Blackpool Tramway extension: What's in store

Cllr Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, outlines the proposals for the extension to the existing tramway from North Pier to Blackpool North railway station.

Blackpool is undergoing major regeneration between 2017 and 2019, with a range of projects taking place in the town centre. The extension of the tramway from North Pier to Blackpool North railway station forms part of these plans, with work scheduled to begin in 2018. The proposals will re-establish the link to North station, which ceased operation in 1936, and will provide direct services to the north and south of the town.

Development of a brand-new tramway terminal is set to be ready in line with the completion of the scheme. This will be built on the site of the current Wilko’s building located on Talbot Road opposite the train station.

You can expect to see work starting next year, with the new line hoped to be completed and opened in 2019. Exploratory works have already taken place on Talbot Road, and tramway utility diversions are set to begin later this year.

The proposed tramway extension will leave the existing route at North Pier, via a two-way double-track junction. The route will then cross the Promenade highway and enter Talbot Square, which will be remodelled to provide segregation of trams and highway traffic. A new eastbound tram stop will be located in Talbot Square to allow interchanges with the existing North Pier tram stops.

Proposals for the £22m extension include a £18.4m grant by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Fund, which is hoped to receive final approval this year. The extra money being contributed by Blackpool Council is expected to be recouped from increased sales of tram tickets.

The cost of the extension also includes two brand-new Flexity2 trams to run on the tramway to cope with the extra passenger demand.

The extension will form part of a larger regeneration project at Blackpool North station, which will include a new tramway terminal, plans for a Holiday Inn, and office and retail units to let.

Benefits of the extension scheme

Blackpool’s tramway is becoming more popular than ever, with more than five million journeys taking place on it every year. An extra one million people also use Blackpool North station yearly.

Linking the train station and the tramway allows seamless travel for visitors and commuters, making journeys easier and more accessible, in turn helping businesses and supporting more jobs. The tramway will support the continued development and regeneration of the Talbot Gateway area, as well as providing benefits to commuters and visitors travelling to and from the town centre.

Blackpool tramway is one of the fastest-growing light rail networks in the country, and we’re anticipating that this will develop even further with the extension of the line. Regenerating the Talbot Gateway will create more jobs for people in Blackpool and develop a stronger economy for everybody in the town.

The expansion will change the landscape of the gateway into Blackpool, improving accessibility to jobs and services while at the same time putting more local people into work and creating even better economic conditions to attract business investment.

Tramway upgrade

The 11-mile tramway runs from Starr Gate in Blackpool up to Fleetwood Ferry, operating a service every 10 minutes during the summer season.

The tramway reopened in 2012 following a major £101m replacement of the track, the creation of a new tram depot and arrival of 16 new Flexity2 trams.

The new trams have level boarding, making them accessible for all disabled users and allowing for faster journey times and a more energy-efficient service. At the same time, the previous stock of heritage trams still run as a tourist attraction along the same network during the summer.




James Miller   24/11/2017 at 12:54

I hope that design the system so tram-trains can be introduced in the future. Imagine a tram-train arriving at South station from Preston and then going along the team-lines to North station before going back to Preston. They could also introduce ticketing based on contactless cards!

Paul   24/11/2017 at 15:48

The Tram Train idea is great but i would run it from Preston to then connect with the line near Rigby Road and into Blackpool North via the Prom

Chris P   24/11/2017 at 19:49

Tram trains are most effective in cities where the main station is not central so they provide a single ride from out of town to the centre which would not be possible with conventional trains. Blackpool North is centrally located so there's little advantage with tram trains there.

John Gilbert   25/11/2017 at 00:22

Thank goodness that the extension to North Station is at last starting - though not in any hurry apparently, in common with all the past slow development process. However what we want to see now, without ANY delay, is an extension onward over railway tracks to Lytham. It's logical, but does that automatically make it a non-starter, or the sort of slow gestation that the station extension has had?

Geoff Kerr   25/11/2017 at 11:55

I'm still not sure what the pattern of service will be. Will the coastal service just be diverted up to North Station and out again? That will add a time penalty for through passengers. Or will there be separate service for the station, acievable with just two extra trams?

Chris   28/11/2017 at 23:09

Most people in Blackpool think this is going to a very big white elephant and cause many traffic problems. It is already causing Blackpool to be closed for many people and we think that many businesses will go bust.

Tony K   17/12/2017 at 23:24

Although I think there is no plan to operate tram-train services, there was a lot done during the rebuild of the network to incorporate tram-train specification. There is a wider gap between tracks and heavier duty OHLE as examples. The service pattern will not see every tram diverted away from the sea front. I don't think the final details have been worked out yet, but I recall reading that alternate trams in each direction will head for the station. I wouldn't say "most" people in the area think it will be a white elephant at all. Certainly, it can't come quick enough for a lot of people to the north - Bispham Cleveleys, Fleetwood - who will be connected to the national rail system in a much faster and easier way than by bus. The bus from Blackpool North to Cleveleys takes forever, and even in bad weather I walk to North Pier to get the tram. I hope the PlusBus policy is revisited though - at present, you can only use PlusBus on the trams as far as Thornton Gate to the north.

Susan Darlington   21/12/2017 at 18:50

You could always use some of the council tax, that people like myself pay, to clean up the streets such as the areas round Manchester Rd and Newhouse Rd which are filthy. Its embarrassing and obscene that the Council chose not to spend a small amount of peoples Council tax on keeping the streets of Blackpool clean and respectable. Now theres a thought!

Brian Mcdevitt   06/01/2018 at 15:45

Not sure if it's a misprint but trams last served North Station in 1963, not 1936 as claimed. The original Blackpool to Fleetwood tramway started outside North Station and ran via Dickson Road to Gynn Square. As far as I am aware, this was the last closure of any first generation electric tramway in the UK.

David Thornton   07/01/2018 at 21:48

A nice touch would be for trams from Fleetwood to North Station to display the route number 1. This is me reminiscing that trams previously making that link (albeit via Dickson Road) used to do just that.

Pedr Jarvis   08/01/2018 at 17:51

I seem to remember in my childhood there were trams to Lytham St Annes. Reopening old BR lines is so slow - for example the Oxford to Bletchley line has been dallying for forty years: I do not understand why. Likewise the straight import of the continental tram/train does not seem to suit our insular notions.

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