Blackpool North and Poulton stations closed Nov 2017 – Mar 2018

At the Network Rail information event at Poulton today, July 31st,  we were told the line between Preston and Blackpool North will be closed in mid-November 2017 and re-open on a date in March 2018.    A rail replacement bus service will operate.

This will also close the line to Blackpool South but the line between Kirkham and Preston will re-open in January which will enable trains to Blackpool South.   The rail replacement from Blackpool North and Poulton will then run to Kirkham.

It was stated that trains to Poulton will not be run from January to March as Blackpool North is being re-modelled and there will be a lot of engineering trains and the electrical operation of the line needs to be tested and approved.

Power will be switched on for use in March 2018 but it will be up to the train operating companies what services they run on it.  The Network Rail rep agreed that the companies have said they will run electric trains from May 2018, but it is up to them.

Other points raised were that Poulton station canopy will be restored sympathetically.

The line to Fleetwood is dotted in to the main track at Poulton on the plans and could be re-instated, obviously at a cost.

Forgot to ask about the Poulton signal box although we have been previously told it will definitely be demolished and control will be from Manchester.

If you wanted to be critical you could say that 100 A3 pages of engineering data with 90 sheets listing nuts and bolts,  a bland video and a banner plus 4 or 5 representatives is trying to avoid offering anything to question.

In general it was a disappointing event, there is no information supplied as a summary or takeaway and you need to be ready with your questions to ask for any information.

It is a big close down period and surprising it’s being allowed.








Rail Improvements – Blackpool

The track between Preston and Blackpool is slowly being electrified.  Bridges have been raised and the track lowered in places,  curves have been straightened and points removed to improve speed.  In late 2017/early 2018 Blackpool Station will be remodelled and the signalling control transferred to Manchester.  The wiring will be finished and new electrified services will be operated from May 2018.

This will involve closing the line from Preston to Blackpool North and South in winter and Network Rail are holding information events at various locations along the route to provide information about the next phase of work.  These are:

Wednesday 26 July 16:00-19:00 at Kirkham Town Council, The community Centre, Mill Street, Kirkham, PR4 2AN

Monday 31 July 16:00-19:00 at Poulton Civic Centre, Breck Road, Poulton-le-Fylde, FY6 7PU

Monday 21 August 16:00-19:00 at The Lund Vicarage Church Hall, Clifton, PR4 0ZE

Tuesday 22 August 16:00-19:00 at Ashton Methodist Church, Wellington Road, Preston, PR2 1BU

Tuesday 29 August 14:00-18:00 at Blackpool North station, Talbot Road, FY1 3AZ

We hope most trains will be electric although those to Blackpool South and those from Blackpool North to York will still be diesel.

Read more on Network Rail’s website click here


Blackpool Air Show August 12/13

The Blackpool Air Show, Saturday and Sunday 12/13 August on the Tower Headland.  Every year this is a great event with big crowds.  Free entry.    The show is open at 10am, the flying starts at 1.15pm.

The Typhoon opens with a roar and wakens anyone feeling drowsy,  the Breitling Wing Walkers doing their acrobatics during aerobatics is always inspiring.   The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Red Arrows and many others,  see the Visit Blackpool website for the full schedule.


Preston, Ribble Steam Railway, 20th May 2017

A relaxed morning drive to Preston Docks for a look at the Ribble Steam Railway.   A quick coffee in the cafe and then walk round the museum.  A mixture of industrial locos and some ex-BR stock.  Take the 11am train, a saddle tank, pulling a mixed load of a corridor and compartment carriage, a buffet carriage and an open plan carriage.   Then a walk round the museum and the workshop.   Plenty of potential with the locos in the workshop but you wonder how long it will take to restore them.

Ribble Steam Railway, Preston
Ribble Steam Railway, Preston

Ribble Steam Railway, Preston

Ribble Steam Railway, Museum, Preston

Ribble Steam Railway, Preston

Ribble Steam Railway, Preston

Ribble Steam Railway, Preston
Ribble Steam Railway, The Workshop, Preston

Paisley 16 and Hovercraft Appeal for Funds

Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours posted an appeal for funds to restore the Hovercraft and a Paisley/Glasgow Tram.   The latter looks like it needs a lot (in capitals) of work but should be a great addition and appeal to the Scottish visitors.

‘The Blackpool Heritage Trust are developing exciting plans to add to the diversity of the operational Heritage tramcar fleet, but we can’t do this without your help! Avid followers of our progress will know that we have recently acquired two very unique vehicles, Paisley & District tramcar no.16 of 1904 (later Glasgow 1016), and the Blackpool Illuminated Hovertram of 1963. Both of these trams will be superb additions to our fleet once restored, and will afford us with show-piece vehicles of which we can all be proud for many years to come.

Paisley 16

Our ‘phase one’ project is to restore the 4-wheel truck from this tramcar to create a rolling chassis onto which we can then rebuild the body. To complete this we need four brand new steel tyres, at a cost of £500 each. We have already received our first very generous donation of £500 – which will buy us one tyre. Can you help us to fund the other three? Once we have the foundations of the tram in place, work can then progress towards rebuilding the body and recreating the missing components that will allow Paisley 16 to take its place on Blackpool’s Promenade within a reasonable timescale.

Any donation, no matter how big or small will help us to achieve the target and move us towards having a fully overhauled truck for this lovely little tramcar. Donors of £500 or more will be invited to Rigby Road when the work commences, to see the progress for themselves.

Illuminated ‘Hovertram’ 735

The Blackpool Hovertram returned to us in September 2016 after almost a decade away and having spent periods of time in both Beith, Scotland, and Sunderland. Latterly in the ownership of the North Eastern Electrical Traction Trust (NEETT), the tram initially came back to us on a long term loan.

However, NEETT have now presented us with a unique opportunity to actually purchase the Hovertram outright, which will allow it to remain as part of the Blackpool collection, in perpetuity. We feel that this is an opportunity that we should not miss, as it will reunite the entire 1960’s illuminated collection under one umbrella and in their original home at Rigby Road.

NEETT have very generously agreed to accept a figure of around half of the £7000 that they have themselves invested in the tram in terms of purchase, moving and storage. We are therefore aiming to raise £3,500 to allow the famous illuminated Hovertram to stay in Blackpool, where it belongs!

Again, any donation no matter how big or small will be very much appreciated, and will help us to secure the future of the Hovertram here in Blackpool. Donors of £500 or more will be invited to come and inspect the tram themselves, and to hear first hand about our plans for its future return to use.

To donate, please send a cheque to the “Blackpool Heritage Trust” to 16 Seventh Avenue, Blackpool, FY4 2ED, making it clear whether you wish your donation to support Paisley 16, or illuminated Hovertram 735. Alternatively, we would very much appreciate monthly standing orders. This form of regular contribution allows us to forward plan our projects, and will help us to build on our achievements so far and deliver the world class collection of Heritage trams that we all desire to see. A link to the BHT’s standing order forms can be found below.’

Thank you.

BAC transfer details are shown.