Actually the page should be called Northern Cumbrian buses, or Mostly
Stagecoach, as I have been to Kendal twice, and have never been further
south than Ambleside on photography forays. Most of the photos have been
taken during my regular fell-walking expeditions, which have been facilitated
by a very good network of buses in the Lake District, almost all being
Stagecoach operated. It also explains the dominance of several places on
this page. If only the service in the eastern part of the county was as
good, and the walking was as exhilarating! Some day I might get to Barrow,
although I wish I had been when the blue corporation buses still existed.
Enough waffle. Usual page layout applies, this time in date order. Click
on the thumbnail to get the large image, approx 800x600 pixels and feel
free to use any image, but let me know and give me a credit. Top of the
page is Cumberland Leyland Titan 11110 at Grasmere.
March 2002 found me in Workington. Ex Ribble Volvo Olympian/
NCME 2227 (now 16627) is seen in the splendid old Workington Bus Station.
It is a shame that the similar one in Whitehaven has closed, although
it was on a very constricted site.
In the same place on the same day is Cumberland 798 (now
52628), one of four 1998 Jonckheere Modulo bodied Volvo B10M-62s in
a special livery for routes X4/5 (Workington-Keswick-Penrith).
Seen approaching Keswick Bus Station on 15th June 2002 is
Cumberland 2145, a 1984 ex Ribble ECW bodied Olympian converted to open-top
for the scenic routes in the Lake District. It is wearing the attractive
livery used for buses on some of these routes, and in 2002 was a regular
on the 79 from Keswick to Seatoller via Borrowdale.
Also seen in Keswick on 15th June 2002 is Ribble 113, a 1997
Plaxton Premiere bodied Volvo B10M-62. It is loading for it's return
journey to Preston and Chorley on summer service X8. It can be difficult
getting shots here without parts of other buses in the background, as
witnessed here with the front of a Wright Brothers coach in the shot.
And here it is. Wright Brothers CIW290, on summer service
888 to Newcastle via Penrith and Alston. My knowledge of coach bodywork
is rather poor, and I am not sure what this Volvo is wearing. Can anyone
Summer route 517 runs from Glenridding to Bowness via the
Kirkstone Pass. The times I have ridden it the vehicle has been a Mercedes
minibus, but on 4th August 2002 Volvo B6 270 was on duty. It carries
the green livery and route branding for route 505 (Ambleside-Coniston)
and is seen at the Glenridding end of the route, before the stop was moved
off the main road last year.
A bit of cheating here. Wright Brothers V3WBC is seen at
Haltwhistle, in Northumberland, but it fits into this section nicely.
It is laying over between journeys on route 681 to Halton Lea Gate, the
remnants of the rail replacement service when the Haltwhistle to Alston
Railway closed in the 1970s.
On the wet afternoon of 18th August 2002 is seen Cumberland
796, another of the route-branded Volvo B10M-62s, at Keswick.
On the same day at Keswick is Cumberland Olympian/Alexanders
2285 (now 16340), with route branding for routes 555/6, the lengthy
Lancaster to Keswick service (with connections to Carlisle). The need
for double deckers is clear on summer weekends. One Sunday in August
2002 I was one of over 60 passengers on one of these buses when it left
Keswick! This one started life with Stagecoach Manchester before transferring
to Ribble and becoming a Cumberland vehicle when the Lancaster depot changed
Another bus seen on that day was Arriva Yorkshire 409, seen
here loading for the lengthy return journey to Wakefield. It took me
by surprise. I knew Arriva ran long distance routes into the Yorkshire
Dales, but I was unaware that one penetrated as far as Keswick via the
Lakes. 409 is an Alexander Strider bodied Volvo B10B-58 of 1994 vintage.
One of the finest routes in Cumbria is the 77/77A Honister
Rambler circular from Keswick via Borrowdale, Honister, Buttermere and
Whinlatter (or vice versa). I am not a lover of minibuses, but I am
grateful for them on this route, as nothing bigger would be able to traverse
some of the roads. Two Alexander bodied Mercedes 709Ds have been given
this livery for the service, numbers 77 (appropriately) and 78 (now 40040
and 40041) are pictured at Keswick on 23rd August 2002.
In 2002 the Sunday service on route 108 (Penrith to Patterdale)
was operated by Carlisle depot, with the first outward and last return
journeys extended from/to Carlisle via the M6. Usual fare was a Volvo B6,
such as 318 (now 30458) seen loading at the Patterdale terminus on 25th
August 2002. Were these buses designed by people with very short legs? I
am only 5ft 7ins and find insufficient legroom on most of the B6s. After
a day's fellwalking I would like to stretch out a bit!
My first walk over the fells to Langdale was on 21st September
2002. The bus awaiting me at the Old Dungeon Ghyll terminus of route
516 was 645, a 1983 Leyland Tiger with Alexander bodywork, a pleasant
surprise, as I was expecting a B6 or a minibus. The journey home by
bus took over three hours on 5 buses, but after a great day's walking and
a couple of pints of Old Rosie cloudy scrumpy (7.2% ABV) I didn't really
First foray of 2003 was 15th March, and includeed a journey
to Seatoller on ex Stagecoach Manchester Volvo B6 30460, finding useful
employment before the Hadrian's Wall service recommenced at Easter.
The other end of my walk was Dungeon Ghyll again. This time
25800, a 1984 Duple Dominant bus bodied Leyland Tiger was my steed. It
is not a great picture due to the position the bus parked and the low afternoon
sun, but as I have not seen the bus since I have included it, with Pike
O'Stickle forming the backdrop.
At Ambleside on the same day was Cumberland 59026, a 21 year
old Leyland Tiger with Duple Dominant bodywork, formerly 626 and before
that Merseybus 7012. It was operating the 505 Coniston service. In following
weeks it carried me from Dungeon Ghyll to Ambleside several times. Plenty
19th April saw me at Dungeon Ghyll again and about to board
Volvo B6 30282 dating form 1993 and carrying livery and branding for the
At Keswick on 26th April was Ribble 52409, formerly 109, a
1997 Plaxton Premiere bodied Volvo B10M-62 about to depart for Preston
On 26th April the Keswick to Newcastle service was in the hands
of Wrights A431ESO, which looks like a Leyland Tiger to me, but again
I am not certain.
Journeys via Patterdale in 1993 were limited by the Carlisle
journeys being discontinued and connections at Penrith being rather tight.
On 22nd June my expectation that a B6 would be my steed was shattered
by the appearance at Patterdale of Volvo B10M 20726. Clearly my belief
that B6s were used because of the twisting and narrow roads was wrong.
During the summer (actually from Easter in 2003) a twenty minute
frequency open top service operates from Bowness to Grasmerre via Windermere
and Ambleside. Seen at Grasmere on 20th July 2003 was Leyland Titan 11110,
which arrived at Cumberland from Bluebird, having originally been Stagecoach
Not only does the Patterdale service see Volvo B10Ms, but double
deckers as well, although the only chance I have had to capture one on
camera was Leyland Olympian 14232, seen at Glenridding on 9th August 2003.
As is probably expected, I went straight upstairs to the front seat! Splendidly
scenic, although I displayed a tendency to duck whenever tree branches
The furthest south I have been so far is Kendal, for a football
match on 1st November 2003. At Kendal Bus Station is seen 20699, which
was formerly 699, numerically the first of Cumberland's Volvo B10M-55s.
It is seen loading for the hourly service from Kendal to Barrow.
First outing this year in Cumbria was on 5th February and took
me to Cockermouth on MAN 18.220 22812, rather a change from it's expected
haunts in Carlisle. It has a good turn of speed, as well.
One of the reasons for going to Cockermouth was to see some
of the independent operators serving the town. Chief amongst these, with
two rural routes and a share of a third, is Reays. In a space of less than
10 minutes three Reays buses arrived, all being Mercedes 0814s, and registered
consecutively. I have photos of all three in the same position. The one
here is Y785YHH, the last of the three, awaiting dparture time on the 217
route to Cleator Moor. It left with no passengers.
One of the Cockermouth town routes and the Buttermere service
are operated by Ken Routledge Travel. On 5th February these were being
operated by new Mercedes 413, MX53PUH, not exactly a bus, perhaps, but
very smart and presumably adequate for the loadings on the routes.
Despite the new Darts for Carlisle being route branded for City services
67 & 68, as seen here, at weekends they stray considerably. On 28th
May 2004 bus 34476 (seen at the top of the Carlisle
page wearing fleetnumber 34477!) is seen in Keswick on service 555 to Carlisle.
This journey left Keswick 10 minutes late and arrived in Carlisle over
5 minutes early, a testament to the speed and acceleration of the bus and
the recklessness of the driver.
Seen in Kendal on 26th June 2004 is Cumberland 20711. NOt a great
shot, but included as this bus has recently acquired 3+2 seating for use
on school journeys, the central gangway now being very narrow. It is returning
to Kendal Depot after an afternoon school journey.
Also seen in Kendal returning from a school run is long wheelbase
Leyland Olympian 14253, originally 1013 in the Cumberland fleet.
Fellrunner is an operator which runs a network of village services
into Penrith and Carlisle. Seen on 22nd January 2005, rather hemmed in by
cars and another bus (out of shot) in the car park adjacent to Penrith Bus
Station is a recently recruited Optare Alero.
NBM Coaches operates the town service in Penrith. Seen operating in
this route on 22nd January is Optare Solo V4JPT, with the correct route number
but an unconventional destination display! From the registration I would
guess that this bus started out with Manchester area operator JP Travel.
Route 133 is a Saturdays only service linking Carlisle and Penrith
via many small villages, and usually merits nothing more than a minibus.
Seen arriving in Penrith on 22nd January is Stagecoach Western 40192, drafted
in to Carlisle following the flooding of 8th January. The bus behind, ex
Greater Manchester (and then Stagecoach Manchester) Olympian 13297, managed
to elude my camera all day!
last amended 23rd January 2005. All comments, opinions
and spelling mistakes by Caroline Mathews.
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