Monday, 31 December 2012

Bits and Pieces

Just a few bits and pieces to relay to you today before the new year activities begin!

First Eastern Counties

Following loan spells at Lowestoft, Dart 43478 R478CAH and Volvo B10LE 66126 S116JTP returned to Great Yarmouth bringing the Caister Road fleet back to normal levels

As expected, Dart 43452 P452RPW has now finally been taken out of service. Due for withdrawal in early November, 43452 escaped on loan to Lowestoft only to return to service in Great Yarmouth during December. She is seen here in a wet Gorleston High Street taking on passengers earlier this month

Former Flying Banana liveried Routemaster 39623 NML623E has moved from Great Yarmouth to Kings Lynn

Of interest to our Ipswich-based readers is the transfer of two Scania L113CRLs from First Chester in the shape of 61528 & 61538 (R116GSF/R129GSF); both as a result of the Stagecoach takeover there

Reynolds Coaches

In line with Reynolds policy of naming their vehicles, their only minibus Ford Transit EJ56UNG has received the name Lady TJ

Many thanks to Ryan and Grahame Bessey for their constant supply of news

Saturday, 29 December 2012

2012 ~ A Review

As the year draws to a close it is time to reflect on what has happened on the local bus scene during 2012

First Eastern Counties

The year began with First's Great Yarmouth Caister Road depot withdrawing Leyland Olympian 34333 H132FLX for the final time, following a temporary reprieve being employed on Bernard Matthews contacts in the lead up to Christmas. Soon after she was transferred to First Essex for further use!

Also in January, the Ipswich Evening Star carried a report that First was to withdraw its services from Bury St Edmunds and closing its depot there at the end of March

Coach wise, Volvo B10M/ Plaxton Premier 20126 P766XHS was taken out of service with gearbox failure during March. Sister 20102 N602APU arrived from Ipswich as replacement; only to be withdrawn herself in October. At around the same time remaining Premier 20115 N615APU also left First for a private buyer in Essex

Early June saw the reintroduction of of First's seasonal 3/3A service in the town - connecting holiday parks with the town centre and seafront. The routes provide regular work for the company's two Routemasters RMLs 2480 and 2623

However, the surprise of the year was the arrival of six Enviro 200s at Caister Road. Obtained from dealers Ensign, they were observed at the rear of the depot in early August. A further example arrived later in the month. After a repaint in the refreshed First Lowestoft livery the vehicles entered service from late October onwards.

First re-branded their Norwich services as First Norwich in August with all routes and vehicles being colour coded to simplify the network for passengers

During October additional X1 shorts were added between Great Yarmouth and Norwich, supplementing existing X1 Lowestoft to Peterborough services. As the Premiers had been withdrawn two Plaxton Paragons were transferred to Great Yarmouth from the First Midlands fleet

More recently, Lowestoft's B7TLs, utilised on the Lowestoft - Norwich route, have also begun to receive the First Lowestoft livery with the first appearing in December. Additionally, Norwich B9TL 36166 has been loaned to Lowestoft to help out whilst vehicles are away for repaints

Ambassador Travel

There were no significant changes to the Ambassador fleet other than two re-registrations. Volvo B12M/ Plaxton Paragons 196 and 197 received cherished registrations KIG1856 and KIG1857 respectively

Operationally, Ambassador secured three new tenders during March including the 577 Chedgrave - Great Yarmouth route, previously operated by AnglianBus

September saw the loss of the 731 Great Yarmouth to Rackheath route to Anglian although the Great Yarmouth operator regained the 878 Great Yarmouth Colleges to Alpington service


2012 was a very busy year for this Beccles-based operator which saw it become part of the large Go-Ahead group in late April

A month earlier AnglianBus secured a £624,000 grant from the Government's Green Bus Fund for the acquisition of 13 new gas powered  single deck buses for use throughout Norfolk and Suffolk. Six of the MAN EcoCity buses arrived in early December and were immediately put to work on the new 146 route between Lowestoft and 
Norwich. Unfortunately there has been some failures in service

Since becoming part of the Go-Ahead Group, AnglianBus has obtained a significant number of vehicles from within the group - including ten Scanias from Metrobus and four Denis Tridents from Brighton & Hove. Some Irizar bodied Scanias from City of Oxford have also been employed on a number of North Suffolk school contracts won by the company

Finally, the AnglianBus A47 Great Yarmouth to Norwich timetable was revised in September which includes the return of the X47 express services with journeys extended through to Gorleston's James Paget Hospital.


KonectBus began 2012 by introducing its five new Alexander Dennis Enviro 400s on it express service 8 linking Toftwood, Dereham and Norwich 

The Dereham based business, also part of the Go-Ahead group, started using bendy buses on its Costessey Park and Ride services during January

During the year a number of Optare Excels were taken out of service - some were cannibalised whilst others were transferred within the group

October saw the first arrivals of five new Enviro 400's for use on routes 3 and 6 operating between Norwich and Watton at thirty minute intervals

A month later the operator launched the Konect express 2 service linking Sheringham and Cromer with Norwich - directly competing with Sanders Coaches

Our Bus

Our Bus continued to operate its Great Yarmouth Seafront service during the summer months with its Mercedes Vario SF54OUY 

The only new vehicle acquired by the company was Plaxton Beaver SN53SKV which was noted in Great Yarmouth during November 

In January Our Bus also acquired the contract to run 292 service from Swift Taxis which serves Wroxham, Blofield, Lingwood, Reedham and Moulton

Reynolds Coaches

This Caister-on-Sea coach operator saw the arrival of five vehicles during 2012, the first in February for schools work in the shape of Mercedes Vario W600JSB

This was followed in March by another Toyota Coaster FJ54MOA, with two former Kent Top Travel vehicles arriving in early September - Volvos S200VHO and ICZ6697

The final newcomer was Dennis/ Plaxton AT51CVS which was reported at the Ormesby Road site in December

On the minus side Reynolds has advertised three of its Toyota Coasters for disposal on their website - BIG7558, BIG7756 and BIG 8781

Swift Taxis

Local company Swift Taxis went through a lean period during 2012 with the number of vehicles in the fleet being further reduced and services being lost or withdrawn

At the beginning of the year Swift advertised the disposal of the only double deck vehicle in the fleet. It took a number of months for a buyer to come forward with the Jonckheere Monaco bodied Volvo SE51DZV being finally acquired by Richards Coaches of Guist in Norfolk during September

Great Yarmouth old timer and former Caroline Seagull coach, G470LVG, was noted in Swift's Southtown yard during November with a VOR sign in its front windscreen. With its subsequent disappearance from there, and no reports of it seen elsewhere at any of the other Swift operating centres, it is thought that the vehicle may have been been disposed of

Another vehicle that has not seen use for some time is Dart FJ53VDL which has been sitting at the back of the Southown Road site for some weeks now with a broken rear window

From an operational point of view, Swift lost its 292 Wroxham service to Our Bus in January and ceased operating the 206 route between Great Yarmouth and Blofield on the 19th of this month; BMC Falcon BX55OFN doing the honours in running the last working


A huge thanks to all of you who have contributed to the blog with news and photos - please keep the reports coming in. I would be pleased to hear from new contributors too

Finally a happy new year to you all!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Seasons Greetings

eastnorfolkbus blog would like to wish all of its readers, supporters and contributors a very merry Christmas and a happy new year

2012 has been a very busy year and I would like to thank all of you who have contributed to the blog and have made it the success it is becoming!

A special mention must be made for the tireless contributions from both Grahame Bessey (it's great that you allowed eastnorfolkbus to use your pics first before they appeared in Buses Magazine!) and Syd Eade.

My thanks also go to Tim Miller, James Race, Neil Chilvers, Joe Watson, Paul Bennett, Rob Collins, Ryan, Steve Wright, Terry Wilkins, Thomas Baker, Tim Major, Zac Nelson and Christian Newsome. Apologies if I have left anyone out!

The blog will be back after Christmas with the usual annual review

All the very best to you all


Suffolk Bus Changes In January

Suffolk County Council have published brief details of forthcoming changes to passenger transport services in the county on its Suffolk On Board website

The changes, due to commence in January, can be viewed on the website by clicking here which gives further links providing more details on individual routes

Christian Newsome has brought the information to my attention and comments that First are hitting back by offering express services between Norwich and Lowestoft missing out North Cove and Hales; exactly the same as AnglianBus 146.

He suggests the most interesting development is the re-routing and timetable change of the X22 which will now go via Carlton Village. This is a strange routing because First seem to be reintroducing their old L11 (Carlton Colville via Long Road) route again which saw buses running empty leading to its withdrawal. Time will tell.

Many thanks for the heads up Christian

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Beach Coach Station ~ 19th December 2012

Two local operators were represented among the five coaches at Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station during yesterday morning

Soames supplied Volvo B12B/Plaxton Paragon YN05HVH which was thought to be on contract work

The second coach was from Smiths of Blofield who provided Dennis/ Berkhof L88SLT

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Last 206

As previously reported on this blog, locally based Swift Taxis operated their last 206 bus service today

The route, which links Blofield with Great Yarmouth, runs via South Walsham, Acle and Filby and operates one return journey on Wednesdays only - market day.

The honours of operating the final return 12:45 to Blofield befell BMC Falcon 110 BX55OFN

The vehicle was in a yellow livery, with School Bus on the destination screen; the only indication of its route was 'Service 206' on a card in its front windscreen.

The Swift Condor departed its Gallon Pot Public House stop on time with around a dozen passengers on board.

Caister Road Update

First's soon to be disposed of Dart 43452 at Market Gates on 24th April 2012
The latest update from First's Caister Road depot in Great Yarmouth is news of the latest transfers and a Dart due for withdrawal and disposal

Recently re-engined Dart 43478 R478CAH has gone on loan to Lowestoft whilst Caister Road has sister 43465  R465CAH in her place

Lowestoft also still has Volvo B6BLE 66126 S116JTP on loan from Great Yarmouth

On the minus side, Dart 43452 P452RPW is scheduled to be withdrawn and disposed of for scrap

My thanks to Ryan for his report

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

More of 36166

In my previous post I referred to the loan of a Volvo B9TL/ Wright Eclipse Gemini from First's Norwich to Lowestoft depot

Regular contributor Syd Eade has now sent me more photos of her in use in the Suffolk town earlier today

36166 again worked the 1208 X2 route to Norwich and return this
afternoon; although the destination is incorrectly displayed

My thanks to Syd for the report and his photos which are his copyright

Monday, 17 December 2012

Lowestoft Loanee

First's Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B9TL 36166 arrived on loan at Lowestoft earlier today.

Still bearing Norwich blue line branding, BD11CFK was employed on the 1208 X2 to Norwich and return this afternoon.

My thanks to Syd Eade for his report and photo which is copyrighted

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Norwich Bus Station ~ 13th December 2012

Firstly apologies for the downtime on the blog which was due to a complete failure with the computer.

Those nice people at KAS Computers in Lowestoft retrieved all my working files and got me back up and running in a couple of days!

Note this post has been back dated so that it appears chronologically on the blog
Luckily not much activity has occurred since the downtime, although I did visit Norwich Bus Station for a short period earlier today

National Express workings produced Volvo B9R FJ60HXT whilst Chenery's Volvo B12B FJ05AOX was on a 490 working to London (pictured)

Two of konect's Mercedes Citaros were
employed on Costessey Park and Ride services

804 BL57OXN was in konect colours whilst 806 BX54UDV was in Costessey P&R green

Finally AnglianBus continues to employ its MAN EcoCity gas buses on its 146 route between the city and Lowestoft

Here 605 WX62HGG prepares to leave the bus station prior to heading east

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Refreshed 32654

Following my earlier post, Grahame Bessey sent me a couple pictures of First's 32654 in the new livery with branding for the X2 Lowestoft to Norwich service

Grahame took the photos at Lowestoft's Gasworks Road depot earlier this morning with kind permission of First

First are currently running a competition offering the opportunity
of winning an annual First Norfolk & Suffolk ticket by sending in pictures of the buses working the X2 route

For further information please visit their website by clicking here

My thanks to Grahame for providing the pictures

Shearings Duo

Two Shearings coaches were present at Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station early this morning

Enduring the cold and foggy weather were Setra 209 BK10EJN and Van Hool bodied Volvo B12M 809 MX06ALU

Both were in variations of Shearings' Grand Tourer livery

Lowestoft Repaint

First Eastern Counties has repainted one of its Volvo B7TL/ Alexander ALX400s used on its X2 route into First's refreshed livery

32654 AU05MUW has been specifically branded for the route with Lowestoft, Beccles, Loddon and Lowestoft appearing in the top window screen at the front of the vehicle

The decision to re-brand and repaint vehicles on the X2 route was taken long before the AnglianBus 146 service was registered and, therefore, not as previously speculated on the blog

Neil Chilvers managed to get a quick pic of 32654 on his mobile phone in Lowestoft around yesterday lunchtime - thanks Neil

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Enviro 200 in Gorleston

A Lowestoft Enviro 200 passed through Gorleston High Street at around lunchtime today

Unfortunately 45119 RT09JPT was not in service and appeared to be returning home after attention at Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot

It is not known what the reason was for its visit

My thanks to Grahame Bessey for the use of the pic showing 45119 in service in Lowestoft on 25th October last

Monday, 10 December 2012

Cromer Bus Station Plans

Sanders Coaches Scania 308 YN53GFA at Cromer Bus Station
on 9th March this year
Plans have been submitted to North Norfolk District Council to demolish the tourist information centre building at Cromer to make way for the expansion of the bus station.

The proposals by Norfolk County Council, says the centre is a flat roofed steel framed building which in a “poor state of repair and no longer required for bus station use or as a Tourist Information Centre.”

The bus station, on Prince of Wales Road, re-opened in August last year, after closing in 2006 amid many protests.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Beach Coach Station ~ 5th December 2012

Early yesterday afternoon just four coaches were noted at Beach Coach Station; half of them were from the Shearings fleet

The two were Setra 214 BF10VCE (pictured) and Volvo B12M 714 MX05AHF

The other  two operators present were regulars Whippet (with Volvo B12B SF05XYP) and Gee-Vee Travel (with Setra W10ALN)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

First ~ Great Yarmouth Update

President 32200 LT52WTE on Great Yarmouth town services on 1st April 2011
The latest news from First's Caister Road depot is that Dart 43478 R478CAH is now back on the road following the fitting of a new engine

Meanwhile Volvo B7TL/President 32200 LT52WTE has returned to Great Yarmouth following its loan to Lowestoft

Volvo B10BLE 66126 S116JTP and Volvo Olympian 34114 W434CWX are in Lowestoft on loan from Great Yarmouth

My thanks to Ryan for the regular reports from the depot

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

More AnglianBus MAN/EcoCity Pictures

As expected, I received a deluge of pictures showing AnglianBus' new MAN/EcoCity vehicles in service on the new 146 route between Lowestoft and Norwich yesterday

The weather was not that conducive to good photos early on, but later in the morning the sun appeared for a brief moment

Grahame Bessey sent a few pictures and the
best one is that of 606 WX62HFU travelling along Carlton Road, Lowestoft during one of those sunny intervals

Syd Eade also got in on the act too and sent me this one of 603 WX62HHF pictured on Ashburnham Way also in Lowestoft

Not to be outdone, Neil Chilvers sent this offering of 601
WX62HHP taken at Hollow Grove in Carlton Colville.

For the record, the fleet numbers and registrations of the first six currently in service are as follows:-

601  WX62HHP
602  WX62HGU
603  WX62HHF
604  WX62HHE
605  WX62HGG
606  WX62HFU

Finally my thanks to Grahame, Syd and Neil for their photos and all are copyrighted to their respective owner

Monday, 3 December 2012

AnglianBus Official Launch of New Gas Buses

This morning AnglianBus officially launched its brand new MAN EcoCity gas buses into service on the new 146 route between Lowestoft and Norwich

AnglianBus Managing Director Andrew Pursey cut the ribbon to officially unveil the new vehicles in the presence of MAN representatives at Lowestoft Bus Station today
MAN EcoCity 604 WX62HHE arrives for the official launch
Norwich bound WX62HHP arrives at Beccles Bus Station
passing T400CBC on  a Beccles Town Service
The company has invested £2.6 million in the 13 new vehicles which are expected to be used throughout the Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth and Norwich area

The new buses operate on biogas, a renewable energy source produced from biodegradable waste materials (food waste, crop residue and slurry), through an anaerobic digestion process - a widely used source of renewable energy in mainland Europe, but relatively new in the UK.

So far only six have arrived and they were being used on the 146 route today, the first day of service

I sampled a journey on 604 WX62HHE, the 10:05 departure as far as Beccles; a very quiet and smooth ride with almost a full load.

One thing I did notice, however, was that the rear interior of the bus did look uninviting to passengers as the exterior advertising made it look a little gloomy - especially on a day like today

The rear exterior design made the inside rear a bit gloomy
I overheard one of the passengers say that she had deliberately missed the First X2 service to travel on it!

After taking pictures of three more of them in service at Beccles, I returned to Lowestoft on 606 WX62HFU which was almost empty on departure but picked up more passengers on its journey eastwards

All photos are copyright eastnorfolkbus

The AnglianBus press release on the official launch can be viewed here

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Reynolds Activity

S200VHO pictured at Ormesby Road in September 2012,
still in Kent Top Travel yellow livery
The second of the two vehicles recently acquired by Reynolds from Kent Top Travel has returned from the paint shops in Reynolds' livery.

Plaxton bodied Volvo S200VHO was noted at Reynolds' Caister premises by Grahame Bessey who reports it named Lady Maude.

Another new arrival is AT51CVS, a Plaxton Premiere bodied example, although Grahame was not sure if it is a Volvo or Dennis Javelin; she is named Lady Rachel

Pictures of the two will no doubt appear on the blog in due course

Reynolds currently has three Toyota Coasters available for disposal on their website with all three having Caetano Optimo bodywork

My thanks to Grahame for the information on the two vehicles