Friday, 25 March 2011

Delta Preservation

101 heads along Cambridge Road into Lytham on Line 7 deputising for an Excel in October 2009
Two Optare Deltas have joined the ranks of preserved Blackpool Buses. Numerically the first, 101 (G101NBV) has been purchased by Chris Lloyd - owner of Metrorider 510. 101 arrived in Blackpool on Saturday 17 March 1990 and was collected for preservation on Friday 18 March, a day over 21 years later.  It entered service on 23 March along with 102 having been beaten into service by 104-108. In November 1993 it received a full repaint - one of six so treated before the livery changed in 1994. Along with 102 it was transferred to Fylde in January 1995 and had its green skirt painted blue and green roof painted cream with a blue stripe. Numbered 8 in the Fylde series, it returned to the Blackpool fleet and Rigby Road depot in June 1996 - just before Fylde was closed down. It retained blue and cream until August 1996 when the blue areas were overpainted green.

The second version of Green and Cream was carried from 1996 to 2005 - 101 is seen here at Mereside Tesco terminus in February 2005
When Metro Coastlines started in April 2001, 101 was one of three Deltas allocated to Line 11, though it retained green livery and soon reverted to general allocation. April and May 2003 saw repairs to the rear end, much renewal of the floor and a seat retrim. It was not repainted into Metro black and yellow pool livery until August 2005. As such it saw a variety of duties, standing in for branded sisters on the 6 and 11; Excels on the 7 and regularly provided the Delta duty on the 2C. 
101 in Lytham on Line 11, where it regularly deputised for branded sisters
The mass cull of the Deltas during 2010 focused initially on the branded buses with the 6 and 11 buses withdrawn first. 101 survived until 28 October 2010 with a final duty on Line 11. 101 will be restored to green and cream in due course.
Former Fylde 3 is being purchased by LTT and will join a collection which ranges from a 1934 Lion to a 1993 rebodied Atlantean
Meanwhile LTT is purchasing 133 (H3FBT). This was new to Fylde in May 1991 in two tone blue livery and became 133 when Blackpool absorbed the Fylde fleet in July 1996. It briefly carried its new number in blue livery but was repainted into green and cream in August - the last bus treated at Squires Gate depot. A full refurbishment took place between August and November 2000 with the unique Fylde features replaced with standard Blackpool ones, including the new black magic moquette and internal laminates. Even a rear number display was fitted. A second repaint into green and cream completed the work. Surprisingly it was then selected for another repaint in April 2001, emerging in grey, mustard and yellow pool livery. October 2002 saw a further repaint into Line 11 colours - which it retains today. 133, like most of the Line 11 examples, was retired on 4 September 2010 - working Line 14 at 1720 from Fleetwood to Mereside as its final duty. It will be restored to Fylde guise, externally at least. 

133 was dedicated to the 11 from 2002-2010 having been allocated to it from 1991 to 1994 while with Fylde
The status of the 31 Blackpool Deltas is:
Preserved 101, 133
Blackpool Transport (stored): 102, 119, 122, 123, 125, 126, 132
Blackpool Transport (trainer): 129, 130 (as 969/70)
Preston Bus (trainer): 128
Kanes Foods, Evesham: 109, 127
Scrapped (Parton's, Barnsley): 103-108, 112-116, 118
Scrapped (Inglemere Metals, Blackpool) 124
Scrapped (Preston Recyclers, Red Scar) 110, 120, 131
Scrapped (Wrigley, Barnsley): 117