Saturday, 30 April 2011

Trip to Ellesmere Port / Chester 30-04-2011


2448Ellesmere Port BSChester BS401Arriva NW&W
2122Chester BSQueensferry, Station Road Q310Arriva NW&W
2328Queensferry, Station Road Q4Chester BS10AArriva NW&W
2360Chester BSQueensferry, Station Road Q310AArriva NW&W
2570Queensferry, Station Road Q4Chester BS10Arriva NW&W

Given a few place to go to today Matthew chose to do the Ellesmere Port / Chester trip. When doing some research for the Llandudno trip, I notice the Deeside network day ticket and noticed that it went into wales as far as Flint. So today when we booked our ticket it was decide that we were going to get the Day tickets at £3.70. we set of just after 12:00 on this fine sunny day, leaving Staffordshire we passed the Morecambe team coach again and after hearing the radio later we discovered that this time they were playing at Port Vale! We arrived in Ellesmere Port shortly after 13:00 and ate in the market food court. We had 3 sandwiches, a full breakfast for Matthew and 3 drinks for £11 pound from Tommy Tuckers! After dinner we went straight to the bus station to ensure we managed to get a picture of the double decker parked up on driver mess duties.

GHA double decker DD09 parked up in Ellesmere Port bus station (Matt)

We didn't have to wait for long for the #401 Chester, but a car was parked up at the end of the bus station so Matthew couldn't get a very good picture. We jumped on Cadet 2448 and booked our Deeside rover tickets and off we went. On the way down we saw a Robin Hood coach of Leek parked up next to the sports centre, not sure which team this was for and who they were playing. On arrival at Chester we got a better picture of 2448

2448 on arrival from Liverpool on service #401 (Matt)

As we took this picture NC bodied First Manchester double decker 30069 went past displaying 'Private' and we didn't manage to get a very good picture.

30069 in Chester bus station (Mark)

As we took pictures of 30069, we noticed Arriva NW&W bus 2122 on a number 10. I asked Matthew if he wanted to do this and he said yes so we did. As Matthew was leaving England and his pas wasn't valid in Wales I asked the driver what ticket he needed. We were able to purchase aa concessionary day rover for £2.20. So off we went. I had intended to go to Shotton, but as this was new territory and we didn't know where we were going, we ended up getting off in Queensferry. because we passed an entrance to Shotton steel work we thought we were in Shotton! Matthew took a photo of 2122.

2122 departs from Station Road Queensferry (matt)

We crossed the road as there was a bus stop almost immediately opposite. The bus had an electronic display telling us that there was a 10A due 14:49. Sure enough after a few minutes wait 2328 appeared on this service.

2328 in Queensferry on the #10 to Caer / Chester (matt)

Another 20 or so minutes and we were back in Chester bus station. As we left the bus Matthew photographed the inside of this bus.

Inside 2328 (Matt)

At this point we decided to re-group and think about what to do next. We went to our usual spot to take pictures and photograph a few buses whilst we thought. First Manchester open top bus 39939 made an appearance.

Open tops are back again...The open top service has resumed again with 39939 out today (Matt)

Short after that 30077 appeared on a #53 Kingsway. Had we not had an Arrive day ticket we would have done this. There seemed to be a lot of bus photographers out today and this old beast was getting plenty of attention.

30077 is still going strong seen here on the #53. There was a few people here to see this bus as can be seen to the right of the photo (Matt)

After what seemd like quite a while 2328 departed on it's next #10 duty.

2328 departs Chester (matt)

We decided to have a quick toilet break and to do the next 10/10A to turn up. We didn't have to wait long before Chester allocated 2360 appeared to work a 10A

2360 in Chester bus station about to work the #10A (Matt)

As before we decide to do this to Queensferry as we knew we would have bus information. The next 10 was at 16:04 and we guessed that it might be 2570 which we had going in on 2328. Supprisingly we had guessed correctly and it was 2570!

2570 in Station Road, Queensferry (Matt)

So back to Chester, the only notable thing about this journey was a near riot when a wasp flew into the bus and a few kids started shrieking and waving shoes about, eventually killing the poor thing.

2570 in Chester bus station (Matt)

When we got back to Chester, we decided to call it a day. we took a couple more pictures and then went to the car park. After a customary sausage roll break we set off home, Put the radio on to Listen to the Blackpool - Stoke match and heard them nearly score a late winner with the eventual score 0-0 crewe had beaten Stockport 2-0 and vale had stuffed Morecambe 7-2! Morecambe have not had a good week in the North Staffs / South Cheshire area (Mark)

Monday, 25 April 2011

Trip to Llandudno 25-04-2011


MIB 246Longton Hall RoadMostyn coach park, LlandudnoCharterCopelands Tours
817North West Gardens, (NW bound)Junction, New Road (Stand Z)14Arriva NW&W
2276Llandudno Junction Station Platform 5 (W-bound)Llandudno, Trinity Square (SW) (SW-bound)13Arriva NW&W
818North West Gardens, (E bound)Llandudno Junction Station Platform 5 (W-bound)19Arriva NW&W
2277Llandudno Junction Station Platform 5 (W-bound)North West Gardens, (NW bound)13Arriva NW&W
2658North West Gardens, (NW bound)Llandudno Palladium (Stand Y)5Arriva NW&W
911Llandudno Palladium (Stand B)North West Gardens, (E bound)84Arriva NW&W
MIB 246Mostyn coach park, LlandudnoLongton Hall RoadCharterCopelands Tours

Today we took Matthew out on his first coach trip of the year. We had a choice of Blackpool or Llandudno with Copeland's (the operater which Matthew chose) and he chose to go to Llandudno. Matthew has only been to Llandudno once in recent years, and that was last summer when we did a coach trip to Rhyl and traveled on. In ancient times Matthew has done a pair of class 20's when he was around 2 on a coal day, and also a trip here on Easter Monday in the later 90's with Bakers when buses were still just something that made him lift his head and get excited when in his pram. Planning consisted of downloading all the Sunday timetables for he Llandudno area. As I was getting the car ready to go to meet the coach, I noticed my near neighbours setting off up the road. As we left home we saw them at the local bus stop. When we arrived on longton Hall road we didn't have to wait long for the coach to turn up MIB 246 was power for the day. Matthew loaded onto the coach quickly, and whilst we were waiting for a couple of passengers
I got off to check the car was locked. Behind our coach arrived the Blackpool coach, which was required MIB 236. As it pulled off Matthew's face dropped in disappointment at not getting the coach he wanted. It didn't take him long to forget anout that. Eventually the passengers we were waiting for arrived off a slightly late running PMT bus. It was our near neighbours! We set off around town picking up the other passengers, including a lad the Matthew used to go to school with Anthony Goodrum. After about an hour and a half we pulled into knutsford services for a quick toilet break. Already in the service was MIB 236 on the Blackpool and Matthew spotted this straight away! As soon as he got off our coach he ran and jumped on the other! after taking a picture inside and out, we persuaded him to come off and promised we would get this coach sometime in the future!

The elusive (to us) MIB 236 in knutsford services (matt)

A toilet break later we were back on the coach. A fairly some journey then followed and the driver pointed out a few sights and facts along the way. When in llandudno we parked on the Mostyn coach park and walked into town. Mum unusually had some company in our near neighbours, so she left us to our own devices! We found some toilets and then found a good vantage point for Matthew to take pictures. I then left him with uncle Dave whilst I fought may way to the front of a very busy chip shop queue! by about 12:40 we were ready to start catching buses... The first bus Matthew wanted was the Alexander bodied dart 2277 that was parked up in trinity square. "what's it on?"..."13"..."Where's it going?"..."Prestatyn".."What time is it due off?"..."!". So we missed that one. Out came the netbook. The 13 goes via Llandudno junction so if we catch somthing to there we'll probably get a similar bus back. The 14 goes to the junction area before going west. "whens the next 14?"..."12:54"..."Where does it go from?"..."Mostyn Street (NW bound)!". So we walked briskly around the corner to the stop and whithin a couple of minutes Arriva NW&W 817 appears from around the corner. We book our NW&W day rovers and sit down. The 14 takes a weird winding route through countryside and eventually as we approach the Conway area we start to see familiar sights we have seen off the train. Getting close to the tunnel and not wanting end up on the other side, we get off near the road and river area.

Arriva NW&W 817 in Llandudno (matt)

We got off at the new road stop and the bus disappeared around the corner. We decided to follow the bus and then we realised that we were only one stop away from the railway station. We walked across to the station where we saw that there was a 13:30 to llandudno on a service 13.Aafter a few minutes the 13 turned up with another ALX200 in the form of Arriva NW&W 2276 in interurban livery.

Arriva NW&W 2276 in Llandudno (Matt)

We did this back to the square in llandudno and watched it go. We realised that there was not another 14 as this service is every 2 hours on a Sunday service. the next Conway bound bus was a service 19 from the main stop on Mostyn Street just after the hour. off this bus there was a return 19 and another 13. we waited for 15 or so minutes and Arriva NW&W 818 turned up on the 19.

Arriva NW&W 818 in Llandudno (matt)

We set off with the intention of getting off on New road and hopefully we would be able to catch one or the of the buses back. As we approached the New Road stop we passed the 19 with a Plaxton bodied Dart. Decided not to get off and carried on to the stop opposite the station. as we approached the railway station we passed the other bus which was another Plaxton bodied Dennis dart. At this point I realised that we were stuck at Llandudno Junction for an hour! to pass the time we took Matthew to Iceland, where he photographed cakes in the store and chose some cans of Vimto. we drank some of the said cans and also visited the toilet in Llandudno junction station. All things considered the time went passed really quickly. We guessed that the bus back would be 2277 and sure enough it was.

Arriva NW&W 2277 in Llandudno (matt)

by the time we got back we realised that Matthew didn't have much time to get in some more buses. We decided to get in a couple of buses really quickly by catching something from Mostyn Street further into town and than catching something out again. the first bus that turned up was 2658 on a number 5.

Arriva NW&W 2658 in Llandudno (matt)

We did this 2 stops up to the Palladium and got off. Virtually straight away there was a bus opposite on a #84. This was ex London 911. A strange short Plaxton bodied Dart with very few seat in it. We did this back to the main stop in Mostyn Street.

Arriva NW&W 911 in Llandudno (matt)

With about an hour to go before the coach left we decided to et some more chips and eat them on the front. Matthew took a few more pictures and then we went back around to Mostyn Street to take more pictures and meet up with mum. Ona #12 Rhyl, we saw our first glimpse of one of the Ex London ALX400 that are being deployed all across the Arriva NW&W Wales area. This was 4041 and it looked very smart in the interurban livery.

Arriva NW&W 4041 in Llandudno (matt)

After meeting up with mum, it was back to the coach to wait for the 17:15 departure. There was a slight delay in departing as our neighbours couldn't find a toilet in the area as the one on the gardens shut just before we got there. Matthew took some more pictures in the coach park before departure.

Happy Days Coaches 214 in Llandudno (matt)

On departure we made good time until we hit the M56. We had a short stop at Chester services and then we slowly progressed along the M56 until we passed the M53 and we managed to travel a little quicker. We reached newcastle just as it started to go dark and we then had another hour around town dropping of passengers. We hit Longton Hall road just after 21:00.

MIB 246 in Longton Hall Road (matt)

After dropping off uncle Dave I came back and we gave our neighbours a lift. It was a tight squeeze getting 5 and a chair into the car considering the boot was full already. Matthew seemed to enjoy the challenge. Quite a good day, but the coach trip wa a bit of an epic. We will be choosing the trip a little more carefully in future (Mark)

Friday, 22 April 2011

Trip to Crewe 22-04-2011


27Crewe BSCrewe railway station127D&G
92Crewe railway stationCrewe BS85D&G
23Crewe BSSandbach, Military Arms PH (o/s)38D&G
41Sandbach CommonCrewe BS38D&G

Another short trip out we arranged last weekend after he cam out of respite. Given a choice of Stafford or Crewe, Matthew choose Crewe. I think he was hoping to ride on some more Winsford based double deckers, but unlike anywhere else nearby Chesire East council decided to run a mainly Sunday service on Good Friday. This meant that the 38 would be D&G. Also, the fridays only #127 to Chesteron was down to run today. Having seen what was happening we persuaded Matthew to have a D&G day today. We set off around 12:00 but it took longer than expected to get in to Crewe town centre as people were forced to drive into town by a lack of public transport. As we passed the railway station we passed D&G long Solo 36 on a 38. We parked up in Delamere Street and Walked across to the bus station. As we only has around 25 minutes before the 13:15 chesterton, we could not eat in and we decided to share a potion of chips and 2 cans of coke from Les's fish and chips shop. As ever the chips were very nice! With 3 D&G buses laying over, we guessed correctly that the #127 would be the short Solo 27. A few minutes before it's 13:15 departure, D&G 27 moved onto it's book stand #2.

27 on the 127, D&G Optare Solo works the FO #127 Chesterton service (Matt)

On the bus Matthew photographed the maroon coloured seat moquette, not dissimalr to some in the bakerbus and Wardle's fleets.

D&G 27 moquette (Matt)

The bus filled up quite well, and Matthew was having trouble with hay fever and runny eye. A kind lady gave Matthew a few tissues to dab his eye with, so if you ever read this thank you again! When we got to The railway station we bailed off not quite sure what we catch back.

27 departs to Staffordshire from Crewe railway station (Matt)

As we got off the bus the Morecombe team coach went past Which Matthew got a picture of.

Options Irizar bodied Scania K2 PRS, the Morecombe team coach (Matt)

We crossed the road and waited for a return bus, We must have already past the 38 due at 13:26 and we worked out that the next bus would be a #85 Newcastle Crewe, fortunately also a D&G bus. As we waited a small contingent of morecombe fans cam out of the station in Hawaiin shirts and shorts. The gave a small chant as they passed...

"we want to go home,
We want to go home.
Crewe's a s**thole,
We want to go home."

Not a chant I wholly agree with, but it did make me smile. D&G 41 went passed on another 38 Macclesfield. A short while later D&G bus 92 appeared on the #85

D&G 92 at Crewe railway station (Matt)

A short journey later we were back at the bus station. As the bus emptied out Matthew took a picture of the inside of the bus.

inside D&G 92 (Matt)

When we got back and realised that there was a 35 minute wait for the next 38, however D&G 23 pulled in displaying 38. We realised that because of the traffic the buses were unable to keep up the correct timing and therefore they were using an extra bus to lay over to make sure the Crewe Macclesfield departure left on time. The bus pulled up and pulled off and sat adjacent until a few minute before 14:35.

23 on the D&G #38 Macclesfield service in Crewe bus station (Matt)

Have D&G been acquiring a few newer vehicles recently then, I don't remember them having so many newer Solos? I was last down in Crewe in 2009 I think and I saw a lot of early low floor Darts and Mercedes minis

23 on the D&G #38 Macclesfield service at sandbach Common (Matt)

2498 on the 37E Northwich service (Matt)

Sorry about the slight delay in replying, it has been a busy weekend...

In a word yes

according to D&G's published fleet list all 3 buses operating the 38 on Friday are new to D&G as is 27 which was on the Fridays only 127 service. There has been discussion of this on the Yahoo Staffordshire and Merseyside bus group and I believe there is a relatively up to date fleet list available there.

A couple of years ago they had a batch of Solos in Cheshire Connect livery (64-69) which were not new but consecutively registered, presumable on loan from Cheshire East county Council. I'm sure we saw another on Friday (62)

last year in buses magazine in an article on D&G, the boss was talking about the fuel efficiency of Mercedes minibuses and the fact that these were going to have to be replaced probably by then end of 2010. I can only assume that the Solos are giving them a slight competitive edge over running Darts.

37E Northwich (Matt)

41 on the D&G #38 Crewe service (Matt)

inside D&G 41 (Matt)

41 lays over between #38's in Crewe service (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 seemed to have a few working. We missed as we finished our meal so we waited for the next #X37. this turned out to be another of the Mercedes minibus. A moved was

We up to the bus station, met with mum and went back to the car for sausage rolls...

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Trip to Hanford (Black Lion) 20-04-2011


65038Newcastle Rd, Black LionHanford, Mayne Street101First Potteries
40169Hanford, Church LaneTrentham,Trentham hotel21AFirst Potteries
40152Trentham,Trentham hotelBlurton, Ladybank Gr(adj)22First Potteries

Nearing the end of the Easter holidays, we decided to take Matthew out for a meal. Behaviour permitting we were also going to let him catch a bus home as mum wanted to nip off to visit Grandma whilst we were part way there. On the way we passed 40147 on a 22 which we knew we might have a chance of catching later.

40147 on a 22 to Longton (Matt)

We had the meal at the Black Lion, where as usual we had the 2 courses for £6. The food was really nice, but the meal took a while longer as they were short staffed.
As we left the pub 40147 went passed towards Longton so we knew we would have an half an hour wait. Mum went off to see Grandma leaving me and Matthew behind. I thought that if the buses were timed correctly matthew could get 2 or 3 buses on his way home. First bus to show uop was a 101 stafford, so I asked him if he wanted to do this bus to Hanford and wait for the 22. he agreed so off went went for 2 stops down the road.

65038 on a #101 to Stafford (Matt)

Matthew got on and off as good as gold, and didn't try to take us to stafford instead. In Hanford we waited and once again I said to Matthew if a 21/21A turns up before the 22 we could do this into Trentham and wait there. 40146 went towards newcastle on a 22 so we knew that was another bus he wasn't going to have today. Sure enough, Marshall bodied dennis Dart 40169 turned up on a 21A and we did this to the Trentham Hotel.

40169 on a #21A to trentham (Matt)

As we got on the bus the driver recognised Matthew and said he could remember him catch buses when he was little. It's always nice when people remember him as he has been travelling on buses as hobby since he was 4 or 5!

40169 at journeys end on Longton Road (Matt)

When we got off in Trentham we had a short wait and 40152 produced. Slightly disappointing for Matthew as he had been on this one last we. At least I caught up a bus from matthew's busy week away :-)

40152 on a #22 to Longton (Matt)

We did 40152 to ladybank Grove, and then walked all the way home from there. this was the first time in a long time i've done a bus towards home for a long time (he usually takes me further and further away until I phone mum to be rescued!). Remember Matthew, the better your behaviour the more bus trips we can take... (Mark)

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Trip to Birkenhead & Liverpool 17-04-2011


4400Birkenhead BSSt John's Garden, Liverpool437Arriva North West & Wales
4407Victoria Street, LiverpoolBirkenhead BS437Arriva North West & Wales
2439Birkenhead BSKing Street,St Brides Street411Arriva North West & Wales
2439King Street,St Brides StreetBirkenhead BS411Arriva North West & Wales

Having had a week in respite, we promised to take Matthew to Birkenhead. We all slept in relatively late, so we did not set off today until 12:30. Picking Uncle Dave up on the way, we arrived in Birkenhead just before 14:00. First things first we had to eat. We went to Platters situated near the bus station. For 2 breakfasts and 2 sandwiches and drinks it came to around £17. Matthew, obsessed with shops and banks spotted a Yorkshire Bank branch with a nice cash machine, so he decided to take a picture.

Yorkshire Bank cash machine in Birkenhead (Matt)

After food we went to the bus station to see what was working. We asked Matthew if he wanted to go to Liverpool or New Brighton and surprisingly he chose Liverpool. This was his first visit to Liverpool and his first time through the tunnel. We hadn't done any research for this trip so i went to stand 7 to check Sunday service frequencies. Having just seen 2 or 3 different Arriva buses go to Liverpool, it wasn't surprising to see one service had 15 minute frequency to Liverpool so we decided to do the 437. he took a few pictures and we only had to wait about 10 minutes for the next 437, A short trip through the tunnel and we were in Liverpool. The bus stopped adjacent to St. John's Gardens and quite a few people stopped on. We stopped on because we thought we hadn't reached the end, and the others stopped on because we had! Eventually the driver shouted us down, and we inquired as to where to catch the return.

4400 in St John's Garden, Liverpool (Matt)

At first in Liverpool we went to the bottom of St Johns garden and sat on a white concrete podium, but 90% of the buses that went past were on the other side of a very wide road and obscured by a railing. After a few minutes we crossed the road and then installed ourselves in the triangle at the end of Victoria street. This wasn't too bad and we were able to get some pictures that weren't too bad. This part of Liverpool is quite difficult to get good bus pictures in sunny weather!

selwyns SEL 853 in Liverpool (Matt)

Eventually we crossed the road and sat near the bus stop on Victoria Street. The sun makes it very difficult to get a good picture here at this time of day. Eventuelly our ride back under the river appeared... Enviro 400 4407

4407 in Victoria Street, Liverpool (Matt)

A short trip back under the river and we were back in Birkenhead. We made a decision that we were going to go to New Bighton as we had seen a 'goldfish bowl' heading towards Clatterbridge and Matthew had indicated he wanted to ride on it. We had just missed the 36 past New Brighton and the next one was 57 past. Whilst waiting Matthew took several pictures. 60071 was on a #42 Mill Park service.

60071 in Birkenhead bus station. (Matt)

Matthew also saw this cadet he quite fancied but we didn't know anything about service 293.

2438 in Birkenhead bus station on a service #293. (Matt)

as went past on there near side new past an the far side heading towards Woodside. We guessed that this would be the next new Brighton service. We waited patiently and Matthew took more pictures. 60115 was on a #42 Woodchurch.

60115 in Birkenhead bus station. (Matt)

Eventually 2439 did turn up on the 411 New Brighton service

2439 in Birkenhead bus station. (Matt)

At this point mum called up saying she had finished shopping and was now waiting in the car. as we had just set off i said i would get off somewhere convenient and catch the next service back. unfortunately we passed another bus near Seacombe Ferry. we thought we would go 10 minutes further and then get off and cross the road and wait for a bus back. As we got off Matthew too another picture of this fine beast.

2439 on a New Brighton bound service 411 (Matt)

We crossed the road and the next bus back was a 423 Seacombe Ferry bus. As we did not know the route or timing we had to let it go. Matthew did get a picture of it as it passed and it was VDL bus 3005.

3005 on a Seacombe bound service 423 (Matt)

We weren't sure if the 411 back would be the same bus or a different one. When the bus did turn up it was the same! We walked back up to the bus station, met with mum and went back to the car for sausage rolls. We Filled up with LPG in Longport. We were back home before it went dark...Mark