Sunday, 24 September 2017

California Dreaming

Former Fylde 53/Blackpool 453 - is now a feature at Spark Social in San Francisco - a food 'truck park' (Spark Social Facebook)
Its intriguing what turns up. A chance search of the California pages of showed WRH294J as moving to San Francisco in 2016. It was sold for export by Ensignbus in 2004, having acquired it from MacTours. It was new in December 1970 to Kingston-upon-Hull Corporation for whom it ran until 1987. It was one of 22 Hull buses bought by Fylde between 1986 and 1988, arriving in late July 1987. It entered service as 125 and was withdrawn in 1989 with several of its sisters. Following the success of the conversion of sister 122 (TKH266H), 125 was selected for conversion to semi open top and returned to use so modified in June 1990 on the newly branded Coastliner Promenade service 1 in a Granada Studios Tours advert livery.

It ran each season on the Promenade service until 1998. It received a new fleet number of 53 for the 1991 season. In 1992 it was converted to single door with the centre exit removed and a new Pleasure Beach advert applied. For 1995 it received a new advert for Seagull Coaches. 1996 saw Fylde absorbed into the Blackpool fleet and 53 became 453 and gained green and cream fleet livery for the 1998 season. After 11 years on the Fylde, 453 last operated on 23 October 1998. It was stored though 1999 and in February 2000 was sold to Mac Tours of Edinburgh where it operated until 2002. Mac's was purchased by Lothian Buses in May 2002 and it briefly became their bus 34, until sale to Ensignbus in July 2002. After a period in store, it moved to Southampton in April 2004 for shipping to USA - with British Bus Sales of San Diego. From there the trail went quiet until 2016, but an on-line sales listing suggest it spent the intervening time with a film studio as a prop.

Photos of it in 2016 and 2017 show it still in Mac livery and still with a Fylde moquette driver's seat! Interior layout has been modified, the roof removed form the rearmost of the three retained bays and the centre exit opened out once more.

Newly acquired from Hull, Fylde 125 turns at Saltcotes Road in 1987 (Brian Turner)

453 on 19 May 1998 turning into Pontins forecourt on service 1 (Brian Turner)

53 with Mac Tours in 2001 - the livery it still carries today.