Sunday, 6 August 2017

RVPT Lytham Hall Line Up Bank Holiday Monday 28th August

Ribble Olympian 2101 leaving Lytham Hall last year (Paul Turner)
The Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust fourth Lytham Hall Running Day is on Bank Holiday Monday 28th August. An impressive 13 buses will provide a 10 minute frequency bus service between Lytham Hall, Lytham Promenade, Fairhaven Lake and St. Annes Square.

Buses start at 0935 from St. Annes Square run every 10 minutes until 1635, with buses from Lytham Hall between 1000 and 1600. Access to the Hall is by bus or on foot only - there is no public parking at the Hall, but there is parking nearby close to the Hall entrance gates, where the service bus will pick you up.

13 double deckers have been lined up for the bus service, mostly with local connections and including two open toppers. Ranging from RVPT's 1939 Leyland Titan TD5 to Stagecoach's 1999 special events 'White Lady' Trident open topper the line up includes some marking special birthdays, with Fylde 71 40 years old this year, 501 50 years old, A267 60 years old, 2234 marking its preservation debut in its 21st year and the Trident has celebrated its 18th birthday. 

Bus Service Line Up:

  • Ribble 2057 (RN8622) Leyland Titan TD5/ Alexander of 1939
  • Ribble 1775 (RCK920) Leyland Titan PD3/ Metro Cammell  of 1962
  • Ribble 1995 (OCK995K) Bristol VR/ECW Open Topper  of 1972
  • Ribble 1397 (NRN397P) Leyland Atlantean/Park Royal  of 1976 
  • Ribble 1481 (TRN481V) Leyland Atlantean/ECW of 1980
  • Ribble 2101 (GFR101W) Leyland Olympian/ECW  or 1981
  • Stagecoach Ribble 2234 (P234VCK) Volvo Olympian/Northern Counties  of 1996
  • Stagecoach Cumbria 17012 (S812BWC) Dennis Trident/Alexander open topper  of 1999 in "White Lady" livery
  • John Fishwick and Son's 5 (528CTF) Leyland Titan PD2/Weymann  of 1958
  • Blackpool Corporation 501 (HFR501E) Leyland Titan PD3/Metro Cammell  of 1967
  • Blackpool Transport 362 (A362HHG) Leyland Atlantean/East Lancs  of 1983
  • Fylde Transport 71 (OJI4371) Leyland Atlantean/Northern Counties  of 1977
  • Liverpool A267 (VKB900) AEC Regent/Metro Cammell  of 1957

all vehicles subject to availability

Buses will layover at the Hall between duties alongside a handful of other buses led by prewar Leylands Lytham Lion 24; Ribble Lion 1161 and Ribble Cheetah 1568. 
part of last year's Lytham Hall line up (Paul Turner)

Promenade Service at 30

Busy times as Fylde 103 operates the new Beachcomber Promenade service at Tower (Brian Turner)
In 1984/5 when local bus deregulation was proposed, there were many objections, often focusing on loss of links at quiet times. On the Fylde, while many bus services were recast, the feared heavy cuts did not happen. One particular local concern was the exposure of the Blackpool Tramway to bus competition. Prior to deregulation, other than between Manchester Square and Talbot Square (5, 11/11A, 12); Gynn Square and Bispham and Little Bispham to Anchorsholme (3/3A) there were no parallel bus routes to the tramway in Blackpool. Ribble did overlap considerably in the Wyre area.

In fact the initial deregulation network reduced overlaps, with the 3/3A cancelled on North Promenade. Competition between Blackpool Transport and Fylde developed in 1987 with the most significant measures being the introduction of the St. Annes Handybus in June 1987. Fylde's response was to introduce its own minibus operation, competing with Blackpool's hitherto un-threatened tramway.
The response - day 1 of the new "Beachroamer 55"and 530 heads for Gynn Square near Harrowside (Brian Turner)
Its six Dodge S56 minibuses, with Northern Counties bodies arrived in June 1987 and entered service on 29th June on new service "Beachcomber 5". This ran from outside Pontins along the Promenade to Gynn Square with a bus every 7/8 minutes and all six needed daily. Fylde's 1965 vintage open top Atlantean also put in appearances, newly branded for new 'service 1' which ran two return trips, Mondays Tuesdays and Fridays from St. Annes to Fleetwood for the market. 

The Dodges seated 22 (101-4) or 20 (105/6), so with around 160 seats per hour the tramway was unlikely to be threatened - given that one double decker tram could take 100 passengers. However the minibuses did dent the shared taxi operations which had become popular.

At the end of the season, the 5 was revised to run a 30 minute Starr Gate to Little Bispham service using 2 buses - with the other six switched to new route 66 Town Centre to Sevenoakes. In January the 5 morphed into a Blackpool to Cleveleys service and the southern end of the Promenade became busless again in the winter, except for the odd positioning journey to/from Fylde's depot.

Fylde's minibuses resumed for Easter on Good Friday 1 April 1988 this time using route number 55. Full season service resumed in May, now starting from Pontin's forecourt. Blackpool Transport responded with its own Promenade service using six Routemasters bought from London Buses - joining six bought in 1986 and used on service 12. The buses had a simplified version of the 'heritage' red and white used on the first batch and were branded "Beachroamer 55" v Fylde's "Beachcomber". The Routemasters started on 28th May.

The 1989 season saw Fylde run at Easter renumbered 40p - reflecting the flat fare which had risen from 35p the prior year. Blackpool resumed their service also renumbered 40, prompting a fare cut by Fylde to 35p meaning their service was renumbered too!
1990 and Beachcomber has become Coastliner 1 with Fylde's ex Hull Atlantean 134 leading Blackpool's now unbranded Routemaster southbound at Manchester Square (Brian Turner)
For the 1990 season, Blackpool Transport secured access to Pontin's forecourt, banishing Fylde. BT provided an all-over advert tram and Routemaster, presumably better value than Fylde's two minibuses. Fylde responded by replacing its minibuses with double deckers. There was no Easter service and some of Fylde's older double deckers  3 open toppers and 4 closed toppers received a branded livery with a yellow front branded Coastliner. The closed toppers had blue sides/rears, the open toppers advert liveries. The route became service 1 ran ran every 10 minutes from St. Annes Square - so it could still pass Pontins - terminating at Market Street, Blackpool Town Centre. 5 buses were needed. Evening services ran Pleasure Beach to Gynn Square.

Blackpool's 40 continued every 10 minutes Pontins to Gynn with a half hourly evening service to Tower only.
Fylde Atlantean 54 displays the 1991 version of the Promenade livery with two tone blue and a yellow front (c NDL642M)

Fylde developed its new service 1, rebranding as "Rollercoaster Route 1" in partnership with Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Liveries became more vivid and more venerable Atlanteans joined the fleet. In 1993 the Fylde Promenade fleet comprised:
10 ex Hull Atlanteans 1969-1971 (48, 49, 52-57, 59/60) 52/3/4/5/7 were open top
2x new to Fylde Atlanteans/Willowbrook 1975 (50, 83)
1x new to Salford Atlantean/Met Cam open top 1965 (51)
1x new to Lytham Atlantean/NCME 1970 (58)
1x new to Clyde Coast Atlantean/NCME 1977 (70)

Blackpool used six 1961-1963 built Routemasters, alternating its fleet each year between the two batches after 1991 when the 12 lost its batch. It also ran a tram fleet of mainly 1930s vehicles. Promenade travel was a vintage affair. 

Routewise, Fylde tended to run to Cabin at the north and extended in St. Annes to Pleasure Island complex serving the town's hotels. Blackpool withdrew between Tower and Gynn in 1992, reducing its PVR to just 4. Fylde ran 8 per hour to Blackpool's six.
The 1994 livery featured light blue orange and yellow - with a dark blue bustle. 19 year old Atlantean shows the rendition of the Big One Rollercoaster on the offside (c NDL642M)

Fylde was taken over by Blackpool in May 1994, but stayed as a separate entity until July 1996. The Promenade services were co-ordinated with each operator providing a 10 minute service. This would be the last year of Routemasters on the Prom as the 1995 season saw Fylde service 1 reign supreme.

Fylde's distinctive Promenade liveries were replaced by the new standard blue and cream fleet livery, with yellow fronts for 1995 but these were dropped for 1996 so fleet liveried buses became standard - ending the dedicated operation of the older Atlanteans. The last open toppers remained dedicated, though these ended in 1998. 1996 saw operation extended from Cabin to Little Bispham, but this was cut back in 1997. 1998 saw a short extension to Bispham and then Cleveleys in 1999. 
1998 was the final season of Fylde's venerable open toppers. Here, in the restrained green and cream livery 453 turns into Pontins (Brian Turner)

The service continued during the 2000s, with various changes. Seasonal timetables saw lower frequencies in the early season and higher frequencies in school holidays. The St. Annes section was reduced, by 2003 it was high season only and by 2006 it had ended. Pontins became the southern terminus, though buses served the Airport southbound from 2006. The holiday camp closed in October 2009 and buses terminated at the Airport for 2010.

The Metro era saw the Atlanteans common on service 1 displaced by Olympians from 2003, with route branding resuming with an orange/yellow livery for service 1 - and also for school services. Olympians 365-7 and 407-10 were dedicated for 2003, 404-6 in 2004, 368/9 in 2006 (with 404 painted for line 20), 2007 saw 401-4 and later Tridents 333-337. Olympians 411-7 also gained the orange livery but tended to be used solely on schools. Tridents 338/9 were the final recipients in 2009/10.

Summer 2006 saw a dalliance with City Sightseeing open toppers. These had provided a tour in 2001 but moved onto Zoo service 21 - which also served the Promenade from 2002 and onto the 1 in 2006. They moved onto revised service 20 from 2007. 
Metrobus 815 represents the short lived City Sightseeing era on service 1 in 2006 (Brian Turner)

Blackpool's tramway was in troubled times - not really caused by bus competition, but declining infrastructure. Major track renewals took place in winters 2003/4 and 2004/5 with tram replacement buses from Thorton Gate to Fleetwood. It was decided for the 2007 winter to make Line 1 a year round service and it ran every 20 minutes Starr Gate to Fleetwood. Major winter works continued on the tramway until it was relaunched in 2012. This included the closure of the Fleetwood street section in 2010, and the closure of the entire line north of Little Bispham in 2011. The 1 therefore performed an important function. It ran every 20 minutes with season extras. 
Centro 527 operating on service 1 during 2011 - it is diverted at Little Bispham onto Cleveleys Promenade due to tram works. (Brian Turner)
September 2010 saw the nine new Volvo/Plaxton Centro single deckers allocated to the 1, but these proved too small at busy times so double deckers soon appeared. The major Promenade road scheme saw the route split into 1 Fleetwood-Blackpool and 1A Blackpool to Airport for winter 2010/1. The through route resumed in June 2011. November 2010 also saw the 1 replace the 14 between Fleetwood and Freeport.
2008 - and the 1 is running Pontins to Fleetwood, with a mixed Trident/Olympian allocation. The two 1989 Olympians painted into orange (368/9) are seen at Pontins terminus (Brian Turner)

Since the reopening of the tramway, the 1 has continued with its base 20 minute frequency service, and half hourly evening timetable which remains today. It complements the trams, especially for older folk whose concessionary passes are not valid on the trams if outside the local area.

So Promenade buses started in 1987 - with 8 minibuses per hour and today, 30 years on use 3 double deckers per hour. The tramway has probably never been fitter with a fleet of 16 new trams in 2012, a planned extension and a vibrant volunteer run heritage operation. 

The ex Blackburn Tridents were allocated to service 1 in 2007 when the service became year round. Here 333 and a sister head south at Norbreck (Brian Turner)

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Round Up

New Advert for 315
Blackpool Trident 315 has emerged in a new advertising livery for Blackpool Pleasure Beach, including a rear end promotion for the Hot Ice Show.

Blackpool Transport Services
Illuminations period timetables take affect from 2 September including the withdrawal of the evening service 1; Saturday reduction of the 3 and 4 to half hourly; 20 minute Saturday services on the 7 and 11 and a 15 minute service on the 9.

Catch 22 Bus Services
A staff shortage has prompted emergency timetables on Catch 22 services 22 and 24 from 31 July. The 22 is reduced to hourly Blackpool to Cleveleys with half hourly journeys onto Fleetwood, while the 24 is reduced to every 30 minutes Monday to Fridays. Service changes are registered for 29th August which sees the withdrawal of the eponymous 22 service and changes to the 24 which is understood to be extended to cover the Cleveleys to Fleetwood section of the 22.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Schools Out

Blackpool Council has announced the end of funding for the dedicated school buses to St. Mary's Catholic College and these have been deregistered, along with the 414 which serves Aspire Academy. 

To replace these schools services, BTS is adding some extra journeys to its core network:
  • 3 0756 Bispham Hotel to Abingdon Street which then becomes a 5 to Victoria Hospital via St Mary's School
  • 3 0743 Mereide to Abingdon Street which then becomes a 5 to Victoria Hospital to serve St Mary's School
  • 5 1515 St Mary's School to Dickson Road, then as service 3 1530 Dickson Road to Bispham Hotel
  • 5 1515 St Mary's School to Abingdon St then as service 3 1530 Dickson Road to Mereside
  • 5 extra journeys 0731 Halfway House to Victoria Hospital and 1520 return (using Grange Road for St Mary's)
  • 6 0740 Mereside to Corporation Street then to Aspire Academy, 1500 return
It is understood these will use double deckers, indeed the workings on the 3 are explicitly so stated on the BTS website.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Upcoming Event: Lytham Classic Bus Display and Running Day

Bank Holiday Monday 28 August is the fourth running day from Lytham Hall organised by Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust. A frequent bus service is planned with Ribble and other local vehicles to the fore front. 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

From the Archives: The Delta - Blackpool's Best Buy?

Blackpool's Deltas arrived in this attractive green roof, green skirt livery with black window surrounds with the rest cream. This winter view shows 114 operating service 15 on 2 February 1991 - this being one of two of the second batch to arrive early, in November 1991 (Brian Turner)
Blackpool's bus fleet was predominately double deck from the 1930s to the 1990s, and its only since 2000 that the more than half of the fleet has been single deck (including minibuses). Recent history has been littered with short lived single deck designs:
  • 55 AEC Swifts of 1969-1975 - w/d between 1980 and 1988 - the oldest being 14 yrs and 7 months old
  • 4 Dennis Lancets of 1982 sold in 1988 before their 6th birthday
  • 4 Leyland National 2s of 1984, sold in 1991 before their 7th birthday
  • 15 second hand Leyland Nationals which lasted 3 to 4 years.
Prior to the Swifts, the last new single deck bus arrived in 1940 - two of which survived to the ripe old age of 24, most of the rest having typical lives of 17-18 years. The second hand Nationals were effectively stop gaps to replace the Swifts while BT focused on its minibus fleet. During 1989 BTS tried a pair of Leyland Lynxes, two Deltas and a Dennis Dart, placing an order for 8 Deltas.

Like most Optare vehicles the Delta was sold as a complete bus, though it was of conventional body on chassis construction on the DAF SB200LC550 chassis. You couldn't have a Delta on any other chassis, though the body shell did spawn other variants.

So it was then that on 22 February 1990 106/7 G106/7NBV rolled into the depot yard from Leeds to start a new era. Optare's eye for style produced a stunning vehicle, slightly less harsh than its ground breaking City Pacer but with a family feel. Its low floor (for a step entrance bus) in the front half was coupled with deep windows to afford a view. Internally high backed seats for 46 were specified, rather than the 51 bus seats that could be squeezed in. A contemporary grey soft trim finish was all that let the image down.

The full batch was 101-108 (G101-8NBV) and it saw off Nationals 145-148 and some early Atlanteans. 106/7 made their debut on 5 March with the rest following over the next month. 7 were required on weekdays with five on the 23-25 (Hospital-Mereside/Midgeland Road) and two on the 53 (Airport-Poulton). On a Sunday five were used on the interworked 22/22A (Cleveleys-Halfway House) and 25 (Hospital to Halfway House) and spares often appeared on the 12 (Blackpool to St. Annes).
106, one of the first pair to enter service, seen in the later livery with the cream roof (Brian Turner)
A second batch was ordered - 109, 110, 112-117 (H109YHGetc). 112/4 arrived in late November 1990 well ahead of the rest which came in January/February 1991. These replaced the Strathclyde Nationals and allowed the interworked 2 (Poulton-Bispham), 15 (Bispham-Staining) and 180/2 (Poulton-Preston) to be largely Delta worked using five buses. Eight more followed during 1991 with 118-120/2 (H118-20/2CHG) arriving in April, 123/4 (J123/4GRN) in July and 125/6 (J125/6GRN) in November.

The new batches seemed to take the operations department by surprise as they now had 24 single deckers for just 13 all day workings:
  • 2/2A (Blackpool to Poulton) = 3
  • 15 (Staining to Cleveleys) = 2
  • 23-25 (Hospital-Mereside/Midgeland Rd) = 5
  • 180/2 (Poulton to Preston) = 2
  • 192 (Blackpool to Kirkham) = 1
A network recast saw route 12 extended to Cleveleys and converted to Delta operation in March 1992 taking 8 buses, but at the expense of the 2A and 15 which lost four workings. Three were put to use on a short lived service 4 between Blackpool and Mereside to compete with Fylde from September 1992 to January 1993 with these three moving onto route 11C (Blackpool to St. Annes). January 1993 saw the arrival of four more Deltas (127-130 K127-30UFV) making 28 buses yet without the work to justify them.

The take-over of Fylde in 1994 brought its three Deltas 1-3 (H1-3FBT) into the fold and 101/2 moved there as 8/9 in early 1995 as the 192 was transferred in. When Fylde was absorbed 1-3 became 131-3 and 8/9 regained their original numbers.
The Fylde takeover brought three more Deltas into the fleet - 1 and 3 retained two tone blue, 2 had received blue and cream. They became 131 to 133 and received green and cream fleet livery.  In April/May 2001 all three received the grey, mustard and yellow 'pool' livery for the Metro network. It is seen here on a Park and Ride for the 2001 Open Golf Championship  (Brian Turner)
The consolidated network of November 1994 saw Deltas on the 12 (4), 22/22A (10) 23-25 (5), 192 (1) and Fylde's 44A (3) making 23 duties for 31 buses which was a bit more respectable. The Deltas couldn't cope with the 22/22A so four double deckers were soon drafted in and in March the Deltas moved onto route 6. Next change in August 1996 saw the Deltas move from the 12 and 23-25 to the 12A and 26 increasing the utilisation to 25. The ex Fylde buses were now normally on the 193. Minibuses returned to the 12A/26 in December 1998 and several Deltas were consigned to store! 105-110, 112, 114, 115, 116 and 130 the affected buses. They returned to use in February with the conversion of the 11/11A and 12 to single deck operation.

The Metro network of 2001 saw the following official allocations:
Line 6: 108-110, 112-117 (9 out of 10 all progressively branded)
Line 7: 118-120, 126-129 (7 out of 8 all in livery from launch)
Line 11: 101-103 (3 out of 3 all retained green and cream)
Pool: 104-107, 122-125, 130-133 (122-133 receiving the original Metro pool livery).
Various transfers have since taken place:
Sept 2002: 125 to Line 7 (ex pool to replace 120)
Oct/Nov 2002: 122, 130-133 to Line 11 (ex pool)
March 2004: 118 to Line 6 (ex 7)
Apr-June 2004: 119, 125-129 to Line 11 (ex 7)
May 2005: 115-117 to Line 11 (ex 6)
Aug/Sept 2005 - 101-103 into Pool livery, 104-107 to Line 6
Apr 2007: 115/6 to Pool (used on tram replacement over winter 06/07)
Nov 2007: 115/6 back to Line 11
Feb 2009 - 103 to Line 6 (replacing 110)

The aforementioned storage of 130 in winter 1998 was for a pilot refurbishment. An odd choice as the newest bus and the most recent repaint! The bus was duly stripped in February 1999 and treated to retrimmed seat, light laminate interior panelling, new floor, revised lighting and another repaint, finally returning to use in October 1999. Deemed a success, the programme was rolled out with 129 first and then in reverse order to 120 which returned to use in September 2000. Neatly the Fylde trio slotted in here (their body numbers follow on from 122) and they were treated in reverse order. They received two modifications to match their sisters - rear number blinds (instead of side ones) and a /from 48 to 46 seats. 131 was followed by 119 and 118 which emerged in April 2001 as one of the vehicles in Line 7 livery for the new Metro network.
The first branded route was Line 7 for which 7 Deltas were painted ahead of the launch in April 2001. This is 120 seen on Bank Hey Street (Brian Turner)

The programme ceased for a while as attention focused on repaints for the new identity but in August 2001 114 entered the works as a pilot for a phase 2 refurbishment. This reduced some of the changes - retaining the soft trim ceilings/coves for example, but saw the high backed seats replaced by modern moulded bus seats. It returned to use in January 2002 after a protracted refit. 113 followed whilst 108 jumped the queue following minor fire damage. This emerged as a phase 3 job with original seats retrimmed and less internal changes. Phase 2 programme continued with 112, 115, 116, 110, 109, 117 completing the pack by December.

The phase 3 work on 101-107 didn't particularly take off. 101 was retrimmed and fitted with a new floor in Spring 2003 with 102 following. 103-107 retained their original seat moquette with 105 receiving attention to its floor during the autumn.
Deltas also gained Line 6 livery - a claret and yellow scheme - this is 107 turning from Adelaide Street onto the 6 stop at Bank Hey Street (Brian Turner)

Withdrawals and Disposals
The first Delta withdrawal was 120 which suffered a suspected electrical fire in the depot on 5 July 2002 and was scrapped in February 2003. Ex Fylde 131 was burnt out in dramatic circumstances in St. Annes on 18 May 2004 and was scrapped in September. 
The sad remains of ex Fylde 131 after its fire at St. Annes Square on 18 May 2004 (James Millington)

The arrival of new Dennis Tridents for Line 11 saw 115-117 and 130 delicensed in at the end of August 2006. 130 had been selected for conversion to a driver trainer vehicle - the retrofitment of ABS braking allowing it to replace one of the two Atlanteans. Sister 129 was also withdrawn in October (with 115 reinstated) and became the second trainer conversion. This emerged as 969/70 (K129/30UFV) in February 2007 in a reverse Metro blue/yellow livery.
From 2002 several Deltas gained Line 11 turquoise livery including 115 seen at Cleveleys Bus Station (Brian Turner)
116 returned to use in November and with 115 had its Line 11 branding replaced by tram replacement lettering to cover for the trams during the winter track renewal process. They gained pool livery in the spring but went back into Line 11 before the end of the 2007. 117 was not so lucky, it was progressively stripped for spares and went for scrap in July 2007. 

The first Delta to be sold for further use was 128, purchased by Preston Bus as a driver trainer. BTS did the conversion over the winter 2007/8 and the bus moved to Preston in February 2008. 

110 was withdrawn in February 2009 and scrapped in June 2009. Its seats live on though - replacing the originals in 107. With 110 gone the remaining 26 were allocated as:
  • Line 6: 103-109, 112-114 (10)
  • Line 11: 115, 116, 118, 119, 122, 125-127, 132/3 (10)
  • Pool: 101, 102, 123, 124 (4)
  • Trainers: 129/30 (2)
So why the best buy? Well reliability. They have proven to be good workhorses and all retained their original engines until a catastrophic failure for 113 in February 2008. A rebuild could not be affected, but the engine from fire damaged 120 was rebuilt and fitted instead. Not a bad record.
Deltas 101-103, 123/124 gained the black version of the pool livery - this is 102 towards the end of its life on service 11 in Lytham (Brian Turner)

2010 saw a sudden end for the Delta, with service changes and some new Volvos wiping out the fleet during the year. 124 had minor fire damage in September 2009 which was not deemed worthy or repair and 103 was withdrawn in Feb 2010 with engine failure. The withdrawal of service 6 saw off Deltas 104-109,112-116 with 101/2/4/6-9/12/23 in use on Saturday 24th then 104, 106, 107, 109 and 112 ran on the final day with 107 last in working the 2300 Mereside to Grange Park then 2341 back to Market Street and depot. 105, 113, 114 and 116 had been laid up earlier in the month with defects.
123 was the sole Delta to carry an all-over advert - though to a somewhat uninspiring design (Brian Turner)

Nine new Volvo B7RLEs entered service in September and this saw off the remaining Line 11 Deltas with 119, 122/3, 125-7, 132 and 133 in use on the last day (4 September 2010) - 118 missing out. 101, 102 and 123 - in black and yellow - except for 123 which uniquely had a Blackpool Council advertising livery (applied Sept 2008). 101/2 were laid up on 28 October, 123 bowing out on service 17 on 27 November. Most Deltas went for scrap. 101 and 133 were preserved - sadly 101 falling out of preservation. 109/127 went to the Evesham area as staff buses so just 128 and 133 survive, the former in defective condition at Preston Bus and 133 splendidly restored. Trainers 969/70 (ex 129/130) were withdrawn in May and April 2015 respectively and scrapped later in the year
130 became driver trainer 970 in October 2006 it is seen here on 15 June 2011 testing the newly finished Promenade roadway (Brian Turner)

Preserved 3/2011
Believed Scrapped
Partons, Scrap 3/10/2011
Feb 2010
Partons, Scrap Aug 2010
Partons, Scrap 15/09/10
Partons, Scrap 03/08/10
Partons, Scrap 16/09/10
Partons, Scrap 20/09/10
Partons, Scrap 15/09/10
Kanes Foods 25/08/2010
Feb 2009
Preston Recyclers 26/6/09
Partons, Scrap 20/09/10
July 2010
Partons, Scrap 16/09/10
July 2010
Partons, Scrap 05/08/10
August 2010
Partons, Scrap 14/09/10
July 2010
Partons, Scrap 14/09/10
Sept 2006
Wigleys, Scrap 06/07/07
Partons, Scrap 22/11/10
Partons, Scrap 19/10/11
Scrapped 06/02/03
Partons, Scrap 13/10/11
Partons, Scrap Sept 11
Ingelmere Metals 12/05/10
Nov 1991
Partons, Scrap 22/09/11
Nov 1991
Partons, Scrap 27/07/11
Kanes Foods 04/11/2010
Nov 2007
Preston Bus Nov 2007
Preston w/d
Oct 2006
Driver Trainer Oct 2006
Then Scrap 10/11/2015
Sept 2006
Driver Trainer Oct 2006
Then Scrap 30/10/2015
Fylde 5/91
Preston Recyclers 02/09/04
Fylde 5/91
Partons, Scrap 29/06/11
Fylde 5/91
Preserved Apr 2011

Saturday, 15 July 2017

From the Archive - from 11C to 17

Today the 17 provides a half hourly service from Blackpool to St. Annes and is a direct descendant from the 11C. The 11C's evolution was driven by circumstance and it seems unlikely to have been envisaged in its familiar form.

The 11C started in 1939 as short workings on service 11 between Blackpool and Lindsay Avenue in Ansdell- operating along Central Drive, St. Annes Road (Halfway House), Blackpool Road, Headroomgate Road and Church Street. In February 1940 Blackpool Road was closed and the 11C diverted via Squires Gate Lane, Clifton Drive and Highbury Road. It was later diverted via Division Lane and presumably then onto Common Edge Road and Hawes Side Lane instead of St. Annes Road. Division Lane was closed on several during World War II and was then closed permanently in 1954 to expand the Airport. A new road - Queensway - opened around the perimeter of the Airport and the 11C was diverted via Queensway and Kilnhouse Lane.

PD3 501 heads under the former railway line - now Yeadon Way shortly before the end of crew operation of the 11C in 1983. (Brian Turner)
Although initially operated by Lytham St. Annes buses, Blackpool took-over operations in 1940 - though the service was still part of the joint arrangement between the two organisations. 1946 saw an increase from the wartime half hourly frequency to every 20 minutes and in 1954 the service was extended from Hounds Hill to Talbot Road Bus Station with four buses now needed rather than three before. Double deckers had also by now replaced the single deckers used previously.
PD3s were synonymous with the 11C until 1983 - here 506 drops off passengers at the Borough Boundary before heading onto Queensway and St. Annes (Brian Turner)
Other than OMO conversion of the Sunday service in 1971, the 11C remained unchanged. Within St. Annes it was almost entirely duplicated by local services 2 along Headroomgate Road and 3 which served Leach Lane and Kilnhouse Lane. Within Blackpool it followed the frequent 6 and 13 to Spen Corner and the 6A to School Road. It was only the section round Queensway that was entirely unique - though it did link Hawes Side to St. Annes and North St. Annes to Blackpool. No attempt was made to integrate the service into the complex provision on the corridor in Blackpool. However the other routes were whittled away with Blackpool's 6A going in 1975 and the Lytham's 2 ceasing in 1968. The Sunday service was eased to every 24 minutes (3 buses) in the early 1970s and then to every 30 minutes in 1975.

1983 saw conversion to One Person Operation and the introduction of Fylde Borough to the service (the successor to Lytham St. Annes). During the day each provided 2 Atlanteans for the 20 minute service, Fylde providing 2 of the 3 on the half hourly evening/Sunday service.

Deregulation saw a half hourly 11C operate every day (2 Fylde and 1 Blackpool bus. The son of the 6A (route 10 Blackpool to Midgeland Road) duplicated it as far as Highfield Hotel making a 15 minute service. This lasted until November 1987 when Blackpool withdrew the 10 (and Fylde won a replacement contract!) and transferred the two buses to provide the full 30 minute service on the 11C, duplicating Fylde's two workings which remained every 30/60 minutes.
Not Fylde's finest hour as Atlantean 134 is pressed straight into service on arrival from Hull in August 1987. (Brian Turner)
Fylde retaliated in March 1988 by starting a full 30 minute daytime service and extending it to Grange Park competing with service 6. These journeys were renumbered 6A, though soon became 11Cs again in July. Blackpool then stepped up the competition by increasing to every 20 minutes in August 1988 and Fylde followed suit in November - six buses per hour being the highest frequency ever on this route - though it ended the Grange Park section.

In April 1989 both operators retimed their services to make an even 10 minute headway - the evening/Sunday service had survived these battles on a joint basis with 2 Fylde and 1 Blackpool bus - just like 1983.

October 1989 saw both operators reduce to half hourly making a 15 minute service. Fylde also withdrew its 193 route (successor to the 3) from Spring Gardens to St. Annes. Both operators now routed the 11C via Spring Gardens (between Kilnhouse Lane and Blackpool Road) and Fylde also diverted its journeys via Heeley Road and St. Davids Road North instead of Headroomgate Road. The evening and Sunday services were later revised to provide a bus every hour along each variant regardless of operator.

Blackpools workings were converted to single deck operation from February 1993 and Fylde's then followed suit by 1994 - the former with Deltas, the latter usually with rebodied Atlanteans. Sunday 13 November 1994 was to be the last day for the 11C as the following day saw its replacement by the 14/14A (Fleetwood to St. Annes).

The new routes reintroduced double deckers and conductors as the Fleetwood end of the 14 had never been converted to OPO. The 14 followed the Blackpool 11C route (Headroomgate Road) and the 14A the Fylde one (St. Davids Road North) - all journeys ran from Blackpool Transport's Rigby Road depot and 12 Atlanteans were needed. Evening and Sunday buses were OPO.
Trident 311 on a diverted Line 14 working in St. Annes in 2007 - these buses were dedicated to the route from 2002/3 to 2010 (Brian Turner)

March 2000 saw the end of conductor operation on the 14/14A (and indeed on Blackpool's bus network). The route was standardised with all journeys via St Davids Road North as service 14. The Metro network of April 2001 saw the St. Annes to Blackpool leg reduced to every 20 minutes with a 10 minute Blackpool to Fleetwood service operate. Atlanteans and Olympians ruled the roost until Tridents 301-316 arrived in 2002/3. These saw a minor change with Dawson Road no longer served, buses running up Leach Lane to the junction with Blackpool Road on their way to Spring Gardens. The evening service was withdrawn in February 2010 - though replaced by Coastal Coaches on contract to Lancashire County Council.
Delta 118 contrasts with 506's earlier picture at the Borough Boundary on new Line 17 28 July 2010 (Brian Turner)
From 26 July new route 17 replaced the 14 operating every 30 minutes (back to 1986 levels), extending to Lytham via Heyhouses. 5 buses provided a 30 minute frequency - 2 providing an hourly evening service and 3 provided a half hourly Sunday service to St. Annes only. Initially buses terminated at Albert Street in Blackpool, but later moved to Market Street. A mix of Deltas, Excels and Solos were used.

September 2010 saw the St. Annes to Lytham section jettisoned in favour of service 18, which was later replaced by Coastal Coaches 78. The 17 now used 4 Excels Monday to Saturday and 2 Solos in the evenings (with the 18) and 3 on Sundays. The evening service was withdrawn at the end of January 2011, Coastal Coaches won a tender for a replacement service but this only lasted three months. Also in January the full 17 was converted to Solos. Double deckers and Excels continued to appear with increasing regularity as time went on.
Excel 225 on the 17 at Market Street (Brian Turner)
In June 2015 the 17 was reduced to hourly, with the 10 (Blackpool to Midgeland Road) extended to St. Annes to retain the half hourly service on that section. In October 2015 the 17 was diverted via Lindale Gardens. Between April 2016 and April 2017 the 10 and 17 were extended from Blackpool to Poulton via Victoria Hospital replacing the 12/13 and were generally double deck operated. The 10 was withdrawn in April 2017 and the 17 returned to half hourly - with the Lindale Gardens diversion removed.