On the very last day of authorised use of non DDA compliant buses Blackpool Promenade resounded to the roar of fifty year old classics. Catch22bus Service 21 linking Cleveleys with St Annes was entirely operated with a mix of London RMs, Ribble double decks and Blackpool PD3s - giving visitors quite a thrill as they encountered conductors and open platforms on their way to and from their hotels. Needless to say the event drew more than a sizeable number of enthusiasts to the seafront out to 'seize the moment' including the Author.
For once cameras were definitely focussed on the roadway and Catch22bus with its traditional fleet, some courtesy of the LTT (Trust). Philip Higgs, MD of Catch22 took the opportunity to drive former BCT 529 looking immaculate in cream and green of the 1960s. The stares given to the buses as they operated a scheduled route for the very last time in their long careers - were worth all the effort of Philip and his team at Brinwell Road. The local paper today gave its own tribute to the company's unique affection with the London Routemaster - operating in Blackpool.
These open platform and non DDA compliant vehicles can now only be used for special hire and tours. Is there room on Blackpool's promenade for a heritage bus tour in the summer peak season ? Both BTS and Catch22bus have their own respective classics - so perhaps at some point the heritage transport scene could extend to special tour buses - maybe even a Circular. A whiff of London Transport on Blackpool seafront. Routemasters on Service 21 December 31st 2016.
Below : Charlie and his bus. RML 887 with correct LT Fleet Number font awaiting the 'off' at Cleveleys - full loads most of the way. Destinations somewhat different from its former routes in the Capital.
And now for something completely different : Also from the 1960s BCT PD3 52
Approaching the North Pier stop.
Departing the Savoy stop southbound. Note the abrupt rear indicator blind.
Those open platforms now no longer politically correct.
And finally - just one of the many enthusiasts turning out today to record the end of regular service by these buses. John Lodge with his long range night vision infra-red camera at the ready. Thanks for the cigars John ! Charlie and his son, James acting Conductor, grab a brew before heading south again.
WELL DONE CATCH22BUS December 31, 2016