Saturday, 29 November 2014

‘Scene’ at Manchester International Airport (MIA) 2

When I first visited in the 1950’s, ‘MIA” as it is now it was simply Ringway airport where we lads sat on the grass writing down the registrations only a stones throw from the aircraft. 


Only the posh kids possessed cameras, I certainly didn’t. The ladies in the nearby cafe kept us going with cups of tea and bottles of pop.


There are still some old timers (other than me) ‘lurking’ in the background,



A British Aerospace (BAe) RJX 100. An advanced version of the ‘BAe’ 146 series of airliners that for whatever reason ‘BAe’ terminated production of in 2001. Three aircraft had been built against orders for 14 from ‘British Airways’ and ‘Drukair’. The aircraft was flown to ‘MIA’ in 2003 for preservation.

Personally, I thought that an aircraft of its size using 4 engines was a problem to operators. I was always surprised that it was not re-engined with 2 engines much as the Handley Page Herald had been in the 1950’s.





An Airbus A321-231 of ‘Monarch Airlines’. It first flew on the 15th. May 2013 with the test registration of D-AVZO. It was delivered to ‘Monarch’ 8 days later.




An Embraer 170/175 of ‘flybe’ which first flew for the airline in July 2011 with the test registration of PT-TOB. Surprisingly perhaps, it was not delivered to ‘flybe until the following December (11th). The length of time elapsed between the first flight could be because of the aircraft being used for test purposes during the certification process


In my view one of the most visually attractive airliners I have ever seen it is a tragedy is that we as a nation should be importing these aircraft from Brazil. 


If the Brazilians can do it and they do do it very well then this is the type of aircraft that should be being built by the British aircraft industry.


Remember, we still have one, just....!




A Boeing 737-8K5 of ‘Thomson Airways’ (TA). It first flew on the 9th. of May 2011 and was delivered new to ‘TA’ on the 24th.




A Dornier 328-110 registered to ‘flybe’ but is operated by ‘Loganair’. It previously operated with the registration D-CDAE.




A Fokker 100 of Swiss operator ‘Helvetic Airways’ (HA). Built for ‘American Airlines’ as N1468A, it first flew for them on 21st of February 1994 being delivered on March the third. It moved to ‘HA’ almost 10 years later in February 2004.




A Learjet 40 built in 2004 registered to ‘Florida Express Corporation’. It was previously registered N502JM. 


The Americans use a registration more than once providing that the earlier user is no longer current on the American civil register. 


This is N700KG’s third outing having previously been carried by a BAe HS 125-700A and a Piper P-60 Aerostar both of which were eventually sold abroad.




A Boeing 757-236 of Thomson Airways. Its first flight was the 30th. of April 1999 as N544NA. The operator is shown in the records as ‘Rolls-Royce AcM’ to whom it was delivered on the 21st of May 1999. On the 14th. of June 1999 it was delivered to ‘National Airlines’ (NA) with the same registration.

After a period in store following the demise of ‘NA’, it became G-OOBG with ‘First Choice Airways’ (FCA). During its time with ‘FCA’ between 2004 and 2008 it was regularly leased to SkyService as C-FUBG. This was to allow the Canadian operator use of the aircraft when British operations were quieter. ‘FCA’ were merged with Thomson in 2007.





A Bombardier Dash 8 of ‘flybe’. It was delivered new to the airline in July 2009.




An Airbus A330-202 of ‘Qatar airways’. It first flew with the test registration of F-WWKP on the 23rd. of May 2007 and was delivered new to the airline on the 5th. of July 2007.




A Boeing 757-27B which first flew in February 1988 as PH-AHE for ‘Air Holland’ to whom it was delivered the following Month. It was leased twice to ‘Sterling Airways’ as OY-SHE in 1989 and1990. Further leases to ‘Icelandair’, ‘Dinar Lineas Aereas’ and ‘Spanair’ followed under its Dutch registration until eventually going to ‘Air Slovakia’ as OM-SNA in 2004.

It came to Jet2 in September 2006 and carries the name’ Newcastle’.




An Airbus A320-214 which first flew in June 2005 as EI-DEO for ‘Aer Lingus’ and was delivered the following month. 


From March 2013 it has been leased in full ‘Virgin Atlantic’ (VA) livery. One of four all leased from the same source to operate ‘VA’s domestic ‘Little Red’ flight’s between Heathrow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester. The airline has recently announced that these services will be withdrawn at the end of September 2015.




A Boeing 777-3FXER of ‘Etihad Airways’. It first flew in January 2012 being delivered new to the airline on the 17th. of February the same year.





A Boeing 757-21B of Jet2. It first flew in October 1987 as B-2803 of ‘China Southern Airlines’ with whom it stayed until coming to ‘Jet2’ in November 2006.





An Airbus A330-243 of ‘Thomas Cook UK’. First flown in June 1999 with the test registration of F-WWKG. Delivered 20 days later to ‘Airtours’ (At) as G-MDBD. It had a spell with ‘Garuda Indonesian Airlines’ in 2001 before returning to ‘At’. They became 

‘My Travel Airways’ who eventually became part of the ‘Thomas Cook’ organisation in 2007.


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

‘Scene’ in Manchester

A day out in the Greater Manchester (GM) area with members of my local U3A group recently enabled me to get a good cross section of images.


I live in Derbyshire and am able to buy the ‘GM’ ‘Wayfarer’ ticket on the train. The Wayfarer being a go anywhere on any transport mode day ticket. The nearest railway station for me being at at the Southern end of the ‘GM’area is at Grindleford. 


The ‘Wayfarer’ ticket is excellent value for money at £12 for adults and £6 for child and seniors concessions.


A look at any of the many maps that GMPTE have online will give a flavour of what is available.


Most of the images seen here were taken in a quarter of an hour or so either in Piccadilly Gardens or very close by.



A Dennis Trident 2 Electric Hybrid with Alexander Dennis Ltd. (ADL) Enviro 400 bodywork working for ‘Stagecoach Manchester’ (SM) based at Sharston depot.


The livery is the green version of the ‘Stagecoach’ standard which is the same as I have seen elsewhere in England.




Another of the same wears the same livery but with the addition of route branding for service 256 to Flixton. This is the first time I have seen branding on the ‘Green’ livery.





A Diesel engined Dennis Trident 2 ‘ADL’ Enviro 400 bodywork with ‘SM’ carrying branding for route 38 which links Manchester to Farnworth.



‘Magic Bus’ is a Stagecoach brand that was first introduced in Glasgow in 1986. Its purpose is to provide a no frills cheaper service. Usually in areas where strong competition is experienced. Generally operated with older, written down in value buses.


That is not to say that the buses used are in any way inferior to the main fleet. Far from it, the buses I saw were immaculate and very well loaded.



A Dennis Trident 2 with East Lancs Loline bodywork which worked at one time for ‘Dennis of Dukinfield’ an operator that became part of the ‘Stagecoach’ group.




V168 DFT

A earlier Dennis Trident with Alexander’s ALX 400 bodywork which at one time carried the old ‘Stagecoach’ livery of Orange, Red and Blue stripes on a White base.



R291 CVM

A rare Optare Spectra that came into the ‘Stagecoach’ empire when Bullocks Coaches to whom the Spectra was new were taken over in 2008.



T705 PND

A Volvo B6BLE with Wright Crusader bodywork.






An Optare Versa Hybrid working on one of the free to all ‘Metroshuttle’ city centre routes operated by ‘FM’.




Another ‘FM’ bus and another Hybrid, this time a Volvo B5LH with Wright Eclipse Gemini bodywork.



Another Wright Gemini Eclipse this time powered by a Volvo B9TL chassis. These magnificent coach seated vehicles work ‘Transdev Burnley & Pendle’s operation branded as’ the witch way’ into Manchester from Nelson, Burnley, Rawtenstall and Prestwich.


What a way to travel to work....!



TIL 7200

A Volvo B10M with Van Hool Alizee bodywork working for ‘Rigby’s’. Previously believed registered as P76 OEW.


Rigby’s are a well known operator based in Accrington.




Just what a coach branded ‘Stansted-London Non Stop’ is doing in Manchester is anybody’s guess (although I think it was working a service to Manchester Airport).


A Scania with Irizar Century bodywork operated by ‘Terravision’




A VDL SB4000 with Van Hool Alizee T9 bodywork working for ‘Selwyns Coaches’. 


'Selwyns' are a long established operator working across Lancashire and Cheshire with bases in Runcorn, Liverpool and Manchester.



The driver of this coach was waiting for traffic lights to change.


As I was preparing to take the picture, i noticed him waving. He was trying to tell me that I needed to remove the lens cap from my camera. A nice gesture on his part and certainly better than some other gestures that I get from time to time....!


Monday, 24 November 2014

‘Scene’ in Derby and Ripley today 24th. of November 2014


Most folks have a reasonable idea of where Derby is but not everybody will immediately recognize the name of Ripley.


Ripley is a small market town located through where the A610 from Nottingham passes before it joins the A6 to Manchester at Ambergate. It intersects at Ripley with the B6179 which used to be the A61 which links Derby with Chesterfield.


Its main claim to fame these days is probably that just down the hill at Butterley, lies the home of the Midland Railway Trust.


The town (which incidentally is where I live) is fortunate in that it is reasonably well connected to the rest of the county by Public Transport. Being linked directly with Chesterfield, Derby, Mansfield, Matlock and Nottingham plus a host of smaller towns and villages along the way.


It isn’t often then that the citizens of Ripley are treated to a new bus route and when it does happen it deserves to be commented upon.


There are a number of existing services linking Ripley with Derby. Until today, all were provided by ‘trentbarton’ (tb). The ‘red arrow’ serves the town on its way to and from Chesterfield, Derby and Nottingham. The ‘nines’ group of routes (9.1, 9.2 and 9.3) call in on their way between Derby and Mansfield and the ‘sixes’ group of routes (6.2 and 6.3 ) serve Derby and Ripley via Belper on the A6.


Yesterday saw Heanor based operator ‘yourbus’ (yb) add a further link to Derby by extending their Y1 service from Heanor. With there being no Sunday service to Ripley, today effectively was the start of operations.


‘yb’ began competing with ‘tb’s H1 on the Derby to Heanor service sometime ago where there are up to 8 buses an hour running. 


In addition ‘yb‘ extended from Heanor to Eastwood and Alfreton with both services competing with existing ‘tb‘ routes.


‘yb‘ withdrew its Alfreton extension recently and re-directed the service to Ripley.


The new service will provide a useful link for people living to the East of Ripley who previously had no direct service to Derby


So, then that is the story so far. What about the hardware ?


‘yb’ whilst operating a varied bus fleet, have more Mercedes- Benz Citaro’s than any other type.




Is seen in a new and much brighter livery than has previously been used.


It was exhibited recently at ‘Euro Bus Expo 2014 at the NEC. My ‘Blog’ dated the 6th. of November has further images of it.


In my view, a considerable improvement over what has gone before. The only one in the fleet in this livery, I believe it is being joined by several more in the same livery in January 2015.


I commented in that ‘Blog’ that I think that the livery application owes a lot to the livery currently applied to ‘Lothian Buses’ vehicles who provide the bulk of the services in Edinburgh.





Other Citaro’s in service in the usual colour scheme are BK13 XYB and BK 13 XYA which are seen here.


It will be interesting to see how it all works out.


Watch this space.....!








Saturday, 22 November 2014

'Scene' in London

This set of images is to illustrate an article written for a magazine called ‘All Things Local’.

This community magazine is produced and distributed from a base in Kilburn, Derbyshire and covers large areas of the towns of Ripley and Belper.


Over the past 12 months, I have been involved in a National Petition entitled ‘Love Your Bus Pass’. The purpose of which was to persuade all the political parties to ‘come clean’ and tell us what their intentions are regarding the ‘Bus Pass’ at the next General Election which is due to be held in May 2015.


The petition run by West Midlands County Council Richard Worrall has been successful in raising both awareness and a number of petition signatures totaling over 150,000.


On September the 8th. 2014, he together with other delegates met with a group of MP’s at the Palace of Westminster and later presented the petition at Number 10 Downing Street.


Below are seen a small set of photographs illustrating the events of that day.


The Palace of Westminster.


 Richard at the entrance to Downing Street.




Richard again with some of his many helpers.





150,000plus signatures requires a lot of paper !





I should like to thank Richard Worrall, Andrea Stanton and Pat Turner for their help in compiling this article.





A Day Out with Dennis to Mansfield/Chesterfield


This set of images is to illustrate an article written for a magazine called ‘All Things Local’.


This community magazine is produced and distributed from a base in Kilburn, Derbyshire and covers large areas of the towns of Ripley and Belper.




The first bus of the day will be one of ‘trentbarton’s ‘tb’ ‘red arrows’ if you are traveling from the Ripley area or one of the same companies ‘the sixes’ buses if you are traveling from the Belper area.

Both buses have chassis produced by Swedish manufacturer Scania the the 'red arrow' having an Irizar body produced in Spain and the 'sixes' bus is bodied by Wright's of Ballymena in Northern Ireland.





The journey from Derby to Mansfield will be on board an Optare Tempo a type that is no longer in production but when it was, it was produced at Leeds.



From Mansfield to Chesterfield the buses to use are branded with the ‘pronto’ name. This route is unusual in that it is a joint operation between ‘trentbarton’ and ‘Stagecoach’.


Although the buses carry identical livery the ‘Stagecoach’ vehicles can be identified by their registrations which include the numbers 09. These are German built MAN chassis with bodies by Alexander Dennis Ltd. who have factories in Scotland and Scarborough in England. The ‘tb’ buses are usually older with 03 registrations.These being Swedish built Scania chassis with bodies built by Wright’s at Ballymena in Northern Ireland.


All buses are legally obliged to carry details of the owner and their address on the exterior of the bus. This usually located on the nearside, low down. Sometimes behind the door or as in ‘tb’s case generally towards the rear of the bus.






Monday, 17 November 2014

‘Scene’ in Rochdale

A day out in the Greater Manchester (GM) area with members of my local U3A group recently enabled me to get a good cross section of images.


I live in Derbyshire and am able to buy the ‘GM’ ‘Wayfarer’ ticket on the train. The Wayfarer being a go anywhere on any transport mode day ticket. The nearest railway station for me being at at the Southern end of the ‘GM’ area is at Grindleford. 


The ‘Wayfarer’ ticket is excellent value for money at £12 for adults and £6 for child and seniors concessions.


A look at any of the many maps that GMPTE have online will give a flavour of what is available.


Our main transport around ‘Greater Manchester’ was provided by the tram. For more details of the trams see my blog regarding the ‘Scene’ in Eccles published 28th. of September.


Rochdale has a new ‘Interchange’ (I must not call it a bus station) which is right across the road from the tram stop (sorry, Light Rail Vehicle terminus).


The interchange was opened in 2013 and as these places go is very good. There seems to be plenty of space for the buses and the passengers seem well looked after. I wish I could say the same for some other recent bus stations (Sorry interchanges) that I have recently visited.




A Volvo B9TL with Wright Gemini Eclipse bodywork part of the ‘First Greater Manchester’ (FGM) fleet. 


Painted in the traditional colours of Rochdale Corporation Transport (RCT). I say traditional but my memory of ‘RCT’ is of a much lighter colour than the cream used here, almost white.


However, I am sure someone at ‘FGM’ checked and it is good that they made the effort.



As with other ‘First’ group fleets, ‘Barbie’ is lingering on and some of the older buses in the fleets might never make it into the new colours before they are withdrawn.



An Optare Solo M920



T902 KLF

A Volvo Olympian with Northern Counties Palatine bodywork which at one time worked for ‘First’ in South Yorkshire.


By coincidence, I recently photographed this bus in Bolton and it also appears on my ‘Bolton Buses 1’ blog dated the 1st of August 2014.



W308 JND

A Mercedes-Benz Citaro.



The ‘FGM’ new livery was also on display



A Volvo B9TL with Wright Gemini Eclipse bodywork.




Another Optare Solo this time a 950.


At one time this bus worked on the ‘Metroshuttle’ Free to all service in and around the centre of Manchester.





A Volvo B7RLE with Wright Eclipse 2 bodywork working for ‘First Halifax’. 


It seems a bit odd that a Halifax in Yorkshire based bus is working a service from Rochdale to Burnley both in Lancashire. However the blind does say via Todmorden which is in Yorkshire.



As with other centres in Lancashire ‘Rossendale Transport’ (RT) puts in an appearance.


X464 UKS.


A Dennis Dart with Alexander ALX 200 bodywork. On its way to Bury, it is painted in the old ‘RT’ livery that dates from the mid 1990’s. This bus has been withdrawn since this image was taken.



In the same livery is YJ05 JWG. An Optare Solo Slimline model M880.




A Scania N94UD with Wright Solar bodywork that was previously in the fleet of ‘Reading Transport’.


‘RT’ are currently going through a re branding exercise using the name ‘Rosso’ and this image illustrates the single deck version of the new livery.


An excellent article about ‘RT’ by David Barrow appeared in ‘Buses’ magazine for June 2014 on page 38.





A Volvo B7TL with Plaxton President bodywork which originally worked in London for  ‘Metroline’ and was supplied to ‘RT’ by ‘Ensignbus’. 


The double deck version of the livery looks good on what is a relatively old vehicle.



S866 DGX

A Volvo Olympian with Northern Counties Palatine 1 bodywork.


Seeing out its days in ‘RT’ service having been previously operated by and in the livery of ‘Metrobus’ of Orpington in Kent who are part of the ‘Go-Ahead Group’.




An Optare Solo M920 of ‘Stotts of Oldham’ working on the Free to all Town Centre service.


It previously worked in Lancashire for ‘Vale of Manchester’ who were taken over by ‘JPT Bus Company’ who in turn became part of ‘Stagecoach’ group earlier in 2014.





An Optare Solo M880SL carrying legal titling for ‘Yorkshire Tiger’ (YT).


‘YT’ appears to be the operating name of the ‘Centrebus’ (Cb) and ‘Huddersfield Bus Company’ (HBC) operations in West Yorkshire. ‘HBC’ being part of ‘Cb’.

All of which explains the ‘Cb’ livery on the vehicle. They just have not got round to repainting it yet.






An Alexander Dennis Ltd (ADL). Dart with ‘ADL’ Enviro 200 bodywork operated by ‘Manchester Community Transport’ under the ‘MCT’ name.