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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Goodbye to Yellow and Black

Blackpool residents grew accustomed to a startling new yellow and black themed brand on their buses by the end of the 1990s. A new manager, Trevor Roberts came from the publicly owned Newport system taking over from Steve Burd and was quick to phase out the multi coloured 'Lines' favoured in Steve's years in charge of Blackpool Transport Instead a simple yellow and black livery was adopted - with a distinctive silver and red 'swoop' - most noticeable on the double deck fleet.

This new look kept pace with the changing face of the town centre and presented a more forceful corporate image for Blackpool Transport Services Ltd. Regrettably this did not extend to the new tram fleet which arrived in Blackpool Council's recently adopted branding of purple and white for vehicles (and materials). By 2010 Trevor Roberts had left Blackpool and an interim management team was in place. More new buses were scheduled to replace earlier single deck models. The newcomers were definitely different being built in Germany by Daimler Benz and came in an even more radical fleet livery of pale grey (albeit highly polished) enlived by a reverse sweep in light yellow akin to cream.

A new Managing Director was appointed to take charge of the company. Jane Cole came with a pedigree of marketing and customer relations with Virgin Trains - the first female to have charge of the town's transport system since its inception in the late 19th century. One of the early moves was adoption of a launch double deck design by the Alexander Dennis company of Falkirk. Exhibited at the Earls Court show - their Enviro model was deemed 'fit for purpose' to realise an upmarket branding of the town's bus services - complete with 'Palladium' livery introduced on the Mercedes Citaro single deck vehicles already ushered into service 5 to Victoria Hospital. Further single deck types were given a similar rebranding makeover, whilst tranches of the ADL design were commissioned to replace a mixed bag of vehicles to become Blackpool Transport's premier double deck fleet.

Inevitably the town's nimble single deck 'Solo' buses were phased out with new models from ADL - providing larger seating capacity and with the same 'Palladium' branding. A wholescale transition of the bus fleet was under way with the result that the final yellow and black livery style was relegated to peak hour and seasonal services - until this year when its demise was abruptly signalled with the onset of Covid 19 pandemic. Radical reduction in bus service frequency meant far fewer buses were needed prompting withdrawal of the last of the yellow and black vehicles in the fleet. The last survivors being put out 'to pasture' in recent weeks. Further deliveries of ordered ADL models hastening the process - with new 2020 arrivals being held in store 'for the duration'. For the record : some nostalgic scenes from better times during the physical overhaul of 'Talbot Gateway'.

Busy scenes overlooking North Station precinct with services diverted off Talbot Road.

The entire story of Blackpool's bus transition from the formative days of 1921 up to the coming year (and even greater changes in the coming decade will be recounted in the new title planned for next year.

Work in Progress on the former Talbot Road Bus Station structure and a Solo passing by.

Below : the new look and reconfigured bus stances on Corporation Street - with Palladium brand very much in evidence - this time on Service 7 (with a solitary blooming tree). All Images by John Woodman

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