Monday, 18 April 2011

Lymington today

Lymington is a lovely little town on the south coast in Hampshire. The primary bus operators are Wilts & Dorset and BlueStar, and there is a half-hourly train connection to Brockenhurst and the main line.

The main trunk route to Bournemouth is operated by 7 Wilts & Dorset Volvo B7TLs with East Lancs bodywork. New to the south coast in 2005 and convertable open toppers, these provide the main allocation on the X1 and X2. Both services run once per hour, meaning two buses an hour between Lymington and Bournemouth. 405 (HF05GGE) arrives in Lymington on an X1.

Of the Lymington Volvo B7TLs, only 407 (HF05GGK) has received the new 2008 Wilts & Dorset livery. 407 arrives in Lymington on the half hourly circular route 119 from Pennington. Despite carrying only small loads, the 119 is usually a double decker bus these days.
The third service Wilts & Dorset operate in Lymington is the two-hourly route 112 to Hythe. This route can see anything allocated at Lymington depot operating it - here is former Solent Blue Line Leyland Olympian 734 (H734DDL) returning to a familiar area - it would have operated to Hythe frequently as an X9, 37 or 38 in its days with SBL. 

The biggest recent change to Lymington bus services is the introduction of BlueStar to the town. The BlueStar brank (based Marchwood & Wilts & Dorset rather than Eastleigh) have taken over routes 56/56A from Southampton to Lymington, introducing Transbus Dart MPDs to the town for the first time. In the first picture on the right, 576 (SN03ECA) arrives in Lymington from Southampton. Solos are also used on the 6 - the second image shows 2668 (V668DFX) heading to Lymington depot as the driver has his lunch break. The 6 is run, as a BlueStar branded service, from Lymington (Wilts & Dorset) and Totton (Marchwood Motorways), meaning there are technically two operators serving passengers on the route. All buses should be in BlueStar blue, but sometimes a red Solo slips on to the route.

And this is what should be on route 6... 3 DAF SB250/Optare Spectras have been repainted into the blue of BlueStar for route 6, but unfortunately cannot operate the route yet due to overhanging trees requiring attention. 3165 (W165RFX) finds service on local Wilts & Dorset route 119 rather than heading for Southampton - as the bus is still legally owned by W&D it is therefore fine to operate the 119, even if in BlueStar livery.

Finally, a couple of years ago First Hants & Dorset won the Cango services from Wilts & Dorset, along with the HCC-owned Optare Solo bus. First's 53076 (YJ05XMR) is pictured arriving in Lymington earlier today on Cango service C33.
That's all of the Wilts & Dorset depots visited and photographed in 2011 - I've already taken more W&D photos this year than I ever have in one whole year before. Thanks for viewing!

[Note: Wilts & Dorset's Lymington depot operates a large number of Olympians from it for the Brockenhurst College services and other school routes. Furthermore, on Wednesdays there is a market bus route 118 to Ringwood from Lymington - I've never seen it but presumably this also uses an Olympian from Lymington]


  1. 576 was built under the ill-fated "Transbus" name, not Dennis!

    Nice pictures James - I love Lymington (loved it more when they had decent trains on the branch and decent ferries on the Yarmouth run, but I'm an old git) - there used to be a fantastic Egyptian restaurant on High Street - I think somewhere near WHSmith, and some of the riverbank pubs are wonderful. Lymmy is pencilled in for later this year - cheers for the reminder!

    All the best,


    Thinks - (FHD 18) Alby Road - the Wharf of Guns, (WL) Portsmouth to Ryde, see a few mates, (SV) Ryde to Newport, (SV) Newport to Yarmouth, (WL) Yarmouth - Lymmy, (SWT) Lymmy - Brock - So'ton, (FGW) So'ton - Portsmiff (knowing my luck, it'll be a bloody 150!) and if I time it right, (FHD 19) to home. Let's see if I can get the rest of the family interested ... nah. This will be a Forbesy-photo-and-beer trip. What's the weather like tomorrow? :)

  2. Thanks Matt- have corrected the 576 bit!

    The weather is excellent for the next couple of days and through to the weekend - good luck if you do do your trip - it sounds fantastic!

    Lymington is best for photos in the morning (pre-midday) but then is ok from about 1pm again - just near side shots rather than offside shots and the parked cars/lorries etc can be a nightmare.

    Good luck!

  3. Seems like a good time to ride the 112 as all recent photos I have seen of it have been deckers. It's a lovely ride across the New Forest past Hatchet Pond and Beaulieu to Hythe - highly recommended.
    Solos 2683-5 are all currently on loan to Damory for ex NordCat work, which probably explains all the decker action.

  4. Lymington has a great tourism industry and car ferry(prom) connect the town to the Isle of Wight.