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Last Updated: Friday, 10 March 2006, 12:01 GMT
MP's urgent plea for resort trams
Blackpool trams
Trams have been running in Blackpool for 119 years
Government cash should be released urgently to revitalise Blackpool's tram system, one of the resort's MPs said in the Commons on Thursday.

The Labour MP for Blackpool South, Gordon Marsden, said trams are not just for tourists, they are a vital local transport service.

He said they are a part of the resort's history, featuring in George Formby films and even Coronation Street.

No decisions have yet been made on funding the upgrade.

The tramway, and its survival and renewal, is not tourism frippery or an end-of-the-pier show
Gordon Marsden, Blackpool South MP

Plans for a 170m tram upgrade were rejected by Transport Secretary Alistair Darling in July 2004.

But Blackpool and Lancashire County councils have submitted a revised 88m plan, with the government's share standing at 72m.

"For us in Blackpool and on the Fylde coast, the tramway and its survival and renewal is not tourism frippery or an end-of-the-pier show," said Mr Marsden addressing junior transport minister Derek Twigg.

He added it was essential to public transport in Blackpool and on the Fylde coast.

George Formby
The minister was urged to join George Formby in tram history

He said the trams defined Blackpool along with its tower, the Winter Gardens and the Big One funfair ride.

The tramway had been immortalised in George Formby films, the death of Coronation Street villain Alan Bradley and the recent BBC drama series Blackpool.

"I hope that he (Mr Twigg) will not ignore the honourable place that history would afford him - along with George Formby and Coronation Street - as the man who gave new life to a treasured, iconic and very practical public transport system and made it fit for purpose... rather than dooming it to curio status and possible closure," said Mr Marsden.

Mr Twigg said his officials were still assessing the new bid and added that he would take the MP's comments into account.

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21 Jul 04 |  Merseyside
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