Anyone who has visited Blackpool this year can’t help to have noticed that a long-time fixture at the head of North Pier has gone – the Blackpool Tram Shop. A haunt of many enthusiasts to see what tram related products they could pick up when they are in town the shop closed at the end of 2017 and then reopened out of town in July of this year. Our intrepid reporter went on a trip during his recent visit to Blackpool to check out the new shop and to see just how easy it is to get to by public transport.
The shop is located in close proximity to Junction 4 of the M55 making it pretty easy to reach if you have your own transport. However, many who visit Blackpool for the trams probably arrive by public transport so how easy is it to get there by bus? The shop is not near any Blackpool Transport bus route but Stagecoach’s no. 61 bus does go very close by with a bus stop adjacent to a large B&Q superstore (with the Blackpool Tram Shop just behind B&Q). Currently the first task for anyone going by bus from Blackpool Town Centre is to find the bus stop it goes from! With the ongoing works in the town centre – of course, including the construction of the North Station extension – a number of bus stops are closed or moved with the no. 61 currently leaving from the second bus stop in Topping Street. Unfortunately Blackpool Transport have a large notice on this bus stop to say it is closed but please note this only affects their services and not Stagecoach’s! The only thing which gives away that the no. 61 goes from this stop is a small timetable and diversion notice stuck on the shelter. Buses run every 30 minutes for most of the day and when boarding the bus you need to ask for Peel Hill. A return fare costs £5.
The bus takes around 15-20 minutes and you need to keep an eye out for B&Q on the right hand side and that is when you alight the bus. Cross the road and it is a short walk (Videoscene have stated it is a 10 minute walk but it is possible to walk it in about 5 minutes, depending on how quick you walk anyway – as long as you don’t walk past the correct road in the pouring rain as I did anyway!) Walk past B&Q and then take the first turning on the right and then there is a further right turn which leads you to the business park The Blackpool Tram Shop is situated on.
When arriving at the shop you are met with a strange arrangement. On the ground floor there is a small display of products and what can best be described as a reception desk. There is also a notice here telling you that you must let a member of staff know if you plan to go upstairs to the first floor showroom.
And is the first floor showroom where you enter the cave of mainly DVDs plus various back issues of Trams Magazine and a selection of books. There is no doubt that there is a lot more on show here than would have been possible at the North Pier shop and you could probably spend a while looking through everything on offer. Although please note despite the Blackpool Tram Shop name trams remain just a small part of the selection on offer with the majority more related to railways (as is the main Videoscene catalogue of course).
It is probably fair to say that the shop is now the Videoscene catalogue in physical form! If you prefer that personal touch when purchasing items then the shop is certainly worth a visit. However, with P&P free on all DVDs from Videoscene you would have to decide whether that personal – and it has to be said always friendly – touch is worth the effort of travelling out of town to the shop. Extra products are promised in the future – although details of what these may be are very vague currently and there has been mention of new products for a couple of years now – which may make it more appetising for those not just passing to make the trip.
And one final word of warning for those travelling by bus. The return bus stop outside B&Q has no shelter – when it is pouring with rain, as it was on the day of this visit, you are likely to get soaked when waiting to get back to Blackpool!
* The new Blackpool Tram Shop is located at Unit 8, Juniper Court, Whitehills Business Park, FY4 5QF.