Monday 21 April 2014

Oakwood Update

Oakwood Travel introduced service 12 on Good Friday, so far operating weekends and bank holidays only Pleasure Beach to Gynn Square, but it is expected to be extended to Cleveleys with daily operation at the end of May. So far the sole Routemaster RML887 has seen service on Sunday and Monday with Dart 145, Volvo B10M 898 and Olympian 325 also noted in service. 

The Red Rocket Express has been put back to 3 May.

Two more ex Stagecoach Alexander bodied Darts have arrived R356LER - new to Stagecoach Cambus and X617JCS - new to Stagecoach Western. 356 is currently under repaint. The new Cardiff bus inspired orange and green livery has made its debut with ex Harrogate & District W601CWX re-entering service on route 22 on 17 April. Darts 143 and 163 have yet to return to use.

Privately owned Olympian P915RLO which was on loan to Classic Bus and Oakwood Travel until February has been sold to English Riviera Sightseeing, Torquay.

Saturday 19 April 2014

Delta returns to the road

Preserved Delta 133 has now had the finishing touches of fleetnames, numbers and blinds added and has returned to the road making its preservation debut at Kirkby Stephen today and tomorrow

A nearside view of the new to Fylde Delta 

133's rear shows the familar Optare design lines above and below the window - the upper one broken by the installation of  a rear number blind at its 2000 refurbishment

133 is shortly to return to the Fylde coast (all four above Gary Conn)
133 on its first day in use after restoration, operating the vintage bus service at the Kirkby Stephen rally (David Umpleby)

Leylands from Preston to Blackpool

Tuesday will see Preston Bus commence operation of six school services from the yard of Jackson's Coaches on Burton Road, Blackpool. Last week six of their fleet of ten Leyland Olympians moved in comprising:

42551 H101BFR - Northern Counties body
42553 H103BFR - Northern Counties body
42554 H104BFR - Northern Counties body
42556 J976PRW - Leyland body
42560 J110KCW - Leyland body
42562 J112KCW - Leyland body

Here there sextet are lined up in their new home.

Preston Bus has also emerged as the operator of bus service 80 (Preston to Myrescough College) rather than Avacoach as previously advised.

Thursday 3 April 2014

New Fylde Bus Collection Takes Shape

Recently repainted Delta 133 stands outside at the Bridgeton depot of Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust (Gary Conn)
Several local bus preservationists have recently taken on some vehicles declared surplus by the Lancastrian Transport Trust over the last two years. Premises have been obtained at Weeton to store and restore the vehicles. Good progress has been made on vehicle restoration with Delta 133 and Atlantean 362 both recently restored. 

Blackpool Delta 133 (H3FBT)  was acquired in January 2014 and moved to Glasgow for restoration. An MOT was secured quickly after electric repairs and the bus has received a full repaint in green and cream representing its post refurbishment condition from 2000 - it first received this livery in 1996 when it became the last bus to be painted at Squires Gate

133 was new as Fylde 3 in 1991 - joining the Blackpool fleet in 1996 when the two fleets merged. After a period in Metro pool livery from April 2001 it received Line 11 colours in October 2002 and retained these on withdrawal on 4 September 2010 with its last journey at 1720 from Fleetwood to Mereside on route 14. 

Blackpool Atlantean 362 (A362HHG) was the last of the 62 bus seated Atlanteans and arrived in August 1983. It had a lucky escape in October 1986 as it was suffered minor damage in the fire which destroyed sisters 310, 335 and 342. It was one of the last buses repainted in the original green and off-white scheme in February 1987 and in April 1989 was one of five to receive Mackeson Stout all-over adverts. This was replaced (on 362 alone) with one for Bonanza Family Restaurants in 1990 with the bus gaining fleet livery in April 1991. Further repaints in September 1994, April 1996 and September 1999 took place.

362 was withdrawn in mid July 2006 but returned to use on the weekend of 28/29 October for a farewell event working on service 6. It was withdrawn and preserved after working the 1800 route 20 working from Marton Mere to Albert Road. 362 has been repanlled and repainted by Blackpool Transport into the green and cream livery it received in April 1991.

Blackpool PD3 512 (HFR512E) is one of the 90 Metro Cammell PD3s bought from 1965 to 1968. It was one of three used for livery experiments in 1982 receiving a green roof and waistband but was soon modified with green upper deck windows. By 1985 it was one of just nine survivors which would continue in use after deregulation. It was painted red and white in 1987 to act as a spare bus to the Routemasters on route 12. Withdrawal finally came in November 1988 but it was not sold until summer 1989. With sister 515 it passed to London & Country as a driver trainer. It returned to Blackpool in 1998 for a quick restoration but has been idle since 2003. During 2012/3 its new owners and helpers undertook the necessary mechanical work and the vehicle is now ready for the road once more. Sister bus 501 (HFR501E) is likely to join it at Weeton. This was sold for preservation from Blackpool in 1985 and was restored by its owners at Glasgow in 2007/8.

Swift 554 is shunted outside the Weeton depot. The Blackpool and Fylde buses in this post will be based here alongside other preserved vehicles.

Blackpool AEC Swift 554 (PFR554H) is also destined for a return to use during 2014. Earlier this year 554 visited its former depot at Rigby Road for some initial attention but on 13 March moved to the Weeton depot. 554 was one of the second tranche of the 1969/1970 Swifts and was licensed on 8 April 1970 allowing conversion of the 7/7A (Bispham circulars) from 4 May. The first 15 Swifts differed from the later 40 most notably with a barrel windscreen and lower driving position. 554 was one of only five of this batch to gain the later livery with green roof and waistband and was withdrawn in October 1982.

It was purchased for preservation by Graham Oliver and retained its green and off-white livery. Sold to Wealden, dealer, in 1988 it saw occasional service with loan operators but was rescued for preservation in 1995 after serveral years in storage. It was restored to all-over cream in 1998.
Fylde Seddon 47 rests at the idyllic terminus of route 4 at Green Drive Lytham. This scene will hopefully be recreated in a few years once 47 is restored (Brian Turner)

Fylde Seddon RU 47 (STJ847L) is the only surviving new to Lytham postwar single decker. Delivered new to Lytham in October 1972 with five sisters they joined the Fylde Borough fleet in 1974 at local government reorganisation. One (49) was written off in an accident in 1978, but from 1979-81 the others were treated to a refurbishment with conversion to single door included. A need to achieve economies saw a mass withdrawal of single deckers and older double deckers in 1982 with the five surviving Seddons sidelined. Four (45-47 and 50) joined the fleet of East End Coaches in Clydach in the Swansea Valley. Here the joined Burnley & Pendle examples on school services with further buses from the Darlington fleet arriving in 1991. By 1997 only 47 and 50 were still active with 47 the last Seddon RU to operate anywhere when withdrawn in late 2000. It was then secured for preservation and awaits restoration. Now in new ownership it will return to its 1980 condition as soon as funds allow.

Fylde Atlantean 79 (HRN99N) is one of six Northern Counties bodied Leyland Atlanteans bought in 1975. Badged as Willowbrook bodies - the frames were Northern Counties but the vehicles were finished by Willowbrook. They entered service in March 1975 converting the 11A/31A/41A Blackpool to Lytham routes to One Man Operation. 79 was one of four of the batch to receive an experimental livery in 1981. In 1984 it was painted into the later blue and white scheme but soon suffered an unusual accident, falling onto its side in Moss Side on a school service. Returned to use after a repairs it continued into the deregulated era and received both versions of the two tone blue livery adopted from 1988-1994. Blackpool Transport bought Fylde in 1994 and introduced a blue and cream livery which 79 carried. The parent absorbed its subsidiary completely in 1996 with 79 becoming 479 and later gained green and cream fleet livery. A few periods in storage followed but 479 bounced back until the end of January 2002 when it was finally stood down - just short of its 27th birthday. It is currently stripped for frame repairs.
71 restored to 1991 condition at the East Lancs Railway in Bury in 2008 (Paul Turner)

Fylde Atlantean 71 (OJI4371) the 1977 batch of Atlanteans were 85-88 (EBV85-88S) and received the now standard Northern Counties bodies. In 1991 85 was selected for a pilot refurbishment and returned to use in November after a full overhaul including the grafting of a new front end based on the contemporary "Palatine" body. It was renumbered 71 and disguised with a dateless Irish registration OJI4371. 86-88 followed as did 84 of 1976 and 99 of 1983. These became front line buses in the two tone blue fleet livery with dark blue skirt and roof band. Partial advertising for Starr Gate Go-Karts was later applied. When Blackpool absorbed Fylde, 71 became 471 and gained green and cream livery. The Palatines survived until the end of ex Fylde Atlantean operation retiring on 28 May 2004. It was purchased for preservation and restored to 1991 condition. Panel repairs are awaited before 71 can return to use.
Fylde 7 in Shamrock guise at the 2004 Cobham bus rally (Paul Turner)
Fylde Atlantean Single Decker 7 (TKU469K) in 1992 Fylde bought four long wheelbase Atlanteans from Hull. New in 1971 to Bradford Corporation, these had Alexander bodywork which was stripped at a Barnsley breaker and the four chassis delivered to Fylde. After refurbishment they were sent to Northern Counties who fitted new "Countybus Paladin" bodies. Numbered 4 to 7 they entered service in June 1993 on services 11/11A. They proved under capacity and moved onto the 11C. The purchase by Blackpool Transport saw the 11C end in November 1994 and the Paladins began a nomadic life with short spells on various services punctuated by periods in service. All four received green and cream livery (as 134-137) in 1997. Use continued mainly on summer services until all four were retired in August 1999. 

A succession of smaller operators tried these usual vehicles. 7 went to Powells of Rotherham, then Mac Ewan of Dumfries before setting at Shamrock, Poole. Withdrawn in 2008 it was preserved that November. Engine repairs and a repaint are programmed to return the bus to use as Fylde 7.

Route 20 [corrected]

Route 20 resumes on Good Friday 18 April operating on a reduced route and frequency. After last year's extension to Pleasure Beach the service has reverted to the Corporation to Zoo route with a 45 minute interval using two buses but with a gap mid afternoon.

Buses from Marton Mere  every 45 minutes from 0930 to 1445 and 1615 to 1915
Buses from Corporation Street every 45 minutes from 1015 to 1400 and 1530 to 1915.

It is presumed double deckers will be used as the Resort Pass Solos were barely used on the route during 2013. A minor route change sees buses operate via Beech Avenue and Newton Drive, rather than North Park Drive which will at least remove the challenging turn onto East Park Drive near the Hospital.

Days of operation are:
Every weekend 18 April to 9 November.
Daily 18 April-27 April; 24 May until 1 June, 19 July-31 August, 25 October to 2 November.