New benches celebrate Blackpool’s tram heritage

Two new benches inspired by Blackpool’s Heritage Trams have been installed in the town centre.

Artist Andy Hazell came up with the ‘tram-azing’ designs for the stainless steel benches after a visit to Blackpool Transport’s Rigby Road depot. 

Taking inspiration from Blackpool’s rich tram heritage, Andy created four unique designs for the new benches. Two of these have now been installed in Talbot Square. Made from stainless steel, the benches depict a Blackpool ‘OMO’ built in the mid-1930s and the ‘Brush’ built originally in 1937. The final two benches will be installed once the new Tram Terminal Interchange has been built at North Station.

The tram benches are the latest addition to Blackpool’s town centre improvement works. Despite being in a national lockdown, the council remain committed to delivering a better Blackpool for all.

Blackpool Brush Railcoach 623, photo by Rob Bray

The project is part of the ongoing regeneration plans to make the town centre more attractive to shoppers, residents and investors. All of the funding comes from a Growth Deal grant, accessed through the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership. Cllr Gillian Campbell, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Tourism and Culture, said: “These unique benches are a wonderful addition to Talbot Road. People will be able to take a seat and watch the latest trams go by.”

Whilst it’s hoped that people will appreciate the new addition to Talbot Road, it’s important to remember to follow government guidelines by social distancing.

The new tram benches in Talbot Square
The new tram benches in Talbot Square
Save Our Stories rescue ship

Many local families will be familiar with Andy’s much-loved Save Our Stories rescue ship. The bus has visited Wordpool Family Day at Stanley Park and many local schools over the past few years. The artist’s latest works celebrate the remarkable history of the town’s tramway. Blackpool can proudly boast at having not only the oldest electric tramway in the UK but the only one to have been continually in use for 135 years and counting. The 11-mile tramway runs from Starr Gate in Blackpool up to Fleetwood Ferry, operating a service every ten minutes during the summer season.

The plans to create an integrated transport network with trams running all the way to Blackpool North Station will provide direct services from North Station to the north and south of the town. The tramway extension is part of the development and regeneration of the Talbot Gateway area, and hopes to provide benefits to commuters and visitors travelling to and from the town centre.

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