Blackpool Tramway Extension

Blackpool Tramway Extension

The Blackpool Tramway extension joins the route along the promenade to Blackpool North Railway Station, along Talbot Road from North Pier. It’s expected to be completed and opened in 2019.

The £22m extension forms part of Talbot Gateway regeneration project at Blackpool North train station. It includes a new tramway terminal, a four star Holiday Inn and office and retail units to let.

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

Blackpool Tramway Extension, Update Photos

Many thanks to official Visit Fylde Coast Contributor Barrie C Woods for these photos of works taking place along Talbot Road, taken in July 2018.

Tramlines being laid in Talbot Road, part of the Blackpool Tramway Extension. Photo: Barrie C Woods
Tramlines being laid in Talbot Road, part of the Blackpool Tramway Extension. Photo: Barrie C Woods
Tramlines being laid in Talbot Road, part of the Blackpool Tramway Extension. Photo: Barrie C Woods
Tramlines being laid in Talbot Road, part of the Blackpool Tramway Extension. Photo: Barrie C Woods
Tramlines being laid in Talbot Road, part of the Blackpool Tramway Extension. Photo: Barrie C Woods
Tramlines being laid in Talbot Road, part of the Blackpool Tramway Extension. Photo: Barrie C Woods. A similar view to the photo above – but in the bottom left corner you can also see some of the old tramlines
The 'turnout' created from the promenade lines when they were laid 6 years ago, part of the Blackpool Tramway Extension. Photo: Barrie C Woods
The ‘turnout’ created from the promenade lines when they were laid 6 years ago, part of the Blackpool Tramway Extension. Photo: Barrie C Woods

Traces of the Past

The first three following photos are of works in the Talbot Road area, back when the initial work was carried out to build the Blackpool Council offices and Sainsbury’s.

The tramway did once follow this route as you can see from the fourth photo below, but it was closed in 1936.

Visit Fylde Coast Official Contributor Juliette Gregson captured traces of the original tram lines which once ran there. They’re a brilliant glimpse of the past.

Original tramlines, being replaced in the Blackpool Tramway Extension. Photo: Juliette Gregson
Original tramlines, being replaced in the Blackpool Tramway Extension. Photo: Juliette Gregson
Original tramlines, being replaced in the Blackpool Tramway Extension. Photo: Juliette Gregson
Original tramlines, being replaced in the Blackpool Tramway Extension. Photo: Juliette Gregson
Original tramlines, being replaced in the Blackpool Tramway Extension. Photo: Juliette Gregson
Original tramlines, being replaced in the Blackpool Tramway Extension. Photo: Juliette Gregson
Original trams on Talbot Road, soon to be running again, when the Blackpool Tramway Extension is complete
Original trams on Talbot Road, soon to be running again, when the Blackpool Tramway Extension is complete

Excellent News for Blackpool

The Blackpool Tramway Extension is excellent news and a huge step forward in continuing to regenerate the Talbot Gateway. It will create more jobs for people in Blackpool and a stronger economy for everybody in the town.

Almost two million journeys go through Blackpool North train station every year and rail journeys to the resort are growing. This extension will capitalise on the electrification and growth in rail travel and will make journeys for residents, commuters and visitors from the train station much easier.

Over five million people already use the current tramway every year. That number is growing and passengers are extremely happy with the service they get from our modern day, accessible trams.

Two extra Flexity2 trams will allow us to cope with the extra demand and add on the extra services needed, which is also a huge bonus. Last year, passenger journeys on Blackpool trams increased by 3.9%, while passenger revenue increased by 15.4%, with a total of 5.1m journeys taking place in 2016/17

That demand for tram and train travel shows that the Blackpool tramway extension is sure to be a success. It will be a huge boost to the resort when it opens.

Blackpool Tramway Extension – Second Phase of Talbot Gateway

The extension will also be the linchpin at the centre of the second phase of the Talbot Gateway.

The changes around Bickerstaffe Square have made a big difference. There is still a lot to do but the view that meets visitors coming out of the station now is massively improved from what was there in the past.

This expansion will allow the next stage of redevelopment to continue, changing the landscape of the gateway in to Blackpool. At the same time it will put more local people into work and create even better economic conditions to attract business investment.

More about the Blackpool Tramway Extension

The tramway extension will link the track from North Pier to Blackpool North Railway Station, travelling along Talbot Road.

Blackpool Tramway Extension, proposal showing a tram entering Talbot Square
Blackpool Tramway Extension, proposal showing a tram entering Talbot Square

The Blackpool tramway extension is an £18.2m project. It will see the tramway integrated within the highway in the same way as it is on nearby Lord Street in Fleetwood, with two-way traffic retained.

As part of the project the highway and footpaths of Talbot Road will be reconstructed to improve the street scene and built environment.

There are no closures planned for the existing tramway while this project is delivered. Some of the required infrastructure (for example at the junction at North Pier) was put in place during the upgrade works.

The work would be sequenced to minimise disruption and would ensure that access was maintained to businesses and properties along the route during the period of the works.

Visual showing a tram entering the new terminal at the current Wilkinson's site, Blackpool tramway extension
Visual showing a tram entering the new terminal at the current Wilkinson’s site, Blackpool tramway extension

It’s proposed that the traffic signals returned at the junction at North Pier, and there will be a tram stop at Talbot Square.

The tram will travel the length of Talbot Road and there will be a stop at Topping Street as near as possible to the railway station. It’s proposed that there will be a tram service every 10 minutes to the station, hence two new trams will join the Blackpool fleet.

1.8m people per year arrive at Blackpool North railway station and 80% of them travel on to the Fy1, FY2 and FY4 postcode areas.

The facility to be able to join the north/south tramway to this major source of footfall will be a huge advantage to all of the Fylde Coast area. Plus, the mainline railway has also been electrified and that will only improve the service into Blackpool and therefore increase the amount of rail passengers who arrive here.

Route of the Blackpool Tramway Extension

Proposed route of the Talbot Road tramway extension
You can read this plan in detail in the Blackpool Council brochure, download it here.

Blackpool Tramway Extension – Talbot Square

The Blackpool tramway extension leaves the existing route at North Pier, via a two way double track junction.

The route crosses the Promenade highway and enters Talbot Square, which is being remodelled to provide segregation of trams and highway traffic.

The existing pedestrian signals on the Promenade are being replaced by a signalled intersection. A new eastbound tram stop will be located in Talbot Square, to allow interchanges with the existing North Pier tram stops.

Blackpool Tramway Extension – Talbot Road

Beyond Talbot Square, a double track alignment continues eastwards in the centre of the highway.

Visual of the Blackpool Tramway Extension at Talbot Road
Visual of the Blackpool Tramway Extension at Talbot Road

Along this section of the route eastbound highway traffic will be diverted along Clifton Street. The signalled intersection with Abingdon Street will remain and the highway movements will not change.

The proposed route continues along Talbot Road to a new signalled intersection with Topping Street. This section of the route will be shared with highway traffic. On-street parking, loading and taxi bays will be provided.

Blackpool Tramway Extension – Tramway Terminus (at Wilkinson’s)

The tramway terminus will form part of the redevelopment of the site of the current Wilkinson’s store. The plan is to locate it in the centre of the development, close to and at the same level as the existing underpass to Blackpool North Station.

Proposed terminus for the Blackpool Tramway Extension
Proposed terminus for the Blackpool Tramway Extension

Official Matters

As a local authority Blackpool Council can’t just dig up the roads and build a tramway. An application for an order under the Transport and Works Act 1992 was required, for powers to construct, operate and maintain the extension, which was granted by Central Government. Official permission was granted in March 2018.

The Blackpool tramway extension is one of six infrastructure projects to be delivered in the county by Transport for Lancashire. That’s the body formed in 2015 to develop, approve and fund major transport schemes with a multi-million pound budget devolved by the Department for Transport from 2015/16.

£16.4m towards the estimated £18.2m total cost of the project will be met by Transport for Lancashire. The group includes the region’s three transport authorities, Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council and Blackburn with Darwen Council, together with the private sector led Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The proposed scheme was also subject to final funding approval by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.

The First Major Tramway Upgrade

The 11 mile long Blackpool tramway re-opened in 2012 following a major £101m upgrade project.

The track was replaced and new tram stops were built along the route to allow accessible boarding. Electrical infrastructure was replaced and upgraded along with the signalling.

The new tram depot was built at Squires Gate and 16 new Bombardier Flexity2 trams arrived in the resort. The new trams have level boarding, making them accessible for all disabled users, they provide faster journey times and a more energy efficient service.

As you might expect, the improvements heralded an increase in passenger numbers from 2m in 1008/9 to 5m people in 2015.

Within this huge project the facility was built in to allow the expansion of the tramway in the future.

The much-loved stock of Heritage Trams still operate as a tourist attraction along the same network during the summer and for special events during the winter.

Find out More

Have a look at the Live Blackpool website homepage for more of the latest updates.

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