Friday, 6 March 2015

Preserving the Past (part 2)

AEC pair. One of the two surviving Blackpool AEC Swifts 570 poses alongside Routemaster 521 at the Blackpool Transport open day in 2010
Part one of the story (here) took us up to the PD3 era. 1969 saw the arrival of the first of 55 AEC Swifts. The first 15 (541-555) featured low driving positions, semi automatic transmission and barrel windscreens. They were withdrawn in the early 1980s with 554 taken out of use in 1981, despite being one of a handful to carry the later green and off-white livery. The following year it was purchased by Graham Oliver and rallied until sale to Wealden (dlr) in 1988. After several years in store it passed back to Graham in 1996 and onto the Lancastrian Transport Trust soon after. It ran initially in its faded green livery but regained its original allover cream in 1998. After several years in store it was sold to Gary Conn and Martin Gurr in 2013 and is expected to return to use in 2015.

The other 40 Swifts (556-595 of 1971/4) were high driving position, automatic buses with BET style windscreens. Withdrawals were spread through the 1980s until the last ceased service in February 1988. 570 was withdrawn in December 1987 and like many sisters was bought by Wealden. It was sold for further service to Blue Saloon of Guildford where it operated into the 1990s. Graham Oliver was its saviour and it was brought back to Blackpool for a repaint into its 1980s livery in 1987. Graham later passed the bus to LTT but despite another repaint in 2005 it has not seen use for several years.

The Atlantean era
64 Atlanteans followed the 55 Swifts from 1977 to 1984. Several had short lives, 301-21/35/42 were withdrawn by 1994, but most of the rest survived into the 2000s. Four are preserved.

334 of 1980 was withdrawn in May 2003 and purchased by Graham Oliver, passing to LTT in 2005. A full restoration took place in 2006/7 with the Atlantean regaining its original livery. It has been in store recently following a spell in PSV use with Classic Bus on college contracts.
Atlantean 353 in the 2010 open day line up. PD3 390 alongside was withdrawn a year after 353 joined the fleet
353 of 1982 lasted until 2008 - the oldest of its type to operate in routine service. It was bought by the Chesterfield 123 group and fully restored to its last livery first applied in the 1990s. It has visited Blackpool on a few occasions.

362 - the last bus seated example - ran from 1983 to 2006 and joined the LTT collection on withdrawal. More recently it has passed to Gary Conn and Martin Gurr and has been fully restored to the late 1980s livery. 364 - the last of all and one of two coach seated examples is still owned by Blackpool Transport but effectively preserved. It is currently in store.

The newly restored 362 at Mereside (Gary Conn)
Handybus Preservation - City Pacer 575 and Metrordier 589 at Rigby Road Depot Open Day 2010
Blackpool purchased two batches of six Routemasters in 1986 (521-6) and 1988 (527-31/3) and a 13th in 1989 (534). These ran until 1996 - though sporadically in later years and were sold onto Reading Mainline except for 534 which returned to Burton's Biscuits some time before. One was exported but the remainder remain. 521 was bought by LTT in 2003 and restored the following year. It is now considered part of the Catch 22 bus fleet. 522 is also preserved, but in its second London guise having been one of seven ex Blackpool examples purchased by Transport for London after service in Reading.
35 Optare City Pacer minibuses were bought from 1987 to 1990 and two are currently preserved. 560 of the first batch (May 1987) ran until 1995, later passing to Reading Buses. Following withdrawal it was purchased by a local enthusiast and has been stored since. 575 of August 1988 lasted until December 1999 and has been preserved since. Graham Oliver purchased it in 2000 and repainted in pseudo BT green and cream livery. It was later passed to LTT and returned to authentic Handybus Black and Yellow.

The City Pacers were followed by 31 Metroriders of which 589 is the sole preserved example. It was withdrawn in 2007 and sold for preservation locally in 2008. It is back in Handybus colours and regularly rallied.

Former Fylde Buses

Blackpool Transport took over Fylde Transport in 1994 and absorbed it fully in 1996 bringing a large fleet of mainly Leyland Atlanteans with it. Five of these - and one Delta - are preserved.

Atlantean 458 of 1970 failed to see out a year in Blackpool Transport ownership as it was withdrawn in October 1996. The following year it passed to LTT for preservation and was cosmetically restored to its original guise as Lytham 77 in 1998. Since 2000 it has been in store awaiting further restoration. 

Restored Fylde Atlantesns 45 (left) and 77 (right)
479 of 1975 operated until 2002. It was bought by LTT on withdrawal but is now privately owned for restoration as Fylde 79. Sister 471 of 1977 as Fylde 85  was refurbished in 1991 as 71 (OJI4371) it ran until 2004 and joined the LTT fleet, quickly returning to its guise as Fylde 71. It is now in private ownership.

Fylde 45 of 1984 was, like 71, amongst the last survivors of the Fylde Atlantean fleet in 2004. It was bought for preservation by the Blackpool Transport Omnibus Group and is restored as Seagull Coaches 45. 

Two former Fylde single deckers are preserved. Atlantean 137 is a 1993 rebody on a 1971 chassis and on disposal from Blackpool in 1999 passed via several owners ending up at Shamrock Poole from where it was purchased for preservation. Restoration is currently underway.

133 (Fylde 3) was the last former Fylde bus to operate in 2010 It was bought for the LTT collection but was sold on last year and is now restored to its 2001 condition post refurbishment.
Preserved 'Fleet' list
NoRegChassisBodyW/d  Preserved byStatus
7FV9044Leyland TigerBurlingham1956Private, SussexR Engineers
246DFV146Leyland Titan PD2Burlingham1967LTT, BlackpoolAR
300EFV300Leyland Titan PD2Burlingham1969Private, HuddersfieldUR
346PFR346Leyland Titan PD2 Metro Cammell  1975LTT, BlackpoolAR
351 YFR351Leyland Titan PD3Metro Cammell197xPrivate. BlackburnUR
390CFR590CLeyland Titan PD3Metro Cammell1983Private, CheshireR 1980s
501HFR501ELeyland Titan PD3Metro Cammell1985Private, BlackpoolR 1980s
511HFR511ELeyland Titan PD3Metro Cammell1988Private, LiverpoolAR
512HFR512ELeyland Titan PD3Metro Cammell1988Private, BlackpoolR 1970s
516HFR516ELeyland Titan PD3Metro Cammell1984Private, EastbourneR Trainer
518HFR518ELeyland Titan PD3Metro Cammell1988Chepstow ClassicR 1960s
529LFR529FLeyland Titan PD3Metro Cammell1980LTT, BlackpoolR 1960s
540LFR540GLeyland Titan PD3Metro Cammell1988Private, CheshireAR
554PFR554HAEC SwiftMarshall1970Private, BlackpoolR 1970s
570OFR970MAEC SwiftMarshall1984Private, EastbourneR 1980s
334AHG334VLeyland AtlanteanEast Lancs2003LTT, BlackpoolR 1970s
353UHG353YLeyland AtlanteanEast Lancs2008Chesterfield 123 GpR 1990s
362A362HHGLeyland AtlanetanEast Lancs2006Private, BlackpoolR 1980s
364B364UBVLeyland AllanteanEast Lancs2009Blackpool TransportUR
521583CLTAEC RoutemasterPark Royal1996Catch 22 BlackpoolR 1980s
560D560YCWVolkswagen LT55Optare1995Private, ReadingAR
575F575RCWVolkswagen LT55Optare2000LTT, BlackpoolR 1980s
589N589GRNOptare MetroriderOptare200xPrivate, BlackpoolR 1990s
133H3FBTDAF SB200Optare Delta2010Private, BlackpoolR 1990s
137TKU469KLeyland AtlanteanNorthern C1999Private, BlackpoolUR
458ATD281JLeyland AtlanteanNorthern C1996LTT, BlackpoolR Lytham
471OJI4371Leyland AtlanteanNorthern C1996Private, BlackpoolR Lytham
479HRN99NLeyland AtlanteanNorthern C1996Private, BlackpoolR Lytham
445NJI5505Leyland AtlanteanNorthern C1996BTOG, BlackpoolR Lytham
Notes:= R= Restored, UR Under restored, AR Awaiting Restoration