Saturday 30 June 2012

Routemasters on the Prom

RML2290 takes on a passengers at Talbot Square on another trip to Cabin
RML2290 heads south alongside another former London veteran - MCW Metrobus A945SUL

London's famous Routemaster with Blackpool's famous Roberts Oyster Rooms

The eyes down moquette of the refurbished Routemasters look smart on this well loaded journey for RML2290

RML2734 arrives at Pleasure Beach as RML2290 awaits departure on its next trip North

Going Solo

Blackpool's first Solos arrived in late 1999 and entered service in January 2000. 275 - seen here in Morrisons on the L1 remains in use at 12 years old
Optare's low floor minibus, the Solo, has now ended its production life in its original form, with the upgraded SR style now becoming the standard model. The model was launched in 1998 and has been Optare's most succesful model.

Blackpool is served by no less than six Solo operators, with a seventh active nearby. Blackpool Transport is, naturally, the largest operator with 51 in use from a fleet which reached a maxium of 57. The first 15 entered service in January 1999 on routes 33 (Cleveleys to Mereside) and routes 23-25 (Staining-Hospital-Mereside). The Metro network in 2001 saw the Solos move onto Lines 3 (Cleveleys-Mereside) and 5 (Staining-Hospital-Lindale Gardens). The Line 5 buses later moved onto Line 4 with 267-269/71/2 dedicated (261-6 were branded for the 3 and 273-6 became pool buses).
Solo 248 at the layover point on route 17 on St George's Road in St Annes. This scene has now changed following the demolition of the former Conservative Club and Job Centre as seen (or not) to the right of the photo
2002 saw six more Solos arrive for the Lifestyle Line (277-282, though 277 was stored for a year) and sister 283/4 followed in 2003. 12 more Solos (249-260) arrived for Lines 3 and 5 in 2004 as did 285 for Lancashire County Council's Kirkham Roamer contract. After a three year break 286-293 arrived for Line 16 cascading the Lifestyle Line buses to pool livery or Line 2. Six more arrived in 2008 (247/8 and 294-7) and the final seven (240-6) arrived in 2009.

Today Blackpool's Solos operate the 2 (Blackpool-Poulton), 2C (Blackpool-Knott End), 3 (Cleveleys-Mereside), 4 (Cleveleys Park - Mereside), 5 (Hospital-Lindale Gardens), 10 (Blackpool-Midgeland Road), 15 (Staining-Poulton), 16 (Blackpool-Cleveleys) and 17 (Blackpool-St. Annes).
Service 77 was a short lived Lytham to Clifton service as part of the Fylde Villager network. Stagecoach 47062 was not put off by the threat of a flood nor the unsuitability of the road through Westby for vehicles wider then 6ft. 
Stagecoach North West bought its first Solos in 2001 and several were allocated to Fleetwood for route F4 (Fleetwood to Poulton) which is today's 84 (Fleetwood to Blackpool) which sees a mixed Solo and Optare Versa allocation. Another batch (47055-62) arrived at Fleetwood in 2004 for the Fylde Village services (75-77 and 80/2). The recent end of the 74 and reduction in the 84 has reduced Solo activity considerably. Stagecoach Solos can sometimes also been seen on quieter journeys on routes 61/68 from Blackpool to Preston.
Cumfybus use a batch of 2009 Solos for their Fylde Village routes 75 80/2 but have drafted in various older Solos from its Southport operation to cope with its new 74 route. In the back ground is another Fylde Coast Solo operator - Elite Minibus Service operating route 87 (Poulton to Cleveleys)
The Fylde Villager is now in the hands of Cumfybus (75, 80, 82) which is based in Southport but has a Poulton depot for its Fylde coast routes and uses several 2009 vintage Solos. The 76 (Blackpool-Great Eccleston-Kirkham-St. Annes) is operated by Coastal Coaches which has three 2009 and five 2011 slimline Solos. On 4 June Cumfybus took over route 74 (Blackpool-Larkholme) from Stagecoach.
St George's Road again and Coastal Coaches "Master Luke" on the 76 is about to be overtaken by a sister bus on route 78
Evenings see two further Solo fleets reach Blackpool. Kirkby Londsale Mini Coaches operates several tendered bus services in and around Lancaster and one of these is the evening service on Stagecoach's 42 (Lancaster-Garstang-Great Eccleston-Poulton-Blackpool). It operates three round trips Monday to Saturdays leaving Blackpool Abingdon Street at 2015, 2130 and 2245 using two Optare Solos.

Similarly Rotala owned Preston Bus has the contract for Sunday to Thursday evening workings on otherwise Stagecoach operated service 68 (Preston -Freckleton-Lytham -Blackpool). Preston Bus workings leave Blackpool at 2140 and 2255 Monday to Thursdays and at 2115, 2215, 2305 on Sundays.

All except Preston Bus serve Poulton on their services as does the seventh operator, Elite Minibus Services of Carelton. They use one bus on route 87 between Poulton and Cleveleys every 90 minutes via Carelton, Stanah and Thornton.

Trident on the 17

Tridents were the mainstay of what is now the 17 when they were used on Line 14 from 2002 until 2010 when the route was diverted to Mereside in favour of the 17. Typically the 17 uses Solos but bigger buses often appear - especially at weekends. Tridents are relatively unusual - but not unknown. On Friday 324 worked the 1535 from Blackpool, seen here at Borough Boundary

Shortly after 324 swings from Blackpool Road into Leach Lane. From the 1970s this was the route taken by Fylde and Ribble's 193 until its demise in 1989. The 11C and later the 14/14A used Dawson Road as a cut through closer to St. Annes. When the longer Tridents arrived in 2002, the 14 was diverted from tight Dawson Road to the top of Blackpool Road and this is followed now by the 17. Blackpool Road continues to the left of the bus (as we see it) but ends abruptly  at the border of the Airport. The road used to continue to meet St. Annes Road at Halfway House and was used by route 11 from 1935 to 1940

Poulton Scenes

Solo 255 arrives in Poulton from Blackpool. This is the start of the terminal loop - on its return 255 will emerge from behind itself so to speak - to the right of Gennars  and turn right to the left of the photo.

The long established terminus of route 2 on Ball Street opposite the Golden Ball. 21 minutes is allowed for layover here - though this will be heavily reduced next month when the diversion via Staining is introduced
Solo 286 arrives on a late running 15
Two will become one. 286 zooms off on the doomed 15 leaving 255 alone on route 2.

Thursday 28 June 2012

Orange Squashed

417 was taken out of use on Tuesday 26th after a morning school duty and is now being prepared for a golf vinyl wrap. It has been joined by already withdrawn 402 which will be done in place of one of 370-3 previously earmarked. This ends the Line 1 orange and yellow livery, introduced on 410 in December 2002. Since then it has been carried by Tridents 333-339 and Olympians 365-9 and 401-417.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Service Changes

July 22nd sees a number of service changes including the withdrawal of route 15.

Route 1 received a timetable change with an reduction in running time. Just 11 minutes is now allocated for the Starr Gate to North Pier section. Some early morning journeys have been withdrawn as the tram now caters for these.

Route 2 is diverted via Staining with a 2.6 mile double adding time to the through journeys. No extra buses are required during the day, but one extra is needed evenings and Sundays.

Route 3 is extended to Cleveleys Park via Rossall Road and Cumberland Avenue replacing route 4 on this section. An extra bus is required (7 in total). Route 4 will now terminate at Cleveleys Square but still use seven buses. Sunday daytime 3 and 4 journeys will receive extra running time and share five buses.

In contrast to the 1, the 7 and 11 have extra running time added to address the reliability issues created at the last timetable change. 22 buses are now needed (rather than 21). Route 9 is retimed in the evening and no longer interworks with the 7 at these times but do on Sundays.

Route 16 is diverted at Bispham Road to run via Bispham Library, Ingthorpe Avenue, Ashfield Road (College), Whiteholme Road, Norcross Lane, Fleetwood Road, Castle Gardens, Tithebarn St to Poulton. This is supported by Lancashire County Council and replaces the part of the 15 they funded - though the new route does not serve either Kincraig Avenue (left to the 3) or Faraday Way (not served). Later journeys run from Poulton with the last bus at 1905, but the early finish remains from Blackpool with the final departure at 1748 (to Mereside). Sunday buses start at Bispham Library.

Route 17 is retimed with the end to end single trip time reduced from 50 to 40 minutes to save one bus. This is less than the 43 minutes with which the service was launched in 2010 when it started at Albert Road!

3 buses will be saved from this change - the extra two for the 3 and 7/11 offset by the saving of the four buses on route 15 and one on the 17. [corrected]

Tuesday 26 June 2012

More DAFs

Four of the final five Manx DAFs have arrived at Blackburn with 89 and 98 noted on 21st with 90 and 92 there by 26th June. Pictures are on flickr. 354-6 are all now complete but have yet to reach Blackpool.

Manx DAF Status
NoRegIOM NoIOM RegChassis NoBody NoStatus
354tbc97FMN835J00926738310Arr Blackburn Mar 2012 Finished May 2012 
tbc tbc93FMN621J00926138304Arr Blackburn Apr 2012 Finished May 2012
tbctbc95FMN622J 00926638309Arr Blackburn Apr 2012 Finished May 2012
tbctbc94FMN620J00926438307Arr Blackburn 8 May 2012
tbctbc96FMN623J00926238305Arr Blackburn 8 May 2012
tbctbc 89FMN299J00925938302At Blackburn by late June 2012
tbctbc90FMN503J00926038303At Blackburn by late June 2012
tbctbc92FMN619J00926338306At Blackburn by late June 2012
tbctbc98FMN836J00926538308At Blackburn by late June 2012

Monday 25 June 2012

The Metro Years: 2007

17 August and day two for Line 16 as brand new Solo 286 heads south to Fleetwood on Lytham Road. This was one of a number of seemingly illogical destinations, Fleetwood being 7 miles north of Blackpool and Line 16 duly headed 4 miles south to Squires Gate before finally heading north but it would be 20 more miles before the bus finally reached Fleetwood
2007 saw the arrival of the first Optare Solos since 2004. The eight strong batch (286-293) arrived between 4 and 17 April in a light blue and yellow livery. This was the new identity for Lifestyle Line L1 which was now integrated into the Metro branding as Line 16. The service was launched on 16 April with 286-291 in use - the full allocation made up by two of the existing L1 Solos. 292/3 arrived the following day and went into service on the 18th. The Lifestyle Line Solos were cascaded onto other work. During May 277/8/80 received pool livery (eventually replacing 588-590) while between June and July 279, 281-4 received Line 2 colours (to cascade 514-518, 595 elsewhere).
289 passes Olympian 370 at Halfway House. The Olympian is working a school days only duplicate  from  Collegiate High School to Manchester Square
Other service changes during 2007 saw Line 1 become a year round operation to replace the tramway which began a period of winter closures. A challenging timetable was adopted from 5 November with a 20 minute daytime and 30 minute evening frequency. Only five buses were allocated Monday to Friday with six on Saturdays and Sundays but it was soon apparent that  a 100 minute round trip was hugely optimistic. This was further compounded by roadworks on the Promenade with southbound buses diverting via Dickson Road and Talbot Road from November to February. On 6 December the Saturday timetable was adopted for all weekdays requiring an extra bus. 5 2002 Dennis Tridents were purchased from Lancashire United (having been taken over with the Blackburn Transport business). These long wheelbase 90 seaters all received Line 1 orange and yellow and formed the core allocation to the 1, but supplemented by veteran Olympians.
Trident 337, new to Blackburn Transport and outshopped in Line 1 colours crosses the tramway at Rossall Lane. This section of route was soon abandoned as the road was deemed too narrow to safely pass other buses and buses used Larkholme Lane to reach Broadwater.
Blackpool Transport also took over Lancashire United's small outstation at Jackson's Coaches depot on Burton Road, Blackpool. Seven Olympians and their school contracts were taken on with former Blackburn 30-36 becoming 411 (D367JJD), 412 (OFS684Y) and 413-417 (A703/4/19-21YFS) in the Blackpool fleet. 411 was new to London Buses and featured the last ECW body. 412-417 were dual door examples new to Lothian in Edinburgh and also featured Leyland TL11 engines - the first Olympians so equipped in the Blackpool fleet.
The ex Blackburn Olympians retained their two tone green and yellow livery. Here 415 leads 414, 417, 413, 365 and 408 at St Bede's School in Lytham
Minor changes saw route 4 change from 21 May 2007 to follow Line 3 through Claremont - while the short lived St. Annes Roamer 72 cased on 30 March 2007 with Redline taking over for a brief period before the service ended later in the year. The contracted evening journeys on route 88 (Cleveleys to Poulton) were replaced by extending Line 2.

Summer service route 20 was revised to run from Pontins to Marton Mere via Tower and Zoo with a half hourly frequency using three buses. Open toppers were used after their unsuccessful year on Line 1. Further Olympians arrived with 844 (D244FYM) for the Manchester tour and 857/8 (D257/8FYM) in a generic livery for both Blackpool and Manchester work. Metrobuses 802, 815 and 864 went back to Ensign leaving 892 in use on the Manchester tour and 814 in store.
Metrorider 518 in the new Line 10 livery in May
Metrorider withdrawals started with 593 in March 2007. This was replaced on Line 10 with 518 which had been painted from Line 2 livery into a new silver grey livery for the service (as the light blue colour was adopted for the 16). 593's retirement was brief as it emerged in April in pool livery to replace 591 which was withdrawn. 593 had a tachograph and outlasted its sisters as it could do private hire work. The Solo cascades onto Line 2 saw 514-517 repainted into pink/yellow for Line 15 in August and September. There of the existing Line 15 (584-6) buses were withdrawn in June - one the first L1 Solos had received pool livery. 584/5 and Line 2 595 were sent on loan to Arriva in Darlington at the end of June, returning two months later. August saw 588 withdrawn with 587 following in September and 588/90 in October.
Second generation for Line 15 with 514 having replaced older sisters earlier in the year

Despite the official Atlantean farewell, 363/4 continued in use and were joined on 6 January 2007 by 353 and 360 due to an extension of the Starr Gate to North Pier tram replacement service to Thornton Gate. After a month 358 replaced 360. Delta trainers 969/70 (ex 129/30) entered service in February and Atlantean 922 was duly withdrawn. Its sister 923, withdrawn in 2006, was sold for scrap on 6 July 2007 with Delta 117. Delta 128 was withdrawn at the end of the year and sold to Preston Bus for use as a driver trainer with Blackpool converting it to a similar specification to 969/70.
Atlantean 353 returned to use in January 2007 and is seen here on a regular Atlantean duty providing extra capacity on Line 7 on Lytham Club Day, 23 June 2007
Optare Excel refurbishments commenced during the spring with 210 the first to go to Cummins for a new engine. The upgraded ISB engine was expected to address the unreliability of the original configuration. 211 and 212 were also treated during the year and the programme would continue until 2012.

Routine repaints saw Line 1 Olympians refreshed with 367, 406/7 all treated in January. The four lilac buses from Line 20 received Lien 1 livery - 404 in January and 402/3 in February and 401 in March. Oddly 405 missed out on this round of repaints. April saw 115, 116 and 593 receive pool livery. In November 115/6 went back into Line 11 livery alongside 379. Repaints of the Blackburn Tridents had taken up most of October and in December the first of the Olympians (417) was repainted into Line 1 colours.
Atlantean 364 also survived the farewell event and is seen here on temporary service 30 service parts of St. Annes otherwise inaccessible to the usual services 
Several demonstrators appeared again. Enviro 400 double decker SN56AWW ran on the 11 in June, Solo YJ56APY on the 2/2C in January, Dart SN56AYB performed on the 11 in January and Volvo B7/Wright BX07AXJ ran on the 11 in August

Delta 130 as driver trainer 970 (with 969 behind). Alongside is Solo 284 still in Lifestyle Line livery and acting as spare bus for the 16.
End of Year Liveries
  • Line 1: 333-337, 365-9, 401-410, 417 (21)
  • Line 2: 249, 279, 281-5, 501-513, (20)
  • Line 3: 258-264 (7)
  • Line 4: 265-9, 271/2 (7)
  • Line 5: 250-257 (8)
  • Line 6: 104-110, 112-114 (10)
  • Line 7: 210-7 (8)
  • Line 10: 518 (1)
  • Line 11: 115/6, 118/9, 122, 125-7, 132/3, 322-32, 379 (22)
  • Line 14: 301-16 (16)
  • Line 15: 514-7 (4)
  • Line 16: 286-293 (8)
  • Pool: 101-3, 123/4, 218-221, 273-8, 280, 317-9, 370-8, 592-4/6 (31)
  • Green and Cream: 353/8, 363/4 (4)
  • Blackburn green/yellow: 411-416 (6)

Wednesday 20 June 2012

The Ghost of William Smith?

Sunday 22nd July sees with withdrawal of route 15 and the diversion of route 2 to serve Staining. This brings back the original William Smith service of the mid 1920s, taken over by Blackpool in 1927 and split into a Poulton (2) and Staining (15) service. The double run will add substantial journey time on to the 2 - though the 2C will provide a faster end to end service - and should utilise the 20 minutes layover at Poulton. It is not yet known if any replacement will be made for the northern leg of the service.

Other changes from the same day affect services 1, 3, 4, 7, 11 and 16 but details are not yet known.

Sunday 17 June 2012

405 ends era for Trent Olympians

405 was taken out of use on 14th June after morning school services to be prepared for 'wrapping' in an allover advert as part of the Golf Contract. It has duly become the last of its batch to operate in routine service after 15 years (so far) - though itself, 403 and 410 will return to use for the Open Golf championship. The last Lothian Olympian - 417 - remains active.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Seafront 12 Scenes

Views at the northern end of Seafront 12 RM1568, heads round Gynn Square roundabout
The latest addition to the fleet is RML887 seen here just south of Gynn Square

An archetypal crew pose as RML887 stands at the Cliffs Hotel terminus

Self promotion on RML2290 as it picks up at Gynn Square. Note the shelter - one of several of the 1990s  green and cream shelters to be fitted with a new flat roof and a repaint into grey

The new to Crosville VR coasts down to Gynn Square past Trident 314

Back on Saturday LTT's preserved PD3 529 was borrowed for a half duty on the 12 - this is likely to be a rare occasion as the vehicles will normally be drawn from the Classic Bus fleet (Philip Higgs)

Monday 11 June 2012

Veteran Olympians down to two

Just two of the surviving ECW bodied Leyland Olympians are now available for service - 405 and 417. 365 (Roe bodied) and 403 have now been wrapped for Golf Contracts with 410, 413 and 415 in progress and 416 awaiting treatment. Of these 365 and 416 were already in store, but 403, 410, 413 and 415 were taken out of use at the end of term and are not expected to see use until the golf championship. 405 and 417's days are likely to be numbered as they too are scheduled for wraps.

Also still in stock are withdrawn 402, 407, 408, 412 and 414 which are all likely to go for scrap with 412 and 414 likely to be the first to go.

In addition to the two special golf services, three official Park and Ride services have been confirmed, though it is not confirmed who will operate these. The routes are:

Blackpool Road/Ramsgate Road. From Blackpool Road Playing Field to St. Thomas Road via Leach Lane, Headroomgate Road, Claredon Road, Ramsgate Road, Crossland Road North, Folkestone Road, Headroomgate Road, Church Road, St. Thomas Road and back via St. Patricks Road South, St. Annes Road East, Headroomgate Road and reverse to Blackpool Road.

North Houses Lane (Jubilee Way) via Heyhouses Lane, Smithy Lane, Church Road to Haymarket

Promenade via Links Road, St.Thomas Road to St Andrews Road South and back via Queens Road, Clifton Drive South, King Edward Avenue and Promenade

Maps are available here:

Sunday 10 June 2012

Fylde's Laser on tour

Former Fylde 27 (C27ECW, later MJI7846) is seen at Fleckney on an enthusiast tour (G Butler)
An enthusiast tour using the well known Confidence of Oadby Leyland Olympian fleet took place on Saturday 9th June and amongst the double deckers, their former Fylde Tiger 27 (MJI7846) was used from South Wigston depot to Fleckney and back. (See for details of similar tours).

27 was new in 1985 and was used mainly on coach and contract work as it was not equipped for stage carriage duties. It introduced a two tone blue livery which later evolved into a new bus livery in 1988. From 1989 27's scheme was adopted for the acquired Seagull Coaches fleet. 27 survived into Blackpool ownership and was finally equipped for service work for particular school contracts (and a market day bus) in March 1997 only to be withdrawn the following month! 

Initially sold to Martin Baker Aircraft company near Uxbridge, it settled into a leisurely retirement as a non psv staff bus until Confidence purchased it in May 2004

The Tiger at the Confidence depot (G Butler) 
26 years earlier, a one year old Tiger stands in the depot yard blinded for National Express work

Friday 8 June 2012

Saved for a Rainy Day

On a wet 7th June, RML2290 brightens the gloom on a 12 working to Cabin.

Meanwhile Excel 218 heads to Lytham on service 11.

The rain doesn't enhance the ambiance of Corporation Street as 243 heads on another run to Knott End

Sands Venue is the backdrop for Solo 296 as it passes Volvo P269PSX (and its reflection).
Today the Sun put in an appearance allowing Classic Bus Bristol VR DCA528X to make its debut on Seafront 12. The bus - new to Crosville and last used by Classic Southdown Omnibuses in Bournemouth in 2008 has recently received this NBC open top style livery.
In other news, the three complete Blackpool Transport DAFs (354-6) are parked together at Bus and Coach World and were joined for a few days by Blackpool Trident 318. This has now returned and is in use today on the 2/2C having been fitted with an LED destination display. A number of similarly equipped buses have been observed with scrolling 'via' points enabled on their destinations.

Monday 4 June 2012

Trident 314 returns to use

Trident 314 - the fourth Merlin Entertainments advert bus has returned to use, promoting the Sealife Centre. It is seen here by the Metropole Hotel with the Illuminated Western Train alongside

Seafront 12 - new to Blackpool Promenade

Seafront 12 has seen the first use for RML887 in Blackpool. Purchased from London General by Graham Oliver in 2011 it has been overhauled and repainted by Classic Bus and joins Graham's other two RMLs 2290 and 2734 as part of the fleet. One of the initial 24 RMLs of 1961, like 2734 it features the modern Cummins B series engine and Allison Transmission, fitted for London General during its period in their private hire fleet. This shot at Central Pier was taken from Olympian 324.
Saturday saw the introduction of a new Promenade bus service between Pleasure Beach and Cabin operated by Oakwood Travel on behalf of Classic Bus North West. A 15 minute frequency is provided from 900 to 1800. 
Two of the three Volvo Olympians previously used on college contracts for Classic Bus North West have received red front and rears and share the duties with the Routemasters. N324NHG - originally Dublin Bus RH264 is seen at the Pleasure Beach

Sister P269PSX retains a Pleasure Beach resort side advert.

RML2290 has also seen use on the 12 - unlike its sisters this features an Iveco engine and original gearbox. RM1568 - one of the Cummins engines Marshall refurbished 'Dartmasters' is also part of the fleet

Spare bus for the service is Optare Metrorider P502UFR. This has seen some use this weekend standing in for open top Bristol VR DCA528X which has also been repainted into the company's red fleet livery. This was lasted used by Classic Southdown Omnibuses on a similar operation in Bournemouth during 2008. Metrobus 945 (A945SUL) is also likely to join the service during the summer.

502 again, seen from Olympian 324. Four vehicles are required, though this is usually from a rotation of five during the day 

Original Excels eradicated?

Excel 206 in relatively happier times on 4 June 1998 on the 44B - note the now demolished church in the background

Last month saw the disposal of former Blackpool Excels 201 and 206 to a Barnsley breaker for scrap from GHA, Wrexham. Both had been disused for some time. This ends the troubled life of these vehicles with operators. The have followed 203, 204, 207 and 208 to scrap yards. 202 and 205 may still survive, 205 having become a spares donor with Richards or Cardigan in 2010 while 202 was stored in Northfleet around the same time. Neither has been licensed since 2007.

These eight Excels were new - technically to Fylde - in June/July 1996 shortly before the operation was finally absorbed into its parent, Blackpool Transport. They served for just three years with Optare replacing them with nine new examples between July and September 1999.

Sunday 3 June 2012

411 Returns to its Birthplace

Olympian 411 - the last ECW body built is about to leave Blackpool for its new home - seen here on the outskirts of town by the new Starr Gate tram depot. (all photos from Neil Chivers EATM)
Leyland Olympian 411 left Blackpool today, 27 May, bound for a new life in preservation with the East Anglia Transport museum at Carlton Colville. New as London Buses L263 it was the last bus built at ECW in Lowestoft a few miles from its new home. It should make an appearance at the museums ECW event on 16 and 17 June which marks 25 years since ECW closed. See for details.

L263 was delivered in January 1987 and originally featured high backed seating for the 'Selkent Travel' sub-fleet. When London Buses was split up, L263 became part of the Selkent company which was purchased by Stagecoach in 1994. Quite early in its life it was re-registered from D263FUL to VLT9 from a Routemaster but lost this in favour of D367JJD in 1995. In 2000 it was sold to Ensign and converted to single door for Blackburn Transport where it arrived in November as its number 30. It was later allocated to their Blackpool outstation for school routes. Soon after Blackburn Transport was taken over by Lancashire United, the Blackpool unit and its buses was sold to Blackpool Transport with 30 becoming 411 in the Blackpool fleet. Soon painted into orange and yellow, the bus was mainly used on school routes with the odd appearance on route 20. It was withdrawn in April.
A 1988 view of L263 in Selkent Travel livery on display at Carlton Colville during a special event.

24 years later as Blackpool 411 it is posed in the same place at the museum.