Historic visitor going topless
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