|Stagecoach in Wirral Volvo Olympian/Alexander RL R294 HCD (16294) at|
Harrison Drive on the first day of the reintroduced 2013 summer season.
This new service 15 compliments the 2012 version of the service which was marketed as a Park & Ride service and numbered 15PR, it was operated by the vast collection of vehicles from the Wirral Transport Museum as well as the 201 Bus Group for one weekend too but sadly this time around Stagecoach in Wirral have gained the tender instead.
|A view of Wallasey Beach from the top deck of Olympian R294 HCD|
I was fortunate enough to be free on the first day that the service was reintroduced, I was delighted to find that what was previously speculated by contributors amongst the blog (yes there is a fair few of us) that it could possibly be one of the two previously stored Volvo Olympians that were hidden inside the shed at the Rock Ferry depot.
|The Lakeland Experience Branding on Olympian R294 HCD|
Having checked the times of buses from where I live to New Brighton, as I live on the Wirral I thought it'd make a nice treat to have breakfast at The Master Mariner situated on Marine Promenade which had opened on the 23rd April of this year. Seeing that I hadn't already visited there before it was an ideal place to relax and have something to eat before a lovely trip or two along the promenade to Harrison Drive.
With breakfast taken care of I decided to walk along the promenade towards Harrison Drive, the sun was blazing down at this time, I managed to get halfway towards Harrison Drive roughly just past The Pierrot or New Brighton Clown as it's more commonly known when the green open topper passed me en route to Harrison Drive laden with passengers already which is always a good sight to see for a newly introduced service.
A good hour had passed as I was trying to obtain a decent photograph of the bus passing along the promenade at various places, with thanks to the very kind driver I then had a few rides up and down the promenade sampling from both the lower saloon and the open top deck above. Arriving at the Floral Pavilion, Tripod a previous contributor from North Wales and his friend Cymru Coastliner boarded the free service for a few trips as well.
|A busy scene at New Brighton with plenty of buses.|
The route is hail and ride along the full length of the route. This means bus drivers will pick up and drop off anywhere along the route - but only where they think it is safe to do so. In the timetable booklet, it advises passengers to give a clear hand signal to the bus driver where you want the bus stop and tell the bus driver in good time when you want to get off. passengers are also advised to avoid main road junctions, crossings and bends in the road.
|Click here to view the timetable.|
The timetable booklet states that the service will be run by heritage vehicles, the vehicle is in fact Stagecoach Cumbria Lakeland Explorer Volvo Olympian with Alexander RL bodywork registered R294 HCD (16294) which is still branded with Cumbrian logos and fleet names. It moved from Cumbria in February along with similar Volvo Olympian N393 LPN (16393), both of which have been noted in storage at both Chester depot and Rock Ferry depot at various times however 16393 has since moved up to Scotland with Stagecoach in Lochaber for their Fort William service 42.
|The 2012 free heritage bus service run by former Birkenhead Corporation FBG 910|
Anyone wishing to have a free trip along New Brighton's scenic promenade the first service of the day departs from New Brighton's Floral Pavilion at 12:09 noon with a regular 20 minute service provided until the last departure from the Floral Pavilion at 16:49, with the first service departing Harrison Drive at 12:00 and the last departure from Harrison Drive commencing at 16:40.