Blackpool tram extension contract awarded

Blackpool tram extension contract awarded

The winner has been named in the race to secure a contract to extend the Blackpool tramway system. 

According to Construction Enquirer, John Sisk will now carry out the work on the extension of the Blackpool and Fleetwood tram to Blackpool North railway station. Bidding for the contract was opened in March.

The 550m extension will branch off the existing seafront line at the North Pier and run along Talbot Road to the station. There will also be a new stop at Talbot Square.

Construction will begin in early 2018 and trams will be running on the line from April 2019.

The Local Enterprise Partnership is helping to fund the work with a £16.4 million grant, while Blackpool Council is contributing £4.7 million. 

A connection from the North Pier to Blackpool North train station has existed before, with the line running between the two and then on to Layton between 1902 and 1936 before it was removed. 

Blackpool council has considered a new stop important in the commercial development of the town for some time, not only in terms of reviving its flagging tourism trade, but in diversifying its economy. 

The move will also involve more modern trams running along the streets, rather than the vintage trams that run along the seafront. 

Blackpool's tramway is the only one that has remained in continuous operation, having begun transporting passengers in 1885.

Other towns and cities ripped up their tram networks in the years following the second World War, but since the 1990s, trams have been making a comeback, with Manchester and Sheffield leading the way, followed by Nottingham, south London, the Midlands metro from Wolverhampton to Birmingham, and latterly Edinburgh.

Extensions to the tram systems in Birmingham and Edinburgh were announced last month, with Manchester and Nottingham also due to add new lines and the Midlands Metro also set to expand to Dudley.