Sunday 31 May 2015

An Excellent Farewell

Excel 221 waits time on service 2 at Poulton on its last day in service (PT)

Yesterday was the last day of Excel operation in Blackpool with all nine survivors in service on the 2, 2C and 17. 218,220-224 ran on the 2/2C and 216, 219 and 225 on the 17. 218 was the final departure on the 1918 2 from Poulton arriving in depot just after 2000.  This ended almost 19 years of Excel operation, although 225 manage to usurp 218's honour arriving in depot after its sister, albeit on tow having failed on service 17.

This morning has seen the first three Citaros enter service. 557 started on the 0645 5 from Halfway House to Victoria Hospital and has been joined by 558 and 559.

Friday 22 May 2015

Palladium Launch and Service Changes

Citaro 551 at the customer launch of the new Citaros

Citaro 551 at the customer launch of the new Citaros
The new Palladium branded Mercedes Citaros have been launched with a stakeholder launch on Thursday and a public launch today, the latter featuring 551 on display in St John's Square. The new buses will enter service on route 5 from Sunday 31 May - a minor route change sees the service no longer operate along Lindale Gardens - which becomes bus-less for the first time since 1934. Buses now return from Halfway House via Squires Gate Lane, Common Edge Road, Highfield Road.

The remaining Excels are expected to be withdrawn, 217 joined 226 yesterday - leaving nine in service. They are expected to be kept in store as reserve vehicles.

Details of the service changes from 28 June are emerging. Route 2 is withdrawn, but the 2C remains. Route 10 is extended from Midgeland Road to St. Annes Square via the 17 route - the latter is reduced to hourly so the 10 and 17 will combine to a half hourly route.

New Northern circulars 12 and 13 will operate up to half hourly. The 12 will run from Corporation St via Talbot Road, Grosvenor St, Church St, Newton Drive, Hospital (current 2) then replacing the 16 route via St Walburgas Road, Fulwood Square, Chepstow Road, Gateside Drive, Dinmore Avenue (resintating the former 16 route), Poulton Road, Plymouth Road, Bispham Road, Ingthorpe Avenue, Ashfield Road, Kincraig Road, Faraday Way, Norcross Lane, Fleetwood Road, Poulton Road, Tithebarn St to Poulton. From here it returns to Blackpool via the current 2 route serving Highcross Road, Staining and the Hospital.

The 13 follows the 12 route from Town Centre to Hospital then takes the loop via Poulton in the opposite direction back to Hospital then Blackpool Town Centre.

The Southern Circular 15 also follows the 12 from Corporation Street to Hospital, then via East Park Drive with a double run to Zoo via Woodside Drive, South Park Drive, Preston New Road (again reinstating the former 16 route), double run via Mythop Road to Marton Mere Park, Clifton Road to Tesco then again via the 16 route along Cherry Tree Road, Highfield Road to Harrowside. Buses will run via Harrow Place, Promenade and Clifton Drive and resume the 16 route via Bond Street, Station Road, Lytham Road, Waterloo Road, Whitegate Drive to the Saddle. From here the 15 will serve Knowsley Ave, West Park Drive, Mere Road, Whitegate Drive, Church Street back to Corporation St. Route 16 does this in the opposite direction.

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Trident Trainer, Delta Demise and Excel Exit

Excel 226 on its last day on route 17 in St. Annes (Jono Niblock)

In the month of its 13th birthday, Trident 303 has become the first of its type to be taken out of service and will be converted to a driver trainer, replacing Delta 969 which is now withdrawn. Sister 970 was taken out of use in late April with a defective engine. This ends Delta operation after 25 years.

Optare Excel 226 was withdrawn today after use on service 17. Further Excels will be retired at the end of the month once the Citaros enter service. 

Trident 331 has returned to use in a Tower Dungeon all-over advert joining 328-330 with Merlin Entertainments themed adverts. 

Sunday 17 May 2015

News update

Details of the service changes for 28 June are emerging. The 12/13 "Northern Circular" are confirmed as replacing the 2 to Poulton via Staining then the 16 back to Hospital via Bispham and Grange Park. The 15/16 a'Southern Circular' will combine the 16 via South Shore and Mereside with the 20 via Marton Mere, Stanley Park, Zoo and Hospital. Each will operate every 30 minutes in each direction.

The 1 will gain its summer frequency increase as will some other services on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Route 10 is also extended to St Annes.

Blackpool Transport has outshopped Dennis Trident 330 in a new allover advert for Blackpool Tower.
Trident 330 in is bright new advert for Blackpool Tower (Jono Niblock)
Catch 22 Bus has sold Dart R356LER and purchased ex Stagecoach London Dennis Trident LX51FNJ. Also not previously reported is the start of a half hourly Sunday service on route 6 on 3 May.


6 to 9th May saw the closure of Blackpool Promenade outside the Tower for filming. Diversions affected most routes, a few are illustrated below.

Services 10 and 17 terminated on Bank Hey Street - Excel 221 waits time on service 17 (Brian Turner)

St John's Square was opened for buses, here Solo 247 passes through on route 16. Note the row of seats alongside which marks the site of the former bus shelter recently removed (Brian Turner)

Trident 324 on route 11 diverted via Rigby Road. Note the new Foxhall Village development on the site of the former Gas works, Easyway Coaches Depot and Blundell Street tram depot (Brian Turner)

Saturday 2 May 2015

Service changes June 28th

Blackpool Transport has registered a series of service changes from 28 June. Most notable is a new service 12/13 described as Blackpool Town Centre to Blackpool Town Centre via Bispham, Poulton, Staining and a Victoria Hospital. This appears to be a combination of parts of the 2 and 16.

The 2/2C and 16 have route and timetable changes associated with the 12 and 13., the 10 and 17 also have route changes while the 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 14 get timetable changes. Surprisingly the 20 is cancelled altogether!

More details will no doubt follow in due course.

Friday 1 May 2015

More adverts and open topper ready

Trident 329 has been outshopped in a new all over advert for Tussauds waxworks with sister 330 now in for treatment, presumably for another Merlin attraction.

Olympian open topper 857 is now ready for use and is expected to debut on a private hire tomorrow. It was repainted last year in late 1980s green and cream as seen on 365-373. The lower deck seats have been re trimmed into the dark green moquette used on PD3s and most recently used on trams until the late 1990s.

Launch date for the Citaros has been set for 22nd May in St John's Square.