The four years I have been living in Carlisle have seen many changes
to the buses of the city. The dominant operator is still Stagecoach as successors
to Cumberland and Western SMT, with a single route operated by First
Edinburgh and several lower frequency routes operated by other local
operators (which explains why I haven't managed to get some of them on
camera). White Star has unfortunately gone, now part of Western, but
they are represented here. The regular movement of buses between Stagecoach
fleets did not seem to be too significant in Carlisle, apart form an inward
migration of Volvo B6s,a nd them some Dennis Lances, but the events of January
2005 caused a major upheaval. This page depicts the scene in Carlisle before
January 2005, many of the buses depicted having been replaced due to
flood damage. The first part of the page is dedicated to buses seen this
year, and the second part contains older photos recording events (and
buses) past (well, since 2001, when I moved to Cumbria). This makes
it quite a long page, so be patient with the loading!
Top of the page is Cumberland 34477, a Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis
Dart seen on it's second day in service, 3rd February 2004. Brand new buses
in Carlisle. Shock horror! Soon after this photo was taken, it became
34476, the whole batch being renumbered. As a result of this I have photos
of two buses numbered 34482, one which became 34481, and Bluebird
34482, still extant in Inverness.
For pictures of the bus related after-effects of the floods of 8th
January 2005, see the After
The Rain page Much of the content
of the page below has been superseded, initially by a fine selection of buses
from Stagecoach Everywhere, and then by brand new Darts, as depicted on the
Carlisle Now page.
When I arrived in Carlisle the majority of the buses were
like this: a Volvo B10M-55 with Alexander PS bodywork, which operated
both the City services and the longer distance routes as well. 20745
is typical of the large batch of these buses which entered service in
1992-3, and is seen in Carlisle Bus Station, having just arrived from
Cockermouth and about to depart to Keswick, with very little layover.
It is seen on 23rd January 2004
Numerically the last of the B10Ms is 20790 (originally 790),
one of two added in 1995 with coach seats and intended for the longer
distance services from Carlisle. It is seen here awaiting departure time
at The Courts on the rather shorter route 101to Rockcliffe , on 23rd January.
Until February this year the only low floor buses at Carlisle
depot, other than those which came with White Star, were the 11 MAN
18.220s with Alexander bodies introduced on the busy routes 61/61A in
1999, although they often appear on other routes. (I have a photo of one
on the Dumfries service, taken at Annan and rode on one to Cockermouth
in February this year). 22802 is seen leaving West Tower Street on 24th
Another of the MANs is 22804, still in the stripy livery,
seen at The Crescent on 22nd January.
In 2002 the local paper informed us that 12 new buses were
coming to Carlisle. New to Carlisle, maybe, but not new in the new sense
of new, being 1-2 years younger than the B10Ms. They were Dennis Lances
with Plaxton Verde bodies from Stagecoach London, formerly LV1-12 and
converted to single door before entering service. The sounds they make
(from outside and inside) betray their previous life in London. 27205
is seen at West Tower Street on 23rd January.
Along with the London Lances three were transferred from South
Midland, 27901-3 (formerly 901-903). These are easily spotted by the
large three track number display on the opposite side to the London buses,
and by the fact that they were built as single door buses and the join where
the centre doors have been removed does not exist. 27902 is seen on the
opposite side of West Tower Street on 15th January 2004. This picture is
only made possible thanks to the demolition of the bus shelter at this point
by one of the Leyland Olympians last year.
When I arrived in Carlisle there were a few Volvo B6s
in service. The number increased considerably until recently. It appears
that the arrival of the new Darts has lead to some of them going elsewhere.
This one is 30272, seen on Lowther Street on 22nd January, illegally
parked vehicles causing the bus to pull up beyond the stop and allowing
me to get a nearside shot at a place where it is normally very difficult.
Another of theVolvo B6s is 30281, seen in the old livery
at Carlisle Bus Station on 23rd January. One of the good things about
Stagecoach's national numbering system is that the Cumberland B6s now
have easily deciphered fleet numbers, whereas they were previously rather
Also in the Bus Station on 23rd January is 33076, a Dennis
Dart MPD with Plaxton Pointer bodywork, which came to Stagecoach with
the White Star Motors business last year and stayed when most of the work
and buses which came with that business was transferred to Western late
last year. As a Dart it was until recently a very lonely bus at Carlisle
Depot (and anywhere in Stagecoach North West).
As seen at the top of the page, hot off the production line
is 34477, a brand spanking new Dennis Dart SLF with Plaxton Pointer
body, seen on it's second day in service, 3rd February 2004. Both inside
and out the whole batch smells very new indeed, and the interior is rather
more welcoming than the B6s, B10s and Lances. But in ten years time, how
wil it look? And why did it get renumbered 34476 shortly after this photo
was taken, and after I had passed the information on to Buses Magazine Fleet
News! Am I the only person to notice the renumbering of the entire batch?
Seen outside the Cumberland Infirmary on the same day is another
of the Darts, 34481 (now 34480). I can live without the scrolling destinations
of these buses (and the MANs) as I often seem to snap the bus with just
the route number showing or in mid-scroll. Thankfully, I was lucky with these
Cumberland (?) 47025 is a 2002 Optare Solo with bike racks
on the back in a dedicated livery for the Hadrian's Wall Bus, aptly numbered
AD122 (one for the historians). Last year it was in Busways ownership,
and operated the daily round trip form Wallsend to Burgh-by-Sands, but
it has now appeared with Cumberland legal lettering and is very often
seen, without blinds, on route 185, the all-year service to Haltwhistle
via villages near the Wall. This is a route inherited from White Star last
The only coaches I usually photograph are those on Express
services, such as Cumberland 53020, a Volvo B12M with Plaxton bodywork.
It is bound for London on route 590 from Aberdeen. There is a period
at lunchtime every day when Carlisle Bus Station is teeming with National
A contender for the longest bus service from Carlisle
is the RailLink service X95 which takes in several Borders towns before
finishing up in Edinburgh, a mere three and a half hours later. I can
vouch for the glorious scenery as far as Hawick. The route starts in
the Station Forecourt, and can lead to some interesting manoeuvres due
to the layout. Seen leaving at the start of the epic trek on 23rd January
is very new Scania L94UB/ Wright Solar 65697, with good old fashioned destination
blinds. Further comments about the rail-link service will be found further
down the page, amongst the older photos of Carlisle.
Although the X95 is usually operated by low-floor Scanias
now, in recent weeks one Saturday morning journey into Carlisle has been
double decker operated, as evidenced by First Edinburgh 31660, seen laying
over at The Courts, the station forecourt being full of rail replacement
coaches. 31660 is an ALexander Royale bodied Volvo Olympian dating from
1998 and was formerly numbered 1329 as can be seen form the front of the
Another long route is 685 to Newcastle, jointly operated by
Cumberland and Arriva Northumbria. Northumbria 1202, a Plaxton bodied
DAF is seen unloading in Lonsdale Street, due to congestion in the Bus
Station on 23rd January. This dedicated livery is carried by 5 Northumbria
DAFs, but the 2 Cumberland Volvo B10M-62s which used to carry it have
been repainted into corporate livery and have eluded my camera. The missing
town name on the window display is Brampton.
Operating National Express service 538 (Inverness to Coventry)
on 23rd January was Rapsons 654, a Volvo B10M-62 with Plaxton body dating
And on service 535 from Perth to Kettering is Stagecoach Bluebird
52382, formerly 622, a 1997 Volvo B10M-62 with Plaxton body.
And the 921 service (Carlisle to Belfast) was in the charge
of Ulsterbus 510, a Plaxton bodied Volvo B10M-62 new in 1995.
Western 33075 is a Dennis Dart SLF/ Plaxton Pointer which
was new to White Star Motors and passed to Cumberland last year with
that business and is now wiht Western. It is still a regular on the ex
White Star route 382 (Carlisle-Moffat), as seen on 15th January.
Another ex White Star Dart is Western 33078, one of the 2002
built pair of Darts, seen here leaving the Courts terminus on 23rd January
2004. The other of the pair is pictured in White Star days towards the bottom of this page
This is the first photo of mine to make it into Buses magazine.
The other contender for longest bus route is Western's once
a day route X75 from Stranraer to Carlisle. Setting out on the return
journey on 23rd January is 52079 (formerly 174), a 1990 Plaxton Paramount
bodied Volvo B10M-60. What if the original vehicle which carried the
registration WLT874 was operating this route!