Tear up the Town

You could forgive people for thinking this town centre is closed to the public, the few yellow signs dotted around explaining that businesses are open as usual seem somewhat like a trap. It’s a bit like navigating a rabbit warren but it can be done..

Ok – so talbot road wasn’t exactly the camden market of the north, the street has been in disarray for many years now, don pepe’s – a once thriving bar has now become a builders lock up, you can sometimes glimpse under the shutter to see that this once popular bar has long outlived its purpose. This is a sad fact or many of the empty units on this street – waiting for someone to say – it’s ready again, come and set out your stall. That end may be coming soon – Spring 2019 if the council are to be believed.

But for the businesses that are barely hanging on in there – it’s been a downward spiral for a number of years now. The road works and improvements seem to have been going on since the scaffolding came down from the tower. It’s been a never ending mish-mash of road closed signs and temporary traffic lights for as long as many local people can remember. It has certainly made visiting out of town shopping centres and retail parks a much more attractive prospect for people who don’t want to learn a new road-map every time they want to pop into town.

It’s a well known fact that the tram service in Blackpool once ran throughout the streets servicing many more areas than it does today. Cars, trams and pedestrians have all managed to share this urban landscape previously. In the picture above we see that the tram lines that used to run up and down the street have been well covered over for years. The foundations of these old lines don’t look very substantial at all. 

The new foundations seem a little more substantial than the previous ones. 

Here you can see that the ground under the new tracks will be steel reinforced concrete with the finish being tarmac with red stones mixed in. The tracks are jigged into place, the steel mesh is then placed underneath the jig, everything is tied together using steel wire, the edges are shuttered off and concrete is poured in to create a solid base for the rails to sit atop.

Once this base has been formed – the surrounding areas can be filled and compacted then the road surface laid out on top.

This is how the new road surface will look once completed.

The pavement will be similar to the paving at bickerstaffe square – in line with the majority of the town centre now.

In order to build the new tracks – the old ones must be removed piece by piece. 

There are old tracks still in place crossing dickson road that still need to be removed and then replaced with the new tracks. 

in “artists impressions” provided by the council before this build started we remember that the images showed a tram meandering down a sculpted road with parking bays down either side however as you can see from this picture – the track laid down is incredibly straight. 

Talbot road is one of the main arteries into Blackpool and is an important thoroughfare for events such as the world fireworks championship hosted on the promenade around North Pier. Talbot Square used to play host to the illuminations switch on so is used to dealing with large crowds however Navigating the different routes at the moment can be a challenge especially for people with children in pushchairs. The landscape outside the town hall has changed also with cars now passing right outside the steps as opposed to the large paved area it has enjoyed in the past. 
Where will the Christmas tree go?

When this project is completed it will link the train station with the tram system allowing easier transit in and out of the resort via train. Virgin have laid on a new service that will be capable of bringing record numbers of visitors to the resort AND finally Northern Rail have just announced they will be rolling out new and re-furbished carriages to use on this line. 

In honesty something has needed to be done about the transport links in and out of Blackpool for a long time – it’s great to see that progress is being made but at what cost. It will be great to see so many people coming and going from North Station and with more improvements on the way over the next few years – the town might just be starting to get it’s act together.

Apart from the weather – we have what it takes to be a world class resort, There’s no reason why tourists visiting London can’t jump on a train and visit Blackpool for the day – As a community we need to start embracing this change and together bring Blackpool BACK to the being destination that it has the potential to be.