Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The missing DAF and Service Update

As previously noted the arrival of 372 completed the influx of 30 second hand buses from Isle of Man based Bus Vannin. This comprised a batch of 11 Tridents, a batch of 10 DAFs and 9 out of a second batch of 10. The final bus of that third batch, BV 80, followed its sisters to Bus and Coach World and has been refurbished as a demonstrator/sale vehicle for its converter as shown here. DAFs 368-372 remain in store pending deployment - unusual as the first arrived back in January.

Minor service changes have taken place recently. CBNW have extended weekday journeys on service 12 to the full route (Cleveleys-Pleasure Beach) rather than the interim terminus at the Tower. Their first open top Metrobus 69 (F69SYE) is due to enter service this month in a new all-over advert for the Pleasure Beach Wallace and Gromit themed ride. Olympian 269 has also been similarly wrapped to match.

From 9 June Cumfybus and Coastal Coaches tendered services 74-76 have been re-routed and now only serve Victoria Hospital on journeys to Blackpool - taking the direct route from Layton to Wades Farm on the way back. While saving time and improving reliability this makes for a lengthy journey home for anyone wishing to get back from the Hospital! Buses on these routes now terminate at Abingdon Street rather than North Station and the 74 has also reverted to an earlier route in Cleveleys following the completion of road works. Finally Blackpool Transport route 3 has been diverted via Anchorsholme Lane rather than Victoria Road West with effect from 3 June.

Cleveleys Bus Station

Classic and modern. CBNW RM1568 poses alongside a new loading platform while in the foreground the former shelter remains as the entry point to the new loading areas.
The refurbished Cleveleys Bus Station reopened back in December after a prolonged refurbishment which commenced in July. While the traditional passenger area has been retained, it is effectively superfluous now raised boarding areas have been produced on the former bus apron.

The Bus Station was built in 1932 by Thornton  Cleveleys Urban District Council and was initially used by Ribble Motor Services with Blackpool Corporation buses not serving it until April 1940 when it paid an annual rent of £133 (c£6,300 in today's money). From early photos it appears shelters were provided on the apron, but in 1959 the station was closed between January and the end of May with new stands - Blackpool Transport using stands 4 and 5 for the 9a/9b services - its sole services to Cleveleys back then. This is likely to be the layout retained until 2012.

By 1970 the 8 stands were split with Blackpool Corporation running their 7C from stand 1 and 25A from stand 2 using its new AEC Swift, while crew operated 22/22A used stands 7 and 8. The other four stands were occupied by Ribble services with no less than 17 different service numbers! 

Annual rent had risen to £1,200 by 1980 (actually a fall to £4,364 in current prices v 1940). Deregulation brought more variety with operations from Fylde and independents such as Carriages joining Blackpool and Fylde. Occasional periods of disused took place. 

Today the Bus Station is served by up to 16 buses per hour from four operators:
Stand 1: Blackpool Transport 7 (Cleveleys-Lytham every 15 minutes)
Stands 2 and 3: Blackpool Transport 9 (Cleveleys-Blackpool every 10 minutes)
Stand 4: Classic Bus 12 (Cleveleys-Pleasure Beach every 20 minutes) and Cumfybus 74 (Blackpool-Larkholme every hour)
Stand 5: Cumfybus 74 (Larkholme-Blackpool every hour) and Elite 87 (Cleveleys-Poulton every 90 minutes)

Significantly Stagecoach's main local service 84 passes the Bus Station on its way to Poulton but does not call in, serving stops on Rough Lea Road instead.

Southport based Cumfybus serves Cleveleys on hourly service 74 from Larkholme to Blackpool via several points in between. MX09MJO leaves Stand 4.

MX08DHE is operated by Elite Minibus Service of Carleton on the 90 minute frequency tendered service 87 to Poulton.
Blackpool Transport service 9 uses the double stand 2/3 - ex London 339 poses here. Prior to the refurbishment buses faced the "Bus Station"  sign with a clear risk as passengers cross the area to the left of the Trident which conflicted with bus movements. Despite two crossing areas, people still freely wander over the apron.
New to Blackpool 328 loads on stand 1 - departure point for route 7
328 was soon joined by Olympian 374 - the one Olympian still commonly seen on the local network. On Stand 4 is Classic Bus North West Volvo B10M 899
CBNW 899 heads for the Pleasure Beach past 374 and 328
Unusual signage - intended to direct non bus users to the other pavement to cross Rough Lea Road more closely. 374 awaits another trip to Blackpool on the 9

For many years buses approached the Bus Station via Princess Road (the road onto which 899, 328 and 374 face in the picture above) but this generally required buses to face outwards - realistic with rear loaders but less so with front entrance buses. Ribble tended to swing round and face the departure points as they used the stands nearer the sea front. Since the 1990s buses have continued up Victoria Road and turn into Rough Lea Road as demonstrated by 528 here. This is now one-way as buses need to use the "wrong" side of the road to enter the bus bays.
528 has now entered the Bus Station and awaits departure from Stand 2.

Green Trident 305 has also joined the fray, oddly in Stand 1 normally the domain of route 7

305 soon departed - perhaps needing to get back in front of 528 clearing the way for Excel 222 to load for route 7
222 and 528 and joined by CBNW Volvo 898 on the 12 and a Cumfybus Solo on the 74
The sequence ends with 898 leaving for Pleasure Beach turning onto Princess Road to reach Rough Lea Road

Cleveleys Bus Station historical shots can be seen here.