Tuesday, 27 May 2014

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)