Thursday 25 April 2019

The Lakes Connection

Volvo B5TL 13805 heading downhill from Windermere Station to Bowness

Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire have invested heavily in new buses for their Lakeland services over the last few years. In 2016 twelve Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMCs were introduced for use on the 555 service that runs between Lancaster and Keswick via Kendal, the 12 ADL buses carry an attractive new livery featuring The Lakes Connection branding. In 2017 seven Volvo B5TL partial open-toppers with Wright Gemini 3 facelift bodies were delivered for use on the 599 service that operates between Grasmere and Bowness on Windermere. The 7 new open-top buses are painted in a colourful new Lakesider livery. To supplement the two batches of new build double-deckers, in March 2018 five single-deck ADL Enviro200s were acquired from Stagecoach Manchester for use on Lake District services, these were refurbished and out-shopped in a similar Lakes Connection livery to that carried by the 12 Enviro400 MMCs.

ADL Enviro400 10559 at Windermere on the 555 from Keswick to Kendal

Volvo B5TL 13803 arriving at Windermere Station from Bowness
Volvo 13805 on the 599 from Grasmere approaching Windermere Station

Volvo B5TL 13801 arriving at Windermere from Bowness

A rear view of Volvo B5TL 13807 at Windermere railway station

Volvo B5TL 13806 arriving at Windermere on the 599 from Grasmere

ADL Enviro200 36105 at Windermere on the 505 from Kendal to Coniston

The old look, former Stagecoach East London Trident 17012 at Windermere in May 2013

Sunday 21 April 2019

2019 Easter Heritage

Brush Car 621 passing Flexity 005 at Central Pier

The weather for the Easter break in the North West this year saw mostly unbroken sunshine over the four day holiday period. As usual the heritage trams were out in force over the weekend, with Good Friday seeing a four car service and Saturday through to Easter Monday enjoying a full six car service. Here is a selection of views of some of the green and cream heritage trams that were out over the weekend.

147 passing St Mary's Roman Catholic Church on Lord Street in Fleetwood

Balloon 715 passing St Peter's Church on Lord Street in Fleetwood

Balloon 717 approaching Central Pier on Good Friday

An empty Boat 600 at South Pier on Good Friday

Balloon 723 passing Fleetwood Hospital on North Albert Street

Brush 621 passing some Cinderella carriages near South Pier

Saturday 20 April 2019

21st Cumbria Easter Rally

A superb 1948 AEC Regal III with Burlingham bodywork, new to Florence of Morecambe

The 21st Cumbria Easter Rally took place this year on the weekend of 20th & 21st April. For the uninitiated the event is a vintage commercial vehicle rally, with vehicles displayed at several sites in Kirkby Stephen and Brough. The numerous vehicle displays are made easily accessible to visitors by way of a frequent vintage bus service, which connects all the display locations in the Eden Valley. A selection of vehicles that were in use on the shuttle bus service on Saturday 20th April are illustrated here.

1983 Blackpool East Lancs bodied Leyland Atlantean 362 in Kirkby Stephen

Blackpool Corporation Leyland Titan PD3 No 512 in the Vale of Eden

A 1966 Daimler CVG6LX with East Lancs bodywork, new to Huddersfield Corporation

Former Crosville DLB978, a 1959 Bristol Lodekka LD6B at Brough

A Leyland Titan PD2/40 with Park Royal body, new to Barrow Corporation in 1958

A 1949 Crossley bodied Guy Arab III new to Blackburn Corporation

Former Clydeside AEC Routemaster RM835 in Kirkby Stephen

A 1950 Leyland Tiger PS1, new to W. Alexander & Sons of Falkirk, seen here in Brough

WCR Windermere Shuttle

Local MP Tim Farron (in the cab) launching the 09:37 service on Saturday 20th April

Due to the West Coast Main Line being closed for engineering work over the Easter weekend, a specially chartered train service between Oxenholme and Windermere had been arranged by Network Rail, Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron and charter operator West Coast Railways. The free shuttle service operated on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st April, with six round trips timetabled each day. The shuttle train was top and tailed by West Coast Railways 47826 and 47851.

47826 waiting to depart with the first train of the day from Oxenholme

47826 carrying The Lakelander headboard at Oxenholme

47851 ready to depart on the 10:06 train from Windermere

47851 shortly after arriving with the 11:06 train from Windermere

47851 on the rear of the 11:37 train to Windermere

The train departure indicator at Oxenholme Station

Saturday 13 April 2019

The Pennine Blackpool Express

Jubilee Class 45690 "Leander" on the Pennine Blackpool Express at Poulton-le-Fylde

A steam special excursion train visited Blackpool on Saturday 13th April.

The "Pennine Blackpool Express" left London Euston at around 07:10, pulled by preserved Class 86 E3137 "Les Ross", heading north along the West Coast Main Line, picking up passengers at Milton Keynes, Rugby, Nuneaton, Crewe and Preston.

At Preston, Jubilee Class 45690 "Leander" was attached to the rear of the train and hauled by the Class 86 to Blackpool North, with a scheduled arrival of 11:18.

Around three hours were spent in Blackpool, allowing the passengers time to visit the town and its attractions.

At Blackpool North the Class 86 electric loco was detached so that it could re-position to Carnforth to await the return of the steam hauled special later in the day.

The steam leg of the journey was due to depart from Blackpool at 14:04, travelling via Bamber Bridge and Blackburn, joining the Hellifield line at Daisyfield Junction and tackling the steep climb up to Wilpshire Tunnel. A long descent then followed towards the 48-arch viaduct over the River Calder at Whalley. After Clitheroe the train continued to follow the Ribble Valley towards Hellifield, where there was a water stop scheduled.

The last section of the journey to Carnforth included the steep climb at 1 in 100 from Settle Junction up Giggleswick Bank, following the Bentham Line via Wennington before finally reaching Carnforth. Here the steam loco "Leander" was uncoupled from the train which then returned via the WCML to London Euston behind the Class 86 electric loco, with a scheduled arrival of 22:27.

The Pennine Blackpool Express arriving at Blackpool North behind Class 86 E3137

Jubilee Class 45690 "Leander" with the Pennine Blackpool Express at Blackpool North

Thursday 11 April 2019

2019 Great North Steam Fair

Marton Box 31 and Fleetwood 40 entering service at the museum entrance

The annual Great North Steam Fair took place at Beamish again this year, running from Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th April. Visiting vehicles of interest were Blackpool & Fleetwood Box Car 40 from Crich, Manchester 765 from Heaton Park, 15 inch gauge steam locomotives River Irt and Katie from the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, plus the usual varied selection of rare and unusual vehicles from all around the country. The first day on Thursday saw completely blue skies all morning with plenty of sunshine on offer throughout the afternoon, which made a pleasant change as the weather in the North East can be very fickle at times.

Manchester 765 leaving the Edwardian town

Box Car 40 ascending the steep incline from Pockerley

Marton Box 31 at the museum entrance

Sunderland 16 at the Pockerley tram stop

Marton Box 31 and a Fowler traction engine at Pockerley

Blackpool & Fleetwood Box Car 40 in the Edwardian town

A 1926 Leyland Lioness, new to Bradford Corporation but with a replica charabanc body now fitted

Daimler CVG6 number 220, new to Rotherham Corporation in 1954

A 1921 Leyland G7 with Dodson Charabus bodywork

A 1915 Pierce Arrow R8 lorry built in Buffalo in the USA

The 2007 replica bus is now wearing the livery of Venture Travel

River Irt giving rides on newly laid 15 inch gauge track behind the miners cottages

Peckett 2000 was giving passenger rides from Rowley Station

Saturday 6 April 2019

2019 UK Coach Rally in Blackpool

DJ19DJT is a brand new Volvo 9900 making its debut in the fleet of D.J. Thomas of Port Talbot

The 65th annual UK Coach Rally was held in Blackpool over the weekend of the 6th & 7th April. The 2019 rally began on the Saturday with a road run commencing from Middle Walk, the coaches arriving back there about two hours later. Following the road run a series of individual driving tests for each of the coach drivers took place on the lower promenade below the Metropole Hotel. After each entrant had completed their driving test, they drove to the Tower Headland where they were lined up for display with the other coaches. Go G VIP won the 2019 Coach of the Year award for their Van Hool TDX21 Altano.

The Van Hool TDX21 Altano of Go G VIP was awarded 2019 Coach of the Year
Volvo B9R Plaxton Elite A8EYC of East Yorkshire Coaches leaving Middle Walk

Neoplan Tourliner MC17BEE of Manchester Bee Coach Hire

 A 1981 Volvo B58-56 with Plaxton Supreme IV body, new to Johnson Bros of Hodthorpe

A Van Hool TX17 Astronef of Go Goodwins from Eccles, Manchester

A Beulas Mythos bodied MAN RR4 26.480 of Blakes Coaches from Tiverton

Coopers Tours Volvo B8R Plaxton Panther JS19JCS

PUL 91Y, a preserved 1983 Mercedes-Benz O303/15 arriving on Middle Walk

Some of the coaches lined up on Middle Walk after their road run

A Van Hool Astron T917 belonging to Archway Travel of Fleetwood

Glen Valley H14GVT, a Volvo B9R Jonckheere new to Parks of Hamilton