Following the disastrous flooding of Carlisle Bus Depot (and a lot
of the City) on 8th January 2005 and the amazing variety of buses seen
in afterwards, Stagecoach announced the purchase of a fleet of
brand new low-floor buses for Carlisle City routes. These were
officially launched (bad choice of word?) on 30th June, complete with
"Carlisle Citi" branding, and with most of the buses carrying route
branding for individual routes both internally and externally. The
publicity seemed to be good, but rather selective, as the other local
and interurban routes were ignored almost totally. I hope that the
money invested by Stagecoach on this exercise will be beneficial, but
the problem of the daily traffic jam that is afternoon in Carlisle
means that the reliability of the service is severely compromised,
regardless of the buses used. The City and County Councils need to do
something more than a few bus lanes, one of which is rendered
inoperative due to being full
of police vehicles displaced from their previous abode by the floods
the others seem to be ignored by motorists. There is no point having
lanes, box junctions and parking restrictions if the motorists of
Carlisle are free to ignore them at will, with no visible enforcement.
I hope Stagecoach makes a big fuss.
Enough ranting. My first encounter with the new look in Carlisle
Friday 1st July. Above is the first picture I took, at the start of a
trip to Preston and Blackpool (the results of which might appear
online), at Durranhill terminus (guess which is my local bus stop!)
34719 is numerically the last of the 39 buses for Carlisle, and is one
with general branding.
Inside the buses there is a lot of information about the services,
available and where the City Centre stops are. All very commendable,
to a large extent is it merely preaching to the converted?
Time to accentuate the positive, however. After a month my guess
would be that passenger numbers are up, and the low-floor feature has
attracted many pushchairs. And the new buses look good. The individual
route brandings were 34681-34685 (routes 60/60A), 34687-34695 (routes
61/61A), 34696/7 (routes 62/62A/62B), 34698-34701 (routes 63/63A),
34702-34710 (routes 67/68) and 34711-34715 (route 76). 34686 and
34716-9 did not carry any specific route branding, and turned up as
required on any route. Since the early days, some of the branded buses
have been de-branded to improve flexibility, and it is common for the
Darts to turn up on country routes, and double deckers and minibuses to
turn up on the "Citi" routes. A recent event has been the
temporary relocation of a school in Carlisle from the City Centre to
one of the suburbs, with the additional transport being provided by
Stagecoach. This has meant a large increase in the double decker
requirement at Carlisle and a bit more interest for the enthusiast.
On 4th July 2005 I took advantage of a £1 Day Rover offer to
explore the suburbs of Carlisle and photograph buses in places other
than the City Centre and Durranhill, only to curse when I discovered
that for only the second time in over 20 years my SLR camera had let me
down and no photos survived. The next opportunity I had to photograph
the new buses was 11th July, and so it is that the first picture worthy
of inclusion is a B10M with Alexander bodywork! 20944 is seen on West
Tower Street, having worked in from
Cockermouth, and is an ex-Manchester vehicle. As is my way I managed to
it with the scrolling display showing only the route number.
Another ex Manchester B10M is 20904, seen on the same road, and
operating an infrequent village service, on 11th July 2005.
And also on West Tower Street is new Dart 34711, route branded for
Not a brilliant photo, but at least a different angle. 34686 is
seen on route 68. Behind the bus are the traffic lights just seen above
the water line in the picture at the top of my Carlisle after the rain
Parked up in
the Bus Station are two of Carlisle's minibuses, 40395 and 40397, both
Mercedes 709Ds. A few new minibuses might have been nice, as these (and
most of the rest of the Carlisle based ones) are getting rather old and
Seen leaving the Bus Station is another ex Manchester B10M, 20977.
The few remaining native B10Ms have been augmented by some of the
examples sent from Manchester after the flooding. As these are newer
than what they replaced, it is a good thing.
Also seen leaving the Bus Station is Volvo Olympian/ Alexander
16653, bound for Whitehaven on route 300 with appropriate route
branding. This bus, and several others of the same batch replaced some
Northern Counties bodied examples last year.
On The Crescent is new Dart 34697, route branded for service 62 to
It is not the case that I have a fixation with ex-Manchester B10Ms,
just that they kept appearing at opportune moments. This one is 20959,
again with scrolling screen shownig number only. Timing is everything!
Just behind the bus can be seen the bus lane turned police vehicle
park, which is doing nothing to aid the efficient operation of bus
services in Carlisle.
And another ex Manchester bus, this time with Northern Counties
bodywork. 20994 is seen leaving the Bus Station on a 685 journey to
Newcastle, which is normally operated by coaches.
Not a brand new low-floor Dart is Leyland Olympian 14261, which
found it's way onto route 76 and took me home in the early afternoon.
Congestion in the City Centre was already causing problems, as
evidenced by the Dart behind. The 76 has a frequency of every 15
minutes during the day, so to get two at once indicates a big problem
somewhere en route.
The Dart behind was 34714, and inevitably I waited to photograph
it. Pity about the shadows.
Back into the City later in the day, and the bus lane on Lowther
Street can lead to some good line-ups, such as this one. 34718 is seen
at the head of a queue of Darts, with something different just visible
at the back of the line. My notes suggest that the buses behind 34718
are 34707, 34685, 34714, 34690 and 52134.
And here is 52134, carrying
Bluebird fleetnames, and what exactly
is Northumbria as a destination? I was unable to get to the other side
the coach to check the legal lettering, so I was none the wiser. Many
to Stephen Hurst for the information that it was destined fro
Coaches of Ashington (hence the blind). I have since seen this coach
Northumbria's service 618 form Newcastle to Amble.
Still carrying Stagecoach in Lancashire fleetnames is Leyland
Olympian 14260, about to take up a journey to Annan on route 179 (and
take me to Kingstown Broadway). Two top deck rides in one day in
Carlisle, and on different vehicles.
A rare event.
Something of a surprise was Volvo B6 30460. I thought it had
perished in the flooding, given it's non-appearance afterwards, and the
arrival of two Mercedes Varios carrying route branding for Hadrian's
Wall service AD122, so to see it on 11th July was a real surprise. It
is operating route 38 to Silloth and Skinburness, nowhere near
And here is one of the "new" AD122 buses, 42559, with defective
screen, on West Tower Street.
On 25th July, thankfully overcast and hence more suitable for
photography, MAN 18.220/ Alexander 22804 put in an appearance on routes
67/68, and yet again I got the wrong bit of the scroll! One of two MANs
which escaped the flooding, it has clearly been retained in Carlisle as
a back up, being low floor. The whereabouts of the other survivor,
22813, is unknown to me.
Also on 25th July, 34717 was photographed on route 38 to Silloth.
The non-specific branded Darts can turn up on any route, including the
country routes. They are regularly seen on routes 79 & 179 across
As evidenced by 34716, seen loading outside the Market Hall for
Dumfries on 25th July.
Seen approaching the underpass beneath Castle Way is Dart 34704, in
the miraculous situation of having no other traffic in view (other than
in the car park behind the bus).
The 1600 hours departure for Annan on route 179 is usually a double
deck turn, as it was on 25th July, 14261 doing the honours. It is seen
approaching the underpass from the other direction to 34704.
The 555 service to Keswick is often double deck operated, as
demonstrated by Olympian 14265, seen approaching the Market Hall stops
and with one of the Hadrian's Wall buses behind.
A recent addition to the Carlisle fleet is 42000, an ex-Western
Mercedes-Benz Vario with Plaxton body, seen on Lowther Street on 27th
this bus has since been involved in an accident and has been written
Another of the Darts is 34699, branded for routes 63 and 63A, and
seen on Lowther Street, about to turn into Lonsdale Street en route for
the Bus Station.
Loading on route 60A outside the Market Hall on July 27th is Dart
Demonstrating the mess the traffic in Carlisle can make to the City
services is 34707, seen loading on Botchergate in the early afternoon
July on route 67, with a bus on route 68 behind (the interval should be
minutes).Further back in the queue of traffic are two buses on the 60
60A respectively, which should be 15 minutes apart. Not long after,
three 61s appeared nose to tail!
Turning from The Crescent into English Street, starting point for
route 64 (since withdrawn and replaced by a rerouted service 179) is
For several days in a row, the 1610 departure from
Carlisle to Galashiels on route X95 was in the hands of First Edinburgh
Olympian 31684, a recent transferee to the Borders. It is seen arriving
in Carlisle on 29th July.
showing the congestion problems. 34702 and 34707 are seen at The
Courts, both heading for Belle Vue on route 68 (nominally 15 minutes
apart) on the afternoon of 29th July.