Could there be a little bit of progress on the Blackpool Tramway extension?

Originally due to open at Easter 2019 there can be no getting around the fact that the Blackpool Tramway extension to Blackpool North Railway Station is late and as things stand at the moment the Council have given no indication of when we might be able to enjoy a ride along Talbot Road. However, there could now be a little chink of light at the end of the tunnel as the Council’s development partner, Muse Developments, have started the process to find a contractor to build the new Holiday Inn hotel due to be built on the site of Wilkinson’s – along with the new tram terminus.

The press release on the subject is still a little vague about things but it is planned that a contractor will be appointed in October 2019, with work starting in spring 2020 and the project completed in 2022. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be 2022 before trams are running as there are possibilities ahead of this but this is the closest we have come to any official word since the Easter 2019 deadline was missed.

As we may have mentioned once or twice the tramway extension runs along Talbot Road as far as where the Wilkinson’s store is currently situated with this due to be demolished and a tram terminus built along with the new Holiday Inn. Wilkinson’s is due to move to a new development at the Houndshill Shopping Centre but with this not having progressed it has remained resolutely in place and as far as the tramway is concerned, in the way!

Presumably the fact that work on the site is said to be started in Spring 2020 Wilkinson’s will be moving by that time which will enable the building to be demolished and major progress made on the tramway extension.

There are some suggestions that as part of the project a temporary tram stop could be built before it is possible to build the full transport interchange. If so we could see trams running possibly by early 2021 (bearing in mind this isn’t the only work still needed on the line) with the worst case scenario of a service by 2022 (based on when the hotel is due to be completed). Whichever date it is there is no getting away from the fact that this relatively simple extension will be significantly late when it does finally open.

Aside from the new terminus other work on the line does still need to be completed. This includes the full fitting out of the single platform stop in Talbot Square and the installation of overhead wires. If a temporary stop is provided it also begs the question of will there will be further disruption when the final stop is built?

It may still be pretty unclear as to exactly what is happening but at least this news is a bit of progress which will hopefully lead to trams running at some point in the future.

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3 Responses to Could there be a little bit of progress on the Blackpool Tramway extension?

  1. Lovelightrail says:

    I for one cannot wait for this extension to be opened properly.
    I think it will be a ‘boon’ for Blackpool, and maybe make them consider further Schemes like edge of town Park and Rides for example.

    However, apart from building the line, the other progress has been glacier like in it’s movement, and really, as things stand, there is no guarantee that Wilkinson’s will move out.
    Maybe, before its too late, an alternate interchange with the station is considered? This might requite a little diversion at the end, but its this or wait. Until Wilkinsons give a ‘cast in stone’ closing down date, ever day now delays the project and investment made so far is not wasted, but not being recouped either.

  2. Nigel Pennick says:

    Procrastination seems to be all we get with transport extensions outside Manchester – Blackpool delayed indefinitely, Wolverhampton tramway delayed, Crossrail 3 years late and counting, the A14 upgrading 17 years late. The Cambridgeshire Busway opened 3 years late. If the Blackpool extension opens ‘on time’ (the latest estimate!) it will be 10 years since the junction for it was installed. In 2001 we were promised 15 new light rail lines by 2010. What happened? The usual thing that happens in the UK. Too little and too late. It makes one a cynic.

  3. Nigel Pennick says:

    Apropos delay I forgot the mother of all delays, the Brierly Hill line of the West Midlands Metro, authorized 30 years ago and just started now.