Friday, 27 February 2015

More Cardiff cousins join the fleet

Two further Dennis Darts have been purchased to join the Catch22Bus fleet and both originated from Cardiff Bus. They are 1999 registered 316 (S316SHB) and 319 (S319SHB). The pair were withdrawn by Cardiff Bus in September 2014 and were sold to Webbers Coaches of Bodmin, Cornwall for a local bus service contract. However, due to their long length they proved unsuitable for some of the tight Cornish roads on the route and both were withdrawn, although not before 319 had been resprayed in Webber's all-cream fleet livery. They were replaced by MPD Dart acquired from Cardiff Bus, 177 (X177CTG) which is related to our own example from the batch, 186.
The two 11.metre "Super Pointer Darts" were collected this week, with 316 (partially rubbed down for respray) taken direct to the West Midlands for painting in Catch22 colours whilst 319 has been brought direct to Blackpool for the time being. Both 316 & 319 are intended for summer use only.
In other fleet news, ex-EYMS 466 has arrived in Blackpool following repaint and now awaits MoT preparation and test pass before it enters service.
Cream painted 319 at Webbers Coaches next to 316.

316 had been prepared to respray into Webber's cream livery before it was decided to dispose of the pair and replace with MPDs better suited to the tight turns and country lanes that typify many rural Cornwall bus services.

Dennis Dart MPD 177 was acquired from Cardiff Bus by Webbers in January to replace the 11m SPDs and this has entered service on the Bodmin contract in Cardiff Bus livery.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

658 returns from respray

Dennis Dart MPD 658 returned from its quick-turnaround repaint yesterday and has received graphics and destination stickers for service 6. It is expected to enter service on "Sixes" on Friday 20th February, allowing Whittle liveried 468 to be taken off service for repanelling and repaint. Sister bus 466 is almost ready for collection and will arrive in Blackpool next week in Catch22Bus colours.
As Darts 657 & 658 are expected to be dedicated to Sixes, they will soon receive promotional route branding for the service.
Other Dart news is that X512UAT has been purchased off the leasing company and will return to service.
Former Diamond Bus but previously Blackburn Transport / Lancashire United Dennis Dart 658, now ready to enter service on "Sixes". 

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Another pair of Twins!

We have had a habit of delivering twins in recent years, or at least cousins from the same batch of buses and the latest two Dennis Dart MPDs are no exception. V657/658HEC were delivered new to Blackburn Transport in January 2000 as part of a batch of ten, nos.651-660. The pair have operated together throughout their lives, being sold to Rotala for their WessexConnect operation in Bath, before being transferred to the Diamond Bus operation in Kidderminster. Both have been purchased by Catch22Bus to replace other Darts returned off lease. 658 was the first to be collected but has been sent straight for repainting in our fleet livery.
The twins have been separated for a time because 657 will operate for a few weeks in the Diamond dark blue livery until other MPDs enter service in the new livery.  Darts 466 & 658 are currently being resprayed and the next Dart to be treated will be ex-EYMS 468 which is currently in service wearing its Whittle green & white livery. Once 658 arrives in Blackpool it is planned to partially repanel 468.

658 upon collection from Kidderminster and delivery run to be resprayed in Catch22Bus fleet livery. Both 657 & 658 last operated with Diamond on 9th February - indeed they were brought off service for collection!! 

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Further MPDs join the fleet

Further Dennis Dart MPDs have joined the fleet to replace buses returned off-lease and the most recent purchases are ex-EYMS W466/468UAG new in April 2000. Both formed part of a 19-strong batch of 29-seater MPDs delivered to EYMS and both were latterly allocated to the Whittle subsidiary in Kidderminster, which has recently been sold.
466 was collected from Hull and despatched straight for respray in Catch22Bus fleet livery whereas 468 has been brought to Blackpool and will operate for a short period in its current livery until other MPDs are repainted.
Two other MPDs have been purchased from Rotala-owned Diamond Buses but will not be released by them until next week and a further Cardiff example should arrive later in March.
Snow on the ground in Hull on 4th Feb when 466/468 were collected from EYMS.