Friday, 1 May 2009

Profile: Line 2

Line 2 today is one of Blackpool's most complex routes incorporating several others. Traditionally route 2 linked Poulton and Blackpool and has its origins with independent William Smith, taken over by Blackpool Corporation in 1926. It ran from Poulton via Hardhorn Road, Longhouse Lane, Normoss Road, Newton Drive and Church Street into Blackpool. In 1971 certain journeys were diverted via the new Highcross Road (route 2A) and in 1974 it was converted to OPO operation with AEC Swifts replacing Leyland Titans.

At deregulation in 1986 it was extended to Bispham, but this was reversed in 1991. 1992 saw conversion to minibuses on a 10 minute frequency with most journeys now running as route 2A. 1994-2001 saw a second extension to Bispham tried. The 2001 Metro network saw the route standardised as Line 2 via Highcross Road with Hardhorn Road served by a tendered route. Black and yellow was adopted as a route colour and 505-510 were the dedicated Metroriders - though all retained the old Handybus colours.

In April 2002 the 2 was merged with the 26 (North Station-Church St-Whitegate Drive-Waterloo Road-South Pier) and the 26's green livery was adopted. This was the former Marton tram route opened in 1901 and replaced by buses in 1962. A 10 minute service was now provided. Just three weeks later a further change saw Hardhorn Road served once an hour again with route 2A (ironically) operated for this diversion. The 2A journeys were also extended north to Cleveleys via Carleton, Thornton and Pheasants Wood replacing former service 10. From South Pier journeys were extended to Mereside every 2 hours as 2B via Highfield Rd, Lostock Gardens, Squires Gate Lane and Midgeland Road and 2C via Watson Rd, Lennox Gate, Highfield Road and Welcome Inn replacing routes 8 and 9.

The route then evolved with frequent changes summarised as:

July 2002 - 2B/2C withdrawn, 2A extended to Marton Asda via Clifton Drive, Highfield Road, Lennox Gate, Lostock Gardens, Halfway House, School Road, Midgeland Road and Asda. 14 buses required

January 2003 - half hourly extension from South Pier to Lytham via St. Annes and Heyhouses, replacing 77. (2 extra buses allocated - 16 required)

October 2003 - evening service 88 (Cleveleys-Poulton) now interworked with Line 2 with through fares available.

November 2003 - Lytham to Poulton journeys extended to Hillylaid Crossing, Thornton via Little Thornton replacing Stagecoach 167/8. 1 extra bus (17 required).

November 2004 - 2A withdrawn between Poulton and Cleveleys with the journeys to Hillylaid Crossing extended to Cleveleys via Pheasants Wood every half hour (no extra vehicles)

October 2005 - two journeys per hour extended Poulton to Knott End as Line 2C, replacing Stagecoach service 85. Hourly evening service introduced over same route. (two extra buses - total = 19)

December 2005 - 2A withdrawn with new Line 10 covering South Shore-Midgeland Road section. 2C now serves Hardhorn Corner (daytimes). 18 buses now needed (8 Lytham-Cleveleys, 6 South Pier-Knott End, 4 South Pier to Poulton - 501-518 allocated)

September 2006 - Lytham journeys extended to Wesham every 30 minutes replacing Kirkham Roamer (2 extra buses allocated - 20 needed). Double deck working introduced to the 0742 from Knott End to South Pier - often changed over in the Town Centre but sometimes remained on full duty.

June 2007 - evening service 88 incorporated as Line 2 (but via Stanah and not via Pheasants Wood)

Metroriders have been allocated to Line 2 for most of their life, initially 505-10 were allocated but not branded though they began to receive green livery adopted when the 26 was absorbed. 511-516 already carried this. 504 was painted during 2002 with 517/8 following green in Dec 02 and March 03 respectively, 503 in November 2003, 501 and 502 in December 2004 and 595 in October 2005.

In June 2006 Optare Solo 249 was outshopped in Line 2 livery to provide extra capacity on the Knott End workings, while sister 285 joined the fleet in September. This had previously been dedicated to the Kirkham Roamer now absorbed into Line 2. Summer 2007 saw further Solos repainted with 279, 281-284 cascaded from the Lifestyle Line, releasing Metroriders 514-517 to Line 15 and 518 to Line 10. May 2008 saw the first new bus for Line 2 in the Metro era with the arrival of 247. This allowed 595 to be withdrawn, while 513 moved onto Line 15 in 2009.

May 2009 will see the introduction of seven more Solos: 240-246 which makes 15 (240-7/9, 279, 281-284) with Metoriders 508-512 making up the numbers.

So Line 2 today is:

A 10 minute daytime service from South Pier (Bond St or Station Road) to Poulton with 2 buses per hour via Hardhorn Road (2C) comprising:

2 - every 30 mins Wesham-Warton-Lytham-Heyhouses-St. Annes-South Pier-Marton-Town Centre-Hospital-Highcross Ave-Poulton-Little Thornton-Thornton-Pheasants Wood-Cleveleys (10 buses)

2 - every 30 mins South Pier (Bond St)-Marton-Town Centre-Hospital-Highcross Ave-Poulton (4 buses)

2C - every 30 mins South Pier (Bond St)-Marton-Town Centre-Hospital-Hardorn Corner-Poulton - Hambleton-Preesall-Knott End (6 buses)

Total = 20 buses

And a 20 minute evening service from South Pier (Bond St) to Poulton all buses via Highcross Road.
2 - every 60 mins South Pier (Bond St)-Marton-Town Centre-Hospital-Highcross Ave-Poulton-Little Thornton--Stanah-Thornton-Cleveleys
2 - every 60 mins South Pier (Bond St)-Marton-Town Centre-Hospital-Highcross Ave-Poulton
2C - every 60 mins South Pier (Bond St)-Marton-Town Centre-Hospital-Highcross Avenue-Poulton - Hambleton-Preesall-Knott End

Total - 7 buses. Sunday service runs as evenings but without the Poulton-Cleveleys section and uses six buses

One working usually uses a pool fleet Delta and often runs into the evening. This is to cope with peak loads from Knott End. This operates:

Bond St-Knott End: 0617, 0922, 1222, 1522, 1822
Knott End-Bond St: 0742, 1049, 1349, 1649, 1936
Bond St- Cleveleys: 2058
Cleveleys-Bond St: 2215