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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

New buses in the offing ? Yes

The old order giveth way to the new.

It seems only yesterday when Blackpool Transport proudly showed off the first tranches of their new Trident double deckers branded in the dark green 'Line 14' and light blue livery for 'Line 11' under the 'Metro Coastline' branding instigated by Steve Burd when he was managing the company. Now these buses are beginning to show their age with two examples demoted to Driver Training work and wearing a third livery introduced last year with the impressive Mercedes 'Citaro' delivery.

Word on the street is that more of these single deck design are likely to be delivered in 2016 - again with the same pale grey 'Palladium' styling. Replacements for the ageing Tridents are also rumoured to be on order, or about to be ordered with speculation that any new double deckers will echo the design features of the distinctive 'Borismaster' in London - also in Palladium grey with pale yellow relief. We shall see in due course of time.

Blackpool's transport fleet has gone through several rebrandings in the past ten years. Before 1933 the trams and buses were in a red and white styling with black line out and teak side panels (on the trams). A certain new General Manager then ordained need for a more distinctive 'look' and quickly introduced green and pale cream (or ivory) and common styling for both buses and new trams. The green and cream (mainly cream by the 1960s) became the accepted Blackpool transport look right up to 2000. A further change of management then brought in a kaleidescope of liveries which were supposedly to reinforce the Company's 'Lines'. A pool of buses (not trams) were given a depressing black dominated colour scheme to allow operation on any of the services. Run forward to 2010 and a new Manager swept away the Line branding philosophy en masse to introduce a new corporate look (for the buses). This involves a large silver 'swoop' over a bright yellow and black theme and eradicating all reference to 'Metro Coastlines' which was promptly consigned to the history books.

A rare pedestrian zone working for a Trident passing the Winter Gardens building as it approaches Abingdon Street. The original BTS logo in view whilst the special bus shelter erected outside St John's church has been removed in favour of two massive litter 'bins' which do nothing to enhance the public space.

2015 saw the launch of the 'Palladium' liveried BTS bus fleet with a softer 'look' and exceedingly quiet and comfortable single deck vehicles - lined up for official handover on the Tower Headland. The new colour scheme contrast shown to great effect in this view - more of the same it seems in 2016. In the meantime the Council opted to give its new trams their own corporate branding with purple (or is it plum?) and white colours. The heritage trams retain (or reverted) to versions of the green and cream livery just to confuse visitors and residents - sort of back to the future. Now what if the 'light rail fleet' were to be themselves rebranded green and cream whilst removing the awful paint style applied to a handful of upgraded 'Balloon cars' - which quite evidently does little for their classic design of the 1930s.

All Images : John Woodman


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