Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Trip to Ellesmere Port / Chester 29-12-2010


2447Ellesmere Port BSChester BS401Arriva NW&W
40181Chester BSGorse Stacks53First Potteries

Originally, Matthew had planned to go out on the 27th, but having seen that it was going to be a Sunday service we persuaded him to go on the 29th instead. After finishing work we set off towards Ellesmere Port. We weren't sure if the market was going to be open, but lucky it was! After dinner we went to the bus station and waited for the 401. Whilst waiting he took a few pictures...

GHA YJ09 OTN in Ellesmere Port bus station (Matt)

When the 401 does turn up, it's cadet 2447.

2447 in Ellesmere Port bus station (Matt)

We then spent around an hour taking picture in Chester bus station. Unusually the 27 was worked by S760 RNE instead of the usual Optare Solo.

Arrowebrook S760 RNE Chester Bus Station (Matt)

Today the 401 was mainly cadets another example being 2441.

2441 Chester Bus Station (Matt)

Eventually when mum turns up by car from Ellesmere Port, we do a bus but just as far as Gorse Stacks

First PMT 40181 loads passengers in Gorse Stacks (Mark)

Back to the car for sausage rolls and then home... (mark)

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Trip to Southport 04-12-2010


2144Esplanade Park & RideSouthport, MonumentPR1Arriva NW&W
2287Southport, MonumentAinsdale, Ainsdale Village49AArriva NW&W
2288Ainsdale, Fairfield RoadLord Street, Stop B49AArriva NW&W
3044Lord Street, Stop BBirkdale, Birkdale Station49AArriva NW&W
7656Birkdale, Birkdale StationSouthport, Monument49AArriva NW&W
2144Southport, MonumentEsplanade Park & RidePR1Arriva NW&W

Despite the bad weather, Matthew had not been out on a trip for 3 weeks and we knew it would be at least another 2 weeks before he could go out again if we did not go out today! Snow and ice lay all around in these parts, but we hoped that the coastal towns would be milder and hopefully free from ice and snow. Matthew had indicated to us before that he wanted to go to Southport, but previous plans to travel here were always changed and he ended up somewhere different. Research for this trip consisted of printing out the Arriva network map for Southport, plus the Southport area map from the Mersey Travel site. From the Sefton local government site, we also learnt that Southport had no bus station as such and was all on street bus stops. The weather was checked the night before, and it said there would be heavy rain all afternoon! We discussed on whether we should divert to Chester because of the predicted weather. On the day of the trip, we checked the weather. The situation had now improved to fog and drizzle! we asked Matthew again if he want to go to Chester or Southport and he was adamant we were going to Southport. We departed at around midday. As we left Staffordshire most of the ground was covered in ice and snow. Travelling North along the M6 and then onto M58, by the time we reached the A570 there was virtually no snow anywhere, just fog and light drizzle. Our route took us through Ormskirk, where we saw a taste of thing to come passing a Comfybus Optare Solo and an Arriva double decker. On entering the town centre, it looked fairly busy and I could not spot anywhere obvious to park, so I decided to drive through town and follow the signs for the park and ride. Just the other side of town was the Esplanade park and ride site. on arrival we ate some of our packed lunch and toiled before getting on a bus. First arrival was Arriva Enviro 200 2144, which we promptly did back into town.

Arriva North West & Wales 2144 on P&R service PR1 by the Monument in Lord Street (Matt)

The usual thing for us to do on arrival in any new town is to stand and watch the buses for a short while whilst we try and learn what kind of services run and what type of buses work on them.
The first bus that we saw was a wrinkly dart 2287 on service #49A to Woodvale, which pulled up right behind us and had a driver change. Whilst this was going on I looked at the map and decided that this would be a good bus to start riding on, and also it was freezing cold and damp outside! I checked with the driver what the service frequency was to which he replied "15 minutes". Tickets purchased, We decided to go to Ainsdale which was just before the loop end of this service.

2287 on a service #49A to Wood Vale (Matt)

On arrival at Ainsdale, we crossed the road and waited for the return journey into Southport. At this point we weren't sure if we would get the same bus back, or a different one. A few minutes later, a wrinkly Dart appeared from around the corner. Expecting it to be the same bus, we were most surprised when it turned out to be 2288!

Arriva North West & Wales 2288 on service 49A to Crossens seen here at Ainsdale (Matt)

So on we went back to Southport. When we in town, we had previously neglected to check out the local landmarks so we could tell if we were back at the same stop. When we got off in Lord Street this time we were a stop further down, and we were opposite a bandstand instead of the monument. On the previous journey we had passed a couple of different Marshall bodied darts, which we knew Matthew would welcome travelling on, so plan the was to go back in the same direction, but this time we were only going to travel as far as Birkdale. The next #49a to turn up was 3044. A bit on the new side, but we decided to it anyway because there was a good chance of something interesting coming back. As wet got off, Matthew photographed the bus as it disappeared around the corner...

Arriva North West & Wales 3044 on the service 49A to Woodvale departs from Birkdale (Matt)

Crossing the road, we had about a 10 minute wait for the bus back. Matthew was kept amused by the scrolling advertising in both of the town bus stops. As expected Marshall bodied Dennis Dart rounded the corner,

Inside a busy 7656 (Matt)

We did the short journey back to town. During the journey we contacted mum so that she could get some food and we could meet up. She explained she would be about 5 minutes and then she would get some hot food to take back to the car. This time we went to the monument bus stop in Lord Street. Matthew photographed the bus as we left.

7656 in Lord Street on a service #49A to Crossens (Matt)

So whilst we waited, Matthew and I were able to take a few more photographs in the fading light of an early December evening. By this time, the rain had all but stopped so we had barely gotten a drop of rain on ourselves during this dismal afternoon. Most photographs at this time were taken of still buses, leaning against street furniture to steady the camera

Arriva North West & Wales 2287 seen on a 49A to Woodvale (Mark)

After letting 2 very full P&R service go waiting for mum, she turned up with chips which we sealed up in our rucksack. after a short wait, 2144 turned up and was once again or transport back to the park and ride site. On arrival, we went around the outside of the building and took a distant photograph of the bus and terminal, steadied on a metal fence post.

Arriva North West & Wales 2144 at the Esplanade Park & Ride site (Mark)

Back to the car, we ate chips before an uneventful journey home. Despite only minimal planning and bad weather, this turned out to be a good trip and we will definitely return here again in the future... (Mark)

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Trip to West Midlands Safari Park 21-11-2010


FJ10 BJXJohn St, HanleyWest Midlands safari ParkCharterAiming High
FJ10 BJXWest Midlands safari ParkJohn St, HanleyCharterAiming High

Matthew was originally supposed to go to Knowsley, but someone called to say that the trip had been re-arranged and was now going to West Midlands Safari park. Matthew was due to be in respite this weekend so we arranged with respite to take him to Hanley so that he did not miss out on this trip. Usually we take the camera off Matthew after he has photographed his bus, but on this occasion he took it with him and was able photograph some of the animals he saw on this trip. As always Matthew enjoyed himself...

Having done the Aiming High minibus to the Safari Park, The following five pictures below were either taken through the window as they were driven around, or in the walk through sections like the reptile house.

Some kind of Deer (Matt) Suggestions please...

A female Lion (Matt)

Bactrian (two hump) Camel (Matt)

A Seal playing...(Matt)

Rattlesnake!!! (Matt)

After he Van hool took his pictures he was returned to John Street in Hanley. Before he left Hanley he took a couple of coach pictures of coaches that were parked up.

Cresta Coaches YN57 OUS in John Street Hanley (Matt)

Turbostyle WA07KXT in John Street Hanley (Matt)

Afterwards, someone from his respite met him to take him back to the respite house.(Mark)

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Trip to Bury 13-11-2010


MIB 246Longton Hall Road, BlurtonMoss Street, BuryCharterCopelands Tours
40359Bury BSWalshaw War Memorial510First Manchester
40350Walshaw War MemorialBury BS510First Manchester
34058Bury BSTram Stop, Radcliffe524First Manchester
MX06 BSYTram Stop, RadcliffeBury BS513Maytree Travel
60227Bury BSRowlands Road, Walmersley472First Manchester
34028Rowlands Road, WalmersleyBury BS474First Manchester
60273Bury BSParr Lane, Unsworth137First Manchester
34023Parr Lane, UnsworthBury BS137First Manchester
MIB 246Moss Street, BuryLongton Hall Road, BlurtonCharterCopelands Tours

As this was a shorter journey than most, we decided to do this coach from Blurton. We booked the back seat for a change, to see if Matthew would enjoy it. A few days before departure we got a call to say that the seat numbers had changed, we were now in seats 54-57 meaning that this would a different to coach to the ones we had previously had, and therefore Matthew would be travelling a different vehicle. Planning for the trip consisted of looking at which bus tickets we could purchase and printing up section of the GMPTE transport map of Bury. Initial plans were to travel away from Manchester into areas that we knew a little about. So I printed information on buses in the Heywood and Ramsbottom direction.

On the day of the trip we drove to Longton Hall Lane and parked up. Matthew was anticipating travelling on a different copelands Tours coach. Sure enough MIB 246 appeared around the corner and Matthew was extremely happy. We then had an hour travelling around Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle picking up passengers. The driver decided we needed a short stop (10 Minutes), so we pulled into Knutsford services for a quick toilet and fag break. It also gave Matthew to opportunity to take a picture.

MIB 246 rests at Knutsford services (Mark)

After a short break we continued on to Bury. As always, first priority is to get something to eat so we went into a cafe for food. Afterwards, we stood at the bus station and observed for a short while to see which buses came in. As buses were coming in, I was visiting the travel office for relevant time tables. The first buses that Matthew decided was a must have was a wrinkly dart 40359. a quick dash to the kiosk for a service #510 timetable revealed that we could do this bus to Walshaw for another #510 back. So we purchased our 'System One' off peak day tickets and off we went. When we arrived at Walshaw, Matthew photographed the bus as it left before we crossed the road for the return journey.

40359 in Walshaw on a service #510 to Bolton (Matt)

Sure enough after a brief wait, another Bolton allocated wrinkly dart 40350 appeared from around the corner for our journey back to Bury. On arrival Matthew photographed the interior of the bus with its smart brown chequered moquette.

Inside of 40350 in Bury, shortly after arrival from Bolton (Matt)

Whilst considering whether to wait for the next bus on the #510 to turn up, 34028 pulled into the bus station and parked up, and then 34058 turned up on a service #524 to Bolton. Another quick visit to the kiosk for a timetable, we worked out that we could do this bus to Radcliffe for a short wait and a #524 back. So after Matthew took a picture, we did this bus to Radcliffe.

34058 depart south from Radcliffe (Matt)

We alighted at Radcliffe adjacent to the tram station and Matthew took another picture of the departing bus. I had calculated that we only had around 10 minutes to wait. After about 15 minutes, we looked to see what other service were due. We noted that the #513 to Bury also stopped here, and that was the next bus to arrive, so we decided to do this rather than wait any longer for a #524. The bus arrived and Matthew got the shot whilst I flagged the bus down.

MX06 BSY in Radcliffe on service #513 to Bury (Matt)

By the time came to do the third trip Matthew was becoming a bit excitable, we had seen 34028 depart on a #474 Ramsbottom circular, but we weren't quick enough to catch it.

34028 on a service #474 Ramsbottom circular (Matt)

The plan was to catch the next #472 and to meet 34028 somewhere around Ramsbottom, but Matthew couldn't decide what he wanted to do. We eventually got on the next #472, and we worked out we could travel to walmersley to meet the double decker coming the other way. The next #472 that turned up was a Mercedes single decker 60227. We did this to Walmesley and Matthew took a picture as it departed Northwards.

60227 departs North from Walmersley on a #472 Ramsbottom circular (Matt)

After a few minutes wait 34028 appeared over the horizon. After Matthew's excitable antics on the last visit to Bury we decide to call mum, meet up for a snack to give Matthew a few minutes to calm down! Matthew got off the bus and took a few more pictures.

Also seen, 34029 in Bury bus station (Matt)

In the cafe on the town side of the bus station, we bought Matthew a portion of chips, and mum had a Derby scone which Matthew also pinched. During the day and during our snack it had been noted that service #137 seemed to have a few double deckers working. We missed 34291 as we finished our meal so we waited for the next #137. this turned out to be another of the Mercedes single decker buses 60273. A moved was worked out to Unsworth. As we journeyed South we saw rows of coaches parked up including our own. We also saw all the fans streaming out ofa pub on their way to watch the local derby between Bury and Stockport. We then passed a double decker. After we got of we waited for a #137. we had about a maximum of 40 minutes we could wait without missing the coach home. The first bus was a single decker which we decided to flag. Whilst we were waiting a double decker went south just before 34023 appeared.

34023 in unsworth heading towards Bury on service #137 (Matt)

We got on the bus and did the short journey back into town and met up with mum. We took a few pictures at the top end of the bus station whilst waiting for our coach to appear. The most interesting bus was an Almin travel minibus.

Almin Travel L402 BBC in Bury. If anyone knows what service this bus was working please get in touch! (Matt)

On the way back we went non stop back to Stoke, after all the other drop off's the journey took around 2 hours. A good little trip that we are sure to do again some time. (Mark)

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Trip to Ellesmere Port / Chester 06-11-2010


2446Ellesmere Port BSChester BS401Arriva NW&W
30077Chester BSPlas Newton51First Potteries
30077Plas NewtonChester BS51First Potteries

Set off just before 12:00 today. The roads were fairly clear, and we arrived in Ellesmere Port around 13:00. Had our dinner in the market as usual and then had around 10 minutes in the bus station. We then took a picture of the GHA crew mess today N3 GHA.

GHA bus N3 GHA is the crew mess for today (Matt)

After a short wait Arriva NW&W cadet 2446 turned up on the #401, which was not required! matthew too a picture before we boarded, not dissimilar to the one ho too last time we caught this bus.

2446 in Ellesmere Port bus station about to work the 14:17 service #401 to Chester (Matt)

When we got to chester we had around an hour taking pictures in the bus station. Of note was 30069 which had previously been allocated to Crewe.

Recently transferred from Crewe, 30069 works a #9 to Pipers Ash (Matt)

Also seen in the bus station was a GHA DeeBee liveried bus. This type of bus is usually restricted to working services that start in Delamere Street.

GHA bus DeeBee liveried YJ59 GFX unusually working the 82 Northwich (Matt)

As there was very little about, we decided to ride on 30077 today. We have seen this bus many time before but we have never caught it! We had seen it work a #53 earlier so we knew it would be on a #51 later. As we walked up to the bus Matthew got a shot before we went over to board it.

30077 arrives in Chester bus station about to work a #51 Plas Newton service (Matt)

We booked to the shops in Plas Newton. when we approached the shops we booked again to take us back to Chester. By the time we got back to chester mum had driven up from Ellesmere Port. As it was starting to go dark, we took one last picture before returning to the car.

30077 on return to Chester bus station about to work a #53 Kingsway(Matt)

When mum turned up it was back to the car for sausage rolls. There followed a fairly uneventful journey home other than hearing that Stoke had lost to Sunderland away...Mark

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Trip to Blackpool 31-10-2010


MIB 270Brunswick St, NewcastlePleasure beach CP, BlackpoolCharterCopelands
327Waterloo RD, BlackpoolCentral Pier, Blackpool1Blackpool Transport
1805Market St, BlackpoolLTT WorksCharterEx Ribble (Pres)
1805LTT WorksMarket St, BlackpoolCharterEx Ribble (Pres)
329Market St, BlackpoolTesco, Mereside14Blackpool Transport
303Tesco, MeresideQueenstown, Devonshire Road14Blackpool Transport
339Queenstown, Devonshire Road HospitalMarket St, Blackpool14Blackpool Transport
331Central Pier, BlackpoolSouth Shore, South Pier1Blackpool Transport
MIB 270Pleasure beach CP, BlackpoolBrunswick St, NewcastleCharterCopelands

when we booked this trip, we decided to do this coach from Newcastle. Being a Sunday trip we were able to park in Brunswick Street. We parked up and then waited patiently and required MIB 270 appeared from around the corner. The journey North was relatively uneventfully, except passing a group of Stagecoach single decker osn the M6 also heading north. Shortly after that we passed a preserved double decker heading North. The driver decided we needed a short stop (10 Minutes), so we pulled into Charnock services for a quick toilet and fag break. It also gave Matthew to opportunity to take a picture.

MIB 270 in Charnock Richard service station (Matt)

A few minutes after we arrived in the service station, the preserved double decker arrived along side us. It was former Blackburn Leyland Atlantean 8 (OCW 8X). There were quite a few people on the bus so when one disembarked I asked him where the bus was going. he said it was the buses first out since preservation and that it was on it's way to a Lancashire Transport Trust open day in Blackpool. He told me there were shuttle buses running from the town centre. We decided that we would try and find the buses and travel to the open day. A few minutes later we were on our way and we arrived in the coach park on the South shore half an hour or so later. When we arrived the first thing we did was to find a cafe. The was one a couple of blocks North of the coach park. As far as i can remember we ate a breakfast, and I seem to remember Matthew entertaining the staff in the cafe as he often does wherever he goes. After we ate, We walked onto the prom and started walking Northwards. Mum was getting a bit tired so we decided to all catch a bus along the prom. The next #1 service to appear was worked by Blackpool Transport 327.

327 travels North along the Promenade on a service #1 (matt)

With the exception of mum, we all had Blackpool Transport day rover tickets. We did this bus to Central Pier, as it powered away Matthew took another shot.

327 travels North along the Promenade on a service #1 (Matt)

When we got off we started to walk North along the Prom. We didn't know where to catch the shuttle from, but we had seen a Bristol bus turn by Coral Island. We took a guess as to where the shuttle was running from. We waited outside the tower, but another bus appeared and then went sailing past. So we head further North to try and find out where the bus was going from. After much walking up and down and then asking, we found out that the bus was going from Market Street. We waited for about 10 minutes on the corner of Market Street and then preserved Ribble 1805 appeared to work the shuttle bus. After watching everyone get off we jumped on the bus and sat downstairs near the front. After a short wait, the bus departed for the LTT works, which is near to the Mereside area of Blackpool. When we arrived we got off outside the works. there were a few visiting buses standing outside the works, these were taking turns to work the shuttle service. We went into the works paying a small entrance fee and wandered around the exhibitions. Most of the buses in the works were cordoned off, and there were a dozen or so stalls selling thing to support various preservation projects in the works. Matthew brought a few second hand book and magazines and then we took photographs of the buses that we could get to. After about 15 minutes and a quick toilet stop we had covered the works! We waited for the next shuttle back which was unfortunately Ribble 1805 again. we did the bus because we couldn't really afford to waste any time if we were to go travel on some more buses. When we arrived back at Market Street there was a Mereside bound #14 bus worked by Blackpool Transport 329. We jumped on this and said goodbye to mum who was off to do some shopping. We did this service, which took the route of the old #6 service. I took a picture of uncle Dave's favourite funeral directors 'Box brothers' out of the front window of the bus as we traveled East. When we arrived Matthew got a picture of this bus and we waited for the next #14.

329 at Tesco Mereside (Matt)

After we a while Green Liveried Blackpool Transport 303 appeared to work then next #14. We looked at the timing and we decided to do this to the stop just after the old hospital on Devonshire Road.

303 departs North from Queenstown with a #14 to Fleetwood (Matt)

Whilst we were crossing the busy junction, the townward bound #14 went passed. When we got to the stop we had a bit of a wait for the next bus. Matthew was able to take pictures as we waited. One such picture was Blackpool Tranport 309 on a #9 to Cleveleys.

309 departs North from Queenstown with a #9 to Cleverleys (Matt)

eventually the next Blackpool bound bus was worked by orange liveried 339.

339 on a Southbound #14 in Queenstown (Matt)

We alighted in Market Street again, and Matthew took a few picture whilst we waited a few minutes to meet up with mum. we decided to walk onto the front and walk to the central Pier to catch a #1 to the South shore to catch the coach home. As we walked from market street past the back of the tower, Matthew decided to run into HMV because he wanted to buy a CD! We arrived just south of Central Pier, and it was a fair walk. we didn't realise how far it was! We didn't have to wait long and then Blackpool Transport 331 appeared on the #1 service. We grabbed a few chips and then we walked to the coach park with around 30 minutes to spare. This gave Matthew time to get some pictures, but at this point the light was starting to fade.

MIB 270 in Blackpool Pleasure Beach coach park just before departure (Mark)

The journey home was uneventful. We stopped at Charnock Richard services and we saw a poster "I ♥ coaches" which we photographed. As the driver was talking on the PA coming into Newcastle he hit a pot hole and swore much to everyone's amusement! After we left the coach we got in the car and drove home...Mark

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Trip to Uttoxeter 27-10-2010


2038Uttoxeter BSThree Tuns4Arriva Midlands
2038Three TunsUttoxeter BS4Arriva Midlands
2319Uttoxeter BSSudbury, Portway Head1AArriva Midlands
2243Sudbury, Portway HeadUttoxeter BS1AArriva Midlands
65002Uttoxeter BSWerrington PO32AFirst Potteries

First thing to do was to have a late dinner, as he had only had two rounds of toast for a late breakfast. So we went to the Cafe across the road from the one stop shop. We managed to get a window seat and Matthew watched buses go by as he ate his dinner...

We tried to persuade Matthew to catch a to, but we just missed one coming out of the cafe. When we got to the stop, Matthew dragged us past and into. He considered catching the, but this pulled off before we could get to it. Right behind it was Arriva 2200 on the service, an interesting double doored Dennis Dart SLF and a long time target ride of Matthews. As I didn't know the route precisely. we arranged that mum would ride on the bus and I would meet them. We quickly tried to tell each other where we would meet but we misunderstood the answers to each others questions and this lead to a bizarre misunderstanding

Arriva Midlands 2038 on the #4 Town service today just before we ventured out of town... (Matt)

Arriva Midlands 2038 on the #4 Town service today (Mark)

Paragon Travel R572 ABA on service 402 to Burton (Mark)

Paragon Travel M197 UAN on service 428 to Lichfield (Matt)

2319 in Uttoxeter bus station about to work service #1A to Burton (Matt)

Arriva Midlands 2243 in Uttoxeter bus station shortly after arrival from Burton (Mark)

65002 in Uttoxeter bus station (Mark)

65002 arrives in Werrington after an hour journey from Uttoxeter via Alton Towers (Mark)

Back to the car for sausage rolls and then home... (mark)