Blackburn Transport

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Blackburn Transport was a British bus company that operated bus services within the Borough of Blackburn and Darwen and surrounding areas in Lancashire.

An East Lancs Myllennium Lolyne which was run by Blackburn Transport.
Slogan "Working in Lancashire for the people of Blackburn with Darwen"
Founded 1881
Headquarters Intack,Whitebirk Road Blackburn, Lancashire,  United Kingdom
Service area Lancashire
Service type Bus services
Destinations Blackburn, Accrington, Darwen and surrounding areas.
Fleet Approx 120 buses.
An Optare MetroRider previously run by Blackburn Transport.


Blackburn Transport's roots go back to 1881, when Blackburn's first steam trams were put into operation by the Blackburn and Over Darwen Tramways Company. From 1898, the routes were operated by Blackburn and Darwen councils.[1] From 1899, work began on converting the network to electric trams. The last route to be electrified was completed on December 4, 1903. Blackburn's fleet consisted of 61 trams, 48 double-deck and 13 single deck.

Buses started being introduced in 1929, when six routes were put into operation. 12 vehicles (6 Leyland Tigers and 6 Leyland Titans) were put into service on these routes. Trams and buses operated together for the next 20 years.

The first tramway route was abandoned in favour of buses in 1935, although further plans to put more tramway routes out of action were put on hold due to the interruption of World War II, during which time, tramway maintenance deteriorated markedly.

The tram system finally closed in September 1949. Tram number 74 made its final journey, from the Boulevard bus and tram station, to the Intack Depot, amongst crowds of people bidding their final farewells.

Blackburn Corporation bought 83 new buses to replace the defunct trams, and, as a result, it was a further 7 years before any more new buses were required.

From 1974, due to a re-organisation within the local government, the company became known as 'Borough of Blackburn Transport'. The livery changed from being predominantly green to green at the bottom, then white and also a red roof, recalling the predominant colour of neighbouring Darwen Transport, which Blackburn had absorbed. As a result, they were given the nickname of 'Italian flag'. Twelve Leyland Atlanteans were the first vehicles to receive this new livery, a model of bus that would become a predominant feature of the fleet. In 1983, the livery changed again. The 'traditional all-green livery' style was brought back.

1986 saw the deregulation of public transport in the UK, and, as a result, it became a limited company with the name 'Blackburn Borough Transport', but still owned by the council. It was more commonly known as 'Blackburn Transport', the name that was retained until their demise in 2006. The livery underwent yet another change, with the predominantly green scheme being split by white stripes around the windows. Also in this year, the company began operating holiday trips under 'Blackburn Coachlines'.

There was another livery change in 1990. The livery was switched to all cream-coloured, with some dark-green bands. At this time, the fleet was beginning to show its age, with the major part of the company's vehicles still being made up of Leyland Atlanteans, although some of the older buses had been replaced by 26 new MCW Metroriders in the late 1980s. Second-hand buses and some new models were bought consistently from 1999, although intake slowed again after 2005 due to falling profits.

In 2002, the 'MetroNetwork' was introduced. This offered passengers a simpler view of the services network, known as 'tracks', and the fare structure was also amended, with the introduction of many fare-saving schemes. Some buses were given overall advertising to promote these features.

2003 saw many changes within the company. 'Blackburn Coachlines' was abandoned following a slump in passenger travel on the service following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Also, the new 'Schools +' services were introduced. These buses, mainly ECW Leyland Olympians were given a predominantly yellow livery, but with green relief. They were in full operation by August 2004.

In 2005, the company's website was launched (see external links below) which offered customers up-to-date information on timetables, fares and news and a section was also included for enthusiasts.

The first introduction of route-branded vehicles came in 2006, with the renaming of the old outer-circle service the 'OC'. Two double-decker buses were given a new orange, purple and yellow livery, and in a similar fashion to what Lancashire United have done, created a new, separate website for the service. That year also brought news of falling profits, and the resulting take-over by fellow Blackburn bus operator Lancashire United.


On 16 August 2006, the council announced that after 125 years of municipal ownership, Blackburn Transport would pass to Transdev's Blazefield Group subsidiary which, following a number of delays, finally took place on 22 January 2007. Unlike the earlier Yellow Buses deal, the Blackburn & Darwen Council did not retain a stake in the company. Blackburn Transport will increasingly merge with Transdev neighbour Lancashire United, now under a joint managing director. Fares and tickets became inter-available upon the take-over. Transdev will retain Blackburn Transport's name and livery, for the time being.

On 30 April 2007 the Office of Fair Trading approved the take-over of Blackburn Transport by Lancashire United. The details of the merger had been asked to be looked into by an unnamed competitor, but the OFT have ruled that the merger is to their satisfaction and that it will not be referred to the Competition Commission (the old Monopolies & Mergers Commission).


Local/Metro Network[edit]

Routes listed here before the takeover are now operated by Lancashire United.

Track 1 Darwen Cemetery - Darwen - Blackburn - Accrington
Track 2 Blackburn - Wilpshire Warrenside Close
Track 4 Blackburn - Higher Croft circular
Track 5a Blackburn Outer Circle Anti-Clockwise
Track 5c Blackburn Outer Circle Clockwise
Track 8a, 8b, 8c, 8d Blackburn - Shadsworth circulars
Track 10 Blackburn - Witton Wensley Fold
Track 10a Blackburn - Lammack - Beardwood - Revidge - Wensley Fold circular (evenings and Sundays)
Track 10C Blackburn - Wensley Fold - Revidge - Beardwood - Lammack circular (evenings and Sundays)
Track 11 Blackburn - Witton Gorse Road
Track 12 Blackburn - Lammack - Revidge
Track 13 Blackburn - Revidge - Mellor - Mellor Brook/Osbaldeston
Track 14 Blackburn - Little Harwood - Sunnybower
Track 15 Blackburn - Royal Blackburn Hospital - Chapels - Darwen, 15A and 15C to Hoddlesden/Spring Vale (evenings)
Track 16 Blackburn - Royal Blackburn Hospital - Darwen - Hoddlesden or Spring Vale
Track 18 Blackburn - Mill Hill - Green Lane - Feniscowles
Track 19 Blackburn - Ewood - Leyburn Road - Feniscowles
Track 21 Openshaw Drive - Blackburn - Mill Hill
Track 22A Blackburn - Mill Hill - Green Lane - Leybun Road circular
Track 22C Blackburn - Mill Hill - Leyburn Road - Green Lane circular
Track 22 Blackburn - Mill Hill - Green Lane circular

Contract services[edit]

Blackburn Transport operated several council and school contracts around Blackburn, Darwen and surrounding areas. The company also operated school contracts in the Blackpool and Fylde area.

39 Blackburn - Buncer Lane - Pleasington cemetery
314 Darwen - Blackburn - East Lancashire Coachbuilders

Football bus[edit]

On match days when the Blackburn Rovers football team were playing a special bus service was provided for those visiting the match at Ewood Park.

  • A Accrington - Blackburn - Ewood Park
  • C Darwen Cemetery - Darwen - Ewood Park


Blackburn Transport owned a mixed fleet of over 95 low-floor and step-entrance single and double deck buses with four of them stationed at Blackpool for school contract work, this fleet is now inherited and operated by Lancashire United.

Type Body Number
Single deck vehicles
Dennis Dart Plaxton/Transbus MPD 16
Optare MetroRider Optare 14
Volvo B6R East Lancs EL2000 4
Volvo B10BLE Wright Renown 12
Double deck vehicles
Leyland Olympian Leyland 5
Leyland Olympian ROE 1
Leyland Olympian E.C.W 25
Volvo Olympian Northern Counties 3
Dennis Trident 2 East Lancs Myllennium Lolyne 5

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tramway History: | Chapter 1:". Retrieved 2010-01-31. [dead link]

External links[edit]