Buses in Carlisle

Cumberland 34477

The four years I have been living in Carlisle have seen many changes to the buses of the city. The dominant operator is still Stagecoach as successors to Cumberland and Western SMT, with a single route operated by First Edinburgh and several lower frequency routes operated by other local operators (which explains why I haven't managed to get some of them on camera). White Star has unfortunately gone, now part of Western, but they are represented here. The regular movement of buses between Stagecoach fleets did not seem to be too significant in Carlisle, apart form an inward migration of Volvo B6s,a nd them some Dennis Lances, but the events of January 2005 caused a major upheaval. This page depicts the scene in Carlisle before January 2005, many of the buses depicted having been replaced  due to flood damage. The first part of the page is dedicated to buses seen this year, and the second part contains older photos recording events (and buses) past (well, since 2001, when I moved to Cumbria).  This makes it quite a long page, so be patient with the loading!

Top of the page is Cumberland 34477, a Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart seen on it's second day in service, 3rd February 2004. Brand new buses in Carlisle. Shock horror!  Soon after this photo was taken, it became 34476, the whole batch being renumbered. As a result of this I have photos of two buses numbered 34482, one which became 34481, and Bluebird 34482, still extant in Inverness.

For pictures of the bus related after-effects of the floods of 8th January 2005, see the After The Rain page  Much of the content of the page below has been superseded, initially by a fine selection of buses from Stagecoach Everywhere, and then by brand new Darts, as depicted on the Carlisle Now page.

2004's photographs

Cumberland 20745 When I arrived in Carlisle the majority of the buses were like this: a Volvo B10M-55 with Alexander PS bodywork, which operated both the City services and the longer distance routes as well. 20745 is typical of the large batch of these buses which entered service in 1992-3, and is seen in Carlisle Bus Station, having just arrived from Cockermouth and about to depart to Keswick, with very little layover. It is seen on 23rd January 2004

Cumberland 20790 Numerically the last of the B10Ms is 20790 (originally 790), one of two added in 1995 with coach seats and intended for the longer distance services from Carlisle. It is seen here awaiting departure time at The Courts on the rather shorter route 101to Rockcliffe , on 23rd January.

Cumberland 22802 Until February this year the only low floor buses at Carlisle depot, other than those which came with White Star, were the 11 MAN 18.220s with Alexander bodies introduced on the busy routes 61/61A in 1999, although they often appear on other routes. (I have a photo of one on the Dumfries service, taken at Annan and rode on one to Cockermouth in February this year). 22802 is seen leaving West Tower Street on 24th January.

Cumberland 22804 Another of the MANs is 22804, still in the stripy livery, seen at The Crescent on 22nd January.

Cumberland 27205 In 2002 the local paper informed us that 12 new buses were coming to Carlisle. New to Carlisle, maybe, but not new in the new sense of new, being 1-2 years younger than the B10Ms. They were Dennis Lances with Plaxton Verde bodies from Stagecoach London, formerly LV1-12 and converted to single door before entering service. The sounds they make (from outside and inside) betray their previous life in London. 27205 is seen at West Tower Street on 23rd January.

Cumberland 27902 Along with the London Lances three were transferred from South Midland, 27901-3 (formerly 901-903). These are easily spotted by the large three track number display on the opposite side to the London buses, and by the fact that they were built as single door buses and the join where the centre doors have been removed does not exist. 27902 is seen on the opposite side of West Tower Street on 15th January 2004. This picture is only made possible thanks to the demolition of the bus shelter at this point by one of the Leyland Olympians last year.

Cumberland 30272  When I arrived in Carlisle there were a few Volvo B6s in service. The number increased considerably until recently. It appears that the arrival of the new Darts has lead to some of them going elsewhere. This one is 30272, seen on Lowther Street on 22nd January, illegally parked vehicles causing the bus to pull up beyond the stop and allowing me to get a nearside shot at a place where it is normally very difficult.

Cumberland 30281 Another of theVolvo B6s is 30281, seen in the old livery at Carlisle Bus Station on 23rd January. One of the good things about Stagecoach's national numbering system is that the Cumberland B6s now have easily deciphered fleet numbers, whereas they were previously rather haphazard.

Cumberland 33076 Also in the Bus Station on 23rd January is 33076, a Dennis Dart MPD with Plaxton Pointer bodywork, which came to Stagecoach with the White Star Motors business last year and stayed when most of the work and buses which came with that business was transferred to Western late last year. As a Dart it was until recently a very lonely bus at Carlisle Depot (and anywhere in Stagecoach North West).

Cumberland 34477 As seen at the top of the page, hot off the production line is 34477, a brand spanking new Dennis Dart SLF with Plaxton Pointer body, seen on it's second day in service, 3rd February 2004. Both inside and out the whole batch smells very new indeed, and the interior is rather more welcoming than the B6s, B10s and Lances. But in ten years time, how wil it look? And why did it get renumbered 34476 shortly after this photo was taken, and after I had passed the information on to Buses Magazine Fleet News! Am I the only person to notice the renumbering of the entire batch?

Cumberland 34481 Seen outside the Cumberland Infirmary on the same day is another of the Darts, 34481 (now 34480). I can live without the scrolling destinations of these buses (and the MANs) as I often seem to snap the bus with just the route number showing or in mid-scroll. Thankfully, I was lucky with these two photos.

Cumberland 47025 Cumberland (?) 47025 is a 2002 Optare Solo with bike racks on the back in a dedicated livery for the Hadrian's Wall Bus, aptly numbered AD122 (one for the historians). Last year it was in Busways ownership, and operated the daily round trip form Wallsend to Burgh-by-Sands, but it has now appeared with Cumberland legal lettering and is very often seen, without blinds, on route 185, the all-year service to Haltwhistle via villages near the Wall. This is a route inherited from White Star last year.

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Cumberland 53020 The only coaches I usually photograph are those on Express services, such as Cumberland 53020, a Volvo B12M with Plaxton bodywork. It is bound for London on route 590 from Aberdeen. There is a period at lunchtime every day when Carlisle Bus Station is teeming with National Express coaches.

First Edinburgh 65697   A contender for the longest bus service from Carlisle is the RailLink service X95 which takes in several Borders towns before finishing up in Edinburgh, a mere three and a half hours later. I can vouch for the glorious scenery as far as Hawick. The route starts in the Station Forecourt, and can lead to some interesting manoeuvres due to the layout. Seen leaving at the start of the epic trek on 23rd January is very new Scania L94UB/ Wright Solar 65697, with good old fashioned destination blinds. Further comments about the rail-link service will be found further down the page, amongst the older photos of Carlisle.

First Edinburgh 31660 Although the X95 is usually operated by low-floor Scanias now, in recent weeks one Saturday morning journey into Carlisle has been double decker operated, as evidenced by First Edinburgh 31660, seen laying over at The Courts, the station forecourt being full of rail replacement coaches. 31660 is an ALexander Royale bodied Volvo Olympian dating from 1998 and was formerly numbered 1329 as can be seen form the front of the bus

Northumbria 1202 Another long route is 685 to Newcastle, jointly operated by Cumberland and Arriva Northumbria. Northumbria 1202, a Plaxton bodied DAF is seen unloading in Lonsdale Street, due to congestion in the Bus Station on 23rd January. This dedicated livery is carried by 5 Northumbria DAFs, but the 2 Cumberland Volvo B10M-62s which used to carry it have been repainted into corporate livery and have eluded my camera. The missing town name on the window display is Brampton.

Rapsons 654 Operating National Express service 538 (Inverness to Coventry) on 23rd January was Rapsons 654, a Volvo B10M-62 with Plaxton body dating from 2001.

Stagecoach Bluebird 52382 And on service 535 from Perth to Kettering is Stagecoach Bluebird 52382, formerly 622, a 1997 Volvo B10M-62 with Plaxton body.

Usterbus 510 And the 921 service (Carlisle to Belfast) was in the charge of Ulsterbus 510, a Plaxton bodied Volvo B10M-62 new in 1995.

Western 33075 Western 33075 is a Dennis Dart SLF/ Plaxton Pointer which was new to White Star Motors and passed to Cumberland last year with that business and is now wiht Western. It is still a regular on the ex White Star route 382 (Carlisle-Moffat), as seen on 15th January.

Western 33078 Another ex White Star Dart is Western 33078, one of the 2002 built pair of Darts, seen here leaving the Courts terminus on 23rd January 2004. The other of the pair is pictured in White Star days towards the bottom of this page. This is the first photo of mine to make it into Buses magazine. 

Western 52079 The other contender for longest bus route is Western's once a day route X75 from Stranraer to Carlisle. Setting out on the return journey on 23rd January is 52079 (formerly 174), a 1990 Plaxton Paramount bodied Volvo B10M-60. What if the original vehicle which carried the registration WLT874 was operating this route!

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Looking back (as far back as 2001!)

MacEwans152 One of MacEwan's Mercedes 0405s, laying over in Citadel Station forecourt prior to operating the rail link service to Galashiels on 27th February 2001. MacEwans lost this service in May to First Edinburgh, the service gaining an increase in frequency and an extension through to Edinburgh (journey time three and a half hours).

First Edinburgh 38 How often has one operator's Mercedes 0405s been replaced by another's on a tendered route? First Edinburgh initially used some of theirs, transferred from First Aberdeen and adorned with some route branding on Barbie 2 livery without the fade outs. No 38, with bus seats, is seen outside Citadel Station on 23rd June 2001.

First Edinburgh 72 By way of contrast in terms of livery is First Edinburgh 72, seen on 7th July 2001, also in the station forecourt. The ease of getting photos here means there is a certain repetitiveness about photos of the Carlisle-Edinburgh service.

First Edinburgh 1213 Some time in June 2002 First Edinburgh 1213 appeared on the route. This is one of very few Volvo B10B-58s in the fleet, and according to my information the only one with Wright Endurance body.

First Edinburgh 592 Eventually, four of these Wright Solar bodied Scania L94UBs appeared. By my reckoning the service requires 8 vehicles, so the Mercedes were still seen as well as these buses until the arrival of the newest Scanias (one is seen further up the page) and still appear occasionally. In the station this service is announced on the screens and the Tannoys as the Borders Rail Link to Galashiels, but during the day the destination shown is Edinburgh, with no intermediates shown (i.e. Langholm, Hawick, Selkirk, Galashiels). The route branding was the only indication that the buses are the rail link service, although journeys to Carlisle tend to show Carlisle Rail Link.

First Ediinburgh 502 Another less usual visitor, seen on 16th November 2002, was Scania N113/ Wrights 502, dating from 1995.

Cumberland 1029 The 1992 Leyland Olympians have always been elusive when I have been lurking with camera, whereas they abounded when I was travelling to and from work. Just about the best photo I have is this one of 1029 (now 14269), seen on Spencer Street during a roadworks-induced diversion, on 18th May 2002.

Cumberland 102 Long departed from Carlisle is Cumberland 102, a 1984 Leyland Tiger with Duple body was seen on 23rd August 2001, leaving The Courts for the village of Wetheral.

Cumberland 1136 Another elderly coach now moved on from passenger service is 1136, one of six Plaxton bodied Volvo B10M-61s dating from 1988 and originating with United Counties. It is about to leave Carlisle Bus Station for Keswick on route 555, despite the number on the blinds. The six coaches were regulars on the Dumfries service and often took me to work before the introduction of the Kingmoor Park service (of which more further down the page).This coach is now to be seen around Carlisle as a training vehicle.

Cumberland 16626 During 2003 Northern Counties bodied Volvo Olympian 16626 (formerly 2226) was repainted into a special Golden Jubilee livery, based on the standard livery. It is seen in Lonsdale Street on 28th August 2003 at the start of it's journey to Whitehaven. It is one of four buses transferred from Ribble which spend most of their time on this route.

Cumberland 2170 My fellwalking forays usually involve catching a bus at Carlisle Bus Station, and several shots of buses have been taken whilst waiting. One such is 2170, an elderly ex Ribble ECW bodied Leyland Olympian. It was renumbered 14170 in the national series, but I haven't seen it for some time (but I don't work in Carlisle anymore, so see less of the buses than previously) Behind is one of the NCME bodied Olympians.

Cumberland 2203 Similarly captured early one Saturday morning in July 2002 was 2203, also operating route 91 to Dalston and with an NCME Olympian behind. 2203 is an Alexander RL bodied Leyland Olympian new to RIbble, and has also vanished (to the best of my knowledge). Modifications to the Bus Station have made this viewpoint less attractive by the erection of barriers to the right of each bay, these impeding the view badly. 

Cumberland 285 In addition to the Optare Solo pictured earlier, Stagecoach Cumberland operates two Alexander bodied Volvo B6s adorned in the special livery for the Hadrians Wall service. 285 (now 30334) is seen turning from The Crescent into English Street on 7th July 2001. These buses also seem to elude my camera, despite being seen regularly on city services during the winter.

Cumberland 30455 In early 2003 a new service was started between Carlisle and the Kingmoor Business Park to the north of the City. For this two Volvo B6s were painted in this special livery for the service, and have to a very large extent remained on the route ever since. This route enabled me to stay in bed 15 minutes longer and got me away form the coaches such as 1136 (see above). 30455 is seen at The Courts on 26th February 2003.

Cumberland 732 Another view of a "standard" Volvo B10M is 732 on Lowther Street on 18th May 2002.

Cumberland 814 When I first moved to Carlisle, all Sunday City services were operated by the MAN 18.220s, although this practice has now ceased. In addition to the MAN18.220s for the city services, two newer examples were given a special livery for an enhancement of the Penrith-Keswick-Workington services X4/X5/X50. Unfortunately the frequency was cut in 2001 following the disastrous drop in tourist numbers, and the buses moved onto Carlisle local services. One of the two, 814, is seen in West Tower Street on 12th August 2001. Thankfully the enhanced service has been restored and 813 & 814 (now 22813/4) are back on the route they advertise, where they evade my camera nicely!

Northumbria 1203 Arriva Northumbria 1203, a DAF DE33WSSB3000 (apparently) with Plaxton body, in the special livery for the 685 (Carlisle to Newcastle), seen in Carlisle Bus Station on 27th February 2001, displaying signs of the bad weather which greeted me on my second visit to Carlisle to check out accommodation, having just accepted a job in the City. This is one of my favourite pictures.

Rapsons 648 On 23rd August 2003 , the northbound National Express 538 service from Coventry to Inverness was being operated by Rapsons 648, a Plaxton bodied Volvo B10M-63 dating from 2000.

Reays TKU717 Reays of Wigton is an operator which runs several routes, mainly in the west of the county (it is possible to travel from Silloth to Cleator Moor using only Reay's services). The company runs into Carlisle four days a week o route 39 which serves villages to the west of the City. The service is known as the Carlisle Shopper, as displayed on Optare Metrorider TKU717, pictured at West Tower Street on 23rd August 2003. The origins of this bus are not known to me.

White Star 973_17Feb01 V973DRM, a Plaxton bodied Dennis Dart in the White Star Motors fleet seen on 17th February 2001, my first trip to Carlisle (job interview). It is on the "back" route 185 to Haltwhistle, a route now operated by Cumberland. To get this picture  I stood in the middle of the road. The things we photographers do just for a bus!

White Star 973_24Aug01 By 24th August 2001 this bus, along with most of the White Star fleet, had been repainted into a brighter livery. It is laying over in The Crescent before returning to Moffat.

White Star_PX02KTP The last new additions to the White Star fleet were two Dennis Dart SLFs with Plaxton Pointer bodies, new in 2002. One of the two is seen at The Courts. It is now Western 33079. The other of the pair is pictured near the top of this page in it's Western guise.

Cumberland 33074 During the brief period when the ex-White Star routes and vehicles were operated by Cumberland the Dart MPDs strayed onto Carlisle city routes, as 33074 is seen doing here on 28th August 2003, en route for Morton Park (not that it is obcvious form the destination display).

Cumberland 30458 On the same day, passengers on the 382, used to low-floor Dennis Darts had the pleasure (?) of non-low floor Volvo B6 30458, a bus which features on the Cumbria pages in it's former guise as 318. Having ridden B6s from Carlisle to Patterdale and return, I can sympathise.

Western 32390 At 4.30pm on 7th February, Western 32390 was seen waiting for departure time on the 382. Another non-low floor bus, this time anAlexander bodied Dennis Dart from 1996.

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last amended 16th January 2005. All comments, opinions and spelling mistakes by Caroline Mathews.
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