Thursday 29 December 2011

2011 ~ A Review

As the year draws to a close it is time to reflect on what has happened on the local bus scene during 2011.

First Eastern Counties

One of the last step entrance darts in use in Great Yarmouth
2011 began with Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot still using two step entrance Darts on local services but both had gone by the end of February.

February also saw Flying Banana Routemaster NML623E moving to Norwich for storage. It re-emerged in July wearing London red colours and working for First Essex at Chelmsford.

The month also witnessed the surprise arrival of Dart 46440 (N810VOD) on local duties.After a 4-5 week tour, also taking it to Ipswich and Norwich, it went south to Basildon.

A newly transferred President on local services
New timetables were introduced on 27th March and, with the reallocation of ten Volvo B7TL/Presidents from Norwich, the number 8 route became all double deck and low floor operated. Not all went to plan though as three were reported to have expired on their first day!

In April, First announced its withdrawl from Kings Lynn by selling its town services to Norfolk Green. This resulted in Caister Road benefitting from three Volvo B7TLs (30887-9) with a fourth following later.

During June four of the new Wright Eclipse Geminis, destined for Norwich, were seen on their journey to Norfolk. Apart from appearing on Royal Norfolk Show shuttles, they were not used again until mid July when they appeared on city routes 25 and 35 following tree lopping.

Traxles in their last days at Caister Road
Also during June the six tri-axles languishing at the rear of Caister Road depot made their last journeys. With the exception of 30097, all were taken for scrap by Earith Commercials. 30097 was preserved by a private buyer from Essex.

Early September saw blue Routemaster SMK717 leave Caister Road on a low loader bound for a Glasgow museum.

The fleet's last Leyland Olympian 34333 (H132FLX) was finally withdrawn in mid-October; only to see it resurrected a month later for use on Bernard Matthews contracts on the run up to Christmas.

Finally, following accident damage to 37156 at the end of November, one of Norwich's new Eclipses (36180) stepped up to X1 duties.

Ambassador Travel

Little to report here other than the sale of their sole Optare Tempo to Norfolk Green. It arrived at the latter's Kings Lynn premises during the week before Christmas.

Anglian Bus & Coach

Anglian's 509 X309NNO still in Stagecoach London red
 in Beccles during September
Anglian took delivery of eight brand new vehicles during 2011 - five Scania Omnilinks and three Optare Versas.

It also acquired five former Stagecoach London Trident ALX400's during August and September. A further Optare Solo was purchased from Veolia during September.

In the opposite direction three former Chester Bus Scanias were sold to Ixworth-based Mulleys and were re-registered.

Anglian also hired a number of vehicles during the year including two StreetLites and a MAN Ecocity branded gas bus (WX61FXO)


Konectbus evaluated a Brighton bendybus in late March on city services. It must have been a success as the Dereham based business took delivery of three of them from Go Ahead London in October with more following towards the end of the year.

All five new Alexander Dennis Enviro 400's arrived before Christmas ready to enter service in the new year on the new konectexpress 8 service.


Nightingales were observed using former Barfordian Leyland Olympian F633LMJ (seen above) on a schools service in Beccles during September


Norse sold six of its Agoralines to Norfolk Green during May. In the same month one of their Tridents caught fire whilst on the Postwick Park and Ride.

Reynolds Coaches

In June Reynolds Coaches received Mercedes Benz BX55FYO from Clarkson of South Elmsall and it was immediately pressed into use on schools services. In the following month the Caister-on-sea operator unveiled its rebodied and repainted Van Hool BEZ3139. It also launched a new website during the summer.

Swift Taxis

Vario AE07NZC on Summer Service 500
With First Eastern Counties terminating its Service 3 at Market Gates, Swift introduced a seafront service during the school summer holidays. The hourly service was provided by their Mercedes Vario AE07NZC.

Surprisingly, during August, Bedford-based W & H Peacock auctioned off ten of Swift's vehicles. It is believed that the reduction in school contracts and services led to their disposal.

On the positive side, however, Swift did gain a former Wallace Arnold Volvo B10M (491JVX) which was noted on schools' services during October.


Finally, I would like to express my thanks to all the regular contributors to the blog. Please keep the reports coming in. I would be pleased to hear from new contributors too.

A Happy New Year To You All!

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