Saturday, 21 January 2012

Trip to St Helens 21-01-2012


7559St Helens BSEccleston, adj Knowles House Avenue35Arriva NW&W
677Eccleston, adj Millwood AvenueSt Helens BS35Arriva NW&W
2102St Helens BSBurnage Avenue, Four Acre Lane32Arriva NW&W
2702Burnage Avenue, Four Acre LaneSt Helens BS33Arriva NW&W

Matthew has been away for a few days in respite and we didn't plan a trip this weekend. Having given Matthew a choice of places for today, Matthew chose St Helens We have never been before so we did not have much time to do research. Research consisted of a quick look up of directions for St Helens (just off the M6), and a quick look on the Merseytravel website. We saw that there was a travel office and it was open on Saturdays so we knew we could buy Saveaway tickets and get timetables. We set of around 11:30 today on a sunny but very old and windy day. We traveled out via The incinerator at Sideway and we also picked up LPG at Longport. Setting off North, we joined the M6 and traveled up to the A580. We decided to stop at Haydock on the way in and stop a chip shop. Using an App on her phone, mum located the chip shop as we traveled in. The Crisp E Cod in Haydock is situated just of the A580, and also on the bus route for the #20/#320 too. We had Small Fish and Peas twice and Chips, Sausage and Gravy twice. Along with 3 cans of pop it came to around £11. We sat and ate the chips in the car and watched the buses go past. There was a variety of buses including Scanias, pulsars and Volvo B10's. The fish was very nice and so were the peas! After eating we carried on into St Helens along the A58, parking up in the car park near the bus station around 13:10. When we got into town we purchase some Saveaway tickets, picked up a few timetables and then had a quick toilet stop. whilst passing the bus station we saw Arriva NW&W 1049. We then headed into the bus station and we saw 7559 & 7564 a Dart on a #35 services We decided to do 7559 to Gillars Green. We booked to the end and when we reached there a short time later, Matthew got a picture of the inside of the bus. We had passed 7559 on the way up too...

Inside Arriva NW&W 7559 at Gillars Green
We got off and Matthew got a picture of the outside too..

7559 at Gillars Green
As we had caught the #35 we had an approximate wait of 20 minutes. We had decided that if was something good we would go to St Helens Junction station, else we would get off back at the bus station. If Required, the next bus was going to be Matthew's 100th recorded Arriva NW&W bus, so we were hoping it was going to be something good. It turned out to be a Solo.. 677!

100! Arriva NW&W 677 at Gillars Green
I had tried to get Mathew to do a Peter Couch style celebration, but he wasn't interested :-). Anyway, we decided to go back just as far as St Helens bus station. On the way we passed 7571. When we arrived Matthew got another picture.

677 in St Helens Bus Station
At this point we were looking for something else to do. We knew 7571 was coming in Shortly. I went to get a St Helens bus map which I forgot to pick up before and Matthew took some more pictures. When I came out we saw 7650 arrive back in town.

7650 in St Helens Bus Station
We then saw 7571 arrive on a St Helens Junction bound service.

7571 in St Helens Bus Station
We were about to catch 7571 when Matthew spotted a wrinkly (original) Dart on a 32 to Clockface. We walked over to the bus and seeing it was required 2102 we got on. After asking the driver about the frequency, we booked to Clockface as there was a bus at least every 20 minutes depending on where we got off. After a short journey we appeared to passed the end point as the driver changed the blind. so we got off. Matthew took a picture of the rear step as we got off, also showing the blue Smartie seat moquette.

Inside Arriva NW&W 2102 at Clockface
As we got off Matthew got a picture of the outside.

2102 on Burnage Avenue
Consulting the bus stop timetable there didn't seem to be a #32 return from here. There was however a 10 minute frequency #33 back to town. We had a few minute so we crossed the road to look at the other stop. This stop had no information so we weren't sire if it was in use. Back at the original stop after a short while required Volvo B10 2702 appeared.

2702 on Burnage Avenue
We did this bus back which seemed to take a similar route back into town as the #32. We immediate passed a reverse #33 which was a Scania. The bus emptied out as we entered town bus as it is a through service somebody got on. As we got off Matthew took a picture of the inside of the nearly empty bus,

Inside 2702
He then got a picture of the outside of 2702 in the bus station.

2702 in St Helens Bus Station
We also saw Arriva NW&W Dennis Dart 2274. No trip to St Helens would be complete without a picture of one of their Scanias. 1061 was seen on a #34 as we got off in the bus station

1061 in St Helens Bus Station
It was now around 15:40 and it was very cold and windy. We headed back to the car taking pictures as we went. There were sausage rolls waiting for us of course! We set of around 15:45 and just caught the last minute of the First half of the Stoke game on the Radio. Back onto the A580, we were on the M6 in no time. We saw coach MIB 246 on the M6. We got off the M6 at junction 15 and headed South down the A500, passing near The Britannia Stadium we listened as Stoke came back into the game, and then lost in the dying seconds to West Brom. We stopped in Blurton for lottery tickets and pop and we got home just before 17:00...Mark

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Trip to the West Midlands Safari Park 15-01-2012


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

Today to Matthew went to Kidderminster and the West Midlands Safari Park with Aiming High.First Midlands Whittle We He got Bus Timetables in Worcestershire then we arrived in Hanley just before 10:00 so uncle Dave was also there. could get a few bus pictures. Whilst we were waiting Ex First Manchester Volvo 66842 appeared.
First Potteries 66842 in Hanley
Followed shortly by Ex Glasgow and Chester 61246.
First Potteries 61246 in Hanley
Adding a splash of colour was a Scraggs Blue bus...56.
Scraggs 56 in Hanley
Eventually the minibus turned up. It was Aiming High FJ10 BJX
Aiming High FJ10 BJX in Hanley
The route was Lewis YJI 5279 also there.on the Port Talbot and Matthew spotted this straight away! As soon as he got off our coach he ran and jumped on the other! which they took was to head down the A500 and then to get on the M6 and head South. They then went onto the M5 at junction 8. The last few miles were done along the A456 until they reached there destination. During the trip Matthew saw 40805 and He took a few pictures if the animals at the Safari park.
View from the minibus...
An unidentified enclosure...
One of the enclosures...
An aquatic mammal...
Seal or Sealion...?
A dangerous reptile...
Croc or Gator with a flaming tail!
He also saw 42455 and 67244 on the way out too. They called Sainsbury's on the way out of town to use the and to buy Cornflake cakes and a bottle of Coke. and a Cheesecake.wakle bus station The journey back saw 1648 a reverse of the the outward journey down. Past the Shell garage. North along the A456 until they reached the M5. Travel North until they reach the M6 and then up to junction 15 for the A500. He eventually returned to Hanley a little after 16:00. We went to get some to pick up and then drove home. We saw M283 BLD then got tea from the chip shop on Smithpool Road before going home...Mark

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Trip to Crewe and Sandbach 14-01-2012


3330Crewe BSSandbach o/s Common37Arriva NW&W
4489Sandbach o/s CommonHaslington opp Oakland Avenue38Arriva NW&W
3331Haslington nr Oakland AvenueElworth nr railway station37Arriva NW&W
861Elworth adj railway stationSandbach o/s Common37Arriva NW&W

Today we had planned on going Crewe, but the intention was to catch a #85 from Hanley to Crewe. I had misread a post on the Staffordshire and Merseyside bus group saying that the D&G Crewe to Newcastle service was being extended to Hanley from the 13th January, when in fact it was down as changing on 13th February. By this time Matthew had got is heart set on going to Crewe anyway! Having been to both Crewe and Northwich Last year, we decided to cover buses on the Crewe to Sandbach corridor. Preperation for the trip consisted of printing out the 31,37 and 38 timetables plus a map of these 3 routes from the Arriva site. After a bit of a hiccup, we set off for Crewe around 12:45. Arriving around 13:30 we parked up in the car park on Delamere Street and walked over to the bus station. We saw a couple of #84's and the spare at Crewe and these were all Plaxton Centros. What has happened to the Winsord allocated Cadets? Also seen at this point were D&G 27 on a local service and D&G 172. Before we traveled, we decided to have dinner at Les's Fish Bar. We all ate and drank and it came to around £17. After a quick toilet stop we headed back to the bus station to see what was working. There were 2 different services to Northwich just after 14:00. There was a 14:01 #31A and a 14:17 #37. As we got to the bus station, recent arrival to Winford 3330 came in on the #37. We decided to do this as it was required, and it would be only the second of this type we have ridden on. The bus parked on stand and the driver went for a quick break. Whilst we waited, Matthew got a picture of this fine bus.

Arriva NW&W 3330 in Crewe bus station
As we left I looked up what possible bus we could do next. We were scheduled to pass an inbound #38 from Macclesfield. The plan was that if it was an old double decker that we could get off and wait for it by the railway station and then do it back towards Macclesfield. As it approached we could see it was one of the 3 brand new double deckers allocated to Winsford. We passed the bus and it was required 4491. As it was a new bus we decided to stick with the one that we were on and travel further North. I worked out that the next bus we would pass was a #37 a couple of minutes out of Sandbach. Behind that by 18 minutes would be the next #38 to Crewe. It was decided that we would go to Sandbach Common and if we passed a good bus coming from Northwich on the #37, we could catch the following #38 and intercept it just outside Crewe on it's return. As we approached the roundabouts in Sandbach we could see it was another Palatine II like the bus that we were on. It was required 3331 so we were definately getting off to catch it on it's return. As we pulled into the Common, Matthew got a picture of the top deck as we filed off the bus.

Inside 3330
Getting off the bus, We decided that we could get a better picture than the one we took at Crewe...

3330 at Sandbach Common
We now had a 18 minute wait. We decided to fill the time with a it of shopping. We walked over to the local McColl's shop and brought some pop, a chocolate bar and Lottery Tickets. After doing our shopping we walked back to the Commom. D&G 64 was seen on a Nantwich to Rode Heath Service.

D&G 64 at Sandbach Common
The next bus in was a #319. I didn't even know where a #319 went to let alone who operated it! It eventually turned up and it was a very smart looking GHA Solo...

GHA S280 AOX at Sandbach Common
We then had 5 minutes before the #38 to Crewe was due. I guessed it would be one of the new ADL Enviro 400's and I was not wrong. It was required 4489.

Arriva NW&W 4489 at Sandbach Common
We got on the bus and worked out how far we could go. The buses would pass somewhere between The railway station and the bus station at Crewe. With the road by the railway station being very busy and the next section of road being a dual carriageway, I decided to get of at the Crewe end of Haslington by Oakland Avenue. It's a stop that we have been before when I used to take Matthew out on my own but didn't want to take him into Crewe. We got off and we had about 15 minutes to wait for the return bus. It wasn't too bad in the cold but very sunny afternoon. There should have been a #20 to Hanley First, so we stood on the green so we could get a better picture of it when it turned up. The # 20 was due at 15:22 and the #37 due at 15:26. Whilst we waited we saw 2 #20's head into Crewe. First was Potteries 60081 and this was followed 5 minuets later by Potteries 60196 which took a bizarre right turn down Primrose Avenue! Eventually our bus turned up a few minute late with a First bus right behind it.

Arriva NW&W 3331 in Haslington
We got on the bus and it was 3331 as was expected. It was quite full which explained the delay as it must of taken a while to load up at Crewe. We now had to decide where to catch the bus to and where we were going to meet up with mum. I decided that if we did the bus up to Sandbach Railway station, we could ride back to Sandbach on the shorter #37 Northwich to Sandbach service. That would take us to 4 buses for the day, and would be a good place to finish. I tried to call mum as we went through Haslington and Wheelock, but the signal was poor. She eventually called Uncle Dave back and we arranged to meet back at the Commom. We passed the next #37 and this was a Plaxton Centro so of no interest at this point in time. I had misread the timetable and I thought we were going for a dead time at Sandbach Station. We got off the bus at 15:52 and Matthew took a quick picture before we crossed the road.

3331 by Sandbach Station
We quickly crossed and headed to the stop. I check on the stop timetable and the bus wasn't due until 16:01. At this point we didn't know what was going to show up. Winsford has an allocation of around 50 buses and we have been on very few from this depot despite it being our closest Arriva NW&W depot. We thought it Could be a double decker, a Marshall bodied Dart or even a Plaxton Centro. The bus tuned the corner and we could see it was a Plaxton bodied Dart. As it got closer we could see it was dud 861 which we had travelled on on our last trip to Northwich. The bus was empty and Matthew took a picture as we boarded.

Inside Arriva NW&W 861
I think this bus must have swapped ready for the evening service. As it seemed to be a small vehicle for this service. about 5 minutes later we arrived back at the Common. direction and she just happened be on the Common. We got off and were able to get a good picture here.

861 at Sandbach Common
Mum had tried to follow the directions for Sandbach Common on her GPS but it wasn't there. She stopped to call us for directions and she just happened to have stopped on the Common next to 4489 on the #38 to Macclesfield. She could even hear us in the background. We walked over to the car and headed home. I drove NW to the M6 and then we traveled down to the A500. We listened to the Stoke match (away to Liverpool )as we traveled home and it was 0-0 still. We stopped at Longport for LPG and then drove home. We arrived home just before 17:00 and the result stayed at 0-0... Mark.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Trip to Wrexham 07-01-2012


913Wrexham BSMount Sion, Mount Sion Library (S-bound)12Arriva NW&W
831Mount Sion, Mount Sion Library (S-bound)Wrexham BS12Arriva NW&W
915Wrexham BSNew Broughton, Millfields (E-bound)13Arriva NW&W
811New Broughton, Millfields (E-bound)Wrexham BS13Arriva NW&W

Today we decided to go somewhere new. Matthew had chosen Wrexham by pointing to text on a website. Research began earlier in the week by make inquiries about the town in the Staffordshire and Merseyside Yahoo bus group. I also visited the Arriva site and under advice looked at the Taith website about a bus and rail rover that is valid in Wrexham. I printed out the Arriva Wrexham day saver area map and Arriva timetables 12-14. We set off a little after 12:00 and stopped at Longport to pick up LPG. We saw a chuck wagon on the A500 so we stopped. They were just finishing up, and only had a bacon sandwich left. We decided to give this to Matthew and we would go without until later. Back on the road the traffic was quiet and we reached Wrexham around 13:30. We were able to park on King Street opposite the bus station. We decided to have a quick walk around before we caught a bus. As we walked along the street matthew got a picture of Arriva NW&W 823.

Arriva NW&W 823 in Wrexham bus station
On advice we walked around the end of the bus station and stood outside Fat Cats cafe. This is where all the buses set down before coming into the bus station. Whilst we were there Matthew got a few pictures of buses including GHA bus AA52 GHA

AA52 GHA outside Fats Cats in Wrexham
This was quickly followed by GHA bus SB43 which was branded for an Altrincham to Knutsford service.

GHA bus SB43 outside Fats Cats in Wrexham
We then went around the other side of the bus station where there is a bus stabling point. Matthew walked down the line and took pictures of the backs of these buses. We then decided to catch a bus. There was an Arriva Dart on a service #12 so we decided to catch this. It was Arriva NW&W 913 which was required. We got on and it was nearly full as we left. The bus left town, crossing the railway line and the passing the Hospital. We then passed the Arriva Caego bus garage and a driver that had been a passenger on the bus got off. The bus continued up a hill through New Broughton and then turned to the right at a small roundabout. After a big climb up and over a hill we arrived at the loop end of the service in Brymbo where we got off. Matthew then got a picture of 913.

Arriva NW&W 913 on Offa Street
Consulting the timetable we had around 20 minutes to wait for a return. When there are 5 Arriva buses in an hour we had probably the longest time to wait we could have had. We also saw a GHA bus on the 15 service. Eventually the bus turned up and it was Arriva NW&W 831.

Arriva NW&W 831 on Offa Street
We did the bus back up and over into Wrexham and Matthew got a picture of the inside on arrival.

Inside 831
He also got another good picture of the bus outside Fat Cats.

831 outside Fat Cats, Wrexham
Whilst waiting to see which bus we were going to next we saw the Pats Coaches town link service with J854 PUD in charge.

Pat's Coaches J854 PUD o the town link service
We also saw D Jones AE07 DZB on a service to Minera.

D Jones &: son AE07 DZB on a #9 to Minera
It was then time for the next Bymbo bound bus so we went over to Stand #8 to find Arriva NW&W 925 waiting on a #13. This service take a different route via the railway station and the Coch Plas retail park. We decided not to do this bus all the way this time so we got back before it went dark. So we did the bus to the top end of New Brought to where the service split and go in different directions. Matthew got a good picture of the bus as we got off.

Arriva NW&W 915 in New Broughton
We thought we had missed the #13, but a couple of minutes later required 811 appears from around the corner.

Arriva NW&W 811 in New Broughton
We did this back into Wrexham and Matthew got a picture of the inside of this bus.

Inside 811
He noticed an odd seat, and as Matthew is obsessed with different seat moquettes he had to take a picture of this too.

The odd seat inside 811
Matthew visited the local Co-op for sweets, pop and cake. We went back to the car and Matthew had a sausage roll. At this point Matthew took a few more pictures, including M403 EFD on the Bryn Melyn Llangollen to Wrexham service.

Bryn Melyn M403 EFD on a #5 service
Before we returned to the car, sausage roll (saving the other food for later) as we left town. It soon went dark and we listened to the second half commentary on the Gillingham Stoke game on the radio. Stoke were leading 1-2 at this point and then quickly scored a third. The match ended 1-3. The traffic on the journey back was quiet and we arrived back in Stoke around 17:15...Mark