Old tram rails throw roadworks off track in Blackburn

Tram tracks below the surface

Tram tracks below the surface

First published in News Blackburn Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Local government reporter

TRAFFIC chaos on a Blackburn town centre road will continue for days after tram tracks and a service pit were unexpectedly discovered under the highway surface.

Work at the Salford end of Railway Road was due to fin-ish by the weekend, but then the 70-year-old iron rails and 10ft by 6ft underground chamber were discovered.

They were part of the last tram route in the borough from The Boulevard terminus to the Intack shed, which closed on September 3, 1949, to make way for buses.

The work was the final stage of digging connected with the £30m Cathedral Quarter, which started in November after closing the old bus station and moving stops to a temporary site on the old three-day market. It involved the third set of temporary traffic lights on Railway Road starting by the railway station, moving to opposite the Adelphi pub and Morrisons, then to the Salford end.

The work is to allow the highway to be dug up to divert services such as gas and electricity mains, sewers and water mains off the construction site.

The latest unexpected discovery has led to the digging of a 35 yard-long trench, pushing the temporary traffic lights back beyond the Adelphi side of the pedestrian crossing.

It also required widening the road works to accommodate a mechanical digger.

Tory highways spokesman Alan Cottam said: “They should have seen this coming. There are tram tracks below the road surface all over Blackburn.

“The council should not be saying the road will reopen by the weekend and on Monday be digging a huge trench.”

Borough regeneration boss Maureen Bateson said: “While we were aware tram lines were present, their exact location could not be determined fully until we dug down as there are no historic plans for the area.

“A chamber under the old tramlines, at the junction with Morrisons, has been discovered. We think this would have been a service chamber for trams.

“We apologise for the disruption to the travelling public, and we hope this will be resolved in the next few days.”

Comments (11)

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12:23pm Tue 14 Jan 14

expat pop says...

Or they could have looked at old maps.
Or they could have looked at old maps. expat pop
  • Score: 13

12:35pm Tue 14 Jan 14

kosmic karma says...

I predict that they will have been weighed in by tomorrow!
I predict that they will have been weighed in by tomorrow! kosmic karma
  • Score: 6

12:46pm Tue 14 Jan 14

Jerzei Balowski says...

expat pop wrote:
Or they could have looked at old maps.
Yep. Or even used a metal detector.
[quote][p][bold]expat pop[/bold] wrote: Or they could have looked at old maps.[/p][/quote]Yep. Or even used a metal detector. Jerzei Balowski
  • Score: 7

1:06pm Tue 14 Jan 14

shirtbox2003 says...

this thing is normal practice,the contractor puts more on the bill.clown hall has spent billions on these sort of things over the years.
this thing is normal practice,the contractor puts more on the bill.clown hall has spent billions on these sort of things over the years. shirtbox2003
  • Score: 13

1:43pm Tue 14 Jan 14

speedie_rovers_legend says...

Maureen bateson , this is disgusting this is our heritage and what does she say lets dig it up you are a disgrace to the town and the lost souls who travelled on these trams hang your head in shame, karma.
Maureen bateson , this is disgusting this is our heritage and what does she say lets dig it up you are a disgrace to the town and the lost souls who travelled on these trams hang your head in shame, karma. speedie_rovers_legend
  • Score: 10

2:41pm Tue 14 Jan 14

kerryt481 says...

I remember when they last did the boulevard and you could see the tram lines then under the road, has the council got such of a bad memory!!!!!
I cant believe how they could not notice this.
There was nothing wrong with the 1st boulevard before they replaced it with the stupid one that they are taking away.
I also refuse to call it a bus station all my life its been a boulevard and the town centre has been the precinct not the Mall!!!
Why are we getting rid of our heritage and going all american?
I remember when they last did the boulevard and you could see the tram lines then under the road, has the council got such of a bad memory!!!!! I cant believe how they could not notice this. There was nothing wrong with the 1st boulevard before they replaced it with the stupid one that they are taking away. I also refuse to call it a bus station all my life its been a boulevard and the town centre has been the precinct not the Mall!!! Why are we getting rid of our heritage and going all american? kerryt481
  • Score: 22

5:37pm Tue 14 Jan 14

denidenideni says...

Cant make it up in Blackburn, should write a book about this lot they call a council, it would be the comedy of errors of the year and we are only in january?
Cant make it up in Blackburn, should write a book about this lot they call a council, it would be the comedy of errors of the year and we are only in january? denidenideni
  • Score: 6

5:58pm Tue 14 Jan 14

phil kernot says...

expat pop wrote:
Or they could have looked at old maps.
Drawings ,lol
[quote][p][bold]expat pop[/bold] wrote: Or they could have looked at old maps.[/p][/quote]Drawings ,lol phil kernot
  • Score: 1

6:09pm Tue 14 Jan 14

phil kernot says...

You know why there's major traffic chaos , because thay won't pay lads to work through the night , to get it sorted ,, these lads work in al weathers rain and snow and get no thanks for it
You know why there's major traffic chaos , because thay won't pay lads to work through the night , to get it sorted ,, these lads work in al weathers rain and snow and get no thanks for it phil kernot
  • Score: 1

7:55pm Tue 14 Jan 14

GrindletonBob says...

Give it ten years and the Council will be realising the error of their ways and relaying the tram tracks, as has happened all over Greater Manchester with Metrolink. First though they need to make and learn from the mistakes that other Councils have previously made - separating the rail and bus interchange for example!
Give it ten years and the Council will be realising the error of their ways and relaying the tram tracks, as has happened all over Greater Manchester with Metrolink. First though they need to make and learn from the mistakes that other Councils have previously made - separating the rail and bus interchange for example! GrindletonBob
  • Score: 7

11:25pm Tue 14 Jan 14

s_smith says...

Err, you do realise that none of these works are actually being carried out by, for, or on behalf of the council.

You lot of fools are barking very much up the wrong trees.

The contractors are all working for the statutory utilities who have been commissioned by the Church authorities who are paying for all this.
Err, you do realise that none of these works are actually being carried out by, for, or on behalf of the council. You lot of fools are barking very much up the wrong trees. The contractors are all working for the statutory utilities who have been commissioned by the Church authorities who are paying for all this. s_smith
  • Score: 2

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