The Anonymous Widower

Extending The Blackpool Trams

My ride on the Blackpool trams yesterday, got me thinking.

In the first place, I think that concerning the link to Blackpool North station, a trick has been missed. Opposite the station, Sainsburys have built an impressive store.

Sainsburys Opposite Blackpool North Station

Sainsburys Opposite Blackpool North Station

Surely, the whole area should be part of one development with the trams coming up Talbot Road from the North Pier to a covered interchange giving level access to both the station and the superstore. With electric trains arriving direct from Liverpool, London and Manchester, and places farther afield, this would make Blackpool North a true destination station.

When I go to see Ipswich play Blackpool at Bloomfield Road, I sometimes go on the single track railway from Preston via Lytham to Blackpool South station, as it is an easy walk through the car-parks to the ground.

But this means, I have to endure one of Northern Rail’s scrapyard specials and there is nowhere along the walk, to even get a cup of tea. I also walk through masses of car parking for visitors, which like the football ground, are a walk of a couple of hundred yards from the promenade and the tram. This map shows the area.

Blackpool2

The football ground is clearly at the top and the red arrow at the bottom indicates Blackpool South station, with the car parks between. The tramway at this point runs between the beach and the road along the front. The two blue dots are the tram stops at Waterloo Road and South Pier.

If you look further south, the rail-line and tramway get closer together.

StarrGate

Near Blackpool airport, Squires Gate station (red rail arrows) is perhaps just a couple of hundred metres from the Starr Gate terminus of the tram (blue dot in top left).

It strikes me that the whole of this could be pulled together.

Applying my naive logic, it strikes me that to extend the Blackpool tramway to Lytham, as is a stated as an aim in Wikipedia, one way to do this would be to convert the Blackpool South line to a tramway as far as Lytham. At the Northern end, it would branch off the existing tramway somewhere slightly North of the football ground and then pass through the car parks to take over the rail line at Blackpool South station.

From what I have read in the latest edition of Modern Railways more electrification centred on Liverpool, Manchester and Preston area, is on the cards after the current schemes are completed.

In some ways making the Blackpool South branch, an extension to the Blackpool tramway takes part of this line out of one expensive large project and into a simple stand-alone project, that extends the tramway.

You might even extend the tramway through Lytham to Kirkham and Wesham station, where the branch diverts from the Blackpool North branch, which is being electrified.

Kirkham and Wesham is a larger station, that could probably easily accommodate a simple turnback platform for the tram. It will also be on an electrified railway to Preston, Liverpool and Manchester, and possibly even London.

I would doubt, that whilst the tramway extension was being built, it would have any effect on the operation of the Blackpool North branch.

One extra saving might be, that sense would probably dictate doing both extensions around the same time, the extra trams needed could probably be ordered together.

Incidentally, I’ve found a report, which says that the Blackpool South branch could be converted to tram-trains.

Tram-trains might be an option, but I’m a great believer in extending what you’ve got, rather than bringing in too many different systems, as this means you have the convenience of a uniform fleet and you don’t confuse the passengers.

Tram-trains and other new systems appeal to governments, as politicians and civil servants get nice paid-for trips to see the systems at work.

My only worry about my analysis is, am I being bold enough.

I believe that an urban transport system should link the railway stations to the main visitor and sporting attractions, shopping centres and public services like the Council Offices and hospital.

Could for example the spur to Blackpool North station profitably serve anywhere else?

November 2, 2014 - Posted by | Transport | , , ,

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