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Transdev Burnley & Pendle is a bus operator running within the boroughs of Burnleymarker and Pendlemarker, and into the surrounding areas including Accringtonmarker, Keighleymarker and the high profile express service to Manchestermarker, the X43/X44, branded as "The Witch Way", using specially branded double deckers with leather seats. Burnley & Pendle is a subsidiary of the Transdev Group, but has its roots as a former municipal bus company.


The Burnley, Colne & Nelson Joint Board was set up in 1933 to merge the three municipals of those towns, comprising at that time of both tramway and bus operations. But the thirties were the twilight years for tramway operation, and the tramways were progressively abandoned, closing completely in 1935. "Burnley buses" continued to operate the old tramway routes, however, including penetration of the nearby towns of Padiham, Nelson and Colne. The undertaking provided a brisk and reliable service on these and other routes throughout the war years and the following decades. In 1974, upon Local Government Reorganisation, the surviving bus operation was renamed Burnley & Pendle, jointly owned by Burnley Council and Pendle Borough Council. In 1986 Keith Ludeman became managing director of what was then the bus company with the worst service record and industrial relations, but after turning a £1million loss to a £1million profit he returned to London to join London Regional Transport.

In 1988 Stagecoach bought Ribble, and soon started buying up companies in Ribble territory. In 1996 Pendle Council put its share up for sale after much fighting. GM Buses and Preston Bus both put in strong bids, but Stagecoach beat them both. The deal was finished by the end of January. Burnley Council was livid, and stated strongly it would never sell its share.

Stagecoach put up a multi-million pound investment plan for Burnley & Pendle, but Burnley Council could not meet its share unless it cut other council services. It eventually took a massive U-turn and sold its share to Stagecoach. Although most buses were rebranded as Stagecoach Ribble, many buses had Stagecoach Burnley & Pendle logos.

In November 2001 Stagecoach sold its failing East Lancashire operations to the Blazefield Group. Soon two companies were formed. What was Burnley & Pendle once again became Burnley & Pendle while the former Ribble services became Lancashire United. Blazefield has made a number of improvements, including replacing many of the Stagecoach buses - which were relatively old - with new Blazefield-standard buses. These originally being in the shape of Wright bodied single deckers.

On 4 January 2006 Blazefield was sold to Transdev. Transdev has since added Blackburn Transport and Northern Blue (also based in Burnley) to its portfolio of East Lancashire companies.

Acquisition of Northern Blue

On 5 August 2007, Blazefield acquired the businesses of Northern Blue of Burnley and Accrington Transport, the company inherited a further batch of 65 buses to their fleet . From 1 September 2009, Transdev Northern Blue was merged into the operations of Burnley & Pendle.

Services and Operations

Burnley Bus Station
The company operates bus services towards Padihammarker, Clitheroemarker, Manchestermarker, Nelsonmarker, Colnemarker, Rawtenstallmarker, Accringtonmarker, Blackpoolmarker and Keighleymarker from its Burnleymarker base. In 2004 the company introduced the high quality route “The Witch Way”, which is separately marketed.

Since Blazefield's acquisition of Blackburn Transport, Northern Blue and Accrington Transport, some routes formerly run by these companies have been taken over by Burnley & Pendle Travel. These include several Blackburn Transport school services and all of Northern Blue's operations. Several Burnley & Pendle's buses which were due to be sold have been seen operating on these routes.

Starship Routes

As of 29th November 2009

Number Route
1 Stoops Estate - Bus Station - Lyndhurst Road - Pike Hill - Todmorden
1A Bus Station - Pike Hill - Worsthorne - Brownhill - Bus Station
1B Bus Station - Stoops Estate - Summit - Bus Station
2 Worsthorne - Brownhill - Bus Station - Browhead - Hospital - Marsden Cross - Nelson - Higherford
4 Harle Syke - Hospital - Bus Station - Sycamore Avenue - Rose Grove - Accrington Road
5 Harle Syke - Hospital - Bus Station - Accrington Road - Rose Grove - Sycamore Avenue
6 Bus Station - Summit - Bleak House
6B Bus Station - Summit - Stoops Estate - Bus Station

The Mainline

All Mainline journeys run between Padiham - Burnley - Nelson & Colne and then extend to the following destinations.

Number Route
20 towards Padiham Memorial Park
21 towards Padiham Slade Lane
22 towards Burnley
23 towards Hapton and Accrington
26 towards Whalley and Clitheroe
27 towards Whalley and Clitheroe via Sabden
21 towards Trawden
22 towards Burnley or Queensgate
23 towards Colne
25 towards Cowling and Keighley
28 & 29 towards Earby and Barnoldswick
29 towards Barnoldswick

Interurban routes

One of the Witch Way Volvo B7TLs

Number Route
8 Burnley - Towneley - Weir - Bacup
110 Barnoldswick - Earby - Kelbrook - Colne - N&C College - Nelson
X4 Colne, Nelson & Burnley to Blackpool & Fleetwood
X43 Nelsonmarker - Burnleymarker - Rawtenstallmarker - Manchestermarker
X44 Burnleymarker - Rawtenstallmarker - Edenfieldmarker - Manchestermarker
X63 Burnley - Accrington
X64 Weir, Bacup, Rawtenstall, Haslingden and Accrington to Fleetwood via Blackpool & Cleveleys

Other Routes

Number Route
3 Ightenhill Circular(Circular) - Burnley
74 Nelson - Marsden Park Circular
ASDA Burnley from various local locations(Mon, Weds, Thurs & Fri only)


Current fleet

Type Body Image Number Notes
Single deck vehicles
Dennis Dart Plaxton/Transbus MPD 2 These two are used on Burnley local services under the Starship brand and wear a two tone orange livery.
Dennis Dart Plaxton/Transbus SPD 2 One of these vehicles is used as a Training vehicle and wears a white, blue and yellow livery for Blazefields Eclipse Driver Training
Optare Solo M850 Optare 2
Optare Versa Optare 19 For use on Burnley local services under the Starship brand and wear a two tone orange livery.
Volvo B6-50 Alexander Dash 8
Volvo B7RLE Wrightbus Eclipse 2 19 These buses operate the Mainline Route and wear a two tone red livery for this service.
Volvo B10BLE Wright Renown 18 11 of the best of these operate The Mainline and wear a two tone red livery for this service. Others are still in the old style Burnley & Pendle livery.
Volvo B10M58 Alexander Strider 4
Volvo B10M-62 Plaxton Paragon 1
Double deck vehicles
Volvo Olympian Alexander Royale 1 This bus wears yellow school bus livery. Ex-Northern Blue
Leyland Olympian Leyland 3
Volvo B7TL Wright Eclipse Gemini 15 These Buses are in the red, black and silver Witch Way livery.
Scania N112DRB East lancashire 1
Scania N112DRB Alexander RH 6
Scania N112DH Alexander RH 2
Leyland Olympian Northern Counties 1
Leyland Olympian Alexander RL 1
Leyland Olympian East Lancashire


Burnley & Pendle's buses were originally recognised by the distinctive red and cream livery although Burnley & Pendle's buses can now be seen in a wide variety of liveries.

These include:

  • Starship - Since February 10 2008 most of the Burnley local services are operated by new Optare Versas, with orange and yellow Starship branding.

  • The Witch Way - buses on routes to and from Manchestermarker are in a special black, red and silver colour-scheme with a distinctive silhouette of a Pendle Witch on each side. Each bus running The Witch Way is named after one of the Pendle Witches, with the 15th bus being named after the judge who sent many of them to the gallows

  • The Mainline - As of 22nd february 2009, buses on this route wear a revised two tone red livery, this livery has been applied to 19 new Wright Eclipse Urban 2, and 11 of the best Wright Renown.

  • Eclipse Driver Training - Training vehicles wear a white, blue and yellow livery for Blazefields Eclipse Driver Training.


  • In 2003 Burnley & Pendle was joint runner up of the BIA Bus Operator of the Year Award in 2003 with sister company Lancashire United.
  • In 2006 Burnley and Pendle won the Viacom Outdoor Marketing Campaign of the Year award at the UK Bus Awards in recognition of the work done in 2005 to relaunch the X43 service, where they introduced luxury twin deck vehicles, fitted throughout with leather seats, under the new brand The Witch Way.
  • Marketing Manchester recently held their Manchester Tourism Awards 2007 at the prestigious Hilton Deansgate Hotel. Burnley & Pendle entered the Witch Way into the category for the “Tourism Transport Provider of the Year” at this annual event.


  • In 2006 The Witch Way ran a special service to the Houses of Parliament in order for the town's MP, Kitty Ussher, and many of her constituents to fight the decision to downgrade the Accident and Emergency department of Burnley'smarker hospital

See also


  1. Railway man behind 'bullet' trains - Page2 Sunday Telegraph - 3 November, 2007
  3. Starship home page
  4. fleet list
  5. [1]
  6. Your Starship has landed Starshipbus - 6 February, 2008

External links

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