480 (1858) C480YWY is seen passing through York city centre, heading for Scarborough during the early 1990's. This Olympian was withdrawn during January 1994, passing to Keighley & District.
A new beginning January 1990
In 1984 the Malton depot was being used to supply vehicles for the east coast services via York and Leeds, using existing Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopard coaches and ten coach seated ECW bodied Leyland Olympians. The routes were timed to start at the former Wellington Street Coach station, which was now part of the National Express Yorkshire Pool services. The buses and coaches were painted into the very pleasing two tone blue Venetian blind style livery, used across the National Bus Company (NBC) network of routes.
By 1986 the NBC was being sold off to various Management Buy-out (MBO) plans or into new groups, as part of the new 1985 Transport Act or deregulation. For West Yorkshire Road Car, Alan. J. Stephenson (AJS) Holdings purchased the operation, splitting the WYRCC into smaller operating units in 1987. York City & District working from the Barbican Road in York and Railway Street in Malton, using a blue and cream livery. However, the York Barbican Road depot was sold off to Yorkshire Rider in July 1990, this was preceded by the creation in January 1990 of the new Yorkshire Coastliner operation. Six former WYRCC ECW bodied Leyland Olympians (1853, 1854 1856-9) and five Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopard coaches (2579, 2584, 2589, 2592-3), with four more WYRCC coaches arriving in April 1990 and five new Plaxton bodied Leyland Tigers in May 1990.
New double decker buses during the 1990’s
407 K7YCL arrived into service during October 1992, and is seen here at rest in Malton bus station in full Blazefield branding and Yorkshire Coastliner livery. This bus was withdrawn in 1995 and ventured in service with Keighley. 407 returned to Yorkshire Coastliner for a year from 2001 until 2002, then forward on to Burnley and Pendle for continued service.
During September and October 1992 six new Northern Counties bodied Leyland Olympians would be delivered and entered service, replacing the time expired former WYRCC Olympians. These new buses were painted into the blue and cream livery with the addition of the familiar route branding, which was now on most key routes. Blazefield Holdings had acquired the AJS group of fleets from the former WYRCC group in 1991. 402-407 were to stay with Yorkshire Coastliner until 1995 and 1997, with some vehicles returning to cover for summertime extras. While the new Olympians settled into service, the Leyland Olympian became a Volvo product in 1993, after Volvo purchased Leyland.
In 1994 two new vehicles were to arrive at Yorkshire Coastliner, in the shape of 408 in January and 409 May 1994. Both were bodied by Alexanders of Falkirk, with the new Royale bodywork. Both these vehicles were the first production Royale’s to be purchased within the UK market. 422-425 arrived during February 1995, again like 408-9 with dual-purpose seating. All these vehicles gaining the full route maps on the rear end, and subsequent Royale’ also had route maps too.
New in early 1994, 408 (L8YCL) the first production Alexander Royale bodied Volvo Olympian, pauses in the old Leeds Central Bus. The new style livery for the post 1991 Coastliner livery featuring the route branding and the first vehicle to have rear end maps.
423 (M923UYG) is part of the second batch of now standard Volvo Olympians, notice the small crown on the front grill. The bus is seen about to depart the re-designed Leeds City Bus Station for another trip to Scarborough.
In 1997 four more of the Volvo Olympian with Alexander Royale bodies arrived as numbers 426-429, by 2004 all were withdrawn, three finding continued service with Lancashire United. During June and July 2000 the last batch of Alexander Royale’s arrived in the shape of 431-437, these were 10.3 metres in length. 437 was the last Volvo Olympian to be built in the UK, as the new low floor era was about to enter the UK bus market.
434 (W434CWX) is seen paused at Peasholm Park bus stop, ready for a return to Leeds. 434 was withdrawn early 2006 and was used by First Bus working from Great Yarmonth.
21st Century Coastliner
April 2002 brought in the first and only Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TLs 438-440, these featured the last blue and cream livery with the route branding used from 1992. 438 was repainted into the new dark blue and indigo livery during 2006.
439 (YD02UMZ) is seen departing Malton heading for Scarborough during its first month into service. 439 also has the latest at the time the new route map on the side panels.
In 2004 the first low floor double decker Volvo B7TLs with Wrights Gemini bodywork arrived as numbers 401-4, featuring a new dark blue and indigo livery with sweeping chrome effect waves. Together with a new style of fleetname and a revised rear end map for the whole Yorkshire Coastliner routes.
401 (YJ04LYG) pauses on New Briggate, Leeds working the 843 to Scarborough during April 2004, in the new livery.
In early 2006 six more Volvo B7TL/Wrights Gemini double deckers arrived as numbers 405-10, again in the new look dark blue and indigo livery. These were amongst the last vehicles to be ordered by Blazefield, before Transdev purchased the whole operation during 2006.
407 (YK55ATU) is seen leaving Tadcaster Bus Stration, bound for Thornton Le Dale on the 840 service, during May 2009.
The next batch of ten Volvo/Wrights deckers arrived during April 2008 as numbers 411-420 these were the B9TL chassis, in the new dark blue and indigo livery with rear end route maps. These buses are to be replaced by the new 2016 intake of Volvo B5TL/Wrights Gemini 3 vehicles, when the order is complete.
415 (FJ08BYN) pauses at the Railway Station bus stops, having just being in service for over a year.
During 2010 Transdev began a full fleet repaint programme for the whole Blazefield fleet, this included the Yorkshire Coastliner fleet, with number 401-104 gaining the new mid and light blue livery, which was a brighter improvement on the indigo scheme.
403 (YJ04LYK) stops on Vicar Lane looking fresh in the brighter mid and light blue scheme, which the bus received in January 2010. By December 2010 403 along with 401, 2 and 404 were transferred to Harrogate, to cover for the refurbishment/overhaul of the 3601-12 twin decks for the 36 service. 403 is now repainted into the new Keighley Bus Company two tone green livery with new Yorkshire phrase branding.
In April 2011 the first Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TL vehicles as numbers 421-424 arrived, these were painted in the mid and light blue 2010 livery with new slogans on the rear ends plus smaller route map.
421 (BD11CEA) is seen travelling along the A64 York Road in Leeds heading for Bridlington during June 2014.
Both 401-404 and 421-424 batches now in the new livery which also lost Yorkshire from the fleetname, as they were now known as Coastliner.
21 months later in 2013 the last five VolvoB9TL/Wrights had arrived as numbers 425-429, with the mid and light blue livery and rear end slogans. The sixth example was diverted to Harrogate as their new 3613.
429 (BF62UYL) the last of the five Volvo B9TL/Wrights delivered in early 2013, is seen travelling towards Leeds city centre on the A64 in April 2013.
As 2016 draws to a close the next generation of Yorkshire Coastliner double deckers are currently on delivery or being completed, before being sent into service. These new vehicles are being numbered directly after the new 2016 batch of 36 Volvo B5TL/Wrights Gemini 3s, which arrived with such importance for Harrogate. The three day press and public showcase events showed just how much the new buses, were at the heart of the 36 service. Longer vehicles better upper saloon seating, quilted lower saloon seats, at seat USB power, Folding tables on all the upper saloon seats, 4G Wi-Fi, wood effect flooring and our own Harry Gration doing the next stop announcements!
So what’s next for the ten new Yorkshire Coastliner double deck Volvo B5TL/Wrights Gemini 3’s, they have a new livery!
Keep your eyes peeled for the new look Yorkshire Coastliner’s coming soon to the Yorkshire coast, brought to you by Transdev and Creative Desire AKA Best Impressions.
All together now…Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, oh I do like to be beside the sea……
Here are my personal views on bus activity in my area and beyond