Sunday, 31 May 2020

Coastal Coaches

Optare Solo SR YJ65ETK 'Sir Stuart' in Poulton-le-Fylde

Coastal Coaches is a family owned company who operate stage carriage services around the Fylde, along with an associated coach hire business. Coastal Coaches are based at Warton near Lytham, operating an immaculate fleet of vehicles in a smart blue and white livery. The company run several local bus services serving all the major towns on the Fylde between Preston and Blackpool, and provide a vital service connecting many of the rural villages in the area. For many years the bus routes were operated by Optare Solos (similar to those that ran in Blackpool & Preston), but the fleet has since been updated with the later Optare Solo SR model. The coaching side of the business uses a wide range of vehicles of all sizes, ranging from 16 seat up to 59 seat coaches. A tradition of the company is that most of their vehicles are named after children whose parents have a long-standing association with the partnership.

Optare Solo SR YJ65ETO 'Miss Lucy' heading into Blackpool along Talbot Road

Optare Solo SR YJ68FYR 'Miss Elvi' passing the old Wilko store on Talbot Road

Optare Solo SR YJ15AFY 'Master Luke' at Talbot Square in Blackpool

Optare Solo YJ11EHC 'Master Jack' at Dickson Road in Blackpool

Mercedes-Benz Vario 0816D PO61LUZ 'Lady Claire' in Poulton-le-Fylde

Mercedes-Benz 1524L PO14ATF 'Lady Joan' near the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool

Mercedes-Benz Tourismo BG63VVC 'Sir Clem' at Gynn Square in Blackpool

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Avanti West Coast Pendolino

A profile view of the driving car on Avanti Pendolino 390155 at Manchester Piccadilly

While passing through Manchester Piccadilly railway station on 27th February, I had a chance encounter with one of the former Virgin Pendolinos that are carrying full Avanti West Coast livery. Pendolinos 390155 and 390156 were repainted in the new Avanti livery in readiness for the launch day on Sunday 8th December last year.

Avanti West Coast Pendolino 390155 at Manchester Piccadilly Station

Avanti Pendolino 390155 leaving Piccadilly on the 1155 to London Euston

Avanti Pendolino 390155 departing on the 1155 service to London Euston

Virgin Pendolino 390013 "Blackpool Belle" at Layton Station, Blackpool on 3rd July 2018

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Metro Coastlines Balloons

Balloon 713 northbound at the Tower in April 2008

During the Steve Burd era at Blackpool Transport a set of colourful liveries were applied to the different bus routes throughout the town, with each route carrying its own distinctive colour scheme, with significant route stops appearing along the lower panels of the buses. The route branding was given the name "Metro Coastlines", and in addition to its use on the bus fleet, several trams were given the Metro Coastlines branding, although there was no uniformity of colour theme on the tram fleet, with each tram painted having its own unique identity. The first Balloon to appear in Metro Coastlines livery was 710, which entered service with its new colour scheme in March 2004. The application of the Metro Coastlines branding varied across the tram fleet, with Balloons 710 and 724 being early recipients of the livery in 2004, the styling was simplified for the subsequent repaints of 711, 713, 715 and 718, and a different decal style was also used on the later repaints.

Balloon 710 fresh from the paintshop at the Cabin in March 2004

Balloon 715 at the Gynn heading for Starr Gate in June 2008

Balloon 711 at the Pleasure Beach in March 2008

Balloon 724 at the Cabin in April 2004

Balloon 718 at Cleveleys on a Fleetwood service in August 2008

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Oslo Trams and Buses

Oslo SL95 tram 168 on Biskop Gunnerus gate on line 18 to Rikshospitalet

A one day visit to Oslo, the capital of Norway, in May 2018 enabled a brief overview of the public transport operating in the city. Oslo has a standard gauge tram system comprising of six routes, operated by Sporveien Trikken AS. The tramway has 72 trams of two types, 40 SL79 and 32 SL95 models. The SL79 trams were constructed from 1982 to 1990 in two batches by Duewag and Asea Brown Boveri, they are two section single ended articulated cars with a capacity of 162 (fleet numbers 101-140). The SL95 trams were built by Ansaldo from 1999 to 2004, they are three section double ended cars with a capacity of 212 (fleet numbers 141-172).

Oslo SL79 trams 101 & 105 on line 11 at Stortorvet

Oslo SL95 tram 155 on Strandgata on line 13 to Bekkestua

Oslo SL79 tram 125 at Jernbanetorget on line 19 to Majorstuen

Oslo SL95 tram 169 on Biskop Gunnerus gate on line 18 to Rikshospitalet

Oslo MAN A40 Lion's City GL CNG 1279 on Fred Olsens gate on route 30 to Bygdoy

Oslo Solaris Urbino 8070 on Biskop Gunnerus gate on route 60 to Vippetangen

Norgesbuss Mercedes-Benz Tourismo 540 on an express service to Oslo airport

Oslo City Sightseeing DN 60231, an Ayats bodied Volvo B9TL

Sunday, 29 March 2020

The Optare Solo SR in Preston

Preston Bus Optare Solo SR 20016 on route 75 in Thornton on 29th February

Preston Bus were the first operator of the Optare Solo SR in the country, with eight vehicles (20701-20708) being purchased in 2008 for their Park & Ride services. Stagecoach also currently operate two Solo SRs in a special livery for the Park & Ride service to the Capitol Centre at Walton-le-Dale. Late in 2019 an Optare Solo SR (YJ10 MFV) was transferred from the Diamond Signature operation in the West Midlands up to Preston. Former Diamond Bus Solo SR 20016 (YJ10 MFV) built in 2010 has been repainted in a smart new livery of two tone blue. Whether this colour scheme is to be the new Preston Bus livery remains to be seen, but one of Preston's original 2008 SRs (20701) has also been outshopped in this same livery.

Park & Ride liveried Solo SR 20702 at Preston Bus Station in May 2017

Preston Solo SR 20707 in standard fleet livery on service 89 in August 2016

Stagecoach Solo SR 47923 on a Park & Ride service on 12th March

2008 Solo SR 47707 in Stagecoach in Preston Park & Ride livery in September 2009

Brand new Stagecoach Solo SR 47923 in Preston in August 2014

Preston Solo SR 20701 in unbranded new livery on service 6 on 3rd March

Friday, 20 March 2020

Grand Central test train on the Fylde

DB 90039 with Grand Central test train 3P51 approaching Blackpool North on 20th March

This morning's Grand Central route learning train, 3P51 from Crewe C.S. (L&NWR) to Blackpool, was hauled by DB 90039 (in EWS livery) again. At Blackpool North the locomotive was swapped for DB 90036, which was already stabled at Blackpool, before departing as 3K83 to Crewe shortly after noon.

DVT 82231 leading Grand Central test train 3K83 through Poulton-le-Fylde

DB 90036 passing through Poulton-le-Fylde with Grand Central test train 3K83

Monday, 16 March 2020

EWS liveried Class 90 in Blackpool

DB 90039 leading Grand Central test train 3P51 into Blackpool North on 16th March

Today's Grand Central route learning train to Blackpool was hauled by DB 90039, still carrying EWS livery. The train ran as 3P51 from Crewe C.S. to Blackpool North in the morning before returning as 3K83 just before midday.

The rear of Grand Central test train 3P51 approaching Blackpool North

DB 90039 on Grand Central test train 3K83, passing Layton station at speed

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Debut of repainted Balloon 707

Balloon 707 making its first heritage run to Fleetwood on Saturday 14th March

Flat fronted Balloon 707 was painted into green and cream as far back as August 2019, but after a long running saga with the tram's inability to charge its batteries properly, the problem has now finally been fixed, and 707 operated a successful test run on Friday. It was decided to substitute Balloon 707 for Trawler 737 on the Heritage Gold timetable service on Saturday 14th March. The day was mostly cloudy with rain in the afternoon, but a short break in the clouds while 707 was on a run through to Fleetwood enabled a few photographs to be taken of the tram in full sunshine.

707 beginning its run along Lord Street, Fleetwood on Saturday morning

Balloon 707 in Bold Street, Fleetwood with Flexity 005 and Enviro 423

Friday, 6 March 2020

Grand Central on the Blackpool Line

DB 90019 leading Grand Central train 3K83 into Kirkham & Wesham on 6th March

This week saw the first Grand Central route learning trains reach Blackpool North. The trains began running on Wednesday 4th March, and this week have comprised of DB Class 90s 90019 and 90036 with a set of former LNER Mark 4 coaches plus a DVT (Driving Van Trailer). The trains have been originating from Crewe Carriage Sidings, with morning and afternoon runs planned each day.

DB 90036 on the rear of the 3K83 route learning train at Wesham

A close up of 90019 at Wesham on the 1151 3K83 from Blackpool North

Thursday, 5 March 2020

TransPennine Express from Liverpool

TPE 68023 Achilles on the 09:53 service to Scarborough

A visit to Liverpool on 5th March provided a brief chance to observe some train activity at the city's main railway terminus, Lime Street Station. TransPennine Express operate two services out of Liverpool Lime Street, to Scarborough via Lea Green, Manchester Victoria, Stalybridge, Huddersfield, Leeds, Garforth, York, Malton and Seamer, and to Edinburgh via Newton-le-Willows, Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Leeds, York, Darlington, Durham, Newcastle and Morpeth. The Scarborough service sees loco hauled trains in use, handled by Stadler Class 68 diesel locomotives with their distinctive Caterpillar engines. The Edinburgh service is operated by sleek Hitachi Class 802 bi-mode multiple units.

TPE 802214 on the 10:24 service to Edinburgh Waverley

TPE 68019 Brutus on the 15:54 train to Scarborough

TPE driving trailer on the 15:54 to Scarborough

TPE 68019 Brutus entering the deep cutting as it departs for Scarborough

A side view of TPE 68023 Achilles at Lime Street Station