Keighley, 4th January 2003

Somewhere I had never visited as a bus enthusiast was Keighley, the steam trains at the bottom of the hill being of more interest to the rest of the family when I was young. That was when the local buses were allover red Keighley-West Yorkshire ones. These days they are  Keighley and District, sightings of which in Bradford and Leeds have whetted my appetite for a longer look at them on their home patch. Courtesy of my Dalesrail Card I got a day trip from Carlisle for the grand sum of £3, so with snow on the ground and a definite chill in the air, off I went. Frustration with bright sunshine at a low angle, a photography unfriendly bus station and difficulty in finding traffic free spots meant a certain repetition in locations for the photos, but a selection of K & D buses was captured on camera. A return visit on 31st January 2004 proved to be torrentially wet, but a few shots were taken and the best added at the bottom of this page. Apparently the Keighley Town services are to get new low floor midibuses in March this year, so another trip will be needed soon! All images are approx 800 x 600 pixels as this reduces the file size to a sensible size, enabling me to get more in my allocated webspace. As ever, if you wish to use any photo, be my guest but let me know and give me a mention as the photographer. Comments & suggestions welcome.

Keighley and District 505, a 1996 Volvo B10B with Alexander bodywork, turning into the new Bus Station on a local service. I am impressed with the new Bus Station here, but as with the refurbished ones in Huddersfield and Bradford, it is not great for photography, having doors which only open when there is a bus on the stand, and being heavily patrolled by Metro employees in bright yellow coats. As I am not inclined to trespass and wander about on the tarmac, I had to search around for other locations for snapping.

 Keighley and District Northern Counties bodied Leyland Olympian 905 dating from 1992 on Cavendish Street. As indicated by the registration this bus originated with fellow Blazefield company Yorkshire Coastliner. Noticeable with the K & D fleet was the lack of external advertising (other than route branding), even on double-deckers and the very smart appearance of the buses (except for a small amount of seasonal grime)

Volvo B10BLE/ Wright 549 route branded for the major 662 service to Bradford, in the same spot as 905. I failed to get a good enough quality picture of one of the more recent dual purpose bodied Volvo B10BLEs, all attempts coming out blurred.

646, a Volvo B6-50 with Alexander body, formerly with Harrogate & District, in the same spot as the last two photos.

 Further down Cavendish Street is 1995 dual purpose Alexander bodied Volvo Olympian 925, another bus which came from Yorkshire Coastliner a couple of years ago and one of the newest double deckers in the fleet. It is route branded for route 760 to Leeds.

Waiting in the queue of traffic on North street is another of 1996 Alexander bodied B10Bs, 506, en route to the Bus Station, with two more buses behind.

In the same place is Volvo B10BLE 546, route branded for the 662 but operating on the Worth Valley services, the destination already being set for the next outward journey.

Just pulling away from Bow Street into North street is elderly Leyland Olympian 381, with ECW body, looking very smart despite being 19 years old! If only other bus operators could keep their vehicles looking so smart. First impressions count, and the outside of a bus is the first thing a potential passenger (or customer, or whatever we are these days) sees.

Waiting to turn into the Bus Station is another Volvo B10B, 529 of the 1998 batch, proclaiming itself to be a Star Bus!

Right behind 529 was First Calderline 3346, arriving to take up a short working journey on the not very frequent route 500 (Keighley-Todmorden). This bus is a Dennis Dart SLF with Alexander bodywork. This service and the hourly 502 to Halifax are First Calderline's only presence in Keighley. Aside from the hourly Burnley & Pendle service to Burnley and Padiham (another Blazefield company) and a group of infrequent village services operated by Tyrers, Keighley and District is dominant in the area. I failed to snap the only B & P bus I saw (another B10B/Wright) and the white liveried Tyrer's minibuses did not excite me much. By this time the light was fading, as shown by the blurred bus seen behind 3346.

Also at the same place is a minibus of interest, as it is representative of those in the Keighley & District fleet. It is 125, a Plaxton bodied Mercedes 811D dating from late 1993. By this time I think I had seen all K & D buses on the road that day, and took my leave to spend an hour or so scribbling madly in Leeds City Centre before returning home on a nice warm class 156 DMU.

First Calderline 40554 And so to 31st January 2004. The Todmorden service was being operated by  First Calderline 40554, one of the early Wright bodied Dennis Darts which started out as London Transport DW81 before being a First Centrewest and First Beeline bus before migrating north. did this bus not originally have a two piece windscreen?

Keighley & DIstrict 577 To make up for the failure of 2003, I got a decent photo of one of the  dual purpose Wright bodied Volvo B10BLEs, 577, starting out for Skipton.

Keighley & District 644 Another of the ex Harrogate & District Volvo B6-50s is 644, this one having a nice shiny grille.

Keighley & District 223 Another B6 with Alexander bodywork is 223, one of three from 1994 numbered in a different series to the ex Harrogate ones. Behind this bus can be seen part of a Burnley and Pendle bus.

Burnley & Pendle 1069 And here it is. Burnley & Pendle 1069 is a Wright bodied Volvo B10BLE on what is known as the Mainline through Colne, Nelson & Burnley to points west. Keighley is the furthest east for regular services on this route.

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text and photos by Caroline Mathews. Page last amended 7th February 2004