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