Fifty Years seperates these two Blackpool buses. 1967 to 2017. Quite a contrast in one photo - both buses having served passengers/customers at Layton Library in their regular scheduling on several services.
Whilst it is not unusual to see heritage buses appear on the Promenade for some event or another during the year, it is entirely a different matter to find one parked outside your local libary at a busy bus stop. Therefore catching sight of one of those once familiar green and cream rear loading open platform PD3s in traditional green and cream BCT fleet colours called for a opportunistic photo 'shoot' outside Layton LIbrary this Thursday. Bus 501 delivered as the first of the final tranches of MCW bodied vehicles for Blackpool Corporation in 1967/68 provided a sort of back to the future moment parked outside Layton Library. The return of rear platform buses to Blackpool after decades of centre entrance styling began in 1957 with an initial ten vehicles (301 - 310) five of which bore bodywork by HV Burlingham and the balance by MCW then a newcomer to Blackpool's municipal contracts. Thereafter successive deliveries through to 1968 totalling 130 rear entrance buses were exclusively bodied by MCW, ending up with Blackpool being (almost) the last operator of traditional double deckers in the entire country. London's Routemasters obviously continued to soldier on in the capital. In this context Blackpool became a bus enthusiasts mecca equalling the town's distinction of also having the only municipal tramway in the UK.
This was especially poignant as its presence was frequently contrasted by the comings and goings of Blackpool's newest double deck buses now becoming familiar sights on most of the bus routes requiring higher capacity vehicles. An informal conversation with the volunteer crew - both well known figures to the enthusiast community, ascertained that 501 was on Private Hire for a Council literary programme which would take the bus next to Moorpark Library in Bispham. The bus whilst privately owned is cared for at Rigby Road Bus Garage and utilised for special tours and wedding parties - quite a popular feature it seems.
From open platform standard to driver operated front entrance (and exit) of today's Blackpool bus fleet (and a marked change of livery too). Looking back in time ?
Catching a bus the easy way - easier maintenance for the Garage staff surely ?
All Images Copyright : John Woodman March 30, 2017