Blackpool Transport are set to order a further twenty five new Enviro400 City buses from Alexander Dennis for delivery by Easter 2017. This will allow withdrawal of the Trident models used on the 14 Service to Fleetwood. These are easily detectable not only by their fleet numbers but the fact they continue to use traditional destination blinds. This will give BTS a total of 35 double deck and 20 single deck vehicles in the 'Palladium' brand which is gradually replacing the Roberts era yellow black and 'swoop' design. Sunday operation already sees the 14 service operated by ADL buses.
Below : ADL Enviro400s hold down the 9 Service on weekdays and now have to navigate up and down Warbreck Hill for the first time. This is a quiet time of the day but from 3 pm onwards this road is a constant stream of traffic in both directions until 6 - 6.30.
It is a strange sight seeing Blackpool buses on Warbreck Hill - with diversion of the 9's off Bispham Road to travel to Devonshire Road avoiding now the Plymouth Road bridge as it is officially known (not Crossley's). The propensity of flooding underneath Devonshire Road railway bridge during sustained rain over any length of time will cause even more problems for road users. This happens almost every year at one time or another with consequent traffic snarl ups but this year and into 2017 the consequences will be even more seismic.
Having just commented on the use of laybyes on Westcliffe Drive at Layton Institute (previous blog) and the possibility of a shelter being installed - hey presto a shelter has appeared at the 'temporary' laybye bus stop into town. This is probably the smallest bus shelter in Blackpool with the capacity of possibly four or five people close together and facing directly into westerly wind and rain when the weather is so minded. Apparently the shelter will last until April when bridge work is completeted and normal road conditions return in this area of the town. Bets are on as to how long it will actually last in its current pristine, if modest, state. At least it is produced locally by Glasdon and perhaps sets a precedent for 'buy local' by Council sourcing or purchasing managers. Below : Layton Institute's new shelter in the process of being 'embedded' and made ready for use. No crowds please. My local Layton butcher gets some free publicity.
Blackpool's buses are undergoing rebranding but one or two are bucking the trend by going back to the future. The scene in Market Street this afternoon with that marvellous 'retro look' bus leading the pack. It would be interesting to do a passenger survey on BTS livery options on view in 2016.
All images : Copyright John Woodman