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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

BUS NOSTALGIA 300 298 246

Whilst Blackpool's classic trams are very well represented in the preservation stakes - not so the equally unique bus fleet and its centre entrance designs from the 1930s. Successive generations of locally built buses (by Burlingham in Marton) made an equally striking impression as their counterparts on rails. Over two hundred streamline vehicles, both double and single deck versions, ensured that Blackpool Corporation Transport stood out nationally as an operator of classic designed buses - at least up to the mid 1960s.

At the end of the day only three of these double deck examples managed to escape the scrapyard initially; and one single deck version. Fleet Number 298 was 'saved' by two Students who planned an overland trip to India - and got as far as Pakistan. Their journey (full of adventures) ended summarily due to ongoing hostilities between that country and India. On its return to the UK 298 was regrettably written off. Sister bus 300 was purchased by a well known enthusiast and managed to reappear in Blackpool for the 1985 Tramway Centenary. It still survives, albeit in need of tlc and probably a lot of funding to restore it. As does 246 which was rescued by the LTT who retrieved it from a lingering fate as an office and storeroom in a salvage yard. Again in need of substantial work - at least this example has returned to its home town, and is kept quietly stored pending a credible restoration programme which we hope will eventually transpire.

The single deck example is a pre-war vehicle, Fleet Number 7. Its final years were in the form of a snow plough/cum salt spreader with the rear section cutaway to allow salt to be distributed on to frozen roads around the town. David Ellor was responsible for acquiring and saving the bus after its disposal by BCT - and eventually organised its sale to an enthusiast in the south of England who has looked after it preserved in its final condition.

Quite a number of the open rear platform buses of the 1960s went into preservation following withdrawal. Blackpool was the last municipal operator of the classic British double deck bus design having acquired a large fleet of these in successive years from 1957 to 1969. This was against the trend at the time which favoured front entrance vehicles capable of one man(person) operation - as opposed to the need for a two man crew involving a roving conductor.

The image is on Bispham Road in the late 1950s with a Football Special heading to Central Drive and Bloomfield Road - photo by John Woodman

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