Friday, 30 March 2012

Round the Circle at Mereside

Solo 272 leaves the turning circle on the long 16 to Cleveleys
Today has seen the turning circle at Mereside in use as a temporary terminus due to congestion at Tesco due to the current rush to buy petrol. Used as the main Mereside terminus from the 1970s until Tesco opened and since used sporadically, it was not used to load passengers, so today's change presented a rare opportunity. Ironically by 1730 when these photos were taken Tesco had run out of fuel and the congestion was non existent, but passengers will still required to use the temporary terminus! 

In other news the seventh Manx Trident, 349, has emerged with Bus and Coach World in full livery but awaits delivery.

Trident 314 has arrived on the 14 with 344 behind

Trident 344 poses alongside the temporary stop

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

First DAF imported

The first of ten 2001 built DAF DB250LF with East Lancs bodies from Bus Vannin has arrived in Lancashire and was reported on the M6 on Monday morning presumably heading for Bus and Coach World. It is Bus Vannin 97 FMN835J.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

344 hits the road

Trident 344 entered service on route 14 today, seen here heading through Mereside. This follows 343, 345 and 346 leaving just 347 and 348 of the first six delivered awaiting their debut

Friday, 23 March 2012

Blackpool - a Better Bus Area

This morning the Department for Transport has announced the Blackpool Council is one of the successful bidders for the Better Bus Area Fund for the "Bus Led Regeneration of Blackpool Town Centre". Funding of £1.073mn has been awarded by the DfT out of the total £1.5mn project cost

The bid has comprised:
  • Installation of automatic number plate recognition technology give buses priority on five bus routes over 16 town centre junctions with a target to increase reliability by 20% on routes 7, 9, 11 and 14 and allow a frequency increase of one service per hour.
  • A 335m contra flow bus lane would be introduced south bound on Central Drive to save 3 minutes running time to avoid the congested one way system via Albert Road, Coronation St and Reads Avenue
  • upgrading six bus shelters to act as a Town Centre bus hub (Market St, Corporation St, Abingdon St and Clifton St) and a further four to provide improved information
  • Fund a 21 hr/week marketing staff post.

Also announced today is the third round of the "Green Bus Fund" where the differential cost of Hybrid (and other new technology) buses are partially funded by the DfT. Blackpool does not feature in the awards and it is not known if it bid. The picture shows the contrast between the investment in the two local transport modes on the Fylde. Left is 11 year old Dennis Trident 346, newly acquired from Bus Vannin and in its first month of service - the 1987/8 "E" prefix does it little favour though! Right is the publicly funded Bombardier Flexity 2 tram 006 on which little expense has been spared.

Meanwhile Trident 348 has arrived as the sixth former Manx Trident. Trident 313 is now in the paint shop, but is expected to emerge as the first of a small number of all-over advert buses replacing advertising capacity lost on the tram fleet.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Stagecoach Changes

Stagecoach will be changing a number of services from 25 March, affecting some of its Fylde Coast routes. The 61 (Blackpool - Wrea Green - Kirkham - Preston) is converted to full low floor operation, this having generally used step entrance buses but recent influxes of Tridents released from the Lake District will allow this change. Buses will now terminate at Corporation Street rather than Cookson St.

Also the 68 (Blackpool - Lytham - Freckleton - Preston) will no longer serve the Chapel Street, Central Drive and Albert Road route it has used since the 2010/1 town centre closures. It will now run via Lytham Road, Promenade, Talbot Square to Market St. However on return it will use the former Zoo service stop on Adelaide Street and then resume the 'diversion' route via Coronation St, Bethesda Square and Chapel Street.

Regrettably the timetable changes for the 68 and Blackpool's recent changes on the 7 and 11 mean that all three buses now depart St. Annes Square for Blackpool within two minutes and the 68 and 11 are closely timed in both directions.

The 84 (Blackpool - Poulton - Thornton - Cleveleys - Fleetwood) will be withdrawn between Blackpool and Poulton except for the subsidised evening and Sunday services.

Friday, 16 March 2012

The Trent Olympians

409 puts in an appearance on route 6 in place of the usual Deltas in March 2001

Trent Motor Company was a National Bus Company subsidiary operating mainly in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Its fleet was mostly comprised of standard NBC spec vehicles and amongst the last purchased before privatisation were ECW bodied Leyland Olympians. It took delivery of its first batch 700-706 (XAU700-5Y and XCH706Y) in Spring 1983; followed by 707-711 (XCH706Y, A707-11DAU) a year later. Three further batches of four took the total fleet to 24 by the end of 1985.

After deregulation, Trent was bought out by its management and took over Barton Buses and began to reinvent itself as a high quality operator with distinctive branding and retired many of its double deckers early to standardise on modern single deckers. Of the 24 Olympians, ten were sold to Blackpool Transport in winter 1996/7. The Olympians were allocated across the Trent operating area and Blackpool's ten are understood to have  started at Derby (701/2), Nottingham (703-6), Alfreton (707/8) and Langley Mill (709/10). New in NBC red, they finished in red with cream skirt and roof level band in a layout similar to Blackpool's 1994 livery style.

April 2004 and 402 enters Lytham Square on Line 11, still in original livery
Blackpool purchased the buses to replace several elderly Atlanteans inherited with Fylde, and it was initially understood that the buses would go straight to Squires Gate Depot but in the end they went into use from Rigby Road cascading Atlanteans 336-341/3-5, 363 to Squires Gate which allowed Atlanteans 449, 451, 456-9, 486/8, 490/1/3 to be withdrawn.
Delivery was protracted with over ten weeks between the first and last. 407 and 410 introduced the breed to Blackpool - becoming its first ECW bodied buses and its first low height ones too. Delivery continued in pairs with 403/8 on 29 November; 401/6 on 11 December; 404/9 on 19 December and finally 402 and 405 on 20 January 1997. All were repainted in house into the standard green and cream livery, except for 405 which received a dark green side and rear advert for the Zone Card ticket.

Spring 1997 and 410 stands at Lytham Station on the Rail Replacement service to Kirkham
February saw the batch make their debut with 407/10 first on 3rd; 401/3/8 on 5th. Two weeks elapsed before 409 debuted on 19th and then 406 followed on 22nd. The last three all required more extensive work than the others and 402 and 404 debuted in March (13th and 20th resp) with 405 not appearing until 7th April. The Olympians operated alongside Atlanteans and other Olympians on double decker workings such as the 12 and 22/22A, generally not on crew workings though as conductors were less than impressed about the reduced headroom. They also seemed to regularly appear on a short lived contract to the Co-op Hypermarket at Marton (now Asda) and also ran on a month long rail replacement service covering the complete renewal of the South Fylde line between 24 February and 23 March 1997, providing a Blackpool North to Kirkham service via Blackpool South, St. Annes and Lytham with some peak trips running to Preston.

After three years the Olympians were treated to a repaint into the same livery between December 1999 and July 2000 (though 410 wasn't done until October). 405 lost its all-over advert so all ten were uniformly treated. Several received full rear end adverts:
  • Rotary Watches (401-4 - 9/97)
  • Magic Am (402/3/10 - 3/99)
  • Twix (402 5/01)
  • Mars (403 5/01)
  • Vauxhall Aglia (403/4 2/03)

May 2003 and 406 shows the attractive Line 11 colours applied only to 401 and 406
The Metro era saw 401-410 allocated to Line 11 (Cleveleys to Lytham) and all ten received small Line 11 stickers in June 2011. Repaints commenced in January 2002 with 401 and 406 taken into the works but there was some uncertainty about the process. New Dennis Tridents had been ordered for Line 14 and these were to cascade Volvo Olympians to the 11, so it was decided to paint 401/6 in pool livery - then grey, mustard and yellow. Seemingly this did not impress and the completed 401 was quickly sent back to the paint shop for the grey/mustard to be over painted in turquoise for Line 11 and 406 was modified before completion and both returned to use in mid February. However the other eight continued in green and cream until December 2002 when 410 was out shopped in orange and yellow. More Line 14 Tridents meant that the 11 could cope without the Trents and they were downgraded to schools and seasonal work. 410 was lettered for 'Schools + Line 1' in April 2003 and 407-409 were similarly repainted between April and June 2003. 
January 2004 saw 406 have its Line 11 colour replaced with orange in a partial repaint while in February 401 was partly painted into a new Lilac and yellow scheme for route 20. 402 and 403 received full line 20 repaints in June and July 2004, with 405 receiving Line 1 livery in August with 404 completing the set in September 2004 with three for the 20 and seven for the 1. This balanced swayed in March 2006 when 404 moved onto the 20 with the orange over painted lilac. The 20 branding was discontinued after that season and 401-404 were all treated to orange/yellow repaints between January and March 2007, 406-410 had all received another Line 1 repaint from April 2006 to January 2007 but 405 was never treated.

August 2004 and 402 has been repainted into Line 20 Lilac and Yellow and has received a home made grill following damage to its standard one - 403 was similarly treated.  
The Trent Olympians formed the backbone of Line 1 each summer until the route became a permanent year round route from November 2007 with Tridents taking over the bulk of booked working, backed up by Olympians. Since the end of the Metro network in July 2010 demarcation by lines ceased but by this time the 1 was almost entirely Trident operated; though Olympians provided high summer duplicates and continued to do so during 2011. The Trent Olympians finally lost their route branding in Summer 2011 and made quite frequent appearances on route 20 (Blackpool to Marton Mere). They also stood in for more modern vehicles on other routes periodically - often on route 14, but memorably including 408 on route 10 on 21 July 2011 and 405 on route 17 on 17 January 2011. 

The Olympian era on Line 1 as Roe bodied 366 and Trent 410 sandwich 409 at Manchester Square in September 2005
28 October 2010 saw the withdrawal of buses 401 and 403 and these were joined in store by 404 and 409, officially withdrawn in February 2011 but both had been laid up with faults. Surprisingly 403 was reactivated at the start of the new school year returning to use on 9 September 2011. On the debit side, 406 suffered accident damage and was duly withdrawn - its last day was 23 November 2011. 404 and 409 have both been scrapped, departing on 6 June 2011 and during October 2011 respectively. Both were broken up by Parton's in Barnsley. 401 has been secured for preservation with the Lancastrian Transport Trust.
Dusk in December 2007 and 409 heads back to depot from School Duties
Summer 2011 saw the first of 11 ex Bus Vannin Tridents arrive from the Isle of Man for refurbishment and it entered service in December 2011, with more following in the spring to replace more Olympians. 406 was sent for scrap on 24 February. Mid March saw 402 and 407 withdrawn, leaving just 403, 405, 408 and 410 in service.

408 heads for St. Annes on School Service 570 on Church Street, Lytham in March 2007

Claremont Park and the Dickson Road Tram Replacements

The destination shows "NORTH SHORE" and the side boards explain the route as Leyland Comet 15 is photographed on the Promenade, probably at its launch when new in 1925

One of the earliest bus services in Blackpool linked the Town Centre with Claremont. At the start of 1924 Blackpool's fleet of seven buses ran on just two routes:
  • Cleveleys to Thornton Station via Victoria Road from July 1921
  • Adelaide Place to Devonshire Road via Church Street and Caunce Street from December 1922
By contrast the Corporation tramways were almost at their maximum extent following the purchase of the Fleetwood Tramroad in 1920. Investment in relaying the Tramroad's route into Blackpool along Dickson Road led to what was probably the first tramway replacement bus service in the town. The service started on 3 January 1924 from Talbot Road Railway Station via Warbreck Road (now known as Dickson Road), Pleasant Street, Egerton Street, Carshalton Road and Warley Road to meet the tramway again at Gynn Square. A 15 minute morning service required one bus with a second entering service at noon to make a 10 minute headway. Trams temporarily terminated at Talbot Square as the 30 seat Tilling Stevens would have insufficient capacity to cater for all but the local intermediate traffic.

The track renewal lasted until April but the bus route was made permanent but terminated at Warley Road/Sherbourne Road junction via Pleasant St Egerton Road and Cheltenham Road with a 12 minute service provided. It initially terminated at Talbot Square, but soon moved to Queen's Square by the Library turning via Queen Street, May Bell Avenue (now Abingdon St) and Springfield Road.

June 1926 saw the service incorporated into a new circular route. Starting at Gynn Square buses ran via Dickson Road, Warley Road, Sherbourne Road, Cheltenham Road, Egerton Road, Pleasant St, Dickson Rd, Springfield Rd, May Bell Avenue,  Abingdon St, Church St, Caunce St, Devonshire Road, Warbreck Hill Road to Gynn Square. Buses ran in both direction and their introduction coincided with the allocation of route numbers, anti-clockwise buses out via Dickson Road showed 1 and buses leaving via Warbreck Hill Road showed 2. Short workings ran at peak times from Gynn to St Johns Church and showed route 3. These were soon revised to replicate the pre June route terminating at Claremont School (in a loop via Sherbourne Road, Warley Road, Westminster Road and Claremont Road) and Queen's Square.

December 1926 saw the 1 and 2 diverted along Dickson Road instead of Claremont and route 3 was upgraded back to a full service operating every 10 minutes with a six minute peak frequency - the circular routes were discontinued in 1927. The reintroduction of the saw the present day Claremont route established with northbound buses running from Pleasant Street along Egerton Road, right into Cheltenham Road and left onto Sherbourne Road, right into Warley Road and Westminster Road, returning via Claremont Road, Sherbourne Road to its end and right into Ashburton Road to Pleasant Street.

This service continued in this form, upgraded to double deck operation in 1933 until 1936 when it was extended across town. May 1936 saw buses extended via Abingdon St, Church Street, Park Road and Newhouse Road terminating two-thirds of the way along at Winton Road.  Number 3A was displayed on short workings from Westminster Road to the Winter Gardens turning via Topping Street and Talbot Road. The 3 ran every 10 minutes with the 3A making a 5 minute peak service.

From October 1937 the 3 and 3A were extended along Warley Road onto Links Road, Holly Road and Devonshire Road to Warbreck Hill Road (back via Links Road). This lasted until 1940 when Westminster Road became the terminus once more. The 3A was suspended in 1939 as early wartime economies were made. It restarted in May 1940 and was extended to follow the 3 to Oxford Square then via Vicarage Lane to Cherry Tree Gardens (opposite the current Asda store) replacing route 12. The 3 was extended further along Newhouse Road to its junction with Cherry Tree Road. Frequency was thinned to each every 13 minutes by the end of the war, but was gradually stepped up to a combined 5 minute peak frequency with a 6 minute service at other times.

Pleasant Street at its junction with Dickson Road, for several years to 1959 buses turned left into Lord Street just behind the bus. Brand new National 2 542 is about to turn into Dickson Road on the later route.
 In 1959 it was decided to further penetrate the residential areas of Claremont. Route 3A continued to terminate at Westminster Road, but the 3 would now turn right off Sherbourne Road into Claremont Road and right again into Cromwell Road to terminate, returning via Handsworth Road to Sherbourne Road. Buses also now served Dickson Road in both directions - previously inbound buses on the 3 (and other Dickson Road routes) had run inbound along Lord Street. Marton bounded buses now used Talbot Road not Springfield Road. Summers 1964 to 1966 saw the 3 and 3A replaced by extensions of the 16B and 16 (resp) from their Wordsworth Avenue terminus. 1967 saw both routes adopt a single terminus running via the established route to Westminster Road, then returning via Claremont Road, Cromwell Road and Handsworth Road. The layover point was moved to Cromwell Road in 1973.

In July 1970 the 3 and 3A were linked at Cherry Tree Gardens as circulars. Buses on the 3 continued from Newhouse Road via Cherry Tree Road and then as the former 3A route via Vicarage Lane, Rectory Road, Waterloo Road to Oxford Square and as before. The 3A did the reverse - though did not serve Rectory Road.

Swifts took over the 3 in 1975, here 548 turns into Abingdon Street for Mereside in 1979
 3 March 1975 saw both routes converted to OPO AEC Swift operation and these long buses were accommodated in Claremont by dropping the Cromwell Road/Handsworth Road section. Buses to Claremont now used Talbot Road instead of Springfield Road as outbound buses had since 1959. February 1976 saw the daytime routes extended with the 3 now running from Newhouse Road via Clifton Road, Deepdale Road and Langdale Road to Mereside and the 3A from Welcome Inn via Midgeland Road to its junction with School Road - with school time buses continuing to the Borough Boundary. Evening and Sunday buses continued on the circular route. A combined 15 minute daytime service was provided - well down form the 5 minute service of the 1950s. 5 buses were used, except evenings/Sundays when the shorter routes needed just 4. The daytime extensions replaced service 4 (Town Hall-Mereside) and part of the 6B (Grange Park to Midgeland Road).

1977 saw a reduction in frequency to every 20 minutes, alternately to each terminus but the evening and Sunday services were all operated as service 3 to Mereside on a half hourly headway using three buses.

Tram Replacement Part 2.

The 25A used centre entrance PD2s in its early years. 297 climbs Anchorsholme Hill at Easter 1967
 The Dickson Road tramway closed on 27 October 1963 and for the winter trams would only operate between Fleetwood and Cleveleys (where licensing issues prevented a replacement bus service) with buses running in Blackpool. The following day an eight minute frequency bus service ran from Cleveleys with alternate buses terminating at Central Station as 25A or Starr Gate as 25. There was no direct replacement for the North Station trams as the existing bus services 7/7A, 7C and 15 along Dickson Road were deemed appropriate for local traffic and the belief was most Town Centre bound passengers would be content with Talbot Square as a alternative. Some early morning journeys on the 25 were routed via North Station to meet early trains, but it was not until December that the 25A journeys were routed along Dickson Road to act as a permanent replacement as passengers were not satisfied with the previous arrangements.

Sister 299 heads towards South Station on a Saturday afternoon working on the 25A (despite the number blind). The two PD3 on the 23 to the Hospital to the left of 299 shows where terminating 25As would layover at Central Station, turning off by the Woolworths building where a further Titan can just be seen.
At Easter the Starr Gate to Fleetwood tram service resumed and the 25 ended, leaving the 25A as a 16 minute frequency Cleveleys to Central Station service via Promenade and Dickson Road using three buses, normally the old centre entrance PD2s. By 1965 the service was reduced to every 20 minutes in the summer and 30 in the winter and in October was diverted to serve Beaufort Road and Norbreck Road between Bispham and Little Bispham. In 1967 the half hourly service was operating year round with an hourly Sunday service, but summer Saturdays 10-4 saw a 25 minute service with buses extended to Blackpool South Station via Lytham Road. 
From the oldest to the newest, Swifts took over in 1969. Ten years later 569 heads along Dickson Road during road remodelling for the one way system in place today
Winter Evening and Sunday services ceased around 1968 and on 8 December 1969 the 25A become one of the first two services to be converted to OPO operation with AEC Swifts. The timetable offered a half hourly service and a hourly summer evenings/Sundays service. The Saturday extensions to South Station having proven short lived.

1974 saw the Hounds Hill terminus (the former Central Station site) move to Market Street and again in October 1975 to Talbot Square. 1977 saw the service extend along the Promenade to the Coliseum Coach Station at Manchester Square with a third bus required, though before 10am the service still terminated at Talbot Square.


1980 saw the 3 extended over the 25A to Cleveleys. Lancet 599 contrasts with the earlier shot of 297 on Anchorsholme Hill.

7 January 1980 saw the logical merger of the 3/3A. The latter were extended from Sherbourne Road via Warley Road onto Dickson Road to Gynn Square then over the 25A route along the Promenade to Bispham, Red Bank Road, Beaufort Road, Norcliffe Road, Norbreck Road, Shore Road, Queens Promenade, Fleetwood Road, Bispham Road, Victoria Road West, Princess Road to Cleveleys Bus Station. A half hourly service was provided using four buses. Evening journeys all ran as route 3 from Mereside to Gynn Square, but Sunday buses terminated at Westminster Road. After a few weeks route 3 was diverted from Newhouse Road onto Penrose Avenue due to problems with parked cars - Penrose Avenue had last been regularly served by the 4 in 1976.

The 3/3A turns onto the Promenade at Bispham. 587 heads for Midgeland Road as a 3A
In 1982 Sunday services were later cut back to run from the Bus Station to Mereside (the only time the 3 used the Bus Station) and were reduced to hourly but were co-ordianted with the 16B which also served Park Road and Mereside but also Great Marton.
At deregulation the 3A was withdrawn and the 3 increased to half hourly but from Gynn Square was re-routed via Warbreck Drive and Red Bank Road to terminate at Bispham Library. The evening service (Gynn to Mereside every 30 minutes) and the hourly Bus Station to Mereside Sunday service was taken over by Fylde on contract to LCC.

Competition in 1988 as National 174 approaches Mereside terminus on the 3 as Fylde minibus 119 awaits departure for Blackpool on competing service F1 (later 33)
Blackpool diverted alternate buses as service 3A via Great Marton from April 1988 and Fylde introduced a minibus service in competition via Park Road and Preston New Road from June 1988. This was later diverted via Newhouse Road, expanded and extended and prompted Blackpool to withdraw the 3 and 3A completely in April 1990. Park Road continued to be served by Fylde's 33 minibus, while Blackpool used the 7 and 7A to replace the 3/3A in Claremont. The Cleveleys to Bispham section had been replaced by new route 33 (Cleveleys to Marton) at deregulation, it was later replaced by commercial Fylde minibus service 5A/5B (later 55A/B and 44A/B which forms today's route 4).

Blackpool returned to Park Road on 1 September with a new route 4 using three Deltas to provide a 15 minute frequency from Corporation St via Park Road, Vicarage Lane to terminate at Tesco. In January 1993 it was replaced by routes 3 and 4 using two minibuses on a combined 20 minute service with alternate buses running via Vicarage Lane to Welcome Inn and back via Penrose Avenue or the opposite. This was equally short lived and ended in April 1993.

The combined Blackpool/Fylde network of November 1994 saw the 33 provide a half hourly Mereside to Blackpool (and onto Cleveleys) service along Park Road, with the 2/2A/2B serving Claremont every 7/8 minutes and the 44A/B serving Little Bispham every 15 minutes.

Solo 258 in Line 3 blue on Penrose Avenue. Line 3 colours were applied to 261-266 in 2002. New longer 258-260 replaced 265/6 (and provided an extra bus) in March 2004 and sisters 294-297 replaced 261-4 in 2008
Metro in 2001 saw the 3 return. The new routes, replacing much of the 33 but also parts of the 2/2A/2B started at Mereside and ran via Newhouse Road, Park Road, Town Centre, Claremont, Gynn Square, Warbreck Drive, Bispham, Kincraig Avenue, College, Sevenoakes to Cleveleys. It ran every 20 minutes daytime and 60 in the evenings/Sundays using Optare Solos. Line 4 provided a combined 10 minute service between Bispham and Blackpool (but via Dickson Road not Claremont). Otherwise it ran from Mereside to Cleveleys Park via Great Marton, Stanley Park, Blackpool, Bispham and Little Bispham.
Revisions saw the 3 re-routed via Penrose Avenue instead of Newhouse Road in November 2001 (21 years since its predecessor was changed likewise). From 2003 to 2009 it was extended from Cleveleys to Thornton but otherwise continues unchanged. The 4 was diverted via Claremont but via Carshalton Road and Sherbourne Road from Dickson Road to Pleasant St in January 2003 but in May 2007 adopted the Line 3 route, which was basically that operated since 1928.

Claremont's bus service started thanks to tramway regeneration in 1924 and became Blackpool's third bus route (later legitimised in its number). Although substituted by the 7/7A from 1990 to 1994 and the 2/2A/2B until 2001, it has regained its traditional number once more.

Other Services
Claremont has seen some other comparatively short lived services. Warley Road was served by Tuesdays/Fridays only service 16 run by Fylde from Blackpool to Bispham via Dickson Road, Warley Road, Low Moor and Kincraig Road from April 1987 to 1990.
Fylde ran competing commercial services 8A (Cleveleys to Airport) every hour form June 1987, replaced it with service 8 (Cleveleys to Lytham every 30 minutes) in December. June 1988 saw the 11 take-over but this became a circular to Bispham and back via Devonshire Road with the 11A/B in reverse from November 1988. The following January saw the 11A/B run from Devonshire Road via Claremont Road and as the 11 to the Town Centre (and back via Warley Road). The 11A/B ended in October 1989 but their route was adopted in April 1990 by Blackpool's 7/7A. The 11 continued to serve Claremont until April 1990 when it was diverted via Dickson Road.

Fylde also ran their 55B through Claremont from March to November 1990. October 1989 saw Fylde's contracted 3 replaced by routes 333/444 which followed the same route (including Claremont) from Gynn Square to Oxford Square then via Penrose Avenue or Great Marton to Mereside. This lasted until the Metro era when it was incorporated into Lines 3 and 4.

In 1979 Blackpool operated a short lived service 8 which replaced the remnants of service 6B. It ran from Grange Park (Fulwood Square) to the Tower via Argosy Avenue, Mansfield Road, Claremont Road, Ashburton Road/Egerton Road, Dickson Road, Talbot Road and Promenade. It ran off peak 1100-1500 every hour. It followed the route of a very short lived experimental minibus route of 1977 (which started at Castle Gardens and ended at Manchester Square). Another 8 returned in November 2001 starting unusually at Egerton Square (Pleasant St/Egerton Road) and via Warley Rd/Claremont Road, Plymouth Road, St.Walburgas Road, Victoria Hospital, East Park Drive, Preston New Road, Mereside Tesco, Mereside Estate, Welcome Inn, Highfield Road, Acre Gate and Lytham Road to Manchester Square every hour Monday to Saturdays with 2 minibuses (evening/Sunday buses running Tesco to Manchester Square only. It lasted until April 2002.

March Scenes

Former Bus Vannin Trident 346 (E13BTS) seen on service 1 at North Pier on 15 March, the same day that sister 347 ex Bus Vannin 52 arrived from Bus and Coach World, Blackburn.

Volvo Olympian 378 was used on Baths Contracts yesterday with sister 379. 378 is seen here at Stanley School awaiting another class of children

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Olympian withdrawals

Three more Olympians have now been withdrawn with ex Trents 402 (XAU702Y) and 407 (A707DAU) and ex Blackburn 414 (A704YFS) laid up. This leaves just 403, 405, 408 and 410 of the Trents in service along with 365, 411-413, 415-417. Meanwhile Excel 223 has returned from its engine replacement.

402 - one of two with home made grills on the Promenade in April 2007

407 leaves Talbot Square on a Line 1 short working in July 2006

414 leaving St Bedes when still in Blackburn colours back in September 2007

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Going to the Golf?

With unusually long advance notice, Blackpool Transport has advertised two special bus services to the Open Golf Championship at Royal Lytham St. Annes between 15 and 22 July. 

One, with a flat fare of £5.00 will run from North Station via Market Street, St. Annes Road, Clifton Drive and St. Annes Square to the Golf Course every 30 minutes using up to three buses. The other will act as a feeder for the tram and service 1 buses from Starr Gate to the Golf Course up to every 10 minutes using seven buses.

It is assumed the usual Park and Ride services will be operated, but who will provides these is not yet known.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Familar scenes at Saltcotes Road

Route 7 is now linked to route 11 at Saltcotes and also now serves Mythop Road. Here 374 turns from Mythop Road onto Station Road to head back to Cleveleys
Service changes from Monday saw the 11 extended to Saltcotes Road and operationally linked to the 7. Buses now arrive at Saltcotes via Lytham Hospital as the 11 and then depart via Mythop Road as service 7 and vice versa. This replicates the pattern in place from 1973, when buses were first extended to Saltcotes Road until 1982 when the roundabout at Saltcotes Road/Mythop Road allowed all buses to run via Lytham Hospital with the Mythop Road route dropped.

Excel 224 crests Station Road bridge on the re-routed 7

370 turns onto Mythop Road at Saltcotes Road. Since 1982 terminating buses have used the roundabout behind the bus to turn, save for a period when the 7 ran in a one directional loop via Mythop Road and Hospital

Trident 322 awaits departure for Grange Park on the 11 while 374 sits opposite for Cleveleys on the 7.

Excel 212 turns onto Station Road on route 11 heading to Saltcotes Road...

...and becomes a  service 7 bus passing one of the many Daffodil beds which enhance Lytham so well at this time of year

30 Years ago - March 1982 and Fylde Panther 71 heads for St. Annes on route 11 with a Fylde Atlantean waiting to head out along Mythop Road

Friday, 9 March 2012

Tridents Emerge

Ex Isle of Man Trident 345 turns onto Clifton Drive from Harrow Place on route 1 earlier today
The Manx Tridents have been noted in service. 346 (E13BTS) operated route 1 on both Thursday and Friday this week. 345 (E12BTS) joined it today. 348 has now been outshopped at Blackburn alongside 347. Earlier in the week 'native' Trident 301 returned to use after its new livery repainted.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Olympian 366 Departs

Olympian 366 has departed for scrap today, after withdrawal back in April 2010.

More Manx Trident News

347 is confirmed as the former IOM 52 as seen in this photo at Bus and Coach world, retaining its Manx plate 347.  Sisters 72-74 were also noted under initial preparation: Ex IOM 72, Ex IOM 73; Ex IOM 74. All photos are in Gregg Collins's photostream. 348 is therefore expected to be the former 49.

NoRegIOM NoIOM RegChassis NoBody NoStatus
343H1FBT53EMN53Y2106734305In Service Dec 11
344E11BTS50EMN50Y2105534303In Service Mar 12
345E12BTS48EMN50Y2104534301In Service Mar 12
346E13BTS51EMN51Y2106634304In Service Mar 12
tbctbc71MAN93F3130336802under overhaul
tbctbc75GMN324F3130836805under overhaul
tbctbc74FMN540E3130736804under overhaul
tbctbc72FMN158E3129936801under overhaul
tbctbc73FMN158E3130436803under overhaul