Video: Leyland Atlantean B926 KWM

We’d like to say a big thank you to one of our drivers, Kenneth Fowler, who has for the last couple of years driven our trio of vehicles around the North West and indeed into North Wales taking our members to and from events.

He has taken the decision to hang up his boots from driving buses after our visit to the North West Museum of Road Transport on Sunday, he will of course still be joining us as a passenger in the future on our many trips around the north West.

Normal service resumes

You may have been wondering why we haven’t been posting too much over the last five months, the main reason behind it is that many of our members have day jobs, and as the entire organisation is run by volunteers there simply hasn’t been enough time to keep our regular postings going – but that changes today!

Whilst we’ve been offline, we’ve been busy giving Alexander AL bodied Leyland Atlantean B926 KWM a complete refresh of its MTL Wirral Peninsula livery which was undertaken by our members as well as a little help from our friends at the North West Vehicle Restoration Trust. To compliment the repaint we’ve had its electronic ticket machine looked at after it malfunctioned after a year of installation, this has now been fixed thanks to Gaz McPartridge from Destination Blinds.

Alexander AL bodied Leyland Atlantean B926 KWM stands on Pacific Road whilst members board to visit the Llandudno Transport Festival.

We’ve visited quite a few events too, firstly providing the free transport connecting the Wirral Transport Museum in Birkenhead to a Model Railway Exhibition in Wallasey Village, then although we didn’t attend with a bus, many of our members visited the Merseyside Transport Trust‘s Buses to Broadway event held in April, moving onwards we attended the Museum of Transport Greater Manchester‘s Spring Transport Festival back in March, the Llandudno Transport Festival at the beginning of May as well as the POPS organised Potteries Transport Rally in Stoke-on-Trent.

A full list of events we’re attending throughout the rest of the year will be published on our events page very shortly.

‘Tis the season everyone!

It’s December, the queues at the shops are long, the public transport system get’s stretched to near it’s bursting limits and a mere dusting of snow covers the relatively flat landscape of the Wirral Peninsula.

Yes Christmas is fast approaching, and one of the greatest joys of the season is to take the opportunity to say thank you to all our members and friends for their hard work and support throughout the year.

Quite frankly the 201 Bus Group would simply cease to exist if it wasn’t for everyone taking time out of their busy schedules to help an organisation with a simply unique collection of buses.

A new year is on the horizon, this too comes with new challenges. These will of cause will be dealt with with passion and commitment we give to ensure the continued preservation and understanding of the history of public transport on the Wirral Peninsula continues.

Wirral Transport Museum to be handed over to its volunteers

Wirral Borough Council who currently own the Wirral Transport Museum on Taylor Street in Birkenhead are proceeding with transfer discussions with its volunteers, after earlier discussions with Merseytravel fell through back in 2011.

The outcome of this will be that the museum will be taken over by its volunteers, without the assistance of Wirral Borough Council. This will mean that the museum will have to become self sufficient in terms of upkeep and maintenance as well as any other overheads that the museum holds.

Heritage groups such as the 201 Bus Group and the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society as well as others connected with the museum feared at one stage it could become a victim of a budget crackdown to make inroads into Wirral Council’s multi-million pound overspend, although now there is some light at the end of a very long tunnel at least.

The target date for completion of these discussions and a handover to the volunteers is expected to take place on 31st March 2014.

See Greene Day

Wallasey has a rich transport history, local transport enthusiasts are keen to celebrate the fact too, with November 2013 being most notable to date, in regards to celebrating the history of public transport within the Wallasey area.

Leyland Atlantean/MCW FHF 451 (1) photographed outside the Museum

See Greene Day was an event organised by Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society member Ieuan Rayner. The event marked a premature 80th Anniversary of the last Wallasey Tram which ran on the 30th November 1933. The MPTS chose Saturday 16th November to mark the occasion slightly early so that it is not too close to their annual ‘Santa Special’ workings.

Both the Wallasey bus and Wallasey tram at Woodside Ferry

This saw the use of beautifully restored Wallasey 78, the only survivor from the system and the only restored Bellamy roofed tram in existence, which took centre stage to operate in service throughout the day. The event, ‘Sea Greene’ day relates to the unusual livery carried by the Wallasey trams.

Our expert driver for the day John Nolan

The event was also supported by the 201 Bus Group, which provided the use of our restored Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1 with Metro Cammell bodywork registered FHF 451, which operated journeys along the route of the last tram at 13:45, 14:45 and 15:45.

Mayor of Wirral Cllr. Dave Mitchell joined us for the special occasion.

Special five pounds tickets were issued on the day which allowed one person unlimited rides on the tramway throughout the day as well as the bus trip, although any children wearing green or anyone aged over 80 were allowed to travel free of charge.

This event was an excellent way of commemorating the passing of a long lost tramway system and will ensure that Birkenhead ends the year on a high note, back in the limelight after a turbulent and uncertain time during recent months.

Wallasey Bus Day

A small Wallasey routes tour took place on the 10th November 2013, organised by local bus preservationist Terry Morris with the assistance of the 201 Bus Group. The event was to celebrate Wallasey Corporation Motors Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1 1 (FHF 451) being 55 years old, and Leyland Atlantean AN68A/1R Merseyside PTE 1788 (OEM 788S) being 35 years old which is finished in the resplendent colours of Wallasey Corporation.

We have for a couple of years added the occasional small scale event to their calendar nearer to the event of each year. The idea is to host small one-off events with other local preservationists and organisations to give members, and the public, something a little bit different to try out and reminisce of the good old times of the local public transport history.

Wallasey 1 (FHF 451) arrives at Seacombe Ferry around 11am

These one-off events fill in a gap in the events and rally calendar of bus shows near to the end of each year, this year is no different. It was first announced to members of the 201 Bus Group on the 25th October that a small scale event is in the process of being finalised.

The day started approximately at 10:30 in Liverpool’s Whitechapel, 1788 is currently stored at the North West Vehicle Restoration Trust in Kirkby it was an ideal location to start the day, Wallasey 1 is too stored at the NWVRT on a rotational basis with the groups two other Leyland buses.

The two buses finally gathered at Seacombe Ferry for 11:00, this was the first of several photographic opportunities throughout the day. We set off shortly afterwards bound for Wallasey Grove Road on a route 2 serving Liscard Village en route.

Changing the rear route indicators to the appropriate route

The next route to cover was the 4 to Saughall Massie Hotel via Moreton Shore, the route would’ve started at Seacombe Ferry, but there simply was no point going back on ourselves to start the service at Seacombe Ferry again. We paused for a short while at Moreton Shore to photograph the two buses displaying two different routes, the Sunday service 4S and the later 5 to Overchurch Road.

We then arrived at Moreton’s Town Meadow Lane for a photograph opportunity for the buses to display the 7 route which ran from New Brighton to Moreton Town Meadow Lane via Liscard Village. Shortly afterwards we departed to nearby Saughall Massie which borders Upton Village and Moreton Village.

Arriving next at Moreton’s Borrowdale Road for a sun-drenched photograph opportunity for the buses to display the 8 route which ran from New Brighton to Moreton Borrowdale Road via Liscard Village, before departing for another photograph opportunity on Moreton’s Hoylake Road.

FHF 451 and OEM 788S pause on Borrowdale Road in Moreton

Departing Moreton we found ourselves on the 8 route, taking in the sights of Leasowe and Wallasey Village before pausing on Breck Road outside the Cheshire Cheese Public House for another fabulously timed sun-drenched photograph opportunity before continuing onto Liscard Village.

Leaving Liscard Village we departed for New Brighton where we took the winding but scenic local roads into the town past New Brighton Railway Station and then onto the promenade for a 30 minute rest/luncheon break which was ideal as the Marine Point retail development provided toilets and food as well as a sit beside the sea if one so wished.

FHF 451 and OEM 788S both parked side-by-side at Seacombe Ferry

The routes tour passengers then assembled back onboard the vehicle of their choice to ride the 1 route along the front via Seabank Road back to the Ferry terminal for a photo shoot with the two buses parked side-by-side before departing again on a short working of route 14 to Liscard Village before returning back to Seacombe Ferry as a route 16 taking a slightly different route back to the Ferry finishing by approximately 15:00.

Another great Wirral Bus and Tram Show

Thousands of transport enthusiasts attended the 16th annual Wirral Bus and Tram Show which took place on the 6th October in and around Wirral Transport Museum, Shore Road and Woodside Ferry in Birkenhead.

Stalls sold a range of transport memorabilia and visitors were able to enjoy bus rides and look at other heritage vehicles including classic cars. Restored buses offered free tours during the show to New Brighton, around the Birkenhead docklands as well as a mystery tour around the Wirral.

Our preserved Leyland Atlantean B926 KWM pauses for a photographic opportunity at Liscard Crescent.

Around 45 buses visited for the event, organised by volunteers from the 201 Bus Group with support from the One Borough Group (1BG). We would like to thank everyone who attended this years Wirral Bus & Tram Show, as well as as the individuals and the groups that brought their buses over.

A very big thanks to the Merseyside Transport Trust and North West Vehicle Restoration Trust for their excellent selection of buses and all the people from the groups who attended and helped out.

A big thank you to Sean Gillard (201 Bus Group), Tom Harrison (201 Bus Group) and Craig Byrne (1BG) for making sure all the buses left on time, as well as all the the lads who helped out selling programmes (too many to name).

We’d also like to thank to all the drivers who took their buses out on our free routes around the Wirral, of which the fuel came out of their own pocket. Lastly, a big thank you to all who brought stalls and the catering staff.