Independent Transport Videos

North West Municipals in the 21st Century

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Just over 50 years ago in 1968 there were 93 Municipal fleets operating in the British Isles, 31 of these fleets were situated in the north-west of England. At the time of filming this DVD programme in 2019, only three remain in the north-west, these being Blackpool, Halton (Widnes) and Warrington. During 2019 the independent transport videos cameras went along to these three towns to record the contemporary scene. Beginning in Blackpool there are not just buses, but also modern and heritage trams as well! The buses are in a smart grey and yellow livery, branded as Palladium. The fleet consists of mostly new ADL Enviro400 City double-deckers, Mercedes-Benz Citaro and ADL Enviro200 MMC single-deckers to name but a few types! The modern trams are in a purple and white livery and the heritage trams are in various liveries depicting the era from which they operated in. Filming locations include the Promenade, Talbot Road, Corporation Street, Market Street, Pleasure Beach, North Pier and Rigby Road – the location of the heritage tram depot and Blackpool Transport’s bus garage. We also catch up with the buses running in Lytham. For added interest our cameras take a ride on Standard tramcar 147 along the promenade to Bispham and the Pleasure Beach, returning on Boat car 600, on each occasion we see the buses running alongside these venerable tramcars.

Our next visit is to see the buses of Halton Transport. Based in the town of Widnes in Cheshire, the company obtained its name after local government reorganisation in 1974. Filmed during April and May 2019 our locations include Green Oaks – the main bus station area, Gerrard Street, Milton Road and Moor Lane – where the Halton Transport (Widnes Corporation) bus garage has been situated since 1923, Caldwell Road and Victoria Road. We also take a ride on 43 (PG03 YYZ), a Transbus Dart with East Lancs Myllennium bodywork over the new river bridge to Runcorn, where a number of Arriva buses are also seen operating. This interesting fleet is 100% single-deck, with a good variety of ADL and Transbus Dennis Darts as well as Scania OmniCity buses formally operated by Metrobus of Crawley. The livery of this fleet is a traditional red and cream scheme.

The final town on our north-west visit is Warrington also in Cheshire. Now with the new name of ‘Warrington’s Own Buses’ the company was previously branded as ‘Network Warrington’ and was also red and cream, but with an orange flash. Now a new livery is being introduced on a new fleet of ADL Enviro200MMC single-deckers of blue with either red or orange, the latter being branded ‘Cheshire Cat’. An interesting fleet of former London Volvo B7TL double-deckers with either Alexander ALX or Wrightbus bodies represent the double-deckers and the older single-deckers are VDL Bus or DAF chassis with Wrightbus Cadet or Merit bodies. There are also Volvo B7RLE Wrightbus Eclipse single-deckers and Optare Versas. Filming takes place on Sankey Street, Legh Street, the busy Warrington Interchange and Winwick Street. We see the bus depot on Wilderspool Causeway, which has been the company’s home for many years dating back to the Corporation era. We leave Warrington onboard 104 (YJ62 FNT), an Optare Versa on route 32 to Widnes. You can see for yourself that there is still a good deal of bus interest and variety in England’s north-west. Included in our filming are buses from the ‘big group’ operators (Arriva, First and Stagecoach) who also serve these towns.

Produced by - Independent Transport Videos
Running time - 78 Minutes
Region - 0 (worldwide) PAL
Aspect Ratio - 16:9 Widescreen
DVD only
Released - September 2019

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