Friday 29 November 2013

Another X2 Gemini arrives

New arrival Gemini 37567 AU58ECF at Gasworks Road depot in Lowestoft
Blog contributor Grahame Bessey reports the arrival of First's Gemini 37567 AU58ECF in Lowestoft, during late yesterday afternoon, in the new livery and fully branded for the X2

Following the tip off, I set about tracking her down today and easily found her outside Lowestoft's Gasworks Road depot this lunchtime

My thanks to Grahame for the information

First Changes to Lowestoft Services

First Norfolk & Suffolk are also making changes to their Lowestoft services which are taking effect from 29th December 2013.

First says the changes reflect comments and suggestions received from customers and staff.

101 Gunton - Town Centre - Hollow Grove
Route and frequency are unchanged. with evening and Sunday journeys operating hourly being renumbered:
121 (Town Centre to Gunton) and 123 (Town Centre to Hollow Grove and Carlton Colville).

102 Town Centre - Oulton Village
The route and frequency are unchanged with early morning journeys renumbered 122. Evening and Sunday journeys are renumbered 122 and operate hourly.

103 Town Centre - Carlton Colville
The route is revised to operate via Lansdowne Road/Ship Road and Fortress Estate (Airedale) to Carlton Colville on an hourly basis. Evening and Sunday services are renumbered 123 and are rerouted via Whitton Green and Hollow Grove on an hourly basis.

104 Town Centre - Fortress Estate
Replaced by revised 103.

105 Town Centre - Oulton Rock Estate
Reduced from every 20 to every 30 minutes. The route is unchanged.

106 Town Centre - Oulton Broad
The times are changed but still on an hourly basis. The route is unchanged.

107 Town Centre - Gunton St Peter
This service is to be replaced by Suffolk Norse.

121 Town Centre - Gunton
New hourly evening and Sunday service replacing service 101.

122 Town Centre - Oulton Village and Rock Estate
New hourly evening and Sunday service replacing 102. Some early morning journeys are also renumbered 122.

123 Town Centre - Hollow Grove - Carlton Colville
New hourly evening and Sunday service replacing 101 and 103.

X2 Lowestoft - Beccles - Norwich
This service operates every 20 minutes through the day with most journeys will be operated by newer buses. There are also new journeys on the route throughout the week

X22 Lowestoft - Carlton Colville - Beccles
The route and frequency are largely unchanged.

Further information is can be obtained from the First website by clicking here

Thursday 28 November 2013

Anglianbus New Year Alterations

Anglianbus have announced changes to its network of services from 5th January 2014

They include improvements to anglianexpress 7 with a new frequency of up to every 20 minutes between Norwich and Great Yarmouth, as well as connections (no change of bus required!) to Gorleston, Lowestoft, Kessingland and Southwold with service 61.

Other changes affecting local services are:-

60 Beccles – Lowestoft – Tesco/James Paget
Service will operate every 30 minutes between Beccles and Lowestoft Bus Station, but will serve Carlton Colville village, Ribblesdale and part of Long Road instead of Hollow Grove Way and Long Meadow Walk. Every other bus will continue via Lowestoft College, Bentley Drive to James Paget Hospital. Through peak hour buses will operate from Bungay and to East Norfolk 6th Form College

61 Southwold – Kessingland – Lowestoft – Gorleston - Great Yarmouth
Most services will now link in with service 7 at Yarmouth providing through journey opportunities to/from Norwich up to every 20 minutes. Other minor changes to timetable and revised Sunday times.

62 Beccles – Halesworth – Kessingland
Schooldays 14:37 Beccles to Halesworth will operate 5 minutes earlier. 07:47 Blythburgh to Kessingland will be withdrawn.

63 Hemsby – Yarmouth – Cobholm
School service to/from Edward Worlledge School withdrawn

68 Rackheath – East Norfolk 6th Form
Slightly retimed to improve punctuality and reliability.

69 Brundall – East Norfolk 6th Form
The 69 will be incorporated into the 7 and will be known as the 7A, and extended from/to Norwich.

84 Harleston – Norwich
07:05 from Harleston and 08:20 from Norwich up to 5 minutes earlier. 18:35 from Norwich will run 15 minutes EARLIER at 18:20.

86 Beccles – Thurlton – Norwich
Minor changes to timetable to improve punctuality and reliability.

88 Halesworth – Bungay – Poringland – Norwich
18:00 from Norwich (Mon to Fri) will divert via Trowse and Arminghall. Morning peak journeys into Norwich will all be via Arminghall. There will be other minor changes to the timetable to improve punctuality and reliability

From the same date sister company Konectbus will no longer operate the 52 service from Acle with the village being served by Anglianexpress 7.

New timetables will be published on the Anglianbus website during the week commencing 9th December 2013

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Former Jersey Enviro400 Deputises

SN60CAA seen in Gorleston High Street earlier today
Former Jersey ADL Enviro400 33423 SN60CAA returned to X1 duties today following an unfortunate incident yesterday.

Gerard's X1 blog reports on yesterday evening's incident  'when 33813 was, in error, reversed into 33819 in King's Lynn depot and both buses will be off the road for a time for bodywork repairs. Damage to 33819 was minimal but unlucky 33813 will need more extensive work. This probably means the loan of 33423 is likely to be extended to cover for the shortage'

SN60CAA was observed on the slightly delayed 14:00 Lowestoft to Peterborough service in Gorleston High Street earlier this afternoon

Service Alterations Registered ~ 27th November 2013

An Eastern Area Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report was published earlier today on the Gov.UK website
Report No 2167 includes changes to Anglianbus and Konectbus services plus details of new operating centres

New Applications Received

Authorisation:6 Vehicle(s).
Transport Manager(s): ANDREW DAVID PURSEY

Authorisation:2 Vehicle(s).
Transport Manager(s): JOHN RICHARD HIPKISS

Variation Applications Granted

Director(s): STEPHEN FISHER.
New operating centre: 7 PINBUSH CLOSE LOWESTOFT NR33 7NN
New authorisation at this operating centre will be: 3 vehicle(s)

Registration of New Services

Name or No: 115
Service Type: Normal Stopping
Effective Date: 06-Jan-2014

Applications to Vary Existing Services


  • Operating between Halesworth, Durban Close and Norwich, Newmarket Road given service number 87/88 effective from 06-Jan-2014. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between Rackheath and East Norfolk Sixth Form given service number 68 effective from 06-Jan-2014. To amend Timetable
  • Operating between BECCLES and GREAT YARMOUTH given service number 81A/81 effective from 06-Jan-2014. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between Diss and Beccles given service number 80 effective from 06Jan-2014. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between Hemsby and Cobholm given service number 63 effective from 06-Jan-2014. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between Harleston, Broad Street and Norwich Bus Station given service number 84 effective from 06-Jan-2014. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between Beccles and Norwich Bus Station given service number 86 effective from 06-Jan-2014. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between Lowestoft and Norwich given service number 60 effective from 06-Jan-2014. To amend Route, Stopping Places and Timetable.
  • Operating between Brundall and East Norfolk Sixth Form given service number 69 effective from 06-Jan-2014. To amend Route, Stopping Places and Timetable.
  • Operating between Blofield Heath and Gt Yarmouth/Gt Yarmouth College given service number 7 effective from 05-Jan-2014. To amend Route and Timetable.
  • Operating between Bungay and Lowestoft given service number 61 effective from 05-Jan-2014. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between Beccles and Halesworth given service number 62 effective from 06-Jan-2014. To amend Timetable.

Operating between Acle and Cringleford given service number 52 effective from 06-Jan-2014. To amend Route, Stopping Places and Timetable.

Source: Traffic Commissioner for the Eastern Traffic Area - Notices & Proceedings Report 2167 - published 27th November 2013

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Caister Road Update

Regular blog contributor Ryan has sent his latest update from First's Caister Road depot

Despite reports elsewhere that the Plaxton Paragon bodied Volvo B12Ms are being taken out of service on the X1 shorts (between Great Yarmouth and Norwich), both 20514 WV02EUP and 20515 WV02EUR continue to see use. This is due to the depot experiencing a vehicle shortage

Volvo Olympian 34108 W435CWX is to be returned to service and was in the workshops earlier today being worked on. Sister 34109 W436CWX is due for her MOT

Other deckers in the news are ALX400 30888 W743DWX (now back on the road) and President 32210 LT52WTR (at Volvo undergoing work)

My thanks to Ryan for his regular reports

Monday 25 November 2013

Norwich Interlude

National Express FJ57 KHP on the 727 at Norwich bus station
I escaped from some of the shopping whilst in Norwich on Saturday to observe some activity in the 'Fine City'

My initial destination was the bus station at Surrey Street where I found National Express Volvo B10M/ Caetano Levante 95 FJ57KHP on the 727 service from Brighton via the London airports.

Panic - I forgot the camera in the rush to leave home! However, it provided an opportunity to try out the camera on the new mobile phone. The results weren't too bad at all

BK11CRJ was one of two Shearings' Setras at Castle Meadow
Soon after First Eastern Counties Enviro400 33817 YX63LKF arrived from Great Yarmouth with the 12:00 Lowestoft to Peterborough service

Heading off to Castle Meadow, I was passed by Simonds MAN Evolution bodied Volvo B7RLE BT13YWF heading for Diss

I was surprised by the number of visiting coaches dropping off near Norwich Castle during the short period I was there.

Coaches from the Shearings fleet were observed with both operating from Great Yarmouth on short breaks. They were Setras 325 BK11CRJ  and 329 BK11CRZ

Norwich School's Dennis Javelin M790LPH is held at the lights
Two Norwich School coaches passed through, but I was only able to get a photo of one of them. M790LPH is a Plaxton Premier bodied Dennis Javelin, new to Epsom Coaches in March 1994

Also noted was Sanders' recently acquired former Scania demonstrator YR10BBO. It still retains silver and blue livery and was operating the X44 Sheringham Express

Not bad photos then for 5 mega pixel camera phone!

Thursday 21 November 2013

High Street Closure Now Cancelled

First 32207 LT52WTN leads 37567 AU58ECF northwards along Church Road
during diverts in June this year
Following the posting that Gorleston High Street is due to be closed to buses next week, a subsequent announcement has been made that the works to upgrade a water main will now be delayed until the New Year

Whilst the road will still close for the Christmas lights switch on and associated events on Sunday, the works in High Road by Essex and Suffolk Water have been cancelled

During the Sunday celebrations buses will be diverted via Beccles Road, Church Road and Church Lane before regaining their usual routes. Temporary bus stops will be in place on Church Road

The High Street was closed for ten days earlier this year when emergency works were required to repair a collapsed sewer during June, followed by another closure after a water main burst in late July

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Merton Garage Open Day

NS1995 following arrival from the London Transport Museum Acton Store
This Sunday (17th November) saw London's Merton Garage celebrate its centenary of opening and, whilst not located in our operating area, I thought readers might be interested in activities on the day

Contributor Tim Major attended the event and I am pleased to bring you his report

'Merton garage was opened for the London General Omnibus Company (General) on 20 November 1913. The garage was modernised in 1960 and again in 1991 when a new roof was fitted and store and various welfare areas were moved to provide a larger, unobstructed parking area, which had previously been renowned for being long and narrow. Over recent years the allocation of buses has fluctuated between 83 and 134.

NS1995 in company with STL 2577 and RTL139 in Merton Yard
A heritage bus service was in operation throughout the day taking visitors to Wimbledon Common. Also on offer were garage tours and bus wash trips (very clean buses by the end of the day!). All proceeds raised on the day went to the local branch of Mencap.

I was fortunate to be offered a ride on the London General NS1995 built in 1926, from the London Transport Collection stabled at the Acton Depot, an eight o'clock departure from the depot required an exceptionally early departure from Lowestoft! The trip gave an insight to how travel would have been in 1920's London and I had fortunately followed advice and wrapped up warm clothing!

NS1995 with STL2577 in Merton Garage shortly before departure
The NS was joined by a representative collection of LT vehicles, including an STL (from Brooklands Museum) an RTL, various RM's and a 'Borismaster'. Additionally the buses operating from the depot were coming and going during the day to add more movement.

The heritage service was operated by an RTL, Routemasters, a Huddesfield utility Daimler! (disguised in London Transport livery to represent a long disappeared class of bus) and various buses (modern!) from the depot allocation.

Not all the time available was taken with bus riding and looking round the depot, as a walk to Merton Park allowed for a trip into Croydon on Tramlink. 

Tramlink 2544 departing Merton Park  for the short journey to Wimbledon

The journey back to the depot at Acton was through heavy London traffic and took some time but was a very worthwhile and an interesting day out'

My thanks to Tim for his contribution and for the photos as well - which he had already captioned for me!

Monday 18 November 2013

Hemsby 2009

Volvo B7/Transbus ALX400 AU53HJX in P&R livery
As the nights are now pulling in and the days becoming gloomier, the bus photographer spends his time looking at what photos were taken during the year and trying to organising them according to his own requirements

One such person looking through his photos was regular contributor Grahame Bessey who found a folder entitled Hemsby 2009

Apart from the routemasters, he found it containing a wide variety of First vehicles working the summer only service 3 from Hemsby to the
Dennis Dart M215VWW formerly with Yorkshire Rider
Seashore Holiday Centre in Great Yarmouth

The first is of TransBus ALX400 bodied Volvo B7 32480 AU53HJX leaving the Hemsby terminus on 5th of May that year in Norfolk County Council's Park & Ride livery. She is currently with First Essex

Towards the end of the month Dennis Dart 47215 M215VWW was on the same route. Pictured on the 26th May the Dart was new to Yorkshire Rider in June 1995 and was withdrawn from service some 15
 Olympian H103KVX moved from Norwich to operate the 3
years later

A few days after, (1st June) decker 34903 H103KVX is pictured on the 3 at Beach Road heading for Seashore Holiday Centre. The Leyland Olympian was new to Thamesway in October 1990 as their 1003. She was one of two Norwich Olympians transferred to Great Yarmouth in late May specifically to operate the route and withdrawal was expected at the end of the season

The final photo is of Volvo B7RLE/ Wright Eclipse 66957 WX55TZU
Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7RLE  66957 WX55TZU
in service on 29th July that year. The Eclipse is now based in Norwich and for a couple of years retained an all over advertisement for Co-Operative Food Stores. 66957 reverted to First livery during April this year

Quite a variation then in the types of vehicle used on the seasonal route during 2009

My thanks to Grahame for the photos used in this article

Sunday 17 November 2013

Municipal Swift Trio

Ipswich JRT82K, Great Yarmouth WEX683M and Lowestoft YRT898H
at Ipswich Transport Museum's 1995 'Ride Our Buses' event
Following our post entries regarding Great Yarmouth's  AEC Swifts, I continue to receive emails and comments about how readers enjoy reading about them

Neil Chilvers has been looking through his photos and came across this offering from Ipswich Transport Museum's (ITM) 'Come and Ride on Our Buses' event held in 1995

Neil continues 'It shows three East Anglian Municipal Swifts - JRT82K, (the ITM's 1972 Willowbrook example), Great Yarmouth's WEX683M (still in service then) and Lowestoft's 4 YRT898H of the EATM.  Out of the three Swifts I have driven the top speed has been 53mph, well with in the K rated tyres that are fitted these days!

Regarding the tyres, all newer buses will have tyres rated at far higher speeds than they are capable of reaching - this is checked on the VOSA annual test. Coaches all seem to be rated at 81mph these days, even if speed limiting devices are set lower. Older tyres had a ply rating which can be converted and can be viewed on this tyre data speed rating website'

My thanks to Neil for the information and photo

Saturday 16 November 2013

Ex Konectbus Optare Excel R835FNG now forms part of the Hedingham fleet.
Copyright Syd Eade
Clacton Collection

Syd Eade spent a day at the Essex seaside on Thursday with a visit to Clacton

He sends some interesting pics, from the local prospective, as vehicles associated with this area were operating there

Former Konectbus Optare Excel R835FNG
Former Jersey Dart J101729, now 43854 EG52FFZ, with First Essex
Copyright Syd Eade
arrived on the 134 Holland on Sea, circular now in the Hedingham fleet as their L387

A number of recent arrivals in the First Essex fleet, prepped at Great Yarmouth, were also seen.

Among them were former First Jersey vehicles Dart 43854 EG52FFZ, Enviro200 44596 EU60LFS, Ex Premiere Travel Enviro200's 44597 FJ58YSL and 44598 KX57BWF
Originally with Eastern Counties, Scania S574TPW operates for First Essex
Copyright Syd Eade

The final photo shows former First Eastern Counties Scania saloon 65574 S574TPW which recently arrived in Essex via the ill fated First Northampton fleet

My thanks to Syd for the many photos sent to support this article

Great Yarmouth Dart in Lowestoft

Great Yarmouth Dart 43860 EG52FGF in service in Lowestoft yesterday.
Photo copyright: James Race 
Syd Eade informs me of probably the first appearance of a Great Yarmouth branded Ex- Jersey Dart on Lowestoft town services.

43860 EG52FGF arrived in the Suffolk town during early yesterday afternoon and spent the rest of the afternoon shuttling to and from Oulton Village on the 102 route.

James Race managed to photograph her in service on Oulton Road as it was getting dark

Many thanks to Syd and James for their contribution

Friday 15 November 2013

Slow Drive to Glasgow!

Western Scottish Daimler Fleetlines keeping company with Eastern Counties
 LL802 HVG802V with 'The Crow' in attendance. Photo Copyright SYD EADE
Yesterday's post related to the use of speed limiters on buses as a safety measure as their tyres would heat up beyond design capabilities at higher speeds.

Contributor Syd Eade said this could be an inconvenience leading to excessively long journeys on long distance routes but 'they still made a change from local runs. 

Eastern Counties HVG802V sandwiched between Western Scottish
Bristol REMH TSD117J and Grey Green Leyland Leopard VYU763S
at Glasgow Thornlebank in July 1980. Photo Copyright: SYD EADE
Here is a photo of Lowestoft allocated LL802 HVG802V at Glasgow depot after making the trek north, with my co-driver Frank Raven ( The Crow as he was known ) resting inside. 

We had an amazing 13 hour break before returning, mainly to get some sleep, but which I fully utilised for train and bus riding etc! A paid holiday to me. Service 118 was joint with Grey Green and Western Scottish and ran in the summer only.'

Thanks for the information and photos Syd - I can remember Western Scottish coaches turning up at Wellington Road at summer weekends!

Thursday 14 November 2013

Local Decker Activity

37574 AU58ECY in North Denes Road on service 8 to the James Paget this afternoon 
Two further former X1 Geminis arrived at Caister Road earlier this week in the shape of 37574 AU58ECY and 37577 AU58EDF following their repaint at Full Circle.

Both Geminis were out this afternoon on the James Paget Hospital to Caister service 8

Also noted in use on the 13:20 service 7 to Belton was Volvo Olympian 34111 W431CWX. It appears this working is regularly worked by a decker although during the day the route is usually operated by saloons

Olympian 34109 W436CWX shows Africa Alive as its destination!
Three Olympians saw use on the Bernard Mathews contract - 34114 W434CWX was seen leading 34186 S686AAE along North Denes Road, whilst 34109 W436CWX was waiting on Beaconsfield Road to join the procession along Nelson Road North

However, instead of displaying a relevant Bernard Matthews destination, 34109 was showing 'Africa Alive Park and Ride'!

I then continued to Harley Road to see what lie in the rear yard of First's Caister Road depot. Volvo Olympian 34108 W435CWX was in the same position as before but with a notice on the passenger entry door stating 'Vehicle on reserve No parts to be removed'

Also in the rear compound were Great Yarmouth Driver Trainer VolvoB10M/Plaxton Premier 20109 N609APU and Volvo B10BLE 60813 S664RNA

X1 Enviro400 33818 YX63LKG unusually makes an appearance at Caister Road
Meanwhile, at the front of the depot Enviro400 33818 YX63LKG arrived via Northgate Street and Caister Road showing its X1 destination.

One can only speculate as to whether it had been taken out of service at Market Gates?

After five minutes or so, it reversed off the forecourt and headed southwards along Lawn Avenue

Service Alterations Registered ~ 13th November 2013

An Eastern Area Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report was published yesterday on the Gov.UK website

Report No 2166 contains changes affecting bus routes and operators in our area and includes many changes in Lowestoft services scheduled to take effect from the end of December. Of particular interest is that the 107, currently provided by First, is to be operated by Suffolk Norse

Whippet are amending the timetables of their coastal services to many destinations in the area whilst Sanders are also undertaking a number of changes on their routes as well

Registration of New Services

From: Lowestoft, Gordon Road
To: Lowestoft, Gordon Road
Name or No: 123
Service Type: Normal Stopping
Effective Date: 29-Dec-2013
Other Details: Daily.

From: Lowestoft Bus Station
To: Lowestoft Bus Station
Name or No: 107
Service Type: Normal Stopping
Effective Date: 31-Dec-2013
Other Details: Mondays to Saturdays except bank holidays

Applications to Vary Existing Services


  • Operating between Lowestoft, Gordon Road and Lowestoft, Gordon Road given service number 102 effective from 29-Dec-2013. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between Lowestoft Bus Station and Lowestoft Bus Station given service number 103 effective from 29-Dec-2013. To amend Route, Stopping Places and Timetable.
  • Operating between Lowestoft and Rock Estate given service number 105 effective from 29-Dec-2013. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between Lowestoft and Burnt Hill given service number 106 effective from 29-Dec-2013. To amend Route, Stopping Places and Timetable.
  • Operating between LOWESTOFT BUS STATION and NORWICH, ALL SAINTS GREEN given service number X2 effective from 29-Dec-2013. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between Lowestoft Bus Station and Beccles, Old Market given service number X22 effective from 29-Dec-2013. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between LOWESTOFT (GUNTON, CRESTVIEW DRIVE) and LOWESTOFT (HOLLOW GROVE, COWSLIP CRESCENT) given service number 101 effective from 29-Dec-2013. To amend Timetable.


  • Operating between Bedford Bus Station and Great Yarmouth, Beach Road Car Park given service number A effective from 22-Apr-2014. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between Cambridge, Drummer Street Bus Station and Lowestoft given service number H effective from 22-Apr-2014. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between CAMBRIDGE DURMMER ST BUS STATION and FELIXSTOWE GARISON LANE COACH PARK given service number D effective from 22-Apr-2014. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between Cambridge, Drummer Street Bus Station and Cromer, Cadogan Road Coach Park given service number B effective from 22-Apr-2014. To amend Timetable.

Applications to Vary Existing Services Granted Under Short Notice


  • Operating between SALTHOUSE POST OFFICE and WELLS HIGH SCHOOL given service number 202 effective from 04-Nov-2013. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between SOUTH CREAKE and WELLS, ALDERMANN PEEL HIGH SCHOOL given service number 201 effective from 04-Nov-2013. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between BINHAM POST OFFICE and WELLS HIGH SCHOOL given service number 203 effective from 04-Nov-2013. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between HOLT and WELLS HIGH SCHOOL given service number 204 effective from 04-Nov-2013. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between Cawston and Reepham High School given service number 605 effective from 04-Nov-2013. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between BLENHEIM PARK and WELLS - HIGH SCHOOL given service number 205 effective from 04-Nov-2013. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between BINTREE and REEPHAM given service number 606 effective from 04-Nov-2013. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between HOLT and REEPHAM HIGH SCHOOL given service number 610 effective from 04-Nov-2013. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between Saxthorpe Church and Reepham High School given service number 609 effective from 04-Nov-2013. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between HOLT and REEPHAM given service number 607 effective from 04-Nov-2013. To amend Timetable.
  • Operating between LYNG and REEPHAM given service number 608 effective from 04-Nov-2013. To amend Route and Timetable.
  • Operating between Haveringland, School Road and Reepham High School given service number 602 effective from 04-Nov-2013. To amend Timetable.

Cancellations of Existing Services


  • Operating between Lowestoft and Fortress Estate given service number 104 effective from 29-Dec-2013.
  • Operating between Lowestoft Bus Station and Gunton St Peters given service number 107 effective from 29-Dec-2013

Source: Traffic Commissioner for the Eastern Traffic Area - Notices & Proceedings Report 2166 - published 14th November 2013

AEC Swift Speed Limits

The concerns raised regarding speed limits for tyres in the old Great Yarmouth AEC Swifts brought a further response from regular contributor Syd Eade

The speed limit signs were also in every Eastern Counties( ECOC) bus cab, but they didn't specifically refer to the tyres. However the ECOC cabs did have a sign that said 'TYRE DAMAGE Do Not Curb' which always fascinated me due to the spelling of kerb.

The reason for it was the tyres for service buses were designed for use up to a constant 50mph. Coaches had higher rated ones so could cruise at 70mph, if the roads were suitable, and so any damage/injury caused by a blow out above 50mph would invalidate the bus insurance. It doesn't mean they were dangerous at 52mph, but if you drove a bus down to London on a dual carriageway at a higher cruising speed the tyres would heat up beyond the design capabilities. To prevent this happening ECOC used to limit ALL their buses to 50mph on the governors, which I can assure you was a real pain on long journeys like the Lowestoft to Glasgow. Ambling up the A1 at night with all the other coaches flying past for hours on end could be frustrating!

Swift PEX170K in Whapload Road, Lowestoft in August 1985 Copyright SYD EADE
Swifts tended to not have such attentions at Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Corporations and many would happily reach 60mph or more without any sign of stress. Of course as the public rarely travelled outside the 30mph zones on them they were not aware of this feature.

One regular exception to this was the when the Birds Eye factory in Great Yarmouth closed and many staff were re-located to work at Lowestoft instead. A contract to ferry workers was won by Great Yarmouth Transport and for some years the Swifts became a regular sight in the Suffolk town at shift change times. I have a photo of Willowbrook no 70 PEX170K returning home with the 6am-2pm shift in August 1985'

Thank you Syd for your contribution

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Ambassador / Semmence Movements

Semmence Dennis Javelin K262FUV on arrival at Gorleston's
Sixth Form College service in September last year 
There has recently been some vehicle movements within the Ambassador and Semmence fleets

Grahamme Bessey has reported the use of Plaxton Premiere bodied Dennis Javelin K262FUV on school runs recently and I seem to remember her similar use in September last year as Zak Nelson's photo shows

One other thing to report is that former Our Bus Dennis Javelin F339HWF, recently acquired by Ambassador Travel, is now with Wymondham based Semmence

Willowbrook Swifts at Eastern Counties

Great Yarmouth AEC Swift 65 LEX865H on hire to Eastern Counties
Following yesterday's post regarding the Great Yarmouth Willowbrook bodied AEC Swifts, I received an email from Syd Eade

Syd tells me that they were also used by Eastern Counties on hire during the early 1970s and sends some photos as proof

He continues 'The photos show 65 LEX865H in Waveney Road, Lowestoft on the Oulton Broad Circular, service 3D via Demark Road (service 3 ran clockwise via Horn Hill )

A second Swift, 70 PEX170K, on the Rock Estate in Lowestoft
The second picture is of  70 PEX170K at Rock Estate, Oulton Broad when both of the Swifts were working at Lowestoft depot.'

I found them pleasant buses to ride on and to drive, the most interesting feature being the middle door which could only be opened by pushing a button near the cash tray once the front doors had been opened. So you will never see one with just the centre doors open.

My thanks to Syd for his contribution including the photos

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Willowbrook Swifts

Willowbrook bodied AEC Swift PEX172K in Great Yarmouth Market Place
Mick Capon affectionately refers to them as boneshakers and rattlers!
Some blog readers are old enough to remember the AEC Swifts which formed part of Great Yarmouth Corporation's fleet in the early 1970s

In response to my earlier post, ex pat Mick Capon remembers they had 35 of them and 'was never their greatest fan, especially those bodied at Loughborough (bone shakers and rattlers - I've had smoother rides on the "Cake-Walk" at Yarmouth Fair!)'

Blog reader Mick Sayer says 'I remember the AEC Swifts very well. It is funny what you remember about them but they seemed to be very long at 38ft and there was a large standing/luggage area opposite the centre doors. I also remember what at the time as a 17 year old I thought was a very alarming notice in the the drivers cab which read ' The Maximum Speed Of This Vehicle is 50mph Due To Tyre Limitations'. I used to sit on these buses going home in trepidation that a tyre would explode and we would end up in the North Sea !!'

Some favourable thoughts about them there then!  I would like to thank both Mick Capon and Mick Sayer for sharing their memories with us

The picture of Willowbrook bodied PEX172K is by Clive A Brown and has been reproduced under Creative Commons License. She is pictured in the Market Place which has subsequently been pedestrianised - note the Woolworth store in the background

Monday 11 November 2013

Olympian on X1

Olympian 34109 W436CWX returning to Great Yarmouth on the X1 short
Despite their imminent demise, members of First's Volvo Olympian fleet continue to appear on the X1 shorts between Great Yarmouth and Norwich

Jamie Skinner was able to photograph 34109 W436CWX leaving Norwich during mid-Friday morning and reported 34187 S687AAE pulling into Norwich Bus Station from GreatYarmouth just after lunch time today

Thanks for the info and photo Jamie

Sunday in Tamworth

Citaro 3013 BJ12YPY beside Gemini 4200 FJ08LVL whilst Scania 3801 YN08HZL
undergoes a wash at the Arriva Midlands Depot
As already mentioned in the previous post, most of Sunday was spent in Tamworth visiting friends but there had to be some shopping done first! Yours truly made himself scarce in search of bus workings

As expected on a Sunday there was not much about, although I did see two Arriva Midlands North vehicles awaiting their next duty in Corporation Street.

They were 'City Linx' branded Volvo B9 / Wright Gemini 4207 FJ08LVT and Scania K230UB Omnilink 3804 YN08HZR - the later seen the day before in Coleshill High Street!

Inside Aldergate depot with Citaro 3005 BJ12YPO and Scania 3807 YN08HZU
nearest the camera
Being a Sunday, I thought I would pop around the corner to the Aldergate depot and I surprisingly found the former Midland Red garage was open

On the forecourt Mercedes Benz Citaro 3013 BJ12YPY was keeping company with Gemini 4200 FJ08LVL whilst Scania 3801 YN08HZL was under the wash

Inside there were a number of vehicles prepared ready for the next day's service including saloons 3005 BJ12YPO and 3807 YN08HZU parked up close to the entrance

Saturday in Coleshill

This weekend was spent in the Coleshill, Warwickshire, and the Tamworth, Staffordshire areas meeting friends and family

During the Saturday I snatched the small opportunity to get a few pics of activity in Coleshill High Street with three different operators providing services

The first photo is of a Central Buses Dennis Dart SLF EU06WGM
on the half hourly 777 service Birmingham International Station to Hams Hall. The Dart was new to Jetsie of Hoddesdon in June 2006 and acquired by Central Buses in April 2011

A National Express West Midlands Dennis Trident Alexander ALX400 4432 BJ03EUA was the next to appear on the 70 route between Solihull Station and the
Queensway terminus in the Birmingham City Centre. The Trident was new in June 2003

My final photo shows Arriva Midlands North Scania K230UB Omnilink3804 YN08HZR on a Birmingham to Tamworth service

My apologies for the comparatively poor quality of the photos with the damp dismal weather not helping!

Sunday 10 November 2013

Ex X1 Geminis

Regular contributor Grahame Bessey spent part of Saturday morning observing activity in Lowestoft Bus Station

He took his camera with him and took some photos showing former X1 Geminis in their new guise

The top pics show two of them on their new X2 duties, whilst the third shows a Great Yarmouth example on Lowestoft - Matham service

Click on each individual photo to see a full screen version

My thanks to Grahame for sharing the photos with us

Thursday 7 November 2013

Another Day, Another Livery

Former Great Yarmouth based First Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7RLE 69009 AU05DMX was noted operating in Ipswich by Syd Eade on a couple of occasions recently

Previously employed by Caister Road on their Sprowston Park and Ride contract in Norwich, 69009 was captured on film by Syd whilst in the Suffolk town on the 1st and 6th of November.
He hadn't realised that he had done so until he was sorting his photos out at home

It was then that he saw he had two photos of the same bus taken days apart in the same location with the later picture showing her sporting a new advertisement livery

Many thanks for the photos and report Syd

Service Disruption

First Volvo Olympian 34186 S686AAE was one of those
negotiating the roadworks yesterday
Southbound bus services to and from Gorleston and beyond were severely disrupted by roadworks on Southtown Road yesterday

Whilst waiting for almost thirty minutes for a No 8 service to Great Yarmouth, I saw three deckers on the route heading for the James Paget Hospital within minutes of each other (Remember the old saying - never see one for ages then three come at once!)

In the end I gave up and walked to the High Street!

Both First and Anglian services were adversely affected and the operators kept the public informed through the means of social media.

Ipswich Park and Ride

Ipswich Buses Versa YK08EPJ on the new P&R Service Copyright Syd Eade
This Monday (4th November) saw Ipswich Buses regain the Ipswich Park and Ride contract from First Eastern Counties following a five year absence

Ipswich Buses has acquired eight former Nottingham City Transport Optare Versas to operate the service which wear the new P&R livery.

For the record the vehicles have Ipswich Buses fleetnumbers 145-52 and are registered YK08EPA/C/D/E/F/J/U/V

Regular blog contributor Syd Eade was in Ipswich yesterday and sends in the following report:-

'Despite the vile weather I ventured to Ipswich for an hour today to look at the new P&R operation. All seemed fine, although the Versa internal public address is so loud it blasts you on the pavement when the doors are open, but that may be the idea. I see after being bereft of the service number with (FEC), once again it is known as service 800.

First Volvo B7/Wright Eclipse 69424 AU58FFL on service 65 Copyright Syd Eade
I also found one of the FEC P&R saloons, now with all the markings removed (apart from 'PARK') and looking very down at heel on service 65.

Two pics attached, apologies for the gloom...but at least you don't get cold fingers looking at them'.

My thanks to Syd for the report and photos