Saturday, 19 September 2015

Trial and Error

313 was one of two Atlanteans treated into this livery in 1982 with a green skirt - transforming the otherwise neatly proportioned original livery. Both lasted four years so treated - 313 is seen here looking ready for paint attention in February 1988 (all Brian Turner)
During the first half of the 1970s Blackpool's buses were painted into a plain all-over cream livery with green restricted to just the wheels. With the first order for Leyland Atlanteans it was decided to revise the livery as the plain cream would be unattractive on such large vehicles. Blackpool adopted Southampton's livery style - albeit in green/cream rather than red/white. It was also decided to change the shades with a darker green and the cream replaced by an off-white colour. The first Atlanteans emerged in 1977 but repaints of PD3s and Swifts continued in the previous livery, albeit using the new shade of off-white - which looked very bland compared to the richness of the previous cream.

Swift 581 with a green roof added to the off-white livery, seen on service 15 on Cookson Street. Note the new superstore being built in the background
In 1979 it was decided to address this on the Swifts and 581/2 were selected for a repaint into an experimental livery which added a green roof to the base off-white. This clearly didn't impress as the next repaint (585) featured a green waistband too and this was adopted for subsequent repaints - though several of the early Swifts were withdrawn before they could be treated. 581/2 were modified to match in March 1981.
At nearly 17 years old veteran PD3 390 was an odd choice for an experiment - it is seen here in its unique livery on service 11C on Dawson Road in St. Annes on 8 April 1983. By the end of July the 11C had been converted to OPO operation and 390 was withdrawn for preservation.

Next to be considered was the fleet of venerable PD3s in 1982. Surprisingly the oldest in the fleet was treated as the experimental bus, 390 of 1965 was repainted with a green roof, window surrounds on both decks and band above the lower deck windows. It emerged from the paint shop on 12 February 1982. It was followed by the youngest - 540 - which was painted during February into a second variation with off-white lower deck windows. Then 512 followed during March with just a green roof and waistband - on both decks the window surrounds were off-white.
512 in its experimental livery - unique in the 70s/80s experiments in that it didn't enter service so treated. It is seen here in the Paint Shop

The completion of 512 led to a decision being taken to adopt 540's livery and 512 was quickly put back into the works to gain green upper deck windows. 390, however, retained its unique livery and was sold for preservation after withdrawal in July 1983. Over the next 30 or so years, 390 has appeared sporadically at events showing off its experimental coat.
308 was the first of the two 'green skirt' Atlanteans treated in 1984
The Atlantean livery that kicked this all off had a particular weakness - the light skirt panels attracted dirt, so in April 1984 308 was admitted to the paint shop and emerged with a green skirt - and new signwritten fleetnames (previously just crests had been displayed). Sister 313 followed into the same livery style in September 1984 but the next repaint (315) reverted to the off-white skirt. Green skirts appeared on five more Atlanteans (302/3, 316/7, 321) which gained a promotional livery for service 6 similar to 308/313 but with orange and yellow stripes) in December/January 1985. 308 and 313 retained their special liveries until next routine repaints in 1988.