Wednesday 12 June 2024

First Passenger Flexity to North Station

Flexity 018 just after it had arrived at the North Station tram stop at 11:10
On Wednesday 12th June the first passenger carrying Flexity made the inaugural run from Starr Gate to North Station, arriving at the new terminus of the Talbot Road tramway extension at 11:10. Last minute preparations of warning signs and markings were still taking place in Talbot Square at 09:00, and yet still an errant motorist managed to turn off the promenade and drove through the clearly marked no entry signs onto the tramway reservation. Before the tram was due to arrive there was chaos and gridlock on Talbot Road, Clifton Street and Abingdon Street due to a protest by Blackpool taxi drivers, who had jammed all three roads with dozens of their vehicles. It was feared that the debut tram run may have to be delayed, but in the end the taxi drivers were persuaded to move on peacefully by the police. Flexity 018 was the tram which had been selected for this auspicious occasion, and had vinyls on the advert boards saying "From Tram to Train" and "From Train to Tram", with a graphic of a merged tram and train on the centre section of the tram. After Flexity 018 had arrived at the North Station stop, the passengers and invited guests were treated to brunch at Marco’s New York Italian restaurant, adjacent to the Holiday Inn hotel.

Flexity 018 crossing Dickson Road, passing a Transpora bus on service 21 to North Pier
Flexity 018 beginning to make its short run up Talbot Road to the North Station terminus
Flexity 018 at the North Station tram terminus next to the Holiday Inn
The tram/train graphic on the centre section of Flexity 018
Blackpool taxi drivers completely blocking the tram tracks on Talbot Road during a peaceful protest
A motorist who decided to ignore the tramway no entry signs at Talbot Square at 09:00

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