Monday 31 October 2011

Just when you think its all over...

... another one appears! Step entrance Dennis Darts have again returned to the region, but this time, not with Go-Ahead! Firstly, and most interestingly is with FDC! FDC lost their final step entrance Dart around 3 years ago now, although incidentally, this bus is now in service with Target Travel. But, here we see Bristol/Bath based Dart N235 KAE in Redruth operating the 39 from Helston! I'd spent a majority of the day looking for the bus with no luck! After returned from Helston into Redruth incidentally on a different bus, I then proceeded to catch a Volvo B7 to go towards Truro to catch my train. I then realised, that actually, I didn't have time to get to Truro before the train left! So from the nearest possible stop right at the top of Redruth I ran all the way back down to the station, and as fate would have it, there was N235! And they say things don't happen by chance... 

Second Dart that has been introduced, is with Jackett Coaches. Ex Plymouth Citybus Dart L119 YOD is now within the fleet, and has been used on several weekends on their new X85 from Barnstaple on a Saturday. Nice to see that at least one is living on in Plymouth, with more finding new homes as we speak! More on that later though.  

Sunday 30 October 2011

Snap on Sunday

Today, a view from the very pretty little harbor village of Watchet in Somerset. The bus seen heading towards Taunton from Minehead is Volvo B7L YG02 GLO. These B7Ls are surprisingly nice to ride on, although in half term really you do need something bigger on the service! 

Sunday 23 October 2011

Snap on Sunday

What's that I hear you say? Am I sure this is local? Well yes, if you are mistaken, then this is Truro, but with a non-native bus! This Volvo Olympian, P559 EFL is currently on loan to FDC from its home in Southampton, the giveaway being the non-standard black parts added to the standard livery. There has been much debate in the past as to whether this black paint enhances the livery, or makes it look worse. It does depend on the bus, and even bus to bus in some cases, where we see subtle changes between liveries. So what about P559, well its certainly one of the better ones, but I'm still not totally taken in by it. It does smooth out the lines a bit, but when you compare it directly to the standard livery, its really not that good! It just makes it look untidy, in particular the black around the lower deck windows. P559 is probably on loan at the moment due to the Rail Replacement currently taking place between Plymouth and Par. You certainly see some interesting workings while the B7s and Solos take on the RR duties, but more on that later!  

Friday 21 October 2011


Now, its certainly not everyday that you hear of First Devon and Cornwall, and Plymouth Citybus working in partnership! In fact, its rare enough to see any of the Big 5 subsidiaries working with another. So when Plymouth Citybus posted the following, I was quite taken by surprise:

"During the duration of the road closure affecting our Oreston services 5 and 5A First Devon and Cornwall have kindly agreed to accept key cards as flash passes on their service 2 for customers boarding or alighting at bus stops in Plymstock Road, Randwick Park Road, Foresters Road, Pomphlett Close and Pomphlett Gardens ONLY. Thank you FDC."

Well, what can I say, what a lovely gesture. Its certainly something I'd like to see more of, as I'm sure any passenger would. Many people ask bus companies if there is joint ticketing available between FDC and PCB, and of course, the answer is no. This isn't really a surprise, that's the whole point of their being two bus companies in Plymouth, to keep competition within the industry, so that the passenger should receive a higher quality of service across the board. But certainly in situations such as this, it would be great to see the companies working together to deliver passenger's the best service possible. Its at the root in situations like this, that because of the delays passengers may receive, or the missing of their all important deadlines for whatever it ends up being, that people stop using public transport, and move into private transport! 

For the greater good, FDC may not be making money directly doing this, but almost undoubtedly, it will mean people will stick to using a bus service rather than using the car, full stop, or will encourage people to use FDC's services in the future. Its a win win situation for the industry as a whole, and that's the important factor in this. Many people call for companies to make it 'easier' for people to interlink with buses and trains, and that they should operate under the bracket "Public transport", rather than in competition with each other, or without 'care' for each other. Its all about making it easier for the passenger, to keep them there. A passenger lost is hard to bring back. 

Sunday 16 October 2011

Snap on Sunday

Here we see Tally Ho's Mercedes 709 laying over before working to Noss Mayo on the 94, usually in the hands of the slimline Optare Solo. Tally Ho took the route over from Target Travel a few months ago, who were operating it on behalf of FDC. This 709 really did look stunning in the new livery of which pretty much the whole fleet is wearing now. Certainly a lot better than the red livery, which never really did the 709s any favors, but this livery has made them look much more modern. Believe it or not, this photo was actually taken using my phone! Even when you click on the photo to enlarge is, it loses very little clarity, I've been very impressed with it so far! 

Sunday 9 October 2011

Snap on Sunday

Heading for Devon in the glorious low October sun we enjoyed last Sunday we see Tamar  II (?) crossing the river from Cornwall. Beautiful! 

Saturday 8 October 2011

Beautifying Bretonside

Finally, Bretonside is actually starting to look like a place where you wouldn't mind spending time, not that many people have to regularly venture down here these days anyway...

Bretonside has been getting a splash of paint over the past couple of weeks in a range of really bright and bold colours. I must admit, this small amount of effort has absolutely transformed the lower station, it genuinely looks inviting! There doesn't seem to be any real pattern to the colour scheme, and that's possibly why its worked so effectively. Then again, it may also develop your thoughts into, is this paint just a variety of leftovers that PCC found in their stores? Even if this is the case, its really brightened the dull appearance of the pillars the are so dominating along the lower station. I'm really hoping we'll see more of this if and when they refurbish the rest of the concourse. Bretonside hopefully will now become somewhere they is pleasant to waste away time waiting for a bus or coach to whisk you away. Then again, I doubt some paint will cure the 'scene' that we still find in Bretonside, but who knows! The radio idea never really worked in clearing these people, although it does still make it more enjoyable for the people who are down there. Those safety announcements are dreadfully annoying though, especially when you've had to hear it in 4 languages. But still, I will say a well done Plymouth City Council on this one! 

Saturday 1 October 2011

Welcome back Winkleigh!

After 3 years scored off the rally calender the Winkleigh Rally at the West of England Transport Collection will be making a return tomorrow. 

If you've never been before, Winkleigh is a rally that is just completely different to any other you'll visit. The photo I've posted at the top sums it up quite well really! A rally with copious amounts of half cabs, a huge selection of buses both rotting, and in preservation waiting for their chance to be restored. Some people describe it as a scrapyard, I wouldn't go that far, but Winkleigh is indeed a place where buses are acquired, and 'dumped' before their fate is decided. Its fascinating looking through what's on offer, looking at what's reached the end of their lives, and what we may see back out on the road in the future. The dis-used (well no, not dis-used, they're filled with buses now!) hangers that many buses are kept in also add to this atmosphere. 

Really worth coming along for something different. There are due to be many more trips operating this year, departing every 5 minutes from the rally site! All kicks off at 10 if you're interested.