Fylde Atlantean 44 (NJI5504) - 74 (A74LHG)

Atlantean 74 when new in 1984 displaying the revised blue and white livery, replacing the mustard yellow band shown on sister 88 alongside (Camlyn)

In late 1983 Fylde Borough Transport took delivery of its penultimate Northern Counties bodied Leyland Atlantean the 20th out of 21 Atlanteans purchased by Fylde or its predecessor Lytham St. Annes. It replaced 75/76 of the first batch from 1970. Numbered 74 (A74LHG) it entered service in early January 1984. The final five Atlanteans were long wheelbase 33ft examples with 76 high backed 'dual purpose' seats. It was the first bus delivered in the revised blue and white livery, the mustard band had been dropped in July 1983.


74 was the first Fylde bus to receive a commercial all-over advert - various others had gained schemes for bus tickets, or Fylde tourism. It is seen here on 30 August 1986 at Manchester Square heading onto the Promenade towards the end of an 11A journey from Lytham Saltcotes Road to Blackpool Bus Station (Brian Turner)

74 was regularly used on the trunk 11/11A from Blackpool to Lytham and remained so deployed after deregulation. In July 1986 it had received Fylde's first commercial all-over advert. Several others prior to this had focused on local tourism or transport offers, but 74 carried a scheme for Louis Tussauds Waxworks on a salmon pink and white base with only the roof in traditional Fylde blue.
This attractive two tone blue livery was adopted from 1990 (PT collection)
In June 1989 it gained the new two tone blue livery following a repaint at GM Buses. During late 1990 it was decided to refurbish the two newest Atlanteans 74 and 75 (of October 1984) for use by the Seagull Coaches division. 74 was re-registered NJI5504 in December then taken out of service at the end of the month. It was sent to Northern Counties for a refurbishment, with new interior trim, retrimmed seats, new doors and a modified upper deck windscreens.
74 became 24 in 1991 and carried this simplifed two tone blue livery as part of the Seagull Coaches fleet. With the addition of a band at roof level this later became the bus livery (PT collection)

It returned in March in a mainly light blue livery with dark blue skirt and was renumbered 24 in the Seagull Coach series. It entered service in May. A further renumbering took place in March 1992 as 44. In May 1993 it was repainted in the same livery, albeit with a dark blue band at roof level, as carried by the bus fleet. Revised Seagull fleetnames were applied. 

Blackpool Transport bought Fylde in May 1994 but the business continued as a separate unit until it was absorbed into the main fleet in July 1996. 44 became BTS 444 and began to be used on local services again from September 1996 having spent six years in the coach unit. It was repainted into BTS green and cream in November 1996 and resume regular service on the 11/11A. Squires Gate Depot was closed in April 1999 and all buses moved to Rigby Road, prior to this 444 moved in February 1999 - its last day at Squires Gate was on 6th working on the 11/11A and started its new career on the 14/14A (St. Annes to Fleetwood) on the 8th. 
444 complete with home made replacement dash on Promenade service 1 in 2002 in Blackpool Transport colours (Alan Robson)

March 2000 saw a front end repair with a flat dash panel after a road accident. 444 was placed in store in November 2000 following a reduced service requirement but was reinstated in February 2001. The ex Fylde Atlanteans were now mainly used on schools and summer services. It was withdrawn on 28 May 2004 with the remaining ex Fylde Atlanteans.
Newly preserved in 2015, 444 was initially stored in Bolton - in the somewhat stark black livery applied by Irlam Royalettes (Paul Turner)

After a period in store, 444 was sold at the beginning of July to Lower Kersall Collonades Dance Troupe, passing onto Irlam Royalettes a few years later. Initially painted blue, it later became all-over black. In July 2015 the bus passed into preservation. It is currently stored awaiting restoration