Tuesday 17 December 2013

Solos come and go

The recent changes to the Fylde Villager has seen Preston Bus take-on route 75. Four Slim-line Solos have been transferred from fellow Rotala firm Diamond Bus. Its seen here earlier today on Abingdon Street, Blackpool
Cumfybus has now withdrawn from the Fylde - here its silver painted Solo MX05OTA approaches the Blackpool terminus of the 74 on 3 December

A more conventional yellow Cumfybus MX55WDD loads for Preston on Abingdon Street on 3 December

Coastal's presence in Blackpool is reduced to just peak trips here Master Luke, on of its first batch of Solos stands on Abingdon Street.

Open Top Farewell

City Sightseeing 858 (D258FYM) - new as London Buses L258 and a Blackpool resident since 2007 has now gone for scrap as the disposal of the last open toppers in the fleet progresses

Parton's are busy collecting the four open top Olympians for scrap. 858 departed on Wednesday 4th; 873 departed on Tuesday 10th and 818 today, Tuesday 17th - leaving just 857 awaiting departure. Open Top buses were common in Blackpool in the inter-war period, but since then operation has been fitful. Three Titans were converted in the 1950s; then PD2 532 was purchased from Eastbourne in 1989 - lasting until 1999 but only sporadically used in service.

The Fylde takeover bought veteran Atlanteans 451-454/7 into the fleet in 1996, but all were gone by the end of 1998. 

The City Sightseeing operation commenced in 2001, initially using Metrobuses and continued in various forms, latterly with Olympians until ending in 2012.

Friday 6 December 2013

Repaints and Christmas Preparations

The repaint of the three former Metro pool liveried Tridents is nearly complete with 319 ready for outshopping. 318 was completed at the end of November. 317 and 318 have lost their rear adverts in the process. A full rear advert for Conway's Toymaster (Chocolate Picture Maker) has been applied to 333 and adverts are also being applied to Volvos 520 and 522.

Trident repaints are continuing however, with 315 now in, losing its Tussauds advert. The other three advert buses (312, 313 and 314) are expected to follow.

Long term stored Olympian 858 left for scrap to Parton's of Carlton on Monday.

Christmas timetables have been published with the same level of Blackpool Transport service on Boxing Day and New Years Day as last year. Routes 1, 9 and 14 will run every 30 minutes, routes 5, 7 and 11 will run hourly. The 7 will terminate at Lytham Square, the 11 at St. Annes Square and the 14 at Mereside Tesco; otherwise the full routes will be provided.  Classic Bus North West will operate route 22 on Boxing Day to their full Sunday timetable.

Thursday 14 November 2013

Holiday Makers Return

Solos 240, 241 and 247 have returned from their six month holiday in Cornwall. They have been on loan to Western Greyhound, who suffered a major depot fire in May.

Trident 318 has followed 317 into the paint shop leaving just 319 to complete the Trident repaints. Excel 221 has been dispatched to Bus and Coach World for DDA compliance modifications.

Disposals of the open top Olympians are expected to start soon with long disused 858 expected to go for scrap shortly.

New DAF Driver trainer 971 is under preparation following repaint, its predecessor Delta 970 is currently still in use.

Fylde Village - Exit Cumfybus, Enter Classic Bus, Stagecoach and Preston Bus

9 December sees changes to the Fylde Villager network stimulated by Classic Bus North West's commercial registration of route 80. Cumfybus appears also to be retrenching from the Fylde Coast and presumably concentrating on its traditional Southport operations plus its recent expansion in the Bolton area. The changes comprise:

  • 74 (Larkholme-Blackpool) - from Cumfybus to Stagecoach
  • 75 (Preston - Blackpool) - from Cumfybus to Preston Bus - re-routed away from Carr Head and Fairfield Road between Poulton and Singleton - now serving Garstang Road and Catlows Corner
  • 76 (St. Annes-Blackpool) - still with Coastal Coaches but most journeys curtailed to run St. Annes to Little Eccleston only.
  • 80 new route Blackpool - Preston with Classic Bus NW, hourly with 2 hourly evening service in partnership wtih LCC. From Blackpool via Layton, Victoria Hospital, Newton Drive, Hardhorn, Carr Head, Poulton, River Wyre Hotel, Catlows Corner, Gt Eccleston, Elswick, Inskip, Catforth
  • 82 reduced to Fleetwood - Poulton every hour (2 hours evenings) and operated by Stagecoach.

Coastal Coaches will no longer provide their peak journeys into Preston on route 75.

Stagecoach will need four buses for routes 74 and 82; Coastal 2 for route 76 and CBNW 3 for route 80. 

Sunday 3 November 2013


Trident 317 has now entered the paint shop for its first ever repaint - ten years after it was delivered. Sisters 318, 319 and Solos 279, 281 and 282 remain in the Metro pool livery. Excel 219 is nearly complete and will shortly return to service.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Classic Bus Update

Classic Bus North West has taken delivery of two Volvo B6BLE form the Transdev Harrogate & District fleet. This expands the low floor fleet ahead of new service 80 starting in December. Route 22 will be re-routed from 13 November with buses now using Watson Road and Hawes Side Lane between St. Annes Road and Highfield Hotel. An hourly evening service will also be started.

Classic Bus North West Fleet

69F69SYEMCW MetrobusMCWChina Motor Bus ML81 11/88
143T143AUADennis DartAlexanderArmchair, Hounslow 5/99
145T145AUADennis DartAlexanderArmchair, Hounslow 5/99
162V162MVXDennis DartPlaxtonStagecoach East London 12/99
163V163MVXDennis DartPlaxtonStagecoach East London 12/99
269P269PSXVolvo OlympianAlexanderLothian Buses 269
324N324NHGVolvo OlympianAlexanderDublin Bus RA264
325N325NHGVolvo OlympianAlexanderDublin Bus RA272
326F326UJNMCW MetrobusMCWChina Motor Bus ML77 10/88
360WTG360TBristol VRAlexanderCardiff 360
502P502UFROptare MetroriderOptareBlackpool 502
512X512UATDennis DartPlaxtonLondon United DP512 11/2000
533X533UATDennis DartPlaxtonLondon United DP513 11/2000
601W601CWXVolvo B6BLEWrightHarrogate & District 6/2000
611W611CWXVolvo B6BLEWrightHarrogate & District 6/2000
652Y652NLODennis DartPlaxtonMetroline, London DLD182 6/2001
701XAU701YLeyland OlympianECWTrent 3/83
898R898XVMVolvo B10MAlexanderStagecoach Manchester
899R899XVMVolvo B10MAlexanderStagecoach Manchester
915P915RYOVolvo OlympianNorthern Counties London General 3/97
MAL41BD52LNUMercedes CitaroMercedesGo Ahead London
MAL49BD52LNFMercedes CitaroMercedesGo Ahead London
MAL53BD52ODKMercedes CitaroMercedesGo Ahead London
RML887202UXJAEC RoutemasterPark RoyalLondon Transport (Cummins Engine)
RM1568BNK324AAEC RoutemasterPark RoyalLondon Transport (Cummins Engine) 
All vehicles in fleet red except 143 (white, red front), 163 (Bispham High School advert), 269, 326 and 701 (Pleasure Beach adverts), 324 (Blackpool &; Fylde College), 325 (Evening Gazette), 360 (yellow), 652 (Metroline livery), 69 and 601/11 remain as acquired - these, 360 and 502 are not in service.

Tuesday 22 October 2013


Blackpool Transport has outshopped Trident 303, the last line liveried bus to operate. Stored Solo 280 has now been repainted, both buses are in the standard fleet livery. Excel 219 is now under repaint - all 17 Excels will therefore be in the same livery. This will be the first time that the Excel fleet has carried a uniform scheme since 2004 when the original 9 buses were painted out of Handybus yellow.

Sunday 13 October 2013

Red Rocket in Blackpool

Mercedes Citaro Artic MAL49 stands at Blackpool Coach Station with the iconic Tower in the background

MAL49 approaches the terminus... 

...and heads back for the M55

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Skew Bridge

Stagecoach Trident 18354 crests Skew Bridge in the first week of bus operation over the bridge since 2011
Solo 283 works the re-routed service 10 past the offending weak bridge sign (buses now once again are exempt)

Volvo B7RLE stands at the bus stop opposite Station Road. The Blackpool Transport Abacus shelters of the 1990s are now declining - though several are being rebuilt with new roofs and glazing

524 leaves the stop behind to climb the bridge towards Lytham. This was once the terminus of the Lytham Gas trams at the original South Station - passengers could change to Blackpool's electric trams here. 

Sunday 6 October 2013

Lytham by Day; Blackpool by Night

Manx DAF 354 is crowned by the Big One in the early evening on service 20 to Marton Mere 

As dusk approaches Centro 531 turns into Market Street on the 11

The recently repainted Trident 305 heads through the Illuminations on route 1 to Starr Gate

Meanwhile in Lytham, Coastal Coaches "Master Peter" is heading the long way round to Blackpool on route 76

524, one of the five ex Anglian Wright bodied Volvos heads past Caffe Nero towards Cleveleys

Last Days of Blackpool's longest diversion

Sunday 6 October has seen buses on the 5, 11 and 68 return to their traditional route along Lytham Road over Skew Bridge after over 2 1/2 years diverted via Station Road, Bond Street and Watson Road. A few days earlier on 27 September Centro 526 makes a comparatively rare appearance on service 5 on Bond Street.

At the same location Optare Excel 223 heads through on what is thought to be an 11 working

More normal fare on route 5 is the Optare Solo. Here 260 turns from Station Road to Bond Street

Bond Street will still be served by route 16. Solo 295 is heading (eventually) for Poulton. The five Resort Hopper Solos are now regularly seeing service away from their intended route 20. Stagecoach Enviro 19038 provides the photographer's platform

Stagecoach Enviro 19041 is about to turn from Watson Road into Bond Street having crossed the South Fylde Line - the fortunately on a bridge still deemed safe for all vehicles.

Friday 4 October 2013

Blackpool Repaints

Latest Trident repaint, 306 on layover on Corporation Street before heading to Knott End on route 2C

Recent repaints 306 and 283 are back in use. The paint shop is currently tackling the new DAF Trainer 971 into green and cream, while long term stored Solo 280 has also moved in for a repaint pending reinstatement. 

Solo 268 has been sold for use as a store-shed having been stripped of its engine leaving just 267 awaiting disposal.

Red Rocket

MAL49 is testing the route at the Coach Station earlier this summer 
Today has seen the launch of "Red Rocket" by Classic Bus North West. This is an express link from Blackpool Coach Station to Manchester (Chorlton Street) with stops at Yeadon Way car park (for Pleasure Beach) and at Manchester Town Hall. Some buses serve Trafford Centre. Buses run at 0715 (M-F), 0900 and every 90 minutes to 1800 (daily) then 2000 (Fri/Sat) from Blackpool and 0930 and every 90 minutes to 1800 and 2000 from Manchester.

Three ex Go Ahead London Mercedes Benz Artics are used. MAL49 (BD52LNF) has been in Blackpool for several months and has now been joined by MAL41/53 (BD52LNU and BL52ODK). These retain London livery and have not received any branding, fleet names nor destination displays for the service. MAL49 and one other were observed, while Olympian 269 P269PSX also put in an appearance.

Route 22 is understood to gain an evening service from 11 November, while CBNW has also registered route 80 between Blackpool and Preston, covering the current tendered Cumfybus route from Poulton to Preston.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Route changes to 16 and 10

On 22nd September route 16 will be re-routed in Marton and Grange Park. Northbound buses will now turn from Preston New Road into Preston Old Road, Lancaster Road and Lawson Road rejoining East Park Drive near the Model Village. From Fulwood Square buses will now run direct via Chepstow Road to Poulton Road without serving Dinmore Avenue. Southbound buses will do the reverse. This will allow additional running time to improve reliability.

Further to the recent post about Skew Bridge, from 6 October route 10 will revert to its former route via Lytham Road and Watson Road rather than via Waterloo Road and St. Annes Road.

Friday 6 September 2013

Buses back on Skew Bridge - News Round Up

From Sunday 6th October Skew Bridge on Lytham Road will reopen to buses. Blackpool Transport routes 5 and 11, plus Stagecoach 68 will revert to their established route on Lytham Road, removing the "temporary" diversion via Watson Road, Bond Street and Station Road which has been in place since February 2011. The bridge has had a 7.5t limit since 2006 with an exemption for buses, though this was withdrawn in 2011 due to concerns about the structure. Blackpool Council has now arranged a re-inspection using new technology to test the strength of rivets and this has enabled Network Rail to relax the limit.

Not previously reported was a change to service 5 from 1 September. This has involved the reversal of the terminal loop at Halfway House. Buses now run anti-clockwise from Highfield Road via St. Annes Road to Halfway House then via Squires Gate Lane, Lindale Gardens and Highfield Road. This is the direction adopted by the 12A from 1988 to 2001 (except for a brief period of two way operation along Lindale Gardens), with the 5 adopting the reverse route at its launch in 2001 to enable routes 5 and 7 to share common stops on St. Annes Road for passengers to Blackpool. The change 12 years later does allow an easier, all left turns route to be adopted.

The final Metro Coastlines route liveried bus - and the final passenger service bus in green - is 303, following recent repaints to 304, then 305 with 306 now under treatment. Nine buses retain Metro pool livery.

Excel 223 is the latest of the type to visit Bus and Coach World for DDA modifications.

Sunday 25 August 2013

Red or Black?

Classic Bus North West Routemaster RM1568 awaits departure time from the Sands Venue stop on Seafront 12 to St. Annes. 1568 ran with London Transport from 1963 ending up with MTL London Northern on privatisation. Withdrawn in 1997 it passed into non psv use but was bought back by Transport for London for refurbishment by Marshall of Cambridge. From 2001-2005 it ran with Soverign Bus and after withdrawal spent a brief period in Oxford before passing via a non psv firm to Classic Bus in 2008

At the same location, Blackpool Transport Excel 221 loads for Lytham on route 11. 221 was one of three Excels purchased from Go North East in 2004
Bank Hey Street and Classic Bus Dart 162, branded for "Catch 22" loads for Meresied
Blackpool Transport 309 also heads to Mereside on route 14
CBNW 269 passes Blackpool's first boarding house - which opened as "Crewe's Original Boarding House" in 1886, starting a trend by providing meals for guests - previously overnight guests at hotels were expected to source their own food.

A generation newer in design, but just two years newer in build, Blackpool Excel 215 heads onto the Promenade on New Bonny Street.

Sunday 18 August 2013

St. Annes Scenes

The view from the top of Classic Bus North West  701 showing the traditional ECW 3+1 front seating and the characteristic Sand Dunes of St. Annes
Classic Bus 701 (XAU701Y) is their latest bus, purchased privately from Blackpool Tranpsort in 2012 after withdrawal on 28 October 2010 it was intended for preservation but has been drafted into the CBNW fleet instead. An all-over advert for the Hot Ice Show is graced by a NBC Poppy Red/white front in a nod to its Trent origins, rather than the usual London Red CBNW fleet colours.
A new Aldi store is under construction on the site of the former Conservative Club. Here Trident 339 heads to Lytham on route 7 past the building works. 
Excel 225 enters St. Annes from Blackpool - the boundary being at the junction behind - Squires Gate Lane. The site of Pontins is to the right - the vantage point being one of the vast number of seats atop CBNW Metrobus 69

Meanwhile back in St. Annes Trident 349 passes the former Blackpool, St. Annes and Lytham Tramway waiting shelter. This has since served as a Tourist Information Centre and now a Cafe. The original shelter is the right of the two buildings - that on the left is a 1980's addition. 

Blackpool Transport's newest buses are the 9 2010 built Plaxton bodied Volvo B7RLEs. Here 531 turns from St. Annes Square heading for Grange Park on the 11

Pontin's Then and Now

For the nimble, the sand dunes on Clifton Drive North have provided a grandstand view of the Pontin's Holiday Camp - or generally the buses passing in front. The camp closed in October 2009 and has been partially demolished with the remainder now derelict. Here Classic Bus Metrobus 69 heads towards Cleveleys on Seafront 12.

Blackpool Transport DAF 359 passes the stripped remains of the camp chalets on route 11

New to Reading Excel demonstrates the cosmopolitan make up of the Blackpool fleet with second hand vehicles from seven sources.

Trident 318 is one of three Tridents still to receive its first repaint, retaining its original Metro livery from 2003.
Happier Times, in August 1987 Routemaster 525 heads past on route 12 with the displays showing the former scale of the Pontin's empire. 525 is now back in London with Tower Transit who recently took over the First London operations.

Saturday 10 August 2013

Final DAF Debuts

Trident 371 in Talbot Square operating to Grange Park on route 11

The final pair of ex Isle of Man DAFs, 371 (J800BTS) and 372 (J900BTS) have now entered service with 371 debuting on 8 August and 372 the following day. All 30 ex Bus Vannin double deckers are now in service - a process which lasted 588 days from the debut of Trident 343 on 30 December 2011.

The 30 buses have replaced 36 others with 21 Olympians and 15 Solos so far withdrawn.

Manx Trident Arrivals
NoRegIOM NoIOM RegChassis NoBody NoArrivedStatus

Manx DAF Arrivals
NoRegIOM NoIOM RegChassis NoBody NoArrivedService
355 L100BTS95FMN622J0092663830917/7/125/9/12
356L200BTS 93FMN621J 0092613830427/7/125/9/12
357L300BTS 94FMN620J0092643830727/7/125/9/12
358L400BTS 96FMN623J0092623830530/7/126/9/12
359L500BTS 98FMN836J0092653830831/7/124/10/12
360L600BTS 89FMN299J0092593830230/7/123/10/12

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Talbot Road Views

The remodelling of the Town Centre has transformed some established scenes. Here Classic Bus B10M 898 turns from Dickson Road onto Talbot Road, a once common manoeuvre prior to the late 1970s when Dickson Road became one way

One of Stagecoach's new Scanias for the 61 crosses Dickson Road to head along Talbot Road  
Blackpool Trident 308 follows suit

DAF 365 at the junction with Cookson Street, this junction for many years had continental running traffic using the right had carriageways in each direction, rather than the normal left!