Saturday, 28 December 2013

Last Day of the 104

ADL Dart 44928 EU08FHB on the last day of the 104 service earlier today
You may remember that First Norfolk & Suffolk are making changes to Lowestoft services which will take effect from the 29th December

Regular contributor Syd Eades writes that 'today is the last day of the 104 service in the town with the 103 being diverted to cover the Lansdowne Road and Fortress Estate sections, so the destination will disappear. The frequency is also halved to hourly. 

So I went out and got a photo of ADL Dart 44928 EU08FHB on the route, actually heading to Sparrows Nest which is no longer served from today'.

My thanks to Syd for the information and photo

Friday, 27 December 2013

2013 ~ A Review

As the year draws to a close it is time to reflect on what has happened on the local bus scene over the last twelve months

First Eastern Counties

During February, First announced a £76million order for new vehicles which included twenty two Enviro400s to replace the Wright Eclipse Geminis then employed on the X1 service between Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth, Norwich, Kings Lynn and Peterborough.

A month later, four First Essex ADL Pointer 2 Darts made their trip north to Caister Road to become part of the Great Yarmouth allocation. They were joined in May by the first arrivals of a sudden influx of former Connex Jersey Caetano Nimbuses. They were to total twenty one with all of them being branded and prepped at Caister Road. Six were for First Worcester, four for First Clacton, four for First Lowestoft and seven for First Great Yarmouth

First Essex 43857 EG52FGE and First Eastern Counties 43862
EG52FGK Caetano Nimbuses with withdrawn Dart 43446
P446NEX at Caister Road depot in late May 
Later in that month, a further eleven second-hand hand vehicles were acquired from Ensignbus (dealer) many again being prepped for service whilst at Caister Road. Two of the deckers were to become part of the Great Yarmouth fleet, Volvo B9TL FJ08FYN and Enviro400 SN60CAA - the latter was quickly sent to Kings Lynn to provide cover whilst the Geminis were being repainted in the refreshed livery prior to reallocation

The entry of the Nimbuses into service from mid May saw the P and R registered Darts quickly ousted from service with many of the latter often seen languishing in the rear yard prior to collection for scrapping by Alpha Recovery of Westlade (dealers)

The end of the month saw the resumption of seasonal route 3, linking the holiday parks with the town centre and seafront areas; providing awelcome return of the two Routemasters JJD480D and NML623E

First Enviro400 33808 YX63LJO passes Gorleston Parish Church
on 17th December heading for Lowestoft on the X1
Delivery of the new Enviro400s to Kings Lynn started in late September with many beginning to enter service shortly after. This led to the gradual redistribution of the old guard following repaints; Volvo B7s 37156-60  went to First Potteries, Geminis 37563-9 to First Lowestoft and 37570-9 to First Great Yarmouth - with many of the latter appearing on the X1 shorts!

October saw some of the Alexander Royale bodied Volvo Olympians standing down from service - only to be subsequently resurrected. Examples were seen at the rear of Caister Road with notices saying 'Vehicle on reserve - no parts to be removed'. It is believed that they are to be retained after active service for driver training use

The end of December sees changes in Lowestoft town services with many services running for the last time; the 104 serving the Fortress Estate is to be covered by a diverted 103 whilst the 107 is to be operated by Suffolk Norse

Ambassador Travel

The only activity to report on this Great Yarmouth operator is the acquisition of  Dennis Javelin F339HWF from Our Bus, which quickly transferred to sister company Semence of Wymondham

Anglianbus
MAN City Smart Demonstrator WX12EKO on trial in January

A further four of the MAN EcoCity Gasbuses appeared in service at the beginning of the year, but it wasn't until early March before the remaining three began earning their keep

Also in January, Anglian employed MAN City Smart Demonstrator WX12EKO on trial which was often observed on 581 Beccles service around lunchtime. Two wheel forward StreetLites MX12JXV and MX12DYM were also in use as demonstrators during March and September respectively

In late April it was announced that Anglian's Managing Director Andrew Pursey would be leaving the company at the end of July. He would be replaced by Konect's Julian Patterson with Philip Eden as operations manager.

The integration of Anglian and Konect fleets into a common fleet numbering scheme began in June. This resulted in a number of Anglian's vehicles being withdrawn with three vehicles immediately going to Ensignbus (dealer) The trio were Dennis Javelin CSK282 and Scania Omnicity's YN03WRF/G. Ensignbus received further four vehicles from Anglian during August which included Volvo Olympian HIL7618

Former Konectbus Dennis Trident W821NNJ now with Anglian
She is seen in Lowestoft on the 60 service on 20th December
 
Further reshuffles took place during the same month with newer Optares going to Konect in return for Excels -one of them being the first to be repainted into Anglians new colour scheme complete with new logos.

Other developments during August included the transfer of a Solo to Chambers and the gain of Dennis Trident W821NNJ, still in Konect livery, with Anglianbus fleetnames later applied. These departures, together with the withdrawal of four Alexander ALX400 bodied Dennis Tridents, has substantially reduced the size of Anglian's fleet compared to that at the begiining of the year.

Anglianbus introduced their new bus network from the beginning of September involving new service numbers and new routes including a more direct Great Yarmouth to Norwich express service 7 omitting the village of Acle. Sister company Konect introduced a new service 52 linking Acle to Cringleford via Norwich

Further changes were announced in November; one change was the extension of the 7 to serve Gorleston and Lowestoft with the inclusion of an Acle stop. Konect would cease their Acle service as a result. The new timetable comes into use in early January

Borderbus

A new bus company has been established by former Anglianbus Managing Director Andrew Pursey. Trading as Borderbus, and registered at Bungay, the operator has secured three former Metroline Volvo B7TL / Plaxton Presidents for use on schools work

Two of the trio were subsequently observed at Lambert Coaches Beccles yard in white and blue livery and receiving Sir John Leman High School and Sixth Form Centre branding

Eurosun

There is little to report on this Lowestoft business other than the operational fleet has been reduced after two their coaches gained the dreaded VOR sign. One of them is former Caroline Seagull K2HWT

Marret's Chariots


In February Aylmerton- based Marret's Chariots were advertising the availability of three of their coaches for disposal; Volvo B10Ms VIL9195 and R6APT plus Mercedes Vario 927NOF

However, in August it was reported that three former Shearings Van Hool Alizee bodied Volvo B12Ms had been acquired - MX03ACJ/Y/Z. One of them was quickly re-advertised for sale!

Nightingales

Nightingales of Beccles ceased operating two Lowestoft town routes from the end of July - the hourly 108 service to Oulton Broad and the twice daily 115 to Kirkley both from the bus station. The operator said that it wanted to concentrate on mainly schools and contract work

Our Bus

Mercedes SF54OUY a regular performer on the seafront service 
South Burlingham operator Our Bus acquired two coaches from Spratts of Wreningham at the beginning of the year - Scania PIL4724 and Volvo PIL4725. 

Two of the fleet were advertised for sale on ebay during August with Dennis Javelin F339HWF being purchased by Ambassador Travel before quickly moving Semence of Wymondham

Our Bus reintroduced its Great Yarmouth Seafront service in July with Merecedes Vario SF54OUY being a regular performer with sister Vario SN53KZH deputising for her on occasion

Reynolds Coaches

Dennis Javelins CHZ4794 and CHZ4796 advertised for sale
during February
There were many comings and goings in the Caister fleet during the year with the first coaches advertised for sale being Toyota BIG8781 and Denis Javelins CHZ4794/6. More were up for disposal during August with Toyota BIG7756 and Denis Javelin BIG9836 subsequently being sold

The first of the incomers was a 29 seater Mercedes/ Plaxton Cheetah in August, later registered BIG8790. September witnessed the arrival of two former Ministry of Defence coaches - Dennis Javelins AW02ASU and X208UAO. The former joined Bova BIG6620 on the disposal list during October

Sanders Coaches

Sanders OmniCity YN03UVM still in Anglian livery during July 
A lot of activity in this fleet too with three Scania OmniCitys being obtained from Anglian in the form of YN03UVM/R/T with the first later appearing in a promotional livery for Sheringham after being in Anglian livery for some months.

In May, Route One magazine reported two new additions to the fleet in the form of Mercedes Varios/ Plaxton Cheetahs YN13AVX/Y

Other noteable arrivals included a trio of Wright Cadet bodied DAFs from Fishwick of Leyland (X821-3NWK), three Scania/ Wright Solars (YN05GXX, YN06NXR/S) from Reading Transport in June, DAF S468GUB from Arriva Yorkshire and Scania OmniCity decker ex-demonstrator YR10BBO from Ensign of Purfleet

Many vehicles were scrapped by Sanders- among them were DAFs M806RCP, F224YHG, J201BVO and Mercedes N68MDW. DAF/ Northern Counties Palantine P335ROO also left the fleet

Swift Taxis

Another lean year for this Great Yarmouth operator which saw three coaches leaving the fleet

The first was former Caroline Seagull Dennis Javelin G470LVG which was acquired for preservation in January being currently stored in the East Norfolk area

TransBus Dart FJ53VDL at Swift's Morton Peto Road
yard at Gapton Hall Estate on 16th August 2011
The next to go was Caetano Nimbus bodied TransBus Dart FJ53VDL which left on the back of a recovery trailer heading for Shropshire. After an engine rebuild and extensive repairs, she re-entered service with Shropshire Bus & Coach. After a short period of use, it was aquired by a Leeds based operator

The last vehicle to move on to pastures new was BMC Probus BX54VUM which subsequently found its way to Bradford coach hire company Skyways Travel

Operationally another service was withdrawn; the Southtown to Martham 302 route from 5th September

Conclusion

Phew!! 2013 was an exceptionally  busy year - let's hope 2014 holds as much interest for us all

Monday, 23 December 2013

Seasons Greetings & Thanks

Festive Freddie now appearing on First's buses
Photo courtesy of Grahame Bessey 
2013 has been a very busy year indeed, which is reflected in the 379 posts (so far!) compared to only 246 in the year previously. This activity will no doubt be reflected in our annual review and I would like to thank all of you who have contributed to the blog during this past year

A special mention must be made for the tireless contributions from Grahame Bessey, Ryan, Syd Eade and Tim Miller

My thanks also go to James Race, Neil Chilvers, Tim Major, Joe Leathers Watson, Christian Newsome, James Long, Rob Collins, SteveW, Terry Wilkins, Zak Nelson, Mike Sayer, Jamie Skinner, Harry Stanley, Sam Larke and Chris L for their support too. My apologies if I have left anyone out!

Finally, eastnorfolkbus would like to wish all of its readers, supporters and contributors a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. We will return after Christmas with our usual review

All the very best
Roy

Saturday, 21 December 2013

32211 LT52WTU bound for Lowestoft in February 2012
Permanent Transfer

The loan of two Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TLs from Great Yarmouth's Caister Road to Norwich has been made permanent.

This has been confirmed in the recent publication of the First Eastern Counties fleet allocations on the Anglia & Thames Valley Bus Forum

The two vehicles concerned are 32203 LT52WTJ and 32211 LT52WTU

Friday, 20 December 2013

First Ticket Information

Following changes in the running of the Information Desk at Norwich Bus Station, First bus tickets will no longer be able to be purchased there from Thursday 24th December.

The following alternatives are now being offered:-

  • Buy online at www.firstgroup.com/norwich and click 'Buy Now' on the left hand side of their website homepage
  • Call the Customer Service Team on 08456 020 121 or visit  their offices at Unit 6, Lansdowne Road, Norwich NR6 6NF on Monday to Friday between 7:30am and 5:30pm
  • If  wishing to pay by cash visit the Customer Service Team in Rouen House in Norwich on the Lower Ground Floor on Monday to Friday between 11am and 2pm
  • Following successful trials, monthly tickets can also be bought on First buses from 29th December

First apologises for any inconvenience caused by these new arrangements

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Anglian & Konect to Operate Bus Information Desk

Norse Trident 7160 PN03ULR with Konectbus Tempos
412 YJ09MNY & 413 YJ09MNZ at Norwich Bus Station
 during February 2011
Both Anglian and Konect are to take over the running of  the information desk at Norwich Bus Station with the following announcement appearing on the both their websites

We are pleased to announce konectbus and anglianbus will be taking over the running of the information desk at Norwich Bus Station after Christmas.

As well as providing travel information for all operators, our staff will offer card-only (not cash) ticket sales for konectbus , anglianbus and Norwich Park & Ride services.

David Harrison, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for environment, transport, development and waste, said: “We know how important the travel desk is to passengers, so I am very pleased that we have been able to secure its future at Norwich Bus Station. This is a good deal for konectbus, anglianbus and for the Norfolk County Council”.

Norfolk County Council staff will be on the desk up to and including Monday, December 23. The desk will then be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day before reopening under the new management on December 27 with a new appearance. The desk will be open 6 days a week Monday to Saturday, 08:30 to 17:30.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

9 o'clock Belles

Belle's Setra LIL9717 at Nelson Road North earlier today
Passing Beach Coach Station at 9 am this morning, a couple of Belle Coaches were seen picking up passengers - thought to be workers

The duo are pictured outside the coach station with the front vehicle being Setra LIL9717, closely followed by Plaxton Cheetah bodied Mercedes Vario BE10LLE

The sole occupant of the coach station at that time was National Holidays Volvo B12M/Plaxton Panther NH06LEH, which can be glimpsed to the right of the Setra

Stagecoach acquires Norfolk Green

Norfolk Green's ADL Trident SN12EHO at Norwich Bus Station
on X29 service to Fakenham during April this year
After much speculation it has finally been confirmed that the Stagecoach Group has acquired Go West Travel Limited, trading as Norfolk Green

Kings Lynn based Norfolk Green operates some seventy buses on its services covering Norfolk plus parts of Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire

Already there is speculation that First's X1 service between Lowestoft and Peterborough may be of interest to Stagecoach, with the latter either making a bid to take it over or compete directly against it. Just to remind you this is strictly only a rumour and, rest assured, eastnorfolkbus will report the facts as they happen

Whilst Stagecoach has, up to now, remained fairly quiet about the acquisition, there is a press release on the London Stock Exchange website which can be viewed by clicking HERE

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Regal Visitors

Wright Meridian bodied MAN 801 RG09BUS on rail replacement yesterday
Greater Anglia were continuing to use rail replacement on its service between Lowestoft and Beccles yesterday

As in previous days, Essex based Regal Busways were operating the service and Wright Meridian bodied MAN 801 RG09BUS was seen awaiting its next duty at Lowestoft Rail Station at 1:30 yesterday

I returned an hour later to see that similar bus
A third member of the Regal Busways fleet OV63OCN
802 WX08DFN was ready for the next journey; the bus photographed by Grahame Bessey on Tuesday of last week. Click here for the photo and report

On making my way back to the town centre, my attention was drawn to a white coach parked at the western end of the station car park

On closer inspection I found the vehicle to be Neoplan OV63OCN, also a member of the Regal Busways fleet - presumably acting as standby.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Latest on FEC's Volvo B12Ms

First Volvo B12M WV02EUR leaves Lowestoft Bus Station after X2 duties
During October last year, two former First Midlands (Worcester) vehicles arrived at First's Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot for use on the X1 shorts between Great Yarmouth and Norwich

With musical chairs underway following the arrival of the Enviro 400s (and the reallocation of the displaced Geminis) it has been suggested that both Plaxton Paragon bodied Volvo B12Ms would move down the A12 to Lowestoft for further use

So far only 20515 WV02EUR has ventured southwards and is seen here arriving at Lowestoft bus station this afternoon with the 12:25 X2 working from Norwich; despite still branded for the X1. She subsequently left empty with 'sorry not in service' displayed

Meanwhile Jamie Skinner reports sister 20514 WV02EUP was in Great Yarmouth's Market Gates around 12:15 today still employed on the X1 shorts between the town and Norwich

Geminis In the Sun

As everyone is now aware, the X1 Lowestoft - Great Yarmouth - Norwich - Kings Lynn - Peterborough service is now in the hands of the newly arrived Enviro 400s

This has led to vehicles previously used on the X1, the Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B9TLs, to be cascaded to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft depots

Lowestoft's allocation is 37563-71 AU58ECA/C-
F/J/N/T/V with all, but the last three, branded for use on the X2 service between Lowestoft and Norwich

Great Yarmouth has the remaining eight 37572-9 AU58ECW-Z, AU58EDC/F/J/K plus the recent arrival from Ensignbus FJ08FYN, now with fleetnumber 37562

All have been repainted into the First refreshed livery

Regular contributor Grahame Bessey was at a sunny Norwich Surrey Street Bus Station on Saturday afternoon where he witnessed a few of the Geminis in service.

Grahame also observed the the presence of Freestones Coaches Scania K340/Irizar YN08JBX in Megabus livery

My thanks to Grahame for the photos

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Ensign Running Day ~ 7th December 2013

A week has passed since the successful Ensignbus Running Day last Saturday. It comprised two routes;
X81 Shenfield to Grays via Lakeside and X55 Upminister to Gravesend via Lakeside. More than twenty vehicles took part in the event

Contributor Neil Chilvers has provided some photos of the event and the first is of former London Transport THX 646S (DM2646), a Leyland Fleetline with a Park Royal body in Shillibeer livery. She is pictured at Grays having commenced her journey at Shenfield

Neil says 'a quick train trip got us from Grays to Upminster where we got a photo of RT 3251 LLU610 on an Upminster to Lakeside service'. The AEC Regent III with Weymann H56R bodywork spent most of its working life with London Transport as a 'Green Line' RT based at Romford's London Road Garage

Also on duty was an ex Lancaster Leyland Titan PD2 /East Lancs 204
KTJ204C which operated between Lakeside and Grays on the X81
 
A selection of Ensigns single deckers  ran tours of the Lakeside area. These included the 10T10 ELP223 which was brought back from Australia by Ensign.

Steve Newman's Ensignbus Vintage Fleet blog explains the reason for her livery in that she has been
'in restoration now for some three years, a few months back it became apparent that whilst we could be set with it mechanically, and we could recertify in time we had no chance in getting it finished to the required standard, so what to do. Well the answer was to 'undercoat' it grey and run it to look as an American Red Cross Clubmobile. 55 of the 10T10s went for this purpose, each was named after a US state and they were driven by an LT driver with three American Red Cross girls as the serving crew'

Neil also savoured the 40 minute Lakeside tour on the 'wonderful DUF179'.

In Southdown colours she is a Harrington bodied Leyland Tiger TS7. New in June 1937, she was numbered 1179 in the Southdown MS fleet 

Another green liveried vehicle seen at Lakeside was London Country Leyland Cub C4 BXD628 making its d├ębut after an extensive
rebuild. A number of passengers were complimentary about the ride, even though drivers were having to do fancy footwork when changing gear on the 'Chinese' reverse-H gearbox

Neil's final ride was on former Southend Transport Fleetline MRJ233W back to Shenfield - the event was 'well worth the £8 Rover ticket' he says

I would like to express my thanks to Neil for all the photos he provided (I managed to include six of the eight!) and his accompanying notes.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Santa Tram

Blackpool No 11 and London Transport 1858 ran to Santa's Grotto
Earlier today I took the grandchildren (and a few grown ups too!) to see the Santa Tram at the East Anglian Transport Museum in Carlton Coleville

Two Sunbeam trolleybuses were providing laps of the venue. They were Derby Corporation 224 DRC224 and Belfast Corporation 246 2206OI

We also sampled the short ride on the East Suffolk Light Railway

The two trams that were in use were Blackpool Corporation Marton 'VAMBAC' No 11 and London Transport 1858 which provided the power to get to 'Santa's Grotto' (Hedley Grove)

Great Yarmouth buses were to the fore with Reliance AEX85B sitting alongside Leyland EX6566

Also on display were two former Great Yarmouth buses - 1949 Leyland PD2 EX6566 and Penine bodied AEC Reliance AEX85B. The former displaying the destination 'Magdalen Estate' with route indicator 'A' - so fondly remembered by my wife!

A lovely afternoon was had by all (probably mostly by the grown ups!)

Friday, 13 December 2013

A Swift Visit

Javelin 136 SJI8127 beside the Southtown Road boundary
On passing Swift Taxis' Southtown yard on my way to Great Yarmouth on Wednesday lunchtime, I looked in to see what was about

Alongside the Southtown Road fence was Neoplan bodied Dennis Javelin SJI8127. She was acquired with the Amza of Blofield business in December 2009 and carries fleet number 136. She was previously registered as Y83LJO when new to Pearce of Berinsfield, Oxfordshire in May 2001 and still retains the Pearce stripes on her bodysides.

Clustered together were Dennis Javelin 111 P109WJO, Volvo B10M 114 N962DWJ and BMC Falcon 110 BX55OFN. The Javelin was obtained from Woodside Motors of Southey Green in July 2006 whilst National Holidays supplied DWJ a month later. The Falcon was new to Swift in February of that year

Blue Javelin 111 P109WJO alongside Volvo 114 N962DWJ; the Falcon is hidden behind
Minibus 105 P840NKK with Mercedes Vario 106 AE07NZC



At the time of my visit, the Volvo was causing some grief to the driver by refusing to start and he told me that she had only just been serviced!

When I passed the site a half an hour later, she was absent; so I assume her engine did eventually burst into life

Parked up on the western boundary, accompanied by a couple of minibuses, was Mercedes Benz Vario/ Eurocoach (Bunbeg) 106 AE07NZC

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Service Alterations Registered ~ 11th December 2013

An Eastern Area Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report was published yesterday on the Gov.UK website. Report No 2168 contains only one item of relevance to this area

Notice of Public Inquiries to be Held


Public Inquiry (47678) to be held at The Court Room, Eastern Traffic Area, Eastbrook, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge, CB2 8BF, on 24 January 2014 commencing at 10:00

IAN JOHN TRUSSLER & PARTNERS T/A GOLDLINE TAXIS
Partner(s): KENNETH JOHN TRUSSLER, IAN JOHN TRUSSLER.
UNIT 5A, MOOR BUSINESS PARK, ELLOUGH ROAD, BECCLES NR34 7TQ
PSV - S17 - Consideration of disciplinary action under Section 17 (The Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981)
PSV - S28 - Consideration of disciplinary action under Section 28 (The Transport Act 1985)

Source: Traffic Commissioner for the Eastern Traffic Area - Notices & Proceedings Report 2168 - published 11th December 2013

Caister Road Update

Volvo Olympian 34112 W432CWX at the rear of First's
Caister Road depot on 9th December last
Following my recent post regarding vehicles in the rear yard at First's Caister Road depot, I have received an update from regular correspondent Ryan

The reason for the appearance of Volvo B10LE 66168 W368EOW in the yard is explained by the need for a new gear box.

Both Olympians seen, 34112 and 34113 W432/3CWX, are expected back on the road soon whilst sister 34108 W435CWX is currently receiving repairs and should be back in service next week

The other decker in the news is Lowestoft's Volvo B7TL 30889 W744DWX which is having its MOT undertaken at Caister Road

On the saloon side, former First Essex Dart 42920 EU05AUM is continuing to have work done and 60809 S660RNA is still undergoing maintenance

My thanks to Ryan for his extensive report and to Sam Larke for the proof reading!

Freddie Frog On The Buses

First Volvo B7TL 30888 W743DWX adorned with Freddie the Frog vinyl
First Great Yarmouth buses are applying Freddie Frog vinyls to their vehicles

I saw three deckers on Bernard Matthews contracts adorned with the First mascot, in Christmas attire, in the top front windscreens yesterday

The third bus in the procession is pictured on Bridge Road in Great Yarmouth shortly after passing over Haven Bridge

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Rail Replacement

Regal Busways WX08DFN on rail replacement duty at Lowestoft Station
The effects of the recent flooding are still being felt by rail passengers travelling out of Lowestoft Station

Greater Anglia has suspended services between the town and Beccles until further notice and, with only one of the two lines available for traffic between Oulton Broad North and Lowestoft, a 'revised' Norwich service operates

This has led to the introduction of rail
Regal Busways Essex Pullman liveried Optare Tempo YJ56WVC
replacement services with regular contributor Graham Bessey noting Essex company Regal Busways providing buses to operate them

Yesterday evening on the way home he captured their MAN/ Wright Meridian 802 WX08DFN in the station's bus lay-by

This morning one of their Essex Pullman liveried Optare Tempos appeared in the form of YJ56WVC

Lunchtime Round Up

Two National Holidays coaches parked up on Marine Parade
With business to attend to in Great Yarmouth town centre, I made the most of  travelling into town by car yesterday to visit the usual haunts

I initially popped into Market Gates and saw no less than three of Anglian's gas buses in use at the same time. Two were waiting outside BHS on the 61, whilst the third passed on the 7 Norwich Fast service - the first time I had seen one on that route

Heading off to the seafront I observed a number of coaches parked up in the vicinity of Wellington Pier. Two National Holidays' coaches were on Marine Parade close to their passengers' accommodation at the Carlton Hotel. The two were Setra NH09ORH and Volvo B12M NH06KEH

Ramblers Coaches' Volvo B12M JG08RAM at Kimberley Terrace
Also nearby was Ramblers Coaches JG08RAM, another Plaxton bodied Volvo B12M, in Grand UK Holidays livery.

I then continued to Beach Caoch Station where I found a third National Holidays coach in the shape of MX03AEV basking in the wintry sun

Keeping her company was Shearings Setra 310 BK11GJZ in Grand Tourer colours

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Caister Road Yard

Volvo B10BLE 66168 W368EOW behind Volvo Olympian
34113 W433CWX at Caister Road yesterday 
Located in the rear yard at Caister Road yesterday was recently withdrawn Alexander Royale bodied Volvo Olympian 34112 W432CWX. She now occupies the same position where sister 34108 was located. She also displays a 'Vehicle On Reserve' notice affixed to the passenger door

Also noted there was another Volvo Olympian, 34113 W433CWX, and Wright Renown bodied Volvo B10BLE 66168 W368EOW

Finally, an unidentified Norwich White Line Volvo B7L/Wright Eclipse was observed heading into Great Yarmouth along the A47. It is not known why the former First Northampton vehicle was visiting, but it was probably for an MOT at Caister Road
Great Yarmouth bound W422SRP in Leicester
Leicester Volvo
Deckers On Their
Way!

I was somewhat surprised to receive the following email from Neil Beasley this morning:-

'In the near future, Great Yarmouth is scheduled to received some Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL double-deckers from Leicester.

The vehicles in question are:

32058 - W218 XBD     32059 - W219 XBD    32061 - W221 XBD     32062 - W422 SRP
32063 - W223 XBD     32064 - W224 XBD    32065 - W425 SRP

All of the vehicles were new to Leicester and will be ousted by 35 refurbished, former First London, 08 / 58 plate Enviro 400 bodied Tridents. The Enviro 400s started to be delivered to Leicester last week and here's a picture of one at Leicester's Abbey Lane depot

At the time of writing, Leicester has received 5 Enviro 400s and staff type training is still to take place.

W422 SRP played a role in the comedy "Little Britain". It was the bus used in the Vicky Pollard bus sketch and the bus had a trip to London for the day to do the filming'


My thanks to Neil for the email and to Russ for the image of W422SRP

Monday, 9 December 2013

Solus Coaches newly acquired  Mercedes Vario PG53SXU
Tamworth 
Travels

Continuing the Staffordshire theme, I was visiting the outlaws in Tamworth this weekend and, whilst the better half was shopping, I meandered to the Corporation Street bus terminus to observe activity there

After noting a couple of Arriva Midlands North Citaros working local routes, the first independent I saw was a Solus Coaches Mercedes Vario PG53SXU, acquired from
Arriva Gemini 4205 FJ08LVR on the regular 110 service
Coastal and Country of Whitby during this summer. it was thought she was on private hire duty

The only other independent seen there was former Trent Barton Optare Excel Y737DRC now with Tamworth Coach & Bus - previously noted there during March this year

The usual Arriva Midlands North vehicles were seen, including the Volvo B9TL/ Wright Eclipse Geminis on the regular 110 Birmingham service

Pottering About

First Potteries 37158 AU07DXV heading for Keele University
You may be already aware that, with the arrival of the new Enviro400s on the X1 Peterborough, Kings Lynn, Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft route, five Volvo B7 Wright Eclipse Geminis previously used on the route have been repainted and transferred to First Potteries

As reported in the latest issue of Buses, the quintet are AU07DXS/T/V-X which have fleetnumbers
Sister Gemini 37160 AU07DXX exits Newcastle Under Lyme Bus Station
37156-60 and have been noted operating out of Newcastle Under Lyme in Staffordshire

Regular contributor Neil Chilvers visited the town in early December when he took some pictures of the Geminis in or near the bus station on a rather gloomy day

Whilst he was there, he was also fortunate in getting a photo of another former Eastern Counties bus; Volvo Olympian/ Northern
One time Lowestoft bus 34158 P658UFB is now with First Potteries
Counties Palantine 34158 P658UFB. 

The bus had previously spent sometime operating in Lowestoft before moving north and receiving her new livery.

Many thanks for the photos Neil and it is interesting to see many of the former 'Eastern Counties' buses in their new surroundings

Friday, 6 December 2013

X2 Olympian

Volvo Olympian 34110 W437CWX on the X2 at Pakefield heading for Norwich
First's X2 Lowestoft to Norwich service continues to attract different vehicles to the route.

Last Tuesday Plaxton Paragon 20514 WV02EUP was reported and, this morning, Syd Eade saw Great Yarmouth's Volvo Olympian 34110 W437CWX at Pakefield heading for Norwich on the X2

With the surprise visitor passing the Tramway Hotel at around 10am, he was unable to identify which working it was on

My thanks to Syd for the report and photo