Monday 31 March 2014

Oh Happy Days

Happy Days Coaches AC14HDC at Beach Coach Station yesterday
Grahame Bessey was passing Beach Coach Station during yesterday afternoon and found this colourful looking coach

Brand new Van Hool AC14HDC is owned by Happy Days Coaches of Stafford and wears fleet number 228.

Happy Days Coaches are experienced coach operators boasting 90 years of service

My thanks to Grahame for the report and picture

Sunday 30 March 2014

Saturday in Bury

Stephensons' YN55NHF at Bury Bus Station destined for Howard Estate
Another Saturday outing to Bury St Edmunds on lovely sunny unseasonally warmish Saturday

Whilst the other half and her sisters were shopping I spent a couple of hours observing bus activity in the vicinity of the bus station on St Andrew Street North.

I choose this location as there were temporary road works at the Arc Shopping Centre requiring some diversions

The first noteworthy sighting was that of Stephensons' Scania/ East
Stagecoach Trident AE55DJV arrives at Bury with a Cambridge service 
Lancs OmniDekka 634 YN55NHF on Bury Breeze Service 1. No 634 was new to London United as their SLE12 in September 2005

Two of the Stagecoach in Cambridgeshire ADL Trident/Enviro400s made an appearance on the hourly frequency Service 11 from
Cambridge. They were 18336 AE55DJV and 18346 AE55DKO

Of particular interest was the use of former Konectbus Volvo B7TL/ Plaxton President V301LGC.
Ex Konect President V301LGC is now with Chambers as their 561
Now numbered 561 in the Chambers' fleet, LGC looked very smart in its new livery
Other Chambers' deckers observed were 566 W428WGH and 575 W516WGH - both new to London General
in the year 2000

Another former London General decker was being used by Coach Services on the 84 route to Thetford. Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL X509EGK joined the Thetford based operator in 2013 and is often employed on this route
Coach Services X509EGK departs for Thetford on the 84 service

Of local interest was the use of Ambassador Travel's Scania/ Caetano Levante 207 FJ09DXB on the 491 National Express service to London

Two former Anglianbus Scania/ Wright Axcess Ultraflow buses appeared on local services. They were MUI7924 (ex R85EMB) and MUI7949 (R86EMB) - both new to Chester City

Former Anglian R86EMB now registered as MUI7949 in the Mulleys fleet
Finally, two Galloway vehicles were in attendance in the form of DAF/ Wright Cadet 258 1754PP and VDL/ Plaxton Centro 278 AY09BYC

Reynolds Coaches' Visit

The oldest in the fleet is Plaxton Paramount bodied Dennis Javelin 221WPH
Contributor Joe Leathers Watson visited the Caister depot of Reynolds Coaches during yesterday morning

A total of eight vehicles were at the Ormesby Road site including the oldest in the fleet 221WPH. New in 1989, she was previously F740MVR, and has recently benefited from the application of the new livery

One noteable presence was that of BIG8768 Lady Corina.

Unaware of that registration, I checked my
Former X208UAO is now BIG8768
records and it appears that she was formerly X208UAO

Others present included Volvo B10s BEZ3139 and 7289DD, Dennis Javelins BIG8773 and BIG9854 and Mercedes Benz BIG8790 and W600JSB. 

JSB still retains its white livery despite being acquired by Reynolds more than two years ago. It sees continuous use in schools traffic and Joe speculates whether this is going to be with them much longer 

My thanks to Joe for the report and photos
The line up Reynolds premises in Ormesby Road Caister yesterday

Saturday 29 March 2014

Jamie's Corner

Another couple of reports from regular contributor Jamie Skinner

Jamie reports earlier today that he was surprised to see Volvo Olympian 34114 W434 CWX on the 1 Lowestoft-Bound just before half 4 today in Gorleston High Street! On checking the timetable it was the 13:21 Martham to Lowestoft service. Unfortunately he was unable to get a photo of the event

Jamie also saw Ambassador Travel's Volvo B10M GLZ1270 yesterday and was concerned about the state of it. The previously damaged but repaired Volvo B10M sees continuous use; 'the bumper was driven up a verge ages ago and fibre glassed over then painted. This time it features red gaffer tape and is gushing out black smoke!'

My thanks to Jamie for his updates

Friday 28 March 2014

Unusually Not On the X1!

33423 outside the former Royal Oak Public House in Ormesby St Margaret
Another excuse to put a photo on the blog of the most impressive looking bus in the the First Eastern Counties fleet!

It even attracted my wife's attention who commented on how good it looks - which must mean something!

Enviro400 33423 SN60CAA strayed off its normal X1 shuttle duties by working the service 1 to Martham during yesterday evening

Grahame Bessey was on hand to get a photo of 33423 at the bus stop outside the former Royal Oak Public House in Ormesby St Margaret

My thanks to Grahame for the report and photo

Thursday 27 March 2014

BorderBus New Arrival

A smart looking Border Bus ADL Enviro200, ready for service on the 521
Photo copyright Border Bus
Following my contact with Andrew Pursey earlier today I am pleased to bring you details and a photo of their new arrival

The company has purchased a brand new ADL Enviro200 to operate the newly acquired 521 service between Halesworth and Aldeburgh via Saxmundham and Leiston

The 29 seater, registered BB14BUS, starts work on the route from Monday next

I am grateful to Andrew Pursey for the information and photo

Our Bus Visit

Joseph Leathers Watson paid a visit to the Beighton premises of Our Bus yesterday, which is situated some two miles south of Acle off the main A47 road

Three vehicles were present including both of the former Spratts of Wreningham coaches acquired  by Our Bus in early 2013

Volvo B10M PIL4725 was parked up at the side whilst Scania PIL4724 was at the rear of the site. Both have Van Hool bodywork The former was previously registered H182DVM and the latter J234XKY

Also present was 1994 DAF/ Plaxton Premiere N482CEG

My thanks to Joe for the information

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Another Olympian Returns

W436CWX awaiting its next duty at Market Gates in January 2014
Another of the First Great Yarmouth Volvo Olympians has returned to service

Regular contributor Ryan reports that 34109 W436CWX is available for service from today. The Olympian has been in and out of service all this month

For those who may look in at the rear of the depot, viewed from Harley Road, there has been a move around; 34113 W433CWX has now moved in front of Plaxton Premier 20109 N609APU

My thanks to Ryan for his latest report

Tuesday 25 March 2014

More 'Wilco' Adverts

Reliance AEX85B complete with rear advert for Shortis Motorist Discount Store
Since the item on the application of a Wilco advert to the rear of ALX400 32061, I have received a number of tweets and emails regarding the subject

The foundation for Wilco Motor Spares was laid in 1963 when Kevin Shortis, as a 23 year old, opened his first Motorist Discount Store in Norwich, bringing cut price, branded products to local car owners. It was an immediate success with more stores opening until 1971 when the company was taken over. However the acquisition was not successful due to the lack of personal attention and, after a few years, Kevin Shortis formed Wilco Motor Spares and then bought back four of his original stores

The reason for the company history will become apparent when I tell you that the former Great Yarmouth Corporation AEC Reliance, at the East Anglia Transport Museum, currently sports a Shortis Motorist Discount Store rear advert. Incidentally the company had a Great Yarmouth outlet at Blackfriars Road at the time

When Reliance AEX85B was rubbed down an advert was found and traced. Richard Algar says this was reproduced after research and hours of careful paint scraping to ensure it was authentic. Neil Chilvers adds that Mr Shortis thankfully paid for the reproduced advert on the new boot lid

My thanks to Richard and Neil for the information and photos
34114 on its first day out after repair

Olympian Spotted

It didn't take too long before the first report of Olympian's 34114 W434CWX return to service to reach me!

As soon as I had completed the last blog post, an email from Jamie Skinner dropped into my inbox regarding its sighting.

Whilst it's not apparent from the photo,  the decker was on an outbound service 6 to Bradwell. On checking the timetable with Jamie's report it appears to be the 09:05 from Market Gates

Jamie got his picture of the Olympian on its way to Gorleston High Street from the top deck of a Great Yarmouth bound X1 bus

My thanks to Jamie for the report and photo

Caister Road Update

60813 S664RNA at Acle on an X1 short in November 2012
Ryan sends me the latest update on vehicle activity at First's Caister Road depot

Wright Renown bodied Volvo B10BLE 60813 S664RNA is finally back in service following repair whilst Plaxton Paragon 20514 WV02EUP is over the pits receiving attention

The latest regarding the Olympians is that work is completed on 34114 W434CWX and it is available for use. Both 34109 W436CWX and 34111 W431CWX are both undergoing repair. Similar 34108 W435CWX is awaiting a gearbox

My thanks to Ryan for his report

Monday 24 March 2014

Wilco Ad ~ Done Before?

Yesterday's blog entry, regarding the application of an all over advert for Wilco, set Jim Long delving through his photos remembering a similar photo he had taken

He went as far back as September 1993 to find the photo of Eastern Counties F102AVG similarly adorned with Wilco Fast-Fit advertising

He has provided both rear and side views of the Northern Counties bodied Leyland Olympian at Ipswich Old Cattle Market Bus Station

Jim's photos started my rummage through back copies of the Eastern Transport Collection's Terminus Magazine. The April 1989 issue states F102AVG was one of the first Olympians to join the Eastern Counties fleet. It was the first of five to be delivered on 31st March and 'probably entered service on 6th April having been used for engineering familiarisation' and a press launch the previous day.

'They are the first double deck one-man-operated buses with forward ascending staircases.' Apparently delivery of the remaining four of the order was delayed until later in the month due to gearboxes being unavailable. F102 was given fleetnumber DD2 and became 34822 under First

Many thanks for the contribution Jim - much appreciated

Jamie's Corner

From time to time I have featured reports from one of the blog's younger contributors Jamie Skinner

I am pleased to include his latest report as it reflects well on one of First's drivers and I will let Jamie take up the story:-

'I was waiting for the 17:15 Number 5 to Burgh Castle (last bus of the day) on Saturday at Southtown Road to go to a family meal at theirs on Burgh Rd near Rainbow stores. The driver of the 5 didn't see me because a number 1 decker was in front.. That was that and I missed it. So I started walking along Southtown Road planning to get the next bus and walking from Halfway House.

The driver of the 1 spotted that I had missed it and stopped in the middle of the road and said "hop on and will see if I can catch up!" Foot to the floor the driver caught it up at the High Street and thankfully the 5 stayed and I managed to get on it and go to where I was going!

I didn't catch the fleet number or the driver's details but he was young and the bus was an Ex Leicester. I even got a pic not planning to miss the 5! You can see the problem in how close the buses were!'

Thanks for the report and photo Jamie - it's good to see drivers doing that extra bit to help the customer.

Sunday 23 March 2014

New Rear Advertisement For Decker

Regular contributor Grahame Bessey reports that one of the ex First Leicester Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL double-deckers has gained an allover rear advert today

The advert, for Wilco Fast Fit, was applied to 32061 W221XBD this afternoon and Grahame took a photo of the bus soon after its application

My thanks to Grahame for the report and photo

Saturday 22 March 2014

Caister Road latest Update

Regular contributor Ryan provides us with the latest update from First's Caister Road Depot

Recently withdrawn 34186 at Caister Road on 18th February
The main news concerns the latest situation regarding the Volvo Olympians:-
34109 W436CWX is currently awaiting an inspection
34110 W437CWX is awaiting spare parts
34111 W431CWX is undergoing maintenance
34114 W434CWX is over the pits and being cleaned
34186 S686AAE has been withdrawn

On the saloon front Volvo B12M 20514 WV02EUP was towed in last week and is also awaiting spare parts before repairs can be effected. Both Dart 43862 EG52FGK and Volvo B10BLE 60813 S664RNA are also awaiting parts

Meanwhile Lowestoft Dart 43481 R681DPW is here having an MOT

My thanks to Ryan for the continuous supply of updates

Friday 21 March 2014

Shearings Setra At Market Gates

I was in the Market Gates area yesterday and observed a Setra from Shearings drop off passengers on the eastern side of the terminus

Shearings Holidays 513 BU13ZTE is pictured peeping out of the gloom during yesterday afternoon

Bus Painter Bows Out After 40 Years Service

Left to right Mike Smith, depot engineering manager, Ray Yaxley and Steve 
Hanner outside Norwich's Roundtree Way depot. Steve is a supervisor and 
former apprentice who Ray trained. 
A bus painter has hung up his brushes after a career spanning more than 40 years. Ray Yaxley, 72, who works for First Eastern Counties, joined the firm as a coach painter in 1972. His early work saw him based at Cremorne Lane, Norwich, where he painted buses in a traditional poppy-red livery.

Ray, who lives in Blofield with his wife, Jean, has worked in various depots in Norwich and Great Yarmouth. He has kept an album of all the special projects and liveries he has worked on over the years. The most recent project saw him re-paint Routemasters blue, red and green.

He retired when he was 62 but worked for the company part-time for another 10 years. And although he enjoyed work, he made the decision to leave when he was diagnosed with cancer of the bladder in November 2013. Following his diagnosis, he reduced his hours at work before he said a final goodbye on March 20.

Mike Smith, depot engineering manager at First Eastern Counties’ Roundtree Way depot, said: 'Ray has gone above and beyond. Even when we revamped the stores last year he was up on the ladder, cleaning windows and painting. He has seen the company evolve over the years. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with him.'

My thanks to First Eastern Counties for the report and photo

Thursday 20 March 2014

Service Alterations Registered ~ 19th March 2014

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

Publication No 2175 includes new services by Borderbus and Suffolk Norse whilst Neaves Coaches and Our Bus have surrendered a number of routes

New Applications Received

Bus and Us Limited of Briston, Melton Constable has registered an operating centre for one vehicle at Vicarage Farm in the village

Licences Revoked Without a Public Inquiry

North Quay Services Limited (trading as Eurosun Coaches) with a registered office at 25 Regent Road in Lowestoft, has had its licence revoked with immediate effect

Registration of New Services

Based at Moor Business Park in Beccles, Borderbus Limited has applied for three services running on schooldays only. They serve the Sir John Leman School and are as follows
         * SJL1  Kessingland to Sir John Leman School, Beccles
         * SJL2  Oulton Road to Sir John Leman School, Beccles
         * SJL3  Carlton Colville to Sir John Leman School, Beccles 
There will be one journey in each direction and will commence on the 23rd April 2014

Britannia Bus Limited of Carlton Colville in Lowestoft have registered a service operating between Olney Market Square and Steeple St James. The 321 Monday to Saturday service will operate via Milton Keynes with effect from the 28th April 2014

Registration of New Services Granted Under Short Notice

Suffolk Norse of Ipswich have registered a number of new services under short notice including the 173 between Woodbridge Turban Centre to Trimley St Martin via Felixstowe and the 72 between Woodbridge and Ipswich Tower Ramparts. The former runs Monday to Saturday whilst the latter operates Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays only. Both will commence from 31st March 2014

Applications to Vary Existing Services

Go West Travel Limited trading as Norfolk Green has registered variations to its timetables on a number of its routes including the X29 between Fakenham and Norwich plus Coasthopper 3 between Wells next the Sea and Cromer. Changes take effect from 3rd May 2014

National Express is to alter the route and timetable of the 481 between Felixstowe and London Victoria from 28th March 2014

Paul Frost, trading as PF Travel of Woodbridge is to amend the timetable of services 62/65/71/72 effective from 6th May 2014

Cancellations of Existing Services Granted Under Short Notice

H S Neave and Son Limited, trading as Neaves Coaches of Catfield, have cancelled a number of services 
          *  Service 17 between Potter Heigham and Mundesley School
          *  Service 29 between Acle and Wroxham
          *  Service NE1 between Stalham and Hoveton
All three services ceased on 11th February 2014

Similarly, Jeremy Cushing and Dareen Littlewood, trading as Our Hire from offices at 35 Englands Lane in Acle, have surrendered the following
         * Service 599 between Great Yarmouth Market Gates and Great Yarmouth Market Gates
         * Service unnumbered between Acle and Acle
         * Seafront Circular Service between Great Yarmouth Haven Seashore Park and Great Yarmouth Haven Seashore Park
         * Service 57A between Norwich Railway Station and Norwich Railway Station
All effective from 25th February 2014

Information source: Traffic Commissioner for the Eastern Traffic Area - Notices & Proceedings Report 2175 - published on 19th March 2014.

BIG Move

BIG6620 has now left the Reynolds Coaches' fleet for Rigby based in Lancashire
Despite still being advertised for sale on the website, Reynolds of Caister have sold their C53 seated Bova Futura BIG6620

New in April 1999 as T341NBV, Reynolds acquired the coach from Robin Hood of Rudyard, Staffordshire in September 2008

The April issue of Buses magazine reports the new owner as Rigby of Altham in Lancashire and a previous registration of T553WWT!

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Tuesday in Tamworth

One of Central Buses smart new Enviro200s on the xpre55 route
We normally visit the outlaws in Tamworth over a weekend so the Monday/Tuesday overnighter was a pleasant change and the the second day coincided with market day - an opportunity for the ladies to spend time shopping

I made my excuses and disappeared in search of some different bus workings to the usual Arriva dominated activities

Since my last visit Central Buses have introduced an xpre55 direct service connecting Tamworth and Lichfield at 30 minute intervals. Two brand new Enviro200s have been purchased to operate the service and they looked very smart in their xpre55 livery

Heartlands Dart S363ONL in Corporation Street awaiting departure to Mile Oak
Heartlands Travel/ Invincible Coaches also had a presence in the form of 11.3 metre Dennis Dart Super Pointer 213 S363ONL. The Dart was new to Go Gateshead as their 8163 in 1999 and subsequently moved to Impera Bus & Coach

Heartlands acquired ONL last month and it was noted yesterday sporting a silver and blue livery operating the Mile Oak service. I am unable, at the moment, to trace the reason for the livery - was it applied by Heartlands or by a previous owner? Any pointers (excuse the pun!) would be welcome. For subsequent information please see the comment below by Tom Harrison

Middletons HX07TYF parked in front of  the Church of St Editha
Earlier in the morning, I was enjoying breakfast at the Holiday Inn when a decker from the fleet passed through the car park to my surprise. It was proclaiming 'Invincible' on its destination after disgorging its schoolchildren at the neighbouring Snowdome/ fitness centre. Another from the fleet,
former Trent Optare Excel Y237DRC was also noted in service at the nearby Ventura Retail Park

On my way back to the car park, local operator Middletons was using its HX07TYF to promote its outings and tours to the locals on market day

The above provided a pleasant change to the usual Tamworth Arriva Midlands diet!

A Very Early Evening Service ~ Updated

An early run for the Lowestoft 122 service at 7:45 this morning!
Regular contributor Grahame Bessey looked in at Lowestoft's Gordon Road bus station this morning to find a very early running 122 town service

The 122 does not normally run until the early evening, commencing with the 17:56 from the bus station

Grahame captured Dart 43868 EG52FGX complete with 122 displayed and it did depart showing 122!

My thanks to Grahame for the report and photo

The above posting has subsequently drawn the following response from a contact within First:-

'The 122 does indeed have two morning journeys as well as evening journeys. The reason for the different number is to show passengers that it follows a different route to the 102 and 105, principally evenings. The AM journeys are there to offer a better service than would be warranted by separate 102 and 105 journeys.'

My thanks to the contact a First for putting the record straight

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Caister Road Update

Back on the road soon - 34114 at the rear of Caister Road on 27th January last
A quick update from First's Caister Road depot supplied by Ryan

To follow on from the news about the Volvo Olympian back in revenue earning service, two more are in line for a return to active duty soon

Number 34111 W431CWX is currently over the pits with 34114 W434CWX expected to follow later

Both are being prepared to provide cover for seasonal route 3. They may not appear on the route themselves but release other buses to work on the route which commences on 25th May. This leads to speculation that the Routemasters may not be employed on this service during the summer months

Great Yarmouth Dart 42921 has returned from Lowestoft after a short loan spell

My thanks to First and Ryan, in particular, for the continuous supply of reports

Friday 14 March 2014

Welcome Return

Ryan has emailed me that Olympian 34109 W436CWX is now back on the road following the completion of repairs. Thanks for the latest news Ryan

Essex Solo at Dusk

EO02NFX is one of two First Essex Solos to undergo MOT work at Caister Road
Grahame Bessey was passing First's Caister Road during yesterday evening on his way home and saw an Optare Solo on the forecourt

It was unusual in that Great Yarmouth doesn't have any Solos as part of its allocation

It was First Essex 53137 EO02NFX complete with a Chelmsford City fleet name on the side

Ryan continues to update me with the latest depot news and tells me that the work on President 32208 LT52WTO has been completed and it is now back in service

Olympian 34109 W436CWX is having parts fitted whilst Dart 43466 R466CAH has arrived from Lowestoft for an MOT

My thanks to both Grahame and Ryan for helping to prepare this post

Thursday 13 March 2014

Local Activity

Sanders Coaches' DAF 538FN exits Market Gates Bus Station
This evening's offering is a round up of activity in the Great Yarmouth area

Soon after my arrival at Market Gates this afternoon, a Sanders Coaches' Van Hool Alizee bodied DAF arrived to work the 13:35 to North Walsham

The registration was a little familiar with 538FN having adorned a former Great Yarmouth based Caroline Seagull Jonckheere bodied DAF in 2008

Simonds Volvo SLK886 enjoying the sunshine at Beach Coach Station
Also sailing through Market Gates was Volvo Olympian 34187 S687AAE on First's 1A 12:59 Martham to Lowestoft service

I then walked to Beach Coach Station to observe the two deckers usually appearing on the afternoon's Bernard Matthew's contract working; expecting to see the recent First Leicester arrival in use

Unfortunately I was out of luck as two Geminis were employed instead - 37575 AU58ECZ and 37579 AU58EDK

However, the trip wasn't in vain as Simonds Volvo B10M SLK886 was the sole occupant of the coach station

A speedy stroll, to Caister Road depot in the hope of that I might catch 32061 W221XBD there instead, was rewarded with the ALX400 sitting in the sun waiting for a photo to be taken. 

The third ex First Leicester ALX400 32061 W221XBD entered service today
Ryan had taken 32061 out on a test drive yesterday and he informed me that the decker was due out in service today. 

It appears the faulty destination screen has not been repaired; it showed 'Greater Anglia Rail Replacement' as 32061 left for Caister!

Finally, following gearbox replacement, Dennis Dart 42921 EU05AUN is now on loan to Lowestoft

My thanks to Ryan for the update

Former Anglian Solo For Sale

Ex Anglian Solo AU54ENY pictured in October 2013 having arrived at Scarcroft
Moss Syke with the only service terminating there. Photo: Harrogate Coach Travel
Another former Anglianbus vehicle appears to be on the move again

Harrogate Coach Travel, which operates the ConneXions bus services in the Ripon and Harrogate area of North Yorkshire, has advertised the availability of Optare Solo M780 AU54ENY in the latest Route One magazine

The Solo was declared surplus to needs by Anglian in June last year when the new Anglian/Konect bus network was introduced. It was acquired by Harrogate Coach Travel during the following August

The bus is one of two Solos for sale due to council tender cuts in the county and ENY still retains Anglian's blue and yellow livery

Photo by kind permission of Harrogate Coach Travel

Ipswich Museum Open Day

Ipswich Transport Museum is holding an open day on bank holiday Monday 21st April 2014 to enable the public to see what they have been up to during the winter period

There will be the opportunity to view a new exhibit, see recent restorations plus easter eggs for the youngsters to find

Regular contributor Rob Collins is considering organising a minibus to the event with pick up points in Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and Lowestoft plus any points along the A12 towards Ipswich. The cost will be around £10 per person to cover the vehicle hire and the cost of fuel

Let Rob know if you wish to take advantage of this offer

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Lowestoft delays

Tim Miller tweeted me this morning regarding the traffic chaos in central Lowestoft due to temporary lights to improve access to the Commercial Road junction

As he hadn't moved for twenty minutes or so, he sent a picture of what was in-front of him in the queue

It was the rear of a Sherings Setra registered BU13ZTC!

The situation was compounded at around midday when a lorry collided with a pedestrian at the Commercial Road junction

Both First and Anglian advised passengers of delays via Twitter

Tim pleads for a third river crossing as soon as possible

Thanks for the tweet Tim
Gemini 36180 in St Stephens Street before Norwich Network implementation

MOT Work

Following a message from Ryan during yesterday evening, it appears that we in the wrong part of the town to witness unusual activity yesterday!

Firstly, the Norwich Network sighting reported by Jamie yesterday was thought to have been Gemini 36168 BD11CFN, in Great Yarmouth for an MOT

Two others arrived for MOT work including 36180 BD11CDZ; with Ryan collecting a third Norwich bus in the shape of Wright Eclipse 66327 MV02VBB

Regarding the local allocation, Olympian 34109 W436CWX was undergoing inspection yesterday whilst President 32208 LT52WTO was experiencing a few problems

Recent Leicester arrival, 32061 W221XBD,was given a good clean yesterday and it shouldn't be too long before it enters service

My thanks to Ryan for his report

Tuesday 11 March 2014

A Slow Day

Demonstrator YT13YUK currently on loan to Anglian
Spent some time today with fellow blogger SteveW in Great Yarmouth primarily observing activity at Market Gates

During the three hours or so we chatted, there was absolutely nothing unusual to report. Even a trip to Beach Coach Station to see Bernard Matthews contract workings yielded nothing more that two Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7s!

Returning to Market Gates I did get my first photos of the Alexander Dennis Enviro 300 bodied Scania gas demonstrator YT13YUK currently hired to Anglian, and that was it!

Thanks for the company today Steve and let's hope the next meet up will be more productive; can't be any worse!

Jamie's News

Two Wright Renown bodied Volvos on Southtown Road 
Another report from one of our younger contributors Jamie Skinner

Jamie was on a bus heading into Great Yarmouth earlier this morning and caught these two Volvo B10LEs southbound on Southtown Road at about 7:50

Wright Renown 60813 S664RNA  is on the 5 for Burgh Castle and leads 66126 S116JTP on the 7 to Belton - it looks likely that this vehicle type could be nearing the end of  its life in the local fleet very soon

On arrival at Market Gates, Jamie observed an unidentified Norwich Network bus passing through but it was not in service

Saturday 8 March 2014

Third Ex-Leicester Bus Confirmed

32061 W221XBD in use in Leicester
Ryan has confirmed the arrival of the third First Leicester ALX400 at Caister Road. The bus is 32061 W221XBD which which had been parked up at Leicester's Abbey lane depot for about a fortnight

With work underway on the mainline south of Norwich, vehicles from First Great Yarmouth are on rail replacement duties. Unfortunately only one of the two Volvo B10Ms is employed this weekend as 20515 WV02EUR has door problems. It is believed that 33423 SN60CAA has also been recruited

Ex First Essex Dennis Dart 42921 EU05AUN is currently out of action awaiting a new gearbox

Many thanks for the report Ryan and to DoncasterDart for the use of the photo under Creative Commons license

Friday 7 March 2014

Leicester's to Lowestoft

Ex First Leicester 32063 W223XBD on its way to Martham via Market Gates
Both of the former First Leicester ALX400s were on Martham to Lowestoft 1/1A duties earlier this afternoon

32063 W223XBD was noted heading for Market Gates on the 13:10 from Lowestoft, whilst in the opposite direction 32062 W422SRP was seen on Caister Road with the 13:59 from Martham

A third ALX400 from First Leicester is expected to arrive at Caister Road later today

Olympian Returns

34109 W436CWX passes the Magdalen Arms on 27th January last
First's Volvo Olympian 34109 W436CWX has returned to active duties - the only one of the seven Alexander Royale bodied deckers currently in service

Ryan also informs me that a second Optare Solo has arrived at Caister Road for mot work. She is First Essex 53137 EO02NFX, which is currently allocated to Chelmsford

Many thanks for the update Ryan

Thursday 6 March 2014

Ensign Bus Dealership Disposal

Former Anglian Scania CN94UB YN03WRL in Gorleston High Street
on  16th October 2012 still in red livery
Many of you will be aware that Ensign also provides a dealership in addition to its bus services in the Essex area

Ross Newman regularly provides reports to many enthusiast groups and the disposal list for February caught my attention.

Included in the report was the sale of ex Anglianbus Scania OmniCity YN03WRL to Southern Transit of Brighton

The Scania was new to Metrobus in August 2003 as their 539 and subsequently moved to Anglian in September 2012 operating as 450 in the Suffolk based fleet. 

As the photo shows, for a time WRL operated in service in London Red before being repainted in Anglian colours. It still retains its centre doors

Avon Calling!

Transbus Trident KN52NDV, now in use with Avon Cosmetics
Many of you will remember the old 'Avon Calling' adverts and this morning the cosmetics company were using a decker to promote their products in Lowestoft

Regular contributor Grahame Bessey caught site of the bus in Gordon Road car park on his way to work this morning

The decker is Transbus Trident KN52NDV and was new to Armchair as their DT13 before passing to Tellings Golden Miller as their TA161.

Thanks for the report and photo Grahame
Click on poster to enlarge

Suffolk Made & Operated

With the spring like weather of the last few days, our thoughts turn towards this year's outside events

Neil Chilvers reminds me that the East Anglia Transport Museum at Carlton Colville, near Lowestoft, are holding a Suffolk Made & Operated event during May

Organised in conjunction with Ipswich Transport Museum, it celebrates the transport heritage of Suffolk and is being held on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th May

Buses from the extensive collection of both museums together with those made or operated in the county will offer regular free bus services to Lowestoft and Beccles

However, the star of the show will be the recently restored Ipswich Trolleybus 105 (seen above) making its public service d├ębut.

The interior of  Ipswich Trolleybus 105
It will be the first time an Ipswich trolleybus has operated under the wires in its home county since the system closed

Continuing the theme will be Suffolk built Garrett trolleybus NESA No 5, resident of the museum and currently the oldest serviceable trolleybus in the world

The other museum events for 2014 are the Hop on a Bus Day on Sunday 22nd  June  and the End of Season Gala on 6/7th September

My thanks to Neil for the information and photos.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Service Alterations Registered ~ 5th March 2014

The latest Eastern Area Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report was published earlier today on the Gov.UK website.

Publication No 2174 includes changes to some services operated by Anglianbus, Konectbus and Sanders Coaches. Konect is also introducing a new open top service whilst Nightingales has surrendered its 521 route

Registration of New Services

Konect Bus of Dereham have registered a new service between Weybourne and Cromer via Sheringham. Service 22 commences on 20th April 2014 and operates Monday to Sunday, including bank holidays, running hourly. Andys Bus Blog has further details including a photo of the open top bus to be used on the route

Applications to Vary Existing Services

Anglian Bus of Beccles is amending the timetables of some of its services from 20th April 2014:-
*   7 Blofield Heath and Great Yarmouth/Great Yarmouth College
*   60 Bungay to Lowestoft                                *   61   Bungay to Lowestoft
*   62 Beccles to Halesworth                             *   83   Harleston and Norwich
*   87/88 Durban Close, Halesworth to Newmarket Road, Norwich

From the same date Anglian also amends routes, stopping places and timetables of the following
*  7A Norwich Bus Station and East Norfolk Sixth Form (route and timetable changes only)
*  83A/88B/BH272 Harleston to Southwold         *   84   Broad Street, Harleston to Norwich

Konectbus of Dereham is to amend route and timetables of its Norwich to Sheringham (route 2) and Sheringham to Holt (route 2A) services from 20th April 2014. There will also be timetable changes to its 52 route from the same date

Applications to Vary Existing Services Granted Under Short Notice

Sanders Coaches of Holt has altered the timetable of its 45 Norwich to Holt and the route and timetable of the 46 between Holt and Fakenham

Cancellations of Existing Services Granted Under Short Notice

As expected, Nightingales of Beccles  has de-registered its 521 service between Halesworth and Aldeburgh with effect from the 29th March. The service will be taken over by Borderbus

Information source: Traffic Commissioner for the Eastern Traffic Area - Notices & Proceedings Report 2174 - published on 5th March 2014.

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Jamie's News

Ambassador Solo MX54KYA operates the northbound 730 today
Jamie Skinner reports that 'One of the new deckers from Leicester was observed on the 1A to Lowestoft at about 4:30 at Yarmouth' (thought to be the 15:59 from Martham)

He also saw an 'unusually packed' northbound Ambassador 730 service on Southtown Road with 601 MX54KYA in use. His picture was taken from the top deck of the 15:56 number 8 from Caister to the James Paget Hospital.

My thanks to Jamie for his report and photo

In Search of the Leicesters

ALX400 W743DWX leads Gemini FJ08FYN on a Bernard Matthews contract
Today was the first opportunity I had to track down and photograph the two former First Leicester ALX400s

I thought my best bet would be at Beach Coach Station to capture a photo of either of them working Bernard Matthews contracts.

Wrong guess! The arrival of the twosome was heralded by noisy ALX400 30888 W743DWX which led Gemini 37562 FJ08FYN along Nelson Road North

It's as if it was waiting for me, 32062 W422SRP basking in the sun
I got a photo of the two prior to departure following the boarding of passengers at the coach station

On the off chance, I headed for Caister Road depot and couldn't believe my luck as 32062 W422SRP was parked on the forecourt soaking up the sunshine!

A quick photo
opportunity and then, just as I was driving away, 32063 W223XBD was driven out of the garage and left northbound.

Three of the Olympians in the rear yard - on the left is 34108 W435CWX, in
the centre is 34109 W436CWX and nearest the camera is 34113 W433CWX
I expect both were on schools duties serving the rural area north of the town

Meanwhile, all seven CWX registered Volvo Olympians were noted located in the rear yard

Finally, Ryan tells me that he delivered Lowestoft's ADL Enviro200 45112 DK57SXF to its home depot during yesterday evening after a long stay at Caister Road undergoing repair

My thanks to Ryan for the update

Gas Bus Repair

Tim Miller reports the appearance of one of Anglian's gas buses at the Car & Commercials premises in Beccles

MAN/Caetano 102 WX62HHF is expected to undergo possible rear end repairs

The accompanying photo shows the bus in Beccles on the first day in service on 3rd December 2012

Thanks for the report Tim