top of page

A look back over Black Prince action during 2021...

Hello, thank you for reading the Blog!...


Whilst I'm grounded under the control of Covid-19 I thought it a great time to reflect on Black Prince bus action from 2021, a year which seems to have passed us by as quickly as 2020!...


January 01/01/21 was a cold and icy day to start with, but 441 was out on service providing the FREE bus link between the White Rose Centre and Morley, which was very well patronised considering the continuing Covid "new world" situation...


The service was also really well supported by the WRC, Metro and volunteer staff - Metro were kind enough to go to such lengths as updating the realtime travel displays to show Black Prince buses as operating during the day - Brilliant!...

During February, I took a trip across to meet Cyril Kenzie of Kenzie's Coaches in Shepreth. Cyril had been the proud owner for several years of former Black Prince 948, B948ASU which had been subject to a full rebuild after accident damage.


Cyril sadly died late 2021 and 948 was sold on to a firm in Wales, I'd love to see some recent photos of the bus and hope it has gone to a good home. It was a pleasure to meet Cyril, this legend of the coach world a very sad loss...


April 12/13 saw some action with attention needed to 577, Dave worked on the bus whilst 441 and 814 were shunted out of the way to release 577 for the work. The day after, I headed off to Connexionsbuses on road test with 577, which was given a wash and brush up at the depot in Tockwith.


The opportunity was taken to pose the Black Prince bus with some ex Midland Classic buses decorated very tastefully in red and yellow - a definite case of what might have been, with this type probably a natural successor to Brian's older Scania fleet?...

April 2021 saw Leyland PD2 recovery vehicle CCK368 (368) moved from the garage to another location for rebuilding work to commence on the framework of the vehicle.


This rebuild has been ongoing for several months and I shall post a new blog detailing the works more toward the end of the project... The restoration works are in an advanced stage now (Jan 22) so I hope to see this vehicle return to the road shortly.

After a period idle, 441 and 577 were given a leg stretch in June, with a clean and tidy-up prior to the Dewsbury Bus Museum running event over at Heath Common, Wakefield...


577 was used as a static exhibit at Heath Common, with our Black Prince sales stall and tombola going down a treat with the visitors.


441 was entrusted with the free bus service from Pontefract to Wakefield and Heath Common and operated some additional free bus services during the day, with Covid capacity loads noted on the service toward Wakefield. We all had a great time manning the stall or working on the buses and both buses performed superbly during this event with people pleased to see them after the Covid break!...


July saw Volvo Ailsa 814 taken for a ride over to Connexionsbuses for a wash via Stringers Pontefract Motorways, where the Ailsa was fuelled... The opportunity was taken for a pose up at both sites, with the smart coach fleet of Stringers on display in the yard and Craig's former Kenzie's Volvo recently returned from refurbishment proudly shown to us at Tockwith.


During August, Scania F380JTV (380) was sold for scrap by Liddell of Auchinleck and as the bus was in a right old state it ended up moving by recovery vehicle to new owners at the Tyneside Heritage Vehicles organisation in the north east.


380 was to be dismantled and the recovered parts used in some way to keep another former Black Prince bus, JFT413X (RND882X) in traffic, the engine from 380 possibly transplanted into our old friend 882. Though it is a great shame 380 could not be saved for preservation, (last of a kind I believe?) if anything it is great to know parts from the bus live on in 882!


Thanks to Lee at Tyneside HV for the information and the photographs of 380 just prior to breaking up... As you can see from the cab photo, 380 was really beyond restoration for anyone other than a millionaire, the floors rotten due to water damage having been parked in a field for several years and various bits missing...


More information about the organisation here... https://tynesideheritagevehicles.co.uk/


September 24/5/6 was a busy time in Morley, with the Arts Festival in full swing. A Black Prince bus was requested to be the control point for the weekend of events, so 441 was duly decorated and parked in Morley town centre for the weekend, complete with sound system and balloons! 441 of course attracted much attention and prompted many happy memories for Morley folk, recalling holidays with Brian and Sheila many years ago!...

Around the same time as the Arts Festival it was brought to my attention that Arriva (Yorkshire Woollen) were looking at withdrawal from the 205 service due to major staff shortages and lack of patronage.


The 205 is a long standing and well known route in the area, previously serviced by Black Prince buses of old. I was interested in developments and as a result of this news started to plan for a possible finale running day with some classic bus involvement, starting with a run on the 205 between Morley and Pudsey on the last day of the Arts Festival to create a bit of inspiration around the idea!.


Several former Black Prince staff and friends jumped on for the ride to Pudsey where we had fish and chips. 441 was posed on Roker lane on the 205 service.

As news became clearer about the 205 cancellation, I decided to run Black Prince buses between Arriva buses on the Morley to Pudsey section of the route, with two journeys in the day extending to Dewsbury Bus Station. A timetable was drawn up and vehicles planned accordingly.


The final day of operation was to be 23/10/21 and the running day was penned as a farewell event, but the eleventh hour saw a last minute attempt by Metro to salvage the service with the Bradford operator TLC Travel able to pull a revised service together at short notice, thus ensuring continuation of the 205 from the following Monday 25/10/21!...


The event therefore became "All Change" on the 205. Black Prince buses ran alongside Arriva Yorkshire for the day, TLC came along to Pudsey to distribute leaflets and make themselves known to the travelling public... a TLC minibus duplicated the Ailsa for a round trip to Dewsbury acting as a route learning special for the new drivers!.


The day went really well with some good numbers carried on all the buses. Metro were very accommodating as always and many thanks were due to the volunteers who staffed the buses and the bus station in Pudsey.


The photographs show Arriva Yorkshire 1057 operating the 205 on Roker Lane, 814/441 prepared for service after a full day of cleaning and prepping by my dad and myself, 814/91043 en route to Dewsbury occupying the 205 stand at Morley Town Hall and 441/814/91043 posed outside Morley Leisure Centre prior to the final run of the day which ended with fish and chips in Pudsey.


The Black Prince buses ran a final journey in service from Pudsey to Morley in the evening, drawing the curtain on many many years of Yorkshire Woollen operation on this route.


Wish the best of luck to TLC with the new operation!




After the excitement of the 205 running day had settled it was time to start thinking about the seasonal bus services...


It was decided to operate the Christmas Day X51 to a much reduced timetable, in light of ongoing and once again more severe Covid-19 safety restrictions of the time. The X51 was scheduled to run 5 hours on Christmas Day, extending to the hospital on the first and last trips of the day offering potential hospital visitors plenty of time to see sick relatives.


The service was a success once again, carrying 64 passengers during the course of the shift, including very special guests all the way from Singapore, who had travelled to Leeds specifically to catch a ride on a Mercedes-Benz 0405!


Many thanks extended to Driver Woodward for sacrificing his Christmas (alongside myself) to provide this free bus service for the people of Morley.


The photographs show 441 standing at Morley Town Hall, the guys from Singapore (Cheers Calvin and Maxson!) enjoying the 0405, Dave Crowther and Jim Woodward having a chat at the terminus and 441 awaiting departure time at Jimmy's...






Black Prince year 2021 was drawn to a close on a misty Boxing Day night, with 441 posed for a few nostalgic photos around Morley, before returning to storage in readiness for New Year's Day 2022!...


Another topsy turvy year for everyone, I'm am pleased to see just how much we managed to achieve with Black Prince buses in the face of the uncertain times encountered - we can only hope for more normality in 2022!








196 views
Featured Posts