Thursday, 23 June 2016

What a Week!

Oh my goodness what a week has gone by; new operator(s) for the Great Yarmouth - Beccles- Bungay service, an open topper for the Great Yarmouth seafront route (yep,the cat is out of the bag!), streetdecks operating in the town plus new transfers in. (That's without mentioning the Brexit vote). And I've missed it all!

Our haulage for the trip - a Canadian MCI triaxle
Things here in the USA have been quite hectic too. We arrived in San Fran yesterday to the news that it's gay pride weekend and that Obama is in the city today. So the next couple of days will be a bit messy transport wise and we have to be at the airport at Saturday lunchtime. We also witnessed an 81 year old gentleman have a heart attack on our tour bus  - not very pleasant for him or us. Fortunately he has survived after transfer to hospital

So, all in all, a week very much to remember and I will be doing a report on our San Fran visit on my return to the UK


Tuesday, 21 June 2016


It is with great sadness and shock we are reporting the sudden passing of Jim Long. Jim was a regular contibutor to our blog and has been a truly good friend to myself for the past twelve years or so.

I first came across Jim after he emailed me back in 2004 regarding a photo of mine he had seen in Buses magazine and he asked me if i could send him a copy to which i duly obliged and from that day on we became firm friends and began to share our photographs from our local areas. Jim was Ipswich through and through and his knowledge of all things Eastern Counties and Ipswich Buses was huge going back to the 1950's. His collection of photos was massive, i am lucky enough to have copies of many of his Black & White images he has taken and collected over the years and he was always grateful to me for sharing all my photos from trips around our area.
ECOC Bristol RE HAH891D taken by Jim on Yarmouth Sea Front in July 1966.

Jim had health issues earlier in his life which he overcame and once retired he was always out and about with his devoted wife Eve capturing the latest happenings around Ipswich, he had a problem with large crowds which stopped him from attending events such as Showbus and various local rallies in the past few years but always made and effort to keep his collection of FEC and Ipswich Buses photos up to date whilst i did my best to assist him from this end with Norwich, Yarmouth & Lowestoft pictures which i know he was always truly grateful. I met Jim and his wife Eve on many occasions and his enthusiasm for Transport was endless and we shared thousands of emails, texts and numerous phone calls over the years all about this hobby of ours, sadly our last message was last night when he sent his photos from Simon Morris of the Blue Line repaint, i know he would have been out this morning with Eve at his side getting some more for us today! Needless to say the phone call from his Son in Law today came as a true shock and i still cannot believe you have gone buddy. He never forgot my childrens Birthday's or Christmas Cards and whenever i saw him he would always put a note in my hand and tell me to spoil them. His kindness and thoughfulness will be missed and it will be a while before i get used to not seeing the words 'Jim Mobile' pop up on my phone with a text saying 'Pics in ur box'

There have been lots of kind tributes and words about Jim today across social media, he was truly respected and well liked within the Enthusiast circles and his face and photos will be sorely missed by many people around the area. He was a special man who always went out of his way to make sure i was ok with my personal life and helped me along the way with some wise words. I will miss you Jimbo and as you always said to me 'Take Care'

Myself and Roy would like to thank Jim for his contibutions and being part of our Blog Family, they will be truly missed.

Our Thoughts, Prayers and Love are with Jim's wife Eve and his family.

Rest in Peace Buddy.      Grahame

Monday, 20 June 2016

Latest First Happenings

A busy start to the week for First Eastern Counties. We begin with news that a batch of Volvo B9TL/Wright Geminis are being transferred to East Anglia from First Leeds. The full list of arrivals due is 36181 - 36202. 36181 (BF12KXU) & 36185 (BN12JYM) were collected today and have now arrived in Norfolk. The vehicles were purchased new in 2012 for First Games Transport operations for the London Olympics prior to heading North to Leeds.
Pink Line branded 35198 SK16GVX in Temple Road today  (Photo Zak
Next to report was another brightly coloured day for the Yarmouth 8 service, last week it saw Yellow, today it went pink with not one but two Norwich Pink Line branded Streetdecks on the route, 35198 (SK16GVX) & 35199 (SK16GVY) Both worked this afternoon in the town.
35199 leaves Market Gates bound for Caister  (Photo Zak
Finally continuing the multi coloured theme our regular Ipswich contributor Jim Long has been down to the paintshops of Simon Morris in Ipswich to catch up with the progress of the first Blue Line repaint for Norwich. Volvo B9TL 36166 is currently being transformed into its new look in Suffolk.
36166 with its new look now well underway  (Photo Jim Long)

Many Thanks to Chris Speed, Danny Beales, Zak at Norwich Bus Page and Jim Long for the Info and use of Photos, much appriciated!


Blog On Tour ~ Stoughton Bus

Saturday saw a visit to the Evergreen Air Museum at McMinnville in Oregon and surprisingly an old bus was on display

During the 1920s and 1930s the Stoughton Cab & Bus Company of Stoughton, Wisconsin designed and manufactured buses exclusively for Chevrolet. The bus, thought to provide a new influence on the progress of transportation, was powered  by a Waukesha four cylinder engine and was capable of an amazing top speed of 30 miles per hour!

Badger Bus Line, the first company to operate a passenger service between Madison and Milwaukee in Wisconsin, used the Stoughton Bus for its services. The coach bus also saw service with country clubs, hotels, schools and also in connection with railroad and aviation travel.


Sunday, 19 June 2016

Blog On Tour ~ Portland

After a couple of days travelling through areas with limited or no bus activity, we have now crossed the state border from Washington into Oregon and briefly visited downtown Portland this morning

Unit 235 on a Green Line service to Clackamas
The major public transit company in the city is TriMet, formerly known as the Tri-County Metropolitan Transit District of Oregon (bit of a mouthful!) which provides bus, light rail and commuter transit services in the area

123 arriving at Pioneer Square with a Green Line service to Clackamas
The accompanying photos provide a flavour of the light rail operations around Pioneer Square where all the services pass through. As with routes in many city, each line is allotted a different colour to help its passengers quickly identify the service. However, you wouldn't readily identify the route unless you faced the front/rear of the unit which displays a colour light in the top of the screen

Unit 207 on the red line service to Beaverton
Further details of the TriMet network and services operated can be viewed HERE


Thursday, 16 June 2016

Blog On Tour ~ Port Angeles

The second hotel on our USA itinerary is located at Port Angeles, situated in Clallam County in Washington State

Port Angeles has a population of just under 20,000 and, public transport wise, is served by Clallam Transit. Although formed in July 1979 the transit company didn't begin operating until October in the following year. Supported by sales tax collection, it commenced with a fleet of 22 vehicles working ten routes in the County area.

Today Clallam Transit serves a modern transit station in Port Angeles and currently runs twelve routes in the county with 24 buses on the active roster. Most of the vehicles in the fleet are Gillig low floor buses with those seen today of the 32 seater variety

Further details of Clallam Transit, including information on the routes operated can be viewed on their website


Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Blog On Tour ~ Seattle

Once again the blog is on tour with a trip across the pond to the USA - yes you did read that correctly as I am reporting from Seattle on the west coast!

As normal for us Brits, the weather is first mentioned in any conversation and all I can say about Seattle weather today is that it reminds me very much of a typically cold summer's day with a bracing cool breeze. So I really feel at home!

Much of the local transportation is provided by King County Metro and the photos accompanying this report provide a flavour of the types of vehicles operating in the area. The trolley buses are branded Electric Trolley zero emissions

Details of the operator and services provided can be viewed on their website