The streets of Morley saw the once familiar red and yellow Black Prince colours return on Christmas day, with our special X51 FREE bus service operating for the fourth year in succession.
I write below a report about our Christmas Day, I hope you enjoy the photos!.
This year, the service was entrusted for the first time to Mercedes-Benz, fleet number 441, "Natasha", the bus performing faultlessly for the day.
441 is shown standing at Morley Tingley Mills, ready to form the 1015 departure to Leeds, which conveyed staff to the local old folks home.
When the bus approached the former Black Prince depot on Fountain Street, former employee Dave Hirst was spotted at the bus stop, along with Morley Town Councillor Noel Bullock and family!.
441 duly collected the loyal Christmas passengers and proceeded to the Town hall, where several Black Prince fans were waiting to come for a ride.
Fantastic stories and memories of the company were shared, with former X49/X51 regular passenger Alan Clarke providing his wonderful reminders of the route, including Driver Dave Brown's famous diversions which he used to keep the service running to time in the busy peak hours!.
It just goes to show how much Brians buses are missed in the Morley area!.
Another ex Black Prince employee appeared as we passed along Elland Road, with Driver Darren Martin and his little dog Milo joining us for a round trip on the X51, we managed to get a snap of camera shy Milo for the blog!
The 1220 departure from Morley was taken over by David Crowther, who was delighted to drive his favourite Mercedes in service for a trip, the beaming smile says it all, but where's your tie, driver... haha
The day settled down to a steady flow of passengers between Morley, Leeds and the hospitals, with mince pies and chocolates offered to all passengers and Christmas crackers in plentiful supply!.
441 is pictured below waiting at Vicar Lane, bus stop M7, a scene which has been photographed numerous times over the years.
It is a pleasure to be able to recreate a Black Prince bus departure, here at the famous spot under the Leeds City Markets sign in 2018/9!.
Around other parts of the route, the opportunity was taken to gather some more festive shots of 441, with the added bonus of a rather deserted Leeds loop road!.
441 is seen here posed outside The Black Prince and City House, with the very nice touch of a scrolling "Merry Christmas 2018" message displayed across the side of the newly refurbished tower block.
The final X51 journey of the day, saw 441 parked outside the Queens Hotel, to provide several boxes of mince pies and chocolates to the homeless persons charity who were doing a wonderful job of distributing food and hot drinks to the homeless folk of Leeds on Christmas Day.
The organisation provide the superb service to the homeless people of Leeds every Tuesday, in Leeds City Square-donations welcome!.
We rounded off Christmas Day with a visit to Morley's most famous bus driver, Dave Brown, who drove the X49/X51 service for several years, building great loyalty with his passengers and ensuring that the express bus between Leeds and Morley was one of the most successful routes in the Black Prince timetable!.
Here we see Dave wearing his trademark yellow scarf, which enabled the regular passengers to spot him a mile off and make a dart for his bus knowing they'd be home on time!.
Christmas Day 2018 saw the X51 carry 96 passengers between Morley, Leeds and the hospitals. The bus service was provided by Bradley McMullan, with the kind assistance and advice of :-
The Leeds Railway Staff Association
Pete Flint Murray LTD Surveyor
Classic Connections Bradford
Belle Fleur Flowers Tingley
...& several other individuals who helped to bring it all together, Thank You!.