Saturday, 6 December 2014

Trip to Lichfield / Burntwood 06-12-2014


YJ59 PKCLichfield BSPipehill, Opp Pipehill Farm35BCentral Buses
JJD 411DPipehill, Adj Pipe MarshBurntwood Town Centre, Adj Victory Avenue66Central Buses
JJD 411DBurntwood Town Centre, Adj Victory AvenueLichfield BS66Central Buses
YX63 ZXKLichfield BSFreeford, Adj Horse and Jockey PHX55Central Buses
BU12 LJOFreeford, Opp Horse and Jockey PHLichfield BSX55Central Buses
CUV 220CLichfield BSBurntwood Town Centre, Adj Victory Avenue66Central Buses

Today we decided to re-visit Lichfield. Earlier in the week we had found out that Central Buses were operating their two Routemaster buses on the #66 Lichfield - Burntwood service as a 'Vintage running Day'. It would also give an opportunity to get some of other buses they operate in the Lichfield area. Matthew got up around 10:15 today and had toast and orange juice for breakfast. research consisted of looking at the timetables online for the #35B, the #66 and the X55 services. We also looked up tickets. The Central Buses Staffordshire Day bus ticket costs £5 and cover these three service thought for an entire day. Today we set off around 12:15. We saw First Potteries 60068 on a Longton bound #22 service before we drove onto the A5035. We did the A5035 to the end on the A34 and then we turned South towards Stone. Just South of Trentham we passed First Potteries 65035 on a Hanley bound #101 service. We passed around the outskirts of Stone before turning left onto the A51. As we headed South through Colwich we passed Arriva Midlands 3764 on a #825 to Stafford. Just North of Rugeley we headed off the A51 to visit the chip shop just off Green Lane as we had done on our previous trip to Lichfield back in August 2014. Matthew had a large sausage chips and gravy. Due to a bit of an ordering mix up it took nearly 20 minutes to get the food but they were really nice chips! We ate the food in the car and then we headed back up to the A51 and we carried on going East. We skirted the North end of Rugeley and then carried on towards Lichfield. We then passed Arriva Midlands 3760 on another #825 to Stafford. When we got closer to town we passed Midland Classic 1 on a X12 to Sutton Coldfield service. We also saw one of the Routemasters turn off the road ahead of us on the 13:55 departure to Burnwood. We pulled up in the car park behind Lichfield bus station around 14:00. After we had parked up used the toilets at the end of the bus station, we had around 20 minutes to take pictures before our first bus. On an X65 to Tamworth we saw dud Arriva Midlands 3003.

Arriva Midlands 3003 in Lichfield bus station
There were also five coaches parked up in the bus station today, presumably visiting on Chritmas shopping trips. First in the row off three adjacent to the bus stops was former Brighton & Hove coach Viking R501 HUF.

Viking R501 HUF in Lichfield bus station
Behind the Viking coach was Airshuttle Neoplan coach X7 OPC.

Airshuttle X7 OPC in Lichfield bus station
At the back of the row of three coaches was Alan Davies Travel's tri-axle coach A2 ADT.

Alan Davies Travel A2 ADT in Lichfield bus station
We then got a picture of the first bus we were going to catch, Central Buses Solo YJ59 PKC.

Central Buses YJ59 PKC in Lichfield bus station
This service was worked by a single bus and only departed every two hours... If we were going to get all 5 buses in for the day we had to catch this bus first. We had some time still before it was due to depart, so we went to take picture of the remaining two coaches on the end of the bus station. Closest to the car park end of the row was Warrington's of Ilam Bova coach OIJ 721.

Warringtons of Ilam OIJ 721 in Lichfield bus station
Behind this was another Bova bodied coach, Eclipse EXZ 7243.

Eclipse EXZ 7243 in Lichfield bus station
As we waited for the Central Buses Solo to be readied for service, Arriva Midlands 3733 arrived on their competing #35 service.

Arriva Midlands 3733 in Lichfield bus station
We also saw the other of the two Routemasters on the #66, required Central Buses CUV 220C.

Central Buses CUV 220C in Lichfield bus station
We were letting this bus go for now as we had plans to get this bus in later... When YJ59 PKC was ready for service we got on and purchased a Staffordshire Day ticket at £5 as we had researched earlier. We sat down and at 14:23 as timetabled the bus set off out of town. It soon became apparent why this service was worked by a Solo. We passed through the Darwen Park housing estate which consists of Large expensive looking Georgian style town houses with green spaces and narrow roads. We had to stop and reverse at one point because a motorist came around the corner a little too quickly and was able to reverse into a parking space. The bus was nearly empty in front of us so Matthew took a picture of the bus in front of us.

Inside Central Buses YJ59 PKC
We came out of the estate at the Southern end nest to a large Waitrose supermarket we turned onto Limburg Avenue and then we turned Westwards onto the A461. The plan was to catch the bus to where the road splits from the A5190 and then to walk back to the A5190 to catch the #66 towards Burntwood. When the bus turned we got up and then driver didn't see us and went a stop further down the road! Matthew honked the horn before we got of the bus and then he took another picture of YJ59 PKC as it headed off towards Walsall.

Central Buses YJ59 PKC in Pipehill
We set off on foot back towards the A5190. We weren't 100% sure we were where we had planned to be (albeit a stop further up the road) so I tried unsuccessfully to use my phone to get our location. We got to the main road and we could see bus stops on opposite sides of the road. The road was busy and we didn't have the timetable on us. I assumed the 14:25 had long gone and that we might be able to catch the inbound bus that would form the 14:55. So we crossed the road by the roundabout and set off the hundred and fifty or so yards to the Lichfield bound stop. pretty mush as we got to the stop we turned and saw the late running 14:25 to Burntwood whizz passed running approximately 15 minutes late! There was quite a bit of bus activity along this stretch of road. We saw a Dart (possibly Arriva Midlands 2277) go past on a #15 service as well as a Cannock bound Wright bodied bus. Going towards Lichfield was dud Arriva Midlands 3741.

Arriva Midlands 3741 in Pipehill
It had now gone 14:55 so we had to assume that the 14:55 had already gone past and was on its way back towards Burntwood. We saw Arriva Midlands 3733 in the distance turn the corner towards Brownhills on the #35 service to walsall. We crossed the road to wait for the 14:55 to Burntwood. We didn't have to wait for too long before we saw a routesmaster climbing the hill out of Lichfield. As it got closer we saw that it was as expected required Central Buses JJD 411D.

Central Buses JJD 411D in Pipehill
The bus pulled over and we got on the bus through the open rear platform and went straight upstairs. The bus started up and we carried on along the A5190. Considering how common Routemasters are, this was only the 3rd one on which we have traveled, the other two being RML 2518 at the Newcastle 80 celebration and RM 467 at the POPS rally in May 2012. We continued to Burntwood Green before turning left to head towards Chasetown. The bus was quite bouncy as it went towards Chasetown over some speed bumps. There was a small child at the front of thee bus that bumped his head on the side window. He seemed to enjoy this as he continued to try and bump his head and his dad had to put his had between the boys head and the glass to stop him from doing it again op purpose! At the end of Queens Street we turned sharp right into Chasetown High Street. This time the lad really did give head an bang and cried for a few minutes. Obviously not as much fun as he thought it would be. At the top of the High Street we turned North Eastwards for a short wuhile before going West along Bridge Cross Road and through the main crossroad in Burntwood. We carried on West along cannoack Road before turning North onto Ironstone Road. A few hundred yards along we turned right onto High Street and the Right again onto Rugeley Road. We then approached the crossed road from a different side before turning left to go back towards Lichfield. After as short run on the A5190 we got back onto Chasetown High Street before doing the sharp left turn back onto Queens Street. We carried on towards Burntwood Green and we took on a few more passengers. I heard the conductor say that the last journey from Lichfield back to Burntwood was 17:10 and this information stuck in my head for later use. We carried on through Pipehill and into town before running towards the bus station along the Friar. We passed the other bus in town around 15:42 which must have been running around 15 minutes late. We came into the bus station from the North end and onto the bus stand. We let the bus behind us empty and Matthew got a picture inside Central Buses Routmaster JJD 411D.

Inside Central Buses JJD 411D
We got off the bus and we took another picture of Central Buses JJD 411D.

Central Buses JJD 411D in Lichfield bus station
We had 3 buses left to get in on our Centrel Buses bus ticket. There were 2 buses on the X55 service and the other Routemaster which had only just left town towards Burntwood. As the first of the X55's was due off in less than 10 minutes we decided to go after these 2 buses. Already on stand ready to work the 15:55 was Central Buses YX63 ZXK.

Central Buses YX63 ZXK in Lichfield bus station
We got on the bus and we flashed our Central Buses Staffordshire Day ticket. As it was empty Matthew took a picture as we got on the bus.

Inside Central Buses YX63 ZXK
We didn't have the timetable for this service, but I remember reading that the service was booked to Leave Lichfield at 25 and 55 minutes past the hour and the bus from Tamworth left at 20 and 50 minutes past the hour, with an approximate journey time of 20 minutes. I worked out if we traveled for around 5 minutes out of town we should probably make the other bus coming the other way. At 15:55 the bus left town and we turned left into Upper St John Street. We turned left onto the A51 and we ran along side a section of disused canal. After we had crossed the A38 we saw there was a pub and bus stops on opposite sides of the road. I decided to get up and get off here. Matthew took another picture of Central Buses YX63 ZXK as it continued towards Tamworth.

Central Buses YX63 ZXK in Freeford
We crossed the road and we didn't have to wait for more than a couple of minutes before we saw another Central Buses bus approaching. As it got closer we saw it was required Central Buses BU12 LJO.

Central Buses BU12 LJO in Freeford
We got on the bus and we flashed out Staffordshire Day ticket. For once everything seem to have worked out how it supposed to! The bus carried on Westwards along the A51 before turning right into Upper st John Street. We went under the railway and we turned right again before entering the bus station. The bus pulled up on stand and we waited for the bus to empty so that Matthew could get a picture inside the now empty Central Buses BU12 LJO.

Inside Central Buses BU12 LJO
There was only one bus left to get in for the day for Central Buses, and that was the remaining Routemaster CUV 220C. We had around 10 minutes before the bus was due inti the bus station, so we went to the toilet and after Matthew had a bottle of Fanta and a Curly Wurly from out of the trip bag supplies. After he had finished we saw required Arriva Midlands 2702 on a #62 service to Cannock.

Arriva Midlands 2702 in Lichfield bus station
Arriva Midlands Centro 3733 made another appearance on the #35 to Walsall, as did Central Buses YJ59 PKC on the #35B to Walsall. A few minutes later that last bus that we wanted came into the bus station, Central Buses CUV 220C.

Central Buses CUV 220C in Lichfield bus station
We waited for the bus to empty and then we got on the rear platform and went upstairs. I thought that it was the 16:25 departure, but looking at the timetable when we got this later departure is not due to go until 16:40. The bus loaded and then sat there for a while. I couldn't understand why it hadn't departed... The bus set off when it was due to at 16:40, although I did bot know this at the time. The plan was to do one round trip before going back to the car... The bus went through the town centre and onto Walsall Road. We joined the Westbound A461 and then onto the A5190. It was now fully dark... We entered Burntwood Green and we turned left towards Chasetown. On Queen Street we made the tight right turn onto Chasetown High Street before heading though Burntwood along Bridge Cross Road / Cannock Road. It was around 17:00 and we passed a Lichfield bound #60 service being worked by a Wright bodied Arriva Midlands bus. The Arriva bus turned out of Rugeley Road left into Bridge Cross Road. As we headed around the loop of the service the conductor asked us where we were going. I said we were just going back to Lichfield. He said "We've got a bit of a problem... The bus only going to Sankey's Corner and then terminates before running back empty!" Oh!... Drat... He talked to the driver and he told he could possibly drop us off somewhere on the way back to Lichfield but he couldn't take us back into town. As we had seen the #60 turn the corner we thought we could catch one of these back and the conductor thought that there was one 5 minutes behind us. The bus emptied and Matthew took a picture inside Central Buses Routemaster CUV 220C.

Inside Central Buses CUV 220C
We got off and we saw the bus go back towards the depot. We looked at the timetable... it was 17:12 and there wasn't a bus back towards Lichfield until 17:45. We decided to call mum to come and rescue us as were only around 15 minutes away. We told her we were going to Sankey Fish Bar to get some chips whilst we waited for her to find us and pick us up. We went into this large chip shop and we ordered a portion of chips between us and 3 cans of pop. We sat down on some seats inside the shop to eat the chips as it was now quite cold out. After we had finished we went outside to see if we could see mum. There was a Barclay bank opposite so we decided to visit the cash machine to get some money whilst we waited. his was one of those rare machines that have £5 notes in them... After we had finished we headed back to the chip shop as that is where we said we would be. We could see what looked like our car about to turn right into Rugeley Road so we waved mum down as she made the turn.She sapped into the passenger seat and I carried on driving... Mum handed out the Greggs sasage rolls and Matthew washed this down with a small bottle of Irn Bru. I turned the car and I headed back towards Lichfield as I knew the way home from there. Thinking about it after the fact, if we had carried on along Rugeley Road we would have probably ended up closer to home in Rugeley and would have cut 5-7 miles off the journey home! We headed back into Lichfield along the A5190 before joining the A51 and going West. We passed North of Rugeley and we stopped in Colwich for diesel. We carried on North through Weston and onto the A34 South of Stone. We by-passed Stone and did the A34 up Trentham before we went North East along the A5035 to Longton. WE dropped mum at a chemist on the Strand before we headed back onto the A50 to go and visit Z Carz, passing Z Carz Mercedes Minibus M372 NWN on the way. There was only one bus on the spare ground tonight and that was Z Carz Ford minibus GL04 CVE.

Z Carz GL04 CVE in Longton
In the compound there were more minibus including Mercedes minibus S952 VMY. We headed back onto the A5035 past the old Somerfield supermarkets and we picked mum up on the Strand before going back on the A5035 again. We got home at 19:00. Mum went out with her friend for a girls night in, and we stopped at home. for a late tea we had bangers and mash with carrots and Matthew helped to chop up some of the carrots. Just after 10 we took uncle Dave home. We went via the A5035, Stanley Matthews Way, Heron Cross and Grove Road. After we had dropped him off we came back via Grove Road, Blurton Road and Beaconsfield Drive. Matthew then chilled out on his computer. Mum came home a little after 23:00 in a Roseville taxi and then Matthew went bed around 00:30... Mark

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