Sunday, 27 July 2014

‘Scene’ in Derby on ‘citylink’ on 27 July 2014

What was ‘scene’ in Derby today was the demise of ‘yourbus’ (yb) ‘citylink’ service on the direct Derby to Nottingham route. 


It had started on the 18th. of February 2013 challenging ‘trentbarton’ (tb) and the long established ‘red arrow’ service matching the six departures between Derby and Nottingham an hour.


Operated with low floor Mercedes-Benz Citaro’s. It seemed that ‘yb’ would entice many of ‘tb’s passengers that suffered from some form of disability or members of the baby buggy generation that sometimes struggled with ‘tb’s fleet of high floor coaches.


At that time, writing for the ‘Focus Transport’ website I said,


 “trentbarton are not known for giving way easily, if at all. It will be very interesting in the coming weeks to see if, how and when they respond”.


To my eyes, there was little response. The odd fare deal maybe but ‘tb’s coaches came and went pretty much as they always had. There were more low floor Scania’s, the odd Volvo and the occasional Optare Solo turned up in service but that may have been because of operational necessity. It didn’t seemed to be planned.


‘tb’s passenger numbers seemed to hold up while ‘yb’s never seemed to take off. 


It was interesting to watch the comings and goings of passengers in Derby bus station where the departure bays for ‘tb’ and ‘yb’ were adjacent to each other.


One day about a year ago, I watched a young woman with a double buggy, two small children and several bags of shopping make three journeys up the steps to put the children and the shopping onto a ‘tb’ coach and then to fold her buggy and put it in the luggage locker. At the next bay stood an almost empty ‘yb’ Citaro onto which she could have just walked without breaking stride.


I realised then that ‘yb’ were facing an up hill battle which was not helped when they reduced the frequency of the service to every 20 minutes.


It is hard to say where ‘yb’ went wrong. There was plenty of publicity, there were new buses. The drivers were helpful and courteous.


Would it have been better to start small and build the operation, Who knows?

‘yb’ might have fared better if they had extended the service North from Derby via Ripley and Alfreton to Chesterfield as ‘tb’ have always done. A lot of passengers travel to and from destinations along that corridor and anyone making the through journey to or from Nottingham were never likely to break their journey in Derby just to travel with ‘yb’.


I suspect that at the end of the day people are creatures of habit and the habit for years has been to use the ‘red arrow’.


There was the odd time that a ‘citylink’ branded bus turned up on another route and sadly during the last few weeks, buses ran without any branding at all.


In the past year or so ‘yb’ have expanded to operate many other routes in the East Midlands, It will be very interesting to see what their next moves are.


In the meantime, enjoy the images, for after today, they are a part of history.

Further photos can be seen on my Flickr 

















Saturday, 26 July 2014

‘ Scene’ in Nottingham, Heanor and Ripley today Saturday 26th. July 2014

This week has seen the launch of the new ‘trentbarton’ ‘rainbow1 and ‘rapid 1’ Optare Versa buses to the public (see my yesterday’s blog). 


Today saw them launched into service.


The plan it seems was to start the day much as usual and gradually replace the Wright bodied Scanias and Volvo’s that have given such excellent service down the years during the course of the day. 


All the images in this blog have been taken today so we start with a last look at how it used to be.


The rainbow 1 livery has always been a darker shade of blue than the rapid 1.









I was lucky enough to catch old and new together in Nottingham’s Victoria Bus Station where YJ14 BTE is passing one of the rapid 1 Volvos.


It is also interesting to note that ‘rainbow 1’ and ‘rapid 1’ have now become ‘rainbow one’ and 'rapid one’.



Later in the day in Heanor we see FN54 AEX passing YJ14 BUE as the former is replaced in service by the latter. No doubt FN54 will re emerge in weeks to come on some other service in the Wellglade empire. I hope so !



A chance to admire again the new rolling stock.








The sticker on the drivers cab door.



It would not be ‘trentbarton’ without a bit of humour on the engine bay doors. All you might notice directed at persuading car drivers onto the bus !!







Friday, 25 July 2014

‘Scene’ today Friday 25th. July 2014 on ‘trentbarton’s (tb) 'rainbow/rapid one'


it is nearly 20 years since 'tb' launched the concept of 'rainbow' routes.

As from tomorrow, the mixture of Wright bodied Scania and Volvo buses currently running the service are being replaced on ‘tb’ s ‘rainbow 1’ and ‘rapid 1’. 

The routes link the Derbyshire towns of Alfreton and Ripley to the City of Nottingham. This is the latest change on the Ripley route that down the years has been run with Trams which were replaced by Trolleybuses which in turn were replaced by earlier generations of diesel buses.

The replacements are a fleet of brand new Optare Versa’s bought at a cost of two million pounds.


Painted in a dark blue colour scheme which recalls the livery carried by ‘Midland General Omnibus Company’ (MGOC) buses that worked the route for many years. 


MGOC being combined with ‘Trent’ in 1969 as part of the ‘National Bus Company’.


During the course of this week ‘tb’ have been introducing the new buses to the public with today’s event taking place in Alfreton.


The routes running from Alfreton and Ripley join and give a combined Eastwood to Nottingham bus every 10 minutes.























Sunday, 20 July 2014

'Scene' in Hanley Bus Station. The independent operators

I was familiar with the old Hanley bus station and I had not yet seen the new one that opened in 2013 so a visit was long overdue. 


Although it was only a weekday, it seemed crowded and a driver told me to come back at tea time when it would be gridlocked.....!


However, I was only there to take pictures so here they are.


A Volvo B5RLH Hybrid bus with Wright Gemini bodywork operated by 'BakerBus' of Biddulph in Staffordshire.

One of three that must have been amongst the earliest hybrids of any description anywhere.

'Bakerbus' have a history dating back to the 1930's when James Baker started his chauffeured car service. Moving on to coach operation in 1967 and into local bus operation in 1990. The company today operates a fleet of around 70 vehicles.




A Dennis Trident with Plaxton President bodywork. Although not carrying any titles or branding it is one more from the 'Bakerbus' fleet. Formerly operating with ‘Metroline’ in London.




An Optare Versa working on ‘D&G Bus’ ‘plumline’ service.


It was new to ‘Wardle Transport’ (Now part of ‘ Arriva’). 


One of 2 buses ( the other is WT58 SOT) painted in this attractive plum and cream livery for the City of Stoke-on-Trent council funded service linking Hanley via the railway station to Trentham Lakes.


D&G was started in 1998 with services in Cheshire. 


They are now based in Crewe but until 2011 also operated services in Staffordshire. Due allegedly to ‘subsidy cuts’ the Staffordshire operations were sold to ‘Wardle Transport’.




Another Optare Versa also working for ‘D&G Bus’. 


At one time it worked for ‘First’ in virtually the same livery except it carried ‘First’ titling instead of ‘D&G’ and was branded on the coving panel for route 76.




An Optare Solo working for ‘Bakerbus’ which at one time had a spell with ‘Thamesdown Transport’.


It has since moved on to ‘Tates’ of Barugh Green, South Yorkshire.



RIL 1016

This immaculate Van Hool Alizee bodied coach was operating a shuttle service with various school parties into Hanley’s Victoria Hall. 


Based in Biddulph, Hollinsheads have a history going back to the 1920’s.



‘Scraggs’ of Stoke-on- trent are another company with a long history going back sixty years or more. On the day, they were represented by.



An Optare Solo. Seen in ‘Cityrider’ livery, it worked for ‘Wardle Transport’ in this livery. It was new to ‘D&G Bus’ who sold it to ‘Arriva Midlands’ with the rest of the Staffordshire operation in 2011. It passed to ‘Scraggs’ in July 2013.




Another Optare Solo.It followed the same ownership path as BSX. Seen in ‘Scraggs  Blue Buses’ livery.


Plaxton’s Primo was never as successful as was anticipated. It originated as a low floor alternative to the high floor Mercedes-Benz mini buses such as the Vario.



Previously worked for ‘Munro’s of Jedburgh’.



60 UVT

Another Primo that was originally registered YX55 DSE and was formerly with ‘Central Connect’ of Aston in Birmingham.


PUI 5556

A Mercedes-Benz 814D/Plaxton Beaver 2 bodywork. A type of vehicle now in serious decline.


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

‘Scene’ in Hanley bus station, ‘Arriva' and 'Wardle Transport’.

I was familiar with the old Hanley bus station and I had not yet seen the new one that opened in 2013 so a visit was long overdue. 


Although it was only a weekday, it seemed crowded and a driver told me to come back at tea time when it would be gridlocked.....!


However, I was only there to take pictures so here they are.



A Dennis Dart MPD with Plaxton Pointer 2 bodywork.


This bus has had a varied career. I have seen it in Derby, Burton-on-Trent and Leicester and now it turns up here. That said, it looked good and sounded well. 



X546 GGO

Another of the same. It was new to ‘Arriva London North’ where in the red livery it worked in Tottenham.


Of the two livery variations on show today, I prefer the upper one because its lighter and in the lower one, I think that there is too much green.



W372 VGJ

A DAF 250LF with Alexander’s ALX 400 bodywork is another Ex ‘Arriva London’ bus where it carried the fleet number DLA 172.



X438 FGP

Another of the same that again served in London as DLA 238. This one however came the long way round having worked in the Northeast before coming South.



R342 TJW

A Dennis Dart SLF with Plaxton Pointer 2 bodywork. Being new to ‘Arriva’s Shrewsbury depot it has a depots worked all across the West Midlands.




A VDL SB200 with Plaxton Centro bodywork that is based in Shrewsbury.



‘Wardle Transport’ now part of the ‘Arriva’ group  was founded in 1963 by Doug Wardle and from that time expansion across Stoke-on-Trent and across the Potteries generally was steady.


2010 saw the company joining Arriva. 


Unusually the red and white livery was retained although in some cases painted in ‘Arriva’s corporate style.


Four years on it is interesting to speculate wether the red livery will survive because there are ‘Wardle’ titled buses in ‘Arriva’s green livery and I saw no new buses in the red livery. So as they say. ‘Watch this space’


XIL 8793 (previously S309 MKH).


A Dennis Dart with Plaxton Pointer 2 bodywork shown in the original ‘Wardle’ style livery.


It was new to London United and it worked around London until 2009 when it was sold to ‘Ensign Bus’ (Purfleet) who sold it to ‘Wardle’s. 



V611 DBC

A Volvo B10BLE with Alexander’s ALX 300 bodywork.


Operating on service 118 that runs from Buxton. This service was taken over from D&G buses when’ Arriva’ took over that companies Staffordshire operations. D&G then continuing its operations based on Crewe. 


Seen wearing ‘Wardle. colours in ‘Arriva’ style.




A Dennis Dart MPD with Caetano Nimbus bodywork.


It was new to ‘Link line Coaches’ of Harlesden before moving to ‘Telling Golden Miller’ who became part of the ‘Arriva’ group in December 2007.




Y258 YBC

Another Dennis Dart MPD with the more usual Plaxton Pointer 2 bodywork. 

This bus has spent most of its life working in Leicester for ‘Arriva’ before coming to ‘Wardle’ in 2012.



T691 KPU

A Dennis Trident with Alexander ALX 400 bodywork. One of a number in the fleet that lead previous lives with ‘Stagecoach’ in London.



W103 EWU

A Volvo B10 BLE with Wright Renown bodywork that used to work for ‘Arriva Yorkshire’ before coming to the Potteries.




For other images of 'Wardle Transport' buses see my blog for the 28th April this year titled ‘Scene’ on the X50’.

Further photos can be seen on my Flickr