Fylde Transport Trust
Fylde Transport Trust

Lytham 34

Between 1923 and 1935, Lytham St. Annes Corporation ran a fleet of small buses on four main services in Lytham St. Annes. 1935 saw the first route outside the boundary - route 11 from Lytham to Blackpool and in 1936/7 the tramway was replaced by routes 11A and 11B. This prompted a major fleet upgrade with 12 Leyland Lion single deckers and fourteen Leyland Titan double deckers arriving between 1935 and 1937.


All but one featured Leyland's "Gearless" transmission - an early automatic transmission that used a torque converter. Well suited to the flat Fylde Coast, similar vehicles were less successful in hilly areas such as Burnley and Sheffield, many being converted to conventional manual 'crash' gearboxes. The Gearless buses formed the back bone of the new fleet, until the post war expansion of the double deck fleet. Some of the Lions were were converted to open top configuration but it was not until 1957 that new replacement single deckers arrived and the last Lion survived until 1962.


34 was one of the 1936 batch of Lions, featuring Leyland bodywork rather than the Burlingham examples of previous years. £6,800 was spent on 3 Lions and 2 Titans, 34 entering service in October 1936. Initially operated in a white livery with blue relief, the balance changed in wartime to Lytham's familiar mainly blue scheme. After an uneventful life plodding sedately around the gentile twin towns of Lytham and St. Annes, 34 was retired in June 1957, replaced by three new Tiger Cubs.


Preservation beckoned and 34 joined the West of England Transport Collection in Winkleigh Devon in 1959 - probably its longest journey to date. It had a nomadic period passing through owners in Nottinghamshire, North Wales and Cheshire before remarkably being reacquired by Fylde Borough Transport (successor to Lytham St. Annes) in 1988. A full restoration ensued and 34 returned to the road in 1992.

Its new active retirement included special events and wedding hires, plus the occasional special appearance on local bus work. It passed to Blackpool Transport in 1996 when Fylde was absorbed by its neighbour and continued in use with its new owners. With further attention needed it was retired in 2006 and in July 2008 was acquired by LTT for further preservation.


Stored until 2015, 34 has received a complete repaint, interior restoration work and a full overhaul of its braking system in 2017. Further mechanical overhaul is required before 34 can operate again and in October 2019, 34 was transferred to the North West Museum of Road Transport in St.Helens for storage and display. 

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