Monday 27 September 2010

Blackpool Transport Open Day

Blackpool Transport held an open day on Sunday 26 September as part of the tramway 125th anniversary celebrations. A variety of buses was on display with PD3 529, Swift 570, Routemaster 521 and City Pacer 575 from the LTT Collection joined by PD3s 390 and 501, Metrorider 590, Fylde Atlantean 45, Lytham PD2 10 and various other preserved vehicles.

From the BT fleet, Delta Driver Trainer 969, Volvos 522 and 528, Solo 288, Excel 211, Trident 340 and Atlantean 364 were all on display in the yard. Various other vehicles were seen within the depot and works. Trident 333 was in the early stages of a repaint in the paint shop, following on from sister 335.

Saturday 25 September 2010

Enter Route 18

Monday sees a short notice service change with the splitting of Blackpool Transport's Line 17 into the 17 and 18. The 17 will now run from Blackpool to St. Annes over its current route, albeit with the northbound daytime journeys retimed to run ten minutes later. Four buses will be required during the day.

Line 18 will run, on behalf of Lancashire County Council, from St. Annes to Lytham via the current 17 route, though diverted to serve Ansdell Library between South Hey and South Park via Worsley Road, Central Drive, Gordon Road and Commonside. This will be the first time the section of Worsley Road between South Hey and Albany Road has been served by buses.

Two buses will be required - meaning that the combined requirement increases to six. The evening service will continue to run every hour every day and is understood to interwork with Line 17, Coastal Coaches will continue to run an hourly Sunday daytime service. The changes allows smaller vehciles to be used on the new 18 with a Line 4 livery Solo seen on the first day.

Monday 20 September 2010

Pleasant Views

Line 5 red liveried 254 turns onto the Promenade on a Line 4 working
Southbound Lines 3, 4 and 15 were diverted via the short stretch of Pleasant Street from Dickson Road to the Promenade as part of the Town Centre bus route changes. All three routes are operated by Solos and have seen increased variety of liveries and variants recently. Line 4 is now seeing the use of long wheelbase Solos - perhaps helping to cope with demand along Whitegate Drive following the reduction in frequency on this corridor.

Line 2 liveried 284 works Line 15 to Staining.
In other news, Trident 319 made a rare appearance on Line 20 on a wet Sunday 19 September - only one of the open top Olympians was observed - Volvo 377 was the third other working. Disposal of the Line 6 Deltas is now complete with 107 and 112 departing today. Deltas 101, 102 and 123 remain in use; 118, 119, 122, 125-127, 132 and 133 are in store.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

The Journey to Journeys end

Parton's lorry tows 116 with 115 following to their Carlton yard
Deltas 115 and 116 departed for scrap on Tuesday, collected by Parton's of Carlton, Barnsley. 104 and 108 followed on Wednesday with 106 and 113 to depart later this week

Saturday 11 September 2010

Town Centre Stops

Trident 330 waits at the new Topping Street stops
Not previously illustrated here are the new bus stops on Topping Street between Church Street and Deansgate. Lines 2, 2C, 3, 4, 11 and 20 now use these instead of serving St John's Square.
224 on Line 2 turns from Topping Street into Deansgate to circumnavigate the former Talbot Road Bus Station
Meanwhile Line 17 has now moved Town Centre terminus to Market Street outside the travel office - both bus and office still flying the flag for Metro Coastines. LTT's PD3 is the background collecting a party of school children from the Town Hall

Thursday 9 September 2010

The Amazing Technicolor Bus Route

It has been a colourful week on Line 7 with red, dark blue and light blue Solos joining the normal green ones and the odd new livery one. The set would be completed by a Line 4 and an old pool liveried bus - both have been noted but not regularly as they are short wheelbase examples which cannot cope with peak loads.
Solo 240 in the former Line 2 green livery represents the most common fayre on Line 7

Line 5 Solos 253 and 251 pass in Lytham Square

Line 3 Solos have made the odd appearance - this is 260 using the reinstated Church St/Promenade junction
Solo 293 is one of four in the new fleet livery

Only two Line 16 livery Solos remain in use - 291/2 - this is the latter.

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Old and New on the 11

Centro 528 represents the new order - Line 11 at Lytham Square
Tuesday 7 September saw contrasting vehicles on Line 11 with a brand new Centro and doomed Delta 123 in use. 123 was the only Delta required today.
The old order - Delta 123
In other news; Trident 335 is being repainted into the new fleet livery. Double deckers have continued to appear on Line 1 despite its 'official' allocation of Centros - perhaps reflecting the flexibility that the end of route branding promised. The Enviro demonstrator was returned on 6 Sept.
Centro 527 at the Airport terminus of Line 1

Monday 6 September 2010

Spoke too Soon

As with most 'last days' the victims live on - the three black/yellow Deltas 101, 102 and 123 have had a stay of execution pending commissioning of the ex Anglian Volvos. On Monday 6 September 101 saw service on Line 1 and 102 ran on Line 14. 123 was noted on Line 11 on Tuesday 7th.

Line 1 has been turned over to Plaxton Centro operation as planned and at least one orange liveried Trident - 333 - has been seen on Line 14. Centros 527, 530-2 were noted on the 1; 529 on Line 11.

338 on what may be the last day of rostered double deck operation on Line 1 having recently lost its route branding
Line 3, 4 and 5 liveried Solos are beginning to get the wanderlust with at least one blue Solo noted on Line 17 recently and red liveried 251 and 253 on Line 7 today. Line 7 has experienced heavy loadings and now normally sees only 33 seaters - usually the 12 ex Line 2 green ones (the other two 284/5 are smaller buses) with frequent use of the four new liveried examples.

Despite the end of route branding the Solos have still be quite discriminatingly allocated with Line 5 liveried buses still normally used on that route. 251 and 253 had the opportunity to stretch their legs to Wesham today

Saturday 4 September 2010

Delta Demise; Fylde Farewell

Delta 101 managed 20 years and 6 months in front line service between March 1990 and September 2010
With the new Volvos due to enter service on Monday, today - Saturday 4 September - was the final day for the Optare Deltas - arguably Blackpool's best ever single deck purchase. At the start of the year 23 Deltas remained in use representing 13% of the bus fleet and contributing to the average fleet age of 11 years and 10 months. With 103 withdrawn during the spring, ten more in July, 115 in August and the final 11 today replaced by 9 new and 8 second hand buses the fleet age is down to 10 years 3 months - still way beyond the industry target of 8 years but a credible improvement. The two driver trainers 969/70 (K129/30UFV) are expected to remain in use.

The final weeks saw the following Deltas active:
101/2 G101/2NBV of March 1990 in black/yellow
118/9/22 H118/9/22CHG of April 1991 in Line 11 turquoise/yellow
123 J123GRN of July 1991 in Black/yellow with Blackpool Council side/rear advert
125/6 J125/6GRN of November 1991 in Line 11 turquoise/yellow
127 K127UFV of January 1993 in Line 11 turquoise/yellow
132/3 H2/3FBT of May 1991 in Line 11 turquoise/yellow

On the final day all except 118 operated. 123 performed the final working - having replaced 122 earlier in the day - the 1745 Line 11 departure from Lytham Hospital to Grange Park then empty to Depot arriving back there at 1923.
133 (Fylde 3) was the last former Fylde bus to run for Blackpool Transport

The withdrawal of 132 and 133 eradicates former Fylde Transport vehicles from the fleet, 14 years after the former competitor was fully absorbed in 1996 - prior to this the previous withdrawals had been the last Atlanteans in 2004. 132 operated on Line 11 while 133 operated on Line 14 finishing with the 1720 departure form Freeport to Mereside and empty to depot for 1849.

Most last days tend to be anything but with the odd appearance witnessed in the next few days (or next few years in the case of the Atlanteans), but the edict seems final but will the Delta have a last stand?

Thursday 2 September 2010

Clifton Street part 2

Deansgate has never been particularly photogenic, the demolition of St John's Market has at least allowed the sun to shine on Sizzlers Cafe and Trident 305. Not new bus territory by any means but 305 is operating on the new southbound 11 routing. Having turned right from Topping Street, it is traveling eastbound on Deansgate, before heading north on Cookson St, west on Talbot Road and finally southbound on Market Street.
Solo 272 swings into Abingdon Street
329 and 379 in matching liveries give a hint of uniformity to the bus fleet - Clifton Street
Solo 284 turns into Clifton Street from Talbot Road on Line 16 - the two smaller green liveried Solos are now increasingly used on Line 16 as they have proven too small for Line 7 - all but two of the the Light Blue 16 liveried Solos have now been painted into the new livery

Centros and Eclipses

Plaxton Centro bodied Volvo 531 leads 532 down Rigby Road ready for their formal launch on Friday 3rd Sept
Monday 6 September seems to be set as the debut of the new Volvo single deckers with the nine Plaxton Centros due to be launched on Friday and enter service on Monday.

Registrations are:
525 BF60UVJ
526 BF60UVK
527 BF60UVL
528 BF60UVM
529 BF60UVN
530 BF60UVO
531 BF60UVP
532 BF60UVR
533 BF60UVS

Of the older Volvos, 522/3 AU06BPF/K remain the only two in Blackpool. Anglian have painted 520 AU06BOV and 524 AU06BPO while 521 AU06BPE was still in service there on 27 August but is now under repaint.

The third of the second hand Tridents, 340, has now entered service.