Friday, 13 May 2011

Atlantean Afterlife

LTT's Atlanteans 334 and 362 back in 1986 at Pontins
Its now nearly five years since the farewell to the Atlantean event and, although Atlantean operation continued through 2007 and in 364's case right up to autumn 2009, the number of survivors is dwindling fast. The last article under this name was published here in October 2009 and at the time 16 of the 64 new to Blackpool Atlanteans were believed to survive.

The oldest was 309 (CBV309S) which was stored on SORN with Thornes in North Yorkshire, however since November 2009 this has been recorded as 'unlicensed' with DVLA suggesting departure from Thornes and probable scrapping.
350 as Streetscene 270
The 1979 batch had three survivors with 325/6 in store with Liddel's of Auchinleck on SORN but both are now unlicensed and presumed sold. 322 was purchased for preservation but hasn't been reported since and is also noted as 'unlicensed' on the DVLA site. Any reports on its continued existence would be welcome. Since then it has been confirmed that long withdrawn 330 is still with Liddel's where it has been a static store at their depot since 2003.

Other than stored 330, LTT's 334 may well be the oldest operatonal survivor and the last example and the only other survivor of the first 40 Atlanteans. 343 of the 1981 batch was broken up in May 2011 after its spell in preservation was curtailed due to a serious axle failure. Those with a strong constitution may be interested in the series of photographs of 343's disposal here. Sister bus 350 is still active with Blackpool Borough Council Streetscene.

Of the last 16 Atlanteans, seven are understood to survive in great contrast to the first batches. Scotbus continue to use 354, 357 and 361 on school service in the Highlands of Scotland and those wanting to experience them might be interested in a mini running day featuring Scotbus's Atlanteans on 9 August - details here.

Blackpool's last Atlantean operating on Line 6 in April 2008
Preserved 353 remains active with the Chesterfield 123 Group while sister 362 is currently under restoration with LTT. 364 remains with Blackpool Transport and is occasionally rallied but it has not seen active service since its withdrawal in 2009. 358 is stored with Classic Bus North West and 356 remains active as a playbus.

So the Atlantean survivors may be down to eleven - (unless 322 survives)
  • Preserved: 334, 353, 362 (3)
  • Stored: 330 (1)
  • On SORN: 358 (1)
  • Scotbus, Inverness: 354, 357, 361 (3)
  • Blackpool Council: 350 (1)
  • Playbus: 356 (1)
  • Blackpool Transport: 364. (1)
The fate of the former Fylde examples is surprisingly more impressive. Of the 19 new to Fylde examples absorbed by Blackpool in 1996 eight survive. 444 continues with a dance troupe in Greater Manchester, 445 is preserved in Seagull livery. 458, 471 and 479 are preserved by LTT, 474 is stored in Blackburn after use as a mobile catering unit, 478 is a static playbus in Dorset at the Haynes Motor Museum and 496 survives in non-psv use after sale out of preservation - its SORN declaration was renewed last month.

75 (B75URN) was the last Atlantean delivered to Fylde and the last mainstream Atlantean to enter service. Later refurbished as a Seagull Coach (and renumbered 45) it became Blackpool 445 and is now preserved in its 1990s condition
Of the second hand examples, two of the five new to GM Buses survive - 467 is still outside the Pilot Boat Inn on Anglesea as a static playbus and 468 is a commentary point at a race course in Jersey. LTT has two of the rebodied single deckers (134/7) - though 135 is now believed to have passed out of private preservation for scrap.

12 out of 46 pre-owned Atlanteans absorbed with the Fylde business survive - and that is without counting open toppers 452 and 453 which have disappeared in France and America respectively.