Tuesday, 4 August 2020

New Preston Bus Livery

20702 on Route 31, one of eight Solo SRs bought for the Park & Ride operation in 2008

Rotala owned Preston Bus have begun to repaint their fleet into the Diamond Bus two-tone blue colours in earnest over the last couple of months. Most of the buses painted so far have been Optare Solo SRs, but the Preston fleet is so diverse that even among the Solo SRs there are variations of vehicle type and livery style. Since the acquisition of Preston Bus by Rotala Plc in January 2011, many different vehicle types have made an appearance in the fleet, some of the current buses are even fourth hand. A batch of four brand new Wright Streetdecks entered service in July, being the first new vehicles to be delivered in the striking blue livery.

Optare Solo SR 20016 in a livery variation with light blue above the windows

Optare Solo 20000 leaving the bus station along Tithebarn Street on route 43

Former Malta Public Transport Solo SR 20877, note the air conditioning pods on the roof

Wright Streetdeck 40716 on Carlisle Street approaching the bus station

Ex London Dennis Trident 40632 in plain blue, on Fishergate Bridge at the railway station

Optare Solo SR 20703, one of two running without any fleet branding

Scania 30116 with blue roof and front, on route 89 to the Larches estate

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Blackpool Buses in Preston

Enviro 562 on Tithebarn Street, with Preston bus station in the background

Since Sunday 19th July, Blackpool Transport have been operating rural routes 74 and 75 between Fleetwood and Preston on behalf of Lancashire County Council.

Route 74 runs from Fleetwood via Poulton and Elswick to Preston, whereas route 75 mostly follows the former Preston Bus operated route, running via Cleveleys, Poulton-le-Fylde and Kirkham to Preston.

The pictures shown here were taken between 21st and 31st July.

Enviro 584 approaching Preston bus station along Carlisle Street

Enviro 568 on Fishergate bridge in Preston on route 75

Enviro 574 leaving Preston bus station on route 74 to Fleetwood

Enviro 577 having just turned off Ringway in Preston on route 75

Enviro 580 leaving Preston bus station on route 75 to Fleetwood

Enviro 570 approaching Preston bus station on route 74

Enviro 568 on Lancaster Road in Preston on route 75

Monday, 27 July 2020

The Lost Cast Iron Shelters of Blackpool

Balloon 710 at the former Madison Avenue tram stop in April 2003

Prior to the Blackpool Tramway upgrade in 2012, it was still possible to see a selection of antiquated cast iron bus and tram shelters dotted around the town at various locations. Along the North Promenade, in the Bispham area, there were several old cast iron tram shelters still in use into the early years of this century. Two large cast iron bus shelters also survived, on Lytham Road in South Shore and on Blackpool Road at Carleton. In Fleetwood a badly vandalised cast iron tram shelter hung on at Lindel Road for many years, but the cast shelter adjacent to the Heritage Tram stop at Pharos Street in Fleetwood is now the only remaining example of these fascinating survivors from the pre-streamline tramway era.

The 6-bay cast iron tram shelter at the former Madison Avenue stop in 2003

The small 4-bay cast iron shelter at Lowther Avenue, complete with cast iron guttering

Northbound Brush car 621 at Lowther Avenue in 2003

The old cast iron shelter at the former Leyburn Avenue tram stop in 2003

Balloon 711 northbound at the former Leyburn Avenue tram stop in 2003

The rather vandalised cast iron tram shelter at Lindel Road in Fleetwood in 2003

Brush car 637 at Lindel Road in Fleetwood in September 2003

The only remaining cast iron tram shelter is at Pharos Street in Fleetwood, seen in 2005

A large cast iron shelter at the Carleton Crematorium bus stop near Poulton in 2005

A cast iron bus shelter next to The Burlington pub on Lytham Road in 2005

Preserved Blackpool PD3 501 and the Pharos Street tram shelter during Tram Sunday 2018

Thursday, 23 July 2020

New Wright Streetdecks for Preston Bus

Preston Streetdeck 40717 leaving the bus station on route 23 on 21st July

In February Rotala PLC placed a £29m order with Wrightbus of Northern Ireland for 163 brand new vehicles to be delivered throughout 2020. The order includes a further 128 Streetdeck double-deckers for the Diamond Bus North West business, to replace 125 vehicles leased from First Group when Rotala purchased First’s Bolton operation in August 2019. Four of the new Streetdecks have been allocated to Rotala subsidiary Preston Bus, numbered 40716 to 40719, and entered service following an unveiling ceremony on 6th July.

Preston Streetdeck 40718 approaching the bus station on route 23

Streetdeck 40719 leaving Preston bus station on route 23 to Asda

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Open top Trident on the Coastliner 21

Open top Dennis Trident W501RBB in Cleveleys on the Coastliner 21 on 21st July

Alexander ALX400 bodied Dennis Trident W501RBB (ex Yorkshire Tiger 891 and previously Arriva North East 7435) was noted in service on the Coastliner 21 route to St Annes in Cleveleys on Tuesday 21st July.

Open top Trident W501RBB leaving Cleveleys bus station on the Coastliner 21 to St Annes

Open top Trident W501RBB arriving in Cleveleys on the Coastliner 21 service

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Blackpool Trams are Back

Flexity 016 passing Cleveleys Park Methodist Church on West Drive on the first day of resumed service

A decision was made to completely suspend the tram service in Blackpool on Sunday 29th March, with the parallel number 1 bus route providing an alternative service to the tramway, until it was deemed that it was safe to resume operations.

With the lockdown restrictions easing it was decided to reopen the tramway on Sunday 19th July, but with extra safety measures and social distancing provisions being made.

Some of the extra measures that have been put in place include only using the middle doors to board and alight, fewer seats being available in order to permit social distancing, and less passengers than normal being allowed on the trams, plus of course face coverings must be worn by all passengers on the trams and buses.

Before each tram leaves the Starr Gate terminus it will be cleaned, with frequently touched areas, such as handrails and stop buttons, being sanitised after each round trip from Fleetwood.

Note all the photos shown here were taken on the morning of the first day of service resumption on Sunday 19th July.

Flexity 006 (the first tram of the day) seen at West Drive later on Sunday morning

Flexity 016 arriving at Cleveleys on the Sunday morning

Flexity 001 heading north at West Drive on the first day of service resumption

Flexity 002 arriving at Cleveleys tram stop on Sunday morning

Flexity 006 at Broadwater on the 08:30 from Fleetwood Ferry (the first round trip of the day)

BTS Routes 74 & 75 to Preston

Enviro 570 on the 0847 service 75 from Fleetwood, seen turning onto Bourne Way in Thornton

As of Sunday 19th July Blackpool Transport began operating routes 74 and 75 on behalf of Lancashire County Council, linking Fleetwood and Poulton with Preston and many villages and towns in between. Preston Bus operated the tendered route 75 up until Saturday 18th July.

Route 74 runs from Fleetwood via Thornton, Poulton, Great Eccleston, Elswick, Inskip, Catforth, Salwick to Preston.

Route 75 differs slightly from the Preston Bus version of the route, and runs from Fleetwood via Pheasant Wood estate, Cleveleys, Thornton, Poulton, Staining, Weeton, Wesham, Kirkham, Newton with Scales to Preston.

Blackpool Transport are currently using their long wheelbase 11.8 metre ADL Enviro 200 single-deckers on the route, which are considerably longer than the Optare Solos that Preston Bus used to use on service 75. It remains to be seen whether such long buses are practical for use on these routes, which have many twists and turns through small villages and housing estates.

The Enviro 200 buses being used on the routes interwork between services 74 and 75.

Enviro 570 turning out of Pheasant Wood estate onto Bourne Way on the 1247 from Fleetwood

Enviro 564 on the first service 75 from Preston to Fleetwood, seen on Pheasant Wood estate

Enviro 564 on Pheasant Wood Drive in Thornton heading for Fleetwood

Enviro 575 on route 75 turning from Mayfield Avenue onto Bourne Way in Thornton

Brand new 2020 Enviros 458 and 580 passing each other on Rossall Road in Cleveleys

Enviro 564 on the 1402 service 74 from Fleetwood, seen here on Fleetwood Road North in Thornton

Enviro 575 on the 1202 service 74 from Fleetwood, seen on Fleetwood Road North in Thornton