Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The No.1s travel in two by two...

The end of free concessionary travel on the trams to non-Blackpool passholders was destined to have unintended consequences that were not considered by the decision makers.
Rather than restrict supply to ensure that the tramway does not lose passengers as a result, Council-owned Blackpool Transport has instead increased output on service 1 from Starr Gate to Fleetwood on specific days by running upto 14 buses on the scheduled 20-min service.
The result? Tram operating costs stay the same but revenue reduces. Bus operating costs increase and reimbursement costs for concessionary travel increase for both Blackpool Council and Lancashire County Council. Maybe there is method in the madness, but this was not the intention of abolishing free travel on the trams...
From 08 June, the No.1 will increase from a 20-min to 15-min service.

Unscheduled duplication on service 1 to Fleetwood and even a conductor collecting fares - although in this case not a bus load between them. (Photo: David Hughes)
Two more No.1s together on South Promenade (Photo: David Hughes)

Routemaster 521 returns to the Prom

Former Blackpool Routemaster 521 (583CLT) entered passenger service our Seafront 12 route today. 521 (formerly RM1583 with London Transport) has been in preservation with the since 2003 but is now part of Oakwood Travel's operating fleet. After a protracted period of preparation work for a return to service (it has been off the road since October 2010), 521 has passed its MoT and is now available for wedding hire work and occasional appearances on 12s.
The Promenade it returns to is very different from 521's memories on services 40 & 55 that employed Routemasters from 1988 to 1994. Gone is much of the old heritage tram fleet, the tramway has been completely modernised and the once free flowing Promenade has been slowed by the Council's ill-considered shared space carriageway.
521 (RM1583) was one of a batch of six ex-London Transport AEC Routemasters that were purchased by Blackpool Transport in 1986 for use on their crew operated routes, 521 being the first to enter service. The fleet of Routemasters were used on various routes throughout Blackpool during the 1980s and 90s, but were all sold off to Reading Mainline in 1997.
521 operating along the Promenade recalling the days of Routemasters on sea front services 40 & 55. (Photo: Alan Robson)

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Catch22 Bus Update

Former Stagecoach Chesterfield Dennis Dart 356 is now almost ready to return to passenger service on 22s following mechanical and electrical work, including the fitting of an LED display. The pictures below are posed shots of the completed vehicle.
Meanwhile, Dart 512 & ex-Stagecoach 617 are being prepared for repaint at our Poulton base which is also currently the home on LTT's Ribble Bristol RE no.366 and former Blackpool AEC Swift 570.
In other news, ex-Lothian Olympian 269 returned to service on Promenade route 12 on Saturday 24 May whilst Routemaster RM1583 is now back on the road after a successful MoT pass after being absent from operating fleet since October 2010.
356 posed on Langdale Road at Mereside showing its LED display.
512 at Poulton being partly repaneled before repaint into the new livery.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Getting ready for Summer

With a focus on overhauling and repainting single decks for service 22 well advanced, we are now turning our focus on preparing buses for Promenade service 12 which goes daily from 24 May.

Former Lothian Olympian 269 has had a replacement gearbox fitted and will very soon be back in service whilst further work is in hand on MCW Metrobus F326UJN in its Nickleodeon advert livery.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Catch22 Repaint Update

356 has returned from Poulton today after being repainted out of Stagecoach colours into the new Catch22 Bus fleet livery. There is still work to do before 356 enters service, such as refitting a destination display and fitting new wheels/tyres. Although 356 looks very similar to Dart 143, the longer length and single door configuration provide a contrast.
Replacing 356 at Poulton for repainting are Darts 512 (X512UAT) and 617 (X617JCS) which will become the next two Darts to receive the new colours leaving only Dart 533 (X533UAT) and Volvo B6 611 (W611CWX) of the planned rebranding programme. Darts 145, 162 & 652 are expected to remain in the former CBNW red livery for 2014.
356 posed on Hardhorn Road in Poulton on its return to depot following a full repaint. There is still preparation work to complete before entering service such as refitting destination display and replacing wheels & tyres.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Open top 69 stars in Burnley FC's Premier League promotion

Our open top Metrobus 69 returned to service this weekend on SeaFront 12, but on Sunday 4th May the bus was commissioned by Burnley Football Club for a parade through the town. Burnley fans flooded the streets in their thousands to celebrate "the Clarets’" Premier League promotion triumph.

Fans of all ages lined the streets as the Clarets boarded the bus which then crawled its way from the town hall to Turf Moor. 69 featured on local and national TV and scenes from the parade can be viewed by clicking here.

69 decorated with banners and flags upon arrival at Burnley's Turf Moor stadium after crawling through thousands of fans following the Clarets' Premier League promotion triumph.