Diesel Tram On Blackpool's North Pier
The Blackpool North Pier features a short (diseasel) tramway which links the pier entrance with the theatre at the far end.
Of special note is that the entire journey from pier entrance to theatre is "weather protected" - either inside the tram or via sheltered platforms and walkways - obviously someone has realised that in inclement weather passengers (OK, in this case theatre patrons) don't want a soaking. Would that similar thoughtfulness applied to ALL British transport systems! The person§ responsible for this thoughtfulness should be given a peerage, knighthood, or similar - & made a British government Transport Minister!
§ see below for a message from this esteemed gentleman.
A close-up view of the tram at the landward end of the pier. Note the platform canopy.
A wider view of the same as above, with the tram having commenced its journey towards the far end of the pier.
The tram approaches the theatre at the far end of the pier.
The tram at the theatre tram stop. Note the platform canopy, although not clearly visible this forms part of the covered walkway right up to the theatre entrance.
A view of the seafront, including the Blackpool Tower. Also visible is a double deck tram.
A Message From The Pier Tramway's Creator
In 2008 I received the following message from the esteemed gentleman who was involved in the creation of the pier tramway. Certain personal information (such as his home telephone number) has been removed, but otherwise the message is as I received it.
I am a Building Designer from Darwin in the Northern Territory in Australia.
I worked as a designer for a Company called Beresford Sherman from 1988-1991 in Vauxhall in London. Beresford Sherman were contracted by the First Leisure group, to reimage North Pier, as part of its reconstruction from the devastating storms of 1987? The re-construction of the Pier structure was done by a separate local Blackpool Engineering firm. Most of the building infrastructure was done by Design Aluminium from Bristol, from designs prepared by Beresford Sherman.
The designers who worked on the project were Nigel Cladingboel, John Kirkup, myself Chris Renehan and Charlie ?
During the design of the project, the chance came to design the image of the people mover (Blackpool North Pier Tramway), and I jumped at the chance, as I was the only person in the firm who had any mechanical inclination or understanding of transportation systems, and I also grew up in Melbourne Australia which has an extensive tram system.
So it was I, who designed the 'People Mover' or tramway on North Pier. It is obviously based on a 'Blackpool Standard tram' of the post 1931 vestibule type. I actually bought a standard model kit from Tower Models, built it as a single deck, mounted it on a model of a section of pier, and it was presented to the board of first leisure for approval. The colours came from the standard catalogue of dies that you could use in the construction of GRP bodies. Harry Steer and Co. did the construction and drive systems. The lettering on the side was obviously taken from the 'carnival style' font that we had devised for use all over the pier. While it was based on a real tram using a local vernacular, it is a fairground type ride, and as such, has an oversize headlight, and childlike proportions.
Unfortunately, I had to leave to go back to Australia, and never rode on the tram until I came back over for a wedding in 1996. I was thrilled.
The only thing that has changed from the original design, is the safety guards (or pedestrian catchers) below the body were yellow.
As far as cover from inclement weather goes, I designed the station canopy at the sea end with cover, but I cant remember doing a cover for the land end.
Am I still eligible for a peerage?
I have seen several publications which only nominate Harry Steer as having anything to do with the People mover. While Steers contribution could be rightly termed 'significant' compared to Beresford Shermans, and Beresford Shermans as an entity no longer exist, if you want to know why it looks like it does well now you have your answer.
If there is somewhere to post this on a relevant website, then go ahead. If you get back to me and you are interested, I am sure I have a photo of the original model and the original design drawings, in colour. which I will scan and send to you.
I spotted you on the net while I was reminiscing about Wintergardens, and surfing around buildings in Blackpool.
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This page last updated 31st December 2016.