the Football League .

Below : the Marton tram service boasted the most modern trams in Britain in the form of upgraded cars using latest propulsion technology and silent running equipment. An example is seen heading towards Abingdon Street with the bulk of the Hippodrome in the background and the white facade of the Regent Cinema in the far distance - two landmarks on the Marton route. Well dressed shoppers abound.

Above : Talbot Road Bus Station was the destination for many bus services to the Fylde coast as well as being the terminus a large number of Corporation bus routes. Here a smart 'White Lady' of Ribble Motor Services heads out empty on to Talbot Road, probably to one of Ribble's garages. This photo was taken in the late 1940s. Below : Dickson Road on a busy Saturday morning with short turning Brush car waiting to use the crossover in front of the Odeon Cinema as a Duty Inspector holds off oncoming traffic. A Burlingham Corporation bus on 3A service shows its rear as it struggles to gain the road junction with Talbot Road. Smartly kept shop fronts with sun blinds were essential features of the town centre's shopping streets. Photos John Woodman Archive


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