Saturday, 30 July 2011

July Round Up

Today has seen the return to use of 379 - the first Volvo Olympian in the new livery. Delta 126 departed for scrap on Wednesday after having its engine removed. It is believed to have gone to Parton's scrapyard in Carlton, Barnsley. Volvo 532 which suffered rear end damage was noted on tow on the M61 on 14 July, presumably heading back to Plaxton for repair.

Diverted Line 1 - 525 on Rough Lea Road heading for Fleetwood

527 heads onto Princes Way at Little Bispham

Excel 210 approaches Little Bispham, seemingly in the wrong direction for its Cleveleys terminus

Excel 226 heads along Princes Way from Cleveleys to Lytham

Oranges and Lemons

414 starts another journey to Blackpool from Marton Mere
This week has seen an array of orange and yellow Olympians on route 20 - with new to Trent, Lothian and London Buses examples observed. Olympian fans have been delighted by rare appearances from both 411 and 412.

Monday: 411 and 413
Tuesday: 413 and 414 (402, 406, 415 noted on route 1 duplicates)
Wednesday: 413 and 414 (later changed to 407)
Thursday: 407 and 413
Friday: 412 and 413
Saturday: 413 (changed to 412 and then changed to 416!) and Trident 323

Manoeuvres at Stanley Park:

413 approaches Stanley Park along Mere Road

It then loads for Marton Mere at the old shelter before turning left where the photographer is standing via Barlow Crescent, back past the stop and around the roundabout to North Park Drive.

Here 413 turns round Barlow Crescent passing Blackpool Cricket Club - buses do this manoeuvre in both directions

Then 414 arrives from Marton Mere and the Zoo via North Park Drive with the old bus shelter for specials to Stanley Park to the right of the bus.
As 414 navigates the roundabout, 413 heads up to North Park Drive on its way to the Zoo
Having repeated 414's manoeuvre via the Cricket Club, 414 turns onto West Park Drive

And loads for Blackpool showing the dual door layout

414 would then turn left onto Mere Road - as demonstrated the previous day by 413

Away from the Crescent and Roundabouts at Stanley Park is 412 which made a brief appearance on Saturday, replacing 413 before 416 took its place. Here it is heads along South Park Drive towards Marton Mere.

End of the route: 414 at Marton Mere terminus
Meanwhile: Open top Olympian 873 approaches the Corporation Street terminus on Monday

And heads along St. Annes Promenade on the other terminal loop of the City Sightseeing Tour

Monday, 25 July 2011

411's day out

411 leaves Marton Mere for Blackpool
411 was the last body built by Eastern Coach Works before its closure by Leyland in January 1987 and is thus a significant vehicle. It was delivered to Plumstead as the last of 260 Olympians for London Buses as L263. It ran for their Selkent division along with three sisters on 'Selkent Express' service 177. Originally D263FUL it became VLT9 in the early 1990s and D367JJD in 1995. Selkent was privatised by sale to Stagecoach. It was sold via Ensign to Blackburn Transport as its 30 in October 2000. Ensign converted it to single door (H42/30F) having been new as DPH42/26F. It lost its coach seats during its London career. 
411 on Woodside Drive on its way to Marton Mere
Olive Green and Ivory website shows its history with Blackburn which included a repaint into their schools livery. After the sale of Blackburn to Transdev in January 2007, 30 was one of seven Olympians to pass with Blackburn's Blackpool outstation to Blackpool Transport. For a period Blackburn applied a fixed vinyl destination to 30 but they later replaced it with a roller blind with dot matrix numbers from a withdrawn Titan.

Blackpool Zoo
It arrived at Rigby Road in August 2007 and initially ran in Blackburn green and yellow spending time at the outstation (Jackson's Burton Road) and Rigby Road. Numbered 411 it received Line 1 orange and yellow in August 2008. It was almost exclusively used on school services losing its dot matrix number blind for a standard three track roller number blind during 2010, losing its restrictive Blackburn blind in the process. Today its duty on service 20 was probably its first full duty on local service work, having previously only been reported on a couple of route 1 dupes and schools work. 411 is not the only London Olympian in the Blackpool fleet as former L173, 218, 257 and 258 are present in open top form and sisters L149, 213 and 244 were also previously used on City Sightseeing work.

411 at Pontins in May 2008 providing a shuttle service to a Schools Football competition in Lytham. It retains Blackburn colours.

413 kept 411 company on route 20. This nearside shot shows the dual door configuration on a surprisingly quite Preston New Road
Meanwhile 377 continued the recent run of unusual buses on route 5

411 on the 20 and the end of Line 16

Olympian 411 (D367JJD) is making a very rare appearance on public service today as one of the two buses on route 20 (413 is the other). 411 - the last ECW bodied bus built and new as London Buses L263 is normally used on school services and other than the odd market day duplicate on route 1 is not yet believed to have worked on an 'all day' service during its time with Blackpool.

Meanwhile Solo 292 has now entered the paint shop, replacing 291 which was back in use yesterday on service 4. This was the last Line 16 liveried bus which means that the 6, 10, 11, 15 and 16 liveries have now been eradicated.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Lost Routes: The 22

Leyland Titans were associated with route 22 from its inception in 1936 to 1988. Here 506 departs from the Lytham Station layover point on 2 July 1983 shortly after the route was extended to Lytham
The 22 was one of two services that replaced the Layton and Central Drive tram routes. It started at Layton Square and ran via Talbot Road, Promenade, Central Drive then left onto Waterloo Road to Marton Tram Depot. Sister route 23 turned right onto Waterloo Road to South Pier. First day was 20 October 1936 and new streamlined centre entrance Titans were allocated. Short workings from Central Station to Waterloo Hotel showed 24 and Talbot Square to Layton ran as 25.

Atlanteans appeared in 1977 - here 305 crosses Watson Road on 11 May 1985. The bridge has been removed for replacement before Yeadon Way opened
The route was progressively extended. In June 1938 it continued via Whitegate Drive back to Layton as a circular with the 22A used for the reverse. In September 1939 the circular was replaced by a revised 22 which carried on at Waterloo Hotel via St. Annes Road to Halfway House. It ran every 8 minutes and this became the southern terminus until 1983.
In 1985 PD3 507 was painted red and white to mark 100 years of Blackpool Trams (Kelso Avenue 13 August 1985)
Extensions then turned to the north end. 3 November 1946 saw the route extended via Grange Road to Victoria Hospital and from July 1949 the new 8ft wide centre entrance PD2s entered service on the 22. The eight minute frequency remained - making a 4 minute headway when combined with the 23.
 The 22 ran via Valeway Avenue between North Drive and Fleetwood Road. 507 approaches the latter on a Lytham working. 
 1956 saw the northern sections of the 22 and 23 swapped, with route 22 running from Layton via Westcliffe Drive and Bispham Road to Bispham Clinic. The 23 now served the Hospital - though throughout its life the 22 still served the Hospital on early Sunday mornings. Northbound buses no longer served the Bus Station picking up at North Station, or later on Topping Street.

An ariel view of PD3 538 on Albert Road on the one way system (26 7 84)
20 October 1959 saw a further extension to Cleveleys replacing routes 9A and 9B. Alternate buses went via Devonshire Road as 22 or All Hallow Road as 22A.

322 at the Northbound Town Centre stop on Topping Street (4 Feb 1986)
Winter 20 October 1959 extended to run Halfway House to Cleveleys via Devonshire Road. Variant 22A via All Hallows Road introduced. The winter service ran every 10 minutes and 10 buses were needed. The summer service remained every 8 minutes with 13 buses. By 1967/8 the summer service was now every 10 mins (12 eves/Suns) while in winter a 12 minute daytime and 20 mins evening/Sunday service operated.

1974 saw the diversion of buses via New Bonny Street instead of Hounds Hill. Here in June 1980 325 turns onto the Promenade
By 1977 a 15 minute daytime service ran with 7 buses, reducing to half hourly (4 buses) evenings and Sundays. PD3s continued to dominate but were joined by Atlanteans. Evening and Sunday workings later used OPO buses, crews continuing on weekday daytimes. 1982 saw the 22A re-routed via Victoria Road West instead of Anchorsholme Lane East. 
The extension to Lytham in 1983 saw PD3s return to use in the town - and introduced them to South Park. 538 turns onto Ballam Road to approach its terminus after a 72 minute run from Cleveleys.
27 June 1983 saw the first extension since 1959. Alternate daytime journeys (out as 22, back as 22A) were extended via St. Annes, Ansdell and South Park to Lytham Square using an extra two buses and replacing the joint Blackpool/Fylde 11 service. Although jointly licensed, Blackpool provided all workings. Monday to Friday morning peak journeys continued to Lytham Saltcotes Road.
507 pulls away from St. Annes with a northbound 22A to Cleveleys on 11 May 1987
Deregulation saw little change, other than some journeys diverting via Lindale Gardens during 1987. Fylde introduced competing services as follows:
  • June - November 1987 St. Annes Square - Lytham Square 30 mins - replaced by route 8
  • July-November 1987 - morning peak Bispham-Blackpool every 6 mins (minibus)
  • January 1988-November 1988 St. Annes Square-Cleveleys 30 mins (Sundays later added)
  • November 1988-April 1989 Halfway House-Cleveleys 15 mins (30 Sundays) minibus operated
  • April 1989-October 1989 St. Annes Square-Cleveleys 30 mins 
Blackpool's response was to increase the 22/22A to every 10 minutes between Cleveleys and Halfway House but still with the half hourly Lytham section. One bus per hour still served Lindale Gardens. 12 buses were required. Evening/Sunday buses were unchanged and still interworked with route 9.
April 5 1988 Daytimes increased to 10 minutes between Cleveleys and Halfway House with a 30 minute extension to Lytham Square, alternate journeys running as 22 or 22A, 12 Crew DD. (1 per hour via Lindale Gardens through to Lytham). Peak journeys to Saltcotes Road discontinued. E/Su unchanged (still interworked with 9). August saw the 22A diverted via Ashfield Road (for College) instead of All Hallows Road. Evening and Sunday buses were no longer linked to the 9 and continued to St. Annes every half hour.

Olympian 378 at Bank Hey Street in June 1998 after the service had been converted to OPO
 April 1989 saw the evening/Sunday buses cut back to Halfway House and they now interworked with route 25. October 1989 saw two journeys per hour from Halfway House extended to Squires Gate Airport while in 1990 single deckers (usually Optare Deltas) took over the Sunday workings. The PD3s were withdrawn in 1988 and Atlanteans continue.

30 March 1992 saw the frequency reduce to every 15 mins (alternately to the Airport or Lytham Square). The major network revision of 14 November 1994 saw the Airport workings extend to St. Annes and the Lytham workings extend to Saltcotes Road. The service was converted to One Person Operation and 10 Optare Deltas were allocated. Evening/Sunday buses ran from Cleveleys to St. Annes. This proved to be optimistic in both capacity and running time terms and within a week the four bus workings on the 22A (the St. Annes workings) were converted to double deck operation. During December an 11th bus was added with 6 Single Deckers and 5 Double Deckers interworking at Cleveleys. At tea time several buses ran off the 22/22A at St. Annes Square onto the 14/A (St. Annes to Fleetwood) replacing crew buses.

Saturday 28 April 2011 - the last day of the 22 in Lytham sees 353 loading for Cleveleys
On 6 February 1995 the six Deltas were replaced by the new Volvo Olympians which had run on route 6 following their introduction in November. January 1996 saw the 22A diverted via Kincraig Avenue in Bispham and the route continued in this format until its final day on 29 April 2011 when it was replaced by parts of Lines 3, 7 and 11 on the Metro network.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

News Round Up

339 looks likely to be the last Line 1 Trident if 338's visit to the paint shop results in a full repaint. Further similar vehicles are reportedly to be due from the Isle of Man which may result in the withdrawal of Line 1 liveried Olympians

The repaints of Solo 291 and Trident 322 have been completed. 379 remains in the paint shop and has been joined by Line 1 liveried 338. This will reduce the orange Tridents to just 339 and the livery may be further at risk from Olympian withdrawals as report from the Isle of Man suggest that its 11 Dennis Tridents have been sold to Blackpool Transport. This has not been confirmed locally yet but it is understood the first withdrawals have been made. The buses are likely to be 48-53 (EMN48-53Y) of 2000 and 71-75 (MAN91F, FMN158/412/540E GMN342F) of 2001. All are 72 seaters with East Lancs bodywork.

Olympians 857 and 873 continue to dominate the new City Sightseeing Tour with 818 also licensed, though 858 is still shown as on SORN on the DVLA website. Excel 221 is in the body shop for refurbishment following its return from Cummins.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Olympians on the 5

Today's unusual output was the appearance of 371 and 374 on route 5 - normally operated by Solos. In unrelated news Centrebus (Huddersfield Bus Company) has placed former Blackpool Solo 262 into service as its 227. 261 is still outstanding.
East Lancs bodied Leyland Olympian 371 heads down Station Road on a Hospital to Halfway House working (Gary Conn)

...and a few hours later in better weather (Gary Conn)

Volvo Olympian 374 stops outside the former Seagull Coaches Garage on Bond Street (Gary Conn)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Olympian on the 10

Today Olympian 408 made a very rare appearance on route 10 - normally the domain of Solos. Here the bus waits time at School Road/Midgeland Road terminus

Familiar location - unfamiliar route. 408 heads along the Promenade, still branded for Line 1 but operating on service 10. 408 was not the only ECW Olympian out as 413 made an equally rare appearance on route 2/2C while 405 and 407 operated on route 20

Monday, 18 July 2011

Buses to Lytham Hall

May 1982: Fylde Leopard 42 outside the Hall at a GRE open day

Lytham Hall is a 18th Century manor house located in large grounds adjacent to South Park. It is now a public park, but access used to be much more restricted. Its main access is from Ballam Road/South Park junction through an arched gate. This used to be the background for official Duple coach photos. The drive from the gate to the hall is around one mile long and single track with passing loops. On several occasions buses have been used to take passengers to the Hall during events. These include family open days during the era when Guardian Royal Exchange owned the site and weddings/events since the Lytham Town Trust took-over in 1997.
May 1982: Fylde Leopard 36 on arrival at Lytham Hall

May 1982: Fylde 36 on the drive

Fylde 42 unloads at Lytham Hall prior to reversing and returning to the GRE Car Park
May 1982: Impostor at the gate - 42 was a Plaxton bodied Leopard and is captured in a pose favoured by Duple for its official photographs

21 July 1984: Preserved buses have replaced the Fylde Coaches including this rare Bullocks of Cheadle Foden. LMA284 remains in the care of the Greater Manchester Museum of Transport

July 1984 - a Premier Bedford OB Coach was also in use - this is believed to be BRN654 new to Premier of Preston.

21 July 1984: CWG206 a 1950 Leyland Tiger from Alexander of Falkirk.

25 July 1991: Fylde was back in charge - this time with open topper. New to Salford 51 DBA227C leaves the Guardian Car Park to enter the hall grounds to the left of the photographer.
25 July 1991: Two ex Hull open toppers 52 (TKH266H) and 53 (WRH294J) at the Guardian Car Park loading stop.
25 July 1991: 52's garish livery at least matches the traffic cone if not the gatehouse.

April 2009 - St George's Day event and LTT's Blackpool PD3 529 is about to leave the Hall with a shuttle to the gatehouse. RML2290 was the other bus.

April 2009: The loading point was just inside the gatehouse, though buses used the former GRE car park (now AEGON) to turn round

Classic Bus North West buses have been used on several wedding trips to the hall. Here RML2734 poses under the arch of the gatehouse