Memory Lane: Hidden tram tracks

An incoming Ribble bus ploughs through flooded Whitegate Drive overtaking a tram on the MARTON route near the junction with St Ives Avenue in July, 1956

An incoming Ribble bus ploughs through flooded Whitegate Drive overtaking a tram on the MARTON route near the junction with St Ives Avenue in July, 1956

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GAS mains utility work on Whitegate Drive has exposed a link with that road’s transport of the past.

Eagle-eyed reader Jim Huntsman contacted Memory Lane with photographs and a poser.

Whitegate Drive, Marton, Blackpool, showing the tram lines. The white building in the distance is The Saddle Inn, to the left of the centre the white gable ends belong to the Marton tram depot, today Tesco Express and petrol station stand on this site.  The trams ran along Whitegate Drive to Talbot Square via Church Street and in the other direction,onto Waterloo Road down to the Royal Oak where they joined the Lytham Road route. dated 14/10/1952

Whitegate Drive, Marton, Blackpool, showing the tram lines. The white building in the distance is The Saddle Inn, to the left of the centre the white gable ends belong to the Marton tram depot, today Tesco Express and petrol station stand on this site. The trams ran along Whitegate Drive to Talbot Square via Church Street and in the other direction,onto Waterloo Road down to the Royal Oak where they joined the Lytham Road route. dated 14/10/1952

He says: “They are digging up the road at the top of Woodland Grove, near the new medical centre on Whitegate Drive and I have taken a couple of photos of the hole.

“I can see what look like railway tracks, I think it’s old tram tracks. I’m not sure but, wow, did trams really go across Whitegate Drive? People may like to know; I know I would, I live there.”

Well Jim, trams did indeed run along Whitegate Drive until 1962, when the Marton route, between Talbot Square and the Royal Oak pub on Waterloo Road, was closed.

A search through The Gazette archives produced a splendid picture from 1956, not too far away from where the tram tracks are exposed today.

Tram tracks uncovered on Whitegate Drive at the junction with Woodland Grove

Tram tracks uncovered on Whitegate Drive at the junction with Woodland Grove

The only problem is that you cannot see them because the road was flooded at the time!

A Ribble double deck bus can be seen overtaking a tram on the Marton route, close to the junction with St Ives Avenue.

All that is missing is a boat alongside, but look at the little girl happily wading through the water in her shiny wellingtons. Does anybody know who she is?

The other picture dates from 1952, with the Preston Old Road junction in the distance, and shows the tracks and overhead wires – but, sorry, no trams!

You can, however, clearly make out the Marton tram depot, now a petrol station and Tesco Express, and in the distance the Saddle Inn.