Following on from the success of the first two years’ operation in 2012 and 2013, the Merseyside Transport Trust (MTT) is pleased to announce that it will once again be operating circular open top tours of Southport during the holiday season of 2014. These tours will be provided entirely by volunteers using historic vehicles.
Starting from the tradition location of Southport Pier, the tours will operate as a free-of-charge circular service taking in the sights of Southport that have on a tour that has proved a popular tourist attraction for many decades. Ensuring that the tours continue operating has proved to be very popular with Southport locals, families and tourists alike; since their first year extra journeys have been added to cope with increased demand and popularity.
Picking up where Arriva left off in 2011, the tours are to be operated using historic Leyland Atlanteans that have been operating the tours in past years and are now in preservation; 1449 (GKA 449L) and 1551 (OLV 551M). After a leave of absence during the 2013 season 1551 went through an intensive rebuild and has been restored to the livery it carried during the 1980s when it originally operated the tour and is ready for its public once again.
Exclusively for the 2014 season, 1449 has been treated to a front end repaint into yellow to commemorate 30 years since the Liverpool Garden festival in 1984 – so here’s your chance to come out and ride the festival bus! A closed top vehicle will be substituted in adverse weather conditions.
The tours take in such beautiful Southport attractions as the Marine Lake, Marine Bridge, Royal Birkdale Golf Course, Hesketh Park, Lord Street Boulevard and the Botanic Gardens.
The operation of the tours will commence on Sunday 27th July 2014 and will operate on every Sunday through to Sunday 24th August 2014, also including August Bank Holiday Monday 25th August 2014. Departures are timetabled for 12:00, 13:00, 14:00 and 15:00 hours from Southport Pier, in front of the carousel.
For more information, please consult the MTT’s website at: www.mttrust.co.uk.
The Merseyside Transport Trust
The MTT is a registered charity based in Burscough, Lancashire with a collection of historic vehicles from the Merseyside area ranging from a 1946 AEC Regent II and 1949 Daimler CVA6 through to vehicles from the MPTE and Merseybus eras, some which are in private ownership and on loan to the MTT. The MTT holds many events during the year, including two Running Days at Easter and in September which allow the general public and the enthusiast community alike the chance to come and ride on the buses of their past. The MTT is (and the tours are) managed and run entirely by unpaid volunteers.
Southport Open Top Tours
Open top tours have been a part of Southport’s history for many decades, latterly being operated by Arriva but also its predecessors Merseybus, Merseyside PTE and Southport Corporation before that. CitySightseeing contractor ACE Travel operated a tour in Southport during the 2010 season but this wasn’t repeated. Arriva operated its final tour season in 2011 using Leyland Atlantean 1449 (latterly 3980) before this vehicle passed into preservation in early 2012.
Atlanteans 1449 and 1551
The two open top Atlanteans being used by the MTT on its tours had operated in Southport for many years before being sold for preservation, both to members of the MTT and now operating as part of the MTT’s collection, being on long term loan. Both Atlanteans have famously led double lives whilst in the Merseybus and Arriva fleets, being regularly used as homecoming buses for Liverpool FC (1551) and Everton FC (1449). 1551 went through a complete restoration during 2013 and is ready to be released to its adoring public once again for the 2014 season whereas 1449 has been transformed into a 1984 Liverpool Garden Festival bus to celebrate the Festival’s 30th anniversary.
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