Saturday, 31 December 2011

Farewell 2011!

So, here we are now in the final hour of 2011, and what a successful year it has been for the blog. Viewing numbers for this blog have again risen hugely during 2011 with on average 137 people a day viewing PTOTPA. Truly remarkable. There's a phrase kicking round at the moment, "Blogging; Never before have so many people with so little to say, said so much to so few". But that's simply not what its about, its about giving people 'hopefully' interesting things to read, about what they're interested in, in a space where people can understand what the writter is on about, and people can interact. I don't do this to attract huge numbers, but even so, I never thought the blog could or would be as popular as it is today. For this, I must once again bow down to Graham Richardson who through his efforts brings in many extra people who otherwise may have never even discovered my corner of the internet. Plymothian Transit brings in approximately 730 people a month to PTOTPA, around a quarter of all my views, and has passed on many of his regulars to here in months and years gone by, so as afore mentioned, thanks once again to him.

Towards the end of the year I introduced the PTOTPA 'Live' concept where I would update a Facebook site for general news, new photos, new posts, and anything else of interest. This has had a good response so far, so thanks for your support, I hope its been of use to you. The Twitter account has been used to both live updates as I'm out and about, as well as a documentation on my activities on various forms of transport. This currently has 19 'followers' to it. Just to remind you, you can view my posts on the Twitter account without having to 'Sign up' to twitter yourself. I have included a readout of my latest posts to this account on the right hand side of the blog page, as well as a link to both the Facebook and the Twitter account. I appreciate these mediums aren't to everyone's liking though!    

So, the future of PTOTPA. Time for some serious talk. It is highly likely I will be leaving the region during 2012 to take up a place at one of the UK's fine universities, providing that my effort pays off this year at A-Level, and I get the required grades to enter the courses I choose. This will of course mean I won't be in Plymouth to be able to update you on news in the area, so during this year the fate of PTOTPA will need to be decided. I've been thinking over several options, and of course there at the moment is plenty of time to sort it out, but I shall introduce some of my thoughts to you now.

1. I continue to write PTOTPA with the help of a 'team' of regular contributors who can feed me news, in which I will then process and produce posts

2. I open applications for someone to take over PTOTPA, with my assistance and writing alongside myself

3. I open applications for someone to permanently take my place as editor of PTOTPA

4. Withdraw the title 'PTOTPA', and change it to something more general, covering a larger area

5. I close PTOTPA, end of. 

Please do feed free to make your thoughts known on this. I would hope that I will be able to start a similar blog focusing on whichever city I end up in come September, but undoubtably many of you won't be interested in constant news feeds from the likes of Birmingham and Huddersfield etc. 

So anyway, here's so a successful 2011, but there are many serious challenges to come up in 2012 including the huge re-tendering exercise of Cornwall's route network in the coming months. Thanking you gracefully, to all my readers for your continued support and readership


Friday, 30 December 2011

The final few

The Mercedes 709 continues to dwindle away as we end 2011. Of course Plymouth Citybus' were withdrawn many months ago now, but Target Travel have run a select few of them throughout 2011. The hallmark N-BNF reg duo from Huddersfield though have now been retired, and N94 can be viewed for sale on e-bay as can be seen on the link below. Very reasonable price at the time of writing, although the reserve hasn't yet been met. The 709s are such lovely solid little vehicles, the Vario never really was a fit replacement for these fine machines, which of course was why PCB never updated their 'breadvans' and stuck with what was best! I'm sure many of you will be pleased to see these go, and perhaps, rightly so. They're cheap, not very well built, un-fit for purpose vans at the end of the day. Yet they have played a hugely important part in keeping the privitised industry afloat in their fledgling years, and for that, they deserve their places in preservation, however few and far between they are at this point! 


Thursday, 29 December 2011

New livery out in force

You may need to click on the photo to appreciate it fully, but amazingly in one of those moments you get only when you're not trying, I have managed to photograph three of the latest livery repaints all on different buses, two of them being unique! Unfortunately the photo wasn't of brilliant quality, firstly due to it being taken on my phone, and secondly, of this horrific weather, but its a photo none the less. Ok, maybe I'm about to be a bit picky, but on the dull day, this dark red front does them no favors. At least the white and lighter red brightened it up slightly (note the livery in the right hand corner). 

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Need another present?

Understandably, this week there's very little going on with various reductions in services and the like, although First's effort in producing special timetables for the next 3 days of service is quite interesting in its own right. But what I shall introduce here is this proposition. Do you feel you worked particularly hard this year, or didn't quite get what you wanted for Christmas? Got a spare £650'000? Well you could be the new owner of St Austell depot! Or, if that's a bit pricey for your liking why not have Newquay, a mear snip at just £125'000? Really strapped for cash after too many mince pies? How about Callington at just £50'000! Click the links below to view the sales in detail!




Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Well, as Christmas draws to a close I'd just like to say Merry Christmas to all my loyal readers, contributors and fellow bloggers, and to hope that you've had an as enjoyable time as I have. Continued thanks for the year will come in the new year, so enjoy the next few days, and try not to drink your way through all of it! 

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Torpoint gets a visitor!

With thanks to Luke Farley I can bring you this very rare shot of First Devon and Cornwall Volvo B6BLE WK02 TYF having a day out across the river to Torpoint depot. Despite the blind stating '81B Polperro' the bus was not actually used in service while in Torpoint, but was used to transport some engineering crew to Torpoint to fix Trident 32758 which was suffering with a water leak. Certainly a brave move to take a vehicle with such a long overhang, and no ferry lift across the Torpoint ferry, unless the tide was high enough meaning there was little risk of any grounding out occurring. This is nearly undoubtedly the first time a B6 will have visited Torpoint, although this is not the first time a B6 has run on an 81. I've heard stories in the past of various failed buses having their services continued on the Plymouth side of the ferry using B6s as a stop gap before a 'ferrybus' can be put back in its place. Still, nice to see something different! 

Friday, 23 December 2011

Spreading Christmas Cheer!

Many of the local transport companies have been embracing the Christmas spirit once again this year, making the experience of using public transport that bit more special. Great to see especially when it makes so much more sense than using the car, with the endless tailbacks you regularly see coming into Plymouth during the Christmas period. 

Both First and Plymouth Citybus have been having fancy dress days for their drivers, with PCB bringing MCO 658 out to play with some festively dressed passengers and music blaring out, driving up and down Royal Parade. Great to see!

The Cremyll Ferry, currently in the hands of Tamar Belle has also been decorated for the season, with a mass of fairy lights, tinsel, and even a fully sized Christmas tree! 

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Replacement rolls in

With thanks to a contributor, I can bring you these great photos of Volvo Olympian P568 EFL being prepared for service at The Ride. This is one of the large batch that were once owned by Stagecoach, but in 2002 were returned off lease, and many if not all of these proceeded to be bought by First Group, and sent to various subsidiaries across the UK, with a majority going to either Manchester or Southampton. P568 is clearly an Ex-Southampton vehicle thanks to the tell tale signs of the extra black paint around the upper deck windows, which is clearly visible. We can safely presume therefore that K804 ORL won't be making a return to service, but this addition may also end up seeing off one of the K-LAE Ex-Bristol Leyland Olympians, but of course as with everything, only time will tell!  

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Snap on Sunday

For this week's Snap on Sunday I have selected this shot from Friday lunchtime of two of Plymouth Citybus' ex-Trent Volvo Citybus B10Ms. They're seen here on Paradise Road coming down to work a special service for the early finishers at DHSB. 'Luckily' the two turned up around 20-30 minutes after everyone had already dispersed, all had either walked, or caught a service bus into town by this point. I persevered and was duly rewarded with the choice of these two beasts all to myself! G615 has always been a personal favorite of mine, but I'd never been on F600, so on I hopped for the trip down into Royal Parade. The Citycoach driver was very friendly on the trip into town, commenting that he hadn't "Driven one of these for yonks!", but was still impressed with these machines! These Volvos really were brilliantly put together, and even at the 'grand old age' of 23, these really do fly! Unlike most buses these never seemed to lose any performance the older they've got, where as replacement have never really lived up to the reputation these have. This is no doubt why the E-BTAs lasted so long in frontline service, and also why the D-GHY batch are still used today on Cornwall's open top service 300. I'd challenge anyone to come up with something as well built as these in fact!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Another K-ORL bites the dust

The 2nd of the K-ORL batch of Volvo Olympians has now been withdrawn from service with First Devon and Cornwall, now awaiting her rendezvous with the scrap man. I've always really liked this photo, many spotters obsess over passengers and street furniture getting in the way of their photos, and indeed at times I do to. But a really nice working shot like this can just paint the picture of what they were like so much better than a more 'unrealistic' shot ever could. 

K804 ORL was the 1st of the batch to arrive in Torpoint during the imminent withdrawal of the C-HJN Leyland Olympians back in 2008, joining sister K802 ORL which joined the fleet way back in 2005 during the withdrawal of the final Bristol VRs. Strange to think that the final VRs left us over 5 years ago, but that's another story! K804 has been plagued with problems for a while now as has been reported on previous occasions, so it certainly seemed to be marking the way for her to be withdrawn at the nearest opportunity. Now that Torpoint has gained an extra Trident K804 is surplus to requirement, although it has been rumored that an N reg Volvo Olympian has joined the Plymouth fleet, although I have yet to see this confirmed. 

This photo shows her where she is currently resting up at Stuart's Bus and Truck, the Plymouth Volvo dealer, waiting out the days before she is carted off for scraping. I can't say I'm incredibly sorry to see this one go, but it certainly suggests the final two will be coming up for withdrawal at some point during 2012. It is a sorry sight to see these old stalwarts of Plymouth finally coming to the end of their 19 year career, totally played out within the confines of Devon. Its not often these days that a batch of buses are kept local for their whole life within one of the large groups. K804 herself has given sterling service to customers on the X80 during her early life, and even to passengers of Penzance, when these enjoyed a day out on the old X1 into Cornwall. K804 has spent time on the moors on the 82, and on the Tavistock services, even penetrating Truro and local routes around Camborne during her time spent on college run 928 from Tavistock. And of course, latterly joining the elite band of buses at Torpoint, which only the few selected can complete a trip on! We say farewell to K804, with 2 down, and 2 to go.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Subtle Citaro

As expected, this week has been preposterously hectic, but no matter, I managed a few hours in Plymouth this evening, and indeed Plymouth yet again didn't disappoint the bus enthusiast! 

So Plymouth Citybus has now painted up the first of the Citaros into the new livery and I would suggest that it looks a lot more subtle on the Citaro in comparison to the rest of the fleet. Perhaps it was just the dull weather, but it certainly didn't seem to stand out as much as it has done on other models. This livery also appears to suit the lines of the Citaro even worse than it did on the Dart, although it matches perfectly with the Enviro 200's. The old livery always looked particularly good on the Citaros when comparing it to other models in the fleet, with the two colour bands, but this single block colour just doesn't quite look right on the Citaro. Perhaps a bit of flaring with the red across the windows towards the rear would have done the trick, but then we again enter further debating! 

Enviro 200 134 is set to be the next one to be put into the livery. The only types remaining to be put into the livery now are the East Lancs Volvo B7s, and the Ex Oxford Wright bodied Darts.  

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Snap on Sunday

No trip out on Saturday this week, but I did make it to Huddersfield on Wednesday which readers of my Twitter feed will know. I hope to post about this later in the wait, but I can't promise anything as of yet, the outlook is pretty hectic!

So here we see Volvo Olympian T664 VWU at the Storthes Hall residential park on which she had delivered myself and a packed load to with ease, from the centre of Huddersfield. Really good Volvo this one, certainly a nice batch of buses. You will also note that this is the one painted into Huddersfield Bus Company colours, celebrating 125 years (in 2008) of Huddersfield Buses. Very smart looking bus, even 3 years on from when she was painted. 

Friday, 9 December 2011

At long last

After literally months of scouring Cornwall on the odd Saturdays I have FINALLY caught up with the illusive, N235 KAE! Since N235 arrived in Cornwall in mid October, I have only ever come across her once, and by that time, I didn't have time for a trip, and if you remember, even that meeting was a fluke. Since October 22nd N235 has been hiding from me at all costs. But alas she could hide no longer on Saturday as we met once again in Camborne Bus Station, where she waited expectantly as I arrived on a Volvo B7 from Truro. 

If anyone had told me a few years ago I'd spend months trying to hunt down a DART, I would have thought they were mad, and consequently this whole expedition to find her has shaken me, but I have to admit it, it was well worth the effort! N235 really is a brilliant little Dart. She's obviously been very well looked after up in Bristol and Bath over the years, and she really pulled well. Even the driver commented on how good it was, even as a non-enthusiast (who thought I was completely mad!) realised and appreciated the significance of N235's presence in Cornwall. 

So I shall therefore include a short video of N235 on the trip I took aboard her on the 39 from Camborne to Helston (which is a very nice little route by the way), giving you the chance to experience what she's like! Long may she continue service down here, although as it stands, her future appears completely undecided. 

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Snap on Sunday

Weird how sometimes atmospheric shots can produce some of the nicest photos against all odds. I think the following three photos from this week can demonstrate this quite well. All are taken of Torpoint's Dennis Tridents which I think are actually starting to look better with age. The boldness of the pink has died down immeasurably from when they were new, and personally I much prefer this softer pink we now see 6 1/2 years on.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Happy Birthday TTTs!

The TTT-X batch of Leyland Atlanteans reached there 30th birthday today, after first hitting the road way back in December of 1981, these being some of the last Atlanteans ever produced. Leyland produced the Atlantean for just over 20 years, throughout which many fine vehicles were made. Thanks to the 'proper' engineering that went into them, many still survive today, including at least 3 from the TTT batch. What better tribute than to be able to say one was used daily right up until very recently at Roselyn Coaches, thanks to its popularity with the drivers. Happy Birthday TTTs, many more successful years of motoring to come no doubt! 

As a footnote, PCTPG's Jason Beverly has produced this tribute video to the TTT-Xs for their 30th birthday:

Thursday, 1 December 2011

YREA Videofest and the Class 142 Farewell

The Youth Rail Enthusiasts Association 'Videofest' has been and gone for another, and so to have the final Class 142 Pacers from the region. I'm a majority of you will have already seen the photos I took on the day, but if not please do click the link below here. The video above was my entry to the Videofest this year, also giving you an overview of the day. Really fitting tribute to this Class 142 though, it really was one of those unforgettable days. Everything just worked perfectly, despite some technical hitches with 142068, my personal favorite! Huge thanks to all involved at First Great Western for making the day so successful, and enjoyable!