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249 and 257 have been sold locally to Archway, of Fleetwood. 257 was the last of the 2003 Solos to operate and was withdrawn on 23 May.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  • Service 20 - withdrawn between Zoo and Preston New Road.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. 





Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Last Excel Returns North

The sole surviving Blackpool Excel, 225 (T935EAN) has returned to Lancashire today. One of five bought from Reading, it was the last of its type in service in November 2016, it was sold to Morton's Travel of Basingstoke in May 2017. It formed part of Adrian Morton's preserved collection. Morton's recently changed hands and Adrian has sold many of his collection. It has been purchased by Mark Mccarrick and is moving to the Town and District Transport Trust premises near Accrington.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

More deliveries, more diversions

Two further Enviro 200s are now in stock, with 223/4 arriving on Thursday as well as 221/2 as reported. The batch will be 221 to 238 and are 34 seaters. 

The town centre diversions, expected from 9th May, now take effect from Monday 14th with the 5 and 7 using Clifton Street and 6 Corporation Street northbound.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Solo in the Movies - DAF Trainer into Preservation

Former Blackpool Solo 274 is due to become a film star as it is currently in the Great Yarmouth area for filming work for a Danny Boyle film. It retains Halton's livery and has regained its original registration V274HEC in lieu of the dateless plate used by Halton. A fake plate is carried for filming.

971 (W471MKU) - the single deck driver trainer - has been delivered to the South Yorkshire Transport Trust premises near Rotherham today for preservation. This was one of 11 East Lancs bodied DAFs delivered new to Yorkshire Terrier in 2000. It was purchased in July 2013 from Stagecoach Sheffield (successor to Terrier) and finally entered service as a driver trainer in April 2015. It was out of use by March 2018, with Trident 339 under preparation as its replacement.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

First Enviro 200 arrives

The first new midibus for nine years has arrived today, as YX18KWA - one of 18 Alexander Dennis Enviro 200s due. These are expected to replace the remaining 21 Optare Solos. They carry the Palladium livery and many of the features of the last batch of Enviro 400s are included. The new bus is illustrated on the Blackpool Transport twitter page linked below. Update - YK18KWB also arrived today.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Diversions and Route Changes

Some minor route changes are taking place during May to Blackpool Transport's network:

  • Saturday 5 May - service 20 will now start/finish at Clifton Arms on Preston New Road, following Haven's awarding of a concession to use Marton Mere to Catch 22's service 26.
  • Monday 7 May - service 18 will now serve Stanley Park via Mere Road, West Park Drive and Knowsley Avenue. This is a temporary arrangement until daily service on the 20 resumes in the summer
  • Wednesday 9 May - various route changes are registered from this day, when access is available to Clifton Street in Blackpool Town Centre once more. Routes 2, 2C, 5, 6, 7, 12, 18 and 19 are affected

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Rail Replacements, Repaints, Disposals

The delayed re-opening of the Blackpool North line took place on 16th April, however only with one train per hour as crew training continued. Rail Replacement buses are continuing until at least 5th May, possibly until the new timetable starts on 20 May - when electric trains will make their debut. The bus service now runs every 30 minutes on the direct and 'all stations' routes, with the peak fasts to or from Poulton retained.

Trident 313 is currently under a repaint into the old black and yellow livery following removal of its Sands Venue wrap. It has carried this since late May 2014 - one of the longest lived all-over adverts. 313 has only carried the fleet livery for about two months. It received its first advert - for Tower Dungeon - in 2012, replacing its Metro green base. When this expired, along with sisters 312/4/5 which had schemes for other venues, it was painted into fleet livery. However the Sands advert came along and as the only ones without advert frames, freshly painted 313 was chosen.

Sales are reported for Tridents 344 and 345 - the latter possibly to Stockdale of Selby (who have 334/7). DAF 358 is also reported as sold. 



Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Survivors Update


Former Blackpool Trident 351 (E18BTS) is now Reading Buses 535 (X401KBV). Yesterday it was one of two ex Blackpool Tridents used on the first day of Reading's service 7 between Reading and Fleet, which has been taken over from Stagecoach. It is seen here in Hartley Wintney (Steve Foster - see his Flickr for more)
A number of former Blackpool Buses have changed hands, or appearance, recently. These are tracked on the Survivors page on this blog. The four Tridents sold to Reading have now entered service as seen above. 

Solo 284 has passed to The Eden, West Auckland where it has replaced older sister 282 which is now with Huw's Coaches in Caernarfon. Some of the original 15 Solos of early 2000 are still in use. Yorkshire Tiger sold its last two for scrap last year (262/4) but Blackpool Council still uses 267 for the tramway track gang, while Halton retains two of the six it bought (272 and 276). 273 is understood to still be with Star of Aylesbury and 269 with John's Blaenau.

Chepstow Classic Buses has repainted former PD3 518 (HFR518E) in original livery - its first repaint since Blackpool Transport painted it in 1989 on disposal to its first private owner. Pics on their Facebook page here. 518 joins fellow PD3s 512 and 529 as repainted in the six months.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Not quite 'in the jungle' but Lion 44 slumbers awaiting a new home 14th April 2018 (Philip Higgs)

An 81 year old relic of the Fylde's transport past has been thrust into the limelight thanks to a Facebook 'market place' advert. Between 1935 and 1937 Lytham St. Annes Corporation bought 25 Gearless Leylands, 11 Lions to replace its older Guys on local services and 14 Titans to replace the Lytham trams. 44 (BTF24) was the last of Lions. It arrived at Squires Gate Depot in late March 1937 - its date of registration was the 25th. The 11 Lions were made up of four Burlingham bodied examples, 29-31 of 1935 and 32 of 1936- all these became open toppers in 1946. The rest were Leyland bodied - 33, 34 and 40 of 1936 and 41 to 44 in 1937.

Withdrawals of the Leyland bodied Gearless Lions commenced in 1956 with 44 the last to operate around August 1962, having soldiered on alone after 43 was retired in 1959. An ex Lancaster Leyland Tiger replaced it. Two Gearless Lions survived into preservation, 34 (BTB928) and 44. 34 started off with the West of England Transport Collection at Winkleigh. After a few further owners it was acquired by Fylde in 1988 and restored - returning to use in early 1992. It passed with the business to Blackpool Transport who continued to use it for a few more years. It fell into disuse and passed to LTT (now Fylde Transport Trust) in 2008. Re-restoration was completed last year - but an engine knock has sidelined it.

44 was stored for a while by Lytham, passing through a dealers hands to Pyatt and Steele, Cheadle for preservation - it appeared at a rally at Stanford Hall on 10 September 1967. In 1971 it was purchased by Terry Robinson for the Three Counties Historic Vehicle Society and moved to Haxey near Doncaster and was rallied again. Next owner in the late 1970s was Dennis Bonsall of Long Bennington (Lincs) but in 1983 was noted with Reigate Coaches in a green based livery at an LT depot open day. Reigate Coaches was owned by Les Burchell, who continues to own Blackpool Leyland Tiger 7 today.

44 on arrival at Haxey following purchase by Terry Robinson (Brian Maguire)
44's final tax disc expired in November 1985 and it went into store. In 1997 it was purchased by Allan Haynes of Hingham and was stored at Attleborough for a while. In 1999 it was purchased by Rexquote - a Somerset heritage operator now known as Quantock Motors. From there it passed to Phil James of Cardigan - who was involved in the restoration of Lytham's non Gearless Lion 24 (TJ6760). From there it was purchased by its current owners - the Higgins family of Cheshire.

They owned a Rawtenstall Tiger - originally Gearless but by now manual; and a Ribble converted tow wagon. Sadly 44 hasn't been restored and has now been offered for sale. At least one offer has been made to secure the bus for possible future restoration - and hopefully we can report on its future here soon.

Looking rather careworn - the interior of 44 (Philip Higgs)

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

New and Old

Modernisation of the Blackpool bus fleet continues. Sunday saw Enivro 400s operating on seasonal service 20 - once home to the oldest Atlanteans or Olympians (Paul Turner)

The first of the new Enviro 200s has been inspected by BTS this week, with delivery of the batch planned for the 2nd and 3rd weeks in May. Assuming they replace all 21 Solos - then they will bring to an end 31 years of Optare bus operation by Blackpool Transport. In that time 165 new Optare buses and 14 second hand ones have been operated.


Recent press coverage has focused on the proposed relocation of the bus fleet from the 1920s bus depot to a new site possibly at Blackpool Airport. This is one of a number of points discussed at a recent council meeting (reports linked here). Of interest is a trial of park and ride- though this is understood to be an illuminations period one form Squires Gate - as tried a few years ago.

Three redundant buses have left the fleet. Solo 255 has passed to a local buyer for parts then scrap, while Trident 338 and fire damaged DAF 366 have gone for scrap to Parton's of Barnsley - 338 on 3 April and 366 on 10th.


Friday, 30 March 2018

Road Works Road Works Road Works

Tuesday 3rd April sees another change in the location of the tram extension enabling roadworks presently afflicting Blackpool town centre. This removes access to Clifton Street, and also blocks Corporation Street. Flow through St John's Square will be reversed. Buses 2, 2C, 18 and 19 will now run through St John's Square to terminate at Abingdon Street (rather than Topping Street) then return via Talbot Road and as present. The 5, 6 and 7 northbound will now pick up on the Promenade (at West Street) rather than Clifton Street.

This should last until 9 May when Clifton Street reopens, but Corporation Street will remain closed until 2 July. Cookson Street will be closed from Cookson Street to George Street and also Caunce Street will be closed between King Street and Cookson Street from 9 May to 1 June. This should have little impact on services.

However Market Street will be closed between Talbot Road and West Street from 22nd May to 2 June - this will prevent the 5, 6 and 7 from accessing Market Street - but presumably terminating 11, 17 and 68 will be able to turn via Church St, Corporation Street and West Street.

Finally - at least for now - Talbot Road is to be closed between the Stand and Abingdon Street from 21 May until August. Assuming Clifton Street is accessible this suggests northbound buses will use Clifton St/Abingdon Street and Southbound ones Springfield Road as present.