Thursday, 27 March 2014

Dart 143 returns from Poulton

Dart 143 has returned today from painting at Poulton in the new fleet livery and work will now be completed on the vehicle's MoT preparation that will allow the bus to return to passenger service.
Ex-Harrogate 601 has taken 143's place as the next bus to follow in the repaint programme. The new livery has certainly refreshed 143's appearance, see comparison photo taken in summer of last year.
27 March 2014 and 143 is captured on camera returning from repaint
143 in Bispham Village in summer 2013 (Photo: David Umpleby)

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dart 163's repaint takes shape

Ex-Stagecoach Dennis Dart V163MVX is another of our low floor fleet that has been off the road since September of last year, after a troublesome first year since acquisition. Following rewiring work, 163 is now being repainted into the new livery. The amount of orange is reduced compared to Dart 143, accounted for by the shorter length and to avoid the advert frames. We will see what the increased turquoise looks like on the front when complete - this is more akin to the true Cardiff Bus layout - 163 will be a guinea pig for other Plaxton bodied Darts.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Dart 162 finally returns

Our Dart with the lowest mileage operated with us is finally returning to service on "Catch22" after being plagued with electrical problems since acquisition in 2012. The bus has been rewired back to original specification after it was discovered that a series of makeshift repairs had been at the heart of 162's issues.
Following the completion of rewiring 162 has continued Oakwood's 100% MoT pass rate and the bus will return to 22s from 21 March - over six months since it was withdrawn from service.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

143 makeover complete

The first Dennis Dart to be treated to the new "Catch22Bus" fleet livery is now completed and has completely transformed bus 143 from its all-white livery that it has operated in since acquisition early in 2013. The turquoise and orange livery looks superb and the second repaint, that of Dart 163, is now underway.
Former Metroline 143 now awaits MoT test but the new liveried buses will not be entering service on Catch22 until April.

New logo for Catch22

We are introducing a new logo/fleetname for buses allocated to "Catch22" which will generally be applied to those buses selected to receive the new turquoise and orange fleet livery. However, two of the Dennis Darts which were sprayed in London red in 2013 and still look very smart (Darts 145/162) have also received it. Dart 145's first day with the new logo was on 18 March.
Dart 145 poses on Anchorsholme Lane showing its new "Catch22Bus" logo

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Low-floor decker joins the fleet

Former London United VA103, an Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo BT7L new in March 2000, joined the fleet today on a trial period from Ripley (dealer). We are looking at purchasing a couple of low floor double decks for use on services 12, 22 and on the Red Rocket Express as necessary and need to assess fuel consumption, particularly since recently withdrawn Volvo Olympian 915 fuel costs topped £1.03 per mile!!
VA103 was once part of a 19-strong batch of Volvo B7TLs delivered to London United and operated in the Hounslow and Kingston areas of their network. The batch has been either stored or operated in the reserve fleet (Rail Replacement work etc) in recent years but recently the batch has been sold.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Contraflow Bus Lane on Central Drive

Back in 1993 as a student at Manchester College of Arts & Technology studying for my CIT Transport Manager qualifications, all students had to produce three case studies each year. One of mine was "Bus Priority for Blackpool" and this highlighted areas where buses experienced delays and where priority measures could assist. One of the areas was Central Drive where a contraflow bus lane was proposed to avoid buses having to do the Albert Road, Coronation Street, Reads Avenue navigation. The final report was handed to Tony Depledge, MD at Blackpool Transport and, of course, my boss at the time.
It was therefore with some excitement that I drove along the new contra-flow bus lane along Central Drive today, 21 years later!