Sunday, 30 December 2012

Volvo B10M throwback

It was back in February 1996 when Stagecoach purchased the Greater Manchester Buses South business after a period of intense competition on GMBS' prime route, service 192 between Manchester Piccadilly and Hazel Grove via Stockport. GMBS had inherited a large fleet of elderly double deckers of Atlanteans, Fleetlines and MCW Metrobuses at the break up of the former Greater Manchester Transport and investment in new vehicles was at an all time low. Stagecoach's first priority was the replacement of the old stock and 90 Volvo B10Ms (895-984) arrived between August and December 1997, amongst the last step entrance single decks purchased by the group.
898 when new in Manchester Piccadilly with a GMBS liveried MCW Metrobus behind
Two of these, 898 & 899, are now in our operating fleet and this picture shows 898 when new in the once familiar Stagecoach corporate livery.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Dart 145 prepared for service

Dennis Dart 145 has been resprayed in all-over London red ready for a return to passenger service in January, to coincide with the enhanced 20-minute service on Catch 22. The bus was part of a batch of thirteen Darts with dual-door Alexander bodies that were delivered new to Armchair in London in May 1999 in their orange, white & black livery. The operation later passed to Metroline (becoming DA140 - 152) and the batch operated until 2008/9 when they were withdrawn for mid-life overhaul. Unfortunately for Metroline, tender changes resulted in new buses being specified and the refurbishment work was abandoned and the buses stored until their lease agreements expired and they were returned to their finance company.
145 upon collection from respray into all-over London red for CBNW operations.
DA145 was one of the examples refurbished but then stored and is now one of the few survivors (DA143/DA152 are also known to survive) - the others were sold to dealers and ended up being scrapped. In superb condition, 145 has been tidied up after joining our fleet and adds a bit of variety to the Darts already in service.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Another look at Binky's past

RM1568 towards the end of its operating days with MTL London on route 139 to West Hampstead.
Here is another view of our "Binky" operating in London towards the end of its first unbroken period of operation in London. It was withdrawn in 1998 and sold the following year, but then was re-acquired by Transport for London in 2000 as part of the "Dartmaster" programme. It was ironic that as the last of the repowered "Dartmaster" conversions entered service that developments in smartcards and the hugely successful Oystercard made the bus conductor almost redundant in central London. As the last of the conversions re-entered service, TfL were making plans for the wholesale withdrawal of the Routemaster class. RM1568 returned to London service in September 2001 but was withdrawn a little over four years later, October 2005.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Volvo 898 returns from repaint

There are a few twins in the CBNW operating fleet - ex Stagecoach Dennis Darts 162/163, Volvo Olympians 324/325 (although they were technically RA264/RA272 in Dublin) and finally ex-Stagecoach Volvo B10Ms 898 & 899. Now, following a respray into standard CBNW all red livery, 898 & 899 are identical twins again.
898 awaits application of CBNW fleetnames. It is posed here following return from respray alongside ex-Transdev Dennis Dart 512 that will itself be resprayed in CBNW livery during 2013.
898 returned from respray on Friday 7th December gleaming in London red and it will now be prepared for a return to passenger service on "Catch22" and College contract work, rejoining its twin 899 that has been in regular use since September.

Friday, 7 December 2012

A zebra cannot change its stripes!

A zebra certainly cannot change its stripes it would appear....

We are lobbying with the Blackpool Taxi Operators Association for Blackpool Council to remove the zebra crossings between Central and North Piers on the Promenade that are the cause of traffic being almost at a standstill during the summer months. The problem is that Blackpool Council officers do not appear to see what is the obvious truth - that the new Promenade looks good, but the zebra crossings are inappropriate for the traffic & pedestrian flows expected of them. The quote below is from guidance on zebra crossings which leads me to think how the zebras ever got passed by any sane person as suitable for Blackpool Promenade???
"Zebra crossings should be considered where pedestrian flows are 1100 people per hour or less (averaged over the four highest hours) and where vehicle flows are 500 vehicles per hour or less (averaged over the four highest hours).
Zebra crossings are usually used where pedestrian flows are relatively low and traffic flows are no more than moderate. Gaps of around five seconds are needed for an able person to cross a 7 metre carriageway.

Zebra crossings are also best avoided on busy town centre streets or outside railway stations since this is likely to result in a constant stream of pedestrians claiming priority. Higher flows of pedestrians will cause substantial delay to vehicles, creating traffic congestion, and a Zebra crossing is less likely to be a satisfactory choice. Where gaps in traffic flows are few, and waiting times long because people feel it may be hazardous to establish precedence, a Zebra crossing is likely to be unsuitable."

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Changing times on Catch 22

From Wednesday 02 January we will be amending the route and timetable of Service 22.

Route Alteration
We are amending the route of Service 22 in the North Shore area between Blackpool Town Centre and Bispham to increase the coverage of the service and provide better links for passengers. From 02 January, service 22 will divert from Dickson Road to serve the Claremont area and it will then operate right along Warley Road to the junction of Warbreck Hill Road. The alteration will provide new links to South Shore and parts of North Shore for residents of the Claremont area, and will mean that parts of Warley Road will have a bus service for the first time in over 20 years, reducing the distance that residents have to walk to access buses.
Dennis Dart 162 at Moor Park stop in Bispham
Changing times
Times of buses will be altered in the afternoon (Monday to Friday) to avoid the variation in times that have proved confusing to passengers.
Buses will leave Mereside at 04 & 34 throughout the day with the last departing Mereside at 1704 like the Saturday timetable.
Buses will leave Cleveleys at 05 & 35 throughout the day with the last departing Cleveleys at 1805 like the Saturday timetable.
This timetable will operate until Monday 14 January when service 22 will be increased to a 20 minute service on Mondays to Fridays. A new “Catch 22” leaflet will be printed to coincide for the 20-minute service starting.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

CBNW throwback - our Binky!

In my series of postings looking at our fleet before they joined CBNW, this posting focuses on Routemaster RM1568, which we know affectionately as "binky". New in April 1963, Binky is approaching its 50th birthday next year. It's first spell of operational life in London lasted until 1998 when it was withdrawn after many years as a Tottenham based bus. It was prior to sale that 568CLT surrendered its registration and became BNK324A, hence its nickname as Binky.
It's life away from London proved to be shortlived for in September 2000 it was one of over 50 RMs purchased by Transport for London to rejoin active service in the capital in advance of congestion charging and planned increase in bus services. RM1568 was sent to Marshalls for refurbishment and repower with the Cummins engine and allison gearbox, which became known as the dartmaster conversion. It was leased by TfL to Sovereign who operated Route 13 (Aldwych to Golders Green) with 'dartmasters' until Routemaster operation ceased in October 2005.

RM1568 in 1980s guise awaits its next departure on 2B to Crystal Palace
After sale, "Binky" was used on an Oxford tour operation before it was passed to a Manchester operator but then ended up on ebay. It joined CBNW in January 2008 and has been in regular use with us ever since.