Sunday, 13 June 2021

Fylde Transport Trust Running Day

 

PD3 516 and Routemaster RM1583 pose at North Pier towards the end of the day

Today marked the Fylde Transport Trust's first event of 2021 a running day to mark 60 years of the end of Lytham Road trams; celebrate two new restorations and one new purchase and mark 35 years since the first Routemaster ran in Blackpool. FTT assembled a credible six buses - with plenty more in reserve. Fylde Paladin 7 kicked off proceedings at 1200 from North Pier to Squires Gate its first run with FTT. Lytham Atlantean 77 making its first passenger trip in over 20 years followed at 1230. In between Blackpool PD3 529 and RM1583 (Blackpool 521) ran between North Pier and Halfway House over the 5A route via Lytham Road, Watson Road and Lindale Gardens - the route the RM was trialed on in 1986. These four buses maintained the scheduled 15 minute departures from North Pier. A second PD3 516 ran extra trips on the 5A, finishing with the last trip of the day over the long lost 13 via Marton Drive to Lindale Gardens and back to town as a 5. Excel 225 - recently purchased by FTT from the Busman of Knutsford duplicated the Paladin - and completed its duties when a air system fault sidelined the Atlantean. Plenty came for a ride - with masks and social distancing to the fore - it is 2021 after all! 

Blackpool's first Routemaster RM1583 was tested on the 5/5A (Halfway House to Grange Park) from January 1986. It was later purchased and became 521. It joined the FTT collection in 2003 and after several years in Blackpool colours it reverted to London red as a wedding bus. Today it recreated its trail operation (albeit infinitely smarter) and is seen here waiting time at the Halfway House time point (all Paul Turner)


Lytham 77 has recently had a restoration with a rebuilt front end and platform. Its 1998 coat of original Lytham livery has been retained for now - though it is due to revert to its 1977 Fylde Borough blue, white and yellow livery. It was last used for the farewell photos at the closure of Squires Gate Depot in April 1999 and is seen here setting off from North Pier on its first passenger carrying journey since then.



77 has also been treated to a retrim in its original moquette - with most seats now looking as good as they did over 50 years ago when the bus first entered service.

A year after 77, TKU469K was delivered to Bradford Corporation. In 1993 Fylde had it rebodied as a single decker. Today was its debut after restoration - though some issues with the air system curtailed its day.

Debut number 3 - former Blackpool Excel 225 has been purchased by Fylde Transport Trust from the Busman, Knutsford. It arrived on Saturday and was pressed into service as a dupe today.


Saturday, 29 May 2021

News Round Up

It has been a quiet few months in Blackpool. The 'survivors' page has been updated. The original batch of Solos has shrunk further. 267 is now out of use with Blackpool Council, 269, 271, 272 and 273 are on SORN. 276 remains in preservation with Matt Lodge and has recently moved storage locations. Update: Matt Lodge has reported 271 has been scrapped and Blackpool Council sold 267 in August 2019.

The Lifestyle Line examples are also now eradicated from service, with 282 last used with Huw's Caernarfon in 2020. Many of the others still operate. The six which went to Newbury & District and ended up with Reading Buses after a takeover have moved on in pairs. 251 and 260 went to Hunt's of Alford, 252 and 256 to Hulleys of Baslow and 254/8 to Chartwell Bus & Coach Sales. Sadly 256 was destroyed by fire at Hulleys a few days ago. 252 is a spares donor - they also have ex Blackpool 243 and 287.

Tanat Valley have finished with their Tridents - 343 has not been traced while 344/6 are at British Ironworks, Oswestry for site tours.

Blackpool Transport still have Tridents 314/5 in store at Rigby Road - with trainers 973/4 also on SORN. Sister 975 has not been traced since disposal to Archway -  it no longer appears under its registration on the DVLA site so may well have been re-registered.

More E400s have rear end adverts with both 408 and 458 advertising Blackpool Better Start and Citaro 553 has an advert for Wyre council.

Blackpool Bus Centenary

Blackpool Transport has announced a weekend of events from 2nd to 4th July to mark 100 years of Blackpool’s buses.

Friday 2nd July

75 minute heritage bus tours 1400, 1600 and 1800 from Blundell Street which covers the original route Cleveleys to Thornton £3 with pre booking required.

Saturday 3rd July

1000 - parade of buses from Starr Gate to North Pier with up to 20 buses involved.

1200-1600 10 buses on display on Tower Headland

1200-1800 free bus service on route 1 Starr Gate to Gunn Square every 15 minutes

1900-2300 Beer and Buses run by FTT between Talbot Square and Poulton via Castle Gardens (1900-2230 from Talbot Square and 1930-2300 from Poulton)

Sunday 4th July

75 minute heritage bus tours 1100, 1300 and 1500 from Blundell Street which covers the original route Cleveleys to Thornton £3 with pre booking required.

1030-1600 FTT run free bus service from Tower to Stanley Park and Zoo every 20 minutes

1100-1700 free bus service on route 1 Starr Gate to Gunn Square every 15 minutes



Sunday, 9 May 2021

FTT's Blackpool Heritage Bus Running Day

Sunday 13th June will see the welcome return of the chance to ride on some of the Fylde's heritage buses, courtesy of Fylde Transport Trust. This will showcase the recently restored Fylde Atlantean 77 and rare single decker Atlantean 7. Both will run on a 30 minute frequency between Talbot Square and St. Annes Square, while Blackpool PD3 529 and ex London Routemaster RM1583 (Blackpool 521) will recreate service 5 to Halfway House. This will mean a bus every 15 minutes from Talbot Square - both routes running along Lytham Road. 

This is helps celebrate 100 years of Blackpool's buses; 60 years since buses replaced trams on Lytham Road and 35 years since RM1583 was trialed on the 5

More details on FTT's Facebook page here: Link

Monday, 5 April 2021

Blue Buses of Lytham St. Annes - where to buy

Blue Buses of Lytham St. Annes by Paul Turner is on sale at £45. You can buy it from:

Fylde Transport Trust - click here for how

Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours Click Here

Videoscene click here

MDS Book Sales click here

From the author via EBay or by emailing bluebusesbook@gmail.com

Plackitt and Booth bookshop, Lytham

Some feedback from early sales:

"Just a quick message to say thank you and to congratulate you for creating such a superb publication."

I think you and your father between you have written the definitive works on Lytham public transport." 

"I've had a quick look through it, very impressed with the quality and the excellent photographs"

"Have had trouble putting it down since the memories are overflowing.  A quality work to add to my collection that will be treasured."

"Well what a great book. Having great difficulty putting it down. So much detail, information & unseen photographs"

"received your book this morning and have to say it’s outstanding"

"Your book has just arrived.  It looks absolutely fabulous.  Out of the hundreds of transport books which I have, I am going to enjoy this one the most.  "


BLUE BUSES OF LYTHAM ST. ANNES has been researched and written over 25 years. It tells the story of the introduction of buses by Lytham St. Annes Corporation in 1923 right through the Fylde era to the final takeover by Blackpool Transport in 1996. It is 248 pages, 350 photos (250 in colour) and sells for £45

News Update

Lockdown Changes

Blackpool Transport have been running reduced services during the most recent lockdown, several services changed on 10th January and will be revised again from 11th April. 

Form 10th January, the 1, 3, 4 and 7 ran every 30 minutes, The 2, 2C, 17 and 18 ran hourly,  5, 6, 9, 11 and 14 every 20 minutes and the 20 continued every 90 minutes. The 1 also started later - though during February and March an enhanced service was provided due to suspension or part suspension of the tramway due to track work. The extra special school services - prefixed by an X - were suspended too, but resumed on 8th March.

From 11th April the 1 reverts to its earlier starting time, 2, 2C and 17 return to every 30 minutes, 3 and 4 to every 20 minutes, 5 and 14 to every 15 minutes. The 6 and 7 retain their reduced frequencies and 18 and 20 are unchanged too.

Coastliner Buses

Monday 12th April sees the restart of Beach Bus 26 (Marton Mere to Town Centre and Pleasure Beach) on reopening of Marton Mere park. Both ex Stagecoach Solos are now in use in Coastliner livery.


Saturday, 27 March 2021

Blue Buses of Lytham St. Annes Now In Stock

Blue Buses of Lytham St. Annes is now in stock and can be ordered for collection or delivery from me.

You can order in four ways
1) Email me at bluebusesbook@gmail.com for more details
2) Use Paypal's Send Money function to bluebusesbook@gmail.com with £50 for delivery or £45 for collection
4) Contract Fylde Transport Trust, Blackpool Heritage Trams, Videoscene or MDS Books who also have the book in stock


BLUE BUSES OF LYTHAM ST. ANNES has been researched and written over 25 years. It tells the story of the introduction of buses by Lytham St. Annes Corporation in 1923 right through the Fylde era to the final takeover by Blackpool Transport in 1996. It is 248 pages, 350 photos (250 in colour) and sells for £45

 

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Blue Buses of Lytham St. Annes

Now taking orders for Blue Buses of Lytham St. Annes. This new book is now being printed and will be available in around 3-4 weeks. You can order direct from the author through paypal. Use the paypal 'send money' to pay £50 for the book with delivery, or £45 to collect from Poulton-le-Fylde. If preferred you can pay by cheque or I can send a paypal invoice. You can also pre-order through this Ebay link. Please drop me a line at bluebusesbook@gmail.com if you have any queries. 



BLUE BUSES OF LYTHAM ST. ANNES has been researched and written over 25 years. It tells the story of the introduction of buses by Lytham St. Annes Corporation in 1923 right through the Fylde era to the final takeover by Blackpool Transport in 1996. It is 248 pages, 350 photos (250 in colour) and will sell for £45. It will be available from the author (signed and numbered) with other retailers to be confirmed.  

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Coastliner Solos


Coastliner Buses has acquired its first two Optare Solos, both from Stagecoach North West. PX04DLV, was Stagecoach 47055 and was latterly at Kendal. It was new to Fleetwood depot in May 2004 branded for the Fylde Villager. Sister PX54EPF (47146) was new in November 2004 and has been based in Cumbria. It has already gone for repaint into Coastliner livery. (photos Philip Higgs)


Rigby Road Remodel

Blackpool Transport has submitted a planning application to remodel the 1980s built East Shed - the maintenance bay which backs onto coach park. Originally used for maintenance of the council refuse fleet on closure of their own facility on the opposite side of Rigby Road, this became part of the BTS facility when refuse was outsourced. 

The remodelled building will include a paint bay, a 2 bay body shop, tyre bay, two pits and six bay maintenance area plus stored and staff area. This will replace the existing paint and body shops and the stores - though no plans have been submitted to demolish these. Likewise the pit area in the bus depot will be redundant. The plans are viewable here 


Friday, 1 January 2021

Coming Soon - The Blue Buses of Lytham St. Annes


Early 2021 will see BLUE BUSES OF LYTHAM ST. ANNES published. Researched and written over 25 years, this tells the story of the introduction of buses by Lytham St. Annes Corporation in 1923 right through the Fylde era to the final takeover by Blackpool Transport in 1996. It is 248 pages, 350 photos (250 in colour) and will sell for £45. It will be available from the author (signed and numbered) with other retailers to be confirmed. If you want to know when it goes on sale, please use the contact form on the blog, or message me through Facebook. 

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Round Up

Blackpool Transport has announced a route change to service 3 form 3rd January to allow larger buses to operate. The 3 will now run direct along Dickson Road from Gynn to the Town Centre rather than service Claremont and will use Sevenoaks Drive rather than The Spinney in Anchorsholme. It is understood the shorter Enviro 200s from the 3 will now move onto the 74/5 where the larger Enviros have been suffering accident damage on the tighter sections of these routes.

Enviro 459 has received an all-over advert for Heart FM, unusual treatment for the newest double decker. Transdev has returned 525, 531/3 but extended the loan of 526, 529 and 530 to Easter.

New Ticketer ticket machines are due to be rolled out in the new year. Buses have started to be fitted with 'tap on tap off' card readers with the main ticket machines to be rolled out on mass. 





 

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Centro Trainer

Centro 527 has recently been rebranded as a driver trainer and now carries number 977 with sister bus 528 to become 978. 975 has passed to Archway and was MOTd recently and may be for onward sale. It is likely either 973 or 4 or both will be replaced by 978. 

Meanwhile Coastliner buses Versa YJ10MGU returned to use on the 21 on Saturday 21st November after a long period disused following engine failure. 



Monday, 2 November 2020

Happy Birthday 77 - 50 years young

Fylde 77 in 1978 after its first overhaul heading onto South Park in Lytham (Brian Turner)

50 years ago on 2nd November three brand new double deckers entered service with Lytham St. Annes Corporation. This was noteworthy for a few reasons. They were the Corporation’s first new double deckers since 1964, and their last before morphing into Fylde Borough in 1974. More significantly they were the first municipal Atlanteans on the Fylde - forerunners of 85 purchased new by Blackpool Lytham and Fylde combined over 14 years. They were quite unlike anything seen locally before - Ribble’s Atlanteans worked into Lytham but were quite different.

Council approval and borrowing powers were confirmed in March 1968 but lead times were long. The chassis were built early in 1970 and are believed to have been stored for a period at Squires Gate Depot before Northern Counties could body them. 

The body was a version of NC’s standard layout at the time with curved domes - however the frontal appearance was most unusual. Often referred to Nottingham style due to an angled destination display over the windscreen - Nottingham didn’t run any quite like these as it preferred to use the same windows on both decks (77's are shallower upstairs), this was really a standard body with some Nottingham frontal features. NC supplied a few similar bodies to Stratford Blue and to A1 and AA in Scotland. 

77 early in preservation shows the original livery applied to this batch (Paul Turner)

Lytham’s trio were 75-77 (ATD279-281J) and entered service on the 11/11A to Blackpool- as did most of their new double deckers. Although driver only operation of double deckers was legalised in 1966 - 75-77 ran with conductors and it was not until 1975 that they started to be used on OMO work. New in Lytham’s classic layer cake blue and white livery, all three were painted into a variant with more white in spring 1974 with FYLDE fleetnames applied in April 1974 after local government reorganisation. 

The trio were withdrawn in October 1977 as their Certificate of fitness expired. This was for a fixed seven year when new and an overhaul was needed before buses could be used again. The MOT process replaced this in the early 1980s. 77s COF was to 20th October 1977. The trio were overhauled over the winter. The rear engine shrouds were removed - this aided mechanical cleaning of the rear. The registration plate was relocated to where the rear number blind was before (this was disused after OMO conversion). More significantly was the removal of the destinations from the angles panel above the windscreen to the panel above - allowing three track numbers and separate ultimate abs intermediate displays to be fitted - aligning the buses to the more recent fleet intake. The Fylde blue, white and mustard band livery was applied and the buses returned to use in the spring.

Fylde purchased Atlanteans piecemeal in the early 1980s and the last of these looked to be replacing the first. December 1983 saw the withdrawal of 75 and 76 with new Atlantean 74 entering service the following year. At 13 years old both were snapped up with 75 spending four years on staff bus work with British Shoe Corporation in Leicester, ironically alongside ex Nottingham examples. 76 went to Prestatyn Coachways and ran until around 1990.

The final new Atlantean was expected to replace 77 but this didn’t happen and threats of its demise in 1985 didn’t materialise. It soldiered on as the last Atlantean to carry the mustard band which has been dropped in 1983. Deregulation in 1986 gave 77 an extended life with several Atlanteans of 1967 to 1972 vintage purchased from Hull meaning it was no longer the oldest. 

77 was treated to a repaint around October 1986 into blue and white with the new Blue Buses fleetnames adopted for deregulation. This was probably its first repaint since 1978.

77 in its 1986 livery working in competition with Blackpool Transport on the 6 from Mereside to Grange Park. It is turning from Langdale Road into Clifton Road, a few yards form its current restoration base

77 tended to be used on school work now, but as competition expanded between Blackpool and Fylde, it began to see use on competing services - usually off peak between schools. Photos exist on service 6 (Grange Park to Mereside), 14 (Blackpool to Fleetwood) and (22 St. Annes to Cleveleys). These wound down in 1989 but a new era was about to begin. 1990 saw the launch of Coastliner - a double deck operated Promenade service using older buses in a branded blue and yellow livery. Some were converted to open top - thankfully 77 was spared but gained Coastliner livery, after a brief period with just a yellow front, in August 1990. Uniquely it had a light blue band on the sides - but this was painted out for the winter.

For the 1991 season 77 became 58 in the new fleet numbering series and made its debut in May in an advertising livery for Wyre Tourism. This lasted until 1993 season. In January 1994 58 was taken into the works for an overhaul with its engine removed for overhaul. The destination display was reinstated in its original position and a full repaint was undertaken into the revised promenade livery of yellow, light blue and orange. It returned to use in May 1994 just as Blackpool Transport completed its takeover of Fylde. 

77 as 58 in the unusual Roller Coaster Route 1 livery in 1994 complete with impression of the new Big One on the side. (PT collection)

58 gained a new livery (again) in April 1995 - the new standard blue and cream livery, albeit with a yellow front for the Promenade service. 8 May saw it operate a private hire for the Fylde Tramway Society to Birkenhead Tramway - a rare escape from the Fylde. In January 1996 the yellow front was painted into standard livery. The Fylde fleet was absorbed into Blackpool's in July 1996 and the following month 58 became 458 in Blackpool's fleet. This was short livered as in October 1996 it was withdrawn. Its last date is unknown, but it was certainly parked up delicensed on 13 November 1996. It was advertised for sale in March 1997 and the (then) Lancastrian Transport Trust (now Fylde Transport Trust) made an offer. The bus was moved to under cover storage at Rigby Road depot and the sale was completed in September 1997. Missing bits were refitted and a test run took place on 26 October 1997 - around 12 months after its withdrawal. It passed its MOT on 24 January 1998 and was repainted in June/July 1998 into its original style livery. It made its debut at a week long event to celebrate the Centenary of the Fleetwood Tramroad. In August it took part in a long trek to Anglesey for a Viking event (yes really) and was display at Squires Gate Depot on the last day of service 11th April 1999. Its initial time in preservation highlighted the need for further work. 

As is often the case, time passes and it was not until 2015 that work commenced and has progressed gradually since. Work has recently accelerated, with chassis,  platform and staircase repairs and a new front fibreglass mould fitted - modified from a Nottingham template. The destination gear has been moved back to the higher level pending a repaint into its 1978 Fylde Borough livery during 2021 when this now unique bus will return to the road. 

77 on 22nd October with its new front end mould in place, with new dash panels and a reinstated upper destination (Philip Higgs)



Sunday, 1 November 2020

Blackpool Transport update

Minor timetable changes took place to the 1 and 20 with the 1 revised to focus on its busy time. From Fleetwood it runs 0800 then 0845 and every 30 mins to 1815. From Starr Gate there are trips at 700 and 730 but then a gap until 0900 then every 30 mins to 1700 then 1745 and 1815. The 20 is reduced to every 90 minutes.

Over the main half term week commencing 26th October, a Saturday service was run on the 2, 2C, 3, 4, 5, 9, 14 and 17. From 1st November most returned to the normal weekday service, except 5, 7 and 9 which will retain their Saturday timetables. This may well change with the introduction of stay at home rules from Thursday.

To update the Trident disposals, 314/5 remained unaccounted for (both still SORN) and Archway have kept 319 after accident repairs and repainted it red. Older disposals, see 349-352 having moved on from Reading Buses to Go Southern Coachlines who have sold 349 and 351 to Vale Travel of Aylesbury while 352 is being kept for operation, and 350 for spares.