Friday 30 September 2011

Consultation on Rural Transport Changes

Yesterday (Thursday 29th) Norfolk County Council published proposed changes to rural transport services, aimed at saving £500,000 next year (2012-13), for consultation with passengers and local communities.

Pressure on the rural transport budget has become intense because of reductions in Government grant for public transport, and the Government's failure to fully fund the Concessionary Travel scheme, with a £4.5m shortfall this year (2011-12). Norfolk County Council this week (26 September) launched a 'Fair Fares' campaign to secure a better deal from the Government, and people being asked to comment on the reductions in services are also being invited to sign the Fair Fares petition.

The County Council has to cut £700,000 from its rural transport budget as the council looks for overall savings of nearly £75m over the next two years (2012-13 and 2013-14). £500,000 must be found from rural transport support in 2012-13, with the remaining £200,000 in 2013-14.

The council has been working closely with bus operators to minimise the impact of the £500,000 in savings needed next year. As a result of this work, significant savings have been possible without a direct effect on journeys, and almost all the service reductions are limited to Sundays and evenings. Altogether 143 financially supported services were investigated, with 126 unaffected.

The affected services spread across the county (details below) have been chosen after taking account of factors including passenger numbers, their income and car ownership levels, age range and social background. Other considerations include the importance of the route for work or education, the availability of alternative transport, and the possibility of the service being run commercially or at reduced subsidy.
Graham Plant, Cabinet member for planning and transportation said: "We recognise the importance of rural buses to the communities they serve, which is why we have scaled back the savings from £1m to £700,000 over two years, with £500,000 next year (2012-13).

Consultation roadshows have been organised to give people the chance to find out more and register their views. They will also be invited to support the Fair Fares concessionary travel funding campaign by signing the petition.

In the East Norfolk area roadshows will be held from 11am to 2pm as follows:

Tuesday 4 October - Cromer Bus Station

Thursday 6 October - Great Yarmouth Market Place

Wednesday 12 October - The Forum, Norwich

The consultation can be filled in online at Printed copies will be available in libraries. The consultation runs until the end of November. The County Council will then review its proposals before making final recommendations for inclusion in the 2012-13 budget.

Among the recommended changes to routes are:
  • Sanders 5. Holt-Cromer-Mundesley-North Walsham. Fewer Sunday journeys from October to May.
  • Sanders 5A. North Walsham-Coltishall-Spixworth-Norwich. Fewer Sunday journeys.
  • First 6,7. Belton and Bradwell-Great Yarmouth. Fewer evening (after 7pm) journeys.
  • Sanders 9, X8. Holt-Melton Constable-Fakenham-King's Lynn. No winter Sunday services.
  • Sanders 44. Sheringham-Cromer-Aylsham-Norwich. Fewer Sunday and evening (after 7pm) journeys.
  • Anglian 581. Beccles-Burgh St Peter-Great Yarmouth. Wheatacre, Burgh St Peter and Aldeby to be served by alternative pre-booked transport.
  • Anglian 588. Halesworth-Bungay-Norwich. Fewer Sunday and evening (after 7.30pm) journeys.
  • Coasthopper. Hunstanton-Wells-Sheringham-Cromer. Fewer services from October to March.

Fair Fares Petition Launched

Norfolk County Council has launched a campaign backed by councillors, businesses and MPs to persuade the Government to fairly fund the concessionary bus scheme in Norfolk.

The County Council has identified a £4.5 million shortfall in funding for the scheme - which allows pass holders to travel free on buses - and be told how the gap is putting extreme pressure on maintaining rural bus services.

Under the Government's scheme, eligible older and disabled people are entitled to free off-peak travel, with about 180,000 passholders in Norfolk.

But the costs of providing the minimum scheme far outstrip resources allocated by the Government, and in light of the shortfall, Norfolk County Council leaders have decided to mount a campaign during the Autumn calling for 'Fair Fares' for Norfolk.

As well as a Fair Fares petition, which will be available online and on many Norfolk buses, the County Council will be linking with Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis who has secured a Westminster Hall debate on rural buses on Tuesday October 11 to help highlight the county's plight.

The petition was officially launched outside County Hall on Monday last when council leaders and Brandon Lewis displayed a giant bus ticket demanding the return of £4.5m of funding to Norfolk taxpayers. A number of buses provided a backdrop for the occasion.

Norfolk County Council Leader Derrick Murphy said: "We strongly support the principle of the concessionary bus fare scheme, but the Government simply must give us the tools to do the job. It's completely unfair that taxpayers in Norfolk are being saddled with a huge bill for a scheme at a time when funding for rural transport is under such extreme pressure. We need to send a strong message to Westminster that this unfair system simply can't continue."

Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth, said: "I am a passionate supporter of the bus service in Norfolk. In a rural county such as ours, it is a vital lifeline to many hundreds of people in Great Yarmouth and thousands in Norfolk as a whole. However, the current framework the Coalition Government has inherited from the previous Government is unsustainable and has the potential to create a perverse situation where councils are paying to provide passes to residents who will not have any buses to use them on.

"I am supporting this campaign, as I feel it is essential that ministers, especially Norman Baker MP, understand how serious this situation is. I intend my Westminster Hall debate to act as a catalyst to this process; it will bring Norfolk buses to the very heart of Parliament. It is important that the campaign is backed by residents. We need to show that Norfolk people value and care about their bus service, so I would encourage everyone to sign the petition."

The Fair Fares online petition can be accessed via either the County Council's website or .

In addition to signing the online petition, anyone can register approval of the campaign's Facebook page by searching .

A print-friendly version of the petition is available for download from

Petitions will also be available in County Council libraries.

More Additions to the Anglian Fleet

Following a Scania dealer visit in September, three Omnilinks were noted in a yellow based livery which has subsequently been identified as the order placed by Beccles-based Anglianbus.

The registrations are YT61FFA/B/C but no fleet numbers are allocated at the moment. It is believed that they will be based at Anglian's Rackheath depot for use on Norwich services. For Jamie Vendy's exclusive pictures see Andys Bus blog.

Meanwhile, Anglian has also acquired two more vehicles from Ensign of Purfleet. Grahame Bessey reports that they are Solo YN04LWP and Trident X384NNO

Keep your eyes peeled for the newcomers!

Thursday 29 September 2011

Busy Beccles!

Another glorious indian summer's day and an afternoon's visit to another Suffolk market town. This time the spotlight falls on Beccles, just over the Norfolk border.

The main reason for the visit was to hunt down Nightingales Leyland Olympian F633LMJ. Having noted earlier in the day on east-anglia-buses yahoo group that it is normally parked close to the Sir John Leman School, I set about finding it. Not long after locating the school, the ex-Barfordian vehicle drove on to the forecourt behind an Anglian Scania to await its passengers.

Nightingales' Leyland Olympian F633LMJ seen later passing through Beccles 

With mission accomplished, I backtracked to the centre of the town and parked up in a one hour parking space. A short walk to the bus station saw me arrive at 3pm exactly with little happening; other than Anglian's Volvo Olympian 507 (HIL7618) awaiting its next duty

Anglian's Leyland Olympian 507 (HIL7618) leaves the bus stand

It was another 15 minutes before anything else arrived and then all hell broke lose! Firstly, StreetLite 323 (MX60BWK) arrived to work the 581 to Great Yarmouth. Pulling up behind it was First Eastern Counties 32208 (LT52WTO) working the X2 from Norwich to Lowestoft. Moments later Anglian Solo 300 (YT51EBF) arrived in the next bay to work the 522 service to Halesworth

Some five minutes later, another StreetLite arrived from Great Yarmouth to work the 580 to Diss. The vehicle was 325 (MX60GXA), which gave me the opportunity of photographing the two of them together.

However, there was more to come. One of the three 'new' Anglian Tridents (X309NNO) arrived in the bay behind MX60BWK. Still retaining its London Red livery, it was working schools service BR001.

Later arrivals included Anglian's 'gas bus' 307 (AU54EOA) and First Eastern Counties 32207 (LT52WTN). The latter was the second Yarmouth vehicle seen being used on the X2 route that afternoon.

All in all very interesting and busy 50 minutes or so in this small Suffolk town.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

National Treble

Three of the National Holidays fleet were to be found at Beach Coach Station yesterday.

They were Setra 155 (NH09GRH), Volvo 555 (YJ03VML)  and Volvo 752 (NH05CDH). The first two are shown below enjoying a slightly misty indian summer.

Monday 26 September 2011

Sunday in Felixstowe

A visit to another Suffolk seaside town in lovely weather. This time it was Felixstowe on Sunday. It proved to be an desert for bus activity with only one vehicle seen throughout the day.

That was First Eastern Counties' Volvo B7TL 32491 (AU53HKJ) pictured here in Hamilton Road on its way into the Suffolk town. The service was the 75 route between Ipswich and Felixstowe which operates at  hourly intervals on a Sunday.

I was only made aware of its imminent arrival as passengers were queuing for the return journey on the opposite side of the road. After all I had to keep myself occupied whilst the better half was shopping!

Friday 23 September 2011

Afternoon In Lowestoft

As it was a mild sunny day, I decided to spend the afternoon in Lowestoft. On both X1 journeys to and from  the Suffolk town I was lucky in claiming one of the upstairs front seats on the Gemini!

After arriving at Lowestoft Bus Station, I wandered along the High Street window shopping on my way to the seafront. Near the railway station I noted Belle Coaches 42 (LIL9714) heading southbound.

After a seafront stroll and a cuppa, I returned to Gordon Road to watch activities there. Operator Anglian didn't disappoint as there were two deckers within a minute of each other on the 601 route between Great Yarmouth and Southwold. The photo below shows 'new' 508 (X251NNO) on the northbound service to Great Yarmouth.

The Trident was quickly followed by Scania 505 (AO57HCC), a regular vehicle on the 601 service, with a return working to Southwold.

Anglian's 525 route provided relative newcomer Scania 435 (YT11LVF) at the bus station shortly before heading south.

An enjoyable leisurely afternoon in the warm sun (for a change!)

Tuesday 20 September 2011

National Double

Two of the seven coaches at Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station this afternoon were operated by National Holidays

The vehicles were (left to right) NH05CDH and YC02CFV - both regular visitors to the resort.

Saturday 17 September 2011

Railway Station Javelins

As National Express East Anglia runs its summer holiday trains from London to the town until the end of the month, Reynolds continues to provide a shuttle service between the station and holiday centres in Great Yarmouth, Caister, California and Hemsby.

Today the service was being provided by their Dennis Javelin CHZ4796 (formerly J799FTS) which is seen outside the station awaiting its passengers off the iminent London train.

Hiding in a car park at the rear of the station was another Dennis Javelin - this time Smiths Coaches FN02HGY. It is not known whether it was between workings or was due to operate on rail replacement as engineering work was due to take place later in the day.

FN02HGY is also one ot the entrants due to appear at the Showbus event being held at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford tomorrow (18th September)

Thursday 15 September 2011

Beach Coach Station - 14th September 2011

Wednesday is market day in Great Yarmouth and yesterday it also coincided with horse racing at the local racecourse. The day was part of the course's three day Eastern Festival which helped to swell the number of coaches at the town's coach station.

Two Shearings coaches were on display - Volvo B12M 507 (MX03 AAY) and regular visitor Setra 217 (BF10VCK). The former is shown below.

From the north of the county came Sanders VDF/Van Hool YJ07JNO

Also present was Nottingham City Coaches YN07DZG, which was again noted in the town having visited just three weeks ago. Fowler's Travel's Volvo VDO929, Soames Volvo WJ02VRT and TransLinc's TC53TLC (below) also contributed to the total of 19 present.

Trolleybus Gala Weekend

In addition to the Norwich Bus Rally, this weekend also saw the East Anglia Transport Museum hold its Trolleybus Gala Weekend. Despite this, the museum reports a successful two day event.

All available trolleybuses were in service including the two Newcastle Corporation examples 628 (NBB628) and 501 (LTN501). The latter is on loan from the Beamish Museum.

The event also saw the line up of no less than three former Lowestoft Corporation double deckers Nos 12, 8 and 21- see previous post on number 12 being back on the road

With this year being the celebration of 100 years of Maidstone and District it was apt that AEC Reliance C28 (28TKR) made an appearance at Carlton Colville. She looked resplendent in her Harrington Granadier bodywork.

Also making an appearance from that part of the country was an Aldershot and District Dennis Falcon. No 282 (POR428) has a Strachan B30F body and was new to the company in 1956. It was withdrawn in 1967.

Another interesting vehicle attending was a Cravens bodied AEC Regent III in the shape of ex-London Transport RT1431 (JXC194). A batch of 120 were built by the Sheffield manufacturer to help with the large  replacement of post war London buses. Only two of these non standard types exist today with RT1431 being the only one certified for passenger use.

My thanks to Tim Major for the information and photographs. All photographs are © Tim Major

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Unusual Visitor

Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach station witnessed an unusual visitor yesterday afternoon. It was in the form of an Iveco Euromidi registered FN02VBK. The vehicle is owned by SM Coaches of Harlow and has Indcar Maxim bodywork capable of accommodating 29 passengers
The vehicle was one of only eight at the site - possibly an indication that summer is nearing its end (if it hasn't ended already!)

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Norwich Bus Rally

A total of 40 buses and coaches attended this year's Norwich Bus Rally which was held at the Norfolk Showground on the outskirts of Norwich on Sunday .

Mark P visited the rally and has provided some photographs of old and not so old vehicles in attendance. First up is the former Eastern Counties Omnibus Company's Bristol RELL WNG864H. She has Eastern Coach Works bodywork.

Also on show was one of the First Eastern Counties' new Gemini 2s 36169 (BD11CFO) which normally operates on Norwich City Services.

Finally one of Anglian's Optare Versas also made an appearance - this is 436 (AU11EPE)

Another noteable appearance on the day was former Lowestoft Corporation No.12 PBJ2F, a Leyland PD2/Massey double deck bus - see my earlier post for report/picture of this vehicle.

A full list of the vehicles attending the rally can be viewed on the Eastern Transport Collection's website

My thanks to Mark P for allowing me to use his photos.

Lowestoft Corporation No 12

After being out of public view for the last 25 years, Lowestoft Corporation No 12 is now back on the road. She was unveiled this weekend at the East Anglia Transport Museum at Carlton Colville prior to attending the Norwich Bus Rally on Sunday.

No 12 has the registration PBJ2F and is a Leyland PD2 with Massey H34/28R bodywork. I understand  that almost all other PDs with the St Helen's style front grille were designated PD2A.

Above Lowestoft Corporation AEC Regent No 8 (918NRT) was brought out of the restoration bay at Carlton Colville for a special photo call alongside No 12.

This is the first time the two have been seen together since 1978. Also behind is Lowestoft Corporation AEC Regent No 21 GBJ192.

My thanks to Syd Eade for the report and photographs - the latter being copyrighted

Monday 12 September 2011

Reynolds Activity

Reynolds Coaches of Caister-on-Sea has acquired DAF/Caetano KBZ3167. Grahame Bessey was on hand to photograph it at Ormesby Road on Friday morning (9th September) prior to operating a schools service.

Volvo BIG9836, which bears the name Lady Georgina, has been painted into a silver colour scheme. My thanks to Grahame for the report and picture.

Meanwhile, another Reynolds' DAF/Caetano, BEZ3135, has moved north of the border to Cochrane Travel of Armadale, West Lothian and can be viewed here still in its Reynolds livery.

Thursday 8 September 2011

Routemaster Goes

The last of the three First Eastern Counties Routemasters have now left Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot.

The blue and cream liveried RML 2717 (SMK717F) left the town yesterday afternoon on a low loader bound for Glasgow, having been purchased by a private buyer.

RML 2717 was painted into 'Great Yarmouth Transport' colours but the colour scheme didn't really match the original livery. The three Routemasters were primarily used on seasonal/hire work and subsequently proved unreliable for their intensive seasonal duties. They all suffered limited use in recent years being only used for private hire work.

SMK717F's former depot companion, Flying Banana Routemaster RML 2623 (NML623E) is now based in Essex and has London Red livery for use on private hire. She was photographed a month ago in Chelmsford by Syd Eade and is scheduled to appear at Showbus later this month.

© Syd Eade

A further report and photos of the departure of RML2717 from Caister Road can be seen on Andys Bus Blog

Wednesday 7 September 2011

An In-between Day

Yesterday I made a visit to Great Yarmouth and I found it to be one of those in-between days - neither summer nor autumn. (although the cooler, wet and dull day pointed towards the latter!)

Operational wise, the two seafront routes operated by Swift and Our Bus had ceased although the seasonal First Eastern Counties half hourly service between Hemsby Beach and Great Yarmouth continues to run.

Beach Coach Station held fifteen vehicles in spite of the awful weather. R W Chenery's  

Setra NBU707 was on view (above) together with National Holidays' Volvo B12M NH04GCH (below)

No school services were operating as most of the local schoolchildren did not return after the summer break until this morning. An opportunity, therefore, to see what remains of the Swift Taxis fleet following the recent auction. So my journey back home via Swift's two Gapton Hall sites was made in torrential rain!

Their headquarters at Morton Peto Road saw Dart  FJ53VDL continuing its sentry duties at the front entrance. Mercedes Vario AE07NZC was also present whilst Volvo N962DWJ was at the back of the site.

At the Copyax Yard a number of the original nine placed in the recent auction had gone - remaining were Dart L907JRN plus Scania's WJI9828 and M26XSC. Also there was Volvo S11WFT.

On Swift's own website, under 'Used Vehicles For Sale', it stated that 'Sorry all vehicles are sold please check back later'. Looks as though some of the old vehicles have now moved on with Swift maintaining a slimmer fleet.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Anglian's New Tridents

As you may have seen in the two previous postings, Anglianbus has acquired three former Stagecoach London Alexander ALX400 bodied Dennis Tridents from Ensignbus.

So far only two of the Anglan liveried vehicles have been noted in service and both have been featured on this blog with pictures from Grahame Bessey and Syd Eade. For the record these two vehicles are 508 X251NNO and 510 X386NNO. The third Trident is 509 X309NNO

Grahame was in Lowestoft yesterday evening and was more prepared this time to get an excellent picture of 508 leaving Lowestoft Bus Station. My thanks to Grahame for the use of the photo.

© Grahame Bessey

Saturday 3 September 2011

Syd's Snippets

Syd Eade was out and about in Lowestoft and Norwich today and noted some interesting developments.

Firstly, before heading to the 'Fine City' he photographed the second of Anglian's Tridents (X251NNO) on Lowestoft's Denmark Road heading for Southwold on the 601 service.

Whilst in Norwich this afternoon he saw one of  First Eastern Counties new Gemini's straying  from its normal 25/35 duties. 36179 (BD11CDY) was being employed on service 27 in Castle Meadow.

Also in Norwich, Syd snapped Whippet Volvo B12M J669LGA in Thorpe Road this morning on Coastal Service A to Great Yarmouth - a regular performer on this route.

Finally, he reports that all First Eastern Counties vehicles have had new legal lettering applied today - changing their address to the head office at Chelmsford.

As always, my thanks to Syd for his report and photographs.
All photographs are © Syd Eade.

More New Anglian Arrivals

Grahame Bessey passed the Anglian depot at Ellough in Beccles yesterday and noted two former Stagecoach London Dennis Trident/Alexander double deckers on site. One was in Anglian livery (X386NNO) whilst the other still retains its London Red livery.

Grahame caught the former, complete with fleetnumber 510. departing Lowestoft Bus Station on the 601 service to Southwold yesterday.

Photograph © Grahamme Bessey

Thursday 1 September 2011

Service Alterations

With the summer season drawing to a close, local operators have been busy in the last couple of months registering changes to local bus services.


Variation accepted by SN: Operating between Blofield Heath and Gt Yarmouth/Gt Yarmouth College given service number A47/830 effective from 05-Sep-2011. To amend Timetable.

Ambassador Travel

Cancellation Accepted by SN: Operating between Belton and Norwich given service number 910/911 effective from 31-Aug-2011.

             Registration Accepted by SN
             Starting Point: Ditchingham
             Finish point: Gorleston
             Service Number: 879
             Service type: Normal Stopping
             Effective Date: 07-SEP-2011
Other Details: College days only.

First Eastern Counties

Variation accepted: Operating between NEWPORT (CARAVAN PARK) and GREAT YARMOUTH (SEASHORE HOLIDAY PARK) given service number 3 effective from 25-Sep-2011. To amend Timetable.

Swift Taxis

Cancellation Accepted: Operating between Great Yarmouth and Loddon given service number 301 effective from 04-Sep-2011.

Cancellation Accepted by SN: Operating between Caister Police Station and St Mary's R C Primary School given service number 826 effective from 04-Sep-2011.

* The above information was sourced from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency bus registration search and is Crown Copyright.