A much travelled Volvo Olympian which, by the time you have read this, may have seen all parts of First Manchester territory!
For our penultimate Great Olympian of our Time, we have before your very eyes a much travelled one of First Manchester’s vehicles. For once, it doesn’t fit the (seemingly) unofficial criteria in this feature of being a Northern Counties bodied vehicle. R622 JUB is bodied by one of NCME’s successors, Walter Alexander and Son – now Alexander Dennis.
R622 JUB entered service with FirstGroup’s West Yorkshire subsidiary [Yorkshire Rider] in February 1998, and offered a real contrast to their mainly Roe bodied fleet. By 2008, she moved to First Potteries, then First Chester and Wirral the following year.
In 2010, reorganisation saw First Chester and Wirral come under the control of First Manchester. From there, she would be seen in Greater Manchester the following year, on loan. September 2011 saw her on hire to their Dukinfield garage. The following month’s image sees her on the popular 348 route.
Her stay in Tameside was temporary as she moved to Oldham in the new year. Today, she now resides at Bury depot, though there’s every chance she might be in Bolton or Wigan by the time you’ve read this!
Ten real ale pubs across the Pennines, coast to coast
Somewhere in the mists of time, East of the M60 wrote a post entitled ‘Silence, Tea and Sky’, a Trans-Pennine trail of desirable tea shops along railway routes. Today, our return leg from Scarborough has had us searching for something stronger, often served in a much bigger drinking vessel. Continue reading “Trans-Pennine Real Ale Pubs: The Not So Perfect Ten”→
A Happy Yorkshire Day, courtesy of Halifax Joint Committee’s former Dublin Bus example
Between 1995 and 2009, Tony Blackman’s Halifax Joint Committee operated stage carriage services in the Huddersfield and Halifax areas. Its operations had modest beginnings with a heritage bus service between Hebden Bridge and Halifax. By 2001, they expanded with a mix of subsidised and commercial services, most notably the 509 from Halifax to Leeds via Bradford and various free buses for supermarket chains.
Today, stage carriage operations have been scaled down, with two free buses from Halifax to the town’s Sainsburys store, and a similar one from Brighouse to its town’s TESCO. The exception to this is a schooldays only service in Hebden Bridge. Besides stage carriage services, heritage charters using restored vehicles form part of their business.
Our Leyland Olympian hitherto saw service for Dublin Bus in 1992. Under the registration number 91-D-10108, it entered service as a dual door double decker. Having boarded this vehicle itself, its conversion to single door was pretty neat, and she made light work of the gradients up to Quarmby. The green moquette trim on the seats was in good condition, as demonstrated below on my journey:
By 1998, the big bus owning groups took hold of Britain’s bus network. Besides a radical shake up of operators, the number of bodybuilders also fell. Eastern Coach Works left the scene in 1985, Charles H. Roe became Optare. Courtesy of, or through happy accident, Perth and Aberdeen based Stagecoach and FirstGroup opted for Celtic bodybuilders, namely Walter Alexander and Son and, in later years, Wright.
By 1999, the Northern Counties name was no more, following its absorption by Henlys in 1995. That year saw NCME bodied buses becoming Plaxton bodied vehicles.
FirstGroup, like Stagecoach, have had dealings with Alexander with their roots stretching back to the Grampian Regional Transport era. This example seen outside Huddersfield railway station is among the last Volvo Olympians to have entered service. The last newly built Volvo Olympians would enter service in 2000. Even in 2012, Volvo Olympians remain in service on less lucrative routes or school services.