Saturday 25 February 2017

Enviros Illustrated

Enviro SN66WLK is allocated fleet number 500, like most demonstrators, but unusually actually displays this on the front. After a spell on route 9 on Thursday, it has operated on the 1 on Friday and Saturday. (Photo Rob Bray)
Brand new Enviro SN17MGV leaves the Alexander Dennis factory at Larbert, Falkirk on a test run. (Gordon Scott)

Brand new Enviro SN17MGV leaves the Alexander Dennis factory at Larbert, Falkirk on a test run. (Gordon Scott)

Thursday 23 February 2017

Demonstrator and Changes

Blackpool Transport has ADL Enviro 400 City demonstrator SN66WLK on loan. It arrived on Monday and is operating on service 9 today. It is passing through on a UK tour, having operated at Manchester Airport last week. It features different interior specification to the existing and new buses.

Further details of the service changes from 2 April have been received:

  • 1  route unchanged, summer timetable introduced every 20 minutes
  • New 2 will run Blackpool to Cleveleys via Hospital, Poulton and Carleton - every 30 minutes Blackpool to Poulton and hourly to Cleveleys Monday to Saturday
  • 3, 4 and 5 are unchanged
  • 6 returns to its old Mereside to Grange Park route with a 12 minute service. Peel Park will be served at peak hours using Palladium Buses
  • 7 is increased back to every 15 minutes for the summer
  • 8 is withdrawn
  • 9 remains every 12 minutes but returns to its usual route - no mention of the 9A returning - presumably the 2 will cover the Hospital-Cleveleys link
  • 10 is withdrawn - Blackpool Council has withdrawn the revenue support for this service.
  • 11 unchanged
  • 14 Town Centre to Fleetwood only increased back to every 10 minutes M-F using Palladium buses
  • 15/16 return to every 30 minutes Mon-Sat and hourly Sundays - double deckers are to replace Solos for summer capacity reasons
  • 17 Blackpool to St. Annes only, will run via Common Edge Road not Lindale Gardens, it will run every 30 mintues, offsetting the loss of the 10.
  • 20 reintroduced school holidays and weekends only
Town Centre stops changes took place from 20 February with phase 1 lasting until 2 April and phase 2 until 14 May. Market Street stops M1 to M3 are closed to enable an extra stop to be added. The 5, 10, 11 and 17 southbound are serving a temporary stop on the Promenade by West Street. The 6, 11 and Stagecoach 68 are terminating at M4 on Market Street, 10, 14 and 17 northbound are turning from the Promenade right into Church Street to reach Corporation Street, but the evening 17s which start from Blackpool are turning via Market Street and West Street and using stop CO4. There is also a temporary stop on Talbot Road westbound between Topping St and Abingdon St for the 5, 7, 10, 14 and 17.

Wednesday 22 February 2017

News Update

Further new buses have been delivered, with SN17MGV being the highest registered observed on test in Falkirk. SN17MFJ/K/O/P/U/V/X/Y/Z are now live on the DVLA database as registered from start of March.

Trident 329 has gained a new advert for Heart FM replacing 301 which is gaining a fleet livery repaint. Excel 216, the last of the new to Blackpool batch has been sold for scrap. Solo 259 is now withdrawn, the first of the longer batch to be withdrawn.

Monday 20 February 2017

April Service Changes

Blackpool Transport has registered some service changes from Sunday 2 April, including the withdrawal of services 8 and 10 and the return of service 2. Limited details are available so far, but the effected services are:

1 - revised timetable
New 2 Blackpool Town Centre to Cleveleys via Poulton and Victoria Hospital (Monday to Sunday) returning service 2 to its traditional Poulton route.
2C - revised timetable
6 route and timetable change  
7 - revised timetable
8 - withdrawn
9 - revised route and timetable presumably due to re-opening of Crossley's Bridge
10 - withdrawn
14 - route and timetable change
15/16 - route and timetable change
17 - route and timetable change
New 20 Marton Mere to Blackpool Town Centre via Zoo and Stanley Park from 1 April to 5 November every weekend and daily to 23/4, daily 27 May to 4 June, Daily in August and from 31 October to 5 November.
Schools 12, 400, 401, 403 and 414 are also retimed.

It is expected that the 25 new Enviro 400 City double deckers will enter service on 2 April. It is rumored that the 14, for which they are intended will only run Fleetwood to Blackpool now with the 6 reinstated to Mereside, so presumably a further route will be treated to these impressive new vehicles.

Friday 17 February 2017

New Buses Roll In

The first delivery of new buses has taken place with four SN17MFJ/K/O/P noted today. Minor differences from the first ten are apparent, most notably three tables upstairs - one on the nearside amidships and two at the rear. 

Saturday 11 February 2017

White Rose in Red Rose County

West Yorkshire PTE 6299 loads on Market Street operating service 6 to Mereside during its spell on loan during 1985 (Brian Turner)
1985/6 saw a three incursions into Lancashire from the traditional rival county of Yorkshire - West Yorkshire to be precise. 

Back in 1983 West Yorkshire PTE commemorated 100 years of Huddersfield Transport by repainting two buses into commemorative liveries. Both were Roe bodied Leyland Atlanteans. 6299 (PUA299W) carried a red based livery from the Huddersfield Joint Omnibus Committee era, while 6300 (PUA300W) carried Huddersfield Corporation Tramways livery. Both visited the Fylde in August 1983 on the Ribble Enthusiast Club Southport to Blackpool rally.
Tramway liveried sister 6300 heads to Squires Gate on service 12, ironically a tramway replacement service (Brian Turner)

The 1985 Blackpool Tramway Centenary featured a range of activities. Perhaps the most unusual was the exchange of two Atlanteans 351/2 with West Yorkshire 6299 and 6300! 6299 arrived on 9 June, being swapped for 352 at Crich Tramway Museum. 6299 opearated a summer bus service from Huddersfield to Crich, with 352 providing the return working having reached the museum on a excursion! 6300 arrived on 16 June - the date of the Rigby Road Depot Open Day. Both buses saw local service use during June and July as Blackpool 366/7 while 351/2 saw use from the PTE's Huddersfield depot. At the start of August the buses were swapped back. Both 6299 and 6300 returned on a number of occasions for rallies. 
Three of Easyway's six ex West Yorkshire PTE Leopards at Princess Street Depot 247, 245 and 249 (left to right) (Brian Turner)

Next came the arrival of six Leyland Leopards (JWU244-249N) in Autumn 1986 at the premises of Easyway Bus on Princess Street. These were used on three services 9 (Blackpool to Cleveleys), 14 (Blackpool to Fleetwood) and 53 (Airport to Poulton). The 9 and 14 ended in late December and 244-247 returned to West Yorkshire for onward sale early in the new year. 248/9 continued until Easyway ceased in 1989. They then reappered with Town Bus in 1990 and lasted until c1993/4. Sister LUG515P also joined the Town Bus fleet.

Finally Blackpool acquired three youthful Roe bodied Olympians from WYPTE to replace three fire damaged Atlanteans. WYPTE 5005/11/15 (UWW5/11/15X) arrived on 31 October 1986 having been retained by WYPTE on the disposal of its bus operations to the new Yorkshire Rider company. After preparation, they entered service in November as 365-367 retaining WYPTE green and cream livery, pending a repaint into Blackpool's own livery the following spring. They had long lives in Blackpool with 366/7 lasting until 2010 and 365 through to 2012.
Olympians 5005 and 5015 - now Blackpool's 365/7 parked in Rigby Road yard on 2 November 1986 having arrived a couple of days earlier. Like Easyway, with its Leopards Blackpool ran these in WYPTE livery which could well have been confusing where the operators competed. The trio were finally repainted in March/April 1987 (Brian Turner)

Further Yorkshire influxes included 29 ex Hull Atlanteans purchased by Fylde (including 2 for spares) between 1986 and 1992, plus four new to Bradford Atlanteans also purchased from Hull in chassis form to be rebodied as single deckers. A South Yorkshire visitor to Blackpool Transport was Dominator 2361 (B361HDT) for a week in September 1988, swapped for Olympian 367, to evaluate the split step design favoured by SYT and for a period commonly adopted as a way of improving accessibility. 

Friday 10 February 2017

Preston Bus Changes

Following Coastal Coaches cancellation of the Wesham to Poulton section of route 78 after service on 18 February, LCC have made some changes to Preston Bus's tendered services:

  • 74 revised to run Blackpool to Poulton only every hour.
  • 75 - rerouted in Fleetwood to serve Windward Avenue (the new housing estate on the Docklands using developer funding) but not via Tennyson Avenue or Marsh Road in Thorton 
  • New 75A every 2 hours to replace the 74 between Fleetwood and Poulton, following the same route as the 75 above, then via the 78 route through Great Eccleston, Elswick, and Kirkham then via the current 75 route to Preston
  • The 75/75A make a combined hourly service as does the 75A and 80 between Great Eccleston and Preston, albeit via different intermediate routes. 
  • The 80 is revised in Preston to serve Maudland Bank
  • Five buses are required (74 x1, 75/A x 3, 80 x1) compared to 4 on the present contract.
Catch 22 Bus service 23 will be re-routed via Tennyson Avenue and Marsh Road to replace the 74/75 - it will also run direct via Fleetwood Road from Castle Gardens to Four Lane Ends rather than via Bispham Road and Norcross Lane.

Sunday 5 February 2017

New Buses and Rail Replacement

The first of Blackpool Transport's 25 new Enviro 400 City double deckers have been outshopped at Alexander Dennis in Falkirk. SN17MFJ, SN17MFK and SN17MFX have been reported so far. Thanks to those who have shared this information via the contact form or through Facebook. Such reports are always welcome and helpful. This batch will be the largest single batch of buses since the 1974/5 batch of Swifts (566-595) - a batch of 30 ordered together which entered service in groups of 24 in April/May 1974 and 6 in Spring 1975. Prior to that it was the 25 1967 PD3s (501-525).

The early part of 2017 has seen closure of the Preston to Blackpool railway lines at weekends as part of the preparation for electrification of the Blackpool North line and also to allow the new Crossley's Bridge to be installed. Also some late night, early morning weekday services are replaced by buses. The weekend rail replacements has mainly been provided by the usual coaches, but Blackpool Transport has provided Mercedes Citaros from the Palladium fleet on most occasions. 554 was noted at Blackpool North on Saturday 21 January and in both Preston and Lytham on Saturday 4th February, 553 was also observed on the 4th.