Friday, 23 September 2016

Fleet Update

Excel 219 was withdrawn on Monday, leaving just 220 and 225 in service. Sister 223 is now being stripped of reusable parts and is expected to leave for scrap soon along with cannibalised fire damaged Trident 318.

525 returned to use on Monday after refurbishment.

Vintage Bus Service this Weekend

Following the success of last years '130th Anniversary' event for the Blackpool Tramway, a repeat takes place this weekend. As well as an intensive tram service a vintage bus service will run from Blundell Street on a circular route via old tram routes. Buses depart:

Blundell Street 1000 every 15 minutes to 1645
Starr Gate 1010 every 15 minutes to 1655
Pleasure Beach 1015 every 15 minutes to 1700
Round trip time is 40 minutes

Vehicles, subject to availability will be:
Saturday, Blackpool PD3 512, Ribble Atlantean 1397, Blackpool Atlantean 362 and Swift 554
Sunday 362, 554, Blackpool Delta 133 and PD3 501.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

News Round Up

Volvo B7RLE 525 returned from Bus and Coach World after refurbishment yesterday - this is the sixth to be treated after 527 (Feb), 529 (March), 531 (April), 530 (June), 533 (August) while 528 has now gone in its place.

Trident 332 is currently under repaint having lost its Tower Circus advert. 

Solo 273 has been sold by Halton Transport to Star Travel of Aylesbury.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Timetable Changes

Saturday 3rd September sees changes to the timetable on services 9/9A adding an additional ten minutes running time each way and increasing the PVR from 9 to 11 - meaning there are now insufficient Enviros for the service! This reflects the delays caused by the first stage of replacing Crossley's Bridge. Presently this is reduced to one lane while 'services' are relocated prior to its demolition and replacement. This itself will require a major diversion to the 9/9A. 

Illuminations Saturday timetables are revised on most routes with the 1 also amended on Fridays

  • Service 1 on Fridays and Saturdays withdrawn after 1800 ex SG and 1730 ex Fwd. From 14 Oct last buses are 1640 north and 1550 south and this also applies daily from 28 Oct-5 November.
  • Services 3 and 4 - same frequency but extra running time all day
  • Service 5 - same frequency but extra running time in the evening
  • Service 7 - reduced to 20 minutes daytime, same frequency evening but extra running time all day
  • Services 9 and 9A - reduced to 15 minutes daytime, same frequency eveing but extra running time all day
  • Services 10 and 17 same frequency but extra running time
  • Service 11 - reduced to 20 minutes daytime, same frequency eveing but extra running time all day
  • Service 14 - reduced to 12 minutes daytime, same frequency evening but extra running time all day
Route diversions also apply on Friday and Saturday evenings from 1800 as follows:

  • 2C into Blackpool will run from Church Street through St Johns Square to terminate at Abingdon Street then run back to Knott End via normal route.
  • 3 and 4 northbound diverted in Bispham via Cavendish Road and Devonshire Road to Bispham Village, 4 then via Red Bank Road and Norcliffe Road. 
  • 3 and 4 Southbound diverted in Bispham (4 via Norcliffe Road, Red Bank Road to Bispham Village), both via Northgate, to Wabreck Drive. In town centre will turn left from Dickson Road into Talbot Road without serving Abingdon Street.
  • 5, 7, 14 and 17 from Central Drive then via Albert Road, Regent Road, Church Street, St Johns Square to Abingdon Street then onto Talbot Road. Southbound as normal to Talbot Road then via Dickson Road, Springfield Road, High Street, Talbot Road, George Street, Grosvenor Street, Park Road, Reads Avenue, Central Drive and as normal
  • 9/A as normal to Talbot Road, then High Street, Springfield Road, Dickson Road and Talbot Road to terminate outside Wilkinsons
  • 10 and 11 run via Tyldesley Road and Rigby Road to Central Drive then as 5/7/14/17 diversion. Southbound 11 takes the 5/7/14/17 diversion, but the 10 runs through St Johns Square, Abingdon St, Talbot Road, Cookson St, George St and as 11 - both using Rigby Road to reach Lytham Road
  • 15 and 16 will terminate in St Johns Square from Church St then returning via Abingdon St and as usual
  • The 20 will terminate on Albert Road outside Argos on Fri/sat from 14 October and daily from 28th.
Every day Stagecoach 68 will divert at Royal Oak via Waterloo Road, Central Drive, Albert Road, Cookson St to Talbot Road returning then back via Cookson St, Grosvenor Street, Park Road, Reads Avenue, Central Drive and Waterloo Road. The 61/68 will terminate at Talbot Road Fridays/Saturdays and Corporation St/Market Street as normal Sun to Thurs.

Also overlooked on this blog is the withdrawal of Excel 216 and Solo 277 on 5 August and 279 has also been retired. Excel 218 and Olympian 378 went for scrap during August.

Summer Scenes

Blackpool Transport Citaro 550 on service 5 awaits to turn into Clifton Street in Talbot Square. These Citaros are still mainly found on service 5, plus the 9/9A on Sundays - but have now appeared on most other big bus services with sightings on 1, 2C, 7, 11 and 14 recorded. (All photos Brian Turner)

Sister bus 551 heads south on Talbot Road towards Halfway House

Enviro 400 City 405 crosses Abingdon Street junction on the approach to its terminus at Clifton Street on its regular service 9/9A duty. 

220 - one of the two ex Go North East Excels still in service turns into Clifton Street on service 7 
The last remaining Reading Excel in service - 225 - sets off having let Solo 246 out.

Preston Bus Solo 20767 approaches its terminus on service 74. 

What Might Have Been

Volvo B7RLE 524 on its first day out in 'Delta style' heritage livery (David Umpleby)
To mark the 30th anniversary of the formation of Blackpool Transport Services Ltd for deregulation in October 1986, Volvo B7RLE 524 has been repainted into the fleet livery applied to the Optare Deltas of 1990-1993 with a green skirt and roof with cream in between and black window surrounds. It returned to service today on service 7.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Lytham Hall Running Day Monday 29 August

The late summer bank holiday, 29 August is the third annual Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust running day at Lytham Hall. This year a 10 minute service will run from Lytham Hall to St. Annes via Lytham (stops on Promenade jct Dicconson Terrace)  and Fairhaven Lake.

First departure will be from St Annes at 0935 and Lytham Hall at 1000. Last round trip from the Hall will be at 1600 leaving St. Annes at 1635. 11 different buses are planned to be in use with more on static display at the Hall. There is no parking at the hall, so the bus service is the best way to get there. 

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Service Changes

Catch 22 Bus withdrew its Service 6 (Town Centre-Grange Park) on 5th August, while Coastal will withdraw short lived service 77 (St Annes to Victoria Hospital) on 27th.

Preston Bus is revising the 74 and 75 from 5 September. The 75 will now be extended to Fleetwood while the 74 will run hourly Blackpool to Poulton and every two hours to Fleetwood. The 74/75 will make an hourly Poulton to Fleetwood service via the current 74 route, save for the removal of the Broadwater estate section of route.

Various BTS services have revised Illumination Saturday services from 3 Sept.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

More Departures

Further Excels have departed after 214 with 217 leaving on the 27th July and 222 on 29th. Volvo Olympian 378 left today with 376 awaiting collection. 

Solos 277/9 have remained in use, their predicted withdrawal having not yet materialised.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Excel Leaves, Solo Lingers

Solo 277 was used on service 1 today, it was expected to have been withdrawn over the weekend. Cannibalised Excel 214 was collected by Partons for scrap today having been withdrawn back in February 2015.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Enviros on the 14

404 kicked off the Enviro 400 City era, working the 0700 14 from Fleetwood to Mereside. All ten of the new buses entered service today on the 14, though by late afternoon one Trident was noted too.

The new buses will operate on the 9/9A Monday to Saturday (9 buses required) and on the 14 on Sunday (10 buses required) when Citaros cover the 9/9A. 

Solos 277, 278, 279, 284 and Olympians 374-379 are withdrawn as a result - Excel 224 and Solo 285 have been parked up over the last year without replacement.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Olympian Farewell

Two of the final three Olympians captured together on service 1 earlier today
Today marked the final day in service for the 1994 Volvo Olympians with a special farewell event using 374, 375 and 377 on service 1.

374 started the day working the 0800 Freeport-Starr Gate then 0920, 1200, 1440 and 1730 from Starr Gate and 1040, 1320, 1600 from Freeport and finally the 1845 Fleetwood Ferry to Starr Gate.

375 worked the 0800, 1040 1320 and 1600 from Starr Gate and the 0920, 1200, 1440 and 1720 from Fleetwood while 377 ran 40 mintues later on the 0840, 1120, 1400 and 1640 from Starr Gate and 1000, 1240, 1520 and 1800 from Fleetwood. Some journeys ran quite late - thanks to traffic not the veteran buses - so some journeys turned short.

All three finished their day at Starr Gate - running late by 15-20 minutes on their final journeys. 375 was first back to depot around 1900, 377 around 1930 and finally 374 entered depot at 2006 bringing down the curtain on 95 years of step entrance bus operation by Blackpool Transport and its predecessors. All service buses are now fully accessible and PSVAR complaint.

Blackpool Transport owned six Volvo Olympians and 33 Leyland Olympians. The first (365-7) arrived second hand in 1986, followed by six new in 1989, 10 from Trent in 1996/7, 7 from Lancashire United in 2007 and seven new to London open toppers from 2006 - these were all withdrawn from 2009 to 2012.

The Volvos arrived in November 1994 and entered service on route 6 on the 14th, quickly switching to 22/22A. They were the only buses delivered in the 1990s cream roof livery. In the Metro era they started life on the 14, but in 2002 had their first repaint into Line 11 livery. They later gained pool livery between 2004 and 2006, but 379 returned to Line 11 livery in 2007. They gained the current BTS livery in 2011 (375-9) and 2012 (374). 375-9 were fitted with seat belts for school baths contracts in 2011 and settled into a life of mainly school services while 374 enjoyed more regular local service work.

379 was withdrawn in May 2014 with electrical faults and went for scrap in February 2015, its seat belts were transferred to sister 374 to retain the five school buses. Local service work was occasional - more recently 374 on 10/17 on 2 June while 374 and 375 worked on the 14 towards the end of the month.

The final trio will now be stored pending disposal along with 376 and 378 which were withdrawn in June. All five are expected to go for scrap, unless an 11th hour preservation approach takes place.

Lost Lifestyle
Also due to be withdrawn this weekend are Solos 277 and 279 joining sisters 278 and 284 which last ran in June. These are the last of the eight Lifestyle Line Solos, the the last of 24 Mercedes engined ones.

Local enthusiast Rob Bray was out for a last ride or two and has kindly shared some photos. This is 374's upperdeck at Freeport - note the standard bus seats fitted to the rear some years ago. These seats were swapped with 379s to transfer the seat belts when the latter was withdrawn in 2014 (Rob Bray)

374 awaits departure from Freeport (Rob Bray)

A rear view of 374 as it leaves North Pier for Starr Gate. (Rob Bray)

374 loads at North Pier (Rob Bray)

A last minute addition to 375 was this Starr Gate destination. When new blinds were fitted to the bus fleet c2010, route 1 terminated at the Airport and 'Starr Gate' had to be added to the blinds when the terminus later changed. It was noticed before service that 375 was not so treated and this was quickly rectified! (Rob Bray)
377 won't see the screening of Jason Bourne on 27 July. It is seen starting its final day at Starr Gate (Rob Bray)

Last run - 374 arrives back at depot at 2006 (Paul Turner)

Last run - 374 arrives back at depot at 2006 (Paul Turner)

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Palladium Launch

Today, the 10 new Palladium branded Enviro 400 City double deckers were officially launched on Tower Headland. Mike Wilson was on hand and has kindly made available these photos
The lower deck interior showing the leather seats

406 being positioned in the display

Upperdeck view

Welcome Aboard

The view of the staircase with unusual glazed area  
Line up front view

The back end of a bus or ten

Rear Views

402 arrives for display

405 arrives for display

Logo close up

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Volvo Olympian Farewell - 23 July

1 July 2015 saw 374 working route 1- this should be repeated for the final time on 23 July

To mark the withdrawal of its final five step entrance buses, Blackpool Transport will be operating some of them on service 1 between Starr Gate and Fleetwood Freeport on Saturday 23 July. It is understood they will work alternative workings meaning a 20 minute service.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Live at the Palladium

Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 City 401 (SN16OVA) spent the day on display in St John Square to allow the public to inspect the vehicle. (All Paul Turner)

The dramatic rear view. The ten buses are numbered 401-410 SN16OVA/B/C/D/F/G/H/J/K/L) and arrived over four days at the end of June.

Front view - note the unusual fleet number position

Like the Citaros and refurbished Centros, the Enviros feature wood effect flooring, E-leather seats, wifi and USB chargers. The upper deck is very light, helped by the curved rear roof window,