Thursday 19 May 2011

Route 12

Throughout the 1960s PD3s were the staple diet of service 12, though it was launched with PD2s until the first of the full fronted PD3s arrived in 1962. Swifts took over in 1974 but on 14 December 1981 PD3s appeared as their front engine offered greater adhesion - a sentiment presumably lost on the crew of 523 seen here stuck at the Airport
Blackpool Trams began operating along Lytham Road in 1895 initially to Station Road with a end on connection from 1896 with Gas trams to Lytham. Blackpool trams later ran the full length of Lytham Road to Squires Gate Airport but the line closed in October 1961. Replacement service 12 started on 30 October 1961. It started at Squires Gate - with the terminus opposite the Lytham St. Annes Bus depot then ran the length of Lytham Road, onto the Promenade and up Talbot Road to the Bus Station. The service was:
  • Summer - every 5 minutes (9 buses)
  • Winter - every 6 minutes (7 buses) except evenings/Sundays - every 8 minutes (5 buses)

Centre Entrance PD2s were not commonly associated with the 12 but here 210 is providing an unadvertised duplicate service 12A between Talbot Square and South Station to cope with summer loadings
Existing PD2s were used until the 20 new PD3s arrived during summer 1962 - after that the longer PD3 became the mainstay with PD2s - including the streamliners - providing unadvertised duplicate service 12A. The service frequency gradually eased with a 7 minute frequency in place by the 1970s. January 1973 saw the terminus move to the Airport Grounds and in May 1974 the service was converted to OMO operation using AEC Swifts. Daytime services used 7 buses at 7 minute intervals, evenings and Sundays saw a bus every 16 minutes with extra summer season journeys.
OPO operation with Swifts started in 1974. Now preserved 570 waits time at the Airport terminus
By 1977 the daytime frequency had dropped to every 10 minutes with a 20 minute evening/Sunday timetable in place. 1983 saw timetable revised with two journeys per hour replaced by Fylde's 11/11A - leaving the 12 providing 4 buses per hour at 10-20-10-20 intervals and no evening/Sunday service. Double deckers were now commonly deployed.

During the 1980s Atlanteans replaced the Swifts - here 356 loads at The Old Bridge - while the stop is blocked by brand new National 2 544 on its first familiarisation run.

Deregulation saw the frequency return to every 10 minutes with 4 Routemasters - crew operation allowed faster running times so the buses could - just - get round in 40 minutes. Evenings/Sundays saw OPO Double Deck buses run every 30 minutes.

In July 1987 the daytime 12 service was extended to St. Annes using 6 crew double deckers - RMs521-6 were supplemented by PD3s with 507 and 512 in the same red and white scheme as the RMs. November saw alternate journeys curtailed to terminate at the Airport but the evening/Sunday service was extended to St. Annes.

Routemasters were used from deregulation to garner a competitive advantage against Fylde's Blue Buses. 521 is chased down Talbot Road by Fylde 82 on the 11A
29 February 1988 saw the introduction of a supplementary minibus service providing a bus every 5 minutes from Blackpool to Highfield Road. The St. Annes service now ran every 30 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes at peak using crew double deckers. Evenings and Sundays - and some early journeys - used minibuses through to St. Annes on a 15 minute frequency.

City Pacer 550 is operating the new minibus version of the 12 introduced in February 1988. This later became service 12A
 August saw the minibus workings renumbered 12A and extended via Highfield Road, St. Annes Road, Halfway House to Lindale Gardens and back via Highfield Road. The offpeak  12 service ran every 15 minutes during the summer and this was then adopted year round from November. April 1999 saw the evening service revert to big bus operation with 2 Atlanteans or Olympians running every 30 minutes.

521 again leaving Blackpool Airport with an Easyway Leopard behind on route 53
 From December 1991 the Routemasters were replaced by crew operated Atlanteans as several were now spare. March 1992 saw the 12 extended to Cleveleys replacing service 9. Optare Deltas took-over and 8 were required for the 15 minute daytime service and 4 for the half hourly evening/Sunday service. This followed Fylde's expansion of services with its 11 running from Lytham St. Annes to Cleveleys and the 11A following suit in May 1992.

With the two operators under common ownership, November 1994 saw the 12 drop to half hourly - co-ordinated with Fylde's 11/11A. The 12A was reduced to every 7/8 minutes. August 1996 saw the 12 converted to double deckers and the 12A coverted to single deckers with 5 operating every 10 minutes and  buses ran both ways via Lindale Gardens to terminate at the Morrisons Store at Halfway House - though the circular route was restarted in November 1996. A 6th bus was added quickly as the timetable provided too challenging.

PD3s 507 and 512 supplemented the Routemasters on the 12 - both carried the same red/white livery
 June 1998 saw one journey per hour daytimes on the 12 extend from Cleveleys to Freeport, Fleetwood via West Drive, Broadwater and Fleetwood Ferry requiring one more bus. This proved unreliable so it was diverted via Amounderness Way instead of Broadwater in December and was withdrawn in April 1999. Single deckers returned to the service in February 1999 following the conversion of the 12A back to minibuses in December - 5 Metroriders taking over.

The new Metro network saw the 12 replaced by Line 11 from 30 April - this largely covering the 12 route, plus a diversion via Bispham Village with an extension to Lytham. Today the northern section is now route 9 while the Lytham Road service (as far as diversions allow) is now covered by a revised service 11.

The 12 was a regular haunt for demonstrators. Here East Lancs bodied Scania EMJ560Y loads in Talbot Road Bus Station alongside Atlantean 310 and Swift 579