Thursday, 31 March 2016

Restoring Luff's Last Double Decker

The centre loaders still looked smart in their latter days, 277 and 293 stand in the depot yard in 1965 (Brian Turner)
Worshiped by tram enthusiasts for the iconic open boat, railcoach and balloon cars that formed the backbone of the Blackpool fleet from the 1930s until the 2012 modernisation, Walter Luff was general manager of Blackpool Corporation Transport from 1933 to 1954. His style included centre entrances and these were specified on otherwise off the shelf buses from 1933. Luff worked with manufacturers to design bespoke streamlined tram and bus designs. Initial bus orders were mainly single deckers but 1936 saw a pre-production streamlined double decker body produced by English Electric on the Leyland Titan TD4 chassis. Numbered 120, EE must have been disappointed to be supplanted by local firm Burlingham for the production buses. 75 (numbers 121-195) arrived in 1936/7 to upgrade the bus fleet and provide replacements for the Central Drive and Layton trams.

A further 12 - numbered 25 to 36 - arrived in 1940, updated in design by featuring a concealed radiator. After the war, 28 became a test bed for an updated design and Blackpool ordered two batches of 50 Burlingham bodied Leyland Titans using the new 8ft wide PD2 chassis. 201-50 were delivered in late 1949 and through to March 1950, while 251-300 arrived from December 1950 to late 1951. 300, the last, was first licensed in March 1952.
In 1967 300 displays the graceful lines of the Centre Entrance PD2 - especially set against the upright profile of the bus infront (Brian Turner)

During the 1950s the streamliners were found across the Blackpool network but with the onset of the rear entrance buses introduced by Luff's successor Joe Franklin, they became restricted to the quieter routes. Withdrawals commenced in 1963 with accident victim 217, followed by 281 in 1964. Routine withdrawals commenced in 1965 with 16 replaced and another 13 left in 1966, 42 in 1967 and 23 in 1968. 1969 dawned with just 291, 294, 295, 298 and 300 in service - and all were withdrawn by the spring.

300 became a driver trainer on withdrawal, renumbered 8 and then joined sister 246 as PW Mess bus numbered 298 in 1973. Withdrawn in 1976 it was purchased by John Hinchliffe of Huddersfield. Initially moved to Marsh near Huddersfield but was later stored at Sandtoft Trolleybus museum and later still Slaithwaite where it suffered damage from falling masonry. In the early 1980s it moved to the railway arches in Huddersfield until moving to the Wakefield area in 2014. 
300 visited Fleetwood for the first tram Sunday in 1985. It is being passed by Dreadnought 59 - withdrawn in Luff's modernisation plan, but hidden away in store until dusted off for restoration in 1960 (Brian Turner)

300 has been rallied having returned to bus livery from its PW green in the 1970s, but after a couple of visits back to the Fylde in the 1980s it was laid up for restoration. This progressed during the 1990s, but other projects occupied the owners time, however work has now recommenced and is progressing well with the aim for external completion next summer - though interior work will still be needed.

Progress can be followed on a new Facebook Page Blackpool 300 linked here

Monday, 28 March 2016

Ribble on the Fylde: Part 2: Preston to Lytham and Blackpool

The start of many a journey to Preston - Ribble Leopard 621 awaits departure from Talbot Road Bus Station  in 1980 (Mike Rhodes)

Ribble's first venture onto the Fylde started in March 1922 when they started a service from Preston to Marshall Street Garage in Blackpool. This ran via Kirkham, Preston New Road, Whitegate Drive (stopping at Victoria Hospital and Devonshire Square), Talbot Mews (the site of the later Bus Station) and the Promenade/Princess Street to Marshall Street. 

By 1931 this was running as a half hourly service numbered 13 and serving Wrea Green - but the Blackpool terminus was now Talbot Mews (forerunner of Talbot Road Bus Station). A handful of journeys diverted via Weeton.

By 1925 Ribble was also linking Preston and Lytham having purchased John Bull. The route had two variants between Lea and Freckleton, one via Kirkham and one across the Marsh. By 1931 these were numbered 15/15A. 

The Blackpool routes saw much competition in the 1920s which Ribble tended to deal with through take-over, though the aftermath of one particularly extreme battle saw Blackpool based Scout move into the market and relocate to a depot in Starchouse Square in Preston - now long since obliterated by modern development next to the town's covered market. After a battle Scout won licenses under the 1930 Transport Act and both Ribble and Scout provided a 30 minute frequency. Ribble had adopted the 154-158 series and at times linked routes across Preston to places such as Bolton.

During the Second World War Ribble and Scout entered a co-ordination agreement. The 1949 Ribble timetable advertised a 15 minute service with services 154, 155 and 158 in operation. The 158 served Weeton not Wrea Green and the 155/8 both served Fylde Road in Preston rather than Garstang Road (154). Some 154 journeys ran through to Burnley. Ribble also began a single Blackpool local service - the B1 - from Blackpool to Clifton Arms (and Peel Corner at times) mainly as a loss leader to keep Blackpool Corporation away from Ribble's Preston New Road patch. 
Until 1984 Ribble's Lytham terminus was alongside Market Square by the cenotaph. Here one of the 1962 lowbridge Atlanteans 1803 waits time out on a 167 journey to Preston. In 1984 the 167 was extended to St. Annes and this terminus ceased. (Mike Rhodes) 

The Preston to Lytham route had been numbered 165 (via Kirkham) and 166 or 167 (via the Marsh with different routes in Preston). By 1949 a new 171 route provided the main Kirkham to Lytham service every hour in the morning and half hourly in the afternoon, through some peak journeys still ran from Preston as 165s. The Preston to Lytham service now generally took the Marsh route as service 167 on a half hourly frequency. Some 171 journeys extended from Kirkham to nearby Wesham.

In 1953 Ribble commenced a process of linking services across Preston and the following were dealt with:

  • 162 Fleetwood to Preston extended over the 113 route to Wigan
  • 158 Blackpool to Preston via Weeton extended over the 1 to Blackburn and 244 to Rochdale
  • 155 Blackpool to Preston extended via 123 to Chorley and 239 to Wigan
  • 126 Bolton to Preston extended via 154 route to Blackpool
  • 154 Blackpool to Preston extended via 150 route to Burnley
  • 152 Burnley to Preston extended via 167 route to Lytham
Ribble 1974 - an ex Scout PD3 is seen in Devonshire Road depot after a duty on the 171 Lytham to Wesham (Keith Till)
In 1956 the former Viking Preston to Great Eccleston route - now Ribble's 180 was extended to run Wigan to Cleveleys. Scout participated in some of these, particularly the 158 taking its buses out to Rochdale. Ribble acquired Scout in 1961 but kept the undertaking separate. In 1965 the cross Preston workings to/from Blackpool were ended and others followed soon after. The 154/5/8 now each ran hourly making a 20 minute frequency.

By 1977 the 154/5/8 still each ran hourly, the 167 half hourly (with some 165/166s) and the 171 also half hourly - but with most journeys now to Wesham. In 1978 the 171 was merged with Fylde service 3 to provide a through Spring Gardens to Wesham service via St. Annes, Fairhaven, Lytham, Warton and Freckleton. Initially Fylde and Ribble provided two buses each but by the mid 1980s it was 3:1 in Fylde's favour. Around 1981 many of Ribble's workings were extended beyond Wesham to Poulton and Blackpool replacing part of the 162/4 and 87-89 routes. In March 1984 Ribble extended the 167 to St. Annes replacing Fylde Borough service 1.

1986 Onwards

At deregulation Ribble retained the 154 and 158 at a combined half hourly frequency. The 167 was reduced to hourly but extended on to Blackpool. LCC procured an extra service numbered 165 between Blackpool and Lytham which also served Mythop Road in Lytham. This was awarded to Blackpool Transport. In March 1987 Ribble took over the 165 and renumbered it 168.

The 168 was later, briefly, extended from Lytham to Heyhouses and back via Ansdell, but it was soon re-routed to follow the 167 from Lytham through to Blackpool making a half hourly service throughout.

An hourly express 761 was retained from Blackpool to Liverpool, but provided jointly with North Western. Some journeys ran as 762 and there was a brief extension to Poulton in 1986/7. Fylde ran some early Sunday and evening journeys under tender, but the service was curtailed in August 1990 to just a single morning Blackpool to Preston journey at 0610. This was provided by Blackpool, then later by Carriages and Fylde before Stagecoach took over and it was eventually incorporated into the 68 timetable.
Now preserved, Ribble 2101 was the first production Olympian and spent a number of years promoting the Evening Gazette news paper (Keith Till)

154/8 Changes
The 154/8 was extended to Fleetwood via Poulton and Thornton replacing the 81/2 in October 1987 but this only lasted until April 1991. The 158 also ran through to Chorley from August 1990. For a period from 1989 and extra hourly 158 ran from Fleetwood to Blackpool before undertaking a return trip to Knott End as service 85.

In June 1992 the 154 was replaced by service X58 which served the M55 between Marton and Wesham, while the 158 was diverted to serve Wrea Green not Weeton. The former 154/8 routes remained for the evening/Sunday routes.

In  January 2003 the 158/X58 were extended to Knott End Monday to Saturday daytimes replacing the 85 and were renumbered 58/58A in October 2004. A short lived extra 157 (later 57) ran from Preston to Wesham to interwork with the 169 to St. Annes. The services were completely replaced by new route 61 from Blackpool to Preston but not via Wrea Green or Clifton in October 2005. Wrea Green and Clifton were later added back. Blackpool Transport 2C replaced the Knott End operation.

Evening/Sunday services varied from this pattern somewhat:
  • 31 October 1987 - Fylde took over 154/8 on tender - each hourly eves/Suns
  • Summer 1988 Ribble resumed Sunday daytime operation and later took on the rest of the evening/Sunday service
  • Summer 1989 - hourly Sunday service diverted via M55 as 155
  • April 1990 - hourly Sunday service 155 run through to Burnley as 152 
  • October 1990 - Fylde resume evening/Sunday services every 30 minutes every evenings and hourly Sunday daytimes (alternate 154/8)
  • Winter 1991 - Carriages run 152 for the winter (Blackpool-Preston only)
  • September 1991 - Every 2 hours on Sundays 158 (day), 154 (Eves) replaced by 758/754 extended to Liverpool and operated by ABC of Southport
  • October 1994 BTS take over 754/8 from ABC Travel (BTS have taken over Fylde who still have the 154/8)
  • October 1999 Stagecoach take over 754/8 from BTS
  • October 2003 - BTS evening/Sunday services revised to run as daytime 158 route hourly - and evening work continues to Knott End. Stagecoach Sunday 152 becomes 258 and runs through to Knott End
  • October 2004 - BTS evenings becomes 58, Stagecoach 258 becomes 58B
  • October 2005 Stagecoach 61 replaces evening/Sunday pattern on 58/A/B

Competition was quite limited - Lancaster City Transport - doing battle with Ribble in its homeland - had registered competing services to both Blackpool (42) and Preston (40) and introduced an hourly service 41 between the two points in 1988 via Kirkham and M55. For summer 1988 Preston Bus provided a similar service 39 to make a half hourly route. LCT ended their service in September 1989. At various times Redline, Phoenix North West and Carriages have provided single tendered journeys in the early mornings.

167/8 Evolution
Having established a half hourly service to Blackpool in 1988, changes to the 167/8 were mainly focused on Sunday services. Mercers of Longridge took on a 2 hourly Sunday service 166 (Preston-Lytham) in January 1988, Ribble taking this back in July 1989.

In July 1989 the 167/8 were extended from Preston to Accrington, in August 1990 they were diverted to Burnley instead. In August 1991 the service was curtailed at Preston again save for occasional trips which still ran through as 152s. In June 1992 the 168 was dropped and the X67 replaced it operating via Clifton Drive and missing out Ansdell. In October 1992 the 168 was reinstated. McLaughlins were now operating the Sunday service. 

From 1994 some journeys continued beyond Blackpool to Poulton where Stagecoach Ribble outstationed a couple of buses. In 1996 Harrys of Kirkham took over the Sunday service, it passed to Redline in 1997. Ribble resumed the Sunday service - extended to St. Annes via Fairhaven in 1999 at the same time the number 761 was adopted for the evening services which now ran through from Blackpool. 

Blackpool Transport took over the Sunday service in 2001, later routed via Ansdell. For most of 2003, the 167/8 extended to Thornton after the withdrawal of minibus services F6/7 in January but this ended in November 2003
The Alexander R bodied Olympian type was a Stagecoach standard in the 1990s and Ribble 2244 is seen on the 168 in Lytham Square in June 1998

In 2001 the 193 (Wesham to St. Annes) was renumbered 169 and extended to Blackpool making a 15 minute service with the 167/8. This reverted to terminating in St. Annes in November 2003. In November 2004 the 169 became the 69 and the 167/8 were merged as service 68 with the unique section via Mythop Road dropped. Stagecoach resumed the Sunday daytime service in the summer in 2005 and the evening service in October 2005. October also saw the 68 increased to every 20 minutes with the 69 withdrawn and again increased to every 15 minutes in October 2009. Preston Bus provide some evening work on tender (at least until April 2016), but Stagecoach now provide the Sunday service - BTS ending in October 2005.
Stagecoach purchased five of these Mercedes Varios in 1997. 670 was one of the last to operate and is seen here in 2004 on normally Solo operated service 169 - a replacement for the once joint 193
The 193
From its inception in 1978 there was little change to the 193, except for the diversion of evening/Sunday services via Ansdell rather than Fairhaven.  The 193's joint arrangement continued after deregulation, though the Wesham to Blackpool section was annexed Mondays to Saturdays with Fylde winning the contract for replacement servcie 192 Blackpool to Kirkham and also the Sunday service which continued as the 193! Ribble provided one of four buses Monday to Saturday daytime and one of two evening buses Monday to Saturday. The Sunday section from Wesham to Blackpool ended in October 1988 when Blackpool Transport also took over the 192.
Joint services: Fylde and Ribble jointly operated the 193 and were jointly licensed for the extended 167 to St. Annes in 1984. Fylde 85 was typical of their output, Ribble's Lion less so. This is March 1984 and restored Lion 295 is on display in St. Annes Square to promote the extension of the 167 the following week (Brian Turner)
BTS also introduced a competitive 193 providing a 2 hourly service from St. Annes Square to Wesham in 1988, expanding to a 30/60 minute Spring Gardens to Wesham service in August 1988 - carefully avoiding Ribble's working!  This ended in October 1989. At the same time Fylde and Ribble withdrew the Spring Gardens to Wesham section and Ribble now ran every 90 minutes providing one of three buses. Evening buses had run as 293 since April 1989 and Ribble still provided one journey every 2 hours - however both operators ceased the 293 in the evening (and Fylde on Sundays) in favour of extended journeys on Fylde's 11A.

Ribble's last journey at 1808 was later tendered by LCC giving Fleetwood based Carriages a single journey - though this passed to Fylde in 1992. Fylde's two workings passed to Blackpool Transport in 1996 when they absorbed Fylde. On 5 August 2000 Blackpool withdrew its two workings and Ribble took over. As noted above in 2001 the 193 became the 169 operating Wesham to Blackpool. Cut back to St. Annes again in November 2003 it became the 69 a year later and was with withdrawn in October 2005 replaced by extended Kirkham Roamer 70 between Saltcotes Road and Wesham. Today Coastal Coaches service 78 covers the corridor, after spells as Blackpool Transport 2 (2006-2010) and 7 in 2010/1.

The 193 was generally provided by Blackpool depot, until this closed in 1988 when Fleetwood gained responsibility - this reduced to a minibus operation in 1991 and the 193 then became Preston's responsibility. For a period Fylde hosted Ribble's bus for the 193 at its Squires Gate depot - often Tiger 900 was outbased there with an Atlantean at times for school work. On 8 October 1989 Tiger 900 and Atlantean 1342 were photographed in the Fylde yard.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Ribble on the Fylde - Part 1: Origins

Ribble Fleetwood Depot in July 1981 with Leyland National 371 awaiting its next duty (Mike Rhodes)
Ribble Motor Services was formed in 1919 taking over a bus service from Preston to Gregson Lane - today part of Stagecoach services 150/1. The 1920s were a frantic period of bus operation. Licensing was in the hands of local authorities who took widely differing views of the process - especially where there were the incumbent local operator. Ribble grew rapidly by taking over operators who had developed new routes during the decade. By the end of the decade it would cover an area from Carlisle to Wigan and from Skipton to the west coast. 1929 saw LMS Railway take a shareholding.

Ribble's first venture onto the Fylde started in March 1922 when they started a service from Preston to Marshall Street Garage in Blackpool. This ran via Kirkham, Preston New Road, Whitegate Drive (stopping at Victoria Hospital and Devonshire Square), Talbot Mews (the site of the later Bus Station) and the Promeande/Princess Street to Marshall Street. This survives today as service 61. Local passengers were not permitted within Blackpool, to avoid competition with the Marton trams.

A service through Lytham St. Annes was applied for around the same time - but it is not known if this commenced. Certainly a Preston to Lytham service was provided, bolstered by the takeover of John Bull's similar service in 1925. This survives as route 68 today, but in the 1930s ran via Kirkham before this was split into separate routes (167 Lytham to Preston via Freckleton and 171 Lytham to Kirkham).

Meanwhile Lytham and Blackpool had stared municipal bus operations, evolving from their tram undertakings. Fleetwood considered municipal operation, but left matters to the private sector. William Smith started a Fleetwood to Queens Hotel service in 1925, later taken over by Blackpool Transport and incorporated into service 14 from Blackpool in 1929 - a service that continues as such today. Lawrence Motor Services joined the fray in 1925 with a Fleetwood to Poulton via Thornton service and followed this with a Cleveleys to Poulton via Thornton service. They took over the local Fleetwood-Cemetery and Fleetwood seafront services from Fleetwood and Knott End Motors in 1928.

In January 1931 Lawrence sold out to Ribble who entered the Fleetwood market for the first time (save for a short lived Preston to Fleetwood service). Route numbers were allocated including 179 for the Cemetery service and 180 for the Fleetwood/Poulton route. In 1933 this was extended hourly to Preston via Elswick and Kirkham - this becoming the trunk 162/4 route which lasted until the early 1980s.

Ribble developed the Cleveleys/Thornton locals - taking over Blackpool's loss making pioneer service from Cleveleys-Thornton Station, introduced in 1921 as an alternative to LMS constructing a railway line! A local provider S Snape competed until 1937 when Ribble bought him out. The development of the Wyre local services will feature in a future segment.

Today's 42 to Garstang (and Lancaster) has origins with TE Smith Pilgrim Motors to started the link in the early 1920s and sold out to Ribble in July 1927. Ribble had taken over EW Lewis's Blackpool to Knott End route earlier in the year - which became their 85 service - today its covered by Blackpool's 2C - the 85 having ended in 2003 when replaced by the 158 - itself ending in October 2005. These actions gave Ribble the direct Blackpool to Poulton route - with Blackpool (through its take-over of William Smith) left to approach the town via Castle Gardens (north) and Newton Drive (south).

So by 1931 Ribble could consolidate its position as the main Fylde Coast operator with a mix of local, rural and interurban services. Competition continued on the Preston to Blackpool road - Majestic Motors was a shortlived operator in 1929/30 - but Scout Motors entered the fray in 1930 providing a 30 minute service to Ribble's 15 minute and proved long lived - entering into a co-ordination deal in wartime 1939 and lasting until Ribble finally took it over in 1961. A further purchase in 1952 was Viking Motors which brought the Preston to Great Eccleston service into the fold - today's service 80 operated by Preston Bus.

Ribble became part of the National Bus Company in 1969 and was privatised by sale to its management in 1987 and was sold on to Stagecoach in 1989. The operation has been split between its North Lancashire and Cumbria and its Merseyside and South Lancashire businesses.

Further posts will follow covering the Fleetwood and Cleveleys local services, operations in Blackpool and in the Fylde area.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

News Round Up

Blackpool Transport Volvo B7RLE 529 has returned from refurbishment and is now in service in Palladium livery with 531 away at Bus and Coach World.

BTS has registered a school days journey on service 12 from 4 April 2016 to maintain a link from Bispham to Poulton schools. The 12 will depart Corporation Street at 0710 via Hospital, Grange Park, Bispham, Faraday Way, Norcross, Castle Gardens, Poulton to Baines School. A PM journey departs Baines at 1500 and follows the reverse route to Blackpool (current 13 route).

Details of Aspire Academy and Sixth Form College school service 414 are now to hand. Two buses are used:
  • 0758 Clifton Street to Norcross (0820) and 0821 Norcross-Market Street (0845) - an intriguing nod to the former short working 14 destination of Norcross!  
  • 0808 Clifton Street to Sixth Form College (0845)
  • 1510 Aspire to Mereside Tesco (1546)
  • 1510 Aspire to Market Street (1520) then 1528 Clifton Street to Four Lane Ends (1554)
Catch 22 Bus changes to service 24 from April, include the withdrawal of the 22A diversion via Halton Gardens and the re-routing of the service via Briarwood Drive and Kincraig Road in Bispham, replacing BTS service 3 on Briarwood Drive. Also the 22 will now run via Marton Drive, Ansdell Road and Grasmere Road and via Sevonoakes Drive, Luton Road and Anchorsholme Lane.

Preston Bus has been confirmed as operator of the 74, 75 and 80 with Kirkby Lonsdale Minicoaches taking on the 89/89H.

Farewell to the 87

Elite Minibus Services Solo SR YJ64DSE loads at Poulton Teanlowe with BTS service 12 behind. Both finish at the start of April (Alan Hayward)

At the other end of the route, YJ64DSE heads up Victoria Road West in Cleveleys (Alan Hayward)
The 87 started on 5 January 2003 as an hourly service from Cleveleys to Stanah and Little Thornton replacing Stagecoach F5 with a 2 hourly extension from Cleveleys to Rossall Hospital. Initially run by ACE Travel, Hampsons soon took over. In November 2004 the route was extended to Poulton via Carleton housing estates replacing BTS service 2A. It was reduce to every 75 minutes. Elite of Carleton replaced Hampsons in April 2005 and has run the service ever since. Minor route changes took place with a period of operation via Carelton Crossing and from March 2014 an extension to Holts Lane in Poulton. The service now ran every 90 minutes. Elite used a Mercedes minibus until its first Solo, MX08DHE arrived in 2008 for a five year period- it is seen here in Cleveleys Bus Station. MX07JNF also operated for a while (Brian Turner)

Saturday, 19 March 2016

The Lesser Spotted 79

A rare picture of route 79 - Walton's Mercedes minicoach YN51YNO on Croft Butts Lane, Freckleton (Martyn Pearce)
Market day buses have been quite rare on the Fylde. Garstang was served by enhanced routes from nearby village on its market day Thursday and in the 1980s coach operator Granville of Freckleton started a service from Moorfield (near Treales) to Kirkham via Salwick, Roseacre and Treales. This lasted over 20 years latterly as service 198 , including a period run by Fylde Leyland Leopard coaches and latterly with Phoenix North West. I followed it once, watching Fylde 33 reverse into a farm at Roseacre as part of its turning manoeuvre and head to Kirkham. Sadly I didn't have a camera with me.

On Thursday 31 March service 79 will run for the last time with the end of funding from LCC. This is operated by Walton's Coaches of Freckleton. It operates Thursday only departing Lamaleach Caravan Park at 1015 arriving at Kirkham Swan Hotel at 1034 and returning from there at 1230. 

The service dates back to 19 January 1989 when it was introduced as service 199 by Nuttals Coaches of Penwortham, by 1995 it was with P&R Coaches and in August 1996 Bob's Minibus of Kirkham took over. In October 2005 it was renumbered 79 fitting into the new numbering series for the Fylde Villager (74 to 82) having previously fitted into the 190-199 series associated with Kirkham and rural Fylde routes from 1986. It continued with Bob's minibus until at least 2012 before passing to Walton's. After just over 17 years, around 1,408 days and 2,816 trips this rarely spotted and reported service will end. 

The Traveline route map, starting at Lamaleach (the diamond) via Lamaleach Drive, Ribble Avenue, Bush Lane, Green Lane, Naze Lane, Croft Butts Lane, Preston Old Road, Lower Lane, Marquis Drive, Avalon Drive, Preston Old Road,  Lytham Road, A584, Kirkham Road. It continues off the top of the map via the 78 route Kirkham Road, Freckleton Road, Freckleton Street, Poulton Street to Kirkham Swan Hotel

Saturday, 12 March 2016

LCC Service update

Provisional timetables have now been released by Lancashire County Council for the remaining supported services.

Route 74
This will run via its present route except it will serve Victoria Hospital both ways, omit Cleveleys and terminate in Fleetwood. It will therefore run from Blackpool Abingdon St via Layton, Grange Road, Victoria Hospital, St Walburgas Road, Garstang Old Road, Poulton Centre, Breck Road, Little Thornton, Thornton Centre, Four Lane Ends, Health Centre then via Marsh Road,Wordsworth Avenue, Tennyson Avenue, West Drive then back to current route via Mayfield Avenue, Pheasant Wood Drive, Cala Gran, Broadwater, Flakefleet Avenue, Whinfield Avenue, Fishermans Walk then terminating in a loop via Asda and Albert Square in Fleetwood.

Two buses are required providing an hourly service with departures at 0655 Poulton to Fleewood, 0728, 0841, 0948 and hourly to 1548, 1703 and 1803 from Blackpool and 0625, 0730 0835, 0945 and houry to 1545, 1650 and 1805 from Fleetwood with a 1900 departure as far as Poulton. Morning and evening times vary on Saturdays.

Route 75 and 80
The 75 is reduced to every 2 hours, the 80 remains as such. The 75 route is unchanged, but the 80 is revised to follow the 75 from Preston via the Railway Station and Riversway then via Pedders Way, Pedders Lane, Blackpool Road, and Lea Road rejoining the current route to Myrescough College at Sidgreaves Lane. The early morning 75A from Great Eccleston will start from Myrescough with a return added in the evening - this runs via Elswick, Thistleton and Wesham then picks up the 75 route at Kirkham. Monday to Friday times are:

  • 75A 0610 Myrescough-Preston NS
  • 75 0805NS, 0818S, 1018, 1218, 1418, 1618, 1828S, 1833NS Poulton to Preston
  • 80 0710NS, 0720S, 0915, 1120, 1320, 1520, 1725 Myrescough to Preston
  • 75 0705NS, 0720S, 0920, 1120, 1320, 1520, 1725 from Preston to Poulton
  • 80 0812NS, 0820S, 1020, 1220, 1420, 1620, 1825 from Preston to Myrescough
  • 75A 1930 Preston to Myrescough NS
  • NS= Not Saturdays, S=Saturdays only.

Routes 89/89H
A 90 minute service will continue on these services over the same route from Knott End to Lancaster, but at different times to present.

Details of other services are on the LCC notice linked here

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

April Changes

Blackpool Transport
Service 1 increased to 8 buses from 7 due to extra summer running time and loses early morning journeys. The 2C is withdrawn completely in the evening, and runs Blackpool to Poulton only on a Sundays (5 buses).

The 3 and 4 now share 15 buses due to the extended daytime 3 route via Faraday Way. The 9 will now use 10 buses in the morning peak due to the half hourly extension to Victoria Hospital which also runs in the evening and on Sunday. 9 buses will run between the peaks when running time is lower. From Clifton Street the 9 will run via Abingdon St, Talbot Road, Cookson Street, George Street, Grosvenor Street, Church Street, Newton Drive, Whinney Heys Lane to Hospital entrance. Returning via Whinpark Avenue, North Park Drive, Newton Drive, Church Street, Topping Street, Deansgate, Cookson Street, Talbot Road to Clifton Street. The 9 is reduced to every 15 minutes on Saturdays.

The 10 and 17 share 6 buses due to the extension to Poulton. The 10 runs hourly St. Annes to Poulton Monday to Saturday daytime, the 17 similarly every day daytime and also hourly Blackpool to Poulton in the evening. Sunday daytime 17s are interworked with the 2C at Poulton.

The 14 now has just four workings to/from Peel Park each morning and each afternoon Monday to Friday following the end of financial support from DWP.

The 15/16 now serve Staining with the 15 running via Stanley Park, Zoo, Hospital perimeter road (reinstated after being dropped in 2015), Main Entrance, Whinpark Road, Newton Drive, Staining, Marton Mere then as present route to Blackpool except running direct via Whitegate Drive not Stanley Park. The 16 does the opposite (except for Whinpark Road) and the terminus has reverted to Corporation Street. 7 buses are required.

Catch 22 Bus
Services 12 and 21 resume for Easter. The 12 runs to last year's timetable - every 20 minutes to Cleveleys Mon-Sat (4 buses) and Cabin on Sundays (3) and will run daily from 22nd March to 3 April. The 21 also uses last year's timetable with a 40 minute service daily from Good Friday to 4 April - albeit with no service on Friday 1 April.

4 April sees the 12 and 21 merged with a new 21 providing a 20 minute Cleveleys to Tower service extending alternately to Blackpool Zoo and Pleasure Beach on a 40 minute frequency.

New route 24 will operate half hourly M-F with a break for lunch. Two buses are required. The last two journeys to Poulton extend to Hospital. An hourly weekend service is provided with one bus, again with the last bus to Victoria Hospital. 

The 22's extension to Fleetwood will require six buses, again there is a break fo lunch. The last Fleetwood to Cleveleys bus will continue as the 24 to Victoria Hospital. 

Coastal Coaches
New service 77 operates from St. Annes to Victoria Hospital, a link provided by Fylde and later Carriages and indirectly by Phoenix North West in the 1990s, but one not directly provided since. Technically users could have reached the Hospital on service 76 but via most of the Fylde district!

The 77 runs from St. Annes Square via St Davids Road North, Heeley Road, Kilnhouse Lane, Spring Gardens, Queensway, Common Edge Road, Highfield Road, Asda, Clifton Road, Tesco, Langdale Road,  Preston New Road, Park Road, Condor Grove, Whitegate Drive, Newton Drive to Hospital. First bus is 0700 from St. Annes and 0800 from Hospital with 1700/1800 resp as the last departures. 50 minutes running time is allowed. 2 buses are required and is believed they will interwork with the 78 at St. Annes.

The 78 is extended hourly from Wesham over the route of 76 to Poulton with one journey in the morning to Sixth Form College and one back in the afternoon. Evening and Sunday journeys are withdrawn.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Lancashire Services Retained

Lancashire County Council has announced some residual supported service using a retained fund initially earmarked for parish councils to use to fund replacement services. Those effecting the Fylde coast area are:

  • 74 partial service retained but now operating Fleetwood to Poulton, without serving Cleveleys - this replaces the 75 as well and presumably retains a service in the Pheasants Wood area
  • A reduced 75 will run between Poulton and Preston - believed to be every 2 hours
  • Service 80 will continue (Myrescough College to Preston) but will be re-routed in Ashton to avoid a commercial service re-routed to cover when the 80 was initially cancelled!
  • Service 89H will continue between Knott End and Lancaster - but not in the evenings or on Sundays
New operators have not yet been announced. The full service list is here