Been into Blackpool town centre recently? You can’t have failed to notice that there’s building work going on all around! One of the projects that’s now underway is the transformation of Central Car Park. It’s been waiting for redevelopment since 1965 so it’s long overdue. Take a look back at the History of Blackpool Central Railway Station as was.
History of Blackpool Central Railway Station
What’s now a prime plot of development land was once the site of the former Central Railway Station. Various terminus delivering routes to more destinations saw it grow to become the world’s busiest railway station by 1911.
We’ve sourced these historic images from Pinterest. Unfortunately their credits have gone astray so apologies to anyone who owns the originals. Please get in touch and we’ll add a photo credit for you.
The station opened in 1863 as Hounds Hill (hence the name of our local shopping centre). Then in 1878 it was renamed Blackpool Central – a name the site will take once again in the future. It was once a huge place with 14 platforms, where everyone arrived for holidays and day trips.
The Closure of Blackpool Central Railway Station
It just managed to see it’s centenary before it was to close in 1964. The Beeching Cuts had indicated that Blackpool North and Layton stations should close instead. As far back as 1940 the Corporation had seen that closing Blackpool Central would release a lot of valuable development land. Surveyor James Drake also published a report in 1944 recommending that the station be moved back to Bloomfield Road, thereby releasing 130 acres for development. By overturning Beeching’s recommendation, the Council paid a mere £1 million for a massive site – which they turned into a car park.
Controversially on 1 November 1964, and by order of the Corporation, Stationmaster JW Atkinson finally locked it up that night. This decision effectively tore the heart out of Blackpool and was quite probably the worst decision ever made by Blackpool Council.
Central Engine Sheds had already closed on 30 July 1964. But the last train left Blackpool Central at 9.55pm and the last arrival was at 11.30pm. On that last day alone 55 trains left the highly popular station. Immediately afterwards the platforms were used for car parking and the area from Chapel Street bridge to the platform ends became a coach park.
You can’t say any other than the redevelopment has been some time coming! The direct Marton line finally closed in 1965.
Then all the remaining station buildings finally went, demolished in 1973. At that point the whole site became wasteland with all the associated bridges and embankments and railway paraphernalia.
Welcome to Yeadon Way
Yeadon Way was built in the 1980’s on the bed of the derelict railway lines. Creating easy access from the centre of Blackpool to the M55 and motorway network.
For many years Central Car Park was the site of the Blackpool Illuminations switch on event.
Wikipedia tells us the very outer wall of the car park at Bonny Street Market is the last visible remnant of the 1900 building. Apparently, traces of the platforms can also be seen in the car park. We’ll have to go and investigate!
Do you remember the Victorian public toilets at Central Car Park? Tiled in regulation green and white with mahogany doors and brass fittings. Always immaculately clean and smelling of pine disinfectant, they were staffed by a lady in an overall. In 2009 Danfo cubicles replaced the demolished toilet block and the turnstile entrance added some years later.
Redevelopment of Blackpool Central
Years, then decades passed and plans came and went for this huge area of prime building land. Numerous suggestions were put forward, including the failed Super Casino bid and an indoor ski-slope. But eventually the site became ear marked for regeneration with plans revealed in 2018. Now, in the 2020’s, building work is finally underway.
While you’re here…
Go to the homepage of the Live Blackpool website for the latest updates.
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