Friday, 5 March 2010

Massey Appeal

Some buses seem to have a survival instinct. This post tells the story of a trio of buses which survived intact (well just about) until 2009. All three spent periods in preservation, all three experienced vandalism and all three regained their original livery.

Lytham St. Annes Corporation standardised on Leyland from the 1930s and generally specified Leyland's own bodywork. When this ceased, Lytham chopped and changed its suppliers with its final three batches of Leyland Titans featuring bodywork by Northern Counties, Metro Cammel and finally Massey. The three Massey bodied PD2s were to the less common forward entrance layout - all previous Lytham double deckers having rear entrances. 68-70 had a single piece sliding door behind the front wheels (hence the designation "forward" rather than "front" which applies to most modern buses.

68-70 (CTF625-7B) arrived in 1964 and took their place on the main 11/11A routes from Blackpool to Lytham. They carried Lytham's traditional layered blue and white livery, receiving a simplified scheme with more white in 1974 and the Fylde Borough blue, white and yellow livery during their 1977 overhaul.
68 being refuelled in Squires Gate depot after its regular duty on the G2 works service to the Premium Bonds offices in St. Annes
Fylde went largely one person operated in 1976 but agreed not to make conductors redundant and those who did not wish to retire stayed working. The last few rear entrance buses stayed in use until 1978 but 68-70 could -and did - operate without a conductor on works contracts. They were finally retired in 1980 (70) and 1981 (68/9).

All three were advertised for sale on the depot forecourt with apporpriate signs in the window! 70 spends the night back inside the depot awaiting a passing purchaser

70 was sold first passing to a community group in Skelmersdale where it suffered vandalism. It was rescued and sold onto the North West Museum of Transport then at Burtonwood airfield but later at St. Helens Transport Museum. 69 passed to Martins of Middlewich - a dealer - and then onto CJB Driving School in Barlaston, Stoke on Trent.

68 in Poulton with Rev Jackson ready to take his parishoners on another outing
68 stayed closer to home passing to Reverend Jackson of St Oswalds Church in Preesall. Rev Jackson had it painted in Lytham blue and white and used it to transport parishioners. Sadly in 1986 it was sold out of preservation to Rigby Taylor of Bolton as a mobile exhibition unit eventually reaching Anglia Sales of Maxey - another dealer. The trail then went cold until 2002 when it appeared in derelict condition at Matchams Park, Ringwood. It was last taxed in 1992 so was presumably in off site use at Matchams - a karting venue. It was acquired by a collector but only for spare parts and spent some time in Wolverhampton before passing to Quantock Motor Services - a Somerset based heritage operator as a spares donor. It is believed to have been broken up in late 2009.

68's loss from preservation was compensated for by the arrival of 69 on the scene again - much to the writers surprise at a rally at Fairhaven Lake in 1992. It had recently been purchased from CJB and painted back into Lytham livery (though not quite accurately) and was rallied regularly. Sadly around 1996 it was damaged by fire - a caravan nearby was set alight and the front of the bus badly damaged. The no doubt  distraught owners were faced with selling the bus for scrap and it went to Furbers of Prees. As scrapyards sometimes seem to do it lingered there and in December 1998 donated some parts to sister bus 70. Surprisingly it escaped from the yard having been rescued by London Bus Export of Lydney near Chepstow. This operator of unusual vehicles heavily modified it by converting it to open top; with exposed radiator and also shortening it significantly at the rear! This was for a contract in Rome which had a maximum length stipulation. It has returned to the UK and spent time on a vintage bus service in South Wales.
70 ready for repaint
Meanwhile the vandalised 70 had some restoration undertaken at St. Helens but this stalled and in 1998 it was placed on long term loan to the Lancastrian Transport Trust. On 23 August 1998 it was towed to Blackpool for restoration to restart and this culminated in a repaint in November 1999 and a successful MOT pass in July 2000. St Helens Transport Museum cut back its collection in 2005 and allowed LTT to purchase 70 to keep it permanently - fully restored - in its collection as the last new to Lytham Leyland Titan.
The finished article at Carnforth