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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Blackpool's Ever Evolving Buses

The clash of styles which are visible on Fylde coast bus routes with the dwindling survivors from the Trident era which began some sixteen years ago, and still in their distinctive yellow and black fleet colours, and the now dominant 'Palladium' branded buses from Alexander Dennis - recalls a similar period.

In 1933 a new Manager of the then recently named 'Transport Department' which replaced the 'Tramways Department' was minded to exercise his authority and own colour preferences for both trams and buses in Blackpool. Accordingly the 1930s witnessed makeovers starting with the trams from Corporation red and white to the newly introduced dark green and pale cream. New buses (and trams) would be delivered in these colours, although initially the buses arrived with a predominantly green style. This would be amended to mainly cream with green relief from 1937.

So Blackpool in those days showed off its own colourful clash of bus liveries, further enlivened by the pale blue and white of the new Lytham St Annes buses which replaced an ailing and dated tram fleet (of similar colours since inception), as well as the cherry red and pale cream of Ribble Motor Services and the sombre dark brown, black lining and pale cream of Fylde operator - Scout Motor Services.

All this and much more is recalled as the next title by Rigby Road Publishing haltingly gathers pace to record the nearly one hundred years of Blackpool's municipal bus services which kicked off in 1921 from Thornton to Cleveleys Tramroad Station. It is noteworthy that whilst Blackpool's bus fleet livery changed only once (from 1933) in nearly sixty years; there have been three significant rebrandings during the past fifteen years - due in great part to the far more frequent turnover of Managers.

Almost pristine 336 in the 1950s on Bispham Road 22A Service to Cleveleys. Image by John Woodman. Corporation green and cream with a 'Waller & Hartey' handpainted advertisement. 2004 and new 'East Lancashire Coachbuilders bodywork. New 322 on the 11 Service in Lytham.

Another 'Trident' model in the subsequent fleet livery introduced by Trevor Roberts in 2010 - examples of which are still very much in evidence but for how much longer?

And a further 'new beginning' with the introduction of the Alexander Dennis Ltd. design complete with latest Blackpool Transport 'Palladium' styling from 2015. This was first introduced with delivery of the Mercedes 'Citaro' fleet for Service 5 to Victoria Hospital.

The Citaro class brought in the 'Palladium' branding in 2015.

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