Monday, 28 April 2014

Trip to Bucknall 28-04-2014


1404BlurtonBucknall Newhouse RoadCharterWardle Transport
1404Bucknall Newhouse RoadBlurtonCharterWardle Transport

Today was Matthews first day back at college after the Easter holidays. It is also the day many local time table changes occur. From the today Midland classic will take over the running of the #402 service. They will also operate the new #403 service which is a partial replacement for the old #428. We got up at around 07:30 and Matthew had an orange juice whilst he waited for the college bus. The bus usually turns up just after 08:00, but we had a text message telling us that the bus had broken down and they were going have to send another bus out. I left for work around 08:40 and mum stopped with Matthew waiting for the bus. whilst he was waiting Matthew read Buses magazine, had some toast and then put his computer on. The bus eventually turned up at 10:40, over 2 hours late! It was required Wardle Transport 1404.

Wardle Transport 1404 in Blurton
We got on the bus and sat down. The bus set off through Blurton, picking up a few clients on the way before turning into Longton Hall Road. The bus then went around Longton past the bus station, before heading up Anchor Road. The bus turned left in Adderley Green and into Bentilee. We then came off dividy Road and went along ruxley Road and onto the A52. The bus then went down Newhouse Road and into college. For dinner Matthew had sausage and chips with beans and cake & custard for afters. Matthew went the toilet and then had after lessons. At home time Matthew went out to find that his usual bus hadn't been fixed and Wardle Transport 1404 was again working the service home. The bus went onto the A52 and through Bucknall and onto Dividy Road. They went up to Adderley green and down Anchor Road into Longton. The bus headed into Normacott to drop someone off before going back onto the A5035 towards Blurton. The bus dropped someone else off in Newstead and then into Trentham to drop another person off. The bus then headed back into Blurton along the A5035 and Matthew got home around 16:15. As I thought the bus might be a different one I took the camera out so Matthew could take a picture. He took a picture of the inside of the bus.

Inside Wardle Transport 1404
He also took another picture of the back of the bus as it set off into the distance.

Wardle Transport 1404 in Blurton
Matthew chilled out at home and I made him tea of Chicken in BBQ sauce with potatoes and carrots. For afters he had a cake bar. He then chilled out on his computer until bedtime around 23:00...Mark

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Trip to Cannock / Bloxwich 26-04-2014


3606Cannock BSBrownhills, Silver St (Stop BC)33Arriva Midlands
2157Brownhills, Warren Place (Stop BE)Bloxwich, Bloxwich Park (Stop BB)23Arriva Midlands
3702Bloxwich, Bulls Head (Stop BP)Cannock BS1Arriva Midlands
2292Cannock BSHednesford BS32Arriva Midlands
3795Hednesford BSCannock BS25Arriva Midlands
3797Cannock BSBloxwich, adj Park Rd1Arriva Midlands
3702Bloxwich, Bulls Head (Stop BP)Cannock BS1Arriva Midlands

Today we decided to re-visit Cannock. We had been keeping an eye on the weather and it appeared that the weather might be a little better to the South. Also, on the way to Hinckley last week we saw an interesting Dart working on the #23 Bloxwich - White Horse Road service. That was Arriva Midlands 2414. We gave Matthew a list of places to visit and as we wrote Cannock / Brownhills on the board I think the addition of a new location to visit helped him make the choice. Once the decision had been made I had a look at the Arriva Midlands website for buses in and arround the Brownhills area as well as looking at the Centro website for buses in Brownhills. This was going to be Matthew first venture into the West Midlands... Matthew got up around 10:00 today, having toast and orange juice for breakfast. We set off a little bit later today, but it didn't matter too much as it was a shorter journey and we didn't need to pick up any LPG. Just after 12:00 we set off onto the A5035 and down to the A34. We headed North to Whitmore Road and then onto the M6 at Junction 15. Traffic was heavy but moving well. Going North up the M6 was Berry's coach WA05 JWU. We passed through the roadworks from junction 13 and we came off at the A5. We passed by both of the truck stop cafe's today as we were eating in town. We turned off the A5 and did the last few miles into cannock town centre, parking in the long stay multi-storey car park. We did the lift down to the shops and we visited the toilet before walking through to the bus station cafe. Here Matthew had a eight items breakfast with an extra round of toast washed down with a can of Vimto. As we ate we watched the buses and we saw Arriva Midlands 3618 on the #70 to Wolverhampton and Select 7 on the #67 service. After we had finished eating we sai goodbye to mum and walked into the bus station. As we came down the steps we spotted required Arriva Midlands 3606 enter the bus station. It was on the #33 to Walsall so we decided to do this bus.

Arriva Midlands 3606 in Cannock bus station
We got on and today we booked a Midland Day Saver as we were going further afield at £6.20. We got on the bus and we sat down at the back after Matthew had said hello to someone on the bus. The bus was quite full so he took a picture of the empty back seat behind us.

Inside Arriva Midlands 3606
The bus set and we headed out of town towards Tesco before carrying on into Norton Canes. We left familiar territory and carried on towards Brownhills. Just before we crossed over the A5 we saw the Chasewater Railway on the left hand side. We got onto the A5 and we turned at the next junction. we then carried on South until we hit the High Street on Brownhills. We got off on the third stop which is on the quieter end of the road near to Farmfoods. After we had got off Matthew took another picture of Arriva Midlands 3606 before it went off into the distance.

Arriva Midlands 3606 in Brownhills
The High Street is quite a busy road so we walked down to the crossing and we went to the stop nearby. It was just after 14:15. There was a #23 to Bloxwich at 14:34 and a #33 back to Cannock at 14:39. Whilst we were waiting we were able to a few pictures of some unfamiliar buses. First we saw National Express West Midlands 1758 on a #10A to Walsall.

NX West Midlands 1758 in Brownhills
In the distance we could see NX West Midlands double decker buses turning a both ends of the High Street. This was the #936 to Birmingham that did serve the ends of the High Street but not where we were standing. This turned out to be the #936 service This was followed by Rotala Diamond 30821 on a #56 to Birmingham.

Diamond 30821 in Brownhills
Whilst we were waiting we decided to have a little bus stop picnic. I gave Matthew a choice of pop to drink and he chose Irn Bru. A few minutes later we saw National Express West Midlands 1760 on a #10 to Walsall.

NX West Midlands 1760 in Brownhills
Going North was National Express West Midlands 1787 on a #10 to Burntwood.

NX West Midlands 1787 in Brownhills
Finally, required Arriva Midlands 2157 appeared on the #23 to bloxwich.

Arriva Midlands 2157 in Brownhills
He is were thing went a little awry... We got on the bus an as we were outside of Staffordshire I needed to purchase another ticket. If we decided to stick with Arriva we needed one ticket. I we wanted a multi-operator ticket we needed to buy two. I was in a bit of a flap and I got on the bus and asked if the Black Country Saver was valid from here. Unfortunately English wasn't the drivers first language and he ended up show me all the day ticket option on the ticket machine. I ended buying 2 Black country Day savers even though I wasn't sure they were usable in Brownhills. I also paid with a £10 note and to my surprise it seemed that Wednesfield depot buses don't give change... Note to self 1: Make sure you know what ticket you need before you get on the bus. Note to self 2: when traveling in the West Midlands make sure you carry plenty of change! The bus was empty so Matthew got a picture inside Arriva Midlands 2157.

Inside Arriva Midlands 2157
We sat down and the bus carried on up the high street. When we got to the big roundabout we did a left and headed South towards Pelsall. This is a very suburban area of the West Midlands with large open spaces between the housing estates. We carried on through another couple of estates before we started to head North into Bloxwich. The did went along the full length of the High Street before terminating in a parallel street by a small ornate park area. We got off and Matthew got another picture of Arriva Midlands 2157.

Arriva Midlands 2157 in Bloxwich
There were a couple of other buses parked up in front of us. First we saw National Express West Midlands 1772 on a #89 to Walsall.

NX West Midlands 1772 in Bloxwich
In front of that was National Express West Midlands 1776 on a #29 to Walsall.

NX West Midlands 1776 in Bloxwich
Matthew indicated that he wanted to got to the toilet and there what looked like a toilet block. It was a toilet block. It looked a little grim, but a least there were toilets here. We saw an unidentified Arriva double decker turn the corner into Wolverhampton Road. We looked at the information at one of the bus stops to see were we had to be to catch a bus up to Cannock. We found that the bus went to stop B( which was on the opposite side of the road to the park. A quick check of the timetable revealed that the bus was due on the hour and it was 14:57. On the other side of the road was National Express West Midlands 1757 on a #89 to Wolverhampton.

NX West Midlands 1757 in Bloxwich
It wasn't long before we saw an Arriva bus approaching. It was dud Arriva Midlands 3702.

Arriva Midlands 3702 in Bloxwich
We flashed the Arriva Day saver and we sat down near the back of the bus. We last had this bus up to Hednesford back in january 2014. The bus set off North up the A34 and into Staffordshire. We passed through Great Wyrley and we then crossed over the A5 and the M6 toll road. We did the last few mile into town and then then bus empty out a little. as we went to get off the bus Matthew got a picture of the empty rear end of Arriva Midlands 3702.

Inside Arriva Midlands 3702
We got off and Matthew got another picture of Arriva Midlands 3702.

Arriva Midlands 3702 in Cannock bus station
If we wanted to get more than another 2 buses in we had to catch something fairly quickly. We couldn't see anything particularly interesting that we could catch, so we decided to walk around and take a few pictures. Select buses 2 was On the #67 to Wolverhampton.

Select 2 in Cannock bus station
We also saw a white Enviro 300 parked on the outer edge of the bus station. This was former Webberbus WA09 FHK, running on trade plates.

Select WA09 FHK in Cannock bus station
We turned around to see required Arriva Midlands Dart 2292 was on a #32 to Hednesford. We took a picture before walking over to catch the bus.

Arriva Midlands 2292 in Cannock bus station
We flashed the Arriva Day Saver to the driver and we sat down near the back. The bus set off towards the hospital and through Chadsmoor, before running into Hednesford and crossing over the railway line. We got to the bus station such as it is and we got up to get off. Matthew took a picture of the now empty Arriva Midlands 2292.

Inside Arriva Midlands 2292
We got off and Matthew took another picture of Arriva Midlands 2292 before it returned towards Cannock and Brownhills.

Arriva Midlands 2292 in Hednesford bus station
The next #30 something service wasn't now due until 15:55. In the meantime brand new required Arriva Midlands 'Pye Green circular' branded bus 3795 made an appearance on the #25 so we decided to get this in and get back to cannock quickly to catch another couple of buses.

Arriva Midlands 3795 in Hednesford bus station
We got on the bus and it was empty, so Matthew got a picture inside Arriva Midlands 3795.

Inside Arriva Midlands 3795
The bus set off through town and we turned of Cannock Road into Moss Street. We then rolled into town along Old Hednesford Road, before getting into the bus station. When we got to Cannock, it was quiet so we decided to go for a toilet stop. After using the facilities in the shopping centre we walked back to the bus station to see what we could catch. Arriva Midlands 2735 was on a #60 to Lichfield, and another one of the new buses Arriva Midlands 3797 was on the #1 to Walsall, which we decided to do down to Bloxwich.

Arriva Midlands 3797 in Cannock bus station
We got on the bus and sat down near the back. The bus was already quite full so an opportunity to take a picture inside did not present itself. We set off out of town and across the A5 and M6 toll. We carried on South along the A34. and through Great Wyrley. We headed out of Staffordshire again and into the West Midlands and then Bloxwich was upon us. We got off by the Park, perhaps a stop too soon and Matthew got another picture of Arriva Midlands 3797 as it carried on South to Walsall.

Arriva Midlands 3797 in Bloxwich
We walked through the park past a very ornate fountain and up to the toilet block. After doing his business we had around 15 minutes to to wait for a bus and so we decided to visit and of licence on the corner of Wolverhampton Road. Matthew chose some pop and chocloate and then saw the sweet bags at 2 for £1. With the ticket problems and lack of change on the bus it turned out to be quite an expensive day... We went over to stop BP to wait for the return bus and we took a few pictures as we waited. One such bus was Diamond 20519 on a #326 to Bilston.

Diamond 20519 in Bloxwich
We also saw Arriva Midlands double decker 4854 arrive in town and stop by the park. We didn't have to wait much longer for the bus, but unfortunately it was Arriva Midlands 3702 for the 2nd time today!

Arriva Midlands 3702 in Bloxwich
We got on the bus and I'm sure that the bus driver recognised us from earlier in the day! We sat down near to the back of the bus and the bus headed North out of town along the A34. We carried on into Staffordshire and over the A5 / M6 toll junction. We carried on up the A34 for the last mile into town and into the bus station. This time the bus completely emptied out and Matthew took another picture inside this bus.

Inside Arriva Midlands 3702
Mum was waiting for us in the bus station, and Matthew wanted to take a couple more pictures before we left. Arriva Midlands 3756 was about to work a Lichfield service.

Arriva Midlands 3756 in Cannock bus station
As we walked towards the car park another of the new buses rounded the corner and we saw Arriva Midlands 3792.

Arriva Midlands 3792 in Cannock bus station
We walked up to the car up the step and mum took the lift. At the car we had Greggs sausage rolls and Matthew washed this down with some Irn Bru. We drove out of town and down to the A5 which we did to the M6. It was now raining hard as we headed North up to junction 15 and we passed City Cabs GN08 DCZ on the way. It cleared up as we got back into Stoke-on-Trent. We headed down Whitmore Road and onto the A34. We then we up towards Longton on the A5035. In Longton we stopped at Z Carz there were surprisingly 6 buses, and so soon after the end of Stoke City's match at home today. First coach in the row was former Alton Towers Transport coach M534 RSO.

Z Carz M534 RSO in Longton
Next to this was VW minibus OV05 WSW.

Z Carz OV05 WSW in Longton
Then we had former Ausden Clark Van Hool bodied coach CNZ 3828.

Z Carz CNZ 3828 in Longton
Parked in front of Mercedes minibus M372 NWN was LDV minibus DS51 ZJU.

Z Carz DS51 ZJU in Longton
Finally, a relatively recent arrival in the fleet is ford minibus GL04 CVE.

Z Carz GL04 CVE in Longton
We turned the car in Willow Row and then we headed back onto the A50. We turned at Heron Cross and went through Blurton passing First Potteries Dart 40376 on a #23 service to Hanley. Today we got home at a little after 18:00. For a late tea Matthew had bangers and mash with carrots followed by a lemon meringue. He then chilled out on his computer before going to bed at around 00:30...Mark

Friday, 25 April 2014

Trip to Trent Vale 25-04-2014


60193Magdalen Road, BlurtonHanford, adj Mayne Street22First Potteries
60175Hanford, adj Mayne StreetTrent Vale, adj Riverside Road22First Potteries

Today we were meeting up with mum in Trent Vale for tea. Matthew got up around 09:30 having toast and orange juice for breakfast. I had been popping out to see what buses were working on the various #22 or #22A turns to see if any of the buses were required. by dinner time I had seen that required First Potteries 60175 was going to be out on the 15:20 from Longton - Newcastle. For dinner we had half of a large omelet each and some fries. By just after 14:00 I had also seen that required First Potteries 60193 was also out on the #22A, and this bus would be returning to Newcastle on the 15:05 departure from Longton. We got ready and left the house just after 15:00. It had been raining for most of the afternoon but at this point it was just damp. In the distance we saw D&G 171 working the Blurton Plumline towards Hanley. The bus was due just after 15:15 and bang on time it rounded the corner into Magdalen Road.

First Potteries 60193 in Blurton
We got on the bus and booked to Trent Vale. As the bus was empty at the back, Matthew took a picture inside as we got got on.

Inside First Potteries 60193
We sat down and then bus set off onto the A5035. In Trentham we turned into New Inn Lane, passing required First Potteries 41494 o a #21A as we did. Further up the road we passed required first Potteries 40367 on a Trentham bound #21. This helped to make the decision to get off in Hanford. Further into Hanford we passed dud First Potteries on on of the other #22 turns. When we got to the A34 we got up and rang the bell. we got off and Matthew got another picture of First Potteries 60193 as it carried on towards Newcastle.

First Potteries 60193 in Hanford
Whilst we waited in Hanford there was quite a bit of bus and coach related action. We had followed first Potteries 40383 down Church Lane onto the A34, and then we saw dud First Potteries 65033 on a Stafford Bound #101.

First Potteries 65033 in Hanford
We then saw required First Potteries 41494 agai on the #21A to Hanley.

First Potteries 41494 in Hanford
On a Trentham bound #21A was dud First Potteries 41500.

First Potteries 41500 in Hanford
On the other side of the A34 we saw Leons Coach Travel tri-axle coach 205 going Northwards.

Leons Coach Travel 205 in Hanford
First Potteries 40367 was the next bus due on the #21, but required First Potteries 60175 appeared on the #22 so we decided to do this.

First Potteries 60175 in Hanford
We got on the bus and booked to Trent Vale. Once again the bus was empty at the back and Matthew got a picture inside this bus.

Inside First Potteries 60175
We sat down near the back and the bus turned through 180' and onto the Northbound A34. As we headed North we saw First Potteries 40367 on the following #21 service. We decided to get off in Trent vale to try and get this bus. We crossed over the A500 and we headed north up the A34. When we got to riverside we rang the bell and got up to get off. Matthew got another picture of First potteries 60175 and First Potteries 40367 pulled behind it.

First Potteries 60175 in Trent Vale
We weren't able to go on 40367 as it pulled off before we could get to it. The school opposite was unusually open this and the extra people getting on 60175 had delayed Matthew getting a picture. As we had missed the Dart we decided to walk to the pub. Matthew was about to get a picture of the other #22 turn, which was 60015 but it was on the other side of the road and he couldn't get a picture. However, we turned and saw required First Potteries 65035 going North on a #101 to Hanley.

First Potteries 65035 in Trent Vale
We were crossing the A34 at the junction of London Road, when Matthew brought to my attention a coach on London Road. We crossed the road and before the traffic started to Move on London Road Matthew was able to get a picture of Aimée's coach KAZ 777.

Aimée's KAZ 777 in Trent Vale
We went around to the front of the pub and we saw Copeland's Tours MIB 536 going North. We were unable to get a picture due to someone walking past at the same time! We went into the pub and Matthew sat down whilst I got some drinks. Mum arrived just after 16:00 and Matthew had his usual meal of 2 sausage, egg, chips and beans with extra bacon and two rounds of bread and butter followed by toffee sponge pudding and ice cream. Whilst we were eating our meals matthew spotted a double decker on the #101 so we went outside to take a picture. It was required First Potteries double decker 32634 on a Stafford bound #101.

First Potteries 32634 in Trent Vale
After we had finished we called uncle Dave and Matthew spoke to him on the phone to tell him we were coming around. We drove onto the Southbound A34 and onto the Northbound A500. We did this to the A50 which we did into Heron Cross. We headed into Fenton and picked up uncle Dave. We went back up to Heron Cross and into Blurton. We got home at a little after 17:15. Matthew then chilled out at home watching MTV Rocks and bus DVD's. He then chilled out on his computer until bedtime around 00:00...Mark