Sunday, 16 February 2014

Trip to Stanways Coaches / Copeland's Tours (UK bus Tours) 16-02-2014


41070Ladybank Grove (adj), BlurtonStoke railway station23AFirst Potteries
F33 ENFStoke railway stationStanways depotCharterStanways
J70 SWCStanways depotStanways depotCharterStanways
E930 EBCStanways depotLinley RoadCharterStanways
BIG 7013Linley RoadStoke Railway StationCharterStanways
MIB 116Stoke railway stationCopeland's Tours depotCharterCopeland's Tours
MIB 270Copeland's Tours depotCopeland's Tours depotCharterCopeland's Tours
MIB 279Copeland's Tours depotCopeland's Tours depotCharterCopeland's Tours
MIB 104Copeland's Tours depotCopeland's Tours depotCharterCopeland's Tours
MIB 615Copeland's Tours depotStoke railway stationCharterCopeland's Tours

Today was the UK Bus Tours trip to Stanway's Coaches & Copeland's Tours. No real research was done for this trip. We checked the time of the bus to get us to Stoke railways station and we checked the weather for the day which was for sunny intervals. Matthew got up around 10:00 and he a bacon sandwich for breakfast washed down with orange juice. Just after 11:00 we set off to walk to the stop so we could catch the #23A from Ladybrook Grove. As we walked towards the stop we saw it was a Marshall bodied Dart. We thought it was required First Potteries 40173. As it got closer we saw it dud First Potteries 41070.

First Potteries 41070 in Blurton
We booked to the railway station and we sat down near the back. The last time we both had this bus together was in Chester back in April 2008! The bus set off and headed through Blurton & Heron Cross. We turned left at Heron Cross ans we went through Mount Pleasant and we headed into Stoke town centre. After going around the one way system we crossed the A500 and under the railway line before pulling up outside the railway station. Matthew then took another picture of First Potteries 41070 as it headed off towards Hanley

First Potteries 41070 by Stoke railway station
There were a few people hanging around outside the railway station who looked like likely candidates for the tour, as well as a few local familiar faces. We waited opposite the railway station on some steps so we could see up the road when the bus was approaching. The bus was due off at 12:00 and around 11:50 we saw uncle Dave walking up the road to come and meet us. We carried on waiting until just before 12:00 before we saw a Stanway's bus stopped at the lights by the sixth form college. As stated on some of the original e-mail promoting the trip, the bus was former Midland Red required Leyland Tiger F33 ENF. We crossed the road and we took a picture of the bus as it pulled up.

Stanways F33 ENF by Stoke railway station
A kind gentleman let Matthew on first, so he used the opportunity to get a picture inside this bus with its 3 + 2 seating arrangement.

Inside Stanways F33 ENF
We sat down near the back and the bus filled up with the people who had been waiting outside the railway station. We had a short wait, because a train was late and we were waiting for somebody off that train. Once the gentleman had arrived we set off around 12:10. The organiser came around and collected the fares, which in this case was £12.50 per adult. The bus went onto the A500 and then we headed North. It was a good quick journey and we overtook one or two Sunday drivers as we headed towards the A34. Once we reached Talke we headed North along the A34. At the other end of Talke we continued onto the A5011 and then onto the A50. Just North of the centre of Rode Heath we came across the depot on the right hand side of the road. The bus went into the depot and we all got off. The yard seemed to consist of 3 different areas. The was a yard that contained Stanways vehicles both running and stored. In this yard was former Manns JUI 4996.

Former Manns JUI 4996 in Rode Heath
There we a few stored buses susch as F33 ENF's sister F52 ENF which was still in Arriva colours with the fleet number 1772 still visible. The also have a couple of Mercedes minibus for services such as the FO #127 Chesterton - Crewe such as VAZ 4815.

Stanways VAZ 4815 in Rode Heath
There were two other distinct areas in the yard. The was a small yard that contained mainly cars and vans, with the exception of one coach. Plaxton Paramount bodied coach E186 XKO. There was a 3rd larger yard that contains preserved buses in various states of repair. There were buses that were runners such as N983 BHE and Berresfords liveried ORS 60R.

'Berresfords' ORS 60R in Rode Heath
Also there was preserved Bournemouth 170.

Bournemouth 170 in Rode Heath
This is a bus that we had done on 'The Potteries Connection' running day back in August last year. There was a little bit of shunting going on at the time and Bournemouth 170 was moved out and a few more of the buses behind could be seen and photographed. One such bus was this Mercedes minibus formerly with Riverside in Scotland, SF03 YXR.

Riverside SF03 YXR in Rode Heath
Back in Stanways main yard we took a picture of J70 SWC which was going to be the next bus that was taken out.

Stanways J70 SWC in Rode Heath
We got on the coach and sat down and the coach left the yard before heading South. The bus turned right somewhere and we did a clockwise circuit of the local lanes before retuning back to the depot around 10 minutes later.when we got back to the depot Matthew waited for the coach to empty and then he got a picture inside the coach, another vehicle with 3+2 seating.

Inside Stanways J70 SWC
After another few minutes in the yard, They drove Stanways E930 EBC out onto the forecourt so it could be photographed in the sun.

Stanways E930 EBC in Rode Heath
Whilst we were waiting for something to happen, Matthew sat down and had a flapjack. The organiser came around and told everyone if they wanted to ride on both E930 EBC and BIG 7013, we would have to travel down on E930 EBC. The gentleman who was shunting in the yard had kindly offered to drive E930 EBC down to a nearby layby, and then drive it back to the depot. Everyone who wanted to do the bus could then transfer onto BIG 7013 for the rest of the journey back to the railway station. We got on E930 EBC and sat down. We had last done this bus back in May 2009 when it first arrived in the Stanways fleet. We did the bus about a mile or so down the road and we pulled into a layby on the A5011. We let the bus empty and Matthew took a picture inside the bus.

Inside Stanways E930 EBC
We then took a picture of BIG 7013 before we jumped onto it.

Stanways BIG 7013 in Alsager
We sat down and the bus headed South onto the A34. The coach then got onto the Southbound A500 which we did to Stoke. We came off the A500 at City Road before going onto Leek Road and pulling up outside the railway station. We could see the Copelands coach waiting for us and we knew it was going to be a required one. It was one of the pair of Ex Tappins coaches that Copeland's had acquired from Leons of Stafford. We waited for the coach to empty and Matthew got a picture inside. Again it was another coach with 3+2 seating for schools work.

Inside Stanways BIG 7013
We got off and we saw it was required Copeland's Tours MIB 116. We quickly got a picture of it before we jumped on and sat down.

Copeland's Tours MIB 116 by Stoke railway station
The coach set off onto Stoke Road an we headed up through Shelton onto the ring road around Hanley. We then went down Victoria Road and though Fenton. We did the A50 link road onto the A50 and then we headed east on the A50 towards the Copeland's Tours depot where we stopped just outside. We waited for the coach to empty and Matthew got a picture inside MIB 116.

Inside Copeland's Tours MIB 116
We also got off and got another picture of this fine coach.

Copeland's Tours MIB 116 in Meir
As we had been here before there were only a few buses & coaches to photograph that we hadn't seen before. We visited the BP petrol station where matthew used the toilet before we brought some chocolate and a can of Coke. We headed into the depot where we got our first glimpse of Copelands new service bus for the #40 service. Copeland's Tours MIB 302 has been partially painted, but still has the white and orange from its time with Procters Coaches.

Copeland's Tours MIB 302 in Meir
Another former Procters coach is MIB 229. This registration was carried by another coach last time we visited the depot.

Copeland's Tours MIB 229 in Meir
At the back of the depot on the inspection ramp was this visiting coach L530 EHD.

L530 EHD in Meir
Also here was one that we hoped to travel on later. Required MIB 104.

Copeland's Tours MIB 104 in Meir
The next coach the organiser had chosen to travel on was unusually dud. It was Copeland's Tours MIB 270. We boarded the coach and we left the depot. The last time we had this coach was a trip to Blackpool back in October 2010. The coach headed Eastwards on the and went to the outskirts of Uttoxeter on a spirited run along the A50. By the JCB world parts centre we turned onto the A522 and we headed back towards Meir through Tean and along the Blythe Bridge bypass. We got back on the A50 which we did to the centre of Meir before turning back towards the depot. Once we were back inside the depot the coach emptied out and Matthew got a picture inside this beast.

Inside Copeland's Tours MIB 270
That long run out combined with the trip to Blackpool probably means we have done over 200 miles MIB 270 now. We then got another picture of MIB 270 before it was moved back into it's usual position in the depot.

Copeland's Tours MIB 270 in Meir
A few minutes later the driver announced that were going to do MIB 278 next. We actually did MIB 279 but it didn't matter to us as both were required coaches! We got a quick picture of the coach before we climbed aboard for the next run.

Copeland's Tours MIB 279 in Meir
The bus left the depot and we headed towards the roundabout at Catchems Corner. We turned around and went West to Meir before heading North on the A520. At Weston Coyney we turned left by Park Hall and we headed to Adderley Green. We then headed down to Longton along Anchor Road before we rejoined the A50 to head back to the depot. The coach emptied and Matthew got a picture inside MIB 279.

Inside Copeland's Tours MIB 279
With MIB 279 back in position they announced the next coach would be MIB 104...Yes!!!

Copeland's Tours MIB 104 in Meir
We boarded the coach and the the coach left the yard. Time was running out so we only had a short run on this coach. Having gone up to Catchems Corner we headed back onto the A50 by going around B&Q and the Co-op warehouse along Whittle Road. We headed to the centre of Meir before turning through 180' and heading back onto the Eastbound A50 and back to the depot. At least we got to ride on this coach. The coach emptied out and Matthew got a picture inside.

Inside Copeland's Tours MIB 104
He also got another picture of the outside of the coach in the low afternoon sun before it was shunted back into it's usual parking spot.

Copeland's Tours MIB 104 in Meir
They announced the last coach of the afternoon and it was MIB 615. required by me but dud for Matthew... He had done it to Chester Zoo back in July 2010. We got a picture before we boarded the coach.

Copeland's Tours MIB 615 in Meir
The coach left the depot for the final time and we did a 180' around the roundabout at Catchems Corner before heading West into Stoke on Trent. The coach came off the A50 at the link road and then we headed to the railway station via City Road and Leek Road.

Inside Copeland's Tours MIB 615
We all said goodbye after such an epic tour and we waited for the coach to empty so he could take a picture inside MIB 615.

Copeland's Tours MIB 615 by Stoke railway station
We then got one last picture of MIB 615 before it disappeared back to the depot. We crossed over the road to wait for mum to come pick us up. whilst we waited we saw Alton Towers Transport T743 JHE on a Hanley bound service. Mum appeared and we jumped into the car. We drove along Leek road and into Fenton to drop uncle Dave off at home. As we had a busy evenings Blogging we decided to call in the chip shop on Smithpool Road to pick up some food. We headed back into Heron Cross and into Blurton passing 41500 on the #23 service. We got home around 17:00 and Matthew ate his sausage, chips and gravy. We then spent the evening Blogging and Matthew had a bath before going to bed around 23:30...Mark

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