One of the familiar sights on Blackpool's roads is a Learner Bus Driver - or is it a 'Trainee'? Blackpool Transport has had a designated Driver Training Bus since the mid 1950s when Titan 25 was exclusively assigned to this duty. It was recognisable both for its wartime dark green roof which it retained on being repainted for this new role - as well as the fixed signs in its front destination panels. Two large red
'L' on the front also gave the game away !
Living in Bispham which had two significant inclines in an otherwise flat terrain on the Fylde coast - Number 25 was a familiar sight with crunching sound of gear change and engine roar negotiating these challenges by novice drivers. Of course eventually this 1940 vehicle would be replaced by postwar cousins and then a series of rear platform examples and so on and so forth. One example was bought by a local bus enthusiast and has been preserved in its Trainee Driver role but this is a rare third life for such a vehicle.
Two Atlanteans were given Training roles in the 1990s with large signs advertising the merits of being a Blackpool bus driver. In time they too 'passed on' to be replaced by single deck Deltas which also have now been sold to be replaced by the latest incarnation - a Trident in a smart BTS 'Palladium' colour scheme. This too exhorts wannabe drivers to contact the Company - such is the turnover of bus drivers these days.
No doubt we will get used to this latest generation of Blackpool trainer driver buses negotiating traffic and practising reversing between cones at Rigby Road.
Leyland PD3 Number 520 shows off its new Learner Driver role outside Rigby Road Paint Shop. Its open platform has been neatly enclosed to avoid would be passengers taking a ride. Below smartly repainted Delta 129 leaves Rigby Road Garage with a further aspiring driver at the wheel and plenty of signage on the side panels and windows to attract attention. Photos : Tony Armitage
The latest incarnation in sombre wartime? grey all livery and a tasteful mid decks contact number for potential recruits. The destination blind has been adjusted to an appropriate warning.....