Thursday, 31 January 2019

Coastal Changes

Coastal Coaches Solo "Miss Lucy" leaves Lytham Square for St. Annes on service 78 - 2nd January 2019 (Brian Turner)


Coastal Coaches has recently been awarded contracts for services 76 (Lytham to Blackpool), 77 (Preston to Blackpool) and 77A (Preston to Myrescough). These are presently provided by Preston Bus on behalf of Lancashire County Council. Preston bus recently surrendered the contracts and Coastal have won the resulting tender. Four buses are required and the routes transfer on 18th February. On the same date their commercial 78 is reduced from half hourly to hourly.


At the same time Preston Bus will change the 75, again this has been retendered but this time they have retained the contract. Instead of linking to service 29 in Preston, it will now link to a new service 15 from Preston to Longsands. In Fleetwood the 75 will no longer service the Windward Avenue housing estate but will run via Denham Way and Copse Road instead.


Blackpool Transport made two minor service changes on 27th January. The 7 route in St. Annes has changed. Instead of turning via Beach Road, Promenade and St. Annes Road West it now serves the 17 stop on Clifton Drive South then turns via Links Road, South Promenade and St. Annes Road West. The 2C is revised to only serve the Over Wyre Health Centre during open hours, with buses running between 0750 and 1720 still using Pilling Avenue and Grasmere Road. At other times the service reverts to using Lancaster Road.


A significant diversion to the 3 and 9 commenced on 10th December. Neither can serve Bispham Village due to roadworks so run via Ashfield Road and Bristol Avenue (ironically the traditional pre 1992 route of the 9) to Moor Park Pool, with the 9 carrying on as normal and the 3 turning back to Bispham Library via Bispham Road.



Single Deckers in 2019?

The Enviro 200s seem likely to be joined by three more this year. They are now reaching Lytham, mainly on Sundays when they work the recently extended service 17. Here 227 approaches Lytham Square from Saltcotes on 30th December (Brian Turner)


Back in September 2017 I reported on the Blackpool Transport fleet plan which involved replacing the remaining double deckers and minibuses with 72 new buses, comprising 18 midibuses and 54 double deckers. So far the first 20 double deckers has arrived as 436 to 455 followed by the 18 midibuses as 221-228 last year.


By 2020 the BTS fleet would have comprised 126 buses - 89 double deckers, the 18 midibuses, 10 Citaros and 9 refurbished Volvo B7RLEs. This was to cover the peak vehicle requirement of 107 buses and was a reduction from the then total of 132.


Since the further service reductions have taken place, with the 2018 summer PVR calculated as 97, which reduced to 88 in the November service changes for the winter period. Clearly 126 vehicles would now be too many and a batch of four double deckers planned for last spring was dropped. Recently a document was published as part of evidence to parliament's review into the health of the bus industry. This included a graph of BTS's planned fleet in 2019 which would comprise:
  • 15 new single deckers delivered in 2019
  • 3 more midibuses to be delivered in 2019
  • the 18 Enviro 200s of 2018
  • the 55 Enviro 400s of 2016/7
  • the 10 Citaros of 2015
  • 13 older double deckers - probably 319 and 322-332 and one more.
This makes 114 vehicles and removes the 9 2010 B7RLEs from the plan, as well as the older Wright bodied Volvos and Tridents.



Sunday, 16 December 2018

Catching Up - Blackpool Transport

Driver Trainers
Trident 339 has now entered service as a trainer, numbered 975, after passing its MOT in early December. Solo 292 has been relicensed for use as a route learning bus.

Christmas Market Trips
Blackpool Transport has operated some excursions to Christmas Markets with 5 to Manchester, 2 to Skipton and 1 to Garstang markets. The Manchester trips have used Enviro 400s, while Enviro 200 238 was noted on the Skipton run on 2nd December.

Christmas Bus
The newest Enviro 400, 455, has been decorated for Christmas with rear end and lower side panel greetings. Sister 401 had an updated advert for Blackpool Better start applied during late October or early November.
455's offside decorations (Richard Hughes)

455's nearside decorations at Cleveleys (Richard Hughes) 
455's rear end decorations (Richard Hughes)

Boxing Day and New Years Day Services

The usual Boxing Day and New Years Day services are planned by Blackpool Transport. There are some changes to the established pattern reflecting route changes with 25 buses required

  • 1 Fleetwood Freeport to Blackpool Queen St every 30 minutes (4 buses)
  • 5 every 30 minutes (increased from hourly) (3 buses)
  • 6 every 30 minutes (4 buses)
  • 7 Cleveleys to St. Annes every 60 minutes (3 buses)
  • 9 every 30 minutes (3 buses)
  • 11 Blackpool to Lytham every 30 minutes (4 buses) - extended from St. Annes 
  • 14 every 30 mintues (4 buses)

Preservation
Solo 276 has recently been privately preserved, ex Halton and has regained its original registration (V276HEC). It now lives at the Town and District Transport Trust premises near Accrington alongside Excel 225, Olympian 374 and Atlanteans 444 and 496.

Dekka Bus Update
November saw former Blackpool 354 receive its interior makeover as shown in the photos below. Its similar to 358 but with a different interior. It is due for repaint in January with 359 to be refurbished in the new year too. 354 will become F5ELF and 359 F5HDN. Accident damaged 362 is now a spares donor. Thanks again to Mark Self for sending updated.
354 new upper deck (Mark Self)
354 new lower deck (Mark Self)

The sad end for 362 the extent of its accident damage is clear here. It is now a spares donor (Mark Self)



Sunday, 4 November 2018

Update

Catch 22 GX54DWO entered service on 1 November - the first of the four ex Stagecoach Midlands Darts to see service (Philip Higgs)
The first of Catch 22's new Darts has entered service, GX54DWO carries an advert for Hounds Hill Centre and made its debut on 1 November. The previous day a Versa failure saw open top Olympian P534EFL drafted into keep the 24 running! 


Perhaps the most unexpected working of the year, Northern Counties bodied Volvo Olympian P534EFL covered for a Versa on the 24 on 31 October (Philip Higgs)
Preston Bus are continuing to provide a variety of buses from its Blackpool outstation. Peter Turner has reported the following present on 21 October: Volvo B12B 11523/5, Mercedes 12000 and 14003, Ford Transits 15039/41, Optare Solos, 20769/73/86, 20831/75, Dennis Tridents 40005/9/12 and Volvo B9TL 40503.

Blackpool Transport continues to dispose of its surplus buses. 362 was collected by Dekkabus on 25 October with a new registration Y829YBV, but unfortunately was damaged in a multi vehicle collision on the M6 later that day. Dekkabus has since, collected 354 and 359 on 1st November. The final Manx Trident, 353, left on 3rd November collected by The Busman Ltd of Knutsford, set up by Adrian Morton former owner of Morton's Travel (where he bought Blackpool 225, 333 and 335) and today it was in use on rail replacement work! 

The era of ex Blackpool Solos at Halton has ended with the withdrawal of their 57 last month - it awaits disposal and has reverted to V272HEC. 

Service changes took place today as planned, however an expected closure of the Promenade at Talbot Square from 5 November has been put back to 12th November. The 3 and 4 are using Topping Street again to access Dickson Road from the 5th, while the 5, 6 and 7 are using temporary stops on the Promenade. Also from the 5th, the stops outside Wilko reopen and will be served by northbound 5, 6, 7, 9 and 14.

The town centre routes from 12th November are:
  • 1 terminates at Queen Street, terminates via Promenade, Pleasant Street, Dickson Road, Springfield Road, Abingdon St, Queen St and back via Dickson Road to Pleasant St
  • 2, 2C, 18 and 19 arrive via Church St, St Johns Square to Abingdon St then return via Talbot Road, Cookson St, George St, Grosvenor St Church St
  • 3 and 4 to Cleveleys from Church St via Topping St and Dickson Road
  • 3 and 4 to Mereside from Dickson St, via Pleasant St, Promenade, Springfield Road, Abingdon St (stop), Queen St, Dickson Road, Talbot Road, Cookson St, George St, Grosvenor St, Church St or Park Road
  • 5 to Halfway House and 7 to St. Annes from Talbot Road via Cookson St (stop outside council offices), George St, Grosvenor Street, Church St (stop), South King St, Adelaide St, Coronation St (stop), Reads Avenue, Central Drive
  • 5 to Hospital and 7 to Cleveleys from Promenade via Church St, Corporation St, Clifton St (stop), Abingdon St, Talbot Road (stop Wilko)
  • 6 to Mereside from Caunce St via Grosvenor Street, Church St (stop), South King St, Adelaide St, Coronation St (stop), Reads Avenue, Central Drive
  • 6 to Grange Park from Promenade via Church St, Corporation St (stop), Clifton St, St Johns Square, Caunce Street (stop)
  • 9 and 14 terminate at Queen Street turning via Talbot Road, Dickson Road, Springfield Road, Abingdon St to Queens Street then back via Dickson Road to Talbot Road (prior to 5th November these have used High Street/Springfield Road)
  • 11 and 17 terminate at Market St turning via Church St, Corporation St, West Street.
  • Catch 22 Service 21 to St. Annes via Promenade, Springfield Road, Abingdon St, Queen St, Dickson Road, Talbot Road, Cookson Street, Caunce St, Grosvenor St, Church St, South King St, Adelaide St, Coronation St, Reads Avenue, Central Drive, New Bonny St to Promenade
  • Catch 22 Service 21 to Cleveleys via Promenade, Church St, Corporation St, Clifton St, Abingdon St, Queen Street, Dickson Road

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

DAF disposals

Three more withdrawn DAFs have been sold. 355 has gone to B&J Barnoldswick, 364 to Midland Bus Hire, Birminghamand 362 joins 358 at Dekkabus.  

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Catch 22 Bus

KP04GZM - one of the latest additions to the Catch 22 fleet in their new green and blue livery (Philip Higgs)

Catch 22 has upgraded its fleet recently with some Dennis Darts from Stagecoach Midlands. KP04GZM is the first repainted into the new livery, GX54OWO has gained an all-over advert for Hounds Hill Centre.
GX54OWO shows off its new Hounds Hill allover advert (Philip Higgs)

Also the company has regularly used open toppers from its affiliated Sightseeing Tours business on the Beach Bus 26 and sometimes the Coastliner 21. Its most recent one to enter service is V145MEV which has received an allover advert for Marton Mere Holiday Park and it is expected to regularly work the 26 in the summer and Sightseeing Tours in the winter. 

The Sightseeing Tour business uses mainly Alexander bodied Dennis Tridents with V158MEV and V362OWC branded for Manchester, V168MEV for Birmingham and W501RBB with generic branding. Northern Counties Volvo Olympian P534EFL is also operated. All have the same green and blue livery now being used by Catch 22. 158, 168, 362 and 534 have been seen in service in Blackpool.

Routemaster RM2681, repatriated from Denmark in February 2017 has been progressively overhauled since and has recently moved for underframe painting. 


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 - rerouted in Knott End via Grasmere Road and Pilling Lane to improve 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 Moreton 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 maintenance 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

Snippets

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)