Sunday, 26 February 2012

Trip to Altrincham / South Manchester 25-02-2012


17624Altrincham TINorthenden, Britannia Hotel/Stop E370Stagecoach Manchester
19405Northenden, Palatine Rd/Northenden Health Ctr (Stop F)Altrincham TI41Stagecoach Manchester
P420 MEHAltrincham TILymm, opp Lymm Cross38Warrington Coachways
46Lymm, o/s Lymm CrossAltrincham TI5Network Warrington
2242Altrincham TISale, Cross Street/Dane Road (N-bound)263Arriva NW&W

Last week whilst we had been covering the #130 Macclesfield - Manchester service, Matthew had expressed a wish to go on to Manchester. With the centre of Manchester being very busy we decided to go to Altrincham so we could cover the buses Matthew is interested in. Research consisted of downloading all the Manchester area Arriva Timetables, and asking on the Dennis Dart Forum which service were most likely to be Dennis Darts. We set off just after 12:00 and it was a fine sunny day and quite mild for the time of year. We pulled up in Victoria Street in Atrincham and stopped for a snack. After we had eaten mum headed off to the Trafford Centre where we were going to meet up with mum later. We walked down to the transport interchange and Matthew used the facilities before we stood next to the interchange to decide what bus to do next. A Stagecoach Manchester AlX400 pulled in on a service #370 and surprisingly Matthew decided he wanted to do this. Matthew had never done a Stagecoach bus before and therefore it was required. Before we boarded, Matthew got a picture.

Stagecoach Manchester 17624 in Altrincham
On the bus Matthew went onto the top deck and took a picture of the empty upstairs.

Inside 17624
As we didn't know what route the #370 took I had to download the timetable and have a look where we were going. As we Headed Eastwards we passed through Timperley village, There is a stenciled picture of Frank Sidebottom on a shop as you enter the village on your right hand side. We worked out the buses past just East of Northenden so we decided to get off at the Britannia Hotel stop. We got off and Matthew was able to get another picture of this bus.

17624 outside the Britannia Hotel, Northenden
We crossed the road and waited for the return service. We crossed the road and waited for the return bus. An empty bus pulled up just before another bus appeared and there was a driver change. It was on a #41 to Altrincham via Sale. We decided to do this service and as it was only our second stagecoach bus this was also required. We got on and sat at the front of the upper saloon. As we arrived in the bus station Matthew got a picture of the top deck of this bus too.

Inside Stagecoach Manchester 19405
As we were getting off Matthew spotted a Plaxton bodied Mercedes minibus in the distance. I think Matthew realised what it was straight away as he was pointing to it as we got off the Stagecoach double decker As we got closer it became apparent to me it was an Ex First PMT/Potteries minibus (50077) now running for another operator and it was required. I knew Matthew would want to ride on this so I asked the driver where the bus was going and how far could we do it on our system one tickets. We sorted out the tickets and we got on. The bus still had First Purple and green seating and pink doors. With the aid of a gentleman on the bus we got off at Lymm to wait for a return bus and Matthew got a picture.

Warrington Coachways P420 MEH in Lymm
I checked the timetable on the stop and as we had about 20 minutes to wait we visited the Sainbury's local shop for snacks and lottery tickets. We then waited for the bus sitting on a big rock in the town centre. The return Network Warrington bus was a few minutes late and when it turned up it was required 46. Matthew got a picture before we boarded.

Network Warrington 46 in Lymm
Whilst we traveled back, worked out that if we were going to meet mum that we had to be on either the 16:15 #247 or te 16:25 #18 service. I wasn't sure if we would make the 16:15 with us being a bit late so i was relieved when we arrived in Atrincham around 16:12. Matthew got a picture of network Warrington 46 as we got off the bus.

Network Warrington 46 in Altrincham
Matthew used the facilities as we proceeded to wait for the 16:15. The bus appeared to be a little late so we were able to take a few pictures whilst we waited. one such picture was 19479 returning from when we had it earlier in the day.

Stagecoach Manchester 19479 between duties
A little concerned I asked a passenger at stand A if he was waiting for the #247, to which he replied 'yes'. Then an announcement came over the tannoy say that the 15:45 departure 247 for Eccles hadn't arrived and neither had the 16:15. The announcement said that there had been 'an incident a Davyhulme and a bus was being dispatched from the depot to work the next service in 5-10 minutes time'. With the information at hand and the fact that Arriva Dennis Dart 2242 had just come in on a #263 we decided to abandon our original plan and do the #263 just of sale to meet a different service to the Trafford Centre. The was no driver in 2242 so whilst we waited Matthew got a picture.

Arriva NW&W 2242 in Altrincham
The driver appeared and we jumped on the bus. After a swift journey up the A56 and North through Sale, we got of the bus on Cross Street. Matthew got a picture as we got off this bus.

2242 just North of Sale
We then met up with mum as arranged. We head anticlockwise around he M60and then got on to the westbound M56. Traveling Via the A556,M6 and A500 we arrived home at a little after 18:20...Mark

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Trip to Macclesfield 18-02-2012


2746Macclesfield BSMonks Heath, opp Alderley Park Nursery130Arriva NW&W
2239Monks Heath, adj Alderley Park NurseryMacclesfield BS130Arriva NW&W
4042Macclesfield BSMacclesfield Coare Street10Arriva NW&W
858Macclesfield opp Coare StreetMacclesfield BS10Arriva NW&W
2747Macclesfield BSMonks Heath, o/s Tiger Lily130Arriva NW&W
2745Monks Heath, crossroads (E-bound)Macclesfield BS130Arriva NW&W

Today we had decided to go to Macclesfield. He had already chosen to go to Macclesfield before we even went to Shrewsbury last weekend, writing it down on Uncle Dave's calender for him. He had also seen a photo of a Manchester allocated dart on the internet which he fancied a ride on. Planning consisted of looking at the Manchester service timetable which down loaded from the arriva site. Somewhat disappointingly there isn't an Arriva town map for Macclesfield and there isn't a town map on Cheshire East website either! We set of around 12:00 and we chose to travel to Macclesfield via Leek. We stopped at the roadside truck on the A520 just before Cheddleton and we purchased bacon oatcakes and a sausage bap. We arrived in Macclesfield around 13:20 and we parked up near the bus station. on of the first buses we saw was an ALX400 double decker.Which Matthew got a picture of.

Arriva NW&W 4042 leaves Macclesfield on a #10
Shortly followed by a Bowers Optare Solo 333 which was on a #60 to Disley.

Bowers 333 leaves Macclesfield on a #10
We then saw a precession of Arriva NW&W short Darts such as 858 and 886. Just before 14:00 we walked around to the other side of the bus station and saw 4489 on a #38 to Crewe. Then the 130 from Manchester came in and it was a required Envir300 2746. Slightly disappointingly it was not a Dart. Whilst we waited for the bus to depart at 14:15, we saw Clowes Coaches T459 JRH on the #108 to Ashbourne. We decided to do this to the stop by Astra Zenica as it was a dead time at Alderley Edge. The journey was quite quick, especial after we had passed Broken Cross and we were heading out along the A537. After turning right at the A34 Monks Heath crossroads, we went up the road around 1/2 a mile to Astra Zenica. Matthew got a picture after we got off the bus.

Arriva NW&W 2746 outside Astra Zenica
We crossed the road to wait for the Southbound #130. It was sunny, but as it was very wind it felt really cold! We had around a 10 minute wait and then we saw a Dennis Dart appear from around the corner. As it got closer we could see it was required 2239. Matthew got a picture as it approached.

Arriva NW&W 2239 outside Astra Zenica
When we got in the bus station, Matthew got a picture of the inside of this Manchester allocated Dart.

Inside 2239
After doing 2239 on the #130, we had around an hour to kill if we didn't want to go straight out on 2239. We went to the toilet at the bottom of mall Street and we took a few more pictures when we got back to the bus station. Of note local was Arriva NW&W 7628 which was on a #14 service. we also saw Arriva 4490 on the #38. eventually ALX400 double decker 4042 reappeared on the #10 to Bollington, so we decided to do this whilst we waited for the next #130. Matthew got a picture of the empty top deck as we boarded this bus.

Inside 4042
Bizarrely, it appeared to leave early, but it must have been just clearing the stand. We went out of the bus station and did a circle of the town, passing the railway station before going back on stand. we then left at 15:35 on time and we went around the town again albeit talking a different route. At the bottom of a steep hill we turn left onto Bell Lane. I decided to along here a couple of stops and we would hopefully be able to get a bus back into town in time for the 16:15. Matthew got a picture of this fine bus as we got off.

4042 on Bell Lane
We then crossed the road to a stop and there was a gentleman waiting here. I asked him if there was a bus due and he said one was due any minute, so I had made a good guess as to where to get off. After a couple of minutes, dinky Dart 858 appeared and we did this back into Macclesfield bus station. At this point I texted Matthew's mum to tell her that we would probably be back at the car around 17:10. I immediately had a call back and she asked me if I could get back any earlier. So I arranged to meet mum at the Monk's Heath crossroads, so we could head home South along the A34 afterwards. The bus appeared and it was another enviro 300, required 2747. We had a short wait and then we set off towards Monk's heath at 16:15. We got off at the first stop after we turned right and then Matthew took a picture.

Arriva NW&W 2247 at Monk's Heath Crossroads
I called Matthew's mum to see where she was and her friend answered to tell me they had made a mistake somewhere and they were heading towards Buxton! She asked if we could get back to Macclesfield and we would meet there, and so the move to cover the fourth bus on the #130 was on. The only problem was, there was not a stop opposite and we didn't know where there was a stop close by. We crossed the road and then headed back towards Macclesfield on the A537, hoping we would find a stop before the bus passed us. Luckily, we didn't have to go far. The stop was somewhat hidden by the hedgerows, but it was only about 100 yards from the crossroads. The stop is adjacent to a chicken shed, which has the weakest sounding chicken I have ever heard! Instead of the usual cock-a-doodle-do this chicken lets out a very high pitched wheeze which sounded like heh-h-heehee-hee. If you ever find yourself at the Monk's Heath crossroad's (E-bound) stop, listen out for this chicken... After around a 10 minute wait another Enviro 300 rounded the corner. As it came close we saw it was required 2745. As it approached Matthew didn't get the shot because his batteries went in his camera. When we got back to Macc, Matthew took a picture of the inside of the bus, the flash went off as it was starting to go dark, especially under the canopy of the bus station.

Inside Arriva NW&W 2245
As we left the bus station, we could see that the view over to 2745 was clear and so he was able to get a picture afterall.

2245 in Macclesfield bus station
We got back t the car around 17:15 as we were a little late. We were greeted with the usual sausage rolls which we quickly disposed of. We set off home and we passed the Moss Rose as we left. The Aldershot coach was parked up outside the ground, and they had just beaten Macclesfield Town 0-1. As we headed towards leek darkness fell, and by the time we had dropped off Matthew's mum friend, we got home around 18:15...Mark

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Trip to the Black Lion 15-02-2012


MIB 797Heron CrossLongton Hall Road40Copelands Tours
66838Longton Hall RoadTrent Vale, adj Woodlands Rd22First Potteries
40377Trent Vale, opp Black LionHanford opp Man in Space21First Potteries
40146Hanford opp Man in SpaceBlurton Road, Blurtn22First Potteries
40171Blurton Road, BlurtonHeron Cross23First Potteries

Today was Matthew's first trip out on a bus whilst staying at his new respite place. I organised a PA to go to meet Matthew and a member of staff from the place, and created a 4 page document on what buses to catch and where to catch them. The first bus that I organised for Matthew to catch was a Copelands Tours Dennis Dart on the #40 service. This can be one of two Ex PMT step entrance buses with MIB 783 being the most common and MIB 797 putting in a few less appearances. He has been on both of these buses before but not for a year or two so I thought it would be nice for him to travel on one of these buses again whilst he still can. Whilst waiting he saw First PMT 40139. Today it was the turn of MIB 797 to work the service and Matthew got a picture of this before he boarded it.

Copeland Tours MIB 797 in Heron Cross
The next bus I planned for him to get was the #22A turn which unusually brings a long bus onto the run or even sometimes a double decker like 31519. The bus misses out going through the hospital so it can be any length of vehicle. Due to the work being carried out on the hospital sight nothing longer than regular dart can work a #22. More often a Scania, Whilst waiting for the bus Matthew saw Dennis Dart 40144 going towards Longton. today it was a Volvo. It was dud 66838 and Matthew got a picture of it before he boarded.

First PMT 66838 in Longton Hall Road
Matthew got off in Trent Vale and then went to The Black Lion for his dinner. He had his usual from the 2 courses for £6.50 menu which was washed down with a glass of Coke. On the return I had planned for Matthew to stagger his journey and to get in some different buses. I had planned for Matthew to get a AG Scania or Dart to Trentham, for a NE 40153 Dart or 40017 Solo to Blurton, for a AG Dart into Heron cross. After his dinner he walked across the road to wait for the #21 or #21A, whichever came first. It was a #21 which I had planned but it didn't produce a Scania which I had hoped for. Matthew has had the majority of AG's alloaction of Darts but very few of their Scana's. It was however a required bus, Dennis Dart 40377. Matthew got a picture before he boarded.

First PMT 40377 in London Road
After this short journey he got a picture as he got off, With the blind now set ready for the last bit of the loop and it's return journey North.

40377 opposite the Man in Space
At this point he had around a 20 minute wait. He saw UVG Dart 40745 heading North presumably on a #21A.

First PMT 40745 on a Hanley bound #21
He also saw the following #21 which I had not out down for him to catch as the timing was too close with only two minutes before the #22 was due. It was required Scania 60062.

First PMT 60062 on the follow #21 Trentham
A couple of minutes Later the #22 turn up, It was an ALX200 Dart which Matthew quite likes and it was also required. Matthew got a picture of 40146 before he boarded.

First PMT 40146 on the #22 Longton
Matthew now only needs 1 bus to complete the whole allocation of, As he got off in Longton Hall Road, he got another picture of this bus. He also saw Dennis Dart 40143 Heading towards Newcastle on a #22 First PMT ALX200 Dennis Dart.

40146 on Longton Hall Road
Having got of the Longton bus, they crossed over Blurton road to wait for the bus back to Heron Cross. It turned up a few minutes later and it was dud Marshall Dart 40171, which he a picture of before he boarded.

First PMT 40171 on Blurton Road
Back a t Heron Cross he walkedback to the new respite place. As he got back he saw Wardle Transport minibus 1626 and he got a picture of this bus too.

Wardle Transport 1626 in Heron Cross
He also saw Wardle Transport 2531. The respite place report that Matthew was superb whilst he was out and that he really enjoyed himself...Mark

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Trip to Shrewsbury 11-02-2012


2722Harlescott, opp TescoShrewsbury BS25Arriva Midlands
2706Shrewsbury BSBayston Hill, opp Cedar Close Jct25Arriva Midlands
2309Bayston Hill, opp Cedar Close JctShrewsbury BS25Arriva Midlands
2310Shrewsbury BSBayston Hill, opp Cedar Close Jct25Arriva Midlands
2310Bayston Hill, opp Cedar Close JctHarlescott, opp Tesco25Arriva Midlands

After last weeks trip to Stafford, Matthew had indicated to us that he wanted to ride on more buses from the same batch as Arriva Midlands 2307. Matthew found a picture of the inside of 2309 and told us he wanted to go to Shrewsbury! Research consisted of asking on the Staffordshire and Merseyside Yahoo bus group about the likely working of 2309 and the other bus from that batch which Matthew hasn't been on 2310. Somebody answered and told me it would most likely be seen on either services #1,#24 or #25. So as preparation for the trip I printed out the Arriva Shrewsbury map and all the relevant timetables for the trip. We set off around 12:20 today. It was a cold day and the sun was trying to come out, but the temperature was around freezing. We stopped at Jim's butty bar on the A53 just South of the Muller roundabout. We all tucked into Bacon or sausage sandwiches which were very nice. I realised at this point I had come out in my Stoke City coat! I don't usually travel outside of Stoke with my coat just in case someone takes offence. After one last push on, we had no tractors on the road in front of us so we parked up at Harlescott around 13:40. We used the facilities at the park and ride stop, before walking down to the other stop which is the Northern terminus of the #24 & #25 routes. A Required Arriva Midlands 2722 was already parked up nearby, and by the time we walked down to the stop it pulled up and Matthew got a picture.

Arriva Midlands 2722 at Harlescott
As the bus headed South, we picked up more passengers on the way. We passed 2706 near the Arriva garage, and then we caught a bit of a break. As we approached the town centre, we passed target 2309 heading North on a #25. This means that if we got off at Shrewsbury, the bus would be approximately 30 minutes behind us. We also saw a route branded Dart turning right which could be 2310 turning right into Castle Street , but we did not know if this was 2310 or what service it was working. As we got off in Shrewsbury the bus had emptied out so Matthew could get a picture of the inside of this bus.

Inside 2722
At this point we knew that all we had to do was wait, and we should get 2309 with a bit of luck. Whilst we were waiting we could take a few bus pictures. Arriva Midlands 2367 came in, a dart on which Matthew has ridden on before out of Oswestry, albeit in a different Livery.

Arriva Midlands 2367 in Shrewsbury bus station
We also saw Tanat 290 for the first time. Last time we were here that majority of the services were being worked by Leyland Lynx's.

Tanat Valley 290 in Shrewsbury bus station
It was getting very cold so we decided to break up the wait by taking a #25 South. The next one that came in was of course required Arriva Midlands 2706. We got on the bus and we headed South. The bus picked up more passengers before we headed down Wyle Cop and over the English Bridge. just passed the pumphouse we passed a branded Dart, but we didn't get a good look at it. Further South near Meole Brace we passed another ex Park and Ride bus 2703. As we headed towards Bayston Hill, Matthew was able to get a picture of the back of the bus as it emptied out.

Inside Arriva Midlands 2706
We got off and Matthew was able to get a picture of 2706.

2706 in Bayston Hill
A few minutes after we got off we heard a bus coming. It was 2706 again. Apparently the bus does a circle of the estate and passes the same stop twice! Within a few minutes, as we predicted and hoped required 2309 appeared and Matthew got a picture.

Arriva Midlands 2309 in Bayston Hill
We got on and booked back into town. In jest the driver said he wasn't sure if he should let us on the bus with me being a Stoke City fan. So target acquired, we headed North on the bus to Shrewsbury. I had wondered if the bus we had seen just after 14:00 in Shrewsbury had been 2310 and it was on a #1, when would it return to the bus station. I calculated that if this was true that it would probably arrive in the bus station about 20 minutes after we arrived on 2309. We arrived in the bus station and the bus had emptied out, so Matthew was able to get a picture of it empty.

Inside 2309
After getting off we walked around the outside of the bus station and then prepared to wait for 2310. As we got to where we were going to wait, 2310 appeared in the bus station and it was on a #25 to Bayston Hill!

Arriva Midlands 2310 in Shrewsbury bus station
After getting a picture, we raced around to Stand E to board the bus. This was a resulting getting both of these buses on he same trip! We then headed south as we had done on 2706. It all made sense at this point. The bus we passed as we arrived in Shrewsbury was 2310 and it was on a Southbound #25. We had also passed it at the Pumphouse when we were on 2706. As we headed South we thought about what to do for the rest of the afternoon. If we did this to Bayston Hill and back to Harlescott it would be near 17:00 by the time we got back into the car. I decided to take a risk and get off at the stop we did before. If 2310 did the same as 2706 did, we could get off, get a picture and get back on the bus to head home. we got off at that stop as planned and Matthew got his picture of 2310.

2310 in Bayston Hill
Sure enough as before, a couple of minutes later 2310 reappeared and much to amusement of the driver we got back on. The bus filled up and then emptied in the town centre. It filled up again at the bus station and mum got on after I arranged with her where to be and at what time to be there. At the Harlescott terminus the bus was empty again and Matthew got a picture of the inside of this fine bus.

Inside 2310
We then got off and matthew got one last picture of "Boy Barrett" 3210.

2310 in Harlescott
We then had a quick toilet stop before we st off North. I caught the last couple of minute of the disappointing 2-1 loss to Fulham. We stopped in Shawbury to have fish and peas (not pickled eggs as it said on the receipt). filling up with LPG at Longport, we arrived home around 18:20. I'd like to say thank you to everyone who gave me information about these buses which made the trip go so smoothly :-) ...Mark

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Trip to Stoke / Hartshill 09-02-2012


1450BlurtonAbbey HultonCharterWardle Transport
GN53 EZTAbbey HultonNewcastleCharterBlackfriars
GN53 EZTNewcastleAbbey HultonCharterBlackfriars
1450Abbey HultonBlurtonCharterWardle Transport
40138Ladybank Grove, BlurtonNewstead23First Potteries
40138NewsteadStoke railway station23First Potteries
66841Stoke railway stationStoke-upon-Trent, adj St Dominic's School25First Potteries
60176Stoke-upon-Trent, adj Richmond StreetChurch Street, Stoke26First Potteries
66851Church Street, StokeStoke railway station25First Potteries
2279Stoke railway stationStanley Matthews Way500Wardle Transport

Todays was another PA traing day. Matthew started the day around 07:45 with his usual transport in the form of Wardle Transport 1450.

Wardle 1450 in to Abbey Hulton
He arrived at college around 08:50. later, he went out on GN53 EZT, one of the minibuses from college on a trip up to Newcastle and back around 12:00. He returned home on Wardle Transport 1450 and arrived home around 16:00. As arranged the PA turned up at 20:00. The weather was forecast for rain turning to snow some time in the evening. The plan was to emulate the move we did on Monday which worked our really well. After the long walk up to the bus stop ,dud First Potteries 40138 was on the #23 tyrn which we did out towards Newstead. The bus emptied out and Matthew got a picture of the inside of this ex Chester beast.

Inside First Potteries 40138
I got up and booked tickets back towards Stoke railway station. The bus made good time, and we passed 40154 heading towards Blurton on the #23A just outside Stoke. In Stoke, unusually we passed a Hanley bound #25. We got off the bus outside the railway station and Matthew got a picture of 40138.

40138 outside Stoke railway station
Right behind us at this point was that Hanley bound #25 which was 66841. i had thought it was an early bus at this point. Matthew want to use the toilet so we went into Stoke station to use the facilities. We arrived back at the Stoke bound stop at 20:49, which was after the Keele bound #25 should have been. The thinking that 66841 was running early was dismissed when another #25 turned up with ALX200 Dennis Dart 40152.

40152 on a Hanley bound #25
At this point we realised that the move might still be on as 66841 was the late running #25 and we hadn't missed it. Shortly after 40152 headed up to Hanley, 66841 returned on the Keele bus.

66841 outside Stoke railway station
It had gone 21:00 now, and the #26 should have already set off from Newcastle. I thought that if we went through Stoke and we hadn't passed the #26, we could get off in Harsthill and hopefully still catch it. We did make it through Hartshill without passing the bus so we got off and Matthew took a picture of the Volvo.

66841 in Harthsill
We crossed the road and waited for the #26. It was about 21:10 now and it was obvious the bus we were waiting for was a couple of minutes late. It eventually turned up and it was required Scania 60176. As we got off Mathew took a picture of this bus.

60176 in Stoke town centre
We crossed the road and waited at the stop for the #23. As we checked the time it looked certain that we had missed this bus. This would mean that we would get to ride on ALX200 Dennis Darts 40152 and 154. Both buses aren't required but Matthew quit likes these vehicles. We crossed the road to the Hanley bound stop for the #25. 40152 pulled up opposite on the Keele bus, and a minute or so later, dud 66851 appeared on the Hanley bound #25. We did this to stoke station where we got off and Matthew got a picture.

66851 outside Stoke railway station
We now had a wait of around ten minuted in which we would see 40154 on the #23 also appear before the #500 service. Sure enough it did turn up and Matthew got a picture.

40154 outside Stoke railway station
We did give Matthew the chance to do this but he turned it down in favour of seeing what turned up on the #500. This turn out to be the right thing to do as the bus that appeared on the #500 was required Wardle Transport Dennis Dart 2279, Which was formerly D&G 11. This is the first time we have had one of these ex D&G buses on the #500. When we left the railway station it was damp and cold, but by the time we got on to Stanley Matthew way the temperature had plummeted and there was a heavy frost starting to form. We got off at the end of Stanley matthews Way and Matthew got a picture of 2279.

Wardle Transport 2279 on Stanley Matthews Way
We then had a short walk home. It took longer that usual as Matthew had developed a fascination with breaking up frozen snow as walked home. we arrived back in the house around 22:10...Mark