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Excels 216, 219 and 220 have been withdrawn following the recent service changes - just 224/5 remain in use.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)