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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman


Nearly sixty years ago Blackpool was welcoming its new buses in formal ceremonies on the Promenade. In 1957 the Transport Department took delivery of ten rear platform double deck buses - the first of this type since 1932. The inter-vening years had been exclusively devoted to centre entrance deliveries (of both buses and trams) under the edict of the General Manager (Walter Luff). His successor did away with that policy in one of his first (of many) changes aimed at increasing both vehicle capacity and crew efficiencies.

We see the Mayor of Blackpool Alderman Grimbledeston standing with a senior manager of the bus body building firm, Metropolitan-Cammell-Weymann which was delivering an initial five new vehicles (306 - 310) to the Department. These five, together with five examples from HV Burlingham were aimed at comparing the relative merits of both company's products. In the end Burlingham lost out and all successive double deck deliveries up to 1968 were with MCW bodywork. In fact quite a squall had arisen between the Department, the Council and Burlingham over the final costs of the 1949-51 postwar contract (201-300).This led to a souring of relations which resulted in Burlingham being frozen out of further Department contracts after delivery of the five rear entrance buses (301-305) in 1957.

1957 Number 304 from Burlingham at Cleveleys Bus Station - a somewhat rudimentary affair (the shelters not the bus) on an obviously miserable wet day.

A beaming MCW Executive stands for the camera as the company's first bus delivery (the first of many over successive years) is handed over to Blackpool Corporation Transport in 1957.

Below : Fast forward to 2015 and a proud Transport Committee pose with the new Mercedes 'Citaro' fleet 550-559. Delivered this time from Mannheim in a striking new livery

and with latest 'mod cons'.

Designated drivers for the new buses and representatives of the contracting company pose this time. Below : a yellow ribbon and smart pop-up banner welcome the

guests - at the Tower Headland.

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