His­toric vis­i­tor go­ing top­less

Southport Visiter - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ jamie.lopez@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @jamie_lopez1

A70-YEAR-OLD bus is re­turn­ing to Southport af­ter a ma­jor restora­tion project.

Fol­low­ing a 10-year project, a Ley­land Ti­tan PD2/3 bus, which was built in 1947 and used by the Southport Cor­po­ra­tion Trans­port, will tour the town this week­end be­fore go­ing on dis­play in the North West Mu­seum of Road Trans­port in St He­lens.

The bus, orig­i­nally known as the num­ber 87, has been fully re­stored, in­clud­ing a new up­per deck floor, body side pan­els, tyres and a re­paint in the tra­di­tional red and cream colours seen in Southport all those years ago.

The Ti­tan was orig­i­nally built with 56 seats, which later proved not to be enough to cope with the huge de­mand of tourists re­turn­ing to the town af­ter years of wartime aus­ter­ity.

In the 1950s, it was one of four con­verted into open top buses by SCT and used for 10 years to pro­vide tours and trips to the beaches.

But when re­place­ments came in which could have the roof re­moved or reat­tached in a mat­ter of min­utes, the 1947 mod­els were given to the Mersey­side Pas­sen­ger Trans­port Ex­ec­u­tive and later taken for preser­va­tion at the St He­lens mu­seum.

The bus was put back into op­er­a­tion and was even used by the St He­lens Rugby League team to cel- ebrate cup wins around the town.

It stopped be­ing used in 2006 and has since un­der­gone a ma­jor re­fur­bish­ment, thanks to vol­un­teers in­clud­ing Southport-born Nor­man John­stone.

It will now re­turn to the town for the first time in more than 30 years on Sun­day and will tour the old routes be­fore re­turn­ing for per­ma­nent dis­play in the mu­seum.

The tour will start at Can­ning Road, where it un­der­went its orig­i­nal con­ver­sion, be­fore trav­el­ling on the old No 8 bus route through the town cen­tre to Birk­dale.

It will then com­plete an­other for­mer route tak­ing it back through the cen­tre and into Crossens, be­fore re­turn­ing to park by the pier, where it will re­main for a cou­ple of hours for peo­ple to take pic­tures.

The 70-yearold Ley­land Ti­tan out­side the work­shop, above, and at work in its orig­i­nal Southport Cor­po­ra­tion Trans­port liv­ery

A Ti­tan in ser­vice on Lord Street some time in the 1960s

The work in­cluded a com­plete restora­tion of the ne­glected top deck

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