Friday, 1 May 2009

Profile: Line 10

518 leaves Midgeland Road turning circle on its first day in use in Line 10 colours, 31 Mar 07

By contrast with Line 2, Line 10 is Blackpool's shortest route and the only local route entirely funded by Blackpool Borough Council. It operates with one bus and links Blackpool with Midgeland Road. This area has suffered from many service changes over the years - its sparse population making it hard to serve effectively and efficiently, while maintaining links to local destinations as well as the Town Centre. Traditionally Midgeland Road was linked to the Town Centre via either Spen Corner, or later by Park Road and also to South Shore. After deregulation an earlier route 10 reinstated the Spen Corner routing but also served the newly extended Highfield Road as used by the present bus.

Since then various alternatives have been tried - including a period when Line 2 served the area but in December 2005 Line 10 adopted its current route and has lasted unchanged for over four years - unheard of in the Marton Moss since deregulation. It has a direct link to an off-peak service introduced in 2003 with funding from Blackpool Council to serve Watson Road. This ran from the Town Hall via the Promenade and Lytham Road, then Watson Rd, Hawes Side Lane, Common Edge Road, Highfield Rd, Midgeland Rd, Cherry Tree Rd, Clifton Rd to Tesco. It ran from 0900 to 1400, sometimes with a spare minibus but often an 86 seat Atlantean provided an excess of capacity.

The current service is similar, but from Highfield Road turns right on to Midgeland Road, down School Road and back along Common Edge Road to Highfield Hotel and back to Blackpool. It runs from 0619 to 1919 (from Midgeland Rd) and 0650 to 1850 (from Town Hall). 593 was originally the dedicated bus in light blue and yellow, but this livery was adopted for new Line 16 in 2007 and at the end of March 2007, the youngest Metrorider - 518- was transferred to the route in a silver-grey/yellow scheme. 593 was painted into pool livery and survives as the only such Metrorider. It regularly appears as back up to 518 though Solos are not unknown too.