Friday, 31 October 2014

‘Scene’ recently in Chesterfield


I always think of Chesterfield as a ‘border’ town. It lies at the point where the Midlands finishes and the ‘North’ starts.


In recent times it has become a one of the places to visit on many short break holidays. Its main attraction is without doubt the parish church of St. Mary’s and All Saints which is known worldwide for its crooked spire. 


Supported by its excellent markets and shopping, its small coach park at Beckingham Way is regularly visited by coaches from all over the country. On my occasional visits, its the first place I go to see what’s on offer and this time I was treated to.....


R813 NUD


A Volvo B10M with Plaxton Premiere bodywork working for ‘Wellglade’ Group’s ‘notts +derby’ fleet. It started life on the Isle of Wight with the ‘West Wight Bus & Coach Co.’ who became part of ‘Southern Vectis’ and eventually part of the ‘Go-Ahead’ group.




A Neoplan Starliner of ‘Arvonia Coaches’. Arvonia are a based at Llanrug, Caernarfon in North Wales.


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Buses ‘Scene’ in the ‘Southwest’

A few days holiday based in Weymouth allowed me to have a look at what goes on in that part of the world. The coaches of the Southwest have featured in an earlier ‘blog’.


‘First Hampshire & Dorset’ (FH&D) are the dominant operator in the area with the usual mixture of old and new buses in old and new liveries.


‘Barbie’ is now getting on in years but she is still alive and well............! 


W708 PHT


A Dennis Trident with East Lancs Myllenium bodywork which has been cascaded from Bristol where at one time it worked in a dark blue livery on the Bath Road Park & Ride operation. Before coming to Weymouth it had a spell in Poole.


V807 EFB


A Volvo B6BLE with Wright’s Crusader 2 bodywork picking up on Weymouth’s sea front.



P244 UCW


A Volvo Olympian with Northern Counties Palatine bodywork. It was new to ‘Centrewest’ working in London (Uxbridge). It moved to ‘First Bristol’ in 2005 and came to ‘FH&D’ in 2009. 



W815 EOW


A Volvo B7TL with Alexander ALX 400 bodywork which at one time worked in Southampton for ‘First’.



R613 YCR


A Dennis Dart SLF with Plaxton Pointer 2 bodywork. It previously worked for ‘First Berkshire’.





An Optare Solo SR. It was so new that the titling/branding had not yet been applied. 





A Wright Streetlte DF was another bus that was bereft of any titling





An Alexander Dennis Ltd. Enviro 200 that was new to ‘First Cymru’ and was one of a batch that came to ‘FH&D’ to modernise the fleet.





A Scania N94UD with East Lancs Omnidekka bodywork. At one time it was painted in the ‘Jurassic Coast’ livery and appears to have recently been repainted.


I have never liked this new ‘First’ livery  and I think that without the benefit of advertisements it looks even blander and more half finished than usual.




A Volvo B7TL with Wright Gemini bodywork working on the X53 ‘Jurassic Coaster’ (JC) service loading in Weymouth. Until it was recently repainted into fleet livery, it appeared in the branded ‘JC’ livery seen 2 images down.




A Scania N94UD/East Lancs Omnidekka in Bridport seen on the X31 ‘JC’ service.


The X31 runs between Axminster and Dorchester whilst the X53 runs between Poole and Exeter. I have travelled on the X53 which takes a full 4 hours. Tiring but worth it !


The section between Bridport and Lyme Regis is common to both routes.




Another Volvo B7TL with Wright Gemini bodywork in the full ‘JC’ livery once more in Weymouth.





An Optare Versa owned by Dorset County Council on its own Park & Ride service to the Mount Pleasant car park.



T640 AJT


An Optare Solo seen in Bridport. Part of ‘Damory Coaches’ fleet which is part of ‘Wilts & Dorset’ who in turn are owned by the ‘Go-Ahead’ group.



N350 OBC

An Alexander bodied Mercedes-Benz 709D now operated by ‘South West Coaches’ previously worked in Weymouth in a blue livery for ‘Sureline’ who were based on nearby Portland.




Sunday, 26 October 2014

‘Scene’ in Derby Bus Station

While I was in Derby last week to take images of ‘Kinchbus’s new Mercedes-Benz Citaro’s, a couple of unusual visitors (to me  at least) turned up.


They were unusual in that they were both registered in Slovakia in Eastern Europe. Both stopped about 20 minutes


KE 548GJ 


A Setra S417-HD of ‘INTERBUS’.


SV 897AY


Another Setra, this time a S419GT-HD of




Friday, 24 October 2014

‘Scene’ and Sampled on a day out. The Neoplan Starliner.

I have been a fan of the more exotic designs produced by the German manufacturer Neoplan since the days of the ‘Jetliner’ and the ‘Skyliner’.


The more recent ‘Tourliner’ may well be a good seller in the bread and butter day to day touring coach market but it does not have the head turning WOW factor of its predecessors.


The most recent of the Neoplan ‘exotica’ that does have the WOW factor must surely be the ‘Starliner’.


It is also possibly the last because Neoplan have only recently announced that production of this model is to cease. 


I had mentally noted this with regret because this sort of coach does not turn up every day and I have never had a chance to ride on one anyway until !!!!


I was booked on a day excursion run by ‘Hawkes Tours’ of Derby to visit and ride on the ‘Welsh Highland Railway’ from Porthmadog to Caernarfon. (A blog covering this will eventually appear).


So, standing in Derby Bus Station on a dark, misty, wet morning waiting for something ordinary to turn turn up to collect us I was amazed when this arrived.


I was even more pleased that I had booked early and my wife and I had got seats 1 & 2 for the day.


The view from the front seats is stunning. The ride superb, it is powerful, quick, quiet and very comfortable. Everything a coach should be.


I have had a holiday away on a ‘Tourllner’ but this day out on a ‘Starllner’ will be a memory that stays with me for a long, long time.


I think ‘Hawkes’ are missing a trick here. If they were to advertise their excursions stating that they intended using this coach then I am sure that alone would boost their passenger numbers.


Take a look and see what you think.



DE63 DEH Neoplan Starliner
















Tuesday, 21 October 2014

‘Scene’ in Bakewell part 2

When I first knew Bakewell, which is over 60 years ago. It was a typical country market town. Its primary function was trading in livestock at its large market together with produce, farm equipment and everything else that goes to support a basically farming community.


None of that has changed. The markets are still very busy particularly on Mondays. What has changed is that Bakewell has re invented itself and is now very much on the tourist trail and holidays map.


Situated on the river Wye and lying to the South of Manchester and Buxton. To the North of Derby and Matlock and to the West of Sheffield. Bakewell is ideally placed and the level of its bus services reflects that.


Services to Sheffield have been in the hands of ‘TM Travel’ (TMT) and ‘Hulleys of Baslow’ (see part 1) for some time but is interesting to see that ‘First in South Yorkshire’ have re introduced their service 240 which ran for many years and If memory serves me correctly originated in the ‘Sheffield Joint Omnibus Commitee’ service 40. 


Only at week ends and bank holidays to start with but no doubt it will be developed .


J854 TSC

A Leyland Olympian with Alexander RH bodywork. Originally with ‘Lothian Regional Transport’, coming to TMT in 2008.


R977 KAR


A Volvo Olympian and bodied again by Alexander but this time by the Belfast factory for ‘Dublin ‘Bus for whom it worked as 98-D-20316. It came to TMT in 2009.




Another Alexander Belfast bodied Volvo Olympian that was built for ‘Dublin Bus’ and was registered as 97-D-368 arriving with TMT in 2009.






Those of you who have read my earlier ‘blogs’ will know of my interest in ‘Community Transport’ fleets.


This ‘Mellor’ of Rochdale bodied Mercedes-Benz’ Sprinter is seen working for the local unit which is ‘Bakewell and Eyam C.T.




A Sitcar Beluga bodied Mercedes-Benz of ‘Golden Green Travel’. An operator based not very far away at Longnor in Staffordshire.


Although the Beluga has been around for a long time, to me it is something of a rarity.



A Volvo B12B with Caetano bodywork working for local operator ‘Lathkill Coaches’. Formerly working in Durham for ‘Lees Holidays’.




A DAF SB4000 with Marcopolo Viaggio bodywork operating for ‘Chiltern Travel’ of Blunham in Bedfordshire.


Originally registered 07-KE-1532 in the Irish Republic in the service of ‘Barton of Maynooth’. It also worked for ‘Matthews’ of Inniskeen before coming to the UK in 2010 with its present registration.





A DAF MX340 with Van Hool T916 Acron bodywork working for ‘Barnards Coaches’ of Kirton-on-Lindsay in Lincolnshire.


When not on tour or excursion work this coach is used as the team coach for Scunthorpe United Football Club.




A Scania/Irizar PB working for ‘bullocks’ of Cheadle in Cheshire.




A Mercedes-Benz Tourismo carrying ‘Travelmaster Holidays’ titles although the coach is operated by ‘Owens Coaches’ of Oswestry.


Friday, 17 October 2014

‘Scene’ in Derby, ‘Kinchbus’ Mercedes-Benz Citaro’s

Which are for operation on the Derby-East Midlands Airport-Leicester service.


They have followed on from the 6 Citaros’ that ‘trentbarton’ operate on the ‘Calverton Connection’ from Nottingham by being numbered in the same sequence and registered.


907  BX64 WHU

908  BX64 WHV

909  BX64 WHW

910  BX64 WHZ

911  BX64 WJA

912  BX64 WJC

913  BX64 WJD

914  BX64 WJE


The following images were taken today in Derby (17th. October 2014).

They really are lovely buses.

Surprisingly perhaps some of the older Plaxton Centro bodied Volvo B7RLE’s were sharing the duties and even an elderly Scania/Wright turned up at one stage.




















Tuesday, 14 October 2014

' Scene’ on the West Coast of Scotland part 3.

Earlier this year, I had a short break staying at the Alexandra Hotel in Oban. The tour company was ‘Highland Heritage’ (HH) with whom I have no connection other than as a satisfied customer.


On this particular day we went to Fort William .


K300 WCM

A DAF SB4000 with Van Hool Alizee T9 bodywork. Formerly YD03 PFA. it was operating a ‘citylink’ service to Oban.




A Volvo B7R with Plaxton ‘s Profile bodywork although in Scottish ‘citylink’ livery is a ‘Stagecoach’ vehicle based at Inverness.




Although carrying a similar registration and livery, this is a Volvo B12B with Plaxton Panther bodywork again of ‘Stagecoach’ but based in Glasgow.



S269 KHG

A Volvo B10M with Jonckheere Modulo bodywork. The legal titling shows the bus as being with ‘Highland Country Buses’ trading as ‘Stagecoach in the Highlands’. At one time it worked for ‘Stagecoach Bluebird’. 





A Volvo B7R with Plaxton Profile Interurban bodywork again working for ‘Stagecoach in the Highlands’. 



R947 XVM

A Volvo B10M with Alexander PS bodywork. It’s a long time since I saw one of these in ‘Stagecoach’ service, I thought that they had all gone.




A Dennis Trident 2 with Alexander Dennis Ltd. (ADL) Enviro 400 bodywork working for ‘Stagecoach in the Highlands’ based in Fort William and carrying branding for ‘the fort link’.



Fort William is at the end of the the railway line from London via Glasgow that is traversed by the ‘Caledonian Sleeper’ every night of the week except Saturday. 


Apart from the loco, the train that I saw was made up of  2 sleeping coaches, a comfortable day coach and what is best described as a catering car that supplies food and drink etc.


Hauling it was 67 011.


The Class 67 is  a Bo-Bo diesel electric loco that was built by Alstom at Valencia in Spain. One of 30 loco’s in the class,


They were built to operate on high speed mail and passenger trains. 


Unfortunately, the mail work dried up at about the time the loco’s were delivered and they have had to be utilized on other duties such as the Caledonian Sleeper. 


Others have undertaken ‘Thunderbird’ duties around the railway system which involves having loco’s stationed at strategic points from where they can be despatched to recover broken down trains. One such location where I have seen them is at Doncaster.







Also between duties at Fort William was Class 156 156457. This had operated the service from Glasgow.


The Class 156’s were built in Birmingham by Metro Cammell (now Alstom) as part of the plan to replace earlier ‘Heritage’ DMU’s and further reduce the levels of loco haulage of passenger services.