Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Winter Service Changes and Fleet Disposals

Blackpool Transport has announced some minor service changes from Sunday 4th November. Most significant is the withdrawal of the 7 between St. Annes and Saltcotes in favour of service 17. The changes in summary are:

  • 1 - Blackpool Town Centre (Queen Street) to Fleetwood Affinity Outlet (the former Freeport) at a winter frequency of 30 minutes daily. The Starr Gate section is suspended due to a planned Promenade closure at Talbot Square. 4 buses v current 8 (MF), 5 (SASU). 
  • 2 Unchanged - 2 buses
  • 2C - an unspecified 'route tweak' improves access to the Over Wyre Medical Centre in Knott End. 5 buses
  • 3 and 4 minor timing changes - Saturday service runs every 30 minutes on each - this was adopted for the Illuminations period, but the usual 20 minute frequency is not being reintroduced 15 buses
  • 5 and 6 minor timing changes (9 and 8 buses resp)
  • 7 withdrawn St. Annes to Saltcotes Road and reduced to every 20 minutes - 8 buses (v 13 currently)
  • 9 unchanged (8 buses)
  • 11 unchanged - continues every 15 mins M-F, 20 Sat, 30 Sun - the Saturday service reduced from 15 mins (8 buses)
  • 14 winter service (12 minutes M-S, 30 Sundays v 10 mins M-F and 20 Sats presently) 11 v 13 buses
  • 17 extends from St. Annes to Saltcotes Road replacing the 7. Runs every 30 minutes, hourly eves/Suns - this reinstates an evening service on the 17 for the first time since May 2011. 5 buses (v 3 now)
  • 18 diverts via Stanley Park (2 buses)
  • 19 unchanged (1 bus)
  • 20 withdrawn for winter
This gives a fleet requirement of 85 buses plus 3 on schools a reduction of 9 buses v the current timetables.

More withdrawn buses have left the fleet. Trident 341 went for scrap on 19th September. Solo 250 has moved to Henshaws Coaches of Moretone in Marsh, DAFs 357 and 361 have joined 363 with Ashcrofts of Runcorn. 242 and 248 are running for CTN Nottingham, rather than Redfern Travel (who do some mainteance for CTN) 247 is assumed there too. 294 to 297 are sold to Powell's of Hellaby. This leaves 13 Solos, 3 Tridents and 8 DAFs in store. 364/5 were stored at the end of August leaving just 367-372 in service.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Catch 22 Fleet Update

YJ10EYZ newly delivered to the Catch 22 depot in Marton (Philip Higgs)
Catch 22 has added a fourth Optare Versa to its fleet. YJ10EYZ has been purchased from Llew Jones of Llanwrst - though is wasn't used there. It was used previously by Helms of Eastham. Four Dennis Darts are also due shortly from Stagecoach Midlands as KP04GZM, KP04GZR, GX54DWO and GX54DWP. These are expected to replace ex Cardiff Darts.

Ex Cardiff Dart W369VHB has left the fleet, while newer Y378/82/8GAX are withdrawn awaiting disposal along with the last Volvo B6 W812PFB and Dennis Trident S833BWC.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

News Update

For Blackpool Airshow on 11th and 12th August Blackpool Transport ran a "Park and Glide" shuttle bus from a car park at Blackpool Airport to Starr Gate tram terminus. It was well used each day. 232 is seen at Starr Gate (Mike Wilson)
Blackpool Transport
Illumination weekend timetables start from Saturday 1st November, with some frequency reductions and running time increases.

Another route change in Blackpool Town Centre on 23rd July saw the 2, 2C, 12, 18 and 19 move to Topping Street following the closure of Abingdon St/Talbot Road Bus Station. Routes 5, 6 and 7 are also running through St John's Square from Clifton Street to Topping Street.

Catch 22
Not previously reported is the arrival of Y401NHK - a new to Stagecoach East London Alexander bodied Dennis Trident - this is in service in the new livery also seen on the repainted Versa. Following the disposal of Dart 147 for preservation, SN55HSK has taken its duties as a tow vehicle.

Solo Disposals and Tridents 347/8 pictures

Three more Solos have left the Blackpool Transport fleet today with 242/7/8 sold to Redfern Travel. DAF 363 has passed to Ashcroft's Runcorn. 

Former Blackpool 347 and 348 have settled into a new career with Lodge's of High Easter (David Bell - with thanks to David for sharing these and also for Paul Wigan for passing the on the photos)

Saturday, 4 August 2018

News Round Up

Blackpool Transport
359 is the latest DAF to be withdrawn and has joined sisters in store at Jacksons Coaches, Marton. Solo 242 is now also on SORN, sister 248 has been noticed on driver training duties on 23 July.

Timetabled Rail Replacement work from Blackpool North to Preston finally ended on Sunday 29th July. Some BTS buses have been on standby at Blackpool North and have also been observed on some South line rail replacements and the continuing Saturday work between Wigan and Manchester. Examples of 436-442 have been noted on local services since then. 

A 'Park and Glide' service is advertised for the weekend of 11th and 12th August - when Blackpool Airshow is on. This uses a car park at Blackpool Airport and a shuttle bus to Starr Gate tram stop. 

Former Tridents 344 is in service with Tanat Valley - photo here, sister 346 is also in their livery (photo), with no further report of 343 yet.

Catch 22 Bus
Catch 22 has introduced a new livery with Versa YJ61JHH in this "lime green and Monsoon Blue" livery similar to that used on the affiliated Sightseeing Bus operation in Manchester and Birmingham (Philip Higgs)

Coastal Coaches
Not previously reported is service 78 was diverted in Ansdell to reinstate a service on Commonside from late June. It runs from South Hey via Worsley Road, Central Drive, Gordon Road, Commonside to rejoin the previous route at Blackpool Road. Other than school buses, Commonside was unserved from 26 March when Stagecoach diverted its 68 away. 

358 with Dekkabus

Former BTS DAF 358 has been refurbished internally by its new owner Dekkabus - high backed seats feature throughout. It has also now been re-registered F5HOR These pictures have been kindly provided by Mark Self from Dekkabus. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2018


Blackpool Transport Solos 242 and 248 remain licensed, all others have been delicensed on entry into service of the Enviro 200s. Neither is understood to have been used, however. 

The new buses have settled into their 3 and 4 duty - 3 are spare each day and one seems common on the 19, with others noted on the 17 and 18. Sundays sees the former Solo duties covered on 2, 2C, 3, 4, 17, 18 and 19. With Palladium DDs on the 1, 6, 7, 9 and 11 and singles on the 5 - it is now normal to see a 100% Palladium Sunday service.

Catch 22 bus has regularly operated open toppers from the affiliated Sightseeing Tours operation on its Beach Bus 26 operation. These tend to return to Blackpool from outbases for maintenance. Olympian P534EFL, Tridents V158/68MEV have been noted - the latter most frequently. Dart 361 is the most common bus otherwise. 

On Diversion - Seafield Road

From 25 June for 3 weeks the 7, 11 and 68 were diverted in Lytham due to the closure of Church Road. Here BTS DAF 367 and a Stagecoach Enviro call at the replacement stop for Lytham Square on West Beach (Brian Turner)

To return to Church Road, buses used Seafield Road - used by Lytham Buses in the 1930s to avoid the tram service on Church Road. This year it was used to turn the 11 duing Club Day, 23 June - but its use is otherwise quite rare, Fairlawn Road further north is the more common alternative for diversions. DAF 370 turns from West Beach into Seafield Road (Brian Turner) 
Trident 328 heads down Seafield Road (Brian Turner)

Volvo B7RLE 522 turns from Seafield Road before passing the last surviving concrete bus shelter. (Brian Turner)

Monday, 25 June 2018

Old and New Order on the 3 and 4

Brand New Enviro 200 number 222 approaches Mereside turning circle on its way to Tesco on 25 June (Brian Turner) 
Two together at Tesco terminus 230 and 232 on their first day in service (Brian Turner)

Direct to the door? Solo 238 gets closer to the Tesco checkouts than normal, this was one of two buses used for launch events - 229 at Cleveleys was the other (Brian Turner)

Solo 240 leaves the temporary stop on Abingdon Street on a service 4 to Mereside on 21 June (Brian Turner)

286 turns from Dickson Road into Talbot Road. Solos have dominated the 3 since it launched in April 2001 - 17 years of continuous allocation has concluded. (Brian Turner)

Sister bus 287 at Northumberland Avenue, Cleveleys Park (24 June) (Brian Turner) 
291 at the 3 and 4 stop on Abingdon Street on 21 June (Brian Turner)

Debut Day

The 18 new Enviro 200s made their debut today. 221-8, 230-7 all ran on the 3 and 4 while 229 and 238 acted as launch buses at Cleveleys and Mereside Tesco resp. 

Pictures can be seen on Mike Rhodes Flickr site here.

436-455 now have ticket machine bases fitted, some are still on rail replacements but others entered regular service today.

Update: 443-55 are now in the normal service fleet, 436-42 remain dedicated to rail work.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Its a wrap for 857

Green and Cream in Rigby Road - Trident 332, B7RLE 524, Atlanteans 362 and 364 taken from outside Totally Models today (Paul Turner)

Open top Olympian 857 made an appearance at Lytham Club Day in an all-over wrap for Lytham Festival. It will be the shortest lived bus advertising livery as its only for this one day! A picture is here on the festival's Facebook page. It has also recently put in an appearance at RVPT's Morecambe event on Sunday 26th May alongside ex Fylde Atlantean 71, Lytham PD2 10 and Blackpool PD3 512.

Further Solo and DAF withdrawals have taken place with DAFs 360, 361 and 362 now out of use and Solos 241 and 295 have joined 288 and 297 in store.

Blackpool Transport's rail replacement commitment has been extended again, but is reduced to around 7 buses. 

This weekend is Totally Models at Rigby Road - Atlantean 362 and Swift 554 are on the free bus service today, with RVPT's Ribble PD3 1775 and Bristol VR 1995 allocated for Sunday.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Solos Sold

Solos 249 and 257 have been sold locally to Archway, of Fleetwood. 257 was the last of the 2003 Solos to operate and was withdrawn on 23 May. Trident 345 is now reported with Abbey Coachways in Goole. DAF 358 left Blackpool last Friday and is under refurbishment for Dekkabus of Poole. Sisters 354-7 are now in store, with the last Manx Trident 353.

Service Changes and round-up

More details of the BTS summer services are now available from 24th June - the 1, 6, 7, 14 and 20 are involved and 8 more vehicles are needed v the winter timetable with a requirement for 98 buses. 

  • Service 1 - Increased to every 20 minutes Monday-Friday from 30 mins (8 PVR v 5)
  • Service 6 - Sunday daytime service increased to every 20 minutes
  • Service 7 - Monday to Friday increased from every 20 to every 15 minutes (13 PVR v 10)
  • Service 14 - Monday to Friday increased from every 12 to every 10 minutes (13 PVR v 11)
  • Service 20 - withdrawn between Zoo and Preston New Road. Will run every 30 minutes Tower to Zoo 0945-1745 from Tower and 915 to 1815 from Zoo - meaning the first two outward journeys from the Zoo are before it opens at 1000! It remains weekends and school holidays only. 2 buses v 3 currently.
Not previously reported is that the service 5 school bus from Halfway House to Victoria Hospital has been cancelled, presumably from the March timetable change. Monday 11th June will see the 5, 6 and 7 stop on the Promenade rather than Market Street for a period as part of the tram extension work. The 17 will use Corporation Street instead.

The Rail Replacement contract has been further extended until 24 June due to well reported reliability issues. This gives a further stay of execution to the ex Manx DAFs, many of which are likely to be withdrawn when the E400s are cascaded onto the 7 and 11. 

All 18 of the Enviro 200s had arrived by the end of May, registration details are on the fleetlist page. Branding has started and some photos are here on Alistair Liddle's page. One is reported by BTS to be featuring in the Pride parade on Saturday 9th June. 

Trident 343 was reported back at Rigby Road on 31 May, presumably ready for collection by Tanat Valley. 

Preston Bus has confirmed the disposal of former Blackpool Delta K128UFV for scrap after use as a driver trainer. This was the last new to Blackpool Delta to survive, but sadly suffered a major engine failure which has rendered preservation proposals uneconomic. Their Blackpool outstation was home to:

  • Volvo Coaches 11519/23-5
  • Mercedes Coach 12000
  • Ford Transit 15041
  • Solos 20771/2/80, 20802/31
  • Dennis Tridents 40007, 40583/8
  • Scania double decker 40030
  • DAF double decker 40201

Friday, 25 May 2018

More Trident Disposals

Tanat Valley of Llanrhaeadr-Ym-Mochnant near Oswestry has acquired three of the ex Isle of Man Tridents - 343 (H1FBT), 344 (E11BTS) and 346 (E13BTS). 343 has been re-registered W393TBV. 344 has been reported under repaint, 343 was awaiting collection. The last Manx Trident remaining unsold is 353 - this has been taken out of service and is on SORN now.

Ex Bus Vannin Isle of Man Tridents
NoRegIOM NoIOM RegDisposalDateRegistration if changed
343H1FBT53EMN53YTanat Valley May 2018 W393TBV
344E11BTS50EMN50YTanat ValleyMay 2018n/a
345  E12BTS  48EMN50YStockdale, Selby April 2018n/a
346E13BTS51EMN51YTanat ValleyMay 2018n/a
347E14BTS52EMN52YLodge, High Easter Dec 2017n/a 
348E15BTS49EMN49YLodge, High Easter Dec 2017n/a
349E16BTS71MAN93FReading BusesJan 2018 X399KBV
350E17BTS75GMN324F Reading BusesJan 2018X393KBV
351E18BTS74FMN540EReading BusesJan 2018 X401KBV
352E19BTS73FMN412EReading BusesJan 2018 X398KBV
353E20BTS72FMN158Estill BTStbcn/a

Monday, 21 May 2018

BTS Summer timetable

24th June is the start date for the summer timetable. Registrations for services 1, 6, 7, 14 and 20 have been recorded, the 1 will run every 20 minutes, 7 every 15 minutes, 14 every 10 minutes. No details of the changes to the 6 and 20 are available.

Route 20 is currently terminating at Clifton Arms, with buses laying over by Little Marton Windmill, presumably turning at the M55 roundabout. Buses display "Preston New Road for Marton Mere".

Blackpool North to Preston rail replacement work is continuing beyond the start of the new timetable yesterday with services shown until 3 June.