Thursday, 26 October 2017

Unlucky Numbers: Past 19s

Taken from an 11C, Swift 572 swings from Daggers Hall Lane onto Hawes Side Lane on its way to South Pier on 5 July 1986 (Brian Turner)

5 November sees the introduction of service 19 to Staining. This is the first use of the 19 number since 1986; and quite surprising given previous nods to history with route numbering in this area. When the separate Staining service first started in 1927 it gained the lowest vacant number 15, having before than been part of service 2 to Poulton. The 15 lasted until August 1996 when services 23/23A were extended to Staining from Victoria Hospital. Various changes have taken place since:
  • January 2000 - 25 replaces 23 during the day
  • April 2001 - Metro Line 5 runs to Staining replacing 23/23A/25
  • November 2004 - Metro Line 15 introduced, replacing the 5 to Staining and also continuing to Mereside
  • September 2009 - 15 terminates at Staining with Mereside leg ended
  • July 2012 - 15 withdrawn, with 2 diverted via Staining on its way to Poulton
  • June 2015 - 2 withdrawn, Staining served by 12/13 circulars on way to Poulton
  • April 2016 - 12/13 withdrawn, Staining now served by 15/16 circulars with link to Mereside once again
  • November 2017 - 19 replaces 15/16 between Blackpool and Staining
So the current route pretty much replicates the Blackpool to Staining version of the 15 which ran from 1927 through to 1980 and in different forms since. Oddly despite replacing the current 15/16 an all new number is being adopted.

The 19 is one of those numbers which has seen failed to generate longevity or particular importance. Broadly speak, Blackpool's bus network could be split into two series:

  • 1  to 16 - routes which started in the 1920s and became established, generally lasting until at least the 1970s/1980s.
    • a few exceptions, the 4 was a short working service until 1939 and used for a new route in 1951; 8 was mainly summer only and the 11 was vacant from 1929 to 1935.
  • 17 to 30 - various mainly short lived routes introduced in 1930s, 1950s or limited works services (31, 33, 34, 36, 39 and 41 were also recorded)
    • Tram replacement 22 and 23 (1936) and 26 (1962) were exceptions which became regular frequent services

The first 19 service was identified in 1938. Before that 1-16 were established, with use of 17 for an occasional market day Fleetwood express and 18 for a brief circular service in 1935. Surprisingly 20 was allocated to the next new regular service in October 1935 (Stanley Park Airport). In 1938 the 18 and 19 were introduced as  summer circulars starting at Gynn Square. The 19 ran along the Promenade to South Pier, then onto Station Road, Lytham Road, Waterloo Road, Preston New Road, West Park Drive, Stanley Park, Collingwood Avenue, Caunce Street, Devonshire Road, Warbreck Hill Road back to Gynn Square. The 18 ran the opposite direction. It lasted from June to end of September 1938 and is believed to have run again in 1939, but the Second World War put paid to future operation. The route was similar to the 1935 circular referenced as 18 - so the 19 may have been reserved as number for the return working, but simply not used.

The 19 number resurfaced on 28in August 1951 as part of a recast of services to Marton to serve the expanding Mereside estate. Prior to this, 'Sandham's Green' the traditional name for Mereside was served by route 17 from Town Hall via Welcome Inn and Chapel Road every 90 minutes, with route 18 making a 45 minute service to Welcome Inn before continuing via Midgeland Road to School Road and Borough Boundary. Route 11B, officially a short on the 11C provided a second link to Midgeland Road/School Road via Hawes Side Lane and Common Edge Road.

No photo has been found of a 19 to Midgeland Road - but this is a 1937 Tiger number 5(either 5 or 6) operating on the 11B to "Midgeland Lane" (HPTG)
New routes 4 and 6C replaced the 17, with the 19 replacing the 11B and making a circular with the 18 - both now running hourly. This 19 ended in March 1956 when the 6A was extended to Midgeland Road as a replacement.

A third 'seasonal circular' arrangement commenced in 1959 when three of the 1940 centre entrance Leyland TD5s (26 to 28) were converted to open top and used on a new circular starting at the Tower via the Promenade to Anchorsholme then Fleetwood Road, Devonshire Road, Bispham Road, Layton Road, round Stanley Park, Mere Road, Hornby Road back to Tower. This lasted for the 1959 and 1960 seasons.
Route 19s - the 1951 to 1956 version in blue, 1961 to 1986 in red (map data c Google 2017)

The 19 finally got permanency in 1961, albeit somewhat out of site of the town centre. A new service started at South Pier running via Waterloo Road, St. Annes Road, Watson Road, Daggers Hall Lane, Vicarage Lane, Cherry Tree Road, Langdale Road to Mereside Shops - extending to Branstree Road in 1963. It ran every 40 minutes initially (45 from 1963) using 1 bus. A Sunday service ran until 1970. An unusual extension took place on 9th February 1976 when it replaced the 23 between South Pier and Midgeland Road. It was converted to OPO with two Swifts needed, with a reinstated Sundays service needing just one bus.
19 at night - Swift 588 stands at a desolate South Pier terminus on 9 February 1986 towards the end of the 19's life  (Brian Turner)
In November 1977 the Midgeland Road extension was withdrawn Monday to Saturday, but kept on Sundays. The weekday and Saturday service now ran hourly and was interworked at South Pier with the 23A to Victoria Hospital. The Sunday service was cut back to South Pier again in 1982 and was operationally linked to the 16B at Mereside. 

On 25 October 1986 the final 19 left Mereside at 2311 heading to Waterloo Hotel and empty to depot. Deregulation started the next day and route 24 replaced the 19/23A running Mereside to Victoria Hospital as a through bus.