2010 Bus Tour weekend:   
30 April - 2 May 2010   



  Friday 30 April 2010

As now seems to have become traditional, the LUPTS Friday activities rested in the ever-capable hands of Tony Kletz.   This year, he took us down to the Albert Dock area of Liverpool for some items of local interest.   Firstly, the Yellow Duckmarine.   Aboard a genuine World War 2 landing craft, the trip started at Albert Dock on its marine leg, before emerging for the land-based part of its journey.   There was a break for afternoon tea in the café at the Maritime Museum before phase 2 – a trip on the Yellow Boat Cruise (the ‘Skylark’) around the Albert, Salthouse, Wapping, Queens and Brunswick Docks, the latter now the home to the Liverpool Marina.


What did we learn from these trips?   Quite a lot, but much of it totally wrong.   Apparently the Overhead Railway was double-deck.   Also Liverpool trams closed finished in 1953 and if you want to see them today then they’re running in Hong Kong where they’re a major tourist attraction.   The guide on the Boat Cruise was not over-impressed with our corrections.

‘Skylark’ awaits the arrival of the LUPTS party in the Albert Dock.   Photo: Charles Roberts/Online Transport Archive

The LUPTS party heads for the Baltic Fleet.   Photo: Charles Roberts/Online Transport Archive



Adjournment across the road to the Baltic Fleet for a couple of pints.


  Saturday 1 May 2010


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The 34th LUPTS annual bus tour was not without some stress for the organiser, this stress being caused almost entirely by the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley.   The tour was advertised as ‘Coal, Steel and Victorian Steam’ the latter item being a reference to an event at Butterley that day.   However because of problems getting straight answers from the Railway – see here if you want the full, unexpurgated story (to which no reply has ever been received, by the way) – a last minute redesign of the tour, and consequent renaming, was necessary.


We began at our usual starting point in Tithebarn Street, returning to Hilton’s Travel of Newton-le-Willows for vehicle hire, and with Nigel at the wheel for the second year running.   Pick ups at Oxford Street and the Gardener’s Arms took our passenger complement up to 41.   A stop at Birch Services showed the inability of present day, upmarket coffee outlets to deal with customers quickly as your organiser received complaints that several of our party spent 20 minutes queueing and still emerged coffee-less.

Our tour vehicle, from the fleet of Hilton’s Travel, was this East Lancs-bodied Volvo Citybus which was new to Lincoln City Transport but later saw service with Yorkshire Traction and Stagecoach.   Photo: Charles Roberts/Online Transport Archive

An unexpected part of the National Mining Museum visit was a guided tour of the tunnel through which coal was transported from the site when it was a working colliery.   Photo: Paul Hollinghurst

Via the M62, passing a slow-moving convoy of protesting motorcyclists going in the opposite direction, took us to Huddersfield and then out towards Wakefield on the A642.   Yorkshire is famous for its mining tradition.   Mining was carried out at Caphouse Colliery on the western edge of the Yorkshire coalfield near the village of Overton at least as long ago as 1789.   Passing through several changes of ownership, it became part of the National Coal Board in 1947.   Coal production continued until 1985, at which point the conversion of the site into a museum began.   It is now the National Coal Mining Museum for England and consists of nearly 20 restored buildings across a 7 hectare site.  

We’d scheduled an hour and 20 minutes here, in the knowledge that there would be more than enough to do in the time available.   In the nicest possible way, our planning was thrown by the museum pulling out the stops and organising two things we weren’t expecting – the operation of the narrow gauge railway and the opening up of the reserve collection, which is a euphemistic term for a wonderful collection of rusty vehicles and equipment which will hopefully be restored at some time in the future.

Money permitting, these exhibits will one day be restored to their former glory.   Photo: Charles Roberts/Online Transport Archive

Small trains have carried the famous LUPTS headboard, but this 2ft-0in gauge mining train is one of the smallest.   Photo: Charles Roberts/Online Transport Archive

From there, we took a picturesque route through Flockton and past the entrance to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.   Less picturesque – but of great interest to some – was the approach to Rotherham, passing the former Masborough station, Millmoor (the former home of Rotherham FC, correcting what it says in the itinerary) and C F Booth’s, scrapyard.

The South Yorkshire Transport Museum has been open since 2007 but it has its origins in other preservation schemes, including the Sheffield Bus Museum in the former Tinsley Tram Depot, which was visited by LUPTS on the 1994 bus tour.   Buses and coaches form the main part of the collection.   Museum members were extremely hospitable, giving us a guided tour in groups around the exhibits and providing tea and biscuits for us.

The LUPTS party finds out a bit about the history of the SYTM before splitting into groups for a guided tour.   Photo: Paul Hollinghurst

Strategic parking of our tour bus while the 8F was running round its train allowed this picture allowed this picture of loco and bus adorned with LUPTS TOUR headboards.   Photo: Charles Roberts/Online Transport Archive

To replace Butterley, we diverted our tour to accommodate Peak Rail, which was having a special event day to coincide with the inauguration of a turntable at Rowsley by music impresario Pete Waterman.   The leg of the bus journey to get there – 38 miles scheduled for an hour and five minutes – proved to be a bit optimistic, and we arrived at Rowsley 20 minutes behind our plan.   However, through the wonders of mobile telecommunications, there was no panic as we were informed that Peak Rail was also running about 20 minutes behind their timetable and getting worse as the day went on.

Pete Waterman had been and gone by the time of our arrival, but a LUPTS celebrity was there in the form of Dave Parker who was on firing duty on the 8F which was being used that day for the last time before going on hire to other preserved railways.   We assume Dave fired impeccably, as the train did two return trips between Rowsley and Matlock without incident.   Dave was also able to facilitate the display of the LUPTS headboard on the loco.

Dave Parker acknowledges the appreciation of his audience.   Photo: Paul Hollinghurst

It was a close run thing to get everybody served before 19:00, but Bill’s Fish and Chip shop managed it.   Photo: Charles Roberts/Online Transport Archive

By this time, we were running quite a bit behind schedule.   Again the mobile phone came in handy to reassure Jill and John at Bill’s Fish and Chips on Fairfield Road that we would be partaking of their fare before they closed for the evening.   Back to Liverpool via the A6 and the motorway, getting back to Liverpool at about 21:30.   A jovial session at The Lion brought the day to its conclusion.

In spite of the problems with the planning of the tour, and with the scheduling problems towards the end of the day, it passed off well.   Thanks to the usual suspects for their help, particularly Jonathan who even came up with a few ideas I took notice of, and to Dave Parker who liaised with Peak Rail to help us out.   Thanks to the staff and volunteers at the National Mining Museum, the South Yorkshire Transport Museum, Peak Rail and Bill’s Fish and Chips in Buxton who were so friendly and helpful.   Go and pay them all a return visit when you get the chance.   Don’t bother with Butterley though.


Photo: Charles Roberts/Online Transport Archive


  Sunday 2 May 2010

Sunday lunch was at The Toad in Colwyn Bay, followed by a visit to the Llandudno Transport Extravaganza.  

Three Cadwalladers.   Photo: Charles Roberts/Online Transport Archive

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Last updated: 29 August 2010

© Charles Roberts/LUPTS 2010