Friday, 30 July 2010

Trip to Chester Zoo 30-07-2010


MIB 615Weston CoyneyChester ZooCharterCopeland's
MIB 615Chester ZooWeston CoyneyCharterCopeland's

Plush interior of MIB 615 (Matt)

MIB 615 prior to departure to Chester Zoo (Matt)

As one of several activities that have been organised for disabled children and young people with money provided by the "Aiming Higher" initiative, Matthew was invited on a trip to Chester Zoo. We set off from home around 09:30, and as we went up the road we could see the Copelands coach parked up. At this point Matthew was very excited at not getting a minibus! As soon as we pulled up he was out of the car and onto the bus! As all the other children were waiting inside until time, Matthew was able to photograph the empty bus inside. I persuded him to come off the bus for a few minutes so he could photograph the outside of the bus aswell, at which point I took his camers off him until he returned back to the car. Staff report that Matthew was generally well behaved, which is a miracle with him being near a coach park, and with his great geographical awareness and Chester nearby... I fully expect him to drag someone on to the Firstbus #1 service.

Well done Matthew... :-)


Monday, 26 July 2010

Trip to Blackpool (Last day of Line 6) - 25-07-2010


260Blackpool, Palatine RoadTesco, Mereside3Blackpool Transpor
109Tesco, MeresideCorporation Street, Blackpool6Blackpool Transpor
107Market Street, BlackpoolHawes Side,Hemmingway SE bound6Blackpool Transpor
104Hawes Side,Hemmingway NW boundQueenstown, Spencer Court (NE-bound)6Blackpool Transpor
377Queenstown, Devonshire Road HospitalBlackpool Tower, Blackpool11Blackpool Transpor

Matthew should have been in respite on this day, but due to a staffing mix up it meant that we had to quickly find something for him to do. Having read about the end of Line 6 on Fylde bus blog I quickly arranged for us to go to Blackpool in order for Matthew to get the chance to ride on these buses before they were withdrawn from service. Preparation for the trip consisted of printing a timetable for Line 6, a Blackpool Transport route map and a map of the motorway exit and Mereside Tesco, just in case the Mrs needed to drive the support vehicle to here to pick us up. It took us a long time to get Matthew out of bed, which is fairly normal on a Sunday, and eventually we set off around 12:30. As always, when we go anywhere we have to make sure all Matthews needs are met in order to ensure we get the best behaviour Matthew and not mischievous Matthew! First thing on the agenda was to feed him up.

We arrived in Blackpool around 14:00 and we parked in the open car park behind the old bus station. We saw a cafe opposite on Topping Street (can't remember the name, but they're on Facebook apparently). All four of us ate and drank for under £10 and a reasonable amount of food too. having seen just how far Market Street was from the cafe there was a map on the menu), we decide to try and park the car a bit closer to town to avoid taking Matthew through any unnecessary crowds, and to save our legs. We drove around looking Disabled parking, finding nothing free. We would park, get out, only to find the was some restriction... We saw a space on the corner of Market Street and Corporation Street. We parked only to find out it was limited to 30 Minutes. We must have parked and got in and out of the car 3 or 4 times...

We eventually ended up crowbarring the car onto the car park adjacent to Bonny Street at around 15:00. Knowing that the Line 6 came past the end of here, we thought that this was near perfect. Next thing was to make sure Matthew had been to the facilities, and then I realised we had forgotten the RADAR key! Never mind, it wasn't a problem here because the toilets were individual unisex toilets. OK, now it was actually time to catch a bus...

The plan was to catch a Line 6 up to Mereside. The first thing we needed to do was to walk far enough up Central Drive to the point where the one way system ends so we could catch the bus. As we were walking up we spotted a '6' coming the other way and Matthew was able to take a picture.

First Delta of the day photograped 112, at the corner of Central Drive and Chapel Street heading towards Grange Park (Matt)

We crossed the road and headed for the bus stop which I assumed the '6' would stop at. According to the information, this stop was for lines 5 & 7...Damn! I thought even though the route map doesn't show it, the '6' must take a different route in the other direction. Hmm, I made a decision to take the street we past before and head inland hoping to find the south bound '6'. We headed along this street that was dead straight about 1/4 mile long and had B&B's along both sides. there were traffic light at the end so we thought that this must be a main route and this was probably where the '6' went along. Reaching the traffic lights we turned right as we could see a bus stop, and there were people waiting. When we got closer we saw the the bus stop was Line 3...Drat again! At least the bus was to Mereside... We got talking to the people at the stop and they were adamant a bus was due off town at 15:17 and would be there 5 Minutes after that. Sure enough Solo 260 appeared and we did this to Mereside.

260 on it's way to Tesco, Mereside (Matt)

As we approached we could see a '6' on stand. A quick check of the time and we saw that it was due off any minute.

First Delta of the day at Tesco Mereside, 109 on the 15:40 to Grange Park (Matt)

We got on the bus, Delta 109 an went straight to the back like the cool kids (lol). Now travelling in comfort, I tried to work out the next move. I worked out we could go to town and have 3 minutes to walk between stops. and catch the bus back towards Mereside. in the meantime we passed 2 of the other 4 buses out on Line 6. First bus passed around the Asda area was 106, followed by 112 at the junction of Grasmere and Central. As we approached Corporation Street, another '6' was on stand in Market Street. between the 2 stops Matthew decided he want to stop and say hello to someone, and as the girl in question was listening to music on a MP3 player, it scared her to death and she ran off...By the time we got to market Street the bus had gone...Drat again! We decided to wait for the bus in the same direction. Matthew was a little bit cranky at this point so we needed to distract him. We decided to wait on the corner of the Street allowing him the chance to take pictures for a while until the next Mereside '6' appeared.

Delta 106 on the 16:00 Mereside - Grange Park (Matt)

Of note during this time was one of the other 6's 106, and double decker 370. Seconds after 106 went past 107, arrived on the Mereside.

Delta 107 on the 16:06 Grange Park - Mereside (Matt)

On the bus, we worked out a move to get the bus we missed. We decided to get off a couple of stop past Spen Corner on Hawes Side Lane. My brother noted the appropriately named 'Box Brothers funeral Directors' as we got off the bus.

Delta 107 pulls away into the distance as it heads towards Mereside along Hawes Side Lane (Mark)

We crossed the road and waited for the bus back. Whilst waiting a character appears and starts looking at the timetable on the stop, which has already been changed ready for the 26th. I told him 'there's no point looking as they are tomorrows timetables, and the 6 isn't on there because it's finishing'. We get into a discussion about how all the buses will be black and yellow eventually. 'Black and yellow! they might as well paint them green and cream again...' i'm sure there are plenty of people who would agree with him.

A short wait and the bus that we had missed appears, Delta 104...Yay! A move works out...

What turned out to be our last Delta of the day, 104 on the 16:40 Mereside - Grange Park (Matt)

On the bus, we worked out a final move so we could get 1 more '6' before we left. Mrs T had already had enough of shopping and was sitting back in the car waiting. It was worked out if we went a couple of stops out of Blackpool towards Grange Park, but before Layton Square, we could catch a bus to the stop opposite Poundland and walk to the car park. I advised Mrs T of the plan and she said she would walk to the stop to meet us to make sure Matthew was OK. Whilst on stand in Corporation Street we noted Metrorider 515 on a Line 15. The bus went out of town and past the railway station, We got of a couple of stops later just before a big junction.

Bye bye...Delta 104 pulls off into the distance on Talbot Road (Mark)

Following us from Corporation Street to Talbot Road, Metrorider 515 on line 15 (Mark)

When we got off we assumed we were somewhere between the town and Layton square, possibly on Caunce Street. However the road was very busy and quite a few different buses came past which seemed to dismiss that theory as being correct. There must have been a Northbound diversion and we got off somewhere on the diversion (it turned out we were on Talbot Road by the site of the Devonshire Road hospital)... After about 20 minutes waiting and no sign of a Southbond '6' we decided to catch the next bus into town and give up. I had phoned the Mrs to let her know of the plan, and she said that she had already seen 2 6's come and go. So we had a choice of 2 buses approaching a 14 or an 11. Matthew of course chose the older bus which turned out to be 377.

Last bus of the day, 377 on a 11 to Lytham Square (Matt)

The bus set down in market Street, but we decided to stay on another stop to avoid taking Matthew through the busy streets. Next stop was in front of the tower which was probably even busier. A short walk along the front and we were in a quiet side street adjacent to the stop for the '6' where a slightly irate mum had been waiting for 25 minutes. Everyone else went back to the car via the toilets and I went to the take away / restaurant on the townside corner of Coral Island for 2 portions of chips to share before we set off home. We left around 18:00 as we left town we passed 104 on Yeadon way, having finished it's duties for the day. Considering how chaotic everything was, I think it was a fairly successful trip. All 5 buses were photographed by Matthew and we managed to ride on 3.


Sunday, 18 July 2010

Trip to Ellesmere Port / Chester 17-07-2010


2404Ellesmere Port BSChester BS401Arriva NW&W
N2 GHAChester BSCountess of Chester HospitalH4GHA
2409Bache, Egerton Arms PH (nr)Chester BS401Arriva NW&W
50046Chester BSGorse Stacks53First Potteries

We started off at around 12:15 and did our usual move of dinner in Ellesmere Port. As it was dry (just about) we had dinner alfresco at the Grace Arms again. JP & chilli, cheese and onion sandwich with chips, all day breakfast and Home-made lasagne. With drinks this was £24.95.

GHA VX51 PZM outside the Grace Arms on service 111 (Matt)

After dinner we drove into town, so mum could go shopping and we could catch a bus to Chester. Parked up in the bus station were GHA bus N2 GHA and Arrowebrook Dart S760 RNE

Arrowebrook S760 RNE on servuce #138 (Matt)

Today Matthew chose Arriva and almost immediately Arriva NW&W 2404 turned up on the #401 to Chester. We did this short hop to Chester and then stood in our usual spot so Matthew could take picture for an hour or so.

Arriva NW&W 2404 in Chester bus station on service #401 (Matt)

Of note today were First double deckers 30060/77 & 34224. Also Arriva NW&W 2452 turned up on a #401.

First PMT 30077 in Chester bus station (Matt)

First PMT 34224 on service #5 (Matt)

'Goldfish Bowl' 2452 on service #401 to Liverpool (Matt)

After about an hour we decide to do the H4 which Matthew has eyed up catching before. This service take about 5-10 minutes to do the short hop to the countess of Chester hospital.

Inside N2 GHA, Chester bus station (Matt)

As is often the case with the independent operators, the driver was really good and was happy to see Matthew take interest in the bus.

GHA bus N2 GHA outside the Countess of Chester Hospital (Matt)

GHA bus N2 GHA heading South towards Chester bus station on service H4 (Matt)

After we got off this bus at the hospital, we walked across the main road and waited for a bus at the stop adjacent to the Egerton Arms pub. A #1 First service flashed around the corner that we did not have tine to flag it down! a few minutes later we had another Alexander bodied Arriva bus on the #401 in the form of 2409. Another short hop and we were in Chester bus station again.

Arriva NW&W in Chester bus station on service #401 to Liverpool (Matt)

Matthew had already expressed a wish to do a First minibus, so when we got back to Chester, we met up with mum who had driven down from Ellesmere Port.

First PMT 50046 in Chester bus station on service #53 Kingsway (Mark)

So moved arranged, I drove to Gorse Stacks to meet the #53 Kingsway service, whilst Matt and his mum caught the bus 50046. It was then all back to the car for snacks and to drive home...

Photos to follow...