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Blackpool Tramway

Home > History > Blackpool Tramway

The first part of the tramway opened on 29 September 1885, a conduit line running from Cocker Street to Dean Street on Blackpool Promenade. It was one of the first practical electric tramways in the world, just six years after Werner von Siemens first demonstrated electric traction. The inauguration was presided over by Holroyd Smith, the inventor of the system.

The line was operated by the Blackpool Electric Tramway Company until 1892 when its lease expired and Blackpool Corporation took over the line. A further line was added in 1895 from Manchester Square along Lytham Road to South Shore. The tracks were extended to South Pier and a line on Station Road connecting Lytham Road to the promenade in 1897.

In 1899 the conduit system was replaced by overhead wires and in 1900 the line was extended north to Gynn Square where it linked up with the Blackpool & Fleetwood Tramroad. In 1901 The Marton loop was opened, connecting Talbot Square and Central Station along Church Street, Devonshire Square, Whitegate Drive, Waterloo Road and Central Drive. A new depot was built on Whitegate Drive in Marton. A line was added from Talbot Square along Talbot Road to Layton in 1902. By 1903 the promenade line had reached the Pleasure Beach.

In 1920 Blackpool Corporation took over the Blackpool & Fleetwood Tramroad Company gaining eight miles of track and three depots, two in Fleetwood and one in Bispham. The small Bold Street Depot in Fleetwood was closed and a loop constructed at Fleetwood Ferry.

The original Blundell Street Depot was replaced by a larger depot on Rigby Road in 1920. Along the line to Fleetwood, between Rossall and Broadwater a more direct line was built in 1925. The final tramway extension was in 1926, along the promenade to Clifton Drive at Starr Gate where a connection was with Lytham St Annes tracks.

In 1936 route closures began with the Central Drive and Layton routes. Lytham Road closed in 1961, Marton in 1962, and the tramroad line on Dickson Road to North Station in 1963. Marton and Copse Road Depots closed in 1963 and Bispham Depot in 1966. This left the track running from Starr Gate to Fleetwood, which still remains. Blackpool Borough Council transferred the operation of the tramway and buses to Blackpool Transport Services Limited in 1986.