Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Monorail, Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Rumours that the Monorail has run its last trip around the Pleasure Beach are reaching my ears.

The Monorail opened in 1966 and was 11 years old when this photograph was taken in 1977. Having seen film and TV images of the sleek, fast monorails at Disney parks in America the appearance of this train - which appeared to have been designed using Lego bricks and which crawled round the track - was an initial let-down.

There were a couple of trains and the rather strange design was made even more striking when they were joined later by a sleek futuristic tube of a train which was what everyone had been expecting in the first place.

The one disadvantage of the more modern monorail train was that it was enclosed. Whilst this certainly kept visitors dry on wet days, with the doors shut the atmosphere soon got rather stuffy inside. The doors were highly sprung to keep them closed and keeping the door open with your foot to allow a bit of fresh air in soon meant an aching foot...

Blackpool almost caught "monorail fever". There was a scheme reported in the local paper to replace the trams with a monorail service along the Promenade. Thankfully the trams remain!

The ride was a staple favourite though with older visitors and young mothers as there were no height restrictions so young children could ride. A highlight came when the train entered the old Fun House at the back and ran the full width of the building before leaving to pass over the maze and on into the southern half of the park.

Change on a park of this kind is inevitable if the park is to survive. The Monorail will join other rides remembered with rosy tints - the Virginia Reel and the Log Flume.

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