Blackpool's bus fleet is set to show off its latest delivery of double deck vehicles already transforming the town's services in the silver and grey 'Palladium' brand adopted in 2016. On Sunday April 9th a formal handover of twenty five buses to Blackpool Council and Blackpool Transport Services Ltd. will take place on the Tower Headland by manufacturer Alexander Dennis.
In 2016 ten examples of the company's Enviro400 model were the precursor for the latest tranche, setting the seal on this design becoming the standard for Blackpool Transport for another generation of riders. Buses are the most visible element of the town's municipal services (along of course with the trams). Arrival of new models has always been an important feature in the local media since the 1920s when the town took delivery of its first buses, diminutive single deckers on solid tyres built in Kent by Tilling Stevens company.
My favourite Bus Service remembered from days when centre loading Burlingham bodied buses passed my stop at Moorpark Avenue en route to Talbot Road Bus Station - to be superseded by rear platform products of MCW, all now classic buses.
Since then a succession of deliveries of vehicles, large and small, single and double deck, open and enclosed, have been a source of local pride. This is particularly the case in 2017 with Blackpool being one of just a few remaining Local Authorities still in charge of their bus services - albeit through arms length ownership of a seperate corporate entity.
From Tilling Stevens to Alexander Dennis is the title of a forthcoming book by this Author covering most, if not all of the succession of bus purchases by Blackpool's Transport Managers through the years up to the present. Historical images showing parades of new buses posed for the record allow a visual walk through time. Changes in livery from teak, red and white to green and pale cream, to yellow and black (and a kaleidescope of colours in the tenure of Steve Burd), to the present grey, silver and black theme denote the passage of Transport Managers and their personal imprints on the transport fleet.
Today these formal handovers tend to use the Promenade Headland, but in previous years Stanley Park, Queen Street Central Library, Central Promenade, Victoria Pier, Bloomfield Road Car Park are among varied venues for such gatherings. Delivery of twenty five buses in one go is a sizeable contract for Blackpool (and probably equally noteworthy by Alexander Dennis). Especially so given the stated interest of BTS to order a further tranche to complete the makeover of their transport fleet.
No doubt Sunday will attract a fair crowd of bus enthusiasts as well as Blackpool residents keen to see their splendid new buses en masse on the Promenade.