Friday 26 November 2010

News Round Up

November has been a fairly unremarkable month bus fleet wise. A few unusual workings have included the use of Tridents 333 and 340 and Delta 123 on Line 17. Meanwhile Line 18 has a minor diversion in Ansdell - now running from Smithy Lane via Church Road to Worsley Road instead of South Hey - presumably due to difficulties using the previously unserved section of Worsley Road. The route's sponsor - Lancashire County Council - is hoping to reinstate the service along South Hey in the future.

All five of the ex Anglian Bus Volvo single deckers are now in service with 521 having joined its sisters. First dates of operation of 521 and 523 are not known.

Leyland Olympian 407 was noted in use on Line 14 on Monday 22 November - these venerable machines continue to make sporadic appearances on all day services.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

On Diversion - Bethesda Square

The southern leg of the Promenade Route - Line 1A circumnavigates most of Blackpool Town Centre. Most curiously its destination is shown as "Burlington Road West" - a nod to Blackpool's tradition of euphemistic destinations. When Line 20 used this terminus during the summer, the moderately more recognisable "Pleasure Beach" was shown.
The lengthy Promenade closure related diversions see northbound buses on Lines 5, 7, 14 and 17 and southbound buses on the 1A, 10, 11 and Stagecoach 68 buses use Bethesda Square and Kay Street to reach the Promenade. A similar diversion was in place last year.

Southbound buses use this leg of the triangle, northbound buses (like 291) normally approach from the right of the camera.
Vehicle allocations to services continues to be fairly flexible. Plaxton Centros are normally found on the 1 and 1A and quite regularly on the 11 but have now also been seen on the 14 and 17. Wright bodied Volvos also normally operate on the 1, 1A and 11 but have also seen service on the 17 523 has now appeared in service, operating on Line 11 on 10th November. Conversely the occasional Excel has been seen on the 1A. 

Line 5 - which has been religiously Solos since 2004 has seen more variety of late. Excel sightings have become a regular occurrence recently 219 on 1 November, 218 on 8 November. Excels were the allocated buses for the service prior to the arrival of the branded Solos in 2004. Much less common is the appearance of Trident 307 on a 5 today.

Thursday 4 November 2010

Winter Diversions

The diversions associated with the winter closure of Blackpool Promenade have now been confirmed. Most drastic is the division of Line 1 into two services and the removal of Line 14 from Freeport (in favour of Line 1). The Promenade is closed to Southbound traffic through the town centre until June 2011 and other traffic orders are affecting the tram crossings at Cleveleys and Broadwater. These - and the ongoing work in Fleetwood - are likely to last until mid to late December. New timetables will be in operation for Line 1/1A, 11 and 14.

Line 1 will now run from Corporation Street to Fleetwood Freeport via Talbot Road, Dickson Road to Gynn Square. It will also divert at Little Bispham via Shore Road, Russell Avenue, Warren Drive, North Drive and Victoria Road to Cleveleys and be extended from Ferry to Freeport via the 14 route.
The southbound diversion is from Thornton Gate to Little Bispham via West Drive, Cleveleys Avenue, York Avenue, Brighton Avenue, Victoria Road West, North Drive, Warren Drive, Russell Avenue and Shore Road. From Gynn to Corporation St the route will serve Dickson Road, Springfield Road, Talbot Road and Market St. The 20 minute daytime service requires 5 buses and the half hourly evening service requires 3 buses.

The Southern leg of Line 1 becomes the 1A and runs from Corporation St to Pleasure Beach South . This takes in the Illuminations Diversion route via Talbot Rd, Dickson Rd, Springfield Rd, High St, Larkhill St, Grosvenor St, Church St, South King St, Adelaide St, Coronation St to Central Drive then Bethesda Square, Kay St, Chapel St to reach the Promenade at Central Pier! It terminates by turning via Clifton Drive and Burlington Road West to the Promenade at the Pleasure Beach. A half hourly service runs all day using two buses.

Several other routes are diverted in Cleveleys due to work on the tramway. The 3 will run in a terminal loop from North Drive via Victoria Rd West to Cleveleys Square then back via the normal route up Anchorsholme Lane. The 4 returns from Cleveleys Park via Cleveleys Avenue, York Avenue, Brighton Avenue, Victoria Rd West and North Drive. Line 7 diverts from Fleetwood Road via Valeway Avenue, North Drive and Victoria Road West to reach Cleveleys Bus Station and returns via Rossall Road, West Drive and as diverted Line 1 to North Drive then Valeway Avenue and Fleetwood Road. Blackpool bound Line 9  buses follow the same route to North Drive. Line 16 is extended to Cleveleys Bus Station and returns as per the 7 and 9 to pick up its normal route at Victoria Road West.

To allow for track work at Broadwater road crossing, Line 14 is diverted from Cala Gran via Amounderness Way, Rossall Lane, South Strand, Broadway, Larkholme Lane and back to Fleetwood Road but will now terminate at Fleetwood Ferry - the reverse applies to Mereside journeys. Both Line 1 and 14 continue to be diverted via Adelaide St and Dock St to Queens Terrace lay-by with Albert St used instead of Adelaide St on journeys back to Blackpool. 

Other Blackpool Town Centre diversions see the 3 and  4 to Mereside run from Pleasant St via Dickson Rd, Springfield Rd, Talbot Rd to the front of the old Bus Station and then onto Dickson Road, Springfield Rd and Larkhill St and as normal. Line 15 to Staining follows the 3 and 4 to Talbot Rd then Clifton St and as normal.

Northbound Lines 5, 7, 14 and 17 are diverted from Central Drive via Bethesda Sq, Kay St and Chapel St to the Promenade. Southbound Lines 5, 7, 14 and 17 from Market St follow the Line 1A route above to Central Drive.

Southbound Lines 10 and 11 from Market Street follow the 1A route to Chapel St and onto the Promenade. Line 11 is retimed in Lytham St. Annes, removing some of the additional time inserted at the July service changes. Much of the layover at Grange Park has been moved to Clifton St/Market St.

The changes reduce the PVR by one bus (from Line 1) which takes the PVR back to 106. The July change saw a reduction from 113 to 104; two double deck buses have since been added to duplicate morning peak runs on Line 7 and the split of the 17 into the 17 and 18 added a further bus.

Excel refurbishments continue

Excel 214, the last of the nine new to Blackpool Excels to be refurbished has returned from Cummins with its new engine. Ex Reading 224 has now left for similar work. Trident 332 is the first of the Line 11 examples to enter the paint shop for a fleet livery repaint.

Occasional appearances by elderly school bus Olympians on main services continues with 404 reported on Line 11 today. Line 11 livery Delta 127 is understood to have been sold to the owners of 109 for staff transport.

Monday 1 November 2010

More Repaints

Further repaints into the new livery have taken place during October with Tridents 333 and 337 now complete and back in service. 334 and Excel 224 are now being repainted.

The Promenade will be closed to Southbound traffic through the town centre from 8 November and service changes have been registered for all services except the 2/2C and 18 from that date to reflect the diversions required.