Sunday 21 December 2014

2014 Review ~ Part One

With Christmas getting ever so closer, it is the time of the year for the blog to reflect on the major activies on the local bus scene over the past twelve months.

The blog itself has seen many milestones passed this year - our 1,000th post in April; the 400th post this year in October and not forgetting the half a million visitors to the site!

In June, I had to deal with many personal problems and it was hoped that my much planned holiday to the west coast of the USA would provide that much needed boost. However, the three weeks away would leave the blog unmanned which I mentioned in passing to Grahame Bessey in one of my emails. Without any prompting or any pressure at all, Grahame volunteered to take over

However, the holiday never materialised due to illness! The positive side of it was that Grahame was now able to create and submit his own posts to the blog. What a tremendous help and asset he has been. Many thanks Grahame for your valued support during the year!

The first part of the 2014 review covers many of the independents serving our area:-

Ambassador Travel 
One of the trio of new coaches to join Ambassador this year
Gapton Hall based Ambassador Travel celebrated the new year with the arrival of three new Caetano Levante bodied Volvo B9Rs (BF63 ZSK/L/N) for National Express work

Operationally it ceased its 606/7/8/9 routes between Gorleston's Morrison Store and Lowestoft Bus Station via Lound in late February, with the last service operated by Solo MX54KYA

It also cancelled its 32A. 705 and 911 services in the previous month but introduced new school routes in September - three serving Gorleston schools with another two routes from Suffolk villages to Easton College near Norwich

Belle Coaches
Belle Coaches link between Haven Holiday Park and Gorleston
Lowestoft's Belle Coaches celebrated nine decades of family ownership in August this year

During the summer months it was running a service on behalf of Haven Holiday Park to Gorleston as the beach at Hopton was inaccessible for its holiday makers

Four coaches were advertised for sale in Route One magazine as being surplus to requirements with two transferring within the county to Galloway of Mendlesham during November

Border Bus
Border Bus new arrival BB14BUS for the 521 service
Established by former Anglian Managing Director Andrew Pursey, Border Bus gained its license for its Beccles operating centre in late January

This was followed, in March, by the registration of three schoolday services to the Sir John Leman School, also in Beccles,

The same month saw the arrival of a new 29 seat single decker, BB14BUS, to operate its newly gained 521 service between Halesworth and Aldeburgh

Expansion continued with three more saloons arriving in July for its commercial 146 route from Norwich to Southwold; a further vehicle arrived in October

Border Bus also secured the contract for three services provided as part of the Latitude Festival in July which were previously operated by Anglian

Bus & Us
CUV321C at Holt in July
This family run business gained a licence for its operations centre at Briston this year

Their Routemaster, CUV321C, appeared at the North Norfolk Railway's Vintage Transport Weekend in July

EuroSun/Angie's Tours
As a result of public inquiry in January, it was decided to revoke the licence of North Quay Services, trading as EuroSun Coaches from the end of February

EuroSun's Duple bodied DAF C253HJX
One of the directors subsequently established Angie's Tours which were based at the same Norwich Industrial Estate premises in Lowestoft. During March, one or two of the coaches were being operated by Angie's Coaches which has permission for twelve vehicles at the site

A visit to the premises in November found seven vehicle present with none of them available for service. Earlier in the year, Duple bodied DAF C253HJX was noted in a breakers/ dismantlers yard at Methwold

Konects open topper R39XRV on the Norfolk Coaster
This Dereham based operation gets a mention here as it began a new open top bus service between Weybourne and Cromer via Sheingham during April. Former Isle of Wight Olympian R739XRV was used on the service

Marretts Chariots
AFSC Limited, trading of Marrett's Chariots of Aylmerton, cancelled three services with effect from mid July 2014. They were the North Walsham - Aylsham, Cromer - Norwich and the Cromer - Wymondham routes

Former Swift Volvo  491JVX is now with Our Bus
Our Bus
Our Bus continued to operate its Great Yarmouth Seafront service during the summer months with its Mercedes Vario SF54OUY

It surrendered two weekly operated services to Swift Taxis but picked up some school contracts from the same Great Yarmouth company plus the acquisition of one of the latter's vehicles. For further details see the Swift Taxis entry

Reynolds Coaches
There were many comings and goings at this Caister on Sea operator during the year

Recent fleet departure Mercedes W600JSB
In came Dennis Javelin AW02ASU to be followed by another four coaches in August in the form of Plaxton Profile bodied Volvo B7s AW53GAU/GAX and Cheetahs EG52HBB and BIG8793

On the minus side, Bova BIG6620 went to Rigby of Lancashire and W600JSB to Beeline of Wiltshire. Four others were made available for sale during June - Volvo's 7289DD, BIG8774 and BIG8769 plus Toyota FJ54MOA with Volvo BIG9842 made available during November

Sanders Coaches
East Lancs PM03EHU joined the Sanders fleet this year
Holt based Sanders Coaches confirmed the acquisition of H S Neave and Son Limited of Catfield in April. All of Neaves' vehicles and staff transferred to Sanders as well as its 32 and 36 bus routes

This operator also experienced many vehicle movements during 2014 with the most interesting being the departure of  the 102 seater Volvo B9TLs OU05KLA/KKB (named 'Goliath' and 'Norfolk Centurion') during May

Joining the fleet were three former Bus Vannin East Lancs Lowlanders from the Isle of Man - PM03EJC/EHR/EHU. Also acquired were six DAF/ Wright Cadets from Rotala's Black Diamond fleet - YJ51EKB/D/E/F/G/M

Another interesting acquisition was Eastons former Scania Omnilink YN08HZX which still retains its light blue livery

Swift Taxis
Recently re-registered MW51WFT
This Great Yarmouth operator continues to see a reduction in the number of services its provides together with the consequential reduction in the number full sized vehicles

From the end of March it cancelled two of its services - the 907 between Halvergate and Thorpe plus the 309 linking Southtown and Martham. On the positive side it gained weekly operated routes 291 (serving Wroxham) and 292 Halvergate to Salhouse route. They were previously provided by Our Bus

Swift's  Autosan BV57MTJ is currently available for sale
More bad news was to follow in August as Swift lost all but one of their school contracts - mostly to Our Bus

As already mentioned some vehicles have left the fleet - Javelin P109WJU to 3D Travel, Cumbria; Volvo N962DWJ to P&M Coaches in Essex and 491JVX to Our Bus in nearby Acle.

Autosan BV57MTJ is currently available for sale and Mercedes Vario AE07NZC has been re-registered MW51WFT

With currently only five full sized coaches on its books, the fleet is a shadow of its former self 

Waylands Minibus Service
Frank Berry and Margaret Berry, trading as Waylands Minibus Services of Kirby Cane in Bungay, had their licence and related services revoked with immediate effect during early December

Whippet Coaches
On loan to Whippet this year has been Volvo B12B LK53KVP
Swavesey based Whippet Coaches has become part of the Australian owned Transit Systems.The 60 vehicle operation, which provides some seasonal express coastal services to the area, was sold to Tower Transit in mid November

Late April saw the return of its coaster services from Cambridge to Great Yarmouth with Volvo B12B/ Jonckheere Mistral SF05XYZ being used on service H on the 23rd of the month  

That's it for Part One then - Part Two, covering Anglianbus and First Eastern Counties, follows soon

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