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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Cardiff Norrkoping and Blackpool

A commonality of fleet liveries is shared between three very different transport operators it seems.

Blackpool's Catch22Bus services are noteworthy for the eclectic vehicles which appear on their bus routes 6, 22 22A and 12. You never know from one day to the next whether you will be riding on a red London bus, or a former BCT Atlantean, or more likely one of the several former Cardiff single deck buses some of which come complete with teal and dull orange livery of the Welsh Capital's bus company. Most retain bilingual public notices and several still boast a rendition of the welsh dragon emblem.

That Welsh connection : Catch22Bus Ltd. launches one of its newest acquisitions in service on their Number 6 route connecting Grange Park and Layton with 'Central Station' - or so the indicators say and a destination not seen in Blackpool since the 1960s.

'Capital transport for our capital city' - pity this couldn't refer to Blackpool's pre- eminent role in the Fylde.

Remarkably the Swedish city of Norrkoping has adopted a very similar livery for its trams which received low floor models of the Flexity classic design of Bombardier

but with very different appearance to Blackpool's fleet. The Norrkoping system of two routes also requires double ended cars. With just over 120,000 population the town is one of the smallest systems operating trams in Scandinavia but its network has been gradually expanded with a mix of cars including second hand Munich examples. Excellent images of Norrkoping's tram system can be seen on the several websites covering that Swedish city and its excellent transport operation.

CardiffBus carries over 100,000 passengers daily on a dense network of routes and adopted the Cardiff green with deep orange highlight colours as its brand livery over ten years ago. The Welsh Assembly and Government in Wales has authorised studies into a wider and more integrated transport system for the capital and adjoining communities in south Wales, many of which are linked by heavy rail lines. The strategy anticipates the potential for tram train and light rail, having seen the success of Manchester's Metrolink network, among other examples.

Ironically Blackpool has seen a Cardiff tram operate on the new light rail line in the form of Cardiff City Tramways 131 - an early water and rail cleaning car restored at the National Tram Museum in Crich and put to practical use for a few weeks prior to the opening of the new upgraded service to Fleetwood.

Previous to this the experimental articulated tram developed by Dr Lewis Lesley also was tested quite extensively in Blackpool - this tram being built in the Cardiff area. Above : a sneak glimpse of this Welsh built articulated car being shunted into Rigby Road Depot with a very familiar local transport enthusiast (not Nick Meskell this time) wielding his camera tripod.

All Images : John Woodman


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