Sunday 4 July 2021

Anniversary review

Buses cross at Stanley Park with PD3 529 and Atlantean 334 on the 21 (Paul Turner)

This weekend saw the birthday weekend celebrations of Blackpool Buses with 19 different buses taking part. This included 6 from the Fylde Transport Trust, 6 which are owned by Gary Conn and Martin Gurr as part of the Best Bus in Town collection, 5 owned by Blackpool Transport and two privately owned buses.  

The events kicked off at 1400 on Friday - the birthday date - when Blackpool Transport's Olympian open topper worked the first of three tours up the Prom to Cleveleys then along the original route to Thornton and back again. Tour 2 used Preserved PD3 501 at 1600 and Tour 3 Blackpool's Atlantean 364. All three are part of the Blackpool Heritage fleet.

A superb addition to the ranks of preserved buses in Solo 288 which is now part of the Best Bus in Town Collection with 501, 554, 262, 133 and 589. Outshopped last week it has been restored to as new Lifestyle Line 16 livery. It arrived on 4th April 2007 and made its debut on the first day of the 16 on 16th April. It was repainted into the new black and yellow livery in August 2010 and again in May 2014. It was withdrawn in June 2018 and has been stored locally since disposal in December 2019

Saturday started with a parade of buses. 17 were involved and these gathered in Blackpool's Rigby Road yard. The buses were grouped into four and ran to Squires Gate in a holding area before running from Starr Gate up the Promenade to North Pier then running to Gynn Square to turn and disperse. 

Swifts 554 and 570 depart Rigby Road ready for the parade of buses (Paul Turner)

Group 1 featured PD3s 501 and 516 and Swifts 554 and 570. Group 2 had Atlanteans 334, 362 and 364 with Olympian 857 and Routemaster 521 (RM1583). Group 3 was all Optare built, led by City Pacer 575 with Delta 133, Metrorider 589 and Excel 225 with Group 4 featuring Solos 288 and 292, Citaro 554 and Enviro 400 458. 

After the parade, ten buses went on display at the Headland, some directly after the parade, others with a visit to the depot so as to spread the arrivals for marshalling purposes. The display comprised 501, 516, 512, both 554s, 362 857, 225, 589 and 458. 512 was the 18th bus used and did not take part in the parade.

At 1200 the free bus service numbered 100 started using Solos 288 - in Line 16 livery and 292 in black and yellow and now used for driver training. Atlantean 364 and Delta 133 completed the line up.

In the evening FTT ran 334 and 570 over the route of service 1 from North Pier to Poulton via Carleton and Castle Gardens.

Night bus - 570 awaits departure from Poulton at 2300 on Saturday. (Paul Turner)

Sunday saw two different free services, plus another round of tours 501 at 1100, 364 at 1300 and 857 at 1500. 

Service 100 used six buses. 133, 288, 362, 501, 857 and an ex Arriva Dennis Dart owned by Andy Mitchell and painted as a 'what might have been' bus in Blackpool's late 1990s livery and fleet number 296.

FTT recreated the Zoo service 21 using Atlantean 334, PD3 529 and City Pacer 575.

This brought the events to an end - though there may be some more celebrations later in the year. With 19 buses featured, 11 of which gave rides this was the biggest bus gathering in Blackpool since the end of Totally Transport a few years ago.

Metrorider 589 was one of three Handybus vehicles in the parade (Paul Turner)

City Pacer 575 was another - returned to use for the first time since 2004 (Paul Turner)

334 awaits departure on the first 21 to the Zoo (Paul Turner)

Delta 133 worked the 100 service on both days this weekend (Paul Turner)

334 at the Zoo terminus - this is one of the last remaining fully intact 1990s shelters. These were installed by Blackpool Transport who won the contract from Adshel, who responded by suddenly removing their shelters. This one retains all glass - including the 'tower and waves' logo. Several others exist in shell form (including one at Stanley Park) and others have been modified with new a flat roof and metal panels in place of the glazing. In a couple of places the shelters have been removed but the advertising panel survives! (Paul Turner)

PD3 529 negotiates the roundabout at Stanley Park on the 21 route (Paul Turner)