Thursday, 24 November 2022

Blackpool's Plaxton Centro Driver Trainers

Volvo B7RLE 977 on driver training duties in Cleveleys on 3rd November
Blackpool Transport are currently using two Plaxton Centro bodied Volvo B7RLE single deck buses as driver training vehicles. The Centro driver trainers are numbered 977 (ex-527) and 978 (ex-528), and still retain their full Palladium livery and branding, with additional embellishments to denote their use as training buses.

Volvo B7RLE driver trainer 978 departing from the depot along Rigby Road on 21st November

Monday, 21 November 2022

Brush 625 leaves Blackpool

Brush 625 chained down onto the low loader of Reid Freight Services
Brush Car 625 left Blackpool on 21st November, bound for the East Anglia Transport Museum at Carlton Colville near Lowestoft. This move follows on from Brush 627, which made the journey to the east coast in July. Reid Freight Services came to collect 625 on Monday 21st November, and after the tram was safely chained down onto the low loader, the transporter departed for the EATM at 12:45 pm.

Brush 625 loaded onto the transporter

Brush 625 loaded and ready to leave
Brush 625 heading off down Rigby Road
Brush 625 passing beneath Seasiders Way along Rigby Road
Brush 625 on driver training at Thornton Gate on 11th April 2003

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Transpora OmniCity on the Coastliner

Transpora North West Scania OmniCity YR59FYW at Norbreck on 16th November
Transpora North West Scania N230UD OmniCity YR59FYW has been in use on the Coastliner 21 service from Cleveleys to St Annes recently. The bus was supplied new in 2009 as SP40115 to London United, a part of the RATP Group that operates in Greater London. YR59FYW was purchased from Ensignbus two months ago.

Transpora North West Scania OmniCity YR59FYW passing the Grand Hotel in Blackpool

Transpora North West Scania OmniCity YR59FYW on Rough Lea Road in Cleveleys
Transpora North West Scania OmniCity YR59FYW on Queen's Promenade at Norbreck

Friday, 11 November 2022

2022 Stagecoach Poppy Bus

Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancs Scania N250UD Enviro 400 MMC 15301 at Preston Bus Station
Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire ADL Enviro 400 MMC 15301 is the first bus within Stagecoach to be solely branded in support of the Armed Forces Covenant, showing support to those who have served and continue to serve. 15301 was spotted in October at Preston Bus Station and also in Blackpool, while taking part in the annual Bus Driver of the Year competition.

Stagecoach 15301 at Gynn Square while taking part in the Bus Driver of the Year final
Stagecoach 15301 on Blackpool Promenade during the Bus Driver of the Year competition
A rear view of Stagecoach 15301 at Gynn Square

Thursday, 3 November 2022

The Scania N230UD OmniCity in Lancashire

Recently repainted Preston Scania OmniCity 40515 leaving the bus station on 18th October

The double-deck version of the Scania OmniCity was mainly bought by bus operators in the south of England, however Preston Bus have a few examples that formerly operated with Rotala Wessex in the south-west. Transpora North West on the Fylde Coast (previously operating under the Coastliner fleetname) have recently acquired two Scania OmniCities that were new to London United. The Scania N230UD OmniCity is an integrally constructed bus which was built in Poland.

Preston Scania OmniCity 40030 on Lords Walk on 19th April, 2021

Transpora North West Scania OmniCity YR59FYW in Cleveleys on 3rd November

Sunday, 2 October 2022

2022 Bus Driver of the Year Final in Blackpool

Preston Bus Volvo B9TL Wright Eclipse Gemini 40628 in the old Corporation maroon and cream livery
After a two year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bus Driver of the Year competition is back, last having been held in 2019. The National Final was rescheduled this year, from its traditional slot of the first weekend in September, to Sunday 2nd October. The event was held in Blackpool as usual, with twelve buses being used for the driving tests this year, hailing from all over the country. During the final, entrants gain points for successfully completing a series of tasks on a driving course, or correctly answering questions in the theory test. On competition day, all entrants are deemed to be working for the fictitious Middle Walk Bus Company, and receive a copy of the company code of conduct. The driving section of the competition takes place along the North Promenade, between Gynn Square and the Metropole Hotel, returning along Middle Walk, where a further series of tests are set for each of the drivers. Drivers are allowed to pick up and drop off passengers at temporary bus stops along the route, which have been pre-positioned for the Middle Walk Bus Company. The 54th National Final attracted 89 entrants this year, from bus operators nationwide.

Diamond Bus North West Wright StreetDeck 40804 which operates out of Bolton
Stagecoach Lancashire Scania N250UD Enviro 400 MMC 15301 in poppy livery
Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire open top Volvo B5TL Wright Gemini 3 13804 from the Lake District
Lothian Buses Volvo B5TL Enviro 400 MMC 602 from Edinburgh
First South Yorkshire Wright StreetDeck 35128 from Sheffield
National Express West Midlands ADL Enviro 400 MMC 6795
First West Yorkshire Wright StreetDeck 35907 from Leeds
Bluestar ADL Enviro 400 MMC 1685 from Hampshire
Blackpool Transport ADL Enviro 400 City 423 in Queen's Platinum Jubilee livery
Arriva North East ADL Enviro 400 MMC 7570
First Potteries Wright StreetLite DF 63178 from Stoke-on-Trent
A Middle Walk Bus Company temporary bus stop on the test route

Friday, 23 September 2022

Balloon 715 Swan Song

Setting the points so that 715 can enter the loop for its break at Fleetwood Ferry
This weekend (24th/25th September) is the last time that Balloon 715 will be in use on Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours for the foreseeable future. It has been several decades since 715 last received a major overhaul, and it has been decided that now is the right time to retire the tram from active use, pending such time in the future that it can be refurbished. After its withdrawal from use, 715 will be stored on static display in Rigby Road tram depot. The photos in this post were taken during the 14:40 Coastal Tour from North Pier on Friday 23rd September.

Balloon 715 parking up on the loop at Fleetwood Ferry on 23rd September
Balloon 715 heading along North Albert Street in Fleetwood
Flexity 018 passing Balloon 715 at Fleetwood Ferry
715 rounding the curve from North Albert Street into Lord Street in Fleetwood
Balloon 715 heading south on the tramroad at Rossall on 23rd September