The Anonymous Widower

Is Blackpool On The Way Up?

In previous visits to Blackpool, I’ve found the place rather depressing and dirty. Generally, I’ve arrived by train, to give myself time to get to the match and then got the first train out afterwards. I have also called Blackpool the most pedestrian-unfriendly resort in the UK.

Also, when I mention I’ve been to Blackpool, like I did once to a lady on a bus in Leeds, I have often got a comment saying no-one goes there now!

But was it the fact that the sun was shining yesterday, that made the place seem so much better. But visitors and residents were adamant that the town had improved in the last few years.

The promenade is so much better and must rate architecturally with some of the best in Europe. Although, I would think that the obvious food offerings, are a bit too gluten-rich for me. If I go again, I might do a bit of searching, to see if anybody can cope.

But living in Dalston, an area of Hackney, that has been transformed by a refreshed North London Line, I would think that Blackpool’s refreshed tramway has done the same for the resort. After all, many of Blackpool’s visitors are like me and not in the best state they could be. Surely, a step-free low-floor tram is one of the best prescriptions, that isn’t available on the NHS.

I think to be fair, we haven’t seen the end of the rise of Blackpool. Just as Liverpool took more than a few years to rise from its nadir, Blackpool won’t get back to the top overnight.

The biggest thing that will happen is connecting the town to the electrified rail network as part of the North West Electrification. Network Rail’s report says this about progress in linking Blackpool to Preston by 2016.

A fully electrified route between Preston and Blackpool will connect the area to the west coast main line, the key rail artery linking the North West with London and Scotland.

We’ve upgraded all 15 bridges whilst carrying out safety improvement work to parapets. Overhead line equipment will be installed in 2015/16.

This electrification should improve the perception of the resort, as refurbished Class 319 trains are so much better and bigger than most of the trains working the line now.

It will also further improve the direct services to Liverpool, Manchester and London.

The tramway should also be linked to Blackpool North station in the next few years, as it should have been years ago. Nothing annoys me more, when I arrive by train in a town or city and find that the buses and/or trams are not connected to the station. Blackpool will rectify this omission, but I hope they get the tram capacity right, as many arriving by train will want to get straight on a tram to perhaps have a sightseeing run up and down the promenade.

One factor affecting the extension of the tramway to Lytham is the Open. Golf has staged its championship four times at Royal Lytham Golf Club in the last twenty-five years. As it last staged an Open in 2012, it should probably be due another. Ansdell and Fairhaven station is close to the course, so if another Open was to be staged at Lytham, then this station would probably play a large part in getting spectators to the event in a carbon-free manner.

I would suspect that Lytham are pushing hard for another Open and they are stressing the 2016-electrification to Preston in their bid. They can probably link an improved train or tram service to the course into the mix as well!

One interesting asset well connected to the trains and the tram is the old Blackpool International Airport, which recently closed. I’m sure that the town will use it to their advantage and I suspect various stakeholders have ideas in mind.

Blackpool has certainly had problems, but I would hope it is now on the rise!




November 1, 2014 - Posted by | Transport, World | , , , ,

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