More progress on the project to extend the Blackpool Tramway up Talbot Road to a site just adjacent to Blackpool North Railway Station appears to be on the horizon with news that it could be 2021 for service to start, according to latest documents from Blackpool Council.
In this information it is confirmed that regardless of whether Wilkinson’s new building is built at the Houndshill Shopping Centre their lease at the current location ends in April 2020. It is anticipated this will not be renewed allowing contractors to move onto the site and start to demolish the building. Not only will the site be used to house the tramway terminus but it is also planned to construct a Holiday Inn and an underpass to the railway station.
Now the hotel is where the complication comes in as the final tramway terminus is due to be in the middle of the Wilkinson’s site by the new underpass but construction works on the hotel will mean it isn’t possible for this to be built until the very end of the project, in 2022. So, it is instead proposed to build a temporary tramway terminus in the location of the current entrance to Wilkinson’s with this expected to be ready by March 2021.
Of course, on top of the work to build the two tram termini (one for 2021 which will then close and be replaced by the permanent stop in 2022) there also remains a considerable amount of work along Talbot Road including the erection of overhead wire and the fitting out of the one platform stop at Talbot Square.
The Blackpool North extension had originally been due to open at Easter 2019 but if the above timeline is kept to (and a big if will probably remain over it as we are still awaiting with baited breath whether Wilkinson’s do actually move out!) it will now be 2021 for the start of services and 2022 for the final completion of the extension – just the three years late.