Bradford by the Sea - Part One

Bradford by the Sea - Part One

A brief history of Morecambe and Heysham Corporation Transport.

When I was nobbut a very young lad, we used to go on holiday to Morecambe or Bridlington, as did most Bradfordians.
My memories of such holidays in Morecambe go back to the late war years, when my Dad was still in the Army, and the very early post war years with both parents, up to about 1947, when I was then only 8 years old.

Included amongst my earliest memories are visions of green double deck buses running up and down the Promenade, and it is these memories, coupled with the homespun variety of “Regen” trolleybuses, which cemented my life long affliction of bus interests!

Morecambe was, in those days, a thriving resort, with all the attractions one would expect from such a place, and it was always extremely busy, with folks from all over the North and Scotland, depending on which towns were on holiday at the time. It had two piers, both now sadly gone, and was an altogether great and exciting place to be.

My bus memories of this time were all of beautiful green AEC “Regents”. I knew they were AECs because my Dad told me, and I could recognise at that early age, the Weymann bodywork which was common to both Morecambe and Bradford buses, and the fact that the Park Royal bodies were something we did not have. I have tried, in recent years, to put together the details of this wonderful fleet, and have only recently succeeded, courtesy of a fleet list obtained via this website from Dave Towers, and the purpose of this article is to share (hopefully), the pleasure that I have derived from this investigation amongst fellow Bradfordians, who must have enjoyed such holidays. Perhaps the majority of readers will have enjoyed them at a later time than this old timer, but Morecambe kept its transport fascination for me right up to the 1974 local government reorganisation, when my story concludes. The resort has seen a sad decline since that time.

John Whitaker

Click here to read Bradford by the Sea Part Two

Well I remember the old green buses in Morecambe. As money in the sixties was tight and my Grandma lived in a flat at Morecambe guess where our holidays were spent. As a lad of 10 with a interest in buses I spent many a happy time sat near Central Pier watching buses go back and forth. Can anyone remember all the destinations?. I have struggled but managed the following. BATTERY. HEYSHAM VILLAGE FOR HEYSHAM HEAD. HIGHER HEYSHAM/HARBOUR GATES. HAPPY MOUNT PARK. EUSTON ROAD. I do recall there was a destination which had "Ocean Edge", but I cannot remember the other part. Happy days when summers seemed to last forever.

Terry Malloy

I have a comment to add to the above-mentioned article. I lived in Bingley as a child from 1946 to 1955, and remember taking day trips by train to Morecambe. I much preferred Blackpool or Scarborough, but Morecambe was easier to reach by rail. Regarding bus destinations, one that sticks in my mind was "Bare". Bare is a mile or so up the coast from central Morecambe, and has its own railway station.

Martin S


Ocean Edge was a caravan park in the Heysham area.
One lengthy route jointly operated with Ribble was the one to Carnforth railway station; certainly for a period this was linked with the Overton route via central Morecambe and I believe took over an hour end to end.
Easterly, the popular village of Torrishome was the furthermost point served. Go about another half mile inland and you would come to the Cross Hill terminus of Lancaster's route 4. The two municipalities never had a joint route between Lancaster and Morecambe; that was left to Ribble. Even when the larger undertaking was created in 1974, there STILL wasn't a through route, a strange state of affairs. This changed in 1979 when an Agency agreement came into place.
I lived in Lancaster full-time until 1969 when I left to come to Leeds to study. However, I still made regular visits back until 1974 (and beyond). Why I mention this, is that in 1966 a series of services was started, numbered I believe U1, U2 and U3 to mark the opening of the new University and to provide direct links from the Uni to Morecambe and Heysham. I believe the services were described as jointly operated between LCT, M&H and Ribble, but I wonder if in operating terms Ribble did all the journeys? I ask because from personal memory I can NEVER recall seeing a green Morecambe bus in Lancaster or vice versa. Maybe someone else familiar with the area could comment on this!

Dave Towers

When I was a lad my grandparents and I made an annual trip to the Illuminations by a Yorkshire Woollen District excursion from Dewsbury. This was on a Harrington bodied Reliance but one year I think it may have been a Commer/Beadle. The refreshment stop was always at Ye Old Naked Man Cafe in Settle [still there]. My grandad always made the joke that he lived at Bare.

Philip Carlton

07/10/12 - 08:40

In Morecambe & Heysham Corporation days, the joint service (with Ribble) to Carnforth operated between Morecambe (Town Hall) and Carnforth (Haws Hill, i.e. outside the railway station). Morecambe town hall was located probably a quarter of a mile or so outside the town centre - no doubt the fact that it was jointly operated precluded its extension to a more logical central terminus. Co-operation between Ribble and Morecambe & Heysham was apt to be nil.
The service to Overton was also jointly operated, although the section of joint working was likely to have been solely the section between Overton and Morecambe (Euston Road). Ribble operated the through journeys from Lancaster (from its Lancaster depot) - four journeys per day, I think (reduced to three c1969), and Morecambe & Heysham operated the rest. Over the years these latter commenced at various points - for many years they started at White Lund Corner, running via Westgate/Regent Road to the promenade before heading towards Overton, i.e. missing the centre of town.
Both the above arrangements continued after the operations of the erstwhile Lancaster City Transport and Morecambe & Heysham Corporation Transport Department merged under Lancaster City Council in 1974. It was only with the coming of the agency agreement in the late seventies that buses from Carnforth ran through to Overton and vice versa. This gave passengers from the Carnforth direction a service into Morecambe town centre for the first time. The through journeys to Lancaster ceased, and the new service was worked entirely by Lancaster City Council. The end to end time was fractionally under an hour - the round trip time being two hours.
As for the University services U1, U2, and U3, these were operated jointly by the three local operators from day one, although Ribble obviously had the largest share. The memory is beginning to fail now, but the proportions may have been Ribble 55%, Lancaster 22.5%, Morecambe & Heysham 22.5%. M & H had one bus on daily from start of service until early afternoon, then Lancaster effectively assumed the same timings. Ribble had a bus on all day, and also ran any extras. After 1974 the erstwhile Lancaster/M & H runnings were operated solely from the Morecambe depot.
On a couple of occasions in the early 1970s Lancaster found themselves short of vehicles and arranged to hire (usually two) buses from Morecambe & Heysham. In the afternoon one of these was invariably used to operate Lancaster's share of the University service, so it didn't look in any way out of place.
Another little point of interest is that Ribble ran its all-day bus one-person-operated from about 1969 (the extras may have continued with a crew for a year or two after that) whereas the corporation duties only became one-person-operated after the merger in 1974 - and possibly not immediately, even then.

David Call



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