Thursday, 2 June 2022

Service Changes

 Blackpool Transport

As is common at this time of year, 12 June sees some timetable changes for Blackpool Transport's buses. 

1 - extra bus added to cycle at weekends- no change to frequency but new night journeys 2330 and 0130 from Starr Gate to Fleetwood and 0030 and 0230 from Fleetwood - the latter to Manchester Square only. This is slightly curious given the lack of evening service.

2 - 0730 from Blackpool, 800 and 1500 from Poulton will run year round rather than just school terms. The service remains hourly other than these weekday extras. 

6 - a second journey runs to Peel Park. A 5th bus added to cycle to extend running times. Still only every 30 minutes

5, 7, 9, 11 and 14 are retimed.

All services are retaining their current frequencies and the daytime PVR will be 69 buses with some peak extras. Not previously reported is Blackpool operating the 400 (Fleetwood-Blackpool-Poulton-Myrescough College) and 853 (St. Annes-Lytham-Kirkham-Myrescough College) buses on behalf of Preston Bus.

76 and 78

Coastal Coaches has recently lost the contract to operate these buses (on behalf of LCC) to Preston Bus. Minor changes have been made, notably a Sunday service on the 78 and some later evening trips to Lytham. The 78 now serves Derby Road in Wesham too. The 76 runs Blackpool-Poulton-Weeton-Kirkham-Wrea Green-Warton-Lytham- St. Annes and the 78 Great Eccleston-Wesham-Kirkham-Warton-Lytham-Ansdell-Heyhouses-St. Annes. Both interwork at St. Annes and use six buses with 2018/2019 Mellor Stratas in use.

Preston Bus use a two tone blue livery, replacing Coastal's blue and white buses. With the 78 evolving from a former Fylde service it is ironic that its current and previous operators are using similar liveries to Fylde's 80s and 90's schemes.

Coastal is still operating three LCC schools - two of which use coaches and one 813 (Hambleton to Garstang High) uses one of the two Stratas.





Sunday, 10 April 2022

Jubilee buses

Blackpool Transport has outshopped two of its Enviro 400s in a commemorative livery for the Queens Platinum jubilee. 422/3 have both had some purple vinyls over most of the yellow bits on their liveries and suitable messaging in the advert panels. 423 entered service yesterday and was capture on camera by Mike Wilson:





Saturday, 26 March 2022

ZEBRA bid succesful

Blackpool Council’s bid for 115 electric buses for its wholly owned operator Blackpool Transport is one of 12 Zero Emission Bus Regional Area projects announced this morning. It is understood 57 double deckers (like for like replacements for the E400s) and 58 single deckers replacing the 48 E200s and ten Citaros) are to be purchased 2022-2024. Significant work is also expected to make Rigby Road depot suitable for electric buses including a refurbished and extended east shed, demolition of the body, paint and tram fitting shops. By 2025 it is also possible that the bus depot will be demolished in favour of hard standing as most facilities will be accommodated in the East Shed. 



Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Coastliner Expansion, Blackpool loans and suvivors

Coastliner Buses has secured five school contracts for Lancashire County Council and is starting to acquire suitable vehicles ahead of their start on 4th January.

  • LX03BTV is a new to Stagecoach London Plaxton bodied Trident acquired from London Borough of Havering and now in Coastliner livery.
  • 3 ex Abellio Enviro 400s including LJ09CAA
Their London Routemaster RML887 has been treated to a full repaint into London red and on completion featured on a road run in London to mark the anniversary of the end of Routemasters on their last route - the 159.

Meanwhile, Blackpool Transport has been assisting Warrington's Own Buses with a vehicle shortage. Centro 531 has been on hire from 1st to 13th December before returning to Rosso. Enviro 200s 566, 572 and 580 are there too. 

Blackpool survivor updates include the sale of 342 to Dews of Somersham ex Vision bus - it rejoins 336. Thanks to Ron Way for the report last month. Solo 249 has left Archway and is now with Smiths of Marple. DAF 354 has been sold by Dekkabus and is currently advertised by Xelabus in allover white.


Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Blue Buses of Lytham St. Annes - the ideal Christmas Gift!

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

Blue Buses of Lytham St. Annes by Paul Turner is still available for sale from the following outlets:

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

Plackitt and Booth bookshop, Lytham (on line shop)

MDS Books

Blackpool Tram Shop and Videoscene

Fylde Transport Trust

Heritage Tram Tours

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

Sunday, 7 November 2021

FTT Service 14 Running Day

516 passes the Castle Gardens

Today saw the Fylde Transport Trust’s final Blackpool Bus 100 event with PD3s 516 and 529, Atlantean 334 and Swift 570 operating between Blackpool and Fleetwood over the 14 route during the afternoon. An excellent day by all accounts - a few photos from Carleton and Fleetwood. 

529 at the Queens hi Hotel, Fleetwood

529 at Carleton Crematorium 

334 approaching Carleton Crematorium 


 



Autumn Update

A round up of recent news:

Coastal Coaches

Having standardised on Optare Solos, Coastal acquired its first Mercedes Sprinter buses with Mellor Strata Ultra bodies. They are WO21OGH and WO21OGJ. Ex Quality Line Solos YJ62FKX and YJ62FVT have been withdrawn. 

Coastliner
Zoo route 22 was extended to run every weekend in September and October plus Tuesdays to Thursdays in the last two weeks of October. They have been regularly working Metrolink tram replacements in Greater Manchester too. 

Blackpool Transport
Service changes saw an uplift in frequency on 5 September much of which was undone on the 19th as a staff shortage kicked in. This grew worse in October causing the 1 to be suspended on several days and in the end it was reduced to run between Cleveleys and Town Centre  only with an extension to Fleetwood on Tuesdays. This took effect on 10th September with a timetable change to coordinate with Coastliner 21 after a week. 

Former Blackpool Buses
The last of the withdrawn Tridents finally left on 5 November - 314/5 heading to Lodge Coaches High Easter joining several others. Trainer 974 (304) has joined former 975 (339) for conversion to cafes. 

343 (H1FBT) is now YIL2805 (it’s fifth registration) and after a brief period with B&N Barnoldswick has passed to Freeway of Pinton Notts. Sister 326 has passed to Panther, Parkeston from M&M Staffing.
358 has been withdrawn by Dekkabus and is being stripped for spares 

Saturday, 14 August 2021

News Round Up

Blackpool Transport introduced revised summer services from 25 July which unusually features lower frequencies - reversing recent practise which saw frequencies increase.

The 1 still runs every 30 mins, the 2 reduced to hourly. The 3, 4 and 7 are running every 30 minutes, 5, 6, 9, 11 and 14 every 20 mins. Even the Zoo service, 20, is a poor 90 minute frequency. Meanwhile BT are providing several vehicles on rail replacement in Greater Manchester currently. 

Fleetwise the six Centros returned from loan to Rosso after the school term ended. They are currently for sale.

Coastliner buses has introduced a new 22 from Tower to Zoo every 20 minutes with the first trip starting at Marton Mere - the last one returns there too. It runs 17 July-30 August Tues to Thurs and at weekends too. V158MEV an open top Trident is now in fleet livery for this route having previously run on Sightseeing Manchester. Sister V145MEV has also seen use. 

Coastliner has been active on Manchester Metrolink replacement services recently. CK53AKO is the latest ex Cardiff Dart to join the fleet and is painted in a mainly blue livery. 

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Anniversary review

Buses cross at Stanley Park with PD3 529 and Atlantean 334 on the 21 (Paul Turner)

This weekend saw the birthday weekend celebrations of Blackpool Buses with 19 different buses taking part. This included 6 from the Fylde Transport Trust, 6 which are owned by Gary Conn and Martin Gurr as part of the Best Bus in Town collection, 5 owned by Blackpool Transport and two privately owned buses.  

The events kicked off at 1400 on Friday - the birthday date - when Blackpool Transport's Olympian open topper worked the first of three tours up the Prom to Cleveleys then along the original route to Thornton and back again. Tour 2 used Preserved PD3 501 at 1600 and Tour 3 Blackpool's Atlantean 364. All three are part of the Blackpool Heritage fleet.

A superb addition to the ranks of preserved buses in Solo 288 which is now part of the Best Bus in Town Collection with 501, 554, 262, 133 and 589. Outshopped last week it has been restored to as new Lifestyle Line 16 livery. It arrived on 4th April 2007 and made its debut on the first day of the 16 on 16th April. It was repainted into the new black and yellow livery in August 2010 and again in May 2014. It was withdrawn in June 2018 and has been stored locally since disposal in December 2019

Saturday started with a parade of buses. 17 were involved and these gathered in Blackpool's Rigby Road yard. The buses were grouped into four and ran to Squires Gate in a holding area before running from Starr Gate up the Promenade to North Pier then running to Gynn Square to turn and disperse. 

Swifts 554 and 570 depart Rigby Road ready for the parade of buses (Paul Turner)

Group 1 featured PD3s 501 and 516 and Swifts 554 and 570. Group 2 had Atlanteans 334, 362 and 364 with Olympian 857 and Routemaster 521 (RM1583). Group 3 was all Optare built, led by City Pacer 575 with Delta 133, Metrorider 589 and Excel 225 with Group 4 featuring Solos 288 and 292, Citaro 554 and Enviro 400 458. 

After the parade, ten buses went on display at the Headland, some directly after the parade, others with a visit to the depot so as to spread the arrivals for marshalling purposes. The display comprised 501, 516, 512, both 554s, 362 857, 225, 589 and 458. 512 was the 18th bus used and did not take part in the parade.

At 1200 the free bus service numbered 100 started using Solos 288 - in Line 16 livery and 292 in black and yellow and now used for driver training. Atlantean 364 and Delta 133 completed the line up.

In the evening FTT ran 334 and 570 over the route of service 1 from North Pier to Poulton via Carleton and Castle Gardens.

Night bus - 570 awaits departure from Poulton at 2300 on Saturday. (Paul Turner)

Sunday saw two different free services, plus another round of tours 501 at 1100, 364 at 1300 and 857 at 1500. 

Service 100 used six buses. 133, 288, 362, 501, 857 and an ex Arriva Dennis Dart owned by Andy Mitchell and painted as a 'what might have been' bus in Blackpool's late 1990s livery and fleet number 296.

FTT recreated the Zoo service 21 using Atlantean 334, PD3 529 and City Pacer 575.

This brought the events to an end - though there may be some more celebrations later in the year. With 19 buses featured, 11 of which gave rides this was the biggest bus gathering in Blackpool since the end of Totally Transport a few years ago.

Metrorider 589 was one of three Handybus vehicles in the parade (Paul Turner)

City Pacer 575 was another - returned to use for the first time since 2004 (Paul Turner)

334 awaits departure on the first 21 to the Zoo (Paul Turner)

Delta 133 worked the 100 service on both days this weekend (Paul Turner)

334 at the Zoo terminus - this is one of the last remaining fully intact 1990s shelters. These were installed by Blackpool Transport who won the contract from Adshel, who responded by suddenly removing their shelters. This one retains all glass - including the 'tower and waves' logo. Several others exist in shell form (including one at Stanley Park) and others have been modified with new a flat roof and metal panels in place of the glazing. In a couple of places the shelters have been removed but the advertising panel survives! (Paul Turner)

PD3 529 negotiates the roundabout at Stanley Park on the 21 route (Paul Turner)



Friday, 2 July 2021

100 years old

On Saturday 2nd July 1921 a Tilling Stevens single decker left Cleveleys Beach for Thornton Station and Blackpool Corporation became a bus operator. The Corporation itself first became a transport operator in 1892, when it took over the tram company and is believed to be the oldest council owned transport operation in Europe, if not the World.

Like the trams, bus operations tended to be started by private operators - indeed William Smith, a Blackpool councillor, had started Blackpool's first motor bus route from Layton tram terminus to Bispham in June 1920 and later added routes to Poulton and Staining plus local routes in South Shore and Fleetwood. In 1926/7 Smith's business was absorbed into the Corporation network which had expanded with its first Blackpool area route from Adelaide Place to Devonshire Road via Caunce Street in December 1922.

Starting with a route outside its boundary was unusual, but it was a product of an agreement which prevented the LMS from opening a branch from Thornton to Cleveleys. This also included a coal train service on the tramway from Thornton Gate to Fleetwood. The bus service linked the tramway at Cleveleys with Thornton Station and tended to use one bus at a time, sometimes with a second bus at peak times. 

It continued, with a brief extension to Burn Naze in 1927 until 1931. By this time Ribble had established a strong presence in the Fleetwood, Cleveleys and Thornton area and the Corporation had built up larger network centred on Blackpool. Route numbers had been allocated in 1927 and the pioneer service was given the somewhat dismissive number 13. It had grown to a 15 minute frequency by 1930 but ended on 20th December 1931, with Ribble taking over and integrating into its own network. Today the main link is provided by Coastliner buses 24 - though with a few diversions through residential areas that didn't exist in the 20s - and Blackpool's 75 which sticks to the main Victoria Road like the 13 did. 



 

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Blackpool 100 Events

More details are now available for the Blackpool bus 100 events next weekend. Friday sees three bookable tours from Blundell Street to Cleveleys and Thornton. These cost £3 and trips are bookable on PD3 501 at 1600 and Atlantean 364 at 1800 on the Friday while the earlier trip at 1400 with Olympian Open Topper 857 appears booked up. On Sunday at the time of writing 501’s 1100 trip is nearly booked up with seats available on 364 at 1300 and 857 at 1500. Book at Blackpool Heritage Trams Tours

On Saturday there’s a procession at 1000 from Starr Gate to North Pier before many vehicles are displayed on Tower Headland 1200-1600.

A special free service will run from Pleasure Beach to Gynn Square on both Saturday and Sunday to the timetable below.


Saturday night sees Fylde Transport Trust run two of their buses, one confirmed as Swift 570, on a Beer and Buses from North Pier to Poulton to over the old 1 route to the times below. On Sunday they will operate very 20 minutes Tower to Zoo over the old 21 route. 

FTT are preparing Swift 570 and Atlantean 334 for the weekend and have cosmetically altered recently acquired Excel 225 to represent the Handybus livery. Also City Pacer 575 has returned home after mechanical repairs in Stoke and now has its first MoT since back in 2004.


FTT's Saturday Beer and Buses to Poulton

FTT's Sunday 21 service to the Zoo




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 Pleasure Beach to Gynn 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 Pleasure Beach to Gynn 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