Wednesday 31 October 2012

Caister Road Revised Update

First's recently withdrawn Volvo B10M/ Plaxton Premier 20102 N602APU left Caister Road early this afternoon on a low loader bound for Apha Recovery; not Earith as previously reported

Thomas Baker was there to witness its departure and recorded the event on film for us

Dart SLF 43452 P452RPW also made its last journey to the Northumberland dealer

With the sixth Enviro (45112) leaving Caister Road, Lowestoft have sent SLF 42448 R448CCV  in return. Incidentally the Enviro was seen by Grahame Bessey working on the 101 service in Lowestoft early this morning

Finally, MPD 43359 V359DVG has had its new engine installed at Caister Road and, still with a few other bits and pieces to do, it should move back to Suffolk soon

My thanks to Ryan, Grahame Bessey and Thomas Baker for the reports and to the latter for the photo as well

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Enviro 200 Goes On Tour!

Enviro 44928 at Lowestoft Bus Station last night ready to work the X2
Photo © James Race
Since my last update a further two Enviro 200s have joined the fleet at Lowestoft; they are 45116 VT09JPT and 44928 EU08FHB

Both were brought into service almost immediately with the latter surprisingly working the 2100 hours X2 Lowestoft to Norwich service and return last night!

James Race took a superb photo of her at Lowestoft Bus Station prior to departure

On the Dart front another Lowestoft vehicle has moved to Great Yarmouth in the form of 43433 P433NEX

However, as suggested earlier on the blog, Premiere 20115 N615APU has now been withdrawn at Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot

My thanks to Syd Eade and Ryan for the reports and to James Race for the photo

Monday 29 October 2012

First Dart Update

Following my report on Saturday, regarding a bleak future for Dart MPD 43359 V359DVG, comes the good news that she is to return to service sometime later this week

Ryan tells me that she has been undergoing repair at Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot for almost two weeks now and is having a brand new engine fitted.

I took a photo of her at Gordon Road, Lowestoft shortly after being transferred from First Essex Braintree depot to work Beccles services.

With the introduction of the Enviro 200s at Lowestoft, Syd Eade reports the first Dart casualty; SLF 42429 P429ORL was listed as withdrawn on Saturday

Further news is that Great Yarmouth's Volvo B10M/ Plaxton Premiere 20115 N615APU is due for its MOT soon and is expected to withdrawn as well

My thanks to Ryan and Syd for their continuing support

Saturday 27 October 2012

E200s ~ First Day of Active Service

As reported in yesterdays blog posting, three of First's recently acquired Enviro 200s finally entered service in Lowestoft yesterday.

Both Syd Eade and Grahame Bessey have provided more photos of  their first day in service

Syd's picture shows 45117 ST58JPT on a Beccles bound X22
service in Long Road, Lowestoft, with a second Enviro (45118 ST09JPT) also appearing on the route during the afternoon

Third Enviro 45119 RT09JPT first appeared in service on the day on service 102 to Oulton Village

Grahame also caught 45118 on the same route later that afternoon at Gordon Road Bus Station

The arrival of the three Enviro 200s in the town has not caused any Lowestoft Darts to be withdrawn, as yet!

I have already reported the move of  42451 R451CCV to Great Yarmouth but Syd also adds that two others are currently out of use pending repairs and may not see further service. They are MPD 43359 V359DVG and SLF 43435 P435NEX

My thanks to both Syd and Grahame for their photos which are copyrighted.

Friday 26 October 2012

Lowestoft E200s Already in Service!

After their arrival yesterday, Lowestoft's First depot lost little time in entering the three Enviro 200's in service

Syd Eade posted that 45117 ST58JPT was being employed first thing this morning, whilst sister 45118 ST09JPT was being used on staff familiarisation at the town's bus station

Meanwhile Grahame Bessey caught the last of the trio, 45119 RT09JPT, on the 105 service to the Rock Estate this morning

My thanks to Grahame for the information and photograph

Caister Road Activity

Three of the recently acquired Enviro 200s finally left First's Great Yarmouth depot bound for Lowestoft late yesterday afternoon

The three were 45117-19 which carry the registrations ST58JPT, ST09JPT and RT09JPT respectively

Grahame Bessey photographed 45117 outside the Caister Road depot at around 4:30 yesterday afternoon awaiting its journey into Suffolk

Ryan tells me that following their arrival, Lowestoft sent Dennis Dart/Plaxton Pointer 42451 R451CCV to Caister Road

On the downside, the number of Darts at Great Yarmouth are to be reduced soon with 43441 P441NEX due to be withdrawn along with 43452 P452RPW

My appreciation goes to Grahame and Ryan for the information and also to the former for the photo

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Second First Worcester Arrival

Grahame Bessey reports that the second of the two former First Midlands (Worcester) vehicles arrived at First's Great Yarmouth's  Caister Road depot yesterday.

Volvo B12M coach 20514 WV02EUP joins sister 20515 for use on the X1 shorts between the town and Norwich

Thomas Baker was on hand to take a photo of her outside the front of the depot

My thanks to Grahame and Thomas for the report and picture respectively

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Gloucestershire Break ~ Day Two

A report on day two of our break in Gloucestershire with most of October 2nd being spent in either Cheltenham or Gloucester.

Stagecoach C&G 47558 VX57NUU at Racecourse Park & Ride
After agreeing to spend a day and a half (must have been mad!!) in the Gloucester Family History Centre  researching my wife's family history, I negotiated a trip on the Gloucester & Warwickshire Railway between Cheltenham Racecourse and Winchcombe

With some visitors from across the pond riding as well this made the trip an enjoyable experience.

For the rail enthusiasts amongst you, the train was hauled by LMS Class 8F 2-8-0 8274 of 1941 vintage
Stagecoach C&G Enviro 36394 VU11BUA in Cheltenham High Street
Following my treat, I chatted with the man running the railway's bookshop who revealed that a park and ride scheme operated from the racecourse; parking was free and so was the ride if you had a concessionary bus pass (Bonus!)

On parking up we proceeded to the pick up point and I found Stagecoach Cheltenham & Gloucester Optare Solo 47558 VX57NUU awaiting passengers before departure time

The journey to the centre didn't take
South Gloucestershire Volvo B9/Levante FJ60HYV on
National Express duty at Royal Well Bus Station, Cheltenham
too long and we were dropped off in Winchcombe Street.

With my wife opting for some retail therapy I opted for some bus photography in areas close to the town centre

With the need for a change in backdrop for the pictures I decided to seek out the bus station on Royal Well Road

What a pleasant location with trees in abundance and buses passing by or visiting the bus station

Swanbrook Solo V845OOF passes Marchants
Volvo B6LE R512KNJ in Winchcombe Street
Returning to Winchcombe Street I was lucky to photograph buses from two local independents - Swanbrook and Marchants almost side by side

With my wife being 'shopped out' and me satisfied with my haul of bus photos we decided to return to the Park and Ride

We thought we would make a quick visit to Gloucester to sort out my mobile phone which packed up on me earlier in the day - the Cheltenham store was undergoing refurbishment (typical really!)

Two Stagecoach C&G Dennis Tridents pass each other
on route 10 in Eastgate Street, Gloucester 
I only had time for quick pic in Gloucester; which is of two Stagecoach Cheltenham & Gloucester double deckers passing in Eastgate Street next to The Mall Shopping Centre

Numerous other pictures taken on the day will be available soon on my Flickr site

What of the family history research? Well that went very well too! I can highly recommend a visit to the Family History Centre which has friendly people always willing to help

Monday 22 October 2012

Another First Routemaster

Regular contributor Zak Nelson emailed me last night to report the sighting of another First Routemaster in Gorleston yesterday

It was JJD374D, formerly First 39374 in the First Devon & Cornwall fleet, and was displaying Private Hire on the destination screen

The 1965 Routemaster was delivered new to London Transport as their RML2374. It was employed by LT until 1994, when it was privatised as part of the CentreWest fleet which was later bought by FirstGroup

In April 2004 RML2374 was transferred to First's Devon & Cornwall subsidiary, where it operated Park & Ride services. A private individual acquired her in July 2007

Unfortunately Zak was unable to get a photo but one of JJD374D is reproduced here under the creative commons licence.

This photo of her was taken at a bus rally in Plymouth, Devon by Graham Richardson

Sunday 21 October 2012

Gloucestershire Short Break ~ Day One

As referred to previously, I spent a few days in Gloucestershire at the beginning of October primarily to assist my wife's search of family history information at the Gloucester Family History Centre
Cotswold Green Mercedes N912ETM in Dursley

Preliminary searches revealed a family link with the market town of Dursley, located just off the M5 some 12 miles south of Gloucester.
So armed with a camera we went to record important locations (and bus activity too!!) on the 1st October

The first photo is of a Mercedes 709D in the green and white livery of Cotswold Green in Dursley

I later found that the independent runs a web blog which can be viewed here
Soon after Stagecoach Cheltenham & Gloucester got in on the act too with their Optare Solo M950 47552 VX07LYD being noted at the small Dursley Bus Station

Not to be outdone a Dart from First Avon & Somerset also put in an appearance

Plaxton Pointer bodied 46256 P256PAE is seen  turning into May Lane heading for the bus station on the 311 service from Thornbury

After some lunch we decided to drive to Stroud and  arrived there in heavy rain

Having negotiated our way through the school buses and finding our way to the central area we decided not to stop and continued onto Cirencester through continuous wet weather.

Shortly before arriving there the rain abated and we decided to park up and explore the town centre

The first bus noted was another 
Dennis Dart L720JUD; this time operated by Cotswold Green.

A picture of this can be seen here on my Flickr site

As we continued our wanderings along Castle Street, we were passed by Pullham's Travel Optare Solo M950SL YJ56APZ on the 855 to Kemble

Continuing into Park Street we were treated to a view of an Andybus vehicle - not to be confused with a 
bus blog of the same name!!

It was yet another Solo - YV03UTY of  the M850 variant in the operator's orange and white colour scheme.

This independent is registered as Andrew James (!) and is based in Malmesbury, Wiltshire

Quite an interesting variety of vehicles seen in different liveries on day one

Day two report coming up soon

Saturday 20 October 2012

X1 Shorts

The newly introduced X1 timetable linking Lowestoft with Peterborough via Great Yarmouth, Norwich and Kings Lynn includes half hourly X1 shorts between Great Yarmouth and Norwich in competition with AnglianBus

Regular contributor Grahame Bessey went in to Great Yarmouth town centre this morning to discover what was working the new X1 shuttles.

As expected the former First Midlands (Worcester) Volvo B12M 20515 WV02EUR was noted on one of the journeys and arrived in Market Gates to be replaced by Volvo Olympian 34114 W434CWX

Volvo B10M/Plaxton Premier 20115 N615APU was also espied on the X1 shorts too with the old girl still going strong

Another Volvo saloon, this time a B10BLE version, was also noted with 60814 S665RNA doing the honours

The Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B9TLs form the mainstay of the Lowestoft to Peterborough service

However, you can't help but compare the vehicles used by the two operators along the A47 Norwich - Great Yarmouth corridor; First are using almost anything compared to AnglianBus primarily employing Scanias with an 03 registration or later (though some older vehicles are used from time to time)

My thanks to Grahame for his report and photos

Thursday 18 October 2012

Dart Demise

Buried in the report of the return of the Enviro 200's to Caister Road was the withdrawal of a Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart

The vehicle in question is 43453 R453RPW which was new to Great Yarmouth's First Blue Bus in 1997

Thomas Baker has sent me a photo of her in the Caister Road depot yesterday afternoon looking a little forlorn

She is being cannibalised for parts with windscreen wipers and the radiator grill being the first to go.

Coincidently I travelled back to Gorleston yesterday afternoon on sister vehicle 43452 R452RPW!

Many thanks for the photo Thomas

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Beach Coach Station ~ 17th October 2012

An early afternoon trawl of Beach Coach Station brought a catch of ten coaches

Belle Coaches Setra 37 MIL3503 was about to leave to pick up shoppers at Market Gates for their short return journey to Lowestoft.

Also making an appearance were three coaches from the Shearings fleet

Two were Setra S416GT-HD types -they were 128 BK09LUW and 315 BK11CPE (pictured)

The Shearings threesome was completed by Volvo B12M 717 MX05AHK wearing its Grand Tourer livery

National Holidays Volvo B12M YJ03VOM, a regular visitor to the town, was also on site

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Bus Wars?

With the recent introduction of new timetables by both AnglianBus and First on their services between Great Yarmouth and Norwich it appears that the route is becoming intensely competitive.

MAN EcoCity gas bus WX61FXO on trial with AnglianBus in December 2011
AnglianBus are continuing their aggressive stance by introducing a new service between Lowestoft and Norwich in competition with First's X2 route.

Service 146 is to start between the two centres in early December and it is expected that some of the 13 new gas powered buses currently on order could be used on the route.

The buses are part funded under round three of the government’s Green Bus Fund which is aimed at reducing fuel emission levels by encouraging bus operators and local councils to use more eco-friendly vehicles.

Speaking to the East Suffolk Travellers Association on Saturday AnglianBus general manager Andrew Pursey said:
We trialled the bus on three different routes last year and were extremely pleased with the results and feedback from drivers and passengers. We were successful with our bid earlier this year and I am hoping we will see them in a few weeks’ time – to start in December or January.
The new vehicles represent a significant investment by the company and they should also make an appearance on services in the Great Yarmouth area.

My thanks to Christian Newsome for alerting me to registration of the AnglianBus 146 service

Monday 15 October 2012

New X1 Services

Yesterday saw the introduction of the new X1 timetable connecting Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth with Norwich, Kings Lynn and Peterborough

In addition to the daytime half hourly Lowestoft - Peterborough service, there are the so called "X1 shorts" linking Great Yarmouth with Norwich at peak times.

These additional services are being augmented into a regular frequency timetable which will mean extra services from Great Yarmouth at 27 & 57 minutes past the hour and eastbound from Norwich at 10 & 40 minutes past the hour.

The full timetable is on First's website and can be viewed by clicking here

Sunday 14 October 2012

Wrong Line & Breakdown Too!

Wright Eclipse 66330 fails whilst working the 24A service
Quite recently there have been numerous reports on bus enthusiast sites concerning the use of  the wrong vehicle on the wrong routes on Norwich city services

This was also evident on Saturday evening last as highlighted by Joe Wilson's report on the use of the Purple Line bus on Norwich's Red Line!    

Not only that but it breaks down too!

Joe takes up the story...
On Saturday evening I happened across something that was very noteworthy and almost as funny. On Plumstead Road, close to Aldi a purple line Volvo B7 Wright Eclipse 66330 was spotted.
Not only was she on the wrong route, but she had failed (running out of diesel) on double yellow lines no less!
The bus was working the 24A to the city centre, however, to add further comedy to the situation the screen would rewrite its self, swapping from the 24A to the 23B (have attached pictures of it saying both, I, nor anybody else changed it).
........ or was it working the 23B route?

Another embarrassing state of affairs for First Norwich!

No doubt we will continue to get the incorrectly coloured vehicles on the wrong coloured routes

My thanks to Joe for his report and numerous photos

Saturday 13 October 2012

More Enviro 200s Return

Following the arrival of First's Enviro 45117 ST58JPT earlier this week, Grahame Bessey reports that a further three examples returned to Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot yesterday.

One of the first Enviros to return was RT09JPT © Grahame Bessey
They are 45116 VT09JPT plus both of the former Townlynx vehicles DK57SXF and DK57SXG

The latter are numbered 44512 and 44513 in the fleet respectively

This now takes the total to six at the depot - leaving  just ST09JPT to return from Full Circle

It shouldn't be too long now before they enter service at Lowestoft

My thanks to Grahame for the continuous updates and the photo

Friday 12 October 2012

Swift Interlude

Correspondent Joe Watson has sent me some pictures of his consecutive daily visits to Great Yarmouth coach operator Swift Taxis' Southtown yard on the 10th and 11th of October

The company's Southtown Road premises quite often provides a glimpse of the many variety of vehicles owned by this operator and the first photo reflects  just that

Of particular interest is long term Great Yarmouth vehicle Plaxton bodied Dennis Javelin G470LVG; she was acquired from Caroline Seagull following its demise.

To recognise this the coach has been named Swift Seagull by the company

Also present were Volvo B10M's GLZ3141 (formerly M733KJU) and 491JVX
The latter also saw service with Shearings as their M124UWY

The final picture is of another Volvo B10M; this is Plaxton Premier bodied N962DWJ

My thanks to Joe for these pictures and for more of them taken on the day see Norwich Bus Page report  

Also further pics of this local operator's fleet can be viewed on my  Flickr site

Thursday 11 October 2012

Blackpool Bits

For something completely different, let's take a look at what's happening in one of Great Yarmouth's competing seaside resorts - Blackpool

Rob Collins spent a few days there in mid-September in typical British summer weather which was not all that conducive to taking good photographs.

The first picture is of one of the newly introduced Bombardier
built Flexity 2 trams nearing the Bispham stop.

This is white and purple liveried 009 which was placed in service in early April this year and is shown heading for Starr Gate

The next photo shows Blackpool Transport East Lancs Lolyne bodied Denis Trident 315 PJ03TFX passing tram No 011

Rob reports that in
addition to the poor weather, buses had to negotiate the many roadworks in the town with them being sent all over the place!

The final view is of  Blackpool Transport's 533 BF60UVS picking up passengers on its route to Lytham Square - it's a Plaxton Centro bodied Volvo B7RE

My thanks to Rob Collins for his photos

Wednesday 10 October 2012

StreetLites in Gorleston

AnglianBus StreetLite MX60GXA in Gorleston High Street
Until recently appearances of the AnglianBus StreetLite quintet in the Great Yarmouth area have been mainly confined to Beccles services.

However, they are now becoming common on the 601 route as well; which operates between the town, Lowestoft, Kessingland and Southwold.

Yesterday was no exception as AnglianBus 325 MX60GXA was noted in Gorleston High Street on the 14:50 Great Yarmouth (Market Gates) to Kessingland working

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Enviro 200s - First Pics In Refreshed Livery

Ex JP Transport RT09JPT now 45119 in the First fleet © Ryan
Regular blog readers will be aware that two of First Eastern Counties Euro 200s have returned to Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot after a visit to the paint shops at Full Circle.

I am pleased to bring you the first pictures of the duo which arrived at the depot on Friday last

The vehicles are former JP Transport RT09JPT and ex SM Coaches EU08 FHB and are both in the refreshed livery
44928 EU08FHB complete with Lowestoft branding © Terry Wilkins
complete with First Lowestoft branding

Other news from Caister Road is that Plaxton bodied Volvo B10M 20102 N602APU has been withdrawn from service.

She is dumped in the rear yard at Caister Road and it seems that my picture featuring in the posting of 3rd October must have been one of her last workings

Another local vehicle
20102 has seen better times © Terry Wilkins
to be withdrawn is Dennis Dart/ Plaxton Pointer 43453 R453RPW; new to First Blue Bus in Great Yarmouth in 1997.

My thanks to Ryan for the information and photographs

My thanks also goes to Terry Wilkins for his pictures

I am also grateful to Grahame Bessey  for spotting the 'deliberate mistake'!

Monday 8 October 2012

Monday Meander

Some shopping and business in Great Yarmouth town centre this morning interspersed with opportunities to observe bus activity

I travelled into town on a First Dart which was overtaken  on Howard Street North by AnglianBus Plaxton Derwent bodied Denis Javelin CSK282 on an X47 working to Norwich

My Dart followed it into the Market Gates Bus Station and it was parked in a great position for a lovely picture; but I was otherwise gainfully employed listening about a friend's USA holiday! However, I did manage to get a picture of the bus on the return working from Norwich. CSK282 was acting a replacement for Scania R82EMB which broke down in South Walsham on the 731 service earlier in the day. The vehicle on the 731 normally then continues on to work the A47/X47 service. The Scania had resumed its duties by mid-afternoon.

On completion of the lengthy holiday tale, I was passed by Ambassador Travel's Volvo B12M/ Sunsundegui 251 FJ06BRF

As it was wearing 'Just go holidays by coach' branding I assumed it was dropping off holidaymakers

I was completely wrong as its passengers were seen alighting with shopping bags bearing
the ASDA name; it was being employed as the ASDA Shoppers bus!

It made at least two return journeys until around midday when the normal Optare Solo was seen on the route.

A wander to the Beach Coach Station revealed a Plaxton Panther bodied Volvo B9R (FJ59CBU) from Soames parked up whilst on an Alfa Travel contract
Finally I returned to Market Gates in time to witness the passing of former Metrobus YN03WRP in its new AnglianBus colour scheme

Whilst she has now received AnglianBus branding she has yet to have the destination displays working.
Hence, the white card displaying 601!

My thanks to Joe at Norwich Bus Page for the additional info.

Saturday 6 October 2012

Enviro 200s Return

RT09JPT at the rear of Caister Road depot in August prior to a repaint
Grahame Bessey informs me that two of the Enviro 200s returned from the paint shops to Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot yesterday

They are former JP Transport RT09JPT and former SM Coaches EU08FHB; both painted in the 'refreshed livery' with Lowestoft branding.

They have received First fleet numbers 45119 and 44928 respectively and are now awaiting service preparation before moving over to Lowestoft

My thanks to Grahame for the report and to James Race for the photograph

Friday 5 October 2012

Worcester Sauce!

The previous blog post highlighted the fact that two First Midlands (Worcester) Volvo B12Ms have been allocated to First's Great Yarmouth depot

Grahame Bessey reported that 20515 WV02EUR arrived on Tuesday at Caister Road and, on passing the depot today, I caught site of her outside

It appears that she has been used on X1 duties already as a card displaying the route number was noted inside the windscreen

Wednesday 3 October 2012

News Update

Some of you will be aware that I have been away for a short break in the Gloucestershire area for a few days and whilst I was there I took a few pictures of workings in the area; these will appear on the blog later

However, whilst I have been away activity continues on the local bus scene with reports being received from regular
First 20102 N602APU was employed on X1 duties last Friday (28th September)
contributors Grahame Bessey and Tim Miller

Grahame contacted me earlier today to report two new allocations to Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot

They are Volvo B12M/ Plaxton coaches 20514/20515 WV02EUP/EUR,

Both are ex First Midlands (Worcester) and 20515 arrived yesterday with 20514 expected during the
Trident 33165 LR02LYC working Lowestoft Town Services in heavy rain

These are expected to replace First Eastern Counties existing Volvo B10M's 20102/20115 N602/15APU

Grahame also informs me that Norwich were short of single deckers on Friday (29th September) so Lowestoft sent Dart 43459 R459BNG to the city with Trident 33165 LR02LYC moving in the opposite direction.

Regarding AnglianBus activity, Tim Miller has identified that the second Scania in the Car & Commercials yard with accident damage as YN05HFH

The vehicle's repair to the front nearside corner has been completed and she is now back in service

Finally Grahame caught Ex Brighton & Hove Trident T813RFG on 601 duties at Lowestoft on Monday 1st October

My thanks to Grahame and Tim for their continued support

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Ransome's Tower Wagon

One of the hardly noticeable participants at the East Anglia Transport Museum's Trolleybus Gala held last  month was the former Ipswich Corporation Ransomes Tower wagon.

Work began on the restoration of 1922 built DX3578 during the summer with the first job being to top up and charge the batteries.

The Transport Museum's Neil
Chilvers reports that after 46 years they are still ok! It can do up to 22 laps of the Museum site.

The plan is to have a Suffolk Day next year with Ipswich Transport Museum's Trolleybus 105 operating and various "Suffolk" built or operated vehicles.

The lower picture shows work undertaken by Ipswich Transport Museum  members at Priory Heath depot on the "fish scaling" of the panels of Trolleybus 105

My thanks to Neil for the report and photographs. My apologies also for the non - appearance of Neil's photos in my initial posting!