Ribble 100 celebrated in style
Two highly popular events staged in Morecambe last weekend delivered a fitting commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the formation of Ribble Motor Company. Stuart Jones attended both.
At its peak, Ribble Motor Conmpany ran 1,300 buses and coaches, employed 5,500 staff and carried 216m passengers annually (1956). The first, held on the Saturday, was an open day at the White Lund depot of Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire which attracted an impressive attendance from enthusiasts and locals alike. The second celebration followed on the Sunday and was centered on the Morecambe FC’s Globe Arena and its environs. This was organised by the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust which directly and through its members has a considerable collection of former Ribble buses and coaches. Opened by the Mayor of Lancaster, who then took a tour of Morecambe on two preserved coaches, the day continued with the launch of a fabulous new book on Ribble written by former B&CB columnist, Roger Davies and designed by Ray Stenning of Best Impressions. The launch, and also the announcement of a new Ribble 100 beer by the local Crankshaft Brewery was followed by absorbing talks by Roger, who spoke fondly of ‘the Ribble family’, Douglas Bailey MBE who sang Happy Birthday to the business and Brian King, one-time Traffic Manager of Ribble Motor Services. Brian’s talk included reminiscences about many key individuals in the company’s history as well as some of its depots, many of which were designed in house.
At White Lund, which has PVR of 82 and an allocation of over 90 buses, the day offered rides on a considerable variety of vehicles, including many from the RVPT that were also to be seen the following day, along with buses from other Stagecoach depots, and various other interesting types. Local visitors enjoyed have selfies taken in front of buses with displays altered to show their names. The stars of the day (apart from the Ribble old-timers) were three of the five buses that have been painted into special commemorative liveries as part of the Ribble 100 celebrations that are continuing through the year. Stagecoach C&NL has a 2012 Enviro 400 in the final Ribble poppy red, grey and yellow colours from the deregulation era, Stagecoach South Lancashire & Cheshire has another E400 adorned with the post-regulation Timesaver scheme, while Arriva also has an E400 but in the well known poppy red and white stripe version.
On the Sunday, these three were joined in a line up on Morecambe seafront that included the other two commemorative buses, an Arriva North West VDL SB200 Wright in cherry and cream and a Blackburn based Transdev Volvo Wright Gemini in a specially designed scheme that reflects how Ribble buses might have looked if they had continued to evolve. A considerable number of other buses also participated with the main display area at Globe Arena, where there were also enthusiast stands under cover. Very well patronised services were run between the football ground and Heysham Village, Morecambe, Happy Mount Park, Bare and Carnforth.
Both events were extremely well organised and run, though such was the turn out on Sunday afternoon that it was difficult to find enough buses to meet the demand.
- Click on the images above to see a gallery of some of the sights from the events