Sunday, 28 June 2015

"The Cheshire Champion" 28-06-2015


BAH 809XStoke railway stationShavington, Crewe RoadCharterRoutemaster Buses
BAH 809XShavington, Crewe RoadRoutemaster Buses depotCharterRoutemaster Buses
N327 NPNRoutemaster Buses depotMarshfield Bank Industrial EstateCharterRoutemaster Buses
N327 NPNMarshfield Bank Industrial EstateRoutemaster Buses depotCharterRoutemaster Buses
H116 SAORoutemaster Buses depotWinsford, opp The QueensCharterRoutemaster Buses
H116 SAOWinsford, opp The QueensRoutemaster Buses depotCharterRoutemaster Buses
H119 SAORoutemaster Buses depotWyndbury, adj The Swan InnCharterRoutemaster Buses
H119 SAOWyndbury, adj The Swan InnRoutemaster Buses depotCharterRoutemaster Buses
H28 YBVRoutemaster Buses depotShavington, Crewe RoadCharterRoutemaster Buses
H28 YBVShavington, Crewe RoadStoke railway stationCharterRoutemaster Buses

Today we decided to go on "the Cheshire Champion" bus tour as organised by Independent Bus Tours. The website said that the tour would commence from Stoke railway station at 11:30, picking up at Crewe railway station at 12:15 before going forward to Routemaster Buses garage located near to Reese Heath college. We would then ride on a few different buses, stopping at location around Cheshire to enable people to take pictures of the buses. A check of the weather was for cloudy weather with showers, clearing up in the afternoon. We considered catch the bus to Stoke station to meet the tour, but the timing of the bus would mean getting there more than 30 minutes before the tour started or getting there just 4 minutes before it was due to depart. We decided to play it safe and mum would drop us off in time for the tour. Matthew got up just after 09:30 and had toast and orange juice. I did a packed lunch of sausage sandwiches and sausage rolls, and I had a spare sandwich that would go in the box, Matthew also ate one of those. Around 11:00 we set off in the cat through Blurton and down to Fenton Via Blurton Road and Heron Cross to pick up uncle Dave. After picking him up we went down to Stoke and onto the A52 to the railway station. The lights at the junction of Glebe Street weren't working, but there wasn't much traffic about. Mum dropped us off on Station Road around 11:15 and we said goodbye and she drove off down the road. We walked to the station front and we sat on a bench adjacent to the Josiah Wedgwood statue. Just before the tour was due we saw dud First Potteries 53829 appear on the #23A to Hanley, so we could have successfully caught the bus down!

First Potteries 53829 by Stoke railway station
We also saw Howard's coach PH04 HOW on rail replacement work for Northern Rail. A few minutes after 11:30, we saw a familiar looking coach approaching. It was Routemaster Buses BAH 809X which had been at the POPS rally at the Britannia Stadium last Month.

Routemaster Buses BAH 809X by Stoke railway station
We climbed aboard this well filled Leyland Leopard / Plaxton Paramount coach which used to belong to Stagecoach. We sat down near to the back, and the bus was so well filled that we had to sit on opposite sides of the bus. I sat on the nearside and Matthew and uncle Dave sat on the off side. We had a short wait whilst we waited for one person to turn up and we set off at 11:45. The bus set off and it took the route that you would expect it to going to Crewe railway station. The bus set off along Station Road and we turned left onto Stoke Road and went under the railway line. We crossed over the A500 and we joined the Northbound carriage way. We went fast up the A500 and under the M6 and we continued a further couple of miles along the single carriageway section of the A500. At the junction with the A5020 we turned right for the run along the last 4 miles of the road into Crewe. We passed Crewe Hall and the site of a new Southern by-pass for Crewe which looked to be near completion. at the end of the A5020 we turned left on the roundabout onto the A534. A hundred yards or so up the road we stopped outside Crewe railway station to pick up another dozen or so passengers. we set off along the A534 and the tour organisers came around and took the £10 fare each and handed out a ticket which had the current running fleet from which the buses on the tour may be selected. We continued up to the edge of Nantwich and then we turned left onto the Nantwich by-pass and we went down to the A500. We turned Eastwards as if we were going back to Stoke! when we got the the A5071 we went South and into the village of Shavington. We then stopped for a photo stop. Most people left the bus and crossed the road to get a picture of this fine Leyland beast.

Routemaster Buses BAH 809X in Shavington
After taking puictures we all got back on the bus and the bus set off back towards the A500 via Newcastle Road. We got on the Westbound Nantwich by-pass and we went around the Northern edge of town. We continued along the A51 until we got to Beambridge. Were we turned right onto Wettenhall Road. We followed the road through all its twists and turns foe close to a mile before turning into the depot on the right hand side of of the yard. When we got to the yard we all got off the coach and we took further pictures of the Leyland Leopard.

Routemaster Buses BAH 809X at Routemaster Buses
We then proceeded to have a look around the yard. One of the buses we though might work as part of the tour, bur was currently under repair was Leyland Titan A859 SUL.

Routemaster Buses A859 SUL in the Routemaster Buses
There were two sheds with buses in them. The shed on the right is where some of the older buses and long term projects were contained, and the shed oppsite to it also had some older buses, but these seemed to be closer to being runners again. It also looked like maintenance of the fleet took place. behind a gate was a further yard, which had some of the service buses as well as a few vehicles that were stored and perhaps even donor vehicles. There were 3 former Stagecoach Darts in this yard which are their main Stage work buses. One of these buses was Routemaster Buses S455 CVV.

Routemaster Buses S455 CVV in the Routemaster Buses
Also in the yard was Routemaster Buses Leyland Tiger B105 KPF.

Routemaster Buses B105 KPF in the Routemaster Buses
In the yard at the back they also had a couple of modern coaches. Plaxton bodied Volvo B10M M301 BRL was one of these buses.

Routemaster Buses M301 BRL in the Routemaster Buses
We also saw Van Hool Alize bodied coach MUI 4784.

Routemaster Buses MUI 4784 in the Routemaster Buses
One of a number of Routemasters owned by Routemaster Buses was open top CUV 243C.

Routemaster Buses CUV 243C in the Routemaster Buses
The next bus to work on the next leg of the tour was to be Volvo Olympian N327 NPN.

Routemaster Buses N327 NPN in the Routemaster Buses
The electronic destination blind was programmed to display 'The Cheshire champion 28th June 2015'. Matthew needed the toilet so we were directed to the far corner of the main maintenance shed. After he had used the facilities we go on the bus and we went upstairs. The organisers rounded up the last few people onto the bus and we set off back onto Wellenhall Road. We rejoined the Eastbound A51 and we travelled over to the A530 before going North East towards Leighton Hospital. Before we got to the hospital we turned off the A530 to go onto the Marshfield Bank industrial estate. The bus was turned around and parked at the side of the road in the sun. We all got off and and we took further pictures of Routemaster Buses Volvo N327 NPN.

Routemaster Buses N327 NPN in Marshfield Bank
We headed back to the depot in the reverse of the route that we took to get to the industrial estate... Back down the A530, West on the A51 and up Wettenhall Road. Back at the depot there were a few buses that we hadn't been up to opposite where we were dropped off after riding on the Volvo. On of these was East Lancs bodied Dart N466 TPR.

Routemaster Buses N466 TPR in the Routemaster Buses
Adjacent to the Dart were a couple more Routemasters, on of which was former London Transport RML 2400.

Routemaster Buses JJD 400D in the Routemaster Buses
We walked down to the buses at the other end of the yard where they were readying Leyland Olympian H116 SAO for the next leg of the tour.

Routemaster Buses H116 SAO in the Routemaster Buses
We climbed aboard the bus and we went upstairs. The bus set off out of the depot and back Eastwards along Wettenhall Road and the A51. We turned North up the A5074 and we headed into Church Minshull. It was a very hill part of Cheshire, and some of the hill brought the bus to near walking pace. We passed through Darnhall and we headed up to the A54 before coming into Winsford from the North West. The bus stopped opposite to Wetherspoons, where we were having a 50 minute break. We let the bus empty out and Matthew took a picture inside the empty Routemaster Buses H116 SAO.

Inside Routemaster Buses H116 SAO
We got off the bus and we took another picture of Routemaster Buses H116 SAO.

Routemaster Buses H116 SAO in Winsford
We crossed the road and we went into the pub. Matthew went to the toilet and we had a glass of Coke which we took outside. We decided to have a bowl of chips between us and another Coke. The food came out quickly and before we knew it the 50 minutes had passed. The bus came around the corner and it was the same bus and driver as before, He must have parked up somewhere nearby to have his required legal break. We took a picture and crossed the road to get on the bus.

Routemaster Buses H116 SAO in Winsford
The bus set off back through Darnhall, Church Minshull and Worleston and we headed back to the depot. When we got back to the depot we got off the bus and we took another picture of Routemaster Buses H116 SAO.

Routemaster Buses H116 SAO at Routemaster Buses
At the other end of the yard Routemaster Buses H119 SAO was being readied for the next leg off the tour.

Routemaster Buses H119 SAO at Routemaster Buses
We got on the bus and we went upstairs. The bus set off onto Wettenhall Road and onto the A51. The by-pass look congested so we headed into town and we went around the very Northern edge, past the tractor shop and onto London Road. We crossed the railway line and we headed down to Wybunbury. We went through the village and turned at Wrinehill Road before coming back and parking up in front of the Swan Inn. We got out and we all took more pictures of Routemaster Buses H119 SAO.

Routemaster Buses H119 SAO in Wyndbury
We returned to the depot, this time via the by-pass. At the depot we waited for the bus to empty out and Matthew took a picture inside Routemaster Buses H119 SAO.

Inside Routemaster Buses H119 SAO
The last leg of the tour was going to be worked by Leyland Lynx H28 YBV.

Routemaster Buses H28 YBV in the Routemaster Buses
We got on the bus and we left the depot for the final time. We went down Wettenhall Road to the A51 and around the Northern end of Nantwich along the Nantwich by-pass. We joined the Eastbound A500 and we left at the A5071 to travel into Shavington. We stopped in the village and we all got out of the bus to take pictures Routemaster Buses H28 YBV.

Routemaster Buses H28 YBV in Shavington
We all got back on the bus and we went North to the A534. We then ran into Crewe and to the railway station where we dropped off more passengers than we picked up in the morning. As we left Crewe I called mum to say we would be back at the station by 18:15. We headed back to the A5020 via the A532 and we joined the A500 for the run to Stoke, We crossed under the M6 and the Lynx flew up the hill towards the Audley turn. It put in a great turn of speed down towards Stoke. We joined the high level A500 from Shelton to Stoke and we went towards the railway station from City Road along the A52. We got to the railway station and the bus unloaded. we waited for it to empty and Matthew took a picture inside Routemaster Buses H28 YBV.

Inside Routemaster Buses H28 YBV
We took on more picture of the bus before we headed to the car which was parked opposite the railway station.

Routemaster Buses H28 YBV by Stoke railway station
We got in the car and mum drove us along the A52 into Fenton. We dropped uncle Dave off at his home and we decided that we would have chips for tea as it was too late to cook and to write the Blog. We stopped at the chip shop on Smithpool Road before heading back home via Heron Cross and Blurton Road. At home we ate the chips and put pictures online before writing some of the Blog. Matthew had a bath and then continued to write as much of the Blog as we could up to bed time around 23:15... Mark

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