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Bill's bus

Blackpool and its surrounds offers those with interest in transport history quite a mix of heritage surprises - not just on the promenade tram tours. An equal if not more 'back to the future' experience is in evidence courtesy of Catch22bus services. On the same day I found myself encountering an open platform Routemaster heading along the seafront en route to Cleveleys whilst further north on Victoria Road a pristine Blackpool Corporation Transport Atlantean was paused to allow its driver a regulated break. Below : Classic Blackpool bus and driver June 7th 2016

The driver was happy to extol the unique experience of driving a bus from an era now consigned to the 1980s when Blackpool's principal bus fleet consisted of new Atlantean's in a welcome return to dark green and cream colours. Bill had started his career with Greater Manchester buses and had a wealth of anecdotes on those days, as well as later on with Blackpool's deregulated bus company.

The Atlantean is classified as a 'heritage vehicle' and deservedly so both inside and out. Its appearance in Cleveleys in 2016 on the route to Thornton and Poulton was quite a shock meriting an impromptu stop en route from Morrisons (and the Trust's tram depot at Wyre Dock). Catch22bus have quite a fleet of aged survivors from both Blackpool Corporation to Ribble and Lytham St Annes Corporation. A current restoration project is a full front BCT PD2 (tin front) from the early 1960s (or is it late 1950s?) This will be a joy to see in service. Even more inspiring is the fact that the company uses their veterans in regular scheduled service for regular fares - with no restrictions on needing to take a tour. For the moment this is permissible but the DDA requirements kicking in at the end of the year will put some restriction on this approach.

I was told an AEC single decker of BCT with Willowbrook bodywork is being tested to appear at a future date among several 'new' vintage classics being worked on. Quite evidently Bill is a happy bus driver and a great ambassador for the Catch22bus operation. More of the same please.

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