Tuesday 30 August 2011

Still Going Strong

After a bank holiday away from the hobby, I went into Great Yarmouth this afternoon to see what I could find.

As my Dart was pulling into the Market Gates Bus Station, I saw an Olympian ahead of me on the stand reserved for the Hemsby Beach - Great Yarmouth Town Centre service 3. It was First's 34333 (H132FLX) which is still giving sterling service. As it was parked in the gloom of the bus station, I moved outside to get a better picture of her in Regent Road.

It is believed that she may be retired at the end of the month - that's tomorrow!

Update: 34333 was noted working on town service 3 on 3rd September, so reports of its demise appear to be premature!

Beach Coach Station

From there I ventured to Beach Coach Station which revealed around twenty on site - may have something to do with the town's bowls festival, which finishes this week!

Together were two National Holidays' coaches NH06CEH and NH04GCH - both devoid of fleet numbers.

Today was also the last day of the seasonally operated Coastal Service H between Cambridge Bus Station and Great Yarmouth via Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket. This and the return journey was operated by Whippet's Volvo B12M H19WCL

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Beach Coach Station

Some unusual visitors to Beach Coach Station this afternoon comprised:-
Norse's 60 reg Volvo B12M YN60BZH pictured below

Nottingham City Coaches YN07DZG - picture and report on yesterday's post
Peelings JJZ8021 adorned with the Norfolk Mariner name - shown below

Regular visitors to the coach station also included:-
Belle Coaches  Setra 33 (LIL9715) and Scania 42 (LIL9714)
Shearings Volvo B12M 508 (MX03AAZ)

Market Gates

Just after 3pm, First Eastern Counties Gemini 37160 (AU07DXX) left Market Gates with a full load on the X1 to Peterborough with sister 37567 (AU58ECF) immediately taking her place on the stand; also  Peterborough bound. It's unusual to have the two vehicles there at the same time - perhaps the first vehicle had experienced some delays.

A little before 4 pm at least six vehicles were vying for space to pick up passengers in front of the Troll Cart Public House for their homeward journey.


Colchester-based Kings Tours' KC08ABC beat Sunbeam of Norwich's T777TSM to the pole position with the two Belle Coaches (seen earlier) also in the line. The other two unidentified coaches were from local operator Reynolds and another representative from Kings Tours.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

This Afternoon's Activity

Today was a typical August summer's day in Great Yarmouth (wet and overcast!)

Beach Coach Station

In spite of the glorious (!) weather eleven vehicles took up residence this afternoon at Beach Coach Station this afternoon. Included amongst them were:
Two from Whippet  - SF05XYZ on Coastal Service A and H19WCL on Coastal Service H.
Smith Coaches L8SLT        Beestons Scania 222GRA        Shearings Setra BF10VCL

Also former National Holidays Volvo B12M YC02CFO made an appearance and is now owned by Koncept Travel of Milton Keynes. It still retains some National Holidays logos!

Nottingham City Coaches

Another example from Nottingham City Coaches was also seen in Great Yarmouth during mid afternoon. YN07DZG was seen on Trafalgar Road returning its passengers to their hotel. Luckily, I managed to get a picture just before a car obscures the camera's view!

Carlton Colville's Comings and Goings

Following the sighting of Newcastle Trolleybus LTN501 on the A17 at Long Sutton on Sunday afternoon, I contacted a member of the East Anglia Transport Museum to confirm the vehicle's destination.

Newcastle Corporation 628 (NBB628) at Carlton Colville in July 2010
He confirmed that LTN501 had arrived at Carlton Colville on Sunday night. She will be the main attraction of the Trolleybus Gala on 10/11th September when operating alongside newly restored Newcastle Corporation BUT (Q1 type) No 628. It will be the first time since 1966 that the two surviving Newcastle Trolleybuses have been seen together.
See also Beamish Museum's blog on the meet up of the two vehicles

In recent months 628 has been undergoing a repaint and Syd Eade has sent in this picture of her in the early stages of repainting at the Carlton Colville museum.

Work in progress   © Syd Eade 2011

Another vehicle could also make an appearance at the event on the Saturday of the weekend, subject to an MOT, but its identity is being kept secret for the time being.

Also on Sunday evening, Blackpool Corporation Marton Vambac Car 11 left under the cover of darkness for a brief holiday at Beamish to operate at their 'Power of the Past' event being held in early September.

Saturday 20 August 2011

Caister Road Activity

Grahame reports that Dart 43434 (P434NEX) went to Erith Commercials of Dartford in Kent for scrapping last week following withdrawl. A second example 42445 (P445TCV) has moved south to First Essex.

Olympian 34333 (H132FLX) on a Great Yarmouth seafront service in summer 2009

Regarding the Olympians reported at the rear of the depot in an earlier post, it appears that there are no plans to withdraw them at present. One Olympian under threat, however, is 34333 (H132FLX), which is expected to finish at the end of the month.

Sanders New Double-Deckers

Readers may be aware the North Norfolk-based Sanders have recently acquired three new double-deckers ex-Reading Transport.

They are Scania Omnidekkas with East Lancs bodywork and registered YN54AFO/U/V. Grahame Bessey has reported the sighting of AFO and AFV operating in Norwich during early August. They are in Sanders livery and branded for route 44 Sheringham - Cromer - Aylsham - Norwich

My thanks to Grahame who photographed YN54AFO on Castle Meadow in Norwich on 14th August .

It is believed that these arrivals have led to Sanders selling their two Volvo B9TLs PL08YLXZ and PL08YMA to Ensignbus of Purfleet for further use.

Friday 19 August 2011

FREE 2011 First Group Fleetlist

A **FREE** 2011 First Group fleetlist is exclusively available to East Norfolk Bus Blog readers.

Syd Eade is able to provide this information which lists EVERY bus in the First Group which has held a five figure fleet number. The list also includes the vehicle's current allocation - if it is still in service. There is also an alphabetical version which enables photographers etc to be able to locate fleet numbers of vehicles seen.

Syd has been keeping the information up to date for his own use/interest which obviously quite a mammoth task. However, he thought it would be useful to others and is prepared to offer it to readers of this blog at no charge. Well worth having if you consider the current Fleet Book (retailing at £18) is months out of date!

I obtained a 2010 version when it was offered through the Essex and East Anglian Yahoo Groups and have found it to be invaluable. A sample page is shown above and a clearer view can be seen when clicking on the image.

How do you get a copy? All you have to do is to email Syd at cranks@lordraglan274.plus.com and he will email you a copy by return. Apologies to those who tried to get a copy earlier as I provided the wrong email address. All should be ok now and Syd is awaiting your emails!

Many thanks to Syd for making this information available to blog readers

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Beach Coach Station - 17th August 2011

A significant number of coaches were parked up at the coach station at 12.30 today and among them was National Holidays Volvo B12M MX03AEF

Flying Banana No More

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that one of the three Routemasters acquired by First Eastern Counties, subsequently receiving Flying Banana Bus livery, has been repainted in 'London Red' and moved to the Essex area for use on private hire services.

Regular correspondent Syd Eade was able to photograph NML623E at Chelmsford earlier this month in its new colours.

She is also seen below in original form carrying a destination display for service 99 Lowestoft - Southwold. It was planned to operate it on the summer sunday service but the plan never materialised.

My thanks to Syd Eade for the information and the photographs

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Local Bits and Pieces

A few bits and pieces of news to report today on the Great Yarmouth bus scene.

First Eastern Counties

Appropriately, first the departure of First Essex Olympian 34311 (L311PWR) to Chelmsford proceeded as planned this morning. What's more Syd Eade was on hand to photograph it outside Caister Road depot prior to its journey to Essex. She had a neat printed sticker on the front windscreen saying 1a LOWESTOFT

Meanwhile, at the rear of the depot this morning were three other Olympians. These were former Yorkshire Coastline vehicles which subsequently joined the First Eastern Counties fleet during 2009. They were 34108/12/3 (W435/2/3CWX) and are located where the withdrawn vehicles are normally kept. Their future appears bleak. 34113 is shown left at the rear of Caister Road depot this morning.

Beach Coach Station

Eleven vehicles at Beach Coach Station this afternoon including Fowler's Travel Volvo B12M VDO929 seen here

Swift Taxis

Swift's 500 Seafront Service was noted in operation today with the usual Mercedes Vario AE07NZC parked at the Britannia Pier bus stop.

A visit to Copyfax Yard at Gapton Hall Industrial Estate saw only seven of the original line up of nine vehicles available for the recent auction. However, the two vehicles (Dart S511XCR and Volvo M734KJU) were later located at the nearby headquarters on Morton Peto Road.

At the front of the Morton Peto Road site was TransBus Dart 137 FJ53VDL bearing the name Swift Lark

Finally,I would like to express my thanks to Syd Eade for the report and picture of  First Essex Olympian 34311

Monday 15 August 2011

Brighton Bonus

Brighton and Hove's Scania 502 was noted basking in the sun (and cloud!) at Beach Coach Station this afternoon. Bearing the registration HF08UHT, she was one of eight coaches on site.

Meanwhile on the seafront, Our Bus Mercedes Vario SF54OUY was continuing to ply its trade on the Seafront Circular; whereas Swift's 500 service was conspicuous by its absence!

First Essex Olympians 34310/34311 (L310/1PWR)

The two First Essex Olympians, borrowed to provide cover for the Great Yarmouth's B7's used on the Lowestoft Airshow park and rides, have (or are to) return home soon.

However, correspondent Syd Eade managed to capture one of them (34310) on Caister Road on service 3 between Hemsby Beach and Market Gates before it left. Note the use of the paper sticker 3 as there was no suitable destination to be found.

He also caught 34310 on Sunday leaving Caister Road depot for her return ourney south displaying the unlikely destination of  'Stanford-le-Hope 200'! L310PWR is now at Chelmsford where she is to be used on the V Festival Shuttles next weekend. It is understood that she will later find employment on school work being based at Basildon.

The other Olympian, 34311, is expected to travel south tomorrow morning also to Essex county town of Chelmsford.

As always I am grateful to Syd for the information and photographs - the latter are his copyright.

Friday 12 August 2011

Lowestoft Airshow Day 2 - Visiting Coaches

Friday also brought a number of visiting coaches to the Lowestoft seafront area car parks

Both Belle Coaches and Gallaway again parked their vehicles at the railway station car park - this time squeezing in eleven of them! The details are:
Gallaway European  208  4092PP   209 3860PP   289 BV10ZKL   293 BF60OGA  
Belle Coaches   15 SIL9034   17 BC10BEL   19 OJI4755   22 NJI9243
                         24 LIL9715   31 SIL9044     42 LIL9714

Stephen Gowler informs me that the coaches were parked at the railway station because they were working on rail replacement. The trains were apparently so busy because of the airshow that some stations stops were cut out with the coaches providing those services.

At Belvedere Road Car Park there were seventeen vehicles on site and again Ipswich Buses Scania 61 (PJ54YZU) was in attendance  as shown below.

There were also representatives from Chambers of Bures (BX55FYH), Chenery (XBL333), Dew of Somersham (DEW130Y), Freestones (T9BJF), Galloway (276 AY09DHG), Mulleys (WCF99 and X888MUL) and Smiths of Blofield (BV55UES)

Lowestoft Airshow Park & Ride - Day 2

Day 2 (Friday) saw the continuation of the First Eastern Counties operation of the Park and Ride services

Today I was able to observe and photograph some of the workings myself. The A1 from Dip Farm again employed Volvo B7TLs 32101/106/107 (the latter shown above exiting Dip Farm) with 32212 joining in the fray (shown below)

Correspondent Syd Eade saw Dart 42451 (R451CCV) on a teatime service to Dip Farm and kindly provides a photo of the working. She was the only SLF to appear on the A1 service.

Syd also reported that the A2 from Kessingland was using Volvo B7TLs 32201/203/205/213/654 which managed to cope with the crowds without any need for extra vehicles. The last mentioned was a surprise substitution and is pictured by Syd here.

Both Syd and I saw no sign of either of the two First Essex Olympians on services today, although it was later reported that they had seen use on service 3 in Great Yarmouth during the two days of the airshow.

Finally, my thanks to Syd for providing the photos and reports for this year's Airshow Park and Ride workings.

Lowestoft Airshow Day 1 - Visiting Coaches

In addition to the Park and Ride workings undertaken by First Eastern Counties, the first day of the Airshow also attracted some visiting coaches/buses to local car parks close to the seafront area.

Stephen Gowler noted ten vehicles taking up residence at the car park next to the railway station - three of them were from Galloways whilst the remainder were made up from local operator Belle Coaches. They were:
Galloway European Coachways   206 RJI8688   208 4092PP   198 5048PP
Belle Coaches   05 NJI9714   17 BK10BEL   19 OJI4755   22 NJI9243  
                        24 LIL9715    31 SIL9044     42 LIL9714

Stephen logged twenty coaches on the Belvedere Road car park including Ipswich Buses Scania 61 (PJ54YZU), another example from Belle Coaches (OJI4753) and Coach Services Scania YN08DGX. Among other local operators represented were Chenery (XBL333), Freestones (HIL8128), Simmonds (MM06GSM) and Smiths of Blofield (YAH434)

Lowestoft Airshow Park & Ride - Day 1

With yesterday being the first day of the Lowestoft Airshow, the Park and Ride services were in use again  with First providing the vehicles. One service operated from the north of the town from Dip Farm to South Pier as A1, whilst the Kessingland Africa Alive to Rectory Road service operated as A2.

With my grandchildren in tow, I was struggling to get something together for this report as my wife and I kept them entertained, fed and watered having arrived on the A1 from Dip Farm. I needn't have worried as correspondent Syd Eade rode in on his dashing white horse to provide an extensive report!

Syd reports .. It was an all low floor affair with four buses on service A1 from Dip Farm using 32101/106/107/112 and six buses on the A2 from Kessingland utilising 32201/204/205/206/651/652.

32203 was a spare vehicle but it did operate one journey to Kessingland  at 14.50 and returned light to work a teatime X2 to Norwich. 32211 also made a guest appearance on the Kessingland A2 service at 17.15, followed by 43465 at 17.30 to shift the crowds.

Syd continues... In addition 34310 and 34311 were on loan from Essex for use on local services to release the B7s for the Airshow P&R, but they only seem to have been used on staff transfers. Although 34311 was ON SERVICE when I saw it at 16.45 when it did a relief from Lowestoft to Yarmouth at 16.25. The destination blind had nothing suitable so FIRST was displayed and a paper sticker was in the windscreen. (Syd later reported that both saw use on Service 3 in Great Yarmouth on Thursday and Friday)

My thanks to Syd for providing the report and exclusive photographs, for which I am eternally grateful. Syd, I hope I didn't overdo the fawning gratitude and trumpet fanfare!

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Nine Out Of Ten

The title of this posting was so very nearly six out of ten!

Eight of the nine Swift vehicles in Copyfax yard at Gapton Hall Estate

Why I hear you say? Well it was the number of Swift's vehicles parked in its Copyfax yard during the middle of this morning. All six of them feature in the online auction due to be held on the 12th August. Click here to view my earlier post containing the details of all ten vehicles. However, with no camera with me I vowed to revisit the site this afternoon.

The two Darts are flanked by minibus AX02RXJ and Scania WJI9828

Lady luck was smiling on me as at 3 pm there were nine of the ten sited in the yard and hence the reason for the title of this post! The only vehicle missing was 132 Swift Wagtail (K264SSD) which was last seen parked at the rear of Swift's Southtown Road site.
Javelin R334RCJ next to Volvos UIL7824, M734KJU and M735KJU
Scania M26XSC keeps them company on the extreme right

I consider myself fortunate to have captured almost all of them!

Saturday 6 August 2011

Castle Meadow Musings

Later during this afternoon's shopping in the city, I had the opportunity to view activity in the Castle Meadow area. My first sighting was of Norfolk independent Neaves operating its DAF/Wright Endurance YJ03PRZ which was heading to the city's bus station on service 36.

At around the same time, First's 66957 (WX55TZU) was seen on service 17 to South Tuckswood complete with its all over advert for Co-op supermarkets and food stores. 66957 is another former Great Yarmouth vehicle now based in Norwich.

Norfolk Green vehicles also made appearances in Castle Meadow. This is Versa 504 John 'Red' Morgan (YJ10EYD) nearing the end of its X29 service from Fakenham.

Sister vehicle 505 (YJ10EYC) was noted working in the opposite direction on the X29 some 15 minutes later.

Towards the end of my time at Castle Meadow, I recorded First's Scania/Wright Solar 65674 (SN51UYH) on the 29 to Taverham. Quite a surprise, as I had this down as being a First Essex vehicle based in Colchester - maybe a loan or transfer? Here's the photo to prove it!

St Stephens Street Scenes

Continuing the Saturday shopping in Norwich - time also allowed for some observations in St Stephens Street; one of the major shopping streets in the city.

Firstly the new Geminis were very much in evidence on the 25's. Here 36176 (BD11CGE) passes Volvo B7RLE 69006 (AU05DMF) then awaiting its next duty. The latter was formerly a Great Yarmouth based vehicle.

First Optare Solo 53120 (EO02NFA) also put in an appearance working the service 9 to Ives Road.

Finally, First Trident 33238 (LT52WVG) was seen adorned in a livery promoting the forthcoming digital television switchover in November this year.

Friday 5 August 2011

Substitute on Seafront Circular

Our Bus were not using their usual vehicle on the Great Yarmouth Seafront Circular this afternoon. In place of their Mercedes Vario SF54OUY was minibus HN05KJJ shown below.

Swift was continuing to employ its Vario AE07NZC and both services seem to be carrying little or no passengers during mid afternoon.

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Ten Swift Buses For Sale at Auction!

Swift Taxis has placed ten of its vehicles in a forthcoming online auction by Bedford-based W & H Peacock on the 12th August 2011.

Full details of the ten vehicles complete with fleet names/numbers and build date are:

72  AX02RXJ  Ford Transit M16  2002
107  L907JRN  Dennis Dart  East Lancs  B34F  1994
113  Swift Heron  M734KJU  Volvo B10M  Jonckhere  C49FT  1995
117  Swift Teal  M735KJU  Volvo B10M  Jonckhere  C49FT  1995
131  M26XSC  Scania  Iziar  C51F  1995
132  Swift Wagtail  K264SSD  Volvo B10M  Plaxton C57F  1992
133  Swift Crane  UIL7824  Volvo B10M  Plaxton C53F  1989
134  Swift Canary  WJI9828  Scania  Plaxton  C53F  1990
135  Swift Gooseander  R334RCJ  Dennis Javelin  UVG  C53F  1998
??? S511XCR  Dennis Dart  SCC Nimbus  B44F  1999

 Pictures of all ten vehicles were available on the W & H Peacock website prior to the auction but have subsequently been removed. However, nine of the ten can be seen on a later post on this blog.

Thanks to Joe at Norwich Bus Page for providing the heads up

Suffolk Trio

Tuesday afternoon saw 17 occupants at Beach Coach Station in addition to a full car park - yes the holiday season is now in full swing!

Amongst the total at 2.30 were two Suffolk independents providing three vehicles of interest. First up was Soames' Volvo B12 KX09GMO working for Alfa Travel.

Unusually Stowmarket-based Galloway provided two visitors - VDL/Van Hool AY08DXF complete with fleetnumber 266.

A smaller member of the fleet, Mercedes Vario 265 AY08CRU was the other vehicle.

Regular visitors Shearings 217 BF10VCK and National Holidays NH05CDH were also there together with two Whippet coaches.

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Coleshill Weekender

Another couple of days in the West Midlands staying at Coleshill on the eastern edge of Birmingham. You may remember my previous blog report of my findings in the this location, if not you are welcome to view the page here.

Again the two major operators from last time were present. National Express West Midlands and Stagecoach Warwickshire. The former was represented by Trident 4187 (Y792TOH) seen crossing the River Cole below.

Another couple of operators were also noted providing services in Coleshill. One of them was Arriva Midlands which was seen utilising Scania Omnilink 3800 YN08HZK on the 115 route.

Birmingham independent Central Buses also had a significant presence with its smart red and grey vehicles on the 777 route. Here Dart SLF EU06WGM negotiates Coleshill High Street

The many operators in different liveries added to the interesting bus scene in Coleshill.