Friday, 28 March 2014

Oakwood Update

Classic Bus Dart 143 on completion of its repaint at a temporary facility in the former Cumfybus depot at Poulton (David Umpleby)

Oakwood Travel has introduce a new livery for its core Catch 22 service featuring orange and green inspired by Cardiff Bus. Dart 143 has been the first bus repainted, followed by 163. Both have been out of use since September. Sister 162 has returned to use after a complete rewire having suffered major problems with reliability since purchase. Fleet disposals have seen Olympian 915 return to its owner and RM1568 sold. Defective Metrorider 502 has been scrapped and VR 360 sold for preservation. Former London United Volvo B7TL VA103 has arrived for evaluation.

Red Rocket resumes at Easter with departures from Blackpool at 0900, 1030, 1500 and 1830 with all but the 1500 serving the Trafford Centre. The four return journeys from Manchester are at 1030, 1500, 1630 and 2000 all via the Trafford Centre. The 1030 from Manchester will extend to Pleasure Beach and the 1830 start there.

Seafront 12 resumes on 18 April with a 20 minute daytime service between Pleasure Beach and Cabin.

Oakwood are undertaking work on several LTT buses with Routemaster 521, Ribble VR 1997, Ribble RE 366, Blackpool Swift 570, Atlantean 334 and City Pacer 575. 

Oakwood Fleet List March 2014
69F69SYEMCW MetrobusMCWPleasure Beach advertChina Motor Bus ML81 11/88
143T143AUADennis DartAlexanderNew Catch 22Armchair, Hounslow 5/99
145T145AUADennis DartAlexanderRedArmchair, Hounslow 5/99
162V162MVXDennis DartPlaxtonRedStagecoach East London 12/99
163V163MVXDennis DartPlaxtonNew Catch 22Stagecoach East London 12/99
269P269PSXVolvo OlympianAlexanderPleasure Beach advertLothian Buses 269
325N325NHGVolvo OlympianAlexanderGazette advertDublin Bus RA272
326F326UJNMCW MetrobusMCWPleasure Beach advertChina Motor Bus ML77 10/88
512X512UATDennis DartPlaxtonRed/GreyLondon United DP512 11/2000
533X533UATDennis DartPlaxtonRed/GreyLondon United DP513 11/2000
601W601CWXVolvo B6BLEWrightHarrogateHarrogate & District 6/2000
611W611CWXVolvo B6BLEWrightHarrogateHarrogate & District 6/2000
652Y652NLODennis DartPlaxtonRedMetroline, London DLD182 6/2001
701XAU701YLeyland OlympianECWPleasure Beach advertTrent 3/83
898R898XVMVolvo B10MAlexanderRedStagecoach Manchester
MAL41BD52LNUMercedes CitaroMercedesRedGo Ahead London
MAL49BD52LNFMercedes CitaroMercedesRedGo Ahead London
MAL53BL52ODKMercedes CitaroMercedesRedGo Ahead London
RML887202UXJAEC RoutemasterPark RoyalRedLondon Transport (Cummins Engine)

Monday, 24 March 2014

More on the Villager Changes

Further changes have now been confirmed for the tendered Fylde Villager network and other routes

  • 75 (Preston Bus) confirmed as replacing 82 to Fleetwood and diverted via Riversway/Chain Caul Way rather than Lea in Preston
  • 76 (Coastal) confirmed as replacing 75 route Poulton to Blackpool. Terminal loop introduced in St. Annes. Buses to St. Annes now run direct via Clifton Drive South, returning via Crescent, St Davids Road South and St Thomas Road back to Clifton Drive (currently buses run via St. Thomas Road, Church Road, St. Albans Road, St Patricks Road South)
  • 80 (Avacoach) - new service to replace withdrawn Archway route from Preston to Great Eccleston (as current route) then to Myrecough College every 2 hours
  • 82 (Stagecoach) - withdrawn
  • 84 (Stagecoach) - retimed on Sunday to connect with 75
  • 86 (Stagecoach) - evening journeys diverted via Thornton/Little Thornton as 86A (reinstating former route)
  • 87 (Elite) - extended to Holts Lane via Hardhorn Road, Beech Drive, Carr Head Lane, Main Drive, Brockholes Crescent, Holts Lane and back via Lower Green - also re-routed direct from Castle Gardens to Poulton via Tithebarn St (not via Carelton Crossing) and in Thornton to run via Victoria Road East, Meadows Avenue, Linden Avenue, Tennyson Avenue and Marsh Road; and in Stanah via Hillylaid Road throughout (not Dianne Road/Oxendale Avenue
Changes take place form 30/31 March, save for service 80 which is introduced on 14 April.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Fylde Village Changes Yet Again

In their latest tender awards, Lancashire County Council have announced revisions to the 75 (Preston Bus) and 76 (Coastal Coaches) from 30 March with a short term contract until the end of October. These replace the short term contracts for the 75 and 82.

Route 75 will be diverted to Fleetwood following the 82 route from Poulton via Little Thornton, Thornton Centre, Broadwater and Queens Hotel. It remains hourly with a 2 hourly evening service Poulton to Fleetwood only.

Route 76 will extend from Little Eccleston to Blackpool via Catlows Corner, Poulton, Blackpool Old Road, Victoria Hospital and Grange Road.

Meanwhile Archway will withdraw their 80 route from 14 April. It is not clear yet whether LCC will procure a replacement.

Preston Bus Expands into Fylde Coast Schools

Rotala owned Preston Bus is set to expand its Fylde Coast presence with the award of six school bus contracts to Hogdson Academy and Baines High School in Poulton, St Aidans School in Preesall and Millfield School in Thornton. Poulton based Archway seems particularly affected with 7 routes lost, 1 retained and 2 new ones won. Blackpool Transport has also lost two routes.
Preston Bus have arranged an operating base at Jacksons Coaches in Marton - once used by Blackburn Transport for similar purposes.

Many of these school services were held by Fylde during the 1990s but passed to independents after Fylde's takeover by Blackpool Transport. Most school contracts are currently in the hands of

  • Archway of Poulton with a fleet of 26 vehicles including 7 Olympians, 2 Dennis Arrows, 2 Volvo B10M single deckers and several coaches including high capacity 70 seaters.
  • Bank View of Freckelton with Olympian and large capacity Metrobus and Dennis Condor double deckers
  • Waltons of Freckleton mainly coaches but with 4 Optare Spectra double deckers
  • Bradshaws of Out Rawclife - coaches
Check in 1st of Westby ceased trading in the autumn with Archway and Bank View taking over their two Myrescough College workings.

School Service changes 22 April 2014
NumberRouteCurrent OperatorNew Operator
525Elswick to Cardinall Allen ArchwayElite Minibus And Coach Services
539Carleton Crossing to Preesall St Aidans ArchwayBradshaws Travel
543Pilling to Preesall St AidansBradshaws TravelBradshaws Travel
546Cleveleys to Hodgson SchoolBlackpool TransportPreston Bus
568Thornton to Millfield Schooln/aPreston Bus
578Kirkham-Treales-Kirkham Carr HillBank ViewArchway
579Stakepool to Cardinal Allen Elite Minibus And Coach ServicesElite Minibus And Coach Services
590Stakepool to Preesall St Aidans Bradshaws TravelWyre Coaches
594Staining to Hodgson HSArchwayPreston Bus
598Clifton to Lytham St BedesBank ViewBank View
607Thistleton to St Marys BlackpoolArchwayArchway
648Fleetwood to Hodgson/BainesArchwayPreston Bus
660Cleveleys to Hodgson SchoolArchwayPreston Bus
675Elswick to Broughton BECBon ChaunceArchway
841Fleetwood to Preesall St AidansArchwayBradshaws Travel
916St Annes Kilgrimol Gardens to St BedesBlackpool TransportBank View
951Fleetwood (Larkholme) to Preesall St AidansArchwayPreston Bus

Hospital Terminus Illustrated

Excel 216 and Solo 286 at the new Hospital Entrance terminus at Victoria Hospital. Behind is the new Multi story car park.  This location was previously part of the through road - since the 1990s buses have past here and turned left (at the photographers right) to the Maternity Unit. However this is now a dead end with a roundabout to the left so buses can reach the old entrance. The orbital road served by the 16 turns off at the far left of the photo behind the Solo and runs behind the car park.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

New Terminus at Victoria Hospital

Monday 10th March sees a minor route change to the 2, 2C and 5 to serve new bus stops on Whinney Heys Lane outside the new main entrance of Victoria Hosptial. The traditional terminus on Whinpark Avenue will continue to be served but merely as a stop on the way out of the Hospital site. 

Meanwhile routes 5, 10, 11 and 68 have resumed their diversion away from Skew Bridge on Lytham Road as it is closed between 10 March and 4 July.


Solo 279 and Trident 313 have been outshopped in fleet livery completing the first round of repaints and eradicating Metro livery and commercial all-over adverts. Solo 293 is now in paint - this being one of the first repaints out of Metro in August 2010 and starts the second round of repaints into the current livery.

The other two buses still in pool livery 281 and 282 have been placed into store, alongside 280 which was stored in November 2012. This latter received various efforts to overhaul it during 2013 but these have come to nothing.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

New Bus Lane Opens

The contraflow bus lane on Central Drive between Albert Road and Reads Avenue opened on Sunday 2 March. Blackpool Transport services 5, 7, 14 and 17 have been re-routed via the new Bus Lane as has Oakwood Travel's 22 and Stagecoach 68. Meanwhile Blackpool Transport 10 has been re-routed via Adelaide St, Bank Hey St, Albert Road, Coronation Street, Reads Avenue, Central Drive and Rigby Road to provide a token hourly service via the otherwise abandoned Coronation Street.

Following on from the remodelling of the road layout and reintroduction of two-way operation on Talbot Road and Dickson Road last year this ends another decades old one way operation, this one implemented way back in 1966 when services 4 (Mereside via Bloomfield Road and Penrose Ave), 6 (Mereside via Spen Corner and Cherry Tree Road), 6A/6B (Midgeland Road), 11/11A (Lytham), 11C (St. Annes Square), 13 (Lindale Gardens), 22 (Halfway House), 23 (Midgeland Road) and 23A (South Pier) were diverted away from Central Drive.