Blackpool Volvo Olympian 374 M374SCK


374 is the first of six Northern Counties 'Palatine 2' bodied Volvo Olympians purchased by Blackpool Transport in November 1994. These were the first double deckers since 1989, and before that the last Atlanteans of 1984. Earlier in 1994 Blackpool Transport had purchased Fylde Transport and these new buses allowed some of the more venerable Atlanteans to be retired.

These were the only Northern Counties bodies purchased new by Blackpool and the only Volvos, until the nine B7RLEs arrived in 2010. They were also the only buses new in the cream with green skirt and roof band livery. All six entered service on 14 November and initially operated on the 6 service, but soon moved onto the 22/22A (Cleveleys to Lytham). Evening journeys tended to be on the 14/14A (St. Annes to Fleetwood).
374 in the attractive Line 11 colours - a worthy successor to Fylde's blues. (Brian Turner)
In April 2001 Blackpool Transport implemented its "Metro Coastline" network with the 22/22A swept away into a revised Line 11 Cleveleys to Lytham. The Volvos were allocated to Line 14 (St. Annes to Fleetwood) alongside Atlanteans. New Dennis Trident double deckers arrived to cover 9 of the 16 Line 14 workings in May 2002. In the run up, the Olympians were moved onto the 11.

374 was again the first, making its debut on 23 January freshly repainted in turquoise and yellow Line 11 colours. Further new Tridents and cascaded Deltas took-over the Olympian workings. In April 2005 374 gained black and yellow pool livery.
374 in Metro Pool livery operating service 20 at Stanley Park in 2007 (Brian Turner)
Sisters 375-379 all received the new black and yellow fleet livery in 2011 and received seat belts for use on Swimming Baths duties for primary schools, as a result they rarely strayed onto local service work. 374 soldiered on, by contrast frequently appearing on routes such as the 7, 9 and 11. It gained the new livery
in October 2012. In May 2014 it received a set of belt fitted seats from 379 which had failed and was withdrawn. 
374 arrives back at Rigby Road Depot after its farewell run on service 1 (Paul Turner)

The last step entrance double deckers were to be replaced by the first of a new generation, the Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 City. Final school duties were Friday 15 July. It was decided to hold a farewell event, on Saturday 23 July with 374, 375 and 377 all operating on service 1 (Fleetwood Freeport to Starr Gate). 374's day started with an empty run to Fleetwood to work the 0800 from Freeport then worked 0920, 1200, 1440 and 1730 from Starr Gate; 1040, 1320 and 1600 from Freeport finishing with the 1845 Fleetwood Ferry to Starr Gate then empty to depot.

November 11th 2016 saw 374 depart for preservation, initially in Keighley but now in East Lancashire. It retains BTS black and yellow.