Saturday, 4 September 2010

Delta Demise; Fylde Farewell

Delta 101 managed 20 years and 6 months in front line service between March 1990 and September 2010
With the new Volvos due to enter service on Monday, today - Saturday 4 September - was the final day for the Optare Deltas - arguably Blackpool's best ever single deck purchase. At the start of the year 23 Deltas remained in use representing 13% of the bus fleet and contributing to the average fleet age of 11 years and 10 months. With 103 withdrawn during the spring, ten more in July, 115 in August and the final 11 today replaced by 9 new and 8 second hand buses the fleet age is down to 10 years 3 months - still way beyond the industry target of 8 years but a credible improvement. The two driver trainers 969/70 (K129/30UFV) are expected to remain in use.

The final weeks saw the following Deltas active:
101/2 G101/2NBV of March 1990 in black/yellow
118/9/22 H118/9/22CHG of April 1991 in Line 11 turquoise/yellow
123 J123GRN of July 1991 in Black/yellow with Blackpool Council side/rear advert
125/6 J125/6GRN of November 1991 in Line 11 turquoise/yellow
127 K127UFV of January 1993 in Line 11 turquoise/yellow
132/3 H2/3FBT of May 1991 in Line 11 turquoise/yellow

On the final day all except 118 operated. 123 performed the final working - having replaced 122 earlier in the day - the 1745 Line 11 departure from Lytham Hospital to Grange Park then empty to Depot arriving back there at 1923.
133 (Fylde 3) was the last former Fylde bus to run for Blackpool Transport

The withdrawal of 132 and 133 eradicates former Fylde Transport vehicles from the fleet, 14 years after the former competitor was fully absorbed in 1996 - prior to this the previous withdrawals had been the last Atlanteans in 2004. 132 operated on Line 11 while 133 operated on Line 14 finishing with the 1720 departure form Freeport to Mereside and empty to depot for 1849.

Most last days tend to be anything but with the odd appearance witnessed in the next few days (or next few years in the case of the Atlanteans), but the edict seems final but will the Delta have a last stand?