Saturday, 11 February 2017

White Rose in Red Rose County

West Yorkshire PTE 6299 loads on Market Street operating service 6 to Mereside during its spell on loan during 1985 (Brian Turner)
1985/6 saw a three incursions into Lancashire from the traditional rival county of Yorkshire - West Yorkshire to be precise. 

Back in 1983 West Yorkshire PTE commemorated 100 years of Huddersfield Transport by repainting two buses into commemorative liveries. Both were Roe bodied Leyland Atlanteans. 6299 (PUA299W) carried a red based livery from the Huddersfield Joint Omnibus Committee era, while 6300 (PUA300W) carried Huddersfield Corporation Tramways livery. Both visited the Fylde in August 1983 on the Ribble Enthusiast Club Southport to Blackpool rally.
Tramway liveried sister 6300 heads to Squires Gate on service 12, ironically a tramway replacement service (Brian Turner)

The 1985 Blackpool Tramway Centenary featured a range of activities. Perhaps the most unusual was the exchange of two Atlanteans 351/2 with West Yorkshire 6299 and 6300! 6299 arrived on 9 June, being swapped for 352 at Crich Tramway Museum. 6299 opearated a summer bus service from Huddersfield to Crich, with 352 providing the return working having reached the museum on a excursion! 6300 arrived on 16 June - the date of the Rigby Road Depot Open Day. Both buses saw local service use during June and July as Blackpool 366/7 while 351/2 saw use from the PTE's Huddersfield depot. At the start of August the buses were swapped back. Both 6299 and 6300 returned on a number of occasions for rallies. 
Three of Easyway's six ex West Yorkshire PTE Leopards at Princess Street Depot 247, 245 and 249 (left to right) (Brian Turner)

Next came the arrival of six Leyland Leopards (JWU244-249N) in Autumn 1986 at the premises of Easyway Bus on Princess Street. These were used on three services 9 (Blackpool to Cleveleys), 14 (Blackpool to Fleetwood) and 53 (Airport to Poulton). The 9 and 14 ended in late December and 244-247 returned to West Yorkshire for onward sale early in the new year. 248/9 continued until Easyway ceased in 1989. They then reappered with Town Bus in 1990 and lasted until c1993/4. Sister LUG515P also joined the Town Bus fleet.

Finally Blackpool acquired three youthful Roe bodied Olympians from WYPTE to replace three fire damaged Atlanteans. WYPTE 5005/11/15 (UWW5/11/15X) arrived on 31 October 1986 having been retained by WYPTE on the disposal of its bus operations to the new Yorkshire Rider company. After preparation, they entered service in November as 365-367 retaining WYPTE green and cream livery, pending a repaint into Blackpool's own livery the following spring. They had long lives in Blackpool with 366/7 lasting until 2010 and 365 through to 2012.
Olympians 5005 and 5015 - now Blackpool's 365/7 parked in Rigby Road yard on 2 November 1986 having arrived a couple of days earlier. Like Easyway, with its Leopards Blackpool ran these in WYPTE livery which could well have been confusing where the operators competed. The trio were finally repainted in March/April 1987 (Brian Turner)

Further Yorkshire influxes included 29 ex Hull Atlanteans purchased by Fylde (including 2 for spares) between 1986 and 1992, plus four new to Bradford Atlanteans also purchased from Hull in chassis form to be rebodied as single deckers. A South Yorkshire visitor to Blackpool Transport was Dominator 2361 (B361HDT) for a week in September 1988, swapped for Olympian 367, to evaluate the split step design favoured by SYT and for a period commonly adopted as a way of improving accessibility.