Friday, 4 November 2016

30 Years of Deregulation - the BTS Network in October 1986

Network changes for deregulation came into effect on Sunday 26 October 1986. There was then a three month freeze on further changes after which operators could register further changes at 42 days notice. Blackpool Transport's deregulation network was, like others, finalised in February 1986 and involved the end of some long established routes including the 5/5A (Grange Park to Halfway House) and 7/7A (Bispham circulars). Some other routes passed to other operators on tenders with Fylde picking up the 8 (Whiteholme) and 10 (Bispham which became its 13). 

Service 2 Poulton to Bispham
The existing service 2 ran Poulton to Blackpool via Hardhorn Road and Newton Drive every 30 minutes (20 minutes late afternoon) with some journeys via Highcross Road as 2A. The new service ran every 30 minutes and was extended to Bispham Hotel via Talbot Road, Devonshire Road and Red Bank Road replacing part of the 7/7A. Buses turned at Cavendish Road in the triangular junction previously used by the 15/15A/15B. This was adopted as the formal terminus in 1987. 3 Atlanteans were used. The evening and Sunday service ran Blackpool to Bispham only and was linked to the 2A. Lancashire County Council (LCC) contracted Fylde to run an extra hourly Poulton to Blackpool evening/Sunday service 2 and also to run the old Bispham Circular (7/7A) Monday to Saturday evenings.
574 heads for Bispham on route 15 - normally the preserve of Leyland Nationals as the rota included trips to Preston on routes 180/2 (Donald MacRae see his Victory Guy photo albums for more from his collection) 

Service 2A Poulton to Bispham and Service 15 Staining to Bispham
Each hourly, these combined to a 30 minute frequency from Staining Road End to Bispham Library. They also made a 15 minute frequency with the 2 from Staining Road End to Blackpool and the 3 from Blackpool to Bispham Hotel. The 2A ran hourly via Highcross Road from Poulton and combined with the 15. Between Blackpool and Bispham Library the former 7/7A route along Dickson Road and Warbreck Drive was followed. The 2A was interworked with the 180/2 (Poulton to Preston) with 5 buses working on the 2A/15/180/182 cycle. Evening buses ran hourly as 2A from Poulton to Bispham then back to Blackpool as service 2 - using two buses. The 15 was provided hourly evening/Sundays and also at peak times by Fylde on an LCC tender.
National 2 542 unloads at Bispham Hotel having arrived from Poulton on the extended 2A on 15 August 1987 (Brian Turner)

Service 3 Mereside to Bispham
The former 3/3A was combined into a single half hourly service. All journeys ran from Mereside - the former Midgeland Road section replaced by new route 10. From Gynn Square the 3 now ran via Warbreck Drive rather than the Promenade and terminated at Bispham Library. The Bispham-Norbreck-Little Bispham service was replaced by the 33. 3 single deckers were needed. The evening/Sunday service was run by Fylde on behalf of LCC from Gynn-Mereside every 30 minutes in the evening and from Bus Station to Mereside, hourly, on Sundays.

Service 4 Blackpool to Wordsworth Avenue
The 4 was an entirely new service replacing the 16/16B. It started on Cookson Street at the side of the Bus Station then followed route 3 along Park Road to Oxford Square, then South Park Drive and picked up the 16/16B route via Great Marton to Wordsworth Avenue. 2 single deckers were needed for the half hourly daytime route and 1 for the hourly evening/Sunday workings. The old 16 via Stanley Park was replaced by the 33.

Service 6 Mereside to Grange Park
This was a merger of the long established 6 (Mereside-Town Centre) with the northern part of service 5 (Town Centre to Grange Park). It ran every 15 minutes using 7 buses daytimes and every 30 minutes evenings/Sundays using 3 buses. Atlanteans were the norm.

Service 9 and 9A Blackpool to Cleveleys
These services were unchanged, operating every 20 minutes using 4 DDs. Evening buses ran every 30 minutes and interworked with the 22/22A while Sunday buses ran every 40 minutes

Service 10 Blackpool to Midgeland Road
The 10 was a new service which followed the 11C route and made a 15 minute frequency with it as far as Highfield Hotel. It then turned onto the previously unserved section of Highfield Road to Midgeland Road then ran to the terminus at the junction of Midgeland Road and School Road. 2 buses - usually Atlanteans - were required for the half hourly service. No evening or Sunday service was provided.
Atlantean 313 stands at the terminus of service 10 at Midgeland Road in 1987 - by this time the 25 had been extended there too hence the presence of 358 behind (Brian Turner)
Service 11C Blackpool to St. Annes
This continued to run on a co-ordinated basis with Fylde - combining to a half hourly frequency with 2 buses from Fylde and 1 from Blackpool. Atlanteans were the regular type.

Service 12 Blackpool to Squires Gate
This simple service which replaced the Lytham Road trams in 1961 continued to shuttle between Blackpool and the Airport. In 1983 it had been revised to run every 10 then 20 minutes with the gaps provided by Fylde's 11/11A service. With no mandate to co-ordinate after deregulation, BTS ran a simple 10 minute frequency but by using Routemasters could speed the journey times so continued to need just four buses as per the previous less frequent timetables. Evenings/Sundays saw OPO buses run at half hour frequencies.
Routemaster 524 approaches the bus stop at the Airport terminus - the keen eyed will notice a dark green vehicle behind the Airport fence on the right of the shot. This was Swift 562 used as a fire training vehicle (Brian Turner)

Service 14 Blackpool to Fleetwood
This was unchanged with a basic 3 bus 30 minute daily service overlaid by extra journeys making a 15 minute headway 1100-1800. One journey from Fleetwood ran as 29 operating via Grange Park and Victoria Hospital. Crew buses were used weekdays, OPO ones on Sundays.
A PD3 on the 14 and a Ribble National on the 85 could have been from any time in the 1980s. The green backed route card in the window of 503 and the lack of an NBC logo on 829 are the only clues that confirm this is a post deregulation - December 1986 scene (Brian Turner)

Service 22/22A Cleveleys to Lytham
Again largely unchanged. A 15 minute daytime service and 30 minute evening/Sunday service ran form Cleveleys to Halfway House alternating as 22 or 22A. Daytime buses extended every 30 minutes to Lytham Square (or Saltcotes Road in the peaks). 9 Crew DDs were required, 6 OPO ones in the evening (with the 9/9A).

Services 23/24/25 Hospital to South Shore
The 15 minute service provided by the 23/23A from Hospital to Royal Oak was retained with new services 23 (hourly), 24 (hourly) and 25 (half hourly). The 23 continued as before via Bond Street, Clifton Drive and Highfield Road but rather than terminate at Midgeland Road ran to Lindale Gardens replacing the 5A. The 24 ran via Watson Road to Mereside, largely replacing the 19 (South Pier to Mereside) and the 25 ran via Watson Road and St. Annes Road to Halfway House replacing the 5. 6 buses were needed, usually single deckers. The 25 ran evenings/Sundays as well - every 30 minutes. Fylde ran an hourly LCC tender evenings/Sundays as a hybrid of the 23/24. This was numbered 23A from South Pier to Mereside via 23 route to Lindale Gardens then via Common Edge Road, School Road, Midgeland Road to Welcome Inn then as 24 to Mereside.
Swift 576 crests Skew Bridge on Lytham Road operating a 25 working to Halfway House - the Swifts had to show 25A as the 25 was not on their number blind! (Brian Turner)

Service 26 Talbot Square to South Pier
This was unchanged, providing a 15 minute daytime (4 bus) and 20 minute E/Su (3 bus) service.

Service 33 Cleveleys to Marton
This LCC tendered service mopped up various missing links. Weekday daytimes it ran every 30 minutes from Cleveleys to Blackpool with one an hour extending to Marton Hypermarket with 3 single deckers used. Evening/Sundays saw an hourly Blackpool to Hypermarket service with one bus. From Cleveleys it followed the former 3/3A route through Little Bispham and Norbreck to Bispham Hotel then ran via Devonshire Road and Warbreck Hill Road to Gynn Square and Town Centre covering part of the 15/15A. It then ran via the 16 route along Hornby Road to Stanley Park, Worcester Road to Wordsworth Avenue then via the previously unserved Kipling Drive, Mereside Shops to terminate at the Hypermarket using St George's School turning circle.
Deregulation saw new routes for the Swifts which appeared on the 4 (Blackpool-Mereside), 33 (Cleveleys-Marton Hypermarket) and revised services 2A, 15, 23-25 and the barely changed 26. 590 heads for the Hypermarket (now Asda on Vicarage Lane) on route 33 in October 1987. (Donald MacRae see his Victory Guy photo albums for more from his collection)

Additionally the following tendered services were provided:

  • 7 Kirkham Roamer every hour Monday to Friday
  • 165 Preston to Lytham every hour Monday to Saturday daytime
  • 180/2 Preston to Poulton every hour Monday to Saturday daytime with evening/Sunday service typically every 2 hours Preston to Fleetwood with extra evenig Poulton-Fleetwood shorts
  • 185 Weeton Camp-Preston Mon/Wed/Fri 1 return trip and Blackpool-Kirkham Tues/Thurs 2 return trips