Thornton Gate Project
Our long term vision has always been to develop a permanent visitor attraction to showcase our unique collection of buses and tramcars from the Fylde coast. After much discussion, Blackpool Council has offered us a lease on the former Thornton Gate tram sidings once the site is vacated by the contractors engaged in upgrading the tramway at Easter 2012.
Although owned by Blackpool Council, the site is situated to the north of Cleveleys in the adjacent Wyre Borough Council area. What is very important to the success of the project is that the site can be rail connected to the existing tramway, allowing the possibility of vintage trams offering special trips and tours, giving the public a chance to experience travel on the trams of yesteryear.
During 2012, the LTT will be working with Blackpool Council, Blackpool Transport, Wyre Borough Council and other stakeholders to apply for funding to develop the Thornton Gate site into a permanent home for our vehicle collection.
The Thornton Gate site
The site is historic in its own right. It was developed as a response by Blackpool Corporation in 1919 to prevent the construction of a railway link between Thornton and Cleveleys. An agreed solution that satisfied both Fleetwood and Thornton Councils, and the respective railway companies, was for coal traffic to be carried on the tramway to Cleveleys from a connection with the railway line at Fleetwood.
Sidings were constructed on the land adjacent to the tramway at Thornton Gate, although it was not until 1927 when the first coal wagons operated along the tramway. The service was never economic and the last coal train operated along the line in 1949.
In subsequent years the sidings have been used to store and even scrap redundant trams and since 1963 as a "Permanent Way" yard to store new and used tram rail. Latterly the sidings were utilised as a construction compound for the tramway upgrade but from Easter 2012, the site will be surplus to requirements.