Friday, 16 December 2011

Back on One Site

Withdrawn Atlanteans 444 and 473 sit amongst sisters, the odd Metrorider a coach and a Blackburn Transport school Olympian
On 30 November, withdrawn Olympian 366 was towed out of Jackson's Coaches yard on Burton Road, Marton and was towed to Rigby Road for further storage. For the first time since the absorption of Fylde in 1996, the entire Blackpool Transport fleet was kept on one site. Fylde had been purchased in May 1994 but was fully absorbed into Blackpool Transport in July 1996 but most of its services and vehicles continued to operate from Squires Gate Depot until it closed on 11 April 1999.

With a fleet of 177 buses to accommodated at Rigby Road, Blackpool Transport had demolished the former canteen to make extra space having previously had a fleet of 133 buses prior to the takeover. In addition Blackpool held several other buses in store including six coaches which went for auction in April/May, 14  withdrawn Atlanteans and sundry others. Several withdrawn buses had been stored in Rigby Road yard and these moved to Squires Gate in the week after the closure. Open Toppers 452-455, Atlanteans 465-470, 481, 487, 489 and 492 and single deck Atlanteans 134-137 were kept there, generally in the centre shed. 454 was quickly sold, 134-137 were reinstated in June and 452 and 467 sold from Squires Gate in July. The remainder (453/5, 465/6/8-70, 481, 487/9/92) were removed at the end of July and moved to Blackpool Council Operational Services Department yard at Layton. Some stayed their only briefly - 466/9 returned to use in September 1999, 453, 455, 465, 468, 470 and 481 were all sold by January 2000. This left the three ex Hull buses. 489/92 were sold to Blackpool Council for conversion to Mobile Mess Vehicles for Tramway track workers and remained at Layton until they were converted in Blackpool's workshops and put into use in Autumn 2000 - ironically operating from the same Layton base. This left 487 which remained on site until July 2001 when it returned to Rigby Road to have its engine removed prior to going for scrap.
Atlantean 472 stored amongst Metroriders in June 2004

An alternative storage site had been established in Marton in the spacious yard of Jacksons Coaches. In February 2000 newly withdrawn Atlanteans 466, 469, 475, 478, 479 and 483 moved there along with redundant Optare City Pacers 567/8, 570/1/3/4/6/8/9, 582 

Since then most withdrawn buses have been stored at Marton prior to disposal. Several have escaped back into service, including several of the first Atlanteans stored there. 105 buses are known to have been placed in store at Jacksons comprising:
  • At least 28 East Lancs Atlanteans (324-7 329-331 333/4/6/7/9 340/1 347 350-4 356/7/8 360-4) and possibly 343, 345, 355 and 359
  • 18 ex Fylde Atlanteans (441-445, 466/9, 471-475, 478-480, 483, 495/6)
  • 10 City Pacers 567/8 570/1 573/4 576/8/9/82
  • 21 Metroriders 501 504 506/7/11-13/17 584-596

  • 2 open top Metrobuses 814 and 892
  • 5 Olympians 365-367, 401 and 403
  • 6 Excels 212-214, 216-218
  • 15 Deltas 104, 106-109, 113 115/6, 119, 122/3, 125-127 132/3

Olympians 411 412 413 and 415 await school duties in Jacksons yard in 2008 after takeover from Blackburn Transport
Jacksons was also used as a base for a small number of school contracts operated by Blackburn Transport from September 2000. Typically six or seven buses were kept there, usually second hand Olympians purchased from London or Lothian. Blackburn was taken over by Transdev in 2007 and during summer 2007 they sold the Blackpool operations to Blackpool Transport including seven Olympians which became Blackpool 411 to 417. The staff, unusually for Blackpool Transport, were part timers and they continued to operate out of Jacksons depot though the number of buses soon dropped to four. As staff or contracts ended the operation contracted and by 2010 all service buses were running from Rigby Road once more.