Sunday, 25 November 2012

Trip to the Snowdome 25-11-2012


FJ10 BJXCemetery Road, SheltonSnowdome, TamworthCharterAiming High
FJ10 BJXSnowdome, TamworthCemetery Road, SheltonCharterAiming High

Today Matthew went to the Snowdome with Aiming High. He got up around 09:00 and had some toast and juice for breakfast. It was a sunny and cold day and we set off towards Shelton around 11:15. We headed to Heron Cross before getting on the Westbound A50. At the A500 we headed North until we reached the Shelton New Road. As we headed up Shelton new road we passed 40147 running towards Newcastle 'out of service'. We soon reached our destination on Cemetery Road. And we dropped Matthew off. He got a picture of his bus for the day, Aiming High FJ10 BJX before he got on it.

Aiming High FJ10 BJX in Shelton
They then set off down to the A500 and then headed South. They got on the M6 at Hanford and headed South. they then travelled South to the A449 junction. They then headed back North to a Pub called the catch Corner where they stopped to use the toilet. They got back onto the Southbound M6 which they did to the toll road. They did the M6 toll over to the junction of the A5. They then travelled into Tamworth and to the Snowdome. They had 2 session in the Snowdome doing different activities. It was dark and pictures didn't come out very well. Here is on of the pictures from the first session.

Inside the Snowdome...
After the first session they came out and ate their packed lunches. Matthew also went to the toilet. They then went back into for there second stint before returning to the minibus. As they were about to leave Matthew saw a couple of minibuses which he managed to get pictures of. First he saw Shire Travel International minibus NK51 DKH alongside there bus.

Shire Travel NK51 DKH in Tamworth
This was then joined by another vehicle, Mercedes minibus R582 DYG.

Shire Travel R582 DYG in Tamworth
They then set off towards home. They went back along the A5 and onto the M6. They then went back up the A500 to the Stoke Road junction before returning to Shelton. They got back at 16:05. We apsked Matthew if he wanted to visit Chunky Chicken for his tea as we had the Blog to write this evening. He said yes so we went up to snow hill and parked in the street adjacent to Chunky Chicken. Matthew went the toilet and we had Chicken popcorn and fries. Whilst we were there we saw 4 buses go past. 65035 went past on a #101 service. New First Potteries Solo 53405 was on a #21A and 60060 was on a #21 going into Hanley. We also saw National Express coach FJ11 GMV too. After we had finished eating we headed home. We went down Shelton New Road and then got onto the Southbound A500. We did this to the A50 and then went along Stanley Matthew Way past the Hem Heath pub. We then got home around 17:00. We then wrote the Blog for St Helens and then Matthew had a bath before bedtime...Mark

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Trip to Earlestown / St Helens 24-11-2012


2316Earlestown BSSt Helens BS34Arriva NW&W
2492St Helens BSDerbyshire Hill, adj Provident Street329Arriva NW&W
7641Broad Oak, adj Provident StreetSt Helens BS34Arriva NW&W
2349St Helens BSLaffak, Chain Lane (NE-bound)36Arriva NW&W
2349Laffak, Chain Lane (NE-bound)St Helens BS36Arriva NW&W
27770St Helens BSHolt, adj Old Lane10AStagecoach M & SL
27775Holt, adj Ivy Farm RoadSt Helens BS10AStagecoach M & SL
2350St Helens BSEarlestown BS34AArriva NW&W

Today we revisited St Helens. We didn't decided where we were going until Thursday night. We gave Matthew a few choices and he chose St Helens by showing me a picture of a Wright Renown Volvo B10 at Wigan bound for St Helens. We checked the weather the night before and it was due to be cloudy with rain in the late afternoon. Research was mainly just digging out the collection on timetables and maps we had amasses from our previous visits in July. We also decided to go to Earlestown as there is free parking and we know were we can eat and where the toilets are. Matthew got up a little after 10:00 and ate some toast for breakfast washed down with orange juice. We set off around 11:30 and we called in at Etruria to pick up LPG on the way. We rejoined the A500 and headed North to the M6. We then drove up to the M62 where we headed west for on junction to Winwick. From there we drove North to Newton-le-Willow and called in at the railway station to buy Saveaway tickets. We then drove into Earlestown and parked in the alomost empty car park. as we parked up we saw dud Arriva NW&W 2214 on a 34A service.

Arriva NW&W 2214 in Earlestown bus station
We walked down to the cafe and went in for something to eat. Matthew had a breakfast and we had sandwiches. As we came out Matthew went to the toilet. We he came out we saw South Lancs Travel K16 SLT (46) on a #603 service and required Arriva NW&W Dart 2316 on a #34 to St Helens. We walked to the bus station and we saw that 2316 was still there so we decided to catch it! Matthew got a picture before we crossed over to the bus station.

Arriva NW&W 2316 in Earlestown bus station
On the bus we flashed out tickets and mum bought a single to St Helens (£2.30). We sat down near the back and settled down to enjoy the journey. As we travelled in we saw a number of buses going the other way. 2346 was seen on a #34 and we saw 2492 on a #329 as we passed it going into town. When we go to the end of he run Matthew got a picture of the inside of this bus.

Inside Arriva NW&W 2316
We got off and then we had to decide on what to do next. We saw Arriva 2318 on either a #34 or #20 and I thought that this bus was what we were going to do. Matthew decided he wanted to visit the shop first to pick up some pop and a twin pack of Milky Ways. Back outside 2492 had come onto stand to work the #329 service. It was required so I asked Matthew if he wanted to do it and he said yes. He got a picture before we jumped on the bus and flashed the Saveaways.

Arriva NW&W 2492 in St Helens bus station
I decided it would be a good plan to do this to the roundabout where the #329 and the #34 split, and then we could chose what to get back. Behind us as we went down the hill was required Pulsar 2991 on the work service #920. We got up a stop to late, so we had to walk through a residential street to get over to the route of the #34. As we walked across we saw a Pulsar on a St Helens bound #34. When we got to the stop we knew we would have 6-7 minutes to wait for the one. going the other way was required Arriva Dart 2350 on a #34 Leigh service. 2350 is a bus that we turned down when it visited Chester from Rhyl when it used to be based there. It was just under 12 months ago, and it did seem that we would not get a chance to get this bus again when it was out of service just before the time the double deckers arrived in Rhyl to replace these Darts. After a few minutes we could see a Marshall Dart in the distance. Matthew still need a few of these so we hoped it would be one of the required ones. As it approached we saw it was indeed required Arriva NW&W 7641.

Arriva NW&W 7641 in Broadoaks
We got on the bus and sat down near the back. As we came into town we passed 7647 on an outward bound #34. We arrived back at St Helens and Matthew got a picture of the inside of refurbished Dart 7641.

Inside Arriva NW&W 7641
At this point Matthew decided he wanted to go to he toilet. As far as we knew the tardis toilet was still broke and so we went into the nearby shopping centre. We saw the sign for the disabled toilet and it was on the other side of the centre. As we walked through Matthew said hello to a few people and we walked passed mum who was having her nails done. after using the toilet e walked around the outside of the shopping centre and bcak into the bus station. As it was cold and rain was imminent w decided we needed to catch something quickly. We had let something go on the #34 and then 2349 came in on the #36 service so we decided to do this. matthew got a picture before we got on the bus.

Arriva NW&W 2349 in St Helens bus station
We sat down near the back and enjoyed the ride, when we got to the mid point of the circular I got up to show the tickets for the return journey. As we headed back into town the rain started to fall as promised. As we got back Matthew got his empty bus picture.

Inside Arriva NW&W 2349
It was now around 15:30. I spoke to mum on the phone and we decided we would have time for a quick out and back before it went properly dark. Matthew visited the tardis toilet as it had been replaced! On the #89 was required Arriva NW&W B10 2709.

Arriva NW&W 2709 in St Helens bus station
I promised Matthew we could go further West in the New Year when the nights are a little shorter. We also spotted Stagecoach 27770 on a #10A service. I asked Matthew if he wanted to do a quick out and back on this as it is a frequent service and he said yes. The bus was required as we have never done any stagecoach buses in this area. He got a picture and walked around to the correct stand to get on the bus.

Stagecoach 27770 in St Helens bus station
I had a #10A timetable and I saw the journey time to Prescott was 20 minutes. I wanted a straight out and back where i only had o cross the road to get a bus back. I wasn't sure of the layout of Prescott I decided that a good place to go would be Rainhill on the A57. After we made the right turn onto the A57 I got up so we could get off the bus. As we got off Matthew got another picture of this fine bus.

Stagecoach 27770 in Holt
We crossed the road and waited at the stop opposite. It was now raining hevily and it wasn't very pleasant waiting for the bus. Luckily we didn't have to wait for more than a coupe of minutes and then required Stagecoach 27775 appeared.

Stagecoach 27775 in Holt
We got on and sat near the back to enjoy the journey into town. As we travelled in we went near a Morrisons store. When we got there Matthew got a picture of the inside of this bus.

Inside Stagecoach 27775
Matthew went back to the tardis toilet and then we met up with mum. We crossed over into the bus station to wait for a Earlestown bound bus and immediately required Arriva NW&W 2350 reappeared on a #34A. We waited to get on the bus and then sat near the back. Matthew befriended a lady on the bus and then when we reached Earlestown bus station he said goodbye to her and we got off. He then got a picture of the bus before we returned to the car .

Arriva NW&W 2350 in Earlestown bus station
Back in the car he tucked into a sausage roll and washd it down with a bottle of Ben Shaw's dandelion & Burdock. We set off back onto the A572 and stopped at the Murco Petrol station for some petrol (LPG cars need a small amount of petrol too). We then headed back to Winwick. I accidentally turned onto the A49 instead of going down to the M62, but his leads onto the M6 anyway so it didn't make any difference. Back on the M6 we headed South to the A500. The rain was awful, but at lest we got to hear then end of the Stoke match, which was a win for Stoke (1-0 against Fulham). We did the A500 to the A50 and then we did a pass of the Z Carz depot. W344 WNS was at the depot along with T131 SGA. As we went passed BV51 BNO was arriving back and YN03 HJC was by the taxi depot. We then went past the bus station which was empty and past the end of Duke Street. We then went through heron cross before heading home. We got in around 18:10. Matthew then settled down in front of the computer whilst waiting for his tea of sausage and mash. He went to bed around midnight...Mark

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Trip to Hanley / Biddulph 17-11-2012


40375Ladybank Grove , BlurtonHanley BS23AFirst Potteries
34158Hanley BSStoke-upon-Trent, adj stop Q25First Potteries
41499Stoke-upon-Trent, adj stop RHanley BS21AFirst Potteries
V130 LGCHanley BSBiddulph, adj Somerfield Store9Bakerbus

Today we had planned on going to Uttoxeter. #4 town service, for a #32 Hanley. for a #1 to Burton. Swift Denstone. X50. Matthew had made it clear to me that he wanted to catch a bus up to Westport Lake because he went to the Traveline West Midlands portal to try and work out a bus move up there. I did no research but we did check the weather for today. It was supposed to start of wet, clearing by dinnertime for sunny intervals in the afternoon. Matthew woke up around 09:00 after the postman had knocked us up. After breakfast of toast and orange juice, he chilled out on his computer until it was time to set off. I asked Matthew which services he wanted to catch and he said he wanted to do a We walked the considerable distance to the Ladybank Grove stop in Blurton to wait for the next #23 or #23A into Hanley. As we approached the stop we could see a Plaxton Bodied Dart in the distance so we decided to run and try and catch it. We got to the corner first and we saw it was the very dud First Potteries 40003. As it was half full in Blurton e decided to turn this MPD Dart down as e envisaged it being a little full and an uncomfortable journey into Hanley. We let it go and not more than a couple of minutes later another bus approached. It was dud but virtually empty 40375.

First Potteries 40375 in Blurton
We booked a Smartday ticket and sat down near to the back of the bus. As we set off we passed new to Potteries Solo 53405 which is yet to receive a fleet number. We carried on through Blurton, eventually passing a very full looking 40003! 40003 overtook us in Heron Cross and as we were on a #23A turned let at the traffic lights onto Grove Road. A few minutes later we pulled into church Street Stoke and witnessed a short burst of bus activity. #26's passed with First 60011 and 65026 working on this service. We also saw First 66838 on a #25. Wardle Transport Solo 2546 was on a #41 and Scraggs Blue Buses was on a #31. We then went passed the railway station and up College Road to Hanley. As we entered the bus station we saw a new liveried double decker in the middle of the bus station. As we passed it we saw that it wasn't low floored 32634 but step entranced Volvo Palatine II 34158. We pulled into our stand near the bottom and Matthew coolly waited for the bus to empty so he could get an internal shot of 40375.

Inside First Potteries 40375
As we knew 34158 was out on a Newcastle turn we decided to go up and try and catch it. We were hoping it was going to on a #20 or #20A, but when we got up to the bus we saw it was on a #25 service. Matthew got a picture of 34158 in it's new livery before we got on and sat on the top deck.

First Potteries 34158 in Hanley bus station
We saw that 40151 was on a #20 service instead. We decided to do 34158 to Stoke and we could try and resume our plan of visiting Uttoxeter. Instead of eating chip on the balcony at Hanley we could have some chips in Stoke. Its a long time since we did a double decker along this route and it made a change. You could get a good view of the railway as well as being able to look over at the quarry in Fenton. As we approached Stoke we passed First potteries only other new liveried double decker 32634 on a Hanley bound #25. When we pulled into stoke we got of and got another picture of this beast with the sun in a slightly better position.

First Potteries 34158 in Stoke town centre
We then walked up to Campbell Place and Matthew sat outside the old London Grill cafe with uncle Dave whilst I brought us some chips. Matthew watched buses and took pictures. 41494 went past on a Hanley bound #21A and 41512 was seen on a Trentham bound #21A.

First Potteries 41512 on a #21A
Whilst we sat and ate our chips. First 60006 went by on a #21 to Bradeley. After we had finished our chips we went to sit at the bus stop to wait for the next #21 or #21A service towards Hanley. After a short while we could see a Caetano Nimbus Dart in the distance. We knew it would be required as we had yet to travel on one of these since their arrival. As it got closer we saw it was required First Potteries 41499. We sat down near the back to enjoy the journey. The interior of these buses looks quite nice. However, the seat don't seem to have much padding in them and feel quite hard. The Marshall's have better seats in them. We arrived in Hanley and Matthew unusually chose not to take a picture inside 41499. He did however get a picture after we got off.

First Potteries 41499 in Hanley bus station
Matthew wanted to stand on the balcony for a while. Whilst up there he spotted a white double decker stabled down the bottom end. He also saw Wardle Transport 1424 & 1648 parked up at the near end.

Wardle Transport 1424 Stabled in Hanley bus station
We had planned on doing a #1 or #4 up to Uttoxeter, but I don't think Matthew fancied doing either of these 2 buses. On the #20 was a dud Volvo single decker 66851. This was full and standing and non of us fancied a trip on this!

First Potteries 66851 in Hanley bus station
On the #21 to Bradeley was required First potteries Dart 40378 but he had is eye on the double decker. The problem is that we did not know when it was going to work. It looked like it was working for bakerbus as it was displaying #9 on it's display. In the meantime Matthew took a few more pictures such as 41495 on a 7B.

First Potteries 41495 in Hanley bus station
Whilst we waited for the double decker bus to move, we saw 2 of the new First Solo's which are yet to receive a fleet number. 53829 was on a #8B service whilst 53828 was seen on a #3 service. Just after 14:00 we saw the double decker move off the stabling area to do a lap of the old car park. As it approached we could see that ir was on a #9 so therefore working for Bakerbus. As it pulled on stand we saw it was required ALX400 bodied Volvo V130 LGC, which must be on loan to Bakerbus whilst one of the hybrids receives attention.

Bakerbus loanee V130 LGC in Hanley bus station
At this point we knew we weren't going to get to Central Forest Park today! We got on the bus and sat upstairs. We decided to o the bus to Biddulph and then meet mum there. The journey was quite pleasant in the late afternoon son, at least it made a change from always getting Hybrid 248 on this service. We trundled North through Smallthorne and Bradeley and past his old school. We passed bakerbus 246 on an opposite working. We also passed Wardle Transport 2961 on a #61 service. These are usually single decker on a Saturday and double deck during the week. When we reached Biddulph the bus pulled up outside the Co-op to allow us to get off. Matthew got a picture of the inside of this fine beast.

Inside Bakerbus loanee V130 LGC
After using the facilities in the bus station, we sat outside and waited aound for mum to arrive. We saw Bakerbus 186 on a #99 service and we also saw First Potteries 40305 on their #99 service. When mum arrived we sat in the car and ate some sausage rolls that mum had acquired from Wrights Pies in Hanford on the way up. We saw Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy get out of a car and walk off towards Tunstall around the by pass. Not sure what that was all about. We then drove off south down the A527 to Turnhurst, before doing the Tunstall by-pass down to the A500. We did the A500 until we reached the A50 which we did to Longton. In Longton we did a pass of the Z Carz depot. there was only 3 buses parked up Today. At the front of the row was V690 EBC.

Z Carz V690 EBC in Longton
We then went passed W344 WNS. It had a sticker 401 in the front window. We also saw full sized Scania coach D104 XAN which also had a 297 sticker in the front window.

Z Carz D104 XAN in Longton
We then headed down Longton Hall Road and home to Blurton. We got home around 16:00. Matthew then settled down for the evening and waited for his tea which was sausage and mash again. He then went to bed a fraction before midnight...Mark

Friday, 16 November 2012

Trip to Bucknall 16-11-2012


1649BlurtonBucknallCharterWardle Transport
1450BucknallBlurtonCharterWardle Transport

Today Matthew had a different bus to college. He got up around 07:20 and was ready for college just before 08:00. The bus usually turns up after 08:00 but the bus was late. Around 08:25 the bus turns up and it was Wardle Transport 1649.

Wardle Transport 1649 in Blurton
Matthew had seen this bus a few days earlier when it had turned up at his respite place in Bentilee. It is an O&H bodied Mercedes 614D with 9 seats. He went to college via the A5035 through Blurton to Heron cross and then onto Duke Street in Heron Cross. Afterwards they then went through Fenton. In Fenton they saw Procters TLZ 2659. They went down Victoria Road to Limekiln Bank and down to Bucknall. After college Matthew came out to see his usual bus was Wardle Transport 1450. He then returned via Limekiln Bank and through Fenton. They went via Duke Street through Heron Cross to Blurton. He got home around 16:15 and then had a short session on his computer before we went to the Black Lion for tea. The route was along the A5035 to Trentham and then on the A34 Northbound to Trent Vale. Whilst we were there we observed a few different buses. When he arrived there he saw Wardle Transport 1424. He also saw Happy Days 221 heading South down the A34. After having sausage eggs chips and bacon and ice cream for afters, we set off to pick up uncle Dave. We went down the A34 and onto the Northbound A500. We turned onto the A50 and then came off in Heron Cross. We then head down through Fenton to pick uncle Dave up. We went back through heron Cross to Blurton. We got home around 18:00 and then Matthew chilled out on his computer until bedtime getting ready for the trip out the next day...Mark

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Trip to Newcastle 15-11-2012


1321BentileeBucknallCharterWardle Transport
HIL 7615BucknallAdventure PlaygroundCharterProcters
HIL 7615Adventure PlaygroundBucknallCharterProcters
1649BucknallBlurtonCharterWardle Transport

Today Matthew was in respite. He was having such a good time that he didn't want to come home. He got up and had a wash and ate his breakfast. The bus came at 08:00 to pick him up and it was Wardle Transport 1321.

Wardle Transport 1321 in Bentilee
He set off down to the bottom of Dividy Road and headed onto the A52. They then turned into Newhouse Road and to college. At college was Procters coach HIL 7615 which was waiting to take them to the adventure playground. the set off down Newhouse Road and then onto the A52. they did this to Hanley and then went around the ring road past Tesco to the A53. Then then went through Etruria to Newcastle and then to the adventure playground. They went outside and played for a while before returning to the coach to go back to college. They headed back to Newcastle. It was here that they saw Bennetts coach SIL 6427 parked up. They then went down the A53 to Festival Park and then onto the Hanley ring road. They did this to the A52, and then they went back down to Bucknall to college. After college Matthew return to respite. This time it was on Wardle Transport 1649. The route was onto Newhouse Road to Bucknall and then past Scraggs depot before going along Dividy Road to Bentilee. Here they saw Z Carz minibus Y569 DSF. They also saw Wardle Transport 1623. For tea Matthew had fish fingers and beans with chocolate cheesecake for afters .He then had a bath and chilled out before bedtime...Mark

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Trip to Cannock 10-11-2012


2328Cannock BSChadsmoor, adj Church Street (Unmarked) failed26Arriva Midlands
2390Chadsmoor, adj Church Street (Unmarked)Cannock BS26Arriva Midlands
3602Cannock BSHednesford, Tesco N131Arriva Midlands
3741Hednesford, Tesco S2Cannock BS25Arriva Midlands

Today we decided to head South for a change, to fit around mums plans. We had been through Cannock on the 20th of October whilst on the trip to Bath. It looked quite a good place to go and also we saw Arriva Midlands DAF ALX400 decker 4791 on a #26 service. Research for this trip consisted of looking at the timetables and the Cannock day rover area map on the Arriva Midlands sitecked up. The map was downloaded to my phone so we could refer to it on the move. We checked the weather and the night before it was down as a cool day with sunshine and showers. As mum at to meet up her friends around 15:00 we decided to go early. Matt before 10:00 and he had some toast and orange juice for breakfast. We set off around 11:00 and picked uncle Dave on the way. We got on the A50 at Heron Cross and then headed South on the A500. I nearly went North out of habit but Matthew corrected me at the last moment. We then got on the M6 and headed South. When we reached the A5 we turned east and then joined the the A4601 to travel into Cannock. We sould have researched route and parking but I thought Cannock was a small place and there was no way we would miss the bus station. We spent about 30 minute circling the town to first find the bus station and then to find parking. We did eventually park in a multi-storey car park that had different rates and stayping times on different floors. We parked up and then went the wrong way around so we ended up walking 3 times further to the bus station than we needed to. We then vivted the toilet in the small shopping centre by the bus station before having dinner at The Copper Kettle cafe by the bus station. It had a great view of the bus station and we were able to look at some of the buses that we might decided to catch later. Mathew had an 8 item breakfast for £3.20 in it was great value and well cooked to boot. It was very busy though and by the time we had eaten it was close to 13:00. from what we had seen far the most interesting buses we had seen were on the #25 and #26 circulars. The next #26 in was Arriva Midlands Centro 3738 which Matthew didn't really fancy doing.

Arriva Midlands 3738 in Cannock bus station
The next #25 was dud Arriva Midlands 2328 which Matthew decided to do.

Arriva Midlands 2328 in Cannock bus station
This was Matthews 3rd trip on this bus having done it as D&G 30 just before selling there North Staffordshire operation to Arriva Midlands, and just after it had been taken into the Wardle Transport fleet. We got and and purchased our cannock day saver tickets at £4 each. This was the first time we had seen this bus since being repainted in Arriva Interurban colours. It had also been refurbished with the latest moquette as it used to look like this.

Inside Arriva Midlands 2328 back in D&G days
We sat down near the back pf the bus and settled down for the journey. As we sat down we noticed Arriva Midlands Plaxton Pointer Dart 2330 on a #32 Hednesford service. The plan was to do a complete circuit of the #26 and to view Hednesford 'bus station' with a view to possibly doing a move to there later. We set off Northbound out of town towards Hednesford through a quiet residential street. We had done around a mile when we pulled up in the street to let a passenger off. As we were just about to stop the engine cut out dead on the bus. The driver let he passenger off and then attempted to re-start the bus. The engine turned over but it would catch. After two or three attempts the lady driving the bus phoned the garage for assistance. Arriva Midlands 3604 went the other way on a #25 service. We waited for around 15 minutes and then the following #26 pulled up just in front of us. It was Arriva Midlands Dart 2390, a bus which we had travelled on back in July 2009 when it was a Burton allocated vehicle. Matthew got another picture of Arriva Midlands 2328 as we walked up to get on 2390.

Stricken Arriva Midlands 2328 in Chadsmoor
And I got a picture of 2390 as we walked up.

Arriva Midlands 2390 in Chadsmoor
We got on the bus and settled down towards the back. As there were 2 buses worth of passengers on this dart it was a little cosy to say the least. There 3 pushchairs and a couple of shopping trolleys on the bus and at certain stops people had to get off and back on again to let the pushchairs off. We eventually got back into Cannock around 14:00. When we got off Matthew waited for the bus to empty so he could get a could shot of the inside of this colourful bus.

Inside Arriva Midlands 2390
There seems to be flurry of activity in Cannock bus station on the hour. Volvo B10BLE 3610 with it unusual interurban/standard livery mix was seen on a Wolverhampton bound #70 service.

Arriva Midlands 3610 in Cannock bus station
I decided that we could probably fit in a quick trip to Hednesford and back if we didn't hang around. Arriva Midlands 3738 was on the next #26 and Matthew didn't fancy that. As we were wondering what to do we saw Arriva Midlands B10BLE 3602 on a #31 to Hednesford. We decided to do this having never been on one of these despite there being one at that often does the We waited for the driver to ready the bus and Matthew got a picture as he waited.

Arriva Midlands 3602 in Cannock bus station
We got on and sat near the back. The journey up to Hednesford was different than the #26 and it went via the hospital. The journey didn't take more than about 20 minutes and then we got off and Matthew got another picture before it carried on to Rugeley.

Arriva Midlands 3602 in Hednesford bus station
Once we were off the bus we had to consider which bus to catch. We saw Midland 2559 across the road which departed almost immediately.

Midland 2559 in Hednesford
We also saw Arriva Midlands MPD Dart 2290 going back on a #31 which we could have done if we were quicker. Whilst we were there matthew took a picture of the new Tesco that is being built. According to local press it will be open on the 26th of November. There was a #26 due at 14:30 but it didn't seem to turn up. maybe this was a knock on effect of 2328 failing earlier. We decided to cross the road to see when the next #25 was due. There was one at 14:42 and there was a #32 at 14:45. We saw 3741 appear and we thought that it was on a #26 but it was on a #25 so we stood at the appropriate stop and Matthew got a picture.

Arriva Midlands 3741 in Hednesford
As we got on Arriva Midlands 2330 made an appearance again on the #32. Had we had known what we were doing we could have done this bus instead. We travelled down to Cannock on 3741 which was virtually empty as you would expect on an inbound bus at this time of day. When we got back, the bus emptied out and Matthew got his empty bus picture.

Inside Arriva Midlands 3741
As we got off the bus we saw Atrriva Midlands 2328 in the bus station. This must have been restarted and therefore it was only something minor which caused the failure earlier. We then went to the toilet in the shopping centre and matthew and mum whet to buy some sweet from a shop opposite. We walked back to the car and Matthew had a sausage roll and a drink of Cherryade. We put on the car radio to listen to the stoke match and then set off back towards home. We got back on the #4601 which we did down to the A5. mum had arranged to meet her friends at a pub near two truck stops on the A5 and we stopped to let her out. I didn't actually check to see if she got in the other car safely, but as I didn't get an irrate phone call I assumed all was well. We then carried on along the A5 to the M6 which we did Northbound to Junction 15. Matthew was a little unsettled so we asked him if he wanted to pass the Z Carz depot as it was still light. We did the A519 and Whitmore Road to Trentham. We then did the a34 and the A5035 to Longton. We passed the depot which was quite full and he got a few pictures. First was Mercedes minibus BV51 BNO.

Z Carz BV51 BNO in Longton
Further down the row was coach V690 EBC and an airport minibus DL03 HHU.

Z Carz V690 EBC & DL03 HHU in Longton
We then carried on passed Longton bus station. There were a flurry of PMT scania's on #6 and #25 services. These were 60058/073/176/61553. We then down Victoria Road to Hanley and past the bus station we saw 41495 and 41514 woking and 2 of the 3 Bakerbus hybrid double deckers. We went down to Bucknall and on to Adderley Green. in the First garage was 53830 which has yet to receive a fleet number. We then saw Tyrers coach TYR 4R outside a pottery on Sutherland Road. We then headed back on the A5035 to Blurton. We stopped at the McColls shop for a drink and some chocolate before getting home before 17:00. He then had sausages and potatoes for tea and settled down for the evening before bedtime...Mark

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Trip to Wigan 03-11-2012


34292Wigan BSNorley Hall, Norley Hall Avenue/Ambleside (N-bound)621First Manchester
31903Norley Hall, Norley Hall Avenue/Ambleside (N-bound)Wigan, Wallgate/North Western Stn (Stop B)621First Manchester
34296Wigan, Wallgate/North Western Stn (Stop D)Pemberton, o/s House 563 Ormskirk Road/Enfield Street‎628First Manchester
4105Pemberton, o/s House 563 Ormskirk Road/Enfield Street‎Wigan BS375Arriva NW&W
30586Wigan BSPemberton, o/s House 563 Ormskirk Road/Enfield Street‎628First Manchester
30586Pemberton, o/s House 563 Ormskirk Road/Enfield Street‎Wigan BS628First Manchester

Following the announcement of the sale of the First Manchester depot, today we decided to visit Wigan. With a lot of the fleet clearly past there best, we thought it unlike many of the vehicles based at Wigan would be repainted or even last very long once the take over takes place. We checked the weather and the overall forecast for today was for rain. However between 14:00 and 17:00 it was down for cloudy so hopefully we wouldn't get wet. Matthew got up around 10:30. He didn't go to sleep until 04:00, probably due to the fact he was really looking forward to a return trip to Wigan. After toast and orange juice for breakfast we set off around 11:45. We set off to Heron Cross where we joined the Westbound A50. We then went North along the A500 to Shelton, where we diverted to Etruria to get LPG. There was a bit of wait to fill up and we set off from Etruria around 12:30. Onto the westbound A53 until we rejoined the A500. We then went North along the M6 and it was quiet for the first week for a while. We made good time on the motorway and we came off at the A49 junction to drive into Wigan. We decided to stop for petrol at Sainsbury's as we were virtually empty! After a quick stop we carried on into town. As we went into town we spotted 3 step entranced double deckers. 31903 was seem coming off Ormskirk Road on what we assumed was either a #621 or a #628 service. 34028 emerged from near the pier on a #632 service. We then saw 34292 emerge from under the Bridge by the railway station on a #621 service. Parking in the usual spot was busy so we parked near the Uncle Joe's mintball factory. We walked up Dorning Street and onto Hallgate where we went into the cafe where we usually eat. Matthew visited the toilet and then had a breakfast. The hash browns were an unusual shape, not dissimilar to a large fish finger! After dinner we walked up to the bus station and took a few pictures whilst we waited for mum to pay the bill and catch up. Matthew saw and photographed required Arriva NW&W 4106 on a #375 service.

Arriva NW&W 4106 in Wigan bus station
We then used the toilets in the bus station As we came out we spotted a NC bodied First double decker over by the #621 stop ans it was 34296. So that was at least 4 step entranced buses out today when we only usually see 1 or 2. I asked Matthew if he wanted to do required First Manchester 34292 and he said yes. We went over and booked our system one bus only tickets which have now gone up price to £5. We went upstairs and Matthew got his picture of the inside of the bus.

Inside First Manchester 34292
We sat on the bus and we saw 34296 arrive on a #628 service. As we set off we passed another double decker. It was dud First Manchester 31923. We now knew of 5 double deckers out, and there were 2 on which we had never been on before. beside 34292, 31903 and 34292 were required. we picked up 31923 in September this year and 34028 was a regular in Bury and we had been on it on 3 separate occasions between 2010 and 2012. We headed off towards Pemberton and as we were about to round the corner into Norley Hall Avenue we saw another double decker. It was required First Manchester 30586. We decided to get of by the shops in Norley Hall so that we could make an assessment of what order the buses were running in. We got off adjacent to Ambleside and got a picture of this fine beast.

First Manchester 34292 in Norley Hall
We decided to cross the road and wait by the Co-op to see what turned up on the next #628. It was required First Manchester 60159 but we decided to turn it down on this occasion. We then saw required 34296 on the other side of the road on a #621 service. We were now starting to build up a picture of which buses were running and in what order. Having at least 12 minutes to wait for another bus in any direction we visited to Co-op. Matthew chose a can and bottle of Coke and a chocolate cake. There was a small queue so it took a few minutes to get served and Matthew said hello to the lady on the adjacent till before we left. Having seen 30586 on a #628, we decided to cross back over to the Ambleside stop to wait for the next #621 which we though might be 30586. First Manchester 31923 appeared on the other side of the road on a #628 service. After a few minutes we saw a bus appear on the horizon whhich we though might be 30586 but as it got closer we saw it was required First Manchester 31903. Matthew got a picture of the bus as it approached.

First Manchester 31903 in Norley Hall
It was 2 down 2 to go at this point. We knew 30586 was behind us and we knew for definate that 34296 was 1 bus in front of us in the circuit. As we carried on a round we noted the buses as we passed them. somewhere near Wigan Pier we passed 34292 which we had been on earlier so knew 34296 should be on the next #628 service. To be sure of getting 34296 we decided to get off near Wigan North Western railway station. As we got off Matthew got another picture of 31903.

First Manchester 31903 outside Wigan NW station
We got off 31903 and crossed the road. We saw First Manchester 40386 on a #628 and we also saw Derek Ball Neoplan coach W889 MOT outside North Western station. After only a couple of minutes 34296 appeared from around the corner as expected.

First Manchester 34296 outside Wigan NW station
As we set of anticlockwise around the circuit, we passed Arriva NW&W 4103. Matthe got a picture of the inside of this bus.

Inside First Manchester 34296
We had booked to Ormskirk Road so we sat back and enjoyed the journey. Making further observations as we went around, we worked of that the last required double decker bus on the circuit was 2 buses behind us, 1 behind 31903. this equated to doing the full circuit and waiting 24 minutes for the bus to appear. We thought we could get off on the Ormskirk Road and catching something different in so we didn't have to wait as long in Wigan bus station. We rounded the corner from Norley Hall Avenue and then got off on Ormskirk Road. We didn't have to wait long for a bus to appear. It was an Arriva double decker with a 2 in 6 chance of being required. with 4103 and 4106 being out of the way, we had slightly reduced odd of it being required. As it approached we saw it was required Arriva NW&W 4105.

Arriva NW&W 4105 in Pemberton
So that was 4 buses and 4 scores! We sat down for the journey in and we passed the dud and noisy Arriva NW&W 4104 which we had back in August. Mum called as I was about to text her and we arranged to meet up at the bus station. When we reached the bus station, Matthew got a good picture of the inside of this bus.

Inside Arriva NW&W 4105
Back in Wigan we had 20 or so minutes to wait for 30586. We met up with mum as we had arranged and we had a quick toilet stop, followed by a drink of Barr Cherryade and a Greggs sausage roll. As 34028 was parked up in front of us on the #632 he managed to get a good picture of this.

First Manchester 34028 in Wigan bus station
We had 10 minutes or so to take pictures. Another required step entranced double decker appeared. 34296 whizzed up through the bus station and we didn't see what it was on. We decided to concentrate on 30586 anyway so we carried on taking pictures as we waited. 31903 was on stand for the #628 and we saw saw 30586 arrive. As is often the case when a bus cant get on its stand it does a lap or so of the bus stations and parks up somewhere until it can. Whilst e waited Matthew got a picture of Arriva NW&W 2676 on a #362 service.

Arriva NW&W 2676 in Wigan bus station
31903 set of around 16:18ish and immediately 30586 did another lap of the bus station to get onto stand P. As it came past the bottom of the bus station Matthew got a picture of this Palatine II Dennis Arrow.

First Manchester 30586 in Wigan bus station
It was 16:23 and we had to wait until 16:30 for departure. Before we left matthew got a picture of the inside of this bus.

Inside First Manchester 30586
When it moved we had manage to get a ride on as far as I know both of Wigans serviceable Dennis Arrows with Palatine II bodies. We decided the best thing to do was to just do a complete lap of the circuit. The bus was due back in Wigan at 17:08 so there didn't seem any point in getting off to wait somewhere for 12 minutes when the complete journey time was 38. As we went around darkness fell over Wigan. We got back on time and it was pretty much dark, especially in the floodlit bus station. As we always do we decided to do a quick sweep of the bus station and surrounding areas as we walked back to the car so we could take pictures. First Manchester 40395 was stabled awaiting time on a #658 service to Leigh.

First Manchester 40395 in Wigan bus station
We walked down Hallgate and got a couple more pictures of 60142 and 60390. There was nothing parked on Dorning Street which was a tad disappointing, and so we went to the car and Matthew ate another sausage roll washed down with a bottle of Fanta. We set off down Frog lane before turning left and heading back towards Wigan Pier past the Wigan Coachways depot. We got back onto the A49 and then went around wigan Pier so that were heading South. We then headed down to the M6 at junction 25. We then headed South straight down to the A500 at junction 16. It was then southbound on the A500 until we reached the A50. We then drove along Stanley Matthew Way and past the Hem Heath pub to Blurton. We parked up and got into the house around 18:30. We had sausage carrots and potatoes for tea and then we took Uncle Dave home around 21:00. We then settled down before bedtime...Mark.