Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Easter Tridents

On Monday Tridents 326 and 329 worked the 1A, the latter seen here at Manchester Square
The established pattern of Sunday services on Bank Holidays can cause capacity problems. Generally loadings tend to be higher, though previous experiments with Saturday services did not prove viable given the need to compensate staff for working Bank Holidays and the past ability of the tramway to occupy surplus staff.
This year saw increased double deck operation with Tridents used on the 1 and 1A over the weekend - as they have on other recent weekends - and more unusually on the 7 on Sunday and Monday. With 40 Tridents, all 34 Sunday big bus duties could be covered by Tridents - though Olympians did work on route 20. Routes 2-5, 15-17 occupy 20 Solos on Sundays.

Trident 316 leaves Madison Avenue for Blackpool on the 1 on Easter Monday.
In a correction to a previous post, 813 has moved to Padarnbus, Llanberis rather than Alpine.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Tridents on the 20

Today has seen Tridents 302 and 339 alongside Olympian 372 on route 20.

Olympian 372 approaches the Zoo stop

Trident 302 swings out of Barlow Crescent onto West Park Drive on service 20

Trident 339 heads down Woodside Drive from the Zoo
339 waits time at Blackpool Zoo

Friday, 22 April 2011

Top 20

401 was the first Olympian painted into Lilac and Yellow. Here it turns from Station Road into Lytham Road in May 2004. It took some time for the destination display to be modified to blank out the incorrect "Park Road" via point
Today saw the restart of summer service 20. This year is runs from Town Centre to Marton Mere via Stanley Park and Blackpool Zoo with Olympians 372, 373 and 378 on duty. It seems opportune to trace its history.
Atlantean 362 leaves Market Street on 25 May 2001
The 20 commenced on 17 April 2000 from Blackpool Town Centre via Promenade, Station Road, Royal Oak, Waterloo Road and Preston New Road to Marton Mere Leisure Park. Since 1988 Marton Mere had been served by the 44A/B; its predecessors and evening routes 333/444, some times summer only, some times year round. Route 23 also provide a summer evening/Sunday service to South Shore (particularly the Pleasure Beach), though it was lightly used - most people preferring the Town Centre link. These last served Marton Mere at the end of the 1999 season.

During the Atlantean era, 349 leaves Marton Mere on 30 August 2000
The 20 operated daytimes only every 30 minutes, depriving Marton Mere of its evening service and there were gaps on weekdays to allow the two Atlanteans required to operate school services. The service lasted until the end of the Illuminations period but resumed at Easter. This continued until 2005, save for a route change in 2003 which saw buses diverted at Station Road via Lytham Road, Watson Road, Marton Drive to rejoin the former route at Spen Corner.

401 leaves Marton Mere Caravan Park in April 2004
2004 saw the 20 route branded in the Metro style with lilac for the route colour. Ex Trent Olympians 401-403 were painted during the spring, providing a spare bus - all continued to be available for school workings.
402 with its modified front crosses the tram tracks at Manchester Square
2006 saw the 20 merged with Tower to Zoo service 21. Marton Drive/Watson Road was dropped in favour of the former route via Waterloo Road. Buses continued from the Town Centre via Hornby Road, Stanley Park, Model Village to Blackpool Zoo. At Easter a half hourly three bus service was provided, but from 24 April to 28 May the Tower to Zoo section was not served with the full route restarting on 29 May. Unusually the summer school holidays saw extra journeys on Wednesday, Thursdays and Sundays from Tower to Zoo in the morning and back in the afternoon. During school terms some journeys ran Zoo to Tower only to release two of the three Olympians for school work. 404 joined the 20 branded fleet in March.

From 1972 to 2010 Zoo buses usually departed from Adelaide Street at this designated stop where 403 loads in the final season of the Lilac Olympians
 Route 20 formed part of the farewell to the Atlantean event on 28/29 October. Saturday saw 361, 362 and 364 run on the 20 while 358, 360 and 362 covered the service on the Sunday - though 360 failed and was replaced by 371 around 1900. This was 362's last duty before preservation, coincidentally LTT's other Blackpool Atlantean 334's last duty was also on the 20 (29 May 2003).

2007 saw a complete revision with route 20 now starting at Pontins and running along the Promenade to the Tower then resuming its former route via Hornby Road to Stanley Park, turning in front of the Cricket Ground and heading up the rarely bus served North Park Drive to reach Blackpool Zoo. It then continued via Model Village and Preston New Road to Marton Mere. The frequency remained every 30 minutes with three buses but the school day gaps were removed as the service now used City Sightseeing branded Leyland Olympians. It ran weekends only until 27 May then daily. The lilac Olympians were repainted into Line 1 Orange
City Sightseeing liveried Olympian 858 heads to Pontins on the 20 in August 2007
For 2008 an interim service started in mid March running Town Centre to Marton Mere only, running direct from Stanley Park via West Park Drive and Preston New Road to Marton Mere without serving the Zoo. This ran hourly with one bus. The full tour started at weekends at Easter with the interim service running weekdays until daily tours started in late May. This was repeated in 2009, but the closure of Pontins saw the terminus move to Airport in October. For 2010 the southern terminus was Pontins.

The 20 has struggled for reliability on busy days when loadings are high. For 2011 the route has been shortened to Marton Mere to Town Centre only with additional running time to occupy the three buses. Closed top Olympians are used with the open toppers restricted to a high season Promenade service.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Cuts Cuts Cuts

Lancashire County Council is implementing its transport budget cuts from 29 May and cancelling several tendered bus service contracts. 9 services will be withdrawn and 5 others lose their evening or Sunday services. Three Fylde Coast services are affected:

Service 17 (St. Annes to Blackpool) which loses its Coastal Coaches operated evening journeys
Service 77 (Wesham to Preston) operated by Hegarty Travel which is withdrawn completely
"Garstang Super 8" demand responsive service operated by Elite Minibus services is withdrawn completely.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

News and Views

Friday sees the resumption of route 20, this year running from Corporation Street to Marton Mere only. Three buses are required with Olympians expected to be the norm. The service will run daily until 8 May, then the weekend of 14th/15th and daily from Saturday 21st May to Sunday 6 November.

Yesterday saw a rare - possibly so far unique - working on an Excel on the 15, with 211 out into the evening.

Open top Olympian 813 has now departed Blackpool and is believed to be with Pardan Bus in Llanberis, North Wales.

Trident 342 turns from Lytham Road onto Station Road due to the closure of Skew Bridge
Just two Tridents retain the attractive Line 11 colour scheme following the repaints of 324-332. 322 awaits departure for Grange Park on Clifton Street.

The 2 and 2C was partially converted back to Solo operation in January - 5 Solos are required with two single deckers covering the busier journeys. Line 3 liveried 296 heads along Church Street to the Corporation Street terminus.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

401 becomes a Classic Bus

Olympian 401 in Busworks yard on 15 April with newly repainted Routemaster RM1568 behind.
Olympian 401 (XAU701Y) has been acquired by Classic Bus North West for use as a back up bus for contract work. New to Trent in 1983 it was purchased by Blackpool to replace ex Fylde Atlanteans arriving on 11 December 1996. After a repaint into green and cream, 401 entered service on route 22 on 5 February 1997. December 1999 saw a full repaint in green/cream while January 2002 saw it uniquely but briefly receive the olive/grey/yellow pool livery. It was not to operate so attired and within days returned to the paint shop for the olive and grey to be overpainted with Line 11 turquoise. February 2004 saw it repainted into lilac and yellow for Line 20 and March 2007 saw it gain Line 1 orange/yellow. It was withdrawn in October 2010 and is the first closed top Olympian to be sold.

It joins Volvo Olympians N324/5NHG (new to Dublin Bus) and P269PSX (new to Lothian Buses), Routemasters CUV290C, SMK734F and BNK324A, Leyland National 2 GCK428W, Bristol VR WTG360T and MCW Metrobus A945SUL in the Classic Bus North West fleet.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Olympian Repaints

368 and 369 were the only two East Lancs bodied Olympians to receive Line 1 orange and yellow. They are seen here together at Pontins and are both now to receive the new fleet livery.

Both of the Line 1 liveried East Lancs bodied Olympians are to be repainted in the new fleet livery. 369 is currently being treated along with Solo 285. Trident 324's repaint is now complete. Meanwhile Solo 264 has become the fifth of its type to be withdrawn.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Round Up

Trident 326 has left the paint shop - the 16th of the 40 strong fleet treated to the new livery. Olympian 369 has replaced it - its not yet known if this will be the first step entrance bus in the new livery.

Further diversions currently sees Highfield Road closed with the 5 and 16 serving St. Lukes Road between St. Annes Road and Lytham Road. It is also closed between Highfield Hotel and Midgeland Road in that direction only. The 16 diverts via Hawes Side Lane, Daggers Hall Lane and Vicarage Lane. The 10's loop is reversed via School Road, Midgeland Road and Hawes Side Lane.

Finally Ansdell Road is closed in one direction sending the 14 and 17 via Bloomfield Road, Central Drive and Waterloo Road.

Solo 250 on the unfamiliar St Lukes Road due to the closure of Highfield Road - 8 April

New Coastal Solo "Miss Lucy" (YJ11EHB) turns into Fairlawn Road on service 76
Not often illustrated is the rescue of defective buses. On 6 April Excel 225 needed a lift from ERF recovery wagon 929

Volvo 528 waits time on the 11 in Lytham Square

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Stays of Execution

The demise of the Night Bus service 27 last weekend has proven short-lived as it resumed on Thursday. It is understood to be a temporary measure as the service registration cancellation has been granted to take effect on 6 May.

Also reported reprieved is former Fylde and Blackpool Excel 208 (N208LCK). This has been with Stagecoach Yorkshire in Chesterfield as 35017 for some time and had cheated withdrawal last year when sister 207 was sold. It appeared on the company's allocation sheets for the four weeks to April 2 as transferred to 'Disposal' which signifies its availability for sale. It has been suggested though that 35017 is to remain in use with another vehicle withdrawn instead.