Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Farewell to the Douglas DC-10

Bangladesh-Biman Airlines has recently flown a series of ‘final flights’ using their last DC-10. This was the last passenger carrying aircraft of its type in regular service in the World.


These were operated from Birmingham airport and by all accounts were extremely popular with the aviation enthusiast fraternity.


After the flights, the aircraft registered S2-ACR was to be returned to Asia to be cut up.


So then, time for me to dig out something for the occasion as my tribute to the last of the ‘Douglas Commercial’ line which goes back to the 1930’s.


Subsequent airliners were marketed as McDonald Douglas (MD-11, MD-90 etc.) Or even as Boeings (717).

Thanks go to Mr. John Beastall for some additional details.



A DC-10-30 which first flew on 01/08/1980. Built for ‘British Caledonian Air Lines’ (BCAL). It became part of British Airways fleet when the 2 airlines merged in 1988. 


It was sold in America as N612GC to Gemini Air Cargo in 1999 and converted to a freighter. It was reported in 2012 to be still working in Venezuela with ‘Solar Cargo’ as YV-524T.




A DC-10-30 which first flew on 30/04/1980 Built for ‘BCAL’. It became part of British Airways fleet when the 2 airlines merged in 1988. It is seen operating with ‘Caledonian Airways’ at Manchester sometime in 1993. 


Sold in America as N78416 and converted to a freighter, it served a number of American companies until it was scrapped at Orlando-Sanford Airport in Miami in 2012.




A DC-10-10 a member of the ‘Arrow Air’ fleet seen on finals into Gatwick. At the time this was taken one of the best ‘spotting’ spots which was on the top of the car park.


Over the years it did the rounds of operators which at one time included a stint with 

‘Laker Airways’ as G-BBSZ.


However, technology then had not advanced to auto focus cameras (at least not for me) and an aircraft coming downhill at 100 m.p.h. plus meant that manual focusing was to say the least tricky.



An unknown member of the ‘Nigeria Airways’ fleet taking off from Heathrow. Again taken from the top of one of many car parks.




A DC-10-10 built for Laker Airways as G-GSKY which first flew on 21/03/1979. 


It went to ‘BCAL as G-BJZE in February 1982 and on to ‘Cal Air International’ (CAI) in October 1985. 


Despite its American sounding name ‘CAI’ would seem to be a ‘BCAL’ operation. (Have a look at the tail marking).


It was converted to a freighter in late1992 and served with World Airways as N591LF  eventually joining the fleet of ‘Federal Express’ as N40061 in 1994.




A DC-10-30 Delivered to Ghana Airways 25/03/1982. It was eventually impounded at London Heathrow in May 2002 following the liquidation of the airline.



Although it carries BCAL Charter livery, I have no record of what its registration was. If memory serves me well, it was another image taken at Gatwick.



A DC-10-30. It first flew in May 1979 and was delivered to ‘BCAL’ in August of that year.

It went to ‘Continental Airlines’ in June 1987 and was scrapped at Opa Locka airfield in Miami in August 2003.


The image was captured at Gatwick.


Monday, 28 April 2014

'Scene' on the X50 (Derby to Hanley)

After almost a fortnight without my internet connection due to some fault in the telephone exchange, it is nice to be back.

I would not be back if it were not for my son Andrew and the engineers at 'plusnet' and 'BT'. Thanks very much guys, I appreciate it.....!

Named after the A50 trunk road that it parallel’s for much of the journey. It was introduced on the 2nd. of April 2012 by ‘Arriva’ subsidiary ‘Wardle Transport’. 


It was never the success that was hoped for and from Sunday the 27th. of April 2014 it was withdrawn.


A pity because it gave a direct route to Uttoxeter and Stoke-on-Trent from Derby. 


Uttoxeter can still be reached from Derby using ‘trentbarton’s ‘swift’ service that runs via Ashbourne.


I travelled on it several times and while it passes through some very attractive countryside, I never saw it busy.



W236 SNR

An ‘Arriva’ Dennis Dart with Alexander ALX 300 bodywork seen entering Derby bus station carrying a ‘broadside’ advert for the then new service.



Was one of 2 VDL SB250LF’s with Wright Pulsar Gemini bodies especially re liveried for the launch. The other being the identical YJ56 KFL.


It was not to last however because the X50 was down graded to single deck operation and by mid 2013 both buses were working in Leicester in full ‘Arriva’ fleet livery.




T695 KPU

A Dennis Trident 2 with Alexander ALX 400 bodywork. Painted in the full ‘X50’ livery as ‘spare’ bus it is seen in a sunny Uttoxeter bus station.


There cannot be many buses that have worked for both ‘Stagecoach’ and ‘Arriva’ but this is one.


It was ‘Stagecoach in London’ 17095 and spent most of its time working out of Upton Park depot. 


Sold on to ‘Wardle Transport’ it joined ‘Arriva’ (as 4895) when they took over ‘Wardle’ in 2010.




T896 KPU

Another of the same from the same background but painted in ‘Wardle’s standard livery.


S652 KJU

A Volvo Olympian with Northern Counties bodywork. Now liveried for ‘Wardle’ at one time it operated in the standard ‘Arriva’ livery in the Burton-on-Trent area.



W103 EWU

A Volvo 10BLE with Wright Renown body at one time worked for ‘Arriva Yorkshire’ in the Doncaster area.



X441 FGP

A DAF DB250 with Alexander ALX 400 bodywork is another bus that at one time worked for ‘Arriva’ in London.



Y492 UGC

Another DAF DB250 with Alexander ALX 400 bodywork is one more bus that at one time worked for ‘Arriva’ in London.



V601 DBC

A Volvo 10BLE with Alexander ALX 300 bodywork on which I had travelled back from Hanley. On board was the usual handful of passengers.


So, good bye X50. The few of us that you served, you served well.



Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A very quick post tonight just to say that I'm without an internet connection at the moment… 'Normal' service will (I hope) be resumed as soon as possible.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

'Scene' at Crystal Peaks

Crystal Peaks (CP) is an out of town shopping complex located on the South Eastern fringes of the City of Sheffield and within a few miles of the M1 motorway.


It has its own bus station with eight stands and is a stop on the ‘Stagecoach Supertram’ (SS) route linking Sheffield with a large park and ride complex at Halfway.


Bus services are provided by First, Stagecoach and TM Travel. Sheffield Community Transport minibuses are regular visitors also. The bus station is seen with the shopping centre on the right.


‘SS’ No. 113 is seen approaching the  ‘CP’ tram stop. I do not know if it is the foreshortening effect of the zoom lens but there does seem to be a ‘forest’ of metal posts supporting the tramway catenary.





An Alexander Dennis Ltd. (ADL) Dart SLF 4 with an Enviro 200 body working one a number of routes that link ‘CP’ with a variety of Sheffield’s suburbs.



An Optare Solo working one of the ‘SUPERTRAMLINK’ services to the township of Killamarsh.



 YN61 BGZ which ‘Stagecoach’s’ fleet list shows as being a 'Dennis Trident 2 Alexander Enviro 400 Hybrid' wearing the green variation of ‘Stagecoach’ standard livery to underline its ‘green’ credentials. Seen operating on service 120 that it shares with 'First'



Sheffield Community Transport’s contribution was this smartly turned out Mercedes- Benz Sprinter.




A ‘First South Yorkshire’ (FSY) Volvo B9TL with Wright Gemini bodywork on the jointly operated with Stagecoach (SC) route 120.


Earlier in its career it had worked for ‘First’ in Leeds.



T831 MAK

Another of ‘FSY’ Volvo. This time a B10BLE model again with Wright bodywork.




The first of ‘Wellglade’ group company ‘TM Travel’s (TMT) contribution is this Optare Solo which came new.


Further ‘TMT’ vehicles were,


A Volvo Olympian bodied by Alexander which came from ‘Dublin Bus’. In fact it entered service with ‘TMT’ in full Dublin livery.




Another Optare Solo this time working in the livery of ‘Travel South Yorkshire’ together with additional ‘TMT’ titles in blue.


W289 EYG


An Optare Solo in ‘proper’ ‘TMT’ livery (well almost). One of a number of similar that came to ‘TMT’ via ‘Dawson Rentals’ having originally been with ‘HAD Coaches’ of Shotts in Scotland.



Wednesday, 9 April 2014

‘Scene’ in Derbyshire on routes 143 and 144 and a bit of the 142 (formerly K&H Doyle routes)

These two relatively rural routes provide a vital service linking as they do the towns of Ripley and Belper via Ambergate (143) and Ripley and Crich (144).


Crich being best known as the home of ‘The Tramway Museum’ or ‘Tramway Village’ as it now prefers to be called.


The normal practice has been for both routes to be interworked with 1 bus. 


When I first came to live locally, the Ripley-Belper service was operated by ‘Trent’ as its service No. 95 using Leyland Tiger Cubs with Metro Cammell-Wweymann or Saunders-Roe bodies. 


The Ripley-Crich service on Saturdays only was run by a company called ‘Mylady Coaches’ who at that time ran it with Duple bodied Bedfod OB’s. During the rest of the week it was the province of Trent and its service No. 96 (Thanks to

Chris Barker for clarification re the 96 and 'My lady Coaches').


Over the years, the routes have stayed much as they were but as might be expected the operators and vehicles have changed.


At the start of 2014 the operator was K & H Doyle of Alfreton. Doyle’s began as a Ripley based operator in 1986 but moved to Alfreton where they found more suitable premises.


R556 UOT

A Dennis Dart  SLF with UVG Urbanstar body is seen waiting departure in Belper. The Urbanstar  was also marketed as the ‘Caetano Compass’.



On the 13th. of January, Doyle’s ceased operating. I new something was amiss when on the 14th. I saw a Doyle’s route being run by ‘yourbus’.


‘yourbus’ (yb) a relative newcomer in central Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire has in the last few years have built up quite a portfolio of routes operating out of their base in Heanor.


Asked to cover these and other routes on an emergency basis, ‘yb’ quickly stepped in using mainly ‘Wright Streetlite D/F’s.



A Wright 'Streetlte' D/F




Things seemed to be settling down with the new arrangements.


I was surprised therefore to see in Derbyshire County Council’s ‘Forthcoming changes to bus services’ to find that as from 30th March the operator was to change again. This time to ‘McEwens Coaches of Mansfield’.


‘McEwens’ were established in 1998 and in late 2013 came under the control of ‘Skills Coaches’ when Skills purchased a majority interest.


‘Skills’ are a well established coach operator dating back to 1919. In recent years they have also built up a substantial contract hire fleet of double deckers.


I am not aware of ‘McEwens’ operating in this part of Derbyshire before so it will be interesting to see how it works out.



An Optare Solo previously operated by ‘Robert’s of Hugglescote in Leicestershire








Intriguingly whilst waiting for the Crich bus to depart another ‘McEwens’ Solo turned up with 143 in its route number box.


X791 NWX

Which was previously operated by ‘K & H Doyle of Alfreton’. As the saying goes, ‘What comes around goes around’..........!



Almost as a postscript to this article, I was in Belper the following day and X791 NWX turned up again this time on the 142.


The 142 is a ‘yourbus’ route with 5 departures a day between Belper and Alfreton. ‘McEwens’ operate just one service per day on the 142 and this was it.


Sunday, 6 April 2014

'Scene' around Torbay

A few days in the Torbay area produced a crop of transport images.


PSV 592

A Neoplan Euroliner operated by KV & GL Slack of Matlock in Derbyshire. This is a cherished registration that has been used before. In the past it has appeared on a Van Hool Alize bodied DAF and also a Iveco Beulas EuroRider 35.




Another Neoplan, this time a Starliner in the service of Applegates Coaches of Gloucestershire.



No. 4588

Great Western Railway 2-6-2T seen at the Paignton terminus of the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway.



Torbay is very much ‘Stagecoach’ territory and as elsewhere in the country they have introduced the upmarket ‘Stagecoach Gold’ brand to the area.


Externally distinguished by the gold and dark blue colour scheme. The interior has matching dark blue leather seats of a standard that is better than those normally fitted in their double deckers.


There are currently two routes in operation both commencing in Torquay. Then running via Paignton to Totnes where they divide with one then serving Dartmouth and the other going on to Plymouth.


The last time I was in the area 2 years ago, ‘First’ ran the Plymouth service as the X81 but with the introduction of the competing ‘Stagecoach’ service simply gave up.


YN63 BWZ is seen in Paignton bus station.

A Scania 230UD with Alexander Dennis Ltd (ADL) bodywork.







The rest of the operation is in the hands of ‘Stagecoach’ standard types



Being another Scania 230UD with 'ADL' Enviro 400 bodywork. This bus is branded for the Newton Abbot to Brixham service.


50 years ago, much of this route was operated by Devon General’s open top MCW bodied Leyland Atlanteans which carried the names of famous English ‘Sea Dogs’



S467 BWC

Now approaching the veteran stage is this Dennis Dart SLF with ‘ADL’s ALX 300 bodywork.


In the background is the clock tower roundabout adjacent to Torquay’s harbour.


The clock tower is an historic feature dating back to 1902 and was erected as a memorial to the life and work of Richard Mallock. He lived at nearby Cockington Court in the village of Cockington.


I was a bit surprised that in a land where the Enviro 400 is plentiful that all the departures on the sometimes severe X46 to Exeter that I saw. Were operated by older Alexander ALX400 bodied Dennis Tridents. 


MX05 WHZ  




As in most towns and cities these days, the Optare Solo can be found in some numbers. Paignton bus station was no exception.






At one time with ‘Lippen Coaches’ in Southwest Scotland. It now operates for ‘Local link’ in Torbay



Again with ‘Local link’