Sunday, 3 July 2011

First in Cornwall Improvements

First Devon & Cornwall are making some changes to a couple of their core Cornish routes for the summer holidays, from 27th July.

From 27th July, the 88 (Falmouth - Truro, operating at every 15 minutes) has one of it's journeys extended to Newquay as the 88A. From this date, the 89 and 90 (Truro - Newquay) are cut, meaning an end to this famous service. First Devon & Cornwall even purchased 3 brand new Tridents for the 89/90 back in 2005 (now transferred on to Plymouth).

Illustrated to the left are firstly Volvo Olympian 34200 (VOO273) on route 90 in Truro last summer, followed by Corlink livered Volvo B6BLE 48273 (YG02DLV), pictured in Falmouth on route 88 back in 2005.

This now has resulted in a rather confusing organisation of services. Each hour, from Falmouth:
07' departure route 88 to Truro bus station
22' departure route 88 to Tresliske hospital
37' departure route 88A to Newquay
52' departure route 88 to Tresliske hospital
At least the Truro - Falmouth section is constant!

The 88A does not alternate between Porth and Trenance Gardens as the 89/90 does at present - I'm not sure what the impact on local passengers this will have as I am not local myself - nonetheless some are not going to be happy. The new 88A goes via Trenance Gardens each way, leaving the residents of Porth to Western Greyhound's 556 and summer 505. The 88A does, however, have the same times approximately as the 89/90 throughout the hour (for example, the 88A, 89 and 90 all arrive in Newquay at 33 mins past the hour, so not a huge change here). The service is branded as a "refresher", and will provide opportunities for passengers to travel from Newquay to Falmouth without changing buses for the first time since the 89/90 were cut back to Truro. (Of course, there is a once-a-day WGH 590 if you fancy it also).

A definate improvement to the First Devon & Cornwall network is the doubling in frequency of route 14. Route 14 operates from Truro to St Ives, via Redruth and Camborne mainly mainly former Manchester Volvo B7RLEs, such as 69229 (MX56AEW) as illustrated right. It is one of First Devon & Cornwall's remaining premier routes in Cornwall. The 14 goes to every half-hour for at least the summer holidays, which should add more interest for enthusiasts and provide more opportunities for the travelling public. I hope the service improvements are popular.

Friday, 1 July 2011

New Darts at FHD

Darts may not be everybody's cup of tea, but with First Hants & Dorset, enthusiasts have to get used to them. 4 second hand Marshall bodied Dart SLFs have just entered service at Hilsea, with a further 6 Pointer 2 bodied Dart SLFs entering service at Hoeford.

The Marshall bodied Dart SLFs have all been acquired from First Cymru, although only 41147 has seen service in Wales. Two MPD-length Darts have been acquired - one is 41346 (V346DLH), and is pictured here looking very smart in Tipner earlier this afternoon. Sister 41348 has also joined the fleet.
Another former London and Cymru Dart is DML41387 (X387HLR) - the DML retained in its fleet number either as (a) an oversight, or (b) to differentiate its length to those at Hilsea depot who were unfamiliar with the four transfers in. 41387 is pictured at Southsea's South Parade Pier earlier today on route 6A, a regular haunt of this type of bus since February 2004, when they took over from Iveco minibuses.

Two former Truronian Dart SLFs have been acquired from First in Devon & Cornwall for Hoeford depot. One is 42234 (T34JCV), and is pictured earlier today in Palmerston Road, Southsea, heading for Paulsgrove on route 1C. These Darts are 10m length and have a flat roof, meaning they are easily identifiable by enthusiasts when out photographing. I haven't seen 42232 yet, but it is out and about in service and other enthusiasts have caught it on camera already.

First Hants & Dorset have also acquired some more former Hong Kong Dennis Darts for Hoeford. One example is 42773 (S673SNG), which would probably win the award for the smartest bus at Hoeford at present. I was lucky enough to capture it in Stubbington on Tuesday, where it is pictured heading for Southampton on route 72.

Variety at FHD may be limited, but there is certainly a variety of Dart about. At Hoeford you can find the following:
* Dart SLF/Pointer 2 - native R---YCR / S---KTP / S---XCR Dart
* Dart SLF/Pointer 2 - second hand former First Bristol T728REU
* Dart SLF/Pointer 2 - second hand former Southampton R415WPX
* Dart SLF/Pointer 2 - T32/4JCV, ex-Truronian
* Dart SLF/Pointer 2 - 40956/7/9/61 (ex-Edinburgh & Hong Kong)
* Dart SLF/Pointer 2 - 42754/9/73/80/3 (ex-Eastern Counties & Hong Kong)
* Dart SLF/Pointer 2 - 40824/5/6 - former Glasgow examples
* Dart SLF/Pointer 1 - 42407 - P407MLA (new to London)
* Dart / UVG - 4 examples new to People's Provincial
* Dart / Pointer - a variety of 9m and 9.8m examples formerly with Southampton
* Dart / NC Paladin 40262 new to Manchester
* Dart / Alexander 40623 new to Leeds

And in the past we've had Wright Handybus bodied Darts, Marshall bodied Dart SLFs at Hoeford and more.... certainly a variety of Darts, even if the fleet isn't very different.