Carlisle After the Rain

West Tower Street after the rain      Rickergate after the rain

As a result of the serious flooding of 7th/8th January in Carlisle, the entire Stagecoach fleet in the city was rendered inoperative (and perhaps inoperable, reports stating that all the buses have been written off).  The first weekday, Monday 10th, saw a fine collection of buses and coaches from various Stagecoach companies operating the service. Country routes were operated as normally as possible, given the state of some of the main road around the city, but the city services were all operated as shuttles from the bus station. There seemed to be much chaos, but given the events of the weekend it was a fine achievement by Stagecoach staff to get services going. The area around the Bus Station was congested, there being nowhere very suitable to park buses with the temporary depot being rather out of town. Similarly, most buses had no destination screens or ticket machines programmed correctly, the equipment to deal with this being at the depot. Being unable to get to work on Monday 10th, my aim was to photograph as many of the incomers as possible, and given the weather conditions (bright winter sunshine causing shadow problems) I concentrated on the Bus Station and Lonsdale Street. The area around the Railway Station was a coach-spotters paradise, with no trains running north due to the flooding, but I concentrated on the buses. I returned on Saturday 15th to see how things had progressed, and was pleased to see a near-normal service running, with many buses having destinations, and working ticket machines, however odd these are. I have tickets for journeys in Carlisle stating I boarded at Blackpool and at Preston Bus Station! The variety of DayRider and MegaRider ticket prices was also interesting.

By 4th February the situation regarding vehicles seemed to have settled down somewhat, with a fairly constant fleet and fewer comings and goings, and many photographers on the streets of Carlisle. Are Carlisle's bus drivers the most photographed in the country.

The pictures above show the road from West Tower Street under Castle Way, used by almost all city services and many country routes, and looking down Rickergate towards the Civic Centre and Police Station, buses turning to the right behind the building on the right of the picture. Both were taken on Saturday 8th January at around the height of the flooding.
What follows is a record of many of the buses in use in Carlisle in the six months since the flooding, before the arrival of the new Darts at the end of June, and a list of all those seen by myself on the Monday. Given the number of different buses I have seen since and the lack of time I have had to observe, I have decided not to try to update the list, just highlight notable additions when I see them. There is less text than usual, as there is little to be said, but there are a lot of photographs . Some of the pictures on this page were taken with my good old SLR camera, the images being transferred when the film was developed, and some were taken by my assistant(!), Steve Mitchell, who is learning the art of bus photography.

This page concentrates solely on the buses brought in to Carlisle depot. Photographs of other buses seen in Carlisle during this time have been grouped with the new Carlisle scene (July 2005 onwards) page.

Cumberland 20731 on 8th January 2005
To begin at the beginning....On Saturday 8th January the  stranding of Carlisle's buses under 5 feet of water meant that the only buses in town were four stationed at Penrith, running a shuttle between the Bus Station and Harraby and Upperby, the only parts of Carlisle easily accessible. One of these, 20731, is seen just coming off service at around half past three. It is noticeable how many people are about (none, other than the bus driver). The whole of Carlisle was without electricity and those people about were looking at the floods. Two of the other buses I saw were 20741 and 22804.

10th January 2005

Ribble 16635 in Carlisle, 10th January The first bus seen on my walk into Carlisle on Monday 10th January was Ribble Volvo Olympian 16635, operating route 61, normally operated by route branded low floor MANs, of which only one escaped the deluge. The bus is seen heading towards the city centre, at the foot of Botchergate.

Cumberland 20746, 10th Jan 2005 Further up Botchergate is Cumberland Volvo B10M 20746, a native bus based at Penrith when the waters came. Behind is Busways(or is it Tyne and Wear?) Scania 28915 with similar bodywork, a bus which is depicted further down the page.

Busways 20726, 10th January Also on Botchergate is Busways 20726, bearing Stagecoach in South Shields names. It is another B10M, which used to roam around Carlisle before being displaced by new Darts.

Ribble 16635 on 10th January 2005 Loading on the Crescent on route 61 is Ribble Olympian 16634.

Western 30335, 10th January 2005 Waiting at the lights at the top of Botchergate is Western Volvo B6 30335

Cumberland 10684_10Jan05 Also on The Crescent is Cumberland 10684, an aged Leyland Titan based at Lancaster.

Bluebird 52188, 10th January 2005 Laying over on The Crescent prior to it's next duty on route 685 to Newcastle is Bluebird 52188

Busways 32735_10Jan05 A surprise was the appearance of Busways Dennis Dart 32735, wearing Sunderland Corporation livery, and highlighting the problem with the low winter sun.

Western 30337, 10th January 2005 On Lonsdale Street is another Western Volvo B6, 30337, still in the previous Stagecoach livery.

Ribble 16635 Ribble Olympian 16635 is seen unloading on Lonsdale Street. This is a photograph taken with my old SLR camera.

Busways 28901, 10th January 2005  On the other side of Lonsdale Street is Busways Scania N113CRB 28901. The cones were to prevent motorists parking in the layby when the buses left it unoccupied, as it was needed for returning buses laying over.

Busways 32718, 10th January 2005 Receiving a bit of attention in the Bus Station is Busways Dart 32718.

Busways 28937, 10th January 2005 Also in the Bus Station is Busways Scania 28937, still in the old livery and with Busways fleetnames.

Bluebird 52139, 10th January 2005 Unloading in Lonsdale Street due to the congestion in the Bus Station is Bluebird 52139.

Atagecoach Manchester 20904 Waiting to turn into the Bus Station is Stagecoach Manchester 20904, a standard Alexander bodied Volvo B10M

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Old meets new
The National Express coaches had to load and unload on Lonsdale Street because of the situation in the BUs Station. Trathens 517 on the Aberdeen service is passed by Lancaster based Titan 10684.

Fife 30651 At the head of a line of buses leaving the Bus Station is Fife Volvo  B6 30651, carrying the prefix D.

Western 30338, 10th January 2005 Also waiting in Lonsdale Street is another Western B6, 30338.

Cumberland 10285 Waiting on the other side of the street is LAncaster based Titan 10285, a mere 23 years old!

Fife 30653 On Lonsdale Street is Fife Volvo B6 30653, receiving instructions.

Busways 28932_10Jan2005 And another bus on Lonsdale Street is Busways Scania 28932.

Western 40192, 10th January 2005 Leaving the Bus Station on a local journey is Western Mercedes 709D 40192 in Magic Bus livery.

Western 20718 Also in Magic Bus livery is Western 20718, another which originated with Cumberland and which lived in Carlisle for a long time.

Cumberland 22804, 10th January Only two of the MANs seem to have survived, due to being at Penrith during the flood. One is 22804, route branded for the 61 and 61A, but used on 10th January on route 67.

Ribble 40398, 10th January 2005 Ribble 40398 is another Mercedes 709D, this one carrying adverts for tickets in the Preston area.

Cumberland 40001, 10th January 2005 Cumberland 40001 is seen in the Bus Station with a functioning destination screen, despite being a Kendal based bus (according to the adverts on the windscreen).

Bluebird 52231, 10th January 2005 Cumberland operates National Express route 590 (London to Aberdeen). On 10th January the southbound journey was in the hands of Bluebird B10M-62 52231, more accustomed to Park and Ride duties.

Western 30342, 10th January 2005 Something a little different was Western Volvo B6 30342, with Wright bodywork, which had just arrived form Cockermouth on route 600. I later rode this bus on route 61.

Transit 32563 Laying over on Lonsdale Street is 32563, a Dennis Dart from the Transit part of Stagecoach North East.

Stagecoach Manchester 20994 Also in evidence were several of the Stagecoach Manchester Northern Counties bodied Volvo B10s such as 20994, seen here in the Bus Station.

Busways 28915 The bus which took me home (via a heavily diverted route) was Busways 28915, another Scania. Despite the roller blind, it was operating on route 76 and is seen on Durranhill Road heading back to Carlisle.

15th January 2005

Stagecoach MAnchester 20896 And so to Saturday 15th January. The journey to the city centre was mad eon Stagecoach Manchester 20896, another B10, seen at Durranhill.

Ribble 16634, 15th January 2005 At the foot of Devonshire Street is Ribble 16634, now with working destination screen.

Western 20715, 15th January 2005 Awaiting it's next journey, back into Scotland, is Western 20715, nominally in Magicbus livery, but showing the effects of the weather, and probably a lack of cleaning facilities at the Carlsile depot (wherever it is at the moment). 20715 is another ex Carlisle bus, come home to help.

Cumberland  14232, 15th January 2005 Another native bus to have survived is Leyland Olympian 14232, seen in the Bus Station.

Busways 32735 Another view of Stagecoach North East 32735, this time laying over in the Bus Station. An SLR photo.

Stagecoach Manchester 20879 Not a great picture, but an oddity! Stagecoach Manchester 20879, not wearing that number but just 879 and with a destination screen presumably not operational. It is actually operating on route 61 to Harraby East, not 358 to Hayfield in Derbyshire. Another SLR picture.

Western 20109, 15th January On 15th January the cross border services to Annan and Dumfries appeared to be in the charge of buses hired from Western, including 20109. It is seen turning from Rickergate (as seen at the top of the page) into West Tower Street. The Civic Centre, now back on dry land, can be seen in the background.

Stagecoach Manchester 20881 On West Tower Street is Stagecoach Manchester NCME bodied B10M 20881, en route to Upperby. In the background the underpass seen under water at the top of the page can just be seen.

Western 30323 Another Western Volvo B6 to appear was 30323, snapped with the SLR.

Cumberland  22813 Heading the other way on West Tower Street is Cumberland 22813, one of two MANs bought for the X50 and given a special livery, but which has now been repainted in corporate livery. I have seen only two of the low floor buses of Carlisle, the 11 Darts received in 2004 for routes 62, 67 and 68 presumably being victims of the flooding, along with the rest of the MANs.

Western 20425 On West Tower Street is 20425, a Western Volvo B10 with East Lancs bodywork and in MagicBus livery.

Stagecoach Mancehster 20894 This time I was taken home in one of Manchester's NCME bodied Volvos, 20894, seen at Durranhill.  The journey to and from the city is very depressing, passing through some of the worst affected areas, where every front garden has a huge pile of ruined furniture, carpets, electrical goods etc awaiting collection. I was lucky: my house stayed dry and my electricity was only off for a day and a half.

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Midland Red South 32704 On 22nd January I had little time for photography, but managed to snap Midland Red South 32704 at Durranhill terminus.

29th January 2005

Midland red South 32705 Seen at the Durranhill terminus of route 76 is Midland Red South 32705.

Stagecaoch London 34101 Returning to Carlisle on 22nd January I was taken aback to see Dennis Darts in London red, and got to ride on one. On 29th they were still around, including 34101, a single door example. As low-floor buses, these Darts spend most of their time on routes 67 & 68, which had nice new Dart SLFs in 2004.

Stagecoach London 34083 Another of the ex-London Darts is single door variety 34083, seen at  The Courts on 29th January.

Stagecoach London 34088 And another is 34088, seen at the foot of Devonshire Street.

3rd February

Styagecoach Manchester 20943 Stagecoach Manchester 20943 is seen laying over on The Crescent, wearing a nice coaitng of grime. The bus behind is one of the Busways Scanias with the same style of bodywork.

Cumberland 13297 On Lowther Street, nearing the end of a journey from Keswick is ex Greater Manchester Northern Counties bodied Olympian 13297, now in the Stagecoach North West fleet, but not normally at Carlisle.

Transit 32124 Seen on West Tower Street is Stagecoach in Hartlepool 32124 (legally a Busways vehicle), a Plaxton bodied Dennis Dart which started life in London.

Rhondda 32989 Also on West Tower Street is Rhondda 32989, a Dennis Dart with a less stylish Wright body than the current products.

4th February

Tyne & Wear 21001 A more unusual bus is Busways 21001, a Volvo B10B with Alexander Strider bodywork, one of only two in the Busways fleet, and seen on The Crescent on route 61.

Stagecoach Manchester 20881 It was only on this day that I noticed that several of the Manchester buses were carrying adverts for the Environment Agency floodline! 20881 is one, seen on English Street.

East Kent 32604 Another Dennis Dart with Alexander Dash bodywork is 32604, this one from the East Kent fleet.

Fife 52027 Brought in to replace some of the Bluebird Volvos is 52027, a Fife B10M-62 with Berkhof bodywork, of 1995 vintage, and recently re-registered. It is seen laying over in the Bus Station. Behind is elderly Leyland Titan 10278.

Stagecoach London 34140 Seen on West Tower Street on 4th February is Stagecoach London 34140, with the centre doors not in use and adverts for the Bromley Park and Ride!. Judging from the interiors of these buses, with almost all TfL signs removed and the lack of blinds I assume they were bound for pastures new before the intervention of Carlisle's emergency. Which Travelcard Zone is Carlisle in?

Cumberland 10728 On a strangely quiet Lowther Street is ex London Titan 10728. If only the trafffic was always like this!      

Other days.
As the fleet settled down, I spent the following weeks photographing those buses which had previously eluded me, totally or which were determined to be out of focus or in poor lighting conditions. At some point the buses began carrying Cumberland legal lettering, but for ease of notation I continued to quote the previous owner.

Western 30342 On 24th March Western Volvo B6 30342 was snapped on The Crescent.

Three in a line On 9th April a walking excursion involved waiting at the Bus Station, which yielded a line up of three buses: Stagecoach Manchester B10M 20944, Busways Scania 28937 and Stagecoach London Dart 34083.

Cleveland Transit 20291 Waiting at The Courts on 9th April is Hartlepool 20291, which I missed snapping several times because from a distance I just assumed it was one of the Manchester Northern Counties bodied B10Ms. This time I got it right.

Fife 30653 Fife Volvo B6 30653 was seen on 9th April, havimg a rest in the Bus Station.

Red & White 20407 The journey home after a good tramp was in Red & White 20407, a Volvo B10M with East LAncs body, one of a pair which defied good photography for a long time.

Darlington 13022 On  the evening of 23rd April stagecoach in Darlington (ex Greater Manchester) Leyland Olympian 13022 was pictured on Durranhill Road by Steve Mitchell.

Red & White 20408 The other of the pair of Red & White B10Ms, 20408, was photographed on The Crescent  on an unknown date by Steve Mitchell

Cumberland 42559_30April05 On 30th April Mercedes Benz Vario 0814/ Plaxton was seen by Steve Mitchell on Botchergate, painted up for the AD122 Hadrian's Wall Bus service, but without the lettering, and operatring a City service.

Cumberland 42559 back view The back of 42559 is equipped with a bike rack, as seen here. Photo by Steve Mitchell.

Cumberland 52196 On an un-noted date (my mistake), elderly Leyland Tiger 52196 is seen unloading after arriving in Carlisle on a 685 journey, wearing an uninspiring livery.

Cumberland 42545 The other Hadrian's Wall Bus is 42545, seen here in wet Hexham on 1st May, also without the lettering. The two Varios replaced two Volvo B6s which presumably perished in the floods.

Ribble34680_May05 Also in May a chance encounter was with Ribble 34680, a newish Dart with route branding for route 109 (Preston to Chorley),  Numerically it is the last of this batch, the next number being used for the first of Carlisle's new Darts, seen on the Carlisle Now page.

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Page created and all text and spelling mistakes by Caroline Mathews.
Photographs by & copyright of Caroline Mathews, except where indicated in the text. Thanks to Steve Mitchell for the use of his photographs.
Last updated 2nd August 2005.
Apologies to Max Ernst and Dylan Thomas!