Blackpool Transport had reason to celebrate today as the company took formal delivery of ten new double deck buses built in Falkirk by Alexander Dennis Ltd. Lined up on the seafront resplendent in the new Palladium branding colours the ten Enviro400City vehicles made an impressive sight and laid down a marker for what may well be further successive deliveries over the next four years.
The ADL design was a show stopper at Coach and Bus Live in 2015 catching the attention of BTS delegates who immediately arranged for a sample to be made available for inspection in Blackpool. The net result after detailed negotiations and the input of all aspects of Blackpool's transport team is this first contract for ten examples (401 - 410) which are about to enter service this coming weekend. Below : the start of a wonderful partnership : BTS and ADL (how I hate these acronyms).
The subdued and calming interior styling is far removed from the hard contrast of Blackpool's now standard 'Trident' fleet which they will begin to replace. Apart from the all important 'WiFi' access and charging points the dull grey finish reflects a new approach to passenger comfort and detail. In similar fashion to the handover of the Mercedes 'Citaro' fleet last summer a formal ceremony attended by Council representatives and BTS Board and senior management represented a high point of the Company's fleet renewal strategy. This was a watershed day which marked a change not dissimilar to the entry into service of new centre entrance buses in 1933 in an equally new green and ivory fleet livery - breaking from the traditional red and white Corporation Transport colours and rear loading vehicles (both buses and trams). Below : Managing Director Jane Cole being interviewed for the occasion and the formal ribbon cutting on 401 by BTS Chair, Clr Christine Wright
Mr and Mrs Woodman take the opportunity to record their attendance at the launch. Below : Guests arrive on the superbly quiet running 409 at Church Street for a light lunch at the Winter Gardens.
Following the lunch at the Winter Gardens (and ride to Church Street on 409) the BTS team moved on to Market Street to open the rebranded and redesigned Transport Information resource. Here the Author was pleased to see at least two of his book titles on offer, along with the new mix of Heritage Tram souvenirs which have been launched. ADL management were equally effused at seeing their design merge into bright sunlight with the Tower in the background - the very first examples of the Enviro400 bus design to become operational outside of London. A highly creditable event and one which marks an important new chapter in the long history of our publicly owned urban transport undertaking. Well done ADL Well done Blackpool Transport. The new buses will be running on the 9 Service from this Sunday and well worth sampling for the first time.
More ribbon cutting on Market Street in the new rebranded BTS Information Office MD Jane Cole and Councillor Christine Wright, Chair of BTS Board.
Jane Cole and Bob Mason with Clr Wright and BTS staff at the Information Office. A far far cry from the dark and pokey Transport Department information window in Talbot Road Bus Station with revving engines of Corporation buses (and exhaust).
How it all looked from the passing traffic and trams - quite an impressive sight. All Images : John Woodman