Saturday, 26 February 2011

Trip to Southport 26-02-2011


2144Esplanade Park & RideSouthport, Lord Street (Market St) Stop BEPR1Arriva NW&W
2801Southport, Lord St, Duke St (adj)Ainsdale, Ainsdale Village49AArriva NW&W
7652Ainsdale, Fairfield RoadSouthport, Monument49AArriva NW&W
2291Southport, MonumentBirkdale, Birkdale Station49AArriva NW&W
7651Birkdale, Birkdale StationSouthport, Monument49AArriva NW&W
2143Southport, MonumentEsplanade Park & RidePR1Arriva NW&W

Slightly longer trip out than usual today, so we left just after 11:30. Stopping at Longport for LPG, we made good time except for a few minutes delay passing through "Historical market town", Ormskirk. Note to you take the first left to go past the supermarket in town, you can use the right hand lane to go straight on. As we had been to Southport before, we decided to eat in Southport today as opposed to taking a pack lunch. We arrived at the Esplanade Park & ride site around 13:30. After a quick toilet break we did the next P&R which was mileage machine 2144.

2144 on arrival in Southport town centre (Matt)

Anyway, as we drove through town mum spotted a suitable cafe for us to have dinner in. Cleveland's Cafe in Lord street as mentioned here. Cleveland's boast home cooked foods so we decide to eat here. Matthew had a breakfast and a portion of chips, and the rest of us had home-made meat & potato pie and gravy. The pie was a quarter of a 9" pie and at £1.95 was excellent value. The gravy was nice and dark, but was not too thick or salty, and the pie was delicious! The only two minor criticisms of the place were the chips were frozen and not real, and the beans weren't the best quality. All the other items on the breakfast were cooked to perfection. we all ate and drank for under £15. Unusually Matthew didn't take pictures of the dinners but in this case we wished that he had! whilst we ate Matthew watched the buses on Lord Street so we could see what we were going to catch. The 375 Wigan was mainly Alexander bodied double deckers, Stagecoach's services were Enviro 400's and Optare Solo's and Comfybus ran Solo's and 'Goldfish bowl' C13 MFY was out on service #40. As we had seen a couple of Marshall bodied Dennis Darts out on the #49A Crossens to Wood Vale, we decided to ride up and down on this service. After we left the cafe, we crossed the road and waited for the first Wood Vale bound #49A. After a short wait, Arriva NW&W 2801 turned up.

Arriva NW&W 2801 about to work a #49A to Wood Vale (Matt)

We decided to do a very similar move to last time so we caught this bus to Ainsdale. Unlike last time, there was a bus opposite and we did not have time to get pictures and catch it. So Matthew took a picture of Marshall 7655 before we slowly walked across to the opposite side of the road.

One that got away...7655 in Ainsdale on a #49A to Crossens (Matt)

After effectively letting 7655 go, we had a 12 minute wait for the next bus. We weren't sure if we were going to get 2801 again back into Southport. Eventually another bus appeared, another Marshall and definitely not 2801. The bus pulled up and was Marshall 7652. We got onto a completely empty 7652 and Matthew took a photo of the inside of this bus. The seat covers appeared to be virtually new possibly having been completely replaced.

Inside 7652... (Matt)

So we did the first Marshall of the day back to the monument in Southport, We crossed the road and and had about a 5 minute wait before Plaxton bodied Dennis Dart 2291 made an appearance. Like last time we did this to Birkdale, and once again like last time there was a bus already at the stop across the road. It was a modern VDL so we decided not to rush and we let this go in favour of Matthew getting a good photo of 2291.

2291 on a #49A to Wood Vale (Matt)

After about 12 minutes and having seen Stagecoach double decker 15468 on a Liverpool - Preston X2, another Marshall rounded the corner 7651.

7651 in Birkdale on a 49A to Crossens (Matt)

So back towards Southport, and we called mum to see if she could get sausage rolls for the journey home. it turned out that the shop that sold sausage rolls was at the other end of Lord Street and that was never going to happen! never mind... When we got back we decide to sit and wait for the other bus on PR1 so that Matthew could get another new bus in for the day and in the meantime Matthew took some more photographs.

19038 on a Preston bound X2 service (Matt)

After letting 2144 go, eventually 2143 turned up on the esplanade park & ride. When we got to the terminal we ran around to the end to take a picture, and then went back into the building for a toilet stop before we went home.

2143 outside the environmentally friendly Esplanade park and ride terminal (Matt)

Matthew was a little disappointed not to have a sausage roll waiting for him in the car but was appeased with a bottle of Ben Shaws shandy. Another reasonably event free free return to Staffordshire with a couple of exceptions. Passing through Ormskirk a suicidal lady cyclist decided to do a right turn from the left hand side of the road. Both of us being first at the lights with the junction of the A570 and the A59. As the lights change she pedalled furiously to get ahead and then without signalling swooped across the front of me. Luckily I did not hit her and mum had a few choice words for her. Then just before we reached Keele services on the M6 we passed ex First Eastern Counties Dennis Dart 40256. A photo of the bus can be seen here. After a bit of research I found that this had been donated to the SELNEC preservation society from FEC. One of the reasons we travelled to East Anglia last year was in the hope of seeing one of these buses in Ipswich. By the time we went, they had been withdrawn from service. It seems ironic that in a one in a million chance that we would see one so close to home... (Mark)

Monday, 21 February 2011

Trip to Newcastle-under-Lyme 20-02-2011


66839Newcastle BSStoke Station25First Potteries

One of the first buses we saw was First PMT 40148 on the #72 Clayton Village service.

40148 0n arrival in Newcastle Bus Station #72 Clayton Village (Matt)

Eventually, Matthew decided to catch 66839.

First PMT 66839 on a #25 Hanley (Matt)

Whilst in respite, they took Matthew out on a bus...66839 was done between Newcastle and Stoke Station...Mark

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Trip to Bury 12-02-2011


34262Bury BSChapel Field, Stand Lane/Radcliffe Library (SE-bound)98First Manchester
34028Radcliffe Bus StationBury BS98First Manchester
31930Bury BSWalshaw War Memorial510First Manchester
40401Walshaw War MemorialBury BS510First Manchester

Matthew had not been out for a few weeks so we asked where he wanted to go. This time he chose Bury. Setting off just after 12:00 it was a fine day, and there were no problems on the road. We arrived in Bury around 13:15. We parked near the library, and we set off to have dinner in the cafe on the corner of Broad and Haymarket. On the way we saw 40359 on a service 510 to Bolton so it seemed that it was going to be business as usual at least on this route.

40359 departs Bury on a service #510 to Bolton (Matt)

For dinner Matthew had sausage, chips and gravy with some bread. After dinner we stood at the end of the bus station to see what was out today. Within seconds we spotted a double decker on stand K in the bus station. I went to get a new map and bus timetables, and worked out the double decker was on a service 98. We decided to do this bus to Radcliffe. When we got on the bus I looked at the timetable and decide we would go to Radcliffe bus station. Until then I didn't even realise there was a bus station having only ever travel on a 524 as far as the tram stop. As we departed we saw 34260 stabled by the side of the tram station. The 98 heads towards Bolton and then travel towards Radcliffe via a couple of housing estates. about 30 minutes later we arrived in Radcliffe bus station. We didn't get up very quickly, and before we could get downstairs the bus pulled off again. We ended up getting off at the next stop outside Radcliffe library.

34262 departs from Radcliffe library towards Manchester on a #98 service (Matt)

Luckily as the pedestrianised town centre meant the bus went round in a big circle, we only had a couple of hundred yards to walk back to the bus station. Radcliffe bus station consists of 2 island each containing 3 bus stops each. We didn't have to wait long at the bus station for a bus back to Bury. 34028 was the next bus back.

34028 on stand at Radcliffe bus station on a service 98 not 524 :-) (matt)

For some reason when we got on the bus I thought it was a 524 but as can be seen from the photograph it was another 98. Whilst on the bus the 524 Bury came in was required 34254. The return journey seemed much quicker, but it still wasn't quick enough to beat the more direct service 524. Just as we left the ring road to turn into the bus station, we passed 34254 going back out to Bolton. When we arrived in the bus station Matthew stood at the end and took a few pictures whilst we worked out what to do next. my thought was to do a quick trip out to Walshaw on a #510 as Matthew likes the Bolton based P---LND batch of darts. We didn't have to wait long for a 510 to show up but it was unusually Wigan based double decker 31930.

31930 arrives in Bury on a service #510 from Bolton (Matt)

As we left we passed 34023 possibly on a #137 Manchester as it was on a stand adjacent to the cafe. It's the first time we have ridden on one of these buses and they are very strange indeed. It used to have dual doors but the centre doors have been removed. there is also a centre staircase. Matthew went upstairs and it was empty. The downstairs was reasonably well filled. The locals must be used to these buses because the all the windows upstairs were covered in condensation even though it was a general fine day with the odd shower. The only clear window was the rear window. I immediately opened a window to try and clear up the condensation. Once the bus started to move we could feel every bump on the road and the body sides shook. It struggled up the lower part of Walshaw road. It is only a short journey to Walshaw and as we have been before we were able to guess were to ring the bell and get up quite well. it must have been running well to time as it paused for a few second and Matthew was able to get another photograph of this bus.

31930 pauses in Warshaw on a service #510 to Bolton (Matt)

We crossed the road and as usual we didn't have to wait long for the return. Unusually for us it wasn't one of the usual Darts, it was a slightly newer one 40401.

40401 on arrival from Bolton in Bury bus station (Matt)

We then had a few minutes taking photograph until we met up with mum to return back home. As always we saw the Almin Travel bus but we still don't know what it does or if it's general service. We would still love to know if we can catch this bus.

Often seen, never caught...Almin Travel minibus L402 BBC outside Bury bus station (Matt)

Matthew and mum got back just before 17:00 and we set off home via picking up LPG on the way. Back on the M6 we encountered heavy traffic due to an accident! We eventually got back home at 18:50 to find out that Tesco had tried to deliver the shopping at 18:35...Drat!...Mark

Monday, 7 February 2011

Trip to Nortwhich 07-02-2011


T408 JUXBlutonAbbey HultonCharterZ Carz
GN53 XTJAbbey HultonNorthwich InterchangeCharterBlackfiars
N575 CEHNorthwich InterchangeKuntsfordX37Dobsons
N577 CEHKuntsfordNorthwich InterchangeX25Dobsons
GN53 EZTNorthwich InterchangeAbbey HultoncharterBlackfriars
S973 OVPAbbey HultonBlurtonCharterZ carz

Matthew will now be writing this blog. He has decided it's time to post is own posts on. At 07:45 T408 JUX went to college. Matthew was only able to get this picture.

T408 JUX is somewhere in this shot (Matt)

At 09:30 I went to Northwich on GN53 EZT took me to Northwich. N575 CEH took me Knutsford on the X37 service. N577 CEH took me back to Northwich on the X25 service. 7647 was seen at Northwich. mum brought me sausage rolls. I went back to the bus GN53 EZT and then to college and returned home on S973 OVP around 15:00 getting home around 16:00 where there was toast waiting for me...Mark