Saturday 8 November 2014

Blackpool Atlantean 362 restored

A resplendent 362 poses on Mereside turning circle on completion of its restoration. It carries the green and cream scheme it received in 1991 and not seen since 1999 (Gary Conn)
Blackpool Atlantean 362 has joined the ranks of active preserved buses following successful MOT pass. Owned by Martin Gurr and Gary Conn whose collection includes Delta 133, PD3 501, Swift 554 362 has been restored under contract by Blackpool Transport (body work and repaint) and Preston Bus (mechanical).

362 was the last of the 62 bus seated Atlanteans arriving in August 1983, having been registered on the first of the month as A362HHG. With eight sisters it replaced the last of the 1965 PD3s and some Swifts. Like the other bus seated Atlanteans in started its life in the off-white livery with green roof, top deck window surrounds, stripe above the lower deck windows and thick band on the lower deck.

362's life was nearly cut short at just three years old when a fire destroyed sisters 310, 335 and 342 on 1 October 1986. It suffered minor damage but had it not been moved in time could well have been destroyed. It is believed this saw the modification of the destination displays from recessed to rubber mounted. February 1987 saw a repaint in original livery - one of the last so treated. 362 then carried two allover adverts - for Mackeson Stout from April 1989 to 1990 when it was replaced by one for Bonanza Family Restaurants which lasted until April 1991. On both, the front retained fleet livery to the new design introduced in 1987 of cream with green roof, window surrounds and skirt. This was applied in full at the April 1991 repaint. A second repaint in this scheme (but with black windows surrounds) took place in September 1994 - again shortly before a new livery was designed. This (green skirt and roof band, black window surrounds on a cream base) was applied at 362's April 1996 and September 1999 repaints.
A brand new 362 outside the depot with the mayor's car - note the two piece doors (rather than usual four piece ones as on 301-354 and the recessed destination glass as featured on 351-364)

Blackpool's early Atlanteans had been withdrawn progressively from 1989 to 1994 leaving 41 still in service. The purchase of Fylde saw much older vehicles join the fleet, so the standard Atlanteans had an extended life. Squadron withdrawals took place from 2002 to 2009. 
Atlanteans were still in regular service in 2001, here 362 works service 20 to Marton Mere on 25 May 2001

By 2006 the fleet was down to penny numbers and the remaining bus seated examples were withdrawn in July 2006. It was decided to reinstate four examples to run alongside coach seated 363/4 on a farewell event over the weekend of 28/29 October. 362 was duly reinstated and ran service 20 on both days:

Saturday: 0900, 1900 and 2000 Marton Mere to Town Centre , 1000, 1130, 1300, 1430, 1600 and 1730 Marton Mere to Zoo and 1045, 1215, 1345, 1515, 1645 and 1815 Zoo to Marton Mere plus 1930 Town Centre to Marton Mere

Sunday 1030, 1200, 1330, 1500, and 1630 Marton Mere to Zoo, returning at 1115, 1245, 1415, 1545 and 1715 and finishing with the 1800 Marton Mere to Zoo - finishing its 23 year service life at 1827 at the Illuminations period temporary stop at Albert Road.
Farewell event - 362 at Marton Mere on 28 October 

Farewell event - 362 at Zoo on 28 October 

While 363, 364 and three other examples had a stay of execution, 362 passed into preservation with the Lancastrian Transport Trust. It featured on one event prior to stripping for restoration that didn't proceed. A collection review saw it pass to Martin and Gary in 2013 and the bus soon moved to Rigby Road for restoration - work which was completed in October with a new MOT after mechanical attention by Preston Bus.
362 meets PD3 501 again. This pair only worked together for two years prior to 501's disposal in 1985. (Gary Conn)