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Contractor named for Blackpool tramway task

Contractor named for Blackpool tramway task

The contract for the restoration of the old tram link between North Pier and Blackpool North railway station has reportedly gone to John Sisk.

According to Construction Enquirer, the firm provided the successful tender for the contract to carry out the project, towards with Lancashire Enterprise Partnership has pledged £16.4 million and Blackpool Council £4.7 million.

The new line will divert from the seafront tramway at a junction close to the North Pier, with a stop at Talbot Square before the line continues along Talbot Road to the station. The new section will be 550 metres in length.

It’s not the first time a tram line has run between the pier and the station. Between 1902 and 1936, they were connected by a spur that carried on as far as Layton, but this was subsequently torn up. Work on restoring the line as far as the station is expected to start early next year and trams will be running along the line from April 2019. 

The purpose of the new line will not just be to aid the tourism sector in the seaside resort, but also to help improve general connectivity and thus the wider economic development of the town. Blackpool North is served directly from Preston and Manchester.

Blackpool's tram extension is the latest one to be announced in the past couple of months, after Edinburgh City Council voted to extend the Scottish capital's tram system from the city centre to Newhaven via Leith, while the Midlands Metro is to be extended through Birmingham city centre as far as Edgbaston. Other upcoming extensions will include taking the Midlands metro to Dudley, the Manchester Metrolink through Trafford Park to the Trafford Centre and the Nottingham tramway through the southern suburbs of the city to Beeston. 

Unlike the trams in Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Nottingham - plus those in Sheffield and Croydon - the Blackpool tram service has remained in continuous operation since Victorian times. While other towns and cities shut down their tram systems in the 1940s, Blackpool carried on, aided by the tourism appeal of running heritage tramcars along the seafront and linking the various attractions.

Image: iStock


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