Sunday 31 March 2013

Colchester Area Day Out

Regular contributor Syd Eade paid a visit to Essex yesterday where he found a number of once common local vehicles in their new surroundings ....

Syd reports:-

I had a day out in the Colchester area yesterday, in heavy snow showers and sub zero temperatures ! 

The weather did allow for a few decent photos though, one being a former Anglian Scania YS03ZKU which was used in silver for a while. She is now in the Network Colchester fleet

Another is one of a route branded ex Eastern Counties decker which was on the 88 to Halstead so that warranted a ride out ( and I needed a break from the cold ). I got a shot of her in Halstead High Street after getting off.

My return was via Braintree on one of the newly arrived Tridents; but that is a little bit
too far removed from Norfolk for your blog!

Ex Lowestoft Dart 42429 P429ORL was also at Braintree working local service 21 to Black Notley. It was snowing again but I braved the elements to get the camera out for a pic of her

Many thanks to Syd for his report and photos which are his copyright.

Friday 29 March 2013

London 2012 Event DVD

A special one-off event was held at the East Anglia Transport Museum as it was fifty years to the day that London said goodbye to its Trolleybuses on Tuesday 8th May 2012. 

A total of eight surviving trolleybuses were in public operation over the weekend including 1931 'Diddler' number 1 and number 1521, the final trolleybus to run in service. 

A 70 minute programme of the event has been made and is available on DVD and Blu-Ray which can be obtained from the museum or online from JJS Entertainment. 

The programme was made by three Museum members and ALL profits from the sales will go to the Museum. 

There is also a video excerpt from the programme on Youtube.

The full length version includes trolleybuses arriving and test running as well as behind-the-scenes action and is a superb record of this once in a lifetime occasion.

So if you attended and want a record of the event, or if you missed it and want to see what you missed, please contact:-
East Anglia Transport Museum
Chapel Road
Carlton Colville
Telephone: 01502 518459
Many thanks to JJS Entertainment for their assistance

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Snowy Tamworth

I have just returned from a few days in Tamworth and on each of the three evenings we were 'fortunate' in receiving a covering of snow. However, Saturday provided the best opportunity for photographing buses in the white stuff.

Regular readers of the blog will know from my previous postings that Arriva Midlands North dominates the local bus scene.
Noted on services were the recently arrived Citaros, Omnicitys and Volvo B6BLEs.

Birmingham bound services were in the hands of Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B9TLs

Among the sea of Arriva turquoise at Corporation Street bus station was a solitary Stagecoach Warwickshire ADL Enviro 200 KX60DUH
working out of Nuneaton's Newtown Road depot.

Only one independent operator was noted and that was Tamworth Coach & Bus with Optare Excel Y737DRC.

Formerly with Trent Barton, the single decker had both previous and current owners' legals displayed - although the former was quite faded.

The journey back home on Sunday night proved to be quite eventful.

With roadworks on the A11 just north of Thetford, we had a mystery tour through the depths of Norfolk via some place called Breccles before regaining our normal route back onto the A11.

Monday 25 March 2013

Anglianbus Alterations from 2nd April

Anglianbus are introducing a number of changes to their timetables commencing on the 2nd April


There will  be four additional morning services arriving in Norwich before 9am with an additional evening service from Norwich at 1850. It is worth noting that the 146 to Lowestoft will NOT serve Old Market in Beccles but will instead use the Tesco store stop


The 601 service will now travel around Kessingland village via Field Lane/Wash Lane, allowing residents to be able to get to Great Yarmouth & Southwold without having to change buses.


There will be additional morning and evening services on the 602 for commuters and students to get to and from Lowestoft.

All the revised timetables can be downloaded from the timetable page on the Anglianbus website

Sunday 24 March 2013

Wake Up! (EATM News Update)

Saturday saw East Anglia Transport Museum members waking up some of the buses from their winter slumbers and cleaned ready for the new season ahead; the work being  carried out during a very cold and, at times, a snowy day!

Tim Major reports that the cold weather has slowed down work over the winter period and provides an update on progress so far
Former Eastern Counties LFL 57 (557BNG) is currently having work carried out to the lower saloon with new floor covering installed and seat frames painted. Some further mechanical work is also needed

Another ex Eastern Counties bus VR385 (OCK985) decided on Saturday that it's lights did not want to work and that was being fixed.
Former Blackpool Olympian 411 D367JJD has had a replacement gearbox fitted and is currently being put back together.

Great Yarmouth Corporation Leyland PD2 no.66 (EX6566) has had its starter motor removed and re-fitted following a very expensive repair.

Former London Country RT3125 KXW234) has had a leak on its air system repaired. 

Good progress is also being maintained with the restoration of ex Lowestoft Corporation Regent 5 No.8

My thanks to Tim for the detailed report and photos which are copyrighted

Friday 22 March 2013

More First Essex Arrivals

Regular contributor Grahame Bessey reports on a further three arrivals at Caister Road from First Essex earlier today.

All three Dennis Dart SLF/ ADL Pointer 2's were previously based at First Essex Chelmsford depot and are as follows:-

42920 EU05AUM
42921 EU05AUN
42929 SN05EAJ

They join sister 42919 EU05AUK at Caister Road which has previously been reported on the blog

Both 42919 and 42929 have already been pressed into service with the latter being employed on the Great Yarmouth - Norwich X1 shuttles this afternoon

My thanks to Grahame for the report and photo and to Andy for the correction

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Service Alterations Registered ~ 20th March 2013

An Eastern Area Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report was published today on the Department for Transport's website

The report, numbered 2149, included no reference to any new local routes or alterations and cancellations of any existing local services. It did, however, make reference to a forthcoming public inquiry.

Notice of Public Inquiries to be Held

Public Inquiry (46210) to be held at The Court Room, Eastern Traffic Area, Eastbrook, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge, CB2 8BF, on 10 April 2013 commencing at 14:00 (Previous Publication:(2149)
PF0001656 SI
PSV - S17 - Consideration of disciplinary action under Section 17 (The Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981)
PSV - S28 - Consideration of disciplinary action under Section 28 (The Transport Act 1985)

Source: Traffic Commissioner for the Eastern Traffic Area - Notices and Proceedings 2149 published on  20th March 2013

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Tuesday Round-Up in Great Yarmouth

Late this morning I embarked on a tour of the normal bus haunts in the Great Yarmouth area and it proved to be a bit of an unusual day with some unexpected activity being observed

The first location was Beach Coach Station where only a single coach was noted on site. It was a Norse Dennis Javelin with registration Y339YUT and wearing fleet number 7122

Next there was a run along the seafront area which trawled two coaches; Alfa Travel's Plaxton Paragon bodied Volvo B12B PN08KXJ was on North Drive whilst Shearings Setra 416GT-HD 108 BK09RNE was located on Marine Parade.

Calling in at Market Gates just before noon, I was surprised to see a First Norwich Blue Line Volvo B9TL lurking in the murkiness at the eastern side of the bus station.

36174 BD11CFY was displaying  'sorry ... not in service'. With it being boxed in, 36174 could only depart after the service 2 Dart had continued its journey to Barrack Estate.

Pleased with securing the photo, I was about to leave when a white liveried Wright StreetLite approached on Anglianbus' 11:31 601 service from Kessingland.

It was MX12JXV, a wheel forward version new to Webber Bus at Taunton which has subsequently seen use with PC Coaches of Lincoln. She is probably on loan to Anglianbus

And I thought  that was that ..... but not quite! Konectbus Optare Excel X229WRA was heading towards me on Southtown Road.

I quickly parked up and got a photo of her on the 12:25 Beccles to Great Yarmouth 581 service.

It was noticeable that the 'konect' part of the fleet name had been removed from the front and side of the vehicle

So quite an unusual bag of photos during the 90 minutes of observations!

Monday 18 March 2013

A Helping Hand

This evening saw First Eastern Counties Volvo B12M/Plaxton Paragon 20514 WV02EUP returning to Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot with the assistance of an ASW Recovery Services' vehicle.

As 20514 was driven into the garage it appears that the problem wasn't too serious.

Regarding Volvo B7TL/ALX400 activity, 30886 W741DWX has returned to Lowestoft from the paint shops in the refreshed livery whilst 30901 W756DWX is expected to leave Caister Road soon for similar treatment. Sister 30900 W774DWX will be the next to follow.

My thanks to Grahame Bessey for the report and photograph.

EATM's Unexpected Boost

The local preservation scene has received a very welcome and unexpected boost that a British tram has been acquired on loan by the East Anglia Transport Museum (EATM) at Carlton Coleville.

Glasgow Tram No 488 is a four wheeled double deck 'standard' tramcar dating from 1901. It has resided in France for the past fifty years after the closure of its native system in 1962 following a long operating career. The vehicle was then preserved by the Paris Transport Museum and after the museum's demise was kept in secure storage there for a number of years.

However, after the successful conclusion of confidential talks 488 has returned to Great Britain and is currently on loan to the EATM. Instead of going directly to the Carlton Colville the tram is being delivered to the Boston Lodge workshops of the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway Society who have undertaken similar high quality restoration work recently.

To enable its journey to take place the tram has been split into two parts with upper and lower decks travelling by sea independently. The lower deck has already arrived in Wales with the upper deck expected shortly.

Once completed, Glasgow No 488 will move to its new home at the EATM which is currently progressing the reconstruction of Lowestoft Tram No 14. Interested parties are requested not to contact the Ffestiniog Railway direct about the project but to follow regularly updated progress on the 488 website at

I would like to thank Hugh Taylor for his valuable assistance with this article and for the photos he has provided.

Sunday 17 March 2013

Former Swift Dart Returns to Service

Last month I reported that Swift Taxis' former TransBus Dart FJ53VDL had been sold to Shropshire Bus & Coach of Wem in Shropshire.

I can now exclusively report that she entered service with her new owner yesterday following an engine rebuild and a vast amount of other work to bring her back up to standard. Her front destination screen is also back in use

She is seen here seen on her 'maiden voyage', the temporary Saturday only service 53S which links Ellesmere with the village of Dudleston Heath whilst roadworks are under way

My thanks to Simon for his report and photo

Saturday 16 March 2013

Last of the Thirteen

The last numerically numbered of Anglian's MAN EcoCity gas buses was observed in service at Lowestoft Bus Station today.

Number 613, registered AU13FBL, is pictured leaving the stand in wet and windy conditions around lunchtime.

She was being employed on the 12:00 146 service to Norwich.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Lowestoft in the Snow

Sunday night and Monday morning brought snow again to the east coast of England with the Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth areas receiving a small amount

It provided an opportunity for correspondent James Race to provide some photos of buses in the snow in the Lowestoft area on Monday morning

The first photo is of First Eastern Counties Enviro 200 45119 RT09JPT at Burnt Hill Way at Oulton Broad. Syd Eade comments that
45119 is on what was once a variation of the X2 and now a self contained service to the relief of the afternoon passengers from Norwich. I think the destination display is odd, it could just read 'Sir John Leman Schools' rather than the strange 'via JLS Lower School' added on the bottom line.
The second picture shows First's 32652 AU05MUP leaving Lowestoft Bus Station for Norwich in blizzard conditions. 

The photo is taken from the Controllers Office window and he was thrilled to have it opened in the icy weather!

My thanks to Syd Eade for the report and to James Race for the photographs which are his copyright.

Sunday 10 March 2013

Caister Road Visit

This morning former First Eastern Counties driver and regular correspondent Syd Eade paid a visit to First's Caister Road depot in Great Yarmouth.

He observed that the ex Braintree ALX400s 30900 W774DWX and 30901 W756DWX were both present.

The former having received new panels prior to being prepared for a repaint; whilst the latter was parked at the rear of the depot in the condition it arrived in.

Recent Dart SLF arrival 42919 EU05AUL was out in the rear yard and has also had some bodywork repair but remains out of use.

Also present was 32104 LT02ZCO which was parked  nose in at the back of Caister Road

Syd subsequently surprisingly found contributor James Race driving past the depot on his way to Martham with the 09:10 from Lowestoft in

MPD 43358 V358DVG is quite an unusual allocation for the Lowestoft - Martham route.

My thanks to Syd for the report and photos - the latter are his copyright.

Friday 8 March 2013

Essex Surprise

Another First Essex vehicle has been observed at Great Yarmouth's Caister Road.

Regular contributor Grahame Bessey reports the arrival of ADL Pointer 2 bodied Dennis Dart SLF 42919 EU05AUL at the depot yesterday.

With new E200s arriving in Essex, is this transfer the start to the upgrading of the local fleet? One can only but speculate!

Grahame was also able to obtain a photo of the former Chelmsford based vehicle with kind permission of First. Many thanks to First and also to Grahame for the report and photo

Seven Up

First Eastern Counties operates service 7 between Great Yarmouth's Market Gates and the village of Belton situated south west of the town.

The mainstay of vehicles operating the route are mainly single deckers with Darts often being rostered.

However, for some months now a double decker regularly appears on a lunchtime working

Yesterday was no exception with Volvo Olympian 34109 W436CWX in use and I was fortunate in being in the right place at the right time to record the event

Thursday 7 March 2013

Lucky Thirteeen

Anglianbus now has all thirteen of their MAN EcoCity gas fueled buses ready and available for service.

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.

The company has invested £2.6 million in the 13 new vehicles with the first of the last batch of three beginning to appear in service yesterday.

For the record details of all thirteen vehicles are as follows:-

601 WX62HHP        602 WX62HGU        603 WX62HHF        604 WX62HHE        605 WX62HGG
606 WX62HFU        607 AU62DWN        608 AU62DWL        609 AU62DWG       610 AU62DWC
611 AU13FBJ         612 AU13FBK          613 AU13FBL

Many thanks to Zak Nelson for identifying the last two vehicles

Wednesday 6 March 2013

More New Gas Buses in Service

Anglian have started to introduce the last three of their thirteen gas buses into service.

Newly branded 611 AU13FBJ was observed on Southtown Road heading to Great Yarmouth Town Centre this morning on the 07:11 from Southwold

With my taxi journeys completed, I headed to Gorleston High Street in the hope of photographing her on her return journey; the 08:50 to Southwold

Luck was on my side as I managed to get some photos of her in the early morning sunshine!

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Red Line Visitor

A First Norwich Red Line Volvo B7TL was spotted heading eastbound over Haven Bridge in Great Yarmouth around  lunchtime today.

The appearance of 32104 LT02ZCO in that location was quite unusual in that Norwich based buses normally use the more direct Bure Bridge into town.

It is not known whether she was here for an MOT or light repairs - the former may have required some road testing which may explain why she was at that location.

The only photo I have of 32104 is when she was at Caister Road depot shortly after transferring from CentreWest in March 2010

Sunday 3 March 2013

X2 Frequency to Increase

This Friday's Beccles & Bungay Journal reports that First has reviewed its proposed timetable for the X2 route.

Buses are now set to run between Norwich and Lowestoft, via Beccles, at least every 20 minutes from Monday to Friday, starting from April 15th. The service is currently every 30 minutes

Photo kindly supplied by Grahame Bessey

Saturday 2 March 2013

Down Roundtree Way.

The better half (and her sister) decided that a visit to Sprowston Retail Park in Norwich was on for this morning and after spending some time browsing the stores I was beginning to get a little bored with things!

I then woke up to the fact that First's Roundtree Way site was nearby and made my excuses and found my way there. I wasn't sure of what I might see
as it has been some time since I last looked in there. With it being almost at the end of a cul-de-sac it's not a place you pass on the way to anywhere!

As I turned the corner at the Dunelm store, and looked down the road, I saw a Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7RLE in the far distance.

On closer inspection she was former First
Northampton 66340 MV02VCP which was guarding the exit to the site.

Also on site was Norwich driver trainer Premiere 20128 P768XHS; presumably having completed its standby duties at Great Yarmouth's Caister Road. Next to her was Optare Solo 53122 EO02NFD - the latter having last worked the 37B service to Mulbarton. 

Whilst there, the duo were subsequently joined by White Line Trident 33237 LT52WVF. Sister Orange Line 33160 LR02LXV was also noted hiding in the far corner.

As the premises are nowadays used only for maintenance purposes, there were just the five vehicles observed just before noon today.