Thursday, 3 November 2016

30 Years of Deregulation: The Blackpool Fleet

30 years ago, in October 1986 local bus services were deregulated. Blackpool Transport Services Ltd took over Blackpool Council's Transport Department. It remained (and still does) owned by the council but was now run commercially as an arms length company. It inherited 110 buses.

61 Leyland Atlanteans (301-309, 311-334, 336-341, 343-364)
A blast of colour was presented by the occasional advert - here is 312 in summer 1986 leaving the Airport on service 12 while advertising Tussauds. (Brian Turner)
61 Atlanteans formed the core of the new fleet out of 64 delivered between 1977 and 1984. Three further examples were owned, 310, 335 and 342 but they were awaiting disposal following a disastrous fire in the depot yard on 1 October. Dramatic photos are on flickr.
2 November - the sad remains of Atlanteans 342, 310 and 335 await their fate. The fire is believe to have started on 310 and spread to its sisters (Brian Turner). 

3 Leyland Olympians (365-367)
The replacements for the fire damaged Atlanteans were replaced by a trio of 1982 Leyland Olympians purchased from West Yorkshire PTE. They were not required by the new Yorkshire Rider operation and arrived in late October. They entered service in WYPTE green livery and were repainted in the new fleet livery in Spring 1987.
Two of the trio of West Yorkshire Olympians being prepared for service - 365 and 367 (Brian Turner)
9 Leyland Titan PD3s (503, 507, 511-3, 515, 518, 538 and 540)
The iconic half cab PD3 continued in the Blackpool fleet with 9 of the 90 PD3s built from 1962-1968 still in service. Regularly used on the 14 and 22/22A, with some appearances on route 12, they would continue in use until 1988.
PD3 507 carried this pre 1933 inspired red and white livery to celebrate the 1985 Tramway Centenary - it is seen in Talbot Road Bus Station awaiting departure for Fleetwood on service 14 (Brian Turner)

6 AEC Routemasters (521-526)
Blackpool Transport acquired six Routemasters in spring 1986 following a demonstration from RM1583 earlier in the year. All six gained the pre 1933 red and white livery and after a period of use on the 5/5A, moved onto service 12 from deregulation.
Routemasters 524 and 521 alonside younger AEC Swift 595 in Rigby Road Depot in November (Brian Turner)
8 Leyland Nationals (541-548)
The eight Nationals, were formed of two batches. 541-544 were mark 2s bought new by Blackpool in 1984 while 545-548 were older Mark 1s bought from Crosville in 1986. 
Ex Crosville 546 - one of four retrofitted with Gardner engines shortly before purchase - is seen on route 26 cresting Waterloo Road bridge (Brian Turner)
19 AEC Swifts (570-577, 583-5, 587-592, 594/5)
Of the 55 Swifts bought from 1969 to 1975, 19 joined the BTS fleet, but were on borrowed times, with withdrawals commencing in December 1986 and accelerated by the purchase of 11 secondhand Leyland Nationals enabling the last to be withdrawn in February 1988.
Although a pre deregulation shot - this could have been timeless as neither 572 or route 26 changed much at deregulation. It is seen here at the Clifton Street terminus (Brian Turner)

4 Dennis Lancets (596-9)
Probably the most eccentric vehicles in the fleet were four 1982 Marshall bodied Dennis Lancets. Not surprisingly they were sold at just six years old in 1988.
Lancet 599 departs Preston Bus Station on a former Ribble service 180 to Poulton (Brian Turner)