new blackpool trams c blackpool cou

The service will open to fare-paying punters from 16 June. Credit: Blackpool Council

Blackpool North plugged into tram network

For the first time in more than 60 years, passenger trams have been connected to the town’s main railway station.

The opening of a 600m track extension connecting the current Promenade tramway with a new tram stop next to Blackpool North train station was celebrated at a special event on Wednesday this week.

The first passengers to take the historic trip up Talbot Road won a local prize draw to become the first people to enjoy the journey to the station since 1963 – Blackpool Transport will open the route to fare-paying passengers from Sunday 16 June.

Once fully open, trams will leave and arrive at the new North Station tram stop roughly every 15 minutes between 5.45am and 11.45pm.

As a general guide, trams going south to Squires Gate will leave on the quarter hours, with trams going north to Fleetwood Ferry leaving on the hour and half hour, although the timetable will be adjusted based on need.

These routes will work alongside with the mainline tram operation which continues to run between Starr Gate and Fleetwood between 5am and 11pm.

To support the additional journeys created by the extension, two new Flexity-2 trams have been added to the running stock.

The new Blackpool North tram stop sits alongside the Holiday Inn hotel and Marco Pierre White restaurant, which opened in May, while passengers can walk through to Blackpool North train station via a new underpass. A range of retail units surround the new tram stop and underpass.

More than 2m passengers per year use Blackpool North train station, while Blackpool itself welcomed 20m visitors in 2022.

The extension and new tram stop form part of the Talbot Gateway area, long a development priority in the town. In May, Muse submitted plans for a 53,000 sq ft office, intended as a second civil service hub for the area.

The £23m tramway extension was funded by Blackpool Council and received £16.4m from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal funding.

Alan Cavill, director of communications and regeneration at Blackpool Council, said: “Opening this new tramway extension has many benefits for Blackpool.

“It provides more sustainable commuting routes for workers getting into the town centre or connecting with the train station, while for our tourism businesses, it also means that customers can reach their hotel, shop or attraction even easier, supporting the local economy.”

Jane Cole, managing director of Blackpool Transport Services, said: “Bringing back the iconic trams to Talbot Road after 60 years marks a significant milestone in Blackpool’s history and its journey towards a vibrant future.

“As managing director of Blackpool Transport Services, I am thrilled to witness this momentous occasion, which not only enhances our transportation network but also contributes to the economic and cultural revival of our beloved town and the 20 million visitors that we proudly serve.

“Together, we embark on a new era of connectivity, accessibility, and progress for the community we proudly serve.”

Jane Cole Blackpool Transport c b lackpool cou

Blackpool Transport MD Jane Cole said the opening is a ‘significant milestone’. Credit: Blackpool Council

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Excellent. Now let’s extend the trams into Lytham and St Annes.

By Rye

well done!


Fantastic – great to see

By Anonymous

This appears an excellent achievement, and at 23 million pounds, good value for money. Why is the Manchester Metrolink so expensive to extend?

By Elephant

@June 13, 2024 at 9:16 pm
By Elephant

Quite. I’ve used both – and they are both great systems but there’s a few things the Metrolink could learn from Blackpool Trams.
BT are more comfortable and user friendly. You can buy a tick on board. They have announcements for each stop. But now that BT have completed the extension, it’s time to plan the biggie – and extension into St Annes, Ansdell and Lytham. The Fylde Coast almost has as many people as Iceland (ie about a third of a million people).

By Rye

And yet apparently delivering a fixed link to JLA from south parkway, connecting not just the airport but also the retail park and extensive commerce and industry along the way, is beyond our wildest unreasonable dreams. According to Liverpool mayor rotheram.

By Jeff

Wholly agree with Elephant. I find it crazy how Sheffield, Blackpool, Manchester & Edinburgh have such different metro systems, different design guidelines, different tram units etc.

That’s before considering the stop – start trickle of capital funding. No wonder no long term planning, nor standardisation can take place. No wonder that leaves local authorities going cap in hand to consultants.

If we’re serious about building a light rail system in Leeds, and more broadly serious about increasing density and productivity in our big cities, we ought to be standardising tram systems across the U.K. & investing in long term state capacity to roll this stuff out.

Off my soapbox – looking forward to catching my Blackpool tram to get some rock on the Prom!

By Anonymous

The facility to pay onboard, is commonplace in Europe. Those ridiculous ticket machines in Manchester, sum up how Westminster treat regional Britain for proper investment. Those ticket machines existed in London, on the Underground in 1980, when I visited on a school trip. Bury escalator is still broken. 4 and a half million people used the Metrolink in May, the most ever. They seriously need to up their game.

By Elephant

So it’s only once every 30 minutes in each direction? That’s pretty poor, and I imagine many people will walk the 600m to access more frequent services. Clearly need more funding from govt to be able to improve the frequency

By Anonymous

Bringing back the trams a fabulous idea. A boost to the Blackpool economy and a showcase for towns and cities everywhere that public transport is the future.

By Rebecca Robinson

Why don’t you give concessions to all us old visitors that visit every year,we don’t all travel on the rare buses,we have to pay full price on the tram even though we are old gits!! Rip the tourists off a bit more!!!!!

By Anonymous

In response to Elephant’s comments on cost, that £23M for 600M of track does look cheap. From memory Trafford Park line extension was £350M for 5.5K of track, so let’s call it £400M in todays money. Couple of observations I suspect Trafford was more technically complex, like building a bridge at Pomona, but I think they also ordered a significant number of new trams, so I think it’s a bit muddy. In UK terms Manchesters build costs have been pretty decent compared to Edinburgh and Birmingham, but fall short of places that can do this well like France and Italy.

By Rich X

Rich X is correct. The war chest, of a couple of billion which Andy Burnham has,for Manchester, should be big enough to link Bolton, Wigan, Atom Valley, and Stockport. Perhaps we should let Blackpool build it?

By Elephant

You’ve been able to pay onboard a Metrolink for years using the app

By Anonymous

Elephant, didn’t realise Burnham has that much swag. Thoughtful that the piecemeal electrification around Bolton, Wigan and now Stalybridge means GM rail could run an electrified East-West S-Bahn across GM, but what we also need is the Calder Valley line electrified up to Rochdale and maybe Littleborough, and then Atom Valley starts to get really interesting.

By Rich X

@ June 17, 2024 at 12:44 pm
By Anonymous

Yes but not everyone wants to use an app. It should be a choice. If you have a ticket person on the tram, it also acts as reassurance. I use both methods by the way.

By Rye

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