Monday, 27 June 2011

416 on the 1

416 at Fleetwood Freeport (Tony Caddick)
 The sight of an orange and yellow liveried ECW bodied Leyland Olympian on route 1 was far from rare 12 months ago, but since the change to mainly single deck operation appearances are now few and far between. Today 416 was reported on the 1215 from Starr Gate to Freeport at Cleveleys and was still in use at 2200 with just the 2300 Fleetwood to Depot working left. The seven ex Blackburn Olympians were rarely used on the 1 with the Trent and West Yorkshire examples preferred. 413 and 414 provided the two bus workings on route 20.

Something from the Weekend

Newly repainted Olympian 368 belies its 23 years with a duty on route 14 (Fleetwood to Mereside) as it turns onto the Promenade from Church Street. The last Line 11 livery Trident 322 is following on Line 7 which was Trident operated for the day
Saturday was Lytham Club Day which, as usual, saw the main roads into Lytham and its town centre closed. As Blackpool Transport no longer run buses to the East of Lytham; their two routes terminated in Ansdell  from 830 to 1330. Stagecoach and Coastal services followed diversion routes via South Park, Park View Road and Mythop Road and at least still served parts of Lytham. Route 11 terminated at Ansdell Commonside and then turned via Blackpool Road and Albany Road to resume service at Lytham St. Annes High School while route 7 terminated at the Fairhaven Hotel. As has become tradition, the 7 was turned over to double deckers for the day with several Tridents noted.

322 later heads into Lytham after the Club Day closure had been lifted.
Double Deck operation continues on the Promenade service - now whole again as route 1. Unfortunately the new roller blinds fitted a year ago do not include Starr Gate as the 1 terminated at the Airport then. Efforts were made to maximize the number of LED display fitted Tridents but with only eight such buses and eight workings roller blind buses deputised. This was not an issue for much of Sunday as route 1 was truncated to turn at Pleasure Beach during Totally Transport.

New as RM910, this was one of several Routemasters purchased by Scottish Bus Group firm Kelvin Scottish for use on competitive services in Glasgow. It was purchased recently by Martin Gurr and Gary Conn and was restored back to Kelvin livery by The Busworks, Blackpool. 1929 came down for a visit earlier this month and put in a one off appearance on the 12 complete with specially made Kelvin style blinds
 Totally Transport itself saw a display of about 350 Classic Vehicles along New South Promenade with Blackpool Buses PD3 501, Atlanteans 353 and 364 and Fylde Atlantean 45 amongst the display. Blackpool PD3 529; Lytham PD1 19; visiting Kelvin Scottish RM 1929 and Bristol VR open topper WTG360T provided the extended Seafront 12 service with Routemaster RM1568 replacing 1929 for its last round trip.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Round Up

Solos 287 and 291 are currently in the paint shop to receive the new livery in place of Line 2 and Line 16 livery respectively. Sister bus 286 has just been outshopped. Repainted 368 is back in use, noted on route 9 on Wednesday. Today Volvo 532 was towed in with rear end accident damage, while sister 525 has been away for engine work.

Meanwhile former Blackpool PD3 518 has seen use with Chepstow Classic Buses at the Glastonbury Festival for the second year in a row.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

On the Prom again

The new bus stop style which differs from those introduce in the Town Centre last year is in council purple with contrasting Blackpool black and yellow route stickers

Blackpool Promenade reopened on Monday lunchtime from Central Pier to Gynn Square (but northbound only from North Pier to Pleasant Street for now.

The ambiance is completely different from the previous dual carriageway, though the lane width, minimalistic markings  and shared space concept has caused a fair degree of controversy.
308 swings from Church Street onto the Promenade
Routes 1 and 1A have merged back into route 1 and the 5, 7, 10, 11, 14 and 17 have also returned to the Prom. Diversions for tram work in Cleveleys; and the weak bridge on Lytham Road remain. Route 14 continues to terminate at Fleetwood Ferry - the Freeport section now permanently switched to route 1 - with the 14 using its traditional Kent Street route out of Fleetwood.
Trident 337 loads at the number 1 bus stop at West Street. A further stop for this service is just beyond North Pier, replacing the badly sited stop at the Cenotaph which caused delays to the tramway

Solo 295 on Line 5 approaches the turn into Adelaide Street in front of the Tower

The stop in front of Blackpool Tower has been replaced by one outside Sands Venue just south of Adelaide Street. Volvo 522 is on the 1 to Starr Gate - note how the bus emblem on the stop is hollow!
Trident 333 is on the 14 and heads north along the new roadway with the recently refurbished tramway in the foreground

Monday, 20 June 2011

A 223 day life story

Tridents saw use on the 1 and 1A at weekends. On the final Saturday 324 heads to Pleasure Beach as 342 loads for Fleetwood on route 1
Sunday saw the end of route 1A. Although the planned reopening of the Promenade was delayed until early afternoon today route 1 was restored to its Fleetwood to Starr Gate route with morning buses following the diversion route.
Excels were commonly used on the 1A - here 217 heads down Reads Avenue on the revised southbound diversion that increased route length by over 50%
Due to the effective closure of the Promenade to buses as a through route in November it was decided to split the 1 into north and south sections. The southern section ran from Corporation Street to Pleasure Beach turning via Clifton Drive and Burlington Road West. This controversially left the section to Starr Gate unserved. Two buses were allocated for a half hourly service with 22 minutes running time allowed. Northbound buses initially used the Promenade with an average speed of 6mph for the 2.2mile route leading to some slow journeys. Southbound buses were diverted via Grosvenor Street, Adelaide St, Bethesda Square and Chapel Street - a 3.4 mile route at just over 9mph.

Finally back on the Promenade 216 heads south at Foxhall.
February saw the full closure of the Promenade and northbound buses now diverted via Chapel St and Albert Road to the Town Centre; southbound buses now served Park Road rather than Adelaide St between Grosvenor Street and Reads Avenue.

Manchester Square was the intermediate timing point and 218 waits in a characteristically bleak winter scene - albeit this one was taken in May!
Single deckers were typically allocated - Excels seemed the more common but Volvo B7s regularly appeared. Buses with LED blinds often showed "Burlington Road West" rather than the more familiar "Pleasure Beach" on the roller blinds.
Busy spring weekends saw Tridents emerge such as 315 on Sunday 19th - the last day
Route 1A had previously appeared as a variation to route 1. In the 1990s it variously denoted buses terminating at St. Annes Square instead of St. Annes Pleasure Island; evening buses to Pontins or Pleasure Beach and general short workings. This version ran for 223 days - every one except Christmas day - showing the length of 'winter' disruption. Presumably it will not appear again though the long term future of route 1 must be in doubt in view of the modernisation of the tramway.
215 turns into Burlington Road West as part of the terminus manoeuvre.
The revised timetable for route 1 provides for an eight bus operation on the daytime 20 minute frequency; reducing to four for the half hourly evening service. Daytime buses run to Freeport.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Last 11s and a Correction

Olympian 379 heads up Talbot Road on the penultimate full day of Town Centre diversions - 18 June.
Just two buses remain active in Line 11 livery - Trident 322 and Olympian 379 and both saw service on their former route on Saturday 18th June.
The 11 remains on long term diversion via Bond Street between Station Road and Watson Road. Here 322 approaches Withnell Road junction
Meanwhile Optare Solo 250 has emerged from the paint shop as the second former Line 5 Solo to receive the new fleet livery.

Also on service 11 on Saturday was Line 7 liveried Excel 225 - one of five purchased from Reading. Here it is seen through the panoramic front upper deck windscreen of 379
 Correspondents have recently confirmed the continued existence of Atlantean 330 at Liddels of Cumnock. (Flickr photo). This was one of six purchased in 2002 (325-327, 329, 330 and 332) and only briefly ran in its new home before being withdrawn in 2003. Amazingly it remains in store eight years later, long after its sisters have departed. Atlantean Afterlife has duly been updated.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Service Changes, 417 on the 20 and Metrorider disposals

Further details of the changes from Monday have been obtained. Route 1 will be extended to Starr Gate and the 1A will be withdrawn. As the Promenade will not be open between Cocker Street and North Pier southbound; the 1 will be diverted at Pleasant St via Dickson Road, Springfield Road and Talbot Road. The evening service on route 9 has reduced running times of 29 minutes each way (as Sunday evenings) will be operated with two buses until c2100 then one after.

Diversions will continue to be in force in Cleveleys affecting:
  • route 1 which uses Princes Way and Rough Lea Road between Little Bispham and Cleveleys northbound
  • route 7 which uses Promenade and Princes Way between Anchorsholme and Cleveleys Bus Station northbound
  • route 9 which runs via Crescent East, Ancorsholme Lane and Crescent West to avoid crossing Victoria Square towards Cleveleys Bus Station
  • route 16 which runs via the same route as the 9 but also via York Road crossing to terminate at Victoria Square
Meanwhile in Fleetwood, tram works have virtually finished but one impact has been the seemingly permanent diversion of route 14 to run from Fleetwood Queens Terrace via Kent Street to North Albert St - this was its traditional routing until the late 1990s and buses no longer serve the tram tracks at Pharos Street.

Also today Olympian 417 was noted on route 20:
417 makes a rare appearance on route 20 at the Corporation Street terminus - this service will reduce to a two bus operation with a 45 minute frequency on Monday

Meanwhile yesterday two former Blackpool Metroriders went for scrap at Inglemere Metals from The Busworks. 507 had been used as a site office during 2010; while 513 had been used as a store and also donated its engine to another project. Sister bus 503 is shortly to go for scrap having also been used as an engine donor. This will leave the survivors as:
502 - Classic Bus North West - awaiting repaint
505 - Island Rover, Isle of Scilly
509 - Preserved
510 - Preserved
512 - Blackpool Transport engineering vehicle
589 - Preserved
590 - LTT, Preserved

Solos at Centrebus and Holmeswood

Former Blackpool Solo 264 is now with Centrebus in Huddersfield in full livery but without names and legal lettering. Presumably sisters 261 and 262 are for the same fleet as they left Blackpool together. See the flickr page below for a photo of 264

Flickr link Busesinwestyorkshire

Meanwhile also on flickr is this shot of former 265, still in Line 4 colours at work in Blackburn with Homeswood
Flickr Link davidsnwtransport

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Buses Test the Promenade

Delta 970 (ex 130) leads Volvo 532 on the newly complete Promenade Roadway
Today training Delta 970 and Volvo B7 532 tested the remodelled Promenade prior to the reintroduction of bus services on Monday. Buses will largely return to their former routes with the 10 and 11 along the Promenade to Manchester Square and the 5, 7, 14 and 17 running via New Bonny Street into town and back via Bank Hey Street and Albert Road. There appears to be doubt that New Bonny Street will reopen in time so the northbound 5, 7, 14 and 17 may stay on their diverted routes.

970 breaks the cordon as it is let through the site access gates on Church Street
New bus stop arrangements will see the 5, 7, 14 and 17 stop on New Bonny Street by the Coach Station instead of the stop opposite the Tower which will be restricted to the 1, 10, 11 and 68. A new stop opposite West Street for service 1 replaces the stop near to the Cenotaph. In the other direction the 1, 10, 11 and 68 will stop outside Sands night club, the 5, 7, 14 and 17 will use the stops on Bank Hey Street. Route 1 is presumably reinstated to its through route to New South Promenade, but this is not explicitly stated.

Adelaide Street/Bank Hey Street has been a temporary two way taxi rank since February and this caused the buses some difficulty in making their way through
Other changes from Monday include the re-routed 10 and revised evening timetable on the 9 as previously mentioned. To add to this route 20 is reduced to every 45 minutes as presumably the 3 bus half hourly service has not proven remunerative enough. The 2 and 20 also have revised stopping arrangements on Corporation Street.

Fleet news sees the second Olympian in the new livery, 368, outshopped with Trident 323 replacing it in the paint shop, leaving just 322 in the new livery. Delta 132 has been selected for canniablisation for spares. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Changes to the 9 and 10

Blackpool Transport has announced an unspecified change to the evening service on route 9 from Monday 20th June. On the same day route 10 is re-routed to run via Promenade and Lytham Road to Royal Oak, then via Waterloo Road and St. Annes Road and as the established route to Midgeland Road. This reflects the reopening of the Promenade from North Pier to Central Pier, but the continued closure of Lytham Road Bridge.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Anatomy of an Olympian

416 heads to Marton Mere Camp on route 20 on Saturday 11 June
The six new to Lothian Buses Leyland Olympians acquired from Blackburn Transport in 2007 have rarely seen local service work. This has changed recently with 413, 414 and 416 forming a pool for use on route 20 - though newer Olympians are still preferred with the occasional Trident (331 last Sunday).

Sister bus 413 at Corporation Street terminus
On several weekdays all three have appeared - and 417 was reported once too - but today they appeared on the Saturday service for the first time. Two trips on 413 and 416 enabled the following photos to be taken. These - and the open top Sightseeing buses - are the only dual door double deckers used by Blackpool but both drivers only used the front door. They retain many Lothian and some Blackburn features.

413 retains its traditional shaded Blackpool Transport fleet number 32 above the bus stopping sign. As well as two air vents, the ECW logo is original and contrasts with the more recent camera and safety notice

LRT Lothian advises you not to get off between stops. Alas here you couldn't get off at a stop as the exit doors remained shut and we all filed through the entrance door! (413)

Another traditional Lothian notice behind the centre exit doors (413)
The centre exit and staircase means only bench seats can be fitted in the front half of the bus (416)

The Exit sign draws passengers to the disused centre exit (416)

Upstairs on 413 - the spartan Lothian style of the era with no frills vinyl seats is apparent.

The cab view of 416 as 413 heads past. The timecard is for 'route 201'

Friday, 10 June 2011

Olympians for Scrap and Solos in Preston

Cannibalised ex Trent Olympian 404 was collected by Partons of Carlton nr Barnsley for scrap on Monday 6th June, with new to West Yorkshire 367 following on Thursday. Partons also collected the last Metrorider 518 on Tuesday.
Holmeswood Coaches' former Blackpool Solo 266 leaves Preston for Croston on service 112

Meanwhile the recently disposed of Solos have surfaced with 266 noted in service on Holmeswood Coaches service 112 between Preston and Croston today. 266 has been fully repainted into Holmeswood metallic green livery while sister 265 has also been reported in use still in Blackpool Line 4 colours.

Holmeswood has depots at Rufford and Leyland. In addition to the 112, they operate:
  • C2/C5/C15 Clitheroe Town Services
  • C25 Clitheroe to Blackburn
  • 3 Longridge to Blackburn
  • 5 Longridge to Clitheroe
  • 13 Mellor Brook to Blackburn
  • 75/76 Ormskirk Town Services
  • 217 Preston-Mellor Brook

Thursday, 9 June 2011

End in Sight for Town Centre Diversions

New liveried Olympian 369 waits at the traffic signals to turn into Hornby Road from Park Road on route 20. This junction has seen many additional bus movements over the last few months
The Promenade is expected to reopen within the next ten days which will presumably see the end of the town centre diversions. These views show some of the affected routes in their last weeks before normality may return.
Excel 215 on the 1A passes 219 on route 7. 215 is on diversion and will turn right into Bethesda Square

Olympian 370 in the old black and yellow livery crosses Church Street.

Grosvenor Street: The 11 unfortunately passes this point twice in a journey to Lytham. Buses from Grange Park turn right onto Church Street to reach Topping Street and once they have served Market Street return here and head behind the photographer onto Park Road

Sister Trident 323 on route 14 heads onto Park Street from Grosvenor Street

Bethesda Square is used by the 1A, 11 and 68 to reach Church Street and the Promenade.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

A Veteran Returns

19 heads across Clifton Drive into St. Annes Square on its first Seafront 12 Duty of 2011

LTT's 1946 built Lytham St. Annes Leyland Titan PD1 19 returned to use on Saturday 4 June after an overhaul which included a new clutch and a brake overhaul. Saturday saw 19 perform on a local wedding hire in Lytham St. Annes and this was followed by a duty on Classic Bus North West's 'Seafront 12' the following day. 
Generations of Blue and White - Lytham 19 contrasts with Coastal Coaches Solo "Miss Hannah", perhaps the spiritual successor to the Lytham St. Annes fleet

Seafront 12 links Lytham and St. Annes via Fairhaven Lake and St. Annes Promenade and operates every 20 minutes (1200-1620) every Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday until the end of September. Classic Bus North West MCW Metrobus A945SUL worked alongside 19 today. More details here.
Two buses bought new for service 11, albeit 58 years apart. Trident 322 of 2004 retains Line 11 livery in contrast to the blue and white of 19

Almost the driver's eye view as 19 leaves Fairhaven Lake for St. Annes

Rear Loader: Passengers board 19 at Lytham Square 

Half Cab Portrait

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

More Solos Depart

The three remaining stored Solos 261, 262 and 264 were collected yesterday (31 May) by their new owners. This leaves 51 Solos (240-260, 267-9, 271-297) for 43 workings on routes 2/2C, 3, 4, 5, 15, 16 and 17.

Withdrawn step entrance buses still in store are:
Deltas 102, 119, 122, 125, 126, 132 (6)
Olympians 365-367, 403/4/9 (6)
MetroRider 518 (1)