Everyday things like buses often seem mundane and unimportant, until they’ve gone taking their history with them. Thankfully enthusiast groups see this coming and save a few examples so that public transport’s development can be charted and people can see, touch and ride on the vehicles of yesteryear.
Bus 346, a Metro Cammell model PD2 introduced in 1959 and withdrawn in March 1975, is just such a vehicle. Saved from the scrapyard by being used as a mess room by Blackpool Council Illuminations Department, it’s planned to have this fine vehicle back on the road by the end of 2021. This will be a marvellous conclusion to the year, the 100th anniversary year of Blackpool’s first bus route, then complementing the tram network.
The former Blackpool Bus 346 will soon be back on the road, thanks to the dedicated volunteers of the Fylde Transport Trust. Here’s the vehicle in its pre-restoration condition. A lot of work has been necessary to bring this vehicle back to its pristine best, resplendent in the former green and cream livery, still used on some of the heritage trams. 346 should be back out on the road and available to support community events throughout 2022.
Fylde Transport Trust’s collection spans 80 years of local public transport history. Watch out for its vehicles providing rides and shuttle services for public events and generally being glorious. The Trust’s origins go back to the Lancastrian Transport Group started in 1983. Today’s organisation came together in January 2020 following a merger with the Blackpool Heritage Trust. Its objective is to maintain a representative vehicle collection to portray the Fylde’s public transport development that is also a showcase visitor attraction. Do think about joining as buses and trams don’t run on air.
Bus 346 was purchased from Blackpool Council by the North West Transport Museum in 1985. However, it was never restored and in September 2005 the Lancastrian Transport Group purchased it and returned the vehicle to Blackpool in December of the same year.
Following completion of other projects, 346’s restoration commenced in the autumn of 2015. This has involved a fully mechanical, bodywork, and interior refurbishment, requiring a great deal of know-how and traditional craft skill. Here’s the interior painted and prepared for the renovated seats to be re-fitted.
The finished vehicle will be turned out with an authentic moquette and livery. A fine sight is promised and here’s an artist’s impression of how 346 will look.
Blackpool Social Club wishes Fylde Transport Trust all success in re-launching this fine and historic vehicle. Also good fortune with future projects.
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