Friday, 29 April 2011

Farewell, and thanks for all the connections!

The very last 46 and the very last 47, pictured crossing over for the final time at Derriford Hospital

The 46, and the 47. The routes that would get you practically from anywhere, to anywhere in Plymouth (excluding anywhere East!). You could so easily get to some weird and wonderful parts of Plymouth, with just one simple service, and that is what will sorely be missed by many passengers of the routes. As I'm sure many of you have noticed, there has been a lot of complaints on the Plymouth Citybus Facebook page, stating that they would be stranded and it would be impossible for them to reach their destinations. Of course in reality, this is true in only a very small number of cases, it just means you might have to change once or twice, which strangely, people seem extremely reluctant to do (although I'll come round to all this in more depth at some point later on!).  

L122 YOD approaches Royal Parade before operating the final service 46

These routes are the last to see a staple diet of step entrance Darts operating them (actually thinking about it 59 is the only other route which usually gets them), although from what I've heard the 27 so far seems to be seeing these operating on them before the Volvo B7 deckers can displace some SLFs onto this service. As some of you may know the Mercedes 709s are now totally withdrawn, with all remaining 709s now de-licensed. When the final K, L and M reg Darts do go, which surely can't be far off now, Plymouth Citybus will be totally low floor (of course excluding the Volvo Citybus' used on schools only). Good (or from an enthusiast's point, not so good!) that Go Ahead have converted PCB to low floor well ahead of the 2016/7 deadline for 100% low floor operation. This will certainly be something PCB will be proud of, and will be happy to boast about. First in Plymouth aren't exactly far off though. Generally its just Torpoint's 3 K-ORLs that are the only high floor buses to operate in the city. But then its not uncommon to find one of the K-LAEs still out operating Tavistock services, with one now and again escaping onto a Ugobus route (which generally seems to be the 3 for some reason). 

The last group of passengers on the final service 47. Some aware it was the last trip, others blissfully unaware! 

Anyway back to the 46/7, the buses that had the honour of operating the last services were L122 YOD, on the final 46, and M127 HOD on the final 47, and the final of them to do the round trip in either direction. I did indeed make the effort to use the 47 for the final round trip, although many of my fellow passengers that evening, seemed blissfully unaware that this was the last ever service. Two particular, young teenage girls certainly made me laugh when they joined the service at St Budeaux, after boarding the 47 rather than the 26 which was awaiting time at the stand infront of us. Of course the Darts are known for their quick acceleration and one of them shouted "Wow, glad we got on this one, this is much faster than the 26!". Though they later withdrew this comment with the remark of "Oh god why does this bus take soooooooo lonnggggg!!!!". One even asked me at one point "Does this bus actually go to town!?". I mean surely its a worthwhile sacrifice, a few minutes extra to ride on the final 47!. 

M127 HOD awaiting time before operating the final 47.

M127 was certainly a good Dart though, and she was masterfully handled throughout the route. Yes the vinyls over the windows were a bit annoying, but you win some, you lose some!. I am now the very proud owner, of the last ticket ever printed on a service 47, Railway Station - City Centre. It was certainly a tear jerking moment (actually no, I'm not quite that sad!), seeing M127 power up Royal Parade for the last time, into the sunset, the blind set for Milehouse, for the final time. The route will sorely be missed by many, and it is true, that many journeys will never be so simple again, linking so many communities together within Plymouth. The services were, if you will, a binding of Plymouth, and for this reason, 46 and 47 are a sad loss to the city itself. 

Farewell 46/7 and thanks for all the memories!    

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