First continues its Cornish comeback

First South West is investing £2.1million in a further 14 new buses – six 8.5m and eight 9.9m Slim Line Optare Solo SRs – for its rural Kernow network in Cornwall. It will also introduce a new The Lizard brand on two routes.

The Solos, with four-cylinder Cummins ISB engines, follow 51 Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC double-deckers and 20 Enviro200 MMC midibuses delivered this year, taking its total investment over two years to £17.9million on 85 new buses.

Due for December delivery, this order is again part funded by Cornwall Council, with the six shorter Solos being delivered in generic two-tone green Kernow livery for interworked routes 22 (Truro-St Dennis-St Austell) and 50/51 (Truro-Veryan/St Mawes). Route 51 traverses restricted narrow lanes through Portloe.

Six of the 8.9m Enviro200 MMCs were intended for the routes but their mirror mountings made them marginally wider than the standard width Darts and Solos currently allocated.

Five of the longer Solos will be finished in two-tone aquamarine Atlantic Coaster livery to upgrade route A17 (St Ives-Penzance-St Just-Pendeen), while the other three will receive new two-tone green The Lizard branding with darker lizard emblems and ‘connecting Cornwall’s spectacular Lizard peninsula’ wording.

Two East Lancs-bodied Alexander Dennis Trident double-deckers, required for peak school flows, also gain the new livery to provide five buses for routes 36 (Truro- Helston-Coverack) and 37 (Redruth-Helston- Lizard), which were renumbered L2 and L1 respectively from 16 September with no change to the summer timetable.

The daily L1 provides strategic rail links in Redruth and is popular with tourists terminating close to Lizard Point, the southernmost point on mainland Britain.