National Express West Midlands routes 66 & 66A

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66
Overview
Operator National Express West Midlands
Route
Start Birmingham Priory Queensway
Via Nechells, Star City and Erdington
End Kingstanding
66A
Overview
Operator National Express West Midlands
Vehicle Mercedes-Benz O405
Route
Start Erdington
Via Boldmere
End Sutton Coldfield


Route History[edit]

These routes are the successors of trolleybus route 7, which ran from the city centre to Nechells from 1922–1940 and the motorbus route 43 which replaced it in 1940. The city centre to Ladywood portion of the route was served by former Birmingham City Transport route 95.[1][2][3]

North of the Nechells terminus of the former 43, the route was extended across Cuckoo Bridge, spanning the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal and then followed parts of the former BCT route 64 to Erdington and former Midland Red routes S63 and 107 from Erdington to Sutton via Boldmere.[4] This move was a result of the route development possibilities opened up by the creation of the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive in 1969, whereby the Executive took over all of the municipal bus operators and Midland Red services in the West Midlands county and was able to integrate and combine the routes of the previous separate operators.[5] The short section of road between the 43 terminus over Cuckoo Bridge to Lichfield Road had not previously been used by a regular bus service.

Following service revisions on 28 March 2010 this route ceased to be a cross-city service. The section between City Centre and Five Ways / Ladywood is now covered by a revised service 80 running City Centre - West Bromwich via Five Ways, Ladywood, Cape Hill and Smethwick.

The route of the 66 became City - Erdington with a frequency of every 15 mins Mon - Sat and 66A City - Sutton Coldfield every hour evenings and Sundays and a 66E City - Star City on the alternate hour during evenings.

On 9 June 2013, the route of the 66 was changed north of Erdington to run via New Oscott to Kingstanding Circle. In addition, Gravelly Industrial Park is served by daytime Monday to Friday journeys.[6] On Sundays, Route 66 runs between the city centre and Erdington only.

Route 66A now runs from Erdington to Sutton Coldfield via Boldmere, replacing the 66 on this part of the route.[7]Evening journeys on the 66A are extended from Erdington to Star City and are operated by the Blue Diamond subsidiary of Diamond Bus.[8]

Vehicles[edit]

The route was operated by twelve two-step entrance single decks, E F G and H registration plate 'Leyland DAF Lynx's' Around 2000 the 'Lynx's', were gradually phased out and National Express West Midlands invested in low-floored single decks, using around eighteen on the route at one stage.

In the later years route 66 was simplified and now used just ten low-floor Mercedes-Benz O405 single decks.

Current Route Summary[edit]

Service 66
Service 66A

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mayou, A., Barker, T. and Stanford, J. Birmingham Corporation Trams and Trolleybuses. Glossop: The Transport Publishing Company, 1982
  2. ^ Keeley, M., Russell, M. and Gray, P. Birmingham City Transport. Glossop: The Transport Publishing Company, 1977
  3. ^ M. Keeley, Birmingham Buses Route by Route 1925-1975. Ian Allan, 2012
  4. ^ Midland Red Timetable, Birmingham Area, 1 October 1966.
  5. ^ M. Keeley, West Midlands - A History of West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive. Capital Transport Publishing, 1988
  6. ^ 66 and 66A Bus Timetable leaflet, dated 9June 2013
  7. ^ A Fresh Way Forward - Bus changes in North Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield: Changes from 9 June 2013. Network West Midlands leaflet.
  8. ^ Network West Midlands 66 and 66A Bus Timetable from 27 October 2013.