Sunday, 27 March 2011

Trip to Blackbrook Zoo 27-03-2011


FJ10 BJXJohn St, HanleyBlackbrook ZooCharterAiming High
FJ10 BJXBlackbrook ZooJohn St, HanleyCharterAiming High

As often is the case Matthew picked a trip out with Aiming High as the trips are favorite activity. As the clocks had gone forward the night before, getting up to take matthew out today was the equivalent of getting up at 07:00 on a Sunday morning! Not being sure eactly how prompt the 10:00 start would be, we took Matthew out a bit early. This would also give Matthew a chance to take more bus pictures whilst he was waiting. We arrived on the empty John Street car park around 09:20, passing a couple of plain white Wright bodied single decker on the way to Hanley. as they were near the Railway station I assumed they were rail replacement buses. Tomorrow they start work on the new bus station.

City centre bus station coming Autumn 2012 (Matt)

We had a good 30 minutes around the entrance to the current bus station and it was surprisingly busy for that time of day on a Sunday, Matthew took 20-30 pictures including the 2 Wright bodied buses seen earlier which turned out to be Alton Towers staff buses along with another Alexander Strider bodied M425 UNW.

ATT Volvo B10B M425 UNW approaches Hanley bus station (Matt)

There were also buses from Scraggs, D&G and First

61237 was on a service 6B into Hanley.

61237 approaching Hanley bus station (Matt)

Just before 10:00 we walked round to John Street were the bus was already waiting as it had come in from the other end.

Aiming High FJ10 BJX outside the Victoria Hall in Hanley (Matt)

After Matthew had boarded they asked him were his camera was. We'd taken it off him as we always do on these trips. Last time Matthew had accessed a trip via his respite he had accidentally taken the camera with him. This time Matthew was allowed to take his camera as official trip photographer!

Pink Flamingoes at Blackbrook Zoo (Matt)

Penguin swimming at Blackbrook Zoo (Matt)

The Meerkat on the left has darker eye's...Matthew comparing Meerkats at Blackbrook Zoo (Matt)

When we collected him at 15:00 staff reported that he had been good as gold Coach MIB 246 was also there :-) (Mark)

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Trip to Bury 19-03-2011


164Bury BSWalshaw, Church Street/Moyse Avenue (N-bound)481Easyride
40371Bury BSWalshaw War Memorial510First Manchester
34019Bury BSUnsworth, Parr Lane/Castlebrook High School137First Manchester
34263Unsworth, Hollins Lane/Parr LaneBury BS137First Manchester
40356Bury BSWalshaw War Memorial510First Manchester
40371Walshaw War MemorialBury BS510First Manchester

Matthew had decided we were going to Bury on this day a few weeks ago... He likes to keep a full social calender. He was a bit lethargic today so we did not set off until nearly 12:30. It appeared to be a fine sunny spring day. An uneventful journey followed although it did seem a bit cloudier the further north we went. We parked as usual by the library. Arriving around 13:30 we had dinner in the Corn Market fish and chip restaurant today. The adults had pie peas and gravy, and Matthew had jumbo sausage chips and gravy. With drinks it came to around £18, although they did try and charge us £22 for the food! As we left I realised I could not find my phone, so I went back to the car whilst Matthew and UD stood at he end of the bus station taking bus pictures and mum called my phone...

Maytree Travel MX08 MYR enters Bury bus station (Matt)

The phone turned up in the footwell and must have fallen out of my pockets. When I returned to Matthew it seemed as if we had to wait around 20 minutes before we saw anything worth doing. Whilst I was away a NC's double decker had left on a 98, but we knew that it would not return for at least a couple of hours.

Easyride 164 Bury bus station on a 481 Ramsbottom (Matt)

We decided to try and catch a 510 to start, but there was a different bus on stand. luckily, GMPTE provide diagrams with services and the towns they visit, we saw that the 481 Ramsbottom goes via Walshaw. We decided to do this bus and, it was going to be our first journey on Easyride. We boarded 164 and purchased a system one day ticket. Whilst on the bus, we decided to go a stop further than usual and then walk back as we had a bit of extra time before the returning #510. I thought this would mean we would get a better picture of the bus and if photographed from the rear it would not be taken into the sun. As we left Bury we passed 2 NC's double decker coming into Bury and 60338 which I assumed was on the next 510. As the bus went through Walshaw it turned right, right again and the left. When we got off the rear picture was taken as the bus went off into the distance.

Easyride 164 Walshaw, Church Street on a 481 Ramsbottom (Matt)

There was a short walk back to the stop for the 510 and around a 15 minute wait. Whilst waiting a 510 towards Bolton came past with 40356, meaning 60338 must have been on something else! Eventually our bus turned up, 40371. This bus is right in the middle of the batch that were transferred to Adderley Green, with this bus and a couple of the others being exceptions. When we arrived at Bury, Matthew photographed the inside of the empty bus.

Inside 40371 on it's First arrival at Bury (Matt)

This time at Bury we didn't have to wait long for a NC's double decker. Required 34019 turned up on a 137 Manchester. There was a short layover whilst there was a driver change, and then we got on it.

34019 awaits time before working a #137 to Manchester (Matt)

As per usual, we did this to Parr Lane, Unsworth. On the way down Market Street we saw Copelands MIB 236 which we could have done this morning had we booked on it. Hopefully we'll get this one soon...
As we got off I could see another NC's double decker on the return. We did not have time to get a picture, as we had to quickly cross the road to get it. 34263 turned up.. Dud, but a NC's decker is always welcome.

On arrival at Bury, insude the top deck of 34263 (Matt)

When we got back it was gone 16:00, so there only time to go Walshaw and back. We knew we missed a 510, so the next bus was the 16:15 480... The time was closing in on 16:15 and the bus still hadn't turned up. the was a 98 on stand J and the next 510 arrived and Went straight past it went around again and by the time it did stand J was clear, the bus was 40356, oldest Dart on the #510 today. This bus is not as smart as the others we have seen in the P... LND batch, as some of the seats have been replaced with First purple and green ones. We did this up to Walshaw as usual and we were wondering what would be the return. I was hoping for 40404 which I'd seen early, but if I'd thought about it, I would have realised that it could only be 40371, which had passed 40356 in the Walshaw area earlier! So we did this back into Bury. After we returned Matthew photo graphed a couple more NC's Volvo Olympians...

34260 departs Bury bu station on a 98 Manchester (Matt)

34023 arriving in Bury on a 137 from Manchester (Matt)

Back to the car at around 15:45, just in time to here that Stoke had won 4-0 against Newcastle! One the way back we past quite a few coaches on the M6 and A500 from the North East. Back in Staffordshire we stopped for lottery tickets and Filled up with LPG in Longport. We were back home before it went dark (Mark)

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Trip to Abbey Hulton 17-03-2011

Bus From To Service Operator

T408 JUX Blurton Blackfriars FE Bucknall Charter Z Carz
GN53 EZT Blackfriars FE Bucknall Adventure Playground Charter Blackfriars
GN53 EZT Adventure Playground Blackfriars FE Bucknall Charter Blackfriars

Matthew went to school on his current usual transport in the form of T408 JUX

T408 JUX in Blurton (Matt)

When at college Matthew got to ride on the college transport to Newcastle.

GN53 EZT in Abbey Hulton(Matt)

After his trip V742 HGG they returned to Abbey Hulton mum pick me up from home here Back to the car for sausage rolls from co-op food Bucknall with Andy 18:02 bus to 40745 #5 Abbey Hulton...Mark

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Trip to Crewe & Nantwich 05-03-2011


3354Crewe BSWheelock Heath, Foresters Arms PH38Arriva NW&W
2619Wheelock Heath, Foresters Arms PH (nr)Crewe BS38Arriva NW&W
2500Crewe BSNantwich BS84Arriva NW&W
2501Nantwich BSCrewe BS84Arriva NW&W
3353Crewe BSWheelock Heath, Foresters Arms PH38Arriva NW&W
3354Wheelock Heath, Foresters Arms PH (nr)Crewe BS38Arriva NW&W

I was intending to take Matthew out on some local buses today, as he hadn't been on a local bus with me since last Summer. When we put this to Matthew he decided he wanted to go to Crewe. I think Matthew fancied adding a few more buses to his Arriva NW&W collection, and also he presented to me a picture of a double decker at Crewe on a service #38. A couple of years ago we had done a #38 from Congleton to Macclesfield and I think he quite enjoyed it. So a small amount of research was done, finding a Crewe & Nantwich bus map from the Cheshire East council website, a timetable for 37 & 38 and a Crewe town centre parking map. Setting off after 13:00 today, after a short journey along the A500 / A5020 we arrived in Crewe around 45 minutes later after being caught in traffic around the railway station and after a diversions on Edleston Road. On the way in we passed an unidentified Arriva double decker on a service 38 to Macclesfield. Parking in the car park in Delamere Street, we walked across the road to the bus station. The disabled toilet were working today so Matthew stopped for a quick toilet stop. We tried to go in the cafe in the bus station and as we sat down we were told that they had stopped cooking... Drat! Plan B was to go to the fish & chip restaurant on the other side of the bus station. On the way Matthew saw Arriva double decker 3350 parked up between duties...

Teasing but not producing... 3350 stabled at Crewe between duties. (Matt)

In the the fish & chip restaurant Les's fish bar, Matthew choose Sausage chips and beans.

Dinner... Sausage, chips and beans (Matt)

The four of us ate and drank for a little over £21.. A little more than we usually pay, put the food was good, there were Wrights pie's and there were real chips. I realised if we took less than 45 minutes we would be in line to catch the next #38 Macclesfield by the time we got back in the bus station. Sure enough, around 5 minutes after returning the bus station Arriva double decker 3354 appeared and Matthew was keen to board!

3354 on the first turn of the day (Matt)

After a quick driver change / break, the bus boarded which was quite well filled. We booked to Sandbach as this was a location we were familiar with from his time travelling on the X81 service. Matthew as usual chose to go upstairs, but he had no chance of getting the front seat on this run. As we left Crewe I thought that I'd better check the timetable to see how long we would have at Sandbach. As we were travelling through Haslington I realised that we would miss the #38 at Sandbach by a couple of minutes (that was if buses were running exactly to time), so I decided we'd better get off soon if were to get the next bus on this route. Not really knowing were I was travelling in this direction, I decided to get of at the next place where it was slightly more built-up. We passed a pond on the right and there were a few more houses at the time, so I rung the bell to get off. We got off outside a pub called the Foresters arms in Wheelock Heath, and it turned out to be quite a good spot as the bus stop for the opposite direction was less than a hundred yards away. We quickly crossed the road and waited. A Cheshire Connect livery bus came past which we let go, and a few minutes later an Arriva bus approached. It was single decker 2619, which was slight disappointing as we were hoping for another double decker or at least something a bit older.

Ultra new 2619 opposite the foresters Arms in Wheelock Heath (Matt)

So a swift journey back to Crewe was had, even it was in less comfort on the thin plastic seats! When we got back to Crewe mum was waiting for us. She had left her phone in her other bag. It is usually me who forgets their phone. I gave my phone to her as UD has his phone with him. After a short wait Matthew indicated he wanted to catch a 84 Chester, so I said he could do it to Nantwich on this occasion. The Nantwich bus was 2500, one that we had seen regularly in Chester. As we chose to do this bus last minute, we didn't get a photograph at Crewe. On the way down we stopped on Nantwich Road and Matthew saw we were opposite a co-op. Matthew took a picture, as shops and shop signage are another one of Matthews interests. As we got off in Nantwich Matthew took the picture of this beast.

2500 on arrival at Nantwich, with 2501 in the background (Matt)

As we got off the bus the return service to Crewe pulled up behind. So after taking the picture, we legged it backwards to Catch the bus, another VDL SB120 2501. As we made the journey back I realised that if we could get back to Crewe for 15:35 we could catch the next 38, which would probably be the double decker we saw as we came into town. we got back around 15:20, which gave us time to take a few pictures.

2501 about to leave Crewe for Chester. (Matt)

Also in Crewe, we saw 7647 on a service #31 to Northwich. Last time we had this bus it was in the old livery, on a service 84A to Nantwich.

Nearly 2 years on from our last visit, 7647 has received a repaint (Matt)

Within a few minutes, double decker 3353 appeared on stand. After we waited for the driver change / break as before, we boarded the bus. This time we booked to the Foresters arms as we knew it was the place to go to. as we passed the duck pond we got up. We got up to early and had to ask the driver to go on to the next stop! Matthew took his picture as we left.

3353 outside the Foresters Arms pub in Wheelock Heath (Matt)

A shortish wait the followed, and as we predicted 3354 appeared for the second run of the day. Matthew took a picture, but in the failing light it didn't take quick enough. The driver asked Matthew if he had 'got hid good side', but it turned out that he didn't get any side this time...
When we got back to Crewe, Matthew was able to take another picture.

3354 on return from Wheelock Heath (Matt)

At this point Matthew was getting a bit excitable, and we let him take a few pictures before we left for the car.

First PMT 60202 on a #20 to Hanley (Matt)

As we persuaded Matthew to leave, he saw a GHA bus so we let him take a picture first.

GHA march Eastward. GHA Solo YJ59 GHA in Crewe bus station (Matt)

We then left for home. Matthew had a Greggs sausage roll and also a bottle of 7up when we stopped for LPG in Longport. Not a bad afternoon today, the weather was no more than drizzle, clearing as the afternoon went on. Most of the day was on a bus or under shelter anyway. Good little trip and much better than last time we did Crewe. Definitely a candidate for a quick revisit, but we need to get there early to eat in the bus station cafe. (Mark)