Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Bus Break at Blackpool (3)

It was in the autumn of 2013 when Classic Bus North West (CBNW), purveyors of July and private hire buses for weddings and other junkets ...
... began the risky business of running real bus and coach services for the general public. An express service between Blackpool and Manchester began, numbered X70 and labelled "Red Rocket". The name you may have heard before.

Under the leadership of Phil Stockley, local buses in the Eastleigh area operated by Solent Blue Line were similarly branded. 
fbb even bought a model thereof (second-hand, of course) as a reminder of the Southern Vectis branch office that operated them.

The CBNW version was actually a coach service, and thus could appear and disappear at will without the strictures of the registration legislation. And it still does.

On the first day (4th October) at least one double deck was used ...
... but the more famous performer as time passed was an ex London articulated Mercedes.
Other vehicles were used including this one ...
... formerly with Stagecoach Manchester.
Initially the service ran every 90 minutes, but it was significantly reduced as seen in this later timetable.
The main service now ran between Preston and Manchester with limited peak journeys from Blackpool. A new company was established although it is not clear what the relationship between company and coach service might have been.
The note in red may be construed as being somewhat worrying!

The Red Rocket web site continues to appear to be active however and is offering a book on-line facility ...
... under the aegis of yet another company, Catch22Bus Limited - of which more in due course. Current offers are focused on Christmas Shopping in Cottonopolis.
The timetable is even more sparse (click on the image below to enlarge it) ...
... and, following previous years' precedent, may not reappear until Easter 2017.

We must, perforce, return to October 2013. Withing a week or so of starting public service operations things went well and truly belly-up. This announcement appeared on various on-line media.
Oh, deary me!

The notice also brings up CBNW's service 80 and refers to yet another company, namely Oakwood Travel Services Limited which appeared to be operating a service 22.

Well, no one said it would be easy. The "unravelment" continues tomorrow.

Two notes of importance. (1) Local bus watchers in the North West will be far more familiar with the set up than fbb is, operating remotely; so apologies if fbb has got some of the detail wrong! (2) This investigation was prompted by news from Roy, a respected Sheffield correspondent, who has also sent loadsa pictures. Ta muchly!

Talking of Unravelment ...
Details are beginning to dribble through the ether of the hitherto secret plans that the Sheffield Bus Partnership has for the festive season.

Except the initial news is from operators who are not party to the Partnership!

T M Travel outlines its plans with only one service (30) operating on Boxing Day but not on New Year's Day.
Their page of info also shows services on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve as finishing early.
The second batch comes from Stagecoach Supertram. Here the pattern is similar on the two Eves, but a full timetable is given for 26th and 2nd.
This information is currently being prepared for the GoTimetable Sheffield App and web site and, once it is in place, fbb will explain a bit more.

It is (slightly? more interesting than it might, at first, appear.

 Next Blackpool blog : Thursday 1st December 

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