Tuesday 22 December 2015

Palladium Refurbs and other news

Evidence of the recent use of Citaros on service 9 on Sundays - 554 awaits time on Clifton Street (David Umpleby)
Plaxton Centro bodied Volvo B7RLE 527 has become the first of its batch to go for refurbishment to "Palladium" standard at Bus and Coach World, Blackburn. All nine are to be upgraded following positive response to the Citaro. It is not known which route will benefit. DAF 367 has also been at B&CW for accident repairs but is now back.

Trident 336 has now left the paint shop, completing the repaints of the six long wheelbase Tridents (333-7/42). 327 is now under repaint. Excel 219 has also returned to service bring the fleet back to five.

Sunday 13 December 2015

Returns, Repaints, Re-routes and Rescues

Blackpool Transport
Excels 216 and 220 have been noted back in service, 220 returning to use on 1 December, with 216 noted on route learning on 7 December and service 11 on 10 December.

Route 9 has changed allocations with the recent service changes. Not previously reported is the use of Palladium Citaros on the 3 buses Sunday service, while midweek evening workings now regularly see Solos working off service 3 and 4.

Dennis Trident 335 is presently under repaint, following 334 which was treated in late November. 

Catch 22 Bus
Dennis Dart 144 now carries an all-over advert for Domino's Pizza while 365 and 371 have been painted all-over red for the Red Rocket X70 to Manchester. This has been reduced to four round trips rather than the hourly service advertised. As the X70 has no stops within 15 miles of each other it is an 'express' service and thus exempt from bus service registration which allows operators to flex their timetables without statutory notice.

Service 42 (Lancaster-Blackpool) has been heavily disrupted by the recent flooding in the North West. While Cumbria and Lancaster bore the brunt, the A586 at St Michael's was submerged when the River Wyre burst its banks and the 42 has had a gargantuan diversion from Catterall to Windy Harbour via A6, M55 and A585. 16 miles v the usual 8 miles!

Service 84 is revised to operate every 40 minutes with 3 buses from 4 January.

Christmas Services
The usual early finishes apply on Christmas and New Years Eve. Boxing Day and New Years Day Buses operate as follows:

  • BTS 1 Starr Gate to Fleetwood every 30 mins
  • BTS 5 Halfway House to Victoria Hospital every hour
  • C22 6 Blackpool to Grange Park every 20 mins
  • BTS 7 Cleveleys to Lytham Square every hour
  • BTS 9 Blackpool to Cleveleys every 30 mins
  • BTS 11 Grange Park to St. Annes Square every hour
  • C22 12 Cleveleys to Pleasure Beach every 20 mins (Boxing Day)
  • BTS 14 Fleetwood to Mereside every half hour
  • C22 22 Cleveleys to Mereside every hour (1/2 hourly Cleveleys-Blackpool on Boxing Day only)
  • (Note service 12 also runs 28-31 December)
A surprising rescue is new to Fylde Atlantean 96, latterly Blackpool 496. Preserved in 2001, 96 was sold to Whyndyke Farm a few years ago and internally stripped of seats, and late in 2014 passed to a preservationist as a source of spares. After some time in store, partially stripped it has now been rescued and moved to Keighley Bus Museum - see pictures in the "visitor" post section of our Facebook page 

Also recently in the news is former Blackpool Metrorider 505 (S505LHG) which has been advertised on E-bay. This was last with Island Rover on Isle of Scilly converted to semi-open sided (i.e with windows removed!)

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Excel Withdrawals

Excels 216, 219 and 220 have been withdrawn following the recent service changes - just 224/5 remain in use. Trident 311 has returned to use in fleet livery having lost its Sainsbury's advert. Delta trainer 969 has left for scrap. It left Rigby Road on 10th November leaving Blackpool Transport devoid of Deltas for the first time in 25 years (9,392 days to be precise).

Catch 22 Update

Catch 22 has added further Dennis Darts to its fleet recently with W365VHB purchaseed at the end of October and W363/9VHB in November. Metrobus 326 has been offered for sale and its likely this and sister 69 have operated their last duties.

Red Rocket Express restarts on 21 November - with a Monday to Saturday service every hour from Preston to Manchester (0845, 1000-1600 from Preston and 1015-1415, 1530-1730 from Manchester). The first three buses from Preston start at Blackpool and the last three extend there. Four round trips run on Sundays (2 from Blackpool). 3 buses are needed alongside six on the 22 and 3 on the 6. Dart 371 has been painted red for the X70. Service 12 is expected to restart over the Christmas break.

Catch 22 Bus Fleet List November 2015
51LX51FNJDennis TridentAlexanderRedStagecoach London
69F69SYEMCW MetrobusMCWPleasure Beach advertChina Motor Bus ML81 11/88
143T143AUADennis DartAlexanderNew Catch 22Armchair, Hounslow 5/99
144T144DAXDennis DartPlaxtonWhiteCardiff Bus 8/99
145T145DAXDennis DartPlaxtonWhiteCardiff Bus 8/99
147T147DAXDennis DartPlaxtonOrange/GreenCardiff Bus 8/99
186X186CTGDennis DartPlaxtonCardiff Cardiff Bus 9/00
234V234HBHDennis DartPlaxtonArrivaArriva Shires 11/99
316S316SHBDennis DartPlaxtonOrange/GreenCardiff Bus 1/99
319S319SHBDennis DartPlaxtonCreamCardiff Bus 1/99
326F326UJNMCW MetrobusMCWPleasure Beach advertChina Motor Bus ML77 10/88
362W362VUBDennis DartPlaxtonCardiff Gn/OrangeCardiff Bus 7/00
363W363VHBDennis DartPlaxtonCardiff Gn/WhiteCardiff Bus 7/00
365W365VHBDennis DartPlaxtonCardiff Gn/WhiteCardiff Bus 7/00
369W369VHBDennis DartPlaxtonCardiff Gn/WhiteCardiff Bus 7/00
371W371VHBDennis DartPlaxtonRedCardiff Bus 7/00
466W466UAGDennis DartPlaxtonNew Catch 22East Yorkshire 4/00
468W468UAGDennis DartPlaxtonNew Catch 22East Yorkshire 4/00
474W474UAGDennis DartPlaxtonNew Catch 22East Yorkshire 4/00
516HFR516ELeyland PD3A/1Metro CammellRed/WhiteBlackpool 1967
617X617JCSDennis DartAlexanderNew Catch 22Stagecoach 2/01
657V657HECDennis DartPlaxtonBlueBlackburn 1/00
658V658HECDennis DartPlaxtonNew Catch 22Blackburn 1/00
898R898XVMVolvo B10MAlexanderRedStagecoach Manchester
RM1583583CLTAEC RoutemasterPark RoyalRedLondon Transport 
RML887202UXJAEC RoutemasterPark RoyalRedLondon Transport

Sunday 1 November 2015

Delta Departs

Delta 130  newly converted to a driver trainer in April 2007
Withdrawn Optare Delta trainer 970 has gone for scrap. Moved recently by preservationists to savlage spare parts, it was collected on 30 October by Partons of Carlton for scrap. 970 was new in February 1993 as 130 - the last of the 28 Deltas purchased new. It was parked up with some sisters in December 1998 when new Metroriders entered service. Most returned to use in February 1999, but 130 was instead taken into the works for stripping as part of a pilot refurbishment - despite being just six years old - oddly the buses were treated in reverse age order - rather than dealing with the older examples.

130 was treated to retrimmed seats, a new floor, laminate side and roof panels replacing soft trim and a full repaint into green and cream. It returned to use in October 1999. 130 was part of the launch fleet for the Metro identity in April 2001 emergeing in the pool livery of grey, mustard and yellow. It then gained Line 11 colours in November 2002. 

August 2006 saw 130 placed into store, replaced on the 11 by new Dennis Trident. Rather than gain another Metro livery, it was selected with 129 to become new driver trainers. ABS braking was fitted to meet new regulations and a repaint took place into reverse Metro livery of yellow and blue. It entered service in February 2007. It was expected to be withdrawn in 2013 when DAF 971 joined the fleet - but the protracted conversion of the income saw it remain in use. An engine failure finally saw 970 stood down in April 2015 - replaced by a Trident - at the age of 22.

Sister bus 969 remains in store - but it too is likely to go for scrap. This will then leave Preston Bus trainer 31082 - ex Blackpool 128 - as the sole surviving new to Blackpool Delta.

Atlantean on the 22

334 turns into Warley Road on service 22 (David Umpleby)
On Sunday 1 November Catch 22 Bus used LTT's former Blackpool Atlantean for a round trip on their service 22 the 1250 Mereside to Cleveleys and 1350 return. This marks the first use of an Atlantean on the Catch 22 service - a type which was typical on the former Blackpool Transport 22/22A from 1977 through to its withdrawal in 2001. Ex Ribble VR 1997 is believed to have operated on the 22 on 28 October (flickr photo). Service 21 also operated during the October half term week and is now suspended for the winter.

334 seen in more traditional 22 territory on St. Annes Road (Philip Higgs)
One of the last Atlanteans to work on the 22 was 344 seen leaving Lytham Square on Saturday 28 April 2001 - the penultimate day of the original 22/22A - the Sunday will have seen newer buses used and on the Monday new Lines 7 and 11 took over. (Brian Turner)

Friday 30 October 2015

Further Network Changes

As an update to last week's post - further minor network changes take effect from 8th November: 
  • 1 Winter timetable reduced to every 20 minutes, but full evening service restored (7 buses v 10/11 presently)
  • 2C - new terminal loop in Knott End - inbound via Hackensall Road, Quail Home Road to Bourne Arms then back via Esplanade as present - no longer works with 10/17 (5 buses) - interworks with 12/13 evenings
  • 5 - reduced to 12 minutes but still with nine buses
  • 12/13 and 15/16 no longer interwork - 7 buses on 12/13 and 6 on 15/16
  • 15/16 will now start on Clifton Street not Corporation Street
  • 17 - diverts at Highfield Hotel via Highfield Road, Lindale Gardens, Squires Gate Lane (and reverse towards Blackpool) some extra 10 and 17 journeys added. Now uses 4 buses (10/17 no longer work with 2C weekdays
This will reduce requirement by 2 buses Mon-Fri and 3 Saturdays 

Wednesday 21 October 2015

News Round Up

Blackpool Transport Trident 333 has been outshopped in standard fleet livery after all - despite receiving an undercoat for a possible Palladium inspired livery. Trainer Trident 973 is now in the paint shop for a repaint to match 974 while Sainsburys advert 311 is also in the works to lose its vinyl wrap.

Service changes from 8 November will see winter timetables introduced, but also a revision to the 7 and 11 in Lytham. These will no longer interwork and will revert to earlier versions of their terminal arrangements having been linked at Saltcotes since March 2012:

  • 7 clockwise loop via Station Road, Mythop Road, Saltcotes Road, Preston Road, Hospital, Warton Street (as from 2004 to 2010)
  • 11 anti-clockwise loop via Station Road, East Beach, Hospital (as per the route up to 2012)
Catch 22 Bus has accumulated further second hand Darts from Cardiff. W362VHB arrived and entered service in September, W371VHB arrived in October. Dart 512 has been sent for scrap as a result. W474UAG has also arrived from Walsall Community Transport. T147DAX has been repainted into fleet livery. Dennis Trident 51 LX51FNJ entered service still in red during August.

 Service 22 was increased to run every 20 minutes from 21 September, while summer season service 21 ended on 27 September. This had seen a mix of vehicles with PD3s 516, 529, Routemasters 521, RML887, Ribble RE 366 and VR 1997, Atlantean 334 and occasional open top Metrobuses.

Sunday 4 October 2015

PD3 532 resurfaces in USA

Blackpool PD3 532 still wears its Eastbourne colour scheme and side advert (Photo "Colorado King" via British Buses in USA Facebook group with permission)

Blackpool PD3 532 has recently been reported in Castle Rock, Colorado, USA - after some years in the wilderness. One of the final batch of 15 PD3s purchased in 1968. Many had short lives, withdrawn in the early 1980s - but 532 lasted until 1985 when it became a driver trainer alongside sisters 516 and 520. 

It continued as a trainer until 1987 when it was, surprisingly, selected for a return to service. Work to return it to bus specification was drawn out - it was repainted into the latest green and cream livery with a green skirt in July 1987- as also applied to sister 503 - but it was not until January 1988 that it entered service. Its return was short lived as it, and the other nine survivors, were laid up after the 1988 summer season and 532 became the first to leave - swapped with Eastbourne Buses for an open top PD2 in February 1989. Repainted in their blue and cream livery, it ran as fleet number 81 until withdrawal in 1993. 

It was a curious addition to the Stevenson's of Uttoxeter fleet - though they did not repaint it and in 1994 it was exported to Canada, intially used by Photobus in Alberta, but by 1997 was 'resting' in Calgary. From 2002 it was advertised on EBay on a few occasions but has now been reported in Colorado - over 1,100 miles from its last known home. Its new owner also has a Bristol Lodekka and is intending to restore both.

Blackpool PD3 532 still waits its Eastbourne colour scheme and side advert (Photo "Colorado King" via British Buses in USA Facebook group with permission)

Streetdeck Demonstrator

Last week Wrightbus Streetdeck demonstrator SL15ZGP entered service with Blackpool Transport on service 1 between Starr Gate and Fleetwood Freeport. The bus was first licensed in June and is on a tour of various operators in the UK. Wrightbus developed this Daimler powered integral double decker to partner its Streetlite integral model having previously provided bodies on other makers' chassis. Blackpool Transport operate five Wrightbus bodies on ex Anglian Volvos 520-524 but have never purchased new from this Northern Ireland manufacturer.

Pictures of the vehicle with Blackpool and others are on flickr, these show the unusual glazed staircase influenced by Wright's design for the New London Routemaster and included on recent demonstrators, however most orders have specified traditional paneled stairs - perhaps reflecting advertising commitments.

As usual with demonstrators - there is no certainty that it will lead to a fleet order - however with the newest double decker approaching ten years old investment will be required in the near future.

Sunday 27 September 2015

130 Years of Blackpool's Trams

Swift 554 and Delta 133 rest in Rigby Road Yard during their lunch break
This weekend marked the celebrations of 130 years of Blackpool's Trams. This landmark event saw 21 different heritage trams operate the weekend, supported by four preserved buses - the latter are the subject of this report.
501 turns from Hopton Road into Blundell Street 
Four vehicles from the "Best Bus in Town" collection operated on a 15 minute tour of the Lytham Road, Marton and Central Drive tram routes. PD3 501, Swift 554, Atlantean 362 and Delta 133 represented four generations of Blackpool's buses.
Delta 133 awaits departure time at Pleasure Beach

554 arrives at Blundell Street 
Atlantean 362 restored to late 1980s livery at Blundell Street with stored trams on display in the background

Saturday 26 September 2015

New livery?

Trident 304 has joined the training fleet as 974 and been out shopped in a Palladium inspired grey and yellow livery. It is understood sister bus 333 is being painted into these colours as a new fleet livery.  

Sunday 20 September 2015

On Tow

This Diamond T tow wagon served Blackpool for almost 50 years, recovering defective buses. Here it has positioned Swift 571 on the steam cleaning ramp in Rigby Road depot. The ramp itself went in the mid 1980s when the East Shed was built, replaced by a lift. (All Brian Turner)

In November 1947 Blackpool purchased a Diamond T 969 for £550, a Chicago built truck which became popular in Britain during the second world war. Its is not known if it was fitted out as a tow wagon from new. Blackpool Corporation put it to use as a recovery vehicle, rescuing failed vehicles. Prior to this converted former buses had been used.
In 1967, the Diamond T is seen dropping off 368 in the bus yard. 

The Diamond T was remarkably long lived. Originally in green it later gained a yellow livery in 1979. It seems to have been originally numbered 115 - this is just discernible in the above photo above the centre of the windscreen, but a shot taken in 1972 appears to show it just carrying "15" - this would at least fit in to the tramway works series, if not the motor works vehicles series which was generally in the 2xx series then. In the 1970s it was renumbered 405 and a 1978 shot clearly shows this applied in black fleet numbers over the former gold ones. In its yellow era the number 405 was applied on the cab doors. Finally it was renumbered 905 in 1996 as part of the absorption of the Fylde fleet. This was done by replacing the 4 with a 9 in a mismatching font!   

It ran on trade plates 229FR then 001FR until legislation changed to require tow wagons to be licensed and it gained dateless plate Q645GFV in the late 1980s.

After nearly 50 years of service, 905 was withdrawn in September 1996 and was sold for preservation in June 1997. It is believed to still exist, in store in Yorkshire - the most recent published picture is here on flickr in 2012. It was also immortalised in model form by Corgi.
ERF 929 attends to errant Delta 129 on Mereside Turning Circle in April 2000

905 was replaced by 929 (FNO357T) - an ERF purchased from Blackpool Van Transport at the end of August 1996. Quickly repainted into green and cream, 929 made its debut in early 1997. 

The gap between 905's disposal and 929's entry did not mean the undertaking was devoid of a tow wagon, however, as the purchase of Fylde in 1994 bought a second wagon. Fylde had operates three wagons - an AEC Madator from 1975-1977, a 1968 built Ford D-series from 1977 to 1996 and a 1979 Leyland Leopard converted in 1992. This - ULS653T - joined the Blackpool fleet as 959 when Fylde was adbsorbed in 1996. It retained blue livery, slightly modified after accident repairs in 1999 and lasted in service until around 2005. In 2007 it was sold for preservation but is believed to have since been scrapped.
Leopard Tow Wagon 959 on Starr Gate car park during the 2004 Rigby Road Depot open day. This is now the site of the Tram Depot

ERF 929 then soldiered on until 2014 as the sole wagon. Recently it has been restricted to depot use only with Fylde Motor Company now used as contractors to recover defective buses.
One of 929's sadder duties has been to tow buses for scrap during a period when they were disposed of locally. Here the burnt remains of Delta 131 are being towed to Red Scar near Preston.
929 and 959 on standby at Starr Gate during the depot open day

Saturday 19 September 2015

Trial and Error

313 was one of two Atlanteans treated into this livery in 1982 with a green skirt - transforming the otherwise neatly proportioned original livery. Both lasted four years so treated - 313 is seen here looking ready for paint attention in February 1988 (all Brian Turner)
During the first half of the 1970s Blackpool's buses were painted into a plain all-over cream livery with green restricted to just the wheels. With the first order for Leyland Atlanteans it was decided to revise the livery as the plain cream would be unattractive on such large vehicles. Blackpool adopted Southampton's livery style - albeit in green/cream rather than red/white. It was also decided to change the shades with a darker green and the cream replaced by an off-white colour. The first Atlanteans emerged in 1977 but repaints of PD3s and Swifts continued in the previous livery, albeit using the new shade of off-white - which looked very bland compared to the richness of the previous cream.

Swift 581 with a green roof added to the off-white livery, seen on service 15 on Cookson Street. Note the new superstore being built in the background
In 1979 it was decided to address this on the Swifts and 581/2 were selected for a repaint into an experimental livery which added a green roof to the base off-white. This clearly didn't impress as the next repaint (585) featured a green waistband too and this was adopted for subsequent repaints - though several of the early Swifts were withdrawn before they could be treated. 581/2 were modified to match in March 1981.
At nearly 17 years old veteran PD3 390 was an odd choice for an experiment - it is seen here in its unique livery on service 11C on Dawson Road in St. Annes on 8 April 1983. By the end of July the 11C had been converted to OPO operation and 390 was withdrawn for preservation.

Next to be considered was the fleet of venerable PD3s in 1982. Surprisingly the oldest in the fleet was treated as the experimental bus, 390 of 1965 was repainted with a green roof, window surrounds on both decks and band above the lower deck windows. It emerged from the paint shop on 12 February 1982. It was followed by the youngest - 540 - which was painted during February into a second variation with off-white lower deck windows. Then 512 followed during March with just a green roof and waistband - on both decks the window surrounds were off-white.
512 in its experimental livery - unique in the 70s/80s experiments in that it didn't enter service so treated. It is seen here in the Paint Shop

The completion of 512 led to a decision being taken to adopt 540's livery and 512 was quickly put back into the works to gain green upper deck windows. 390, however, retained its unique livery and was sold for preservation after withdrawal in July 1983. Over the next 30 or so years, 390 has appeared sporadically at events showing off its experimental coat.
308 was the first of the two 'green skirt' Atlanteans treated in 1984
The Atlantean livery that kicked this all off had a particular weakness - the light skirt panels attracted dirt, so in April 1984 308 was admitted to the paint shop and emerged with a green skirt - and new signwritten fleetnames (previously just crests had been displayed). Sister 313 followed into the same livery style in September 1984 but the next repaint (315) reverted to the off-white skirt. Green skirts appeared on five more Atlanteans (302/3, 316/7, 321) which gained a promotional livery for service 6 similar to 308/313 but with orange and yellow stripes) in December/January 1985. 308 and 313 retained their special liveries until next routine repaints in 1988.

Friday 18 September 2015

Preserved Buses to Help Celebrate 130 Years of Blackpool Trams

Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th will see four preserved Blackpool buses take part in events to mark 130 years of Blackpool Trams. A free 15 minute service will operate from Blundell Street covering former routes and also stopping at Starr Gate and Pleasure Beach (adjacent to Watson Road) to connect with heritage trams, adjacent to the tram depot where examples of the stored tram fleet will be on display.

First departure from Blundell Street will be 1000 and the last 1645. Buses leave Starr Gate from 1010 to 1655 and Pleasure Beach from 1015 to 1700. Timetable here (Facebook link)

Subject to availability the four vehicles used will be:
Blackpool PD3 501 of 1967 painted in the 1980s livery (PT)
Blackpool Corporation AEC Swift 554 of 1970 - recently freshly repainted in original cream (Gary Conn)

Blackpool Transport 362 - the last bus seated Atlantean of 1983 - recently restored to 1990s condition (Gary Conn)
Blackpool Transport Optare Delta 133 New to Fylde Borough as 3 in 1991 and restored to 2000 condition and livery (PT)

Monday 14 September 2015

Coastal Coaches Renews

Coastal Coaches of Freckleton has taken a second batch of new Optare Solo SRs with five 65 plate examples joining the 3 15 plate examples acquires earlier this year. The five 11 reg Solos have passed to Yeoman of Hereford. YJ65ETE/F/K/L/O have been reported. 

Fairhaven Lake Event

Sunday saw a trio of LTT Buses operate a frequent shuttle service from St. Annes Pier to Fairhaven Lake where the Blackpool Vehicle Preservation Group's annual classic car show took place. 1805 working on the service, passes 70 on its lunch break on Clifton Drive South, St. Annes (David Hughes)
Lytham 19 completed the trio - seen here through the window of the 1923 tram/bus shelter at Fairhaven Hotel

19 arrives at Fairhaven Lake while 1805 rests between duties

Meanwhile Lytham Lion 34 is under restoration in the Catch 22 Bus depot

Friday 11 September 2015

Blackpool Buses Enthusiasts Handbook

Excuse the plug....

You wanted a Blackpool bus book - well here it is!

Traditionally painted in green and cream, not much had changed on the Blackpool bus scene since deregulation in 1986. A new era dawned in April 2001 with the introduction of the colourful branded Metro Coastlines network. This remained until a return to fleet livery was introduced by new MD Trevor Roberts and the new black and yellow colour scheme was applied across the fleet. As soon as this was finished, yet another MD arrived, Jane Cole, and soon new silver-liveried Mercedes Citaros were introduced and the whole network was revised once again.

This book - the first for many years solely based on the Blackpool bus network - shows how the routes around the town have evolved over the years into what we have today. Starting off with a history including many never before seen images, it looks at the fleet, type by type before an in-depth detailed review of each route today. Other operators are featured including Catch22 Bus, Stagecoach plus some of the smaller outfits such as Kirby Lonsdale Coach Hire. It's all in here!

•  80 pages
•  High-quality images
•  Written by life-long Fylde based enthusiast Paul Turner 
•  A5 size
•  Glossy paper
•  Perfect bound
•  Written By Paul Turner
•  Edited by David Umpleby
•  Price: £9.95 (including postage)
•  Released - October 2015

Monday 7 September 2015

St John's Square - terminus for the Illuminations

Blackpool Transport will be using the specially opened St John's Square on Saturday nights in the Illuminations. A revised set of timetables, plus the usual Promenade avoiding diversions take place every Saturday from 5 September to 7 November. Unusually this includes a reduced daytime frequency and extended evening running times. As a result routes 3 and 4 are reduced from 20 to 30 minutes, routes 5, 7, 9, 11 and 14 from every 10 to 12 minutes.

Diversions start at 1800 and include the closure of the normal Clifton Street and Market Street stops - though oddly the specially produced timetables continue to use these locations at timing points in the evening! 

Town Centre Diversions comprise:

  • 2C, 12/13, 15/16 inbound to Town Centre from Church St direct to St John Square. Outbound via Abingdon St, Talbot Road and as normal
  • 3 and 4 northbound - direct from Topping Street to Dickson Road (recently opened for northbound vehicles between Deangate and Talbot Road) Southbound - turns left Dickson Road onto Talbot Road omitting Abingdon St.
  • 5, 7, 14 NB - from Central Drive via Albert Road, Regent Road, Church St, St Johns Square, Abingdon St, Talbot Road and as usual. SB to Talbot Road, Dickson Road, Springfield Road, High Street, Talbot Road, George St, Grosvenor Street, Park Road, Reads Avenue and Central Drive.
  • 9 to Talbot Road then right into High St, Springfield Road, Dickson Road to terminate outside Wilkinsons on Talbot Road.
  • 10 from Lytham Road via Tyldesley Road, Rigby Road, Central Drive, Albert Road, Regent Road, Church St, St Johns Square terminus. Return via Talbot Road, Cookson St, George St, Grosvenor Street, Park Road, Reads Avenue, Central Drive, Rigby Road, Tyldesley Road, Lytham Road.
  • 11 from Lytham Road as 10 to St Johns Square, Abingdon St, Talbot Road and normal route to Grange Park. Returns as normal to Talbot Road (Wilkinsons), then Dickson Road, Springfield Road, High Street, Talbot Road, George St, Grosvenor Street, Park Road, Reads Avenue, Central Drive, Rigby Road, Tyldesley Road, Lytham Road.
  • 17 from Central Drive as 10 diversion to St. Johns Square, returns as 10 diversion to Central Drive then as normal
Other diversions comprise:

  • 1 suspended after 1630 south of Cleveleys and last bus from Fleetwood-Cleveleys 1724
  • 3 Northbound from Warbreck Drive via Cavendish Road, Devonshire Road to Bispham Village. Southbound via Devonshire Road, Northgate, Cavendish Road, Warbreck Drive (diversion also on Fridays and school holidays)
  • 4 as 3 but also from Bispham Village via Red Bank Road and Norcliffe Road then as normal (and vice versa southbound).
  • 15/16 won't serve Promenade between Harrowside and Bond Street.

Saturday 29 August 2015

Atlantean round up

With the Atlantean era now firmly in the past, and their service afterlife over, some of the remaining survivors have been in the news.

356 - continues in use as a playbus now in the Berkshire area with Wendybus
478 has recently been sold by Haynes Motor Museum of Sparkford, it's new owner has already placed it on EBay for further sale. It too was converted to a playbus on disposal.
444 was purchased for preservation from Irlam Royalettes in June.
445 has been placed on loan to Morecambe Heritage Buses from its preservation owners. It may return to commercial service.

Solos to the North East

Solos 281/282 have joined the fleet of The Eden, West Auckland. These were sold by Blackpool Transport into private ownership in January, with 282 joining the Eden in June and 281 following earlier this month.

Solo 267 has also now entered service with Blackpool Council as a track gang bus numbered 1114, some 14 months after it was repainted into their fleet livery.

High Peak Buses has withdrawn three of its four Solos, with 261 sold for scrap, 266 moving to Centrebus, 263 remaining in store presently.

Of the 19 Solos sold by Blackpool Transport:
  • 263/5 are with High Peak Buses, Dove Holes (263 withdrawn)
  • 262/4 are with Yorkshire Tiger, Leeds depot.
  • 266 is with Centrebus
  • 267 is with Blackpool Council
  • 269, 271-4, 276 are with Halton Transport
  • 281/2 are with The Eden
  • 261, 268, 275, 280 and 283 have been scrapped.

Friday 28 August 2015

Bank Holiday Buses to Lytham Hall

On Bank Holiday Monday, Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust will host their second event centred on Lytham Hall. Like last year a vintage bus display will be held at the Hall, but the vintage bus service will be revised to run every 10 minutes from Lytham Hall to Fairhaven Lake via Lytham town centre from 1000-1600. Ex Blackpool PD3s 501 and 512 will be joining vehicles from the RVPT collection on what is sure to be an excellent event. 

For more details see the RVPT website

Monday 17 August 2015

Brief Update

Blackpool Transport
Summer Holidays have seen extensive use of double deckers on the 12/13 15/16 circular services mainly to provide capacity to/from Zoo and Marton Mere. As a result various other unusual allocations have seen Solos appear on the 1 and 14 on occasions.

Minor service changes are due from 5 September.

Catch 22 Bus
Preserved Ribble Bristol VR OCK997K has entered service on loan to Catch 22 Bus on service 21 during August.
Also Ex Stagecoach London Dennis Trident LX51FNJ has entered service in London red livery on services 12 and 22

Sunday 12 July 2015

PD3 516 turns red

Former Blackpool PD3 516 - the last of its type operated by Blackpool Transport in 1999 has joined the fleet of Catch22Bus Ltd after 15 years in private preservation. It has been converted back to bus specification having been converted to a driver trainer in 1984. To make it attractive to wedding customers it has been painted into the 1930s style Blackpool livery carried by sisters 507 from 1985 and 512 from 1987 and the Routemaster fleet. It made its debut on private hire duties on 11 July. Ribble Atlantean 1805 has also joined the Catch 22 bus fleet for private hires on loan from LTT.

Thursday 2 July 2015

More blasts from the past

Olympian 374 takes a break from school services with a duty on route 1 yesterday - it is seen here at Norbreck North (both Brian Turner)
Following the return of Excels 224 and 225 on Tuesday, sister 216 was observed on the 14 today. 219 and 220 are also officially reinstated. Yesterday Olympian 374 put in a now rare appearance on service 1. Further unusual allocations saw Solo 279 on the 14 on Tuesday, Trident 312 on new route 12 this afternoon, with DAF 367 working on the 16. 

374 approaching Starr Gate terminus - enjoying front line work in its 21st year

Tuesday 30 June 2015

Excels Return

Following the network change that started on Sunday, two Excels have been noted back in service today with 224 on service 14 and 225 on service 1. Here 224 heads along Lord Street in Fleetwood

Sunday 21 June 2015

Trident changes

Trident 303 in its early Line 14 guise (Brian Turner)

Pioneer Dennis Trident 301 is currently receiving an advert for Heart FM Radio, replacing the Royal British Legion scheme applied last year.

Sister bus 303, withdrawn from service last month, has now returned to use as Driver Trainer 973. It is believed sister 304 will also be converted. 973 retains fleet livery.

303 was retired just short of its 13th birthday - ironically the previous 303s had similarly short lives. PD2 303 of 1957 was withdrawn (with sisters 301/2/4-10) in March 1970 a few months short of their 13th birthday. Atlanteans 301-310 of 1977 had short lives in Blackpool - 310 was burnt out in October 1986, 301-7 were stored in March/April 1989 - at less than 12 years old and 308/9 lasted a further year. In the 1970s and early 1980s many Blackpool buses had short lives, either due to Certification rules which required overhauls at 12/13 years or due to OMO conversion. The fast changing deregulated environment also saw the BTS fleet evolve with new minibuses and Deltas, plus seasonal operations allowing most of the early Atlanteans to be stood down. It was only the takeover of Fylde and its venerable fleet of Atlanteans that changed priorities and resulted in extended lives.