Saturday 31 January 2015

Northerly Connections

60813 S664RNA departing Bradford Interchange

My first real bus photography trip using a Digital Camera was back in 2003, a weekend in April I decided to drive up to Sheffield and meet up with fellow enthusiast Ian, whom I had become friends with via various Bus groups on the internet and he is an expert on the Yorkshire Scene if you follow the Yahoo info groups. Friday was planned to take in South Yorkshire starting in Sheffield before moving on to Rotherham, Doncaster, Barnsley and Wakefield all on a Metro Day Ticket for £4.99 if I recall correctly!

Looking back on the photos now I came across a few familiar faces that have become local to us in the East of England.

Barnsley & District was a subsidiary of Yorkshire Traction and they acquired a batch of former Ambassador Travel Volvo B6's which had operated Park & Ride services in Norwich before heading North.
L74UNG seen in Barnsley Bus Station

Saturday was a mix of bus and train journeys taking in Huddersfield, Halifax, Leeds, Bradford and finally York via a few local Inn's for refuelling of course!

Bradford was home to a few vehicles that have since made the trip to East Anglia such as recently departed 60813 which I photographed and another Lowestoft survivor 30886 which i also managed to get on film, little did I know that quite a few northerners would be coming our way over the next few years!

30886 in Bradford with Sovereign and Overground branding
 Final photo is of Huddersfield liveried Dart 40603 M211VWW which along with sister 40602 arrived at Lowestoft initially in 2008 before heading to Norwich.

40603 M211VWW leaving Huddersfield Bus Station

You may notice my photography skills have improved since the trip but good memories of a weekend of Beer and Buses!

When Ollies Ruled Part One

34922 G122YEV enters Lowestoft Bus Station on the X2
All the recent posts regarding the Olympians still hard at work i thought i would share a few photos from my collection looking back at some of the vintage that operated around Norfolk & Suffolk.

Obviously the First Olympians ran in the Red & Cream of Eastern Counties and im saving those for another day!

First up is 34922 G122YEV, she pretty much worked out of every First depot during her life here after coming from First Capital, she is pictured in 2008 at Lowestoft and you will notice the unique destination screen!.
34111 W431CWX at Lowestoft in 2008 still wearing a rear ad from her Avon & Somerset days

34108 - 34114 arrived in October 2008 from First Avon, they were new to Yorkshire Coastliner and operated the express service between Leeds, York & Whitby to name but a few before being purchased by Firstgroup.

They began at Lowestoft for use on the X2 service, replacing the G-reg Olympians, Before ending up at Great Yarmouth, some were noted on loan at Norwich also (have photos somewhere!)

34113 W433CWX at Lowestoft shortly after arriving with FEC

Tri Axle Olympian 30103 K487EUX leaving Lowestoft in Sunny October 2008
The Tri axle Olympians are another post altogether, but could not resist a shot of one in this version.!

Part Two will look back at some of the Blue Bus Olympians and more............

Friday 30 January 2015

Gemini Returns In X1 Livery

I am pleased to bring you the first pictures of Gemini 37573 AU58ECX in its new colours.

37573 has returned to First from the paint shops resplendent in its new Excel livery

The decker is currently at First's Kings Lynn depot and is awaiting an inspection and for its belts to be removed.

It should return to Great Yarmouth sometime next week

My thanks to Danny Beales at First for his help and permission to use the photos

Thursday 29 January 2015

Olympian Report

With the first month of 2015 drawing to a close, it is still difficult to believe that Great Yarmouth's Volvo Olympians are still in revenue earning service

This afternoon I witnessed 34111 W431CWX on the 13:50 Great Yarmouth Market Gates to Belton and the 14:16 return journey. The Olympian is shown in Gorleston High Street heading for Great Yarmouth, despite its incorrect destination display

Earlier in the week sister 34108 W435 CWX (right) was also noted on the same route by regular contributor Jamie Skinner

Their normal workings are usually on contract duties transporting workers to the Bernard Matthews factory.

This afternoon Jamie managed to photograph the sole Northern Counties Palatine bodied example as it was heading west on such a working. 34186 S686AAE was captured on film just as it was passing the Magdalen Arms on Church Lane in Gorleston

My thanks to Jamie for his reports and photos
The Olympians normal duties are to transport workers to Bernard Matthews

Monday 26 January 2015

Paint Float Vehicles And More

Today was my first day out, for some time, observing activity following a short period of being 'confined to barracks' following an attack of the lurgy!

With a number of Volvo deckers recently disappearing to Yorkshire for DDA work and repaint, an equivalent amount of saloons have temporarily provided cover here

South Yorkshire Volvo B10BLE 66112 R912BOU at Gasworks Road this morning
Following Grahame's report that First South Yorkshire Volvo B10BLE 66112 R912BOU is now at Lowestoft, I escaped to the Suffolk town this morning to try and capture a photo of it

I thought I would initially look in at Gasworks Road depot before heading to the town centre and was pleasantly surprised to find 66112 outside the depot receiving attention. An hour later and it was seen back in service

South Yorkshire 62143 R589SBA passes Lowestoft Railway Station with the X2 from Norwich
Shortly after Tim Miller made me aware that another of the paint float vehicles was in use at Beccles on the X2 service heading for Lowestoft. Luckily I was in position at Lowestoft Railway Station!

Only transferred this weekend, Caetano bodied Dart EG52FHD is employed on X2 duty
I then walked to the bus station where another notification from Tim alerted me that a second saloon was on the X2 and surprisingly it was non other than ex Great Yarmouth 43859 EG52FHD which had stepped up to cover the route.

Dart SLF 43466 in Gordon Road
MX53VHC in use on the 115 service
At  the same time, the sole remaining Plaxton Pointer bodied Dart SLF allocated to Lowestoft (43466 R466CAH) made an appearance on the 101 service to Gunton Estate

Meanwhile the 9:59 1A from Martham, via Great Yarmouth, had a third paint float working it in the form of 60618 R781WKW

Suffolk Norse continues to work the 107 route and again they were employing ADL Enviro 300 SN56AYL on the service

Another Suffolk Norse route in Lowestoft is the 115 which operates MWFO from Kirkley to the Bus Station and Iveco minibus MX53VHC was seen in use on it this morning

Saturday 24 January 2015

Latest First News Updated

43859 Pictured at Caister Road shortly after entering service in June 2013 (showing a route it never worked!)

Latest transfers are taking place over this weekend with 43859 EG52FHD moving over to Lowestoft from Yarmouth, 43864 EG52FGA has also followed now its engine problems are sorted out.

Lowestoft Enviro 200's  45116/45117 & 44928 (VT09JPT/ST58JPT/EU08FHB) are also moving up to Norwich.

First South Yorkshire Volvo B10BLE 66112 R912BOU is at Lowestoft as originally reported, 30888 W743DWX remains on loan at Lowestoft from Yarmouth.

Many Thanks to Danny Beales for the Update.

Friday 23 January 2015

First Volvos head South

60813 S664RNA pictured at the Seashore terminus back in July 2014

Three former Yarmouth Volvo B10BLE Wright Renowns which were recently withdrawn have made their way down to a new home with First Devon & Cornwall.

60813/60814 & 66126 all arrived in Plymouth yesterday to begin another chapter of their working lives. 60813/4 were new to First West Yorkshire whilst 66126 was new to First Hampshire.

They have been replaced at Yarmouth by Norwich Volvo B7L's 66334/66341 & 66344, all were new to First Midlands (Leicester & Northampton).

Thursday 22 January 2015

Early Morning Changes to the 8

First Eastern Counties advises that the first two journeys of the day from Caister to Great Yarmouth and James Paget Hospital are to changed from this Monday (26th January 2015).

The 0614 from Caister will run 10 minutes earlier to Great Yarmouth and then depart Market Gates 13 minutes earlier at 0627 to James Paget Hospital. This is to maintain/improve connections with service X1 to Norwich.

The 0634 from Caister will run at the same time to Great Yarmouth and then depart Market Gates 3 minutes earlier at 0657 to James Paget Hospital.

These changes do not affect Saturday or Sunday services

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Local Fleets Magazine Features

 Today's Edition of Route One - click on image to view
Two local operators feature in national bus magazines

The February 2015 issue of Buses includes an article on the history of Anglianbus and its transformation following almost three years of ownership by the Go-Ahead Group. The report mentions that three Tridents are to be replaced by a similar number of refurbished Go-Ahead London Scania OmniDekkas. The article was prepared under the guidance of the since departed Operations Manager Philip Eden

The second local fleet in the news is the little mentioned Marett's Chariots of Aylmerton. The company, ranked as one of the best in Norfolk, is included in today's Route One Magazine. Started in the late 1980's, its acquisition of Bluebird Coaches in 2011 has put the business in the strong position it sees itself today.

Today's issue of Route One can be viewed HERE

Service Alterations Registered ~ 21st January 2015

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

Publication No 2197 contains decisions on local operators' licences and changes to local services affecting our area

Licence Revoked
At a Public Inquiry held in Cambridge on 18th November last, the licence held by Ian Trustler and Partners was revoked. Trading as Goldline Taxis at Unit 5A Moor Business Park, Ellough Road Beccles, all bus services operating under licence PF104793 have also been revoked with immediate effect

Application to Vary Existing Services
First Eastern Counties Buses is to amend the timetable of its service 12/12A between Stalham and Wroxham from 22nd February

The complete Notice and Proceedings Report can be viewed on the website by clicking HERE

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Norwich Classic Bus Running Day

Sunday 22nd March is a date to place in your diaries and is the day when classic buses run again in the fine city of Norwich.

In attendance will be buses from the collection of the East Anglia Transport Museum, Eastern Transport Collection, Ipswich Transport Museum and private collections. 

Vehicles will cover 1940's to the 1980's on routes around the city and serving the Rail Station

Further information can be obtained by joining the Facebook group especially established for the Running Day

My thanks to 'Reg Vardy' for making me aware of the event 

Monday 19 January 2015

Postcard From America

One of our occasional contributors spent the new year in Washington

Peter Warner has sent this photo of a Washington Metrobus on its way to the station at...Foggy Bottom! Peter says 'It was taken on New Year's Eve, so I presume the bus eventually made it back out of the fog in time for the New Year celebration later that evening!' Thanks for the photo Peter

Coincidentally there is also a video of the same bus on YouTube which features a ride on the vehicle. This can be accessed by clicking the image on the right

Our US contact in North Carolina, Mick Capon, has provided further information on the bus in the Comments below 

Friday 16 January 2015

Out and About

I had business to attend to today which saw me out and about in the Great Yarmouth area. After completing my errands I looked in at the town's Beach Coach Station and unusually saw a couple of coaches present

Two Van Hools at Beach Coach Station this morning
It seems that most Fridays, during the school term, there nearly always seems to be a representative from Sanders Coaches present and in this case it was Van Hool Alizee bodied VDL 804 YJ07JFV. It joined the North Norfolk operator in May 2009 having been new to Edinburgh Coachlines in May 2007

The second coach was another Van Hool in the form of Leons of Stafford DT13LCT which carries the Dunwood Travel fleetname

ADL Enviro200 YW14FHS returns to Beccles with the 13:10 service from Great Yarmouth's Market Gates
I returned home via Southtown Road only to see ADL Enviro200 YW14FHS pass me in the opposite direction on Anglian's 11:25 Service 81 from Beccles. The bus was new to Henderson Travel of Hamilton during July last year and still wears the Scottish operator's fleet number 214. The vehicle is currently on loan to Anglian and has temporarily received their fleet number 399 as well!

Thursday 15 January 2015


As all Twitter followers will know, #TBT is an abbreviation for 'Throw Back Thursday' which provides an excuse to post old photos. The blog has often published old pictures under this subject and today is no exception

Regular contributor Tim Major has come up with this blast from the past and not only does his photo show an old bus but an historic street scene too

The location is the foot of Great Yarmouth's Haven Bridge, on the east side, and features a AEC Regent V with a Massey body of H33/28R configuration. CEX44 was delivered to Great Yarmouth Corporation in March 1959 and issued with fleet number 44

It is seen negotiating the roundabout on Hall Quay and is returning to the Town Centre from Gorleston Cliffs on service C. All Gorleston routes at that time were designated with letters instead of the usual numbering system. Closer inspection of the destination screen reveals via Southtown Station!

Thanks Tim for the great photo

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Market Gates Fifteen Minutes ~ Updated

I had around a quarter of an hour to spare this afternoon and looked in at Market Gates to see what was in the offing

First Norwich 66334 MV02VBZ leaving Market Gates with service 7 to Belton on 
Initially I thought not much, until I saw a First Norwich Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7L appear on the stand ready to work a service to Belton

I positioned myself to get a photo of it leaving Market Gates and found it was 66334 MV02VBZ. The saloon is one of three transferred in from Norwich - the others are 66341 MV02VCT and 66344 MV02VCX

They replace the three remaining Volvo B10BLE /Wright Renowns (60813/4 S664/5RNA and 66126 S116JTP) which are being stored at Roundtree Way in Norwich

Lowestoft's AU58ECW continues to see employment on the X1 route
Also noted was the continuing appearance of Lowestoft Gemini 37572 AU58ECW on the X1 route to Norwich; connecting there with the Kings Lynn service

Not long after, the light was beginning to fail so I abandoned photography for the day and later had the pleasure of being drenched by heavy rainfall whilst on grandparent duties!

My thanks First for the updated information

Monday 12 January 2015

EATM Announces Its Special Events for 2015

Last week the East Anglia Transport Museum announced details of its forthcoming Special Events on its website

Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th April ~ Start of Season Easter Gala
The season starts over the Easter weekend with an an Easter egg hunt for children on both days.
On Saturday there is evening running until 7 p.m. which will see the tram & trolley bus fleet and train lit up along with the site to create the venue's unique atmosphere
There will be a park & ride service on the Sunday (only) and a BBQ on both days.

Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th May ~ Mid-May 40’s Weekend!
A look back at the roaring 40s. There will be a park & ride, as well as free bus services running to Lowestoft and Beccles using the museum's period buses, along with many visiting vehicles of the era on both days. There will also be trade stands as well as our BBQ.
The evening running of our tram and trolleybus fleet on Saturday in the museum's unique setting of the gentle glow of lamplight plus sounds of the band playing make this a weekend not to be missed.

Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th July ~ 50th Anniversary of The Museum Site
50 years ago the site became a museum in the making and a lot has changed since then. A milestone worth celebrating and you are invited to an event with all the usual facilities of a park and ride and free bus services running to Lowestoft and Beccles on both days.
There will be a BBQ and also trade stands. Our trolleybuses will whisk you round the site and our trams will transport you through our sun-dappled woods to a secluded picnic spot.

Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th September ~ End of Season Gala
As the season draws to a close a weekend of fun; all available vehicles from the fleet will be running and as the nights begin to draw in we will be running after dark on Saturday.
There will be a park & ride and free bus services running to Lowestoft and Beccles as usual. The BBQ and all the trade stands and static exhibitions, along with visiting vehicles, will be present

Saturday 31st October ~ Halloween
The EATM opens longer into October and is able to offer some spooky happenings around the museum this year, as the woodland area is just the place to attract the ghosts and ghoolies! There will be prizes for all children in fancy dress. Late running into the early evening, twilight will be a chilling experience for all.

For further information on the East Anglia Transport Museum see their website at

Saturday 10 January 2015

A Morning in Norwich

Rail Replacement work from Norwich to Stowmarket this weekend was the excuse for a trip to a very cold and windy city this morning. It did in fact start off very wet whilst waiting for the X1 from Acle!

Numerous operators were noted supplying vehicles for the replacements including First who had been swapping vehicles around on Friday to carry out the duties, Lowestoft Geminis 37569/37571 were noted in use at the Station whilst Norwich's 36175 was out on the X2, Im guessing another was also used but not noted on my visit.
36175 BD11CFZ enjoying a rare outing on the X2
Simonds Van Hool 378BNG at Norwich Rail Station

A number of local Coach operators were also on duty including Smiths of Blofield, Chenery, Galloway, Simonds plus Essex companies Turners and Panther Travel.

Finally, I'm not much of a train person to be honest but I did note in the sidings at Norwich was Class 37 loco 37218 which is an old school diesel which I believe has been drafted in to replace Class 47 versions here but don't quote me on that!
Class 37  37218 In the sidings at Norwich

Friday 9 January 2015

Today's Activities

AO57HCC with nearside damage
Tim Miller reports that Anglianbus Scania OmniCity double decker AO57HCC paid a visit to Brands workshops in Beccles earlier today. Numbered 552 in the fleet it appears to have suffered damage to its nearside

He also espied one unidentified Optare Solo of the same company sitting in the corner of the yard awaiting repairs to a damaged front corner of the bus

Meanwhile at First's Caister Road depot, Caetano Slimbus 43864 EG52FGA was in the rear yard out of use awaiting a new engine

Loanee 60618 R781WKW continues to see employment on service 8 between Caister on Sea and the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston
43864 EG52FGA sits in the yard with three out of use Volvo Olympians for company

My thanks to our Beccles reporter, Tim Miller, for the Anglianbus information and photo

Ipswich Update

Regular contributor James Long has provided me with an update from the Suffolk county town of Ipswich

Grahame has already beat me to the keyboard in telling you that Norwich based 33167 had found its way out of the paint shop at Simon Morris! - see previous post

A very smart looking AU58FFP about to leave the Old Cattle Market for Felixstowe yesterday.  (Photo. James Long)

Jim also tells me that Wright Eclipse Urban bodied Volvo B7RLE 69428 AU58FFP has re-entered service in a variation of the X1 livery on Wednesday

He captured it in service on the 75 Felixstowe route in Ipswich yesterday and I agree with him that it looks very smart indeed

My thanks to Jim for the continuous supply of news and photos

First Updates

Quick update on arrivals & repaints, 62143 R589SBA is now at Lowestoft Depot awaiting entry into service after arrival from Rotherham this week whilst Norwich based 33167 LR02LYF has been repainted into the Turquiose line version of the new livery at Simon Morris in Ipswich and is now ready apart from the finishing vinyls to be applied, thanks to Jim Long for the photo of her today.
62143 at Gasworks Road               

33167 now in full Turquiose line livery for Norwich  (Photo Jim Long)

Wednesday 7 January 2015

60618 Enters Service

60618 about to start her maiden voyage on the 8's this afternoon at the James Paget Hospital

Loanee 60618 R781WKW entered service with Eastern Counties for a second time today after arriving at Yarmouth from Rotherham.

Volvo B7TL 32064 has gone to Rotherham today with 60622 R785WKW coming back to Yarmouth as cover.

Latest Refurb News

Volvo 62143 R589SBA upon arrival at Ipswich last year  (Photo. Jim Long)
Yesterday was the turn of Lowestoft to send one of their ALX400's north to Rotherham for its DDA refurbishment, 30886 made the trip with Volvo 62143 R589SBA returning to Suffolk as cover.

My thanks to Jim Long for the photo

Monday 5 January 2015

Yarmouth 85's

Following on from Roy's post this morning with the news that Danny & Chris have purchased Great Yarmouth Swift 85, I thought I would share some photos of her back in July 2010 when she was brought down from her then Yorkshire home by former owner Nigel Blair. The East Anglia Transport Museum at Carlton Colville had just completed the restoration of another Great Yarmouth 85 in the shape of AEC, AEX85B.This sunny Saturday morning in July both 85's were joined by another preserved Yarmouth vehicle Leyland 66 EX6566 for a tour of their old Yarmouth haunts.
The trio of Yarmouth Blue parked alongside the Pleasure Beach
The two 85's stand alongside each other at the Seashore Camp Terminus
WEX685M in the sunshine on Great Yarmouth seafront

First Loanee Arrives at Caister Road

60618 R781WKW seen here after arriving on loan at Ipswich back in May 2014.  (Photo. Jim Long)

Movements got under way today with 32061 W221XBD making the journey up to Rotherham for refurbishment and First South Yorkshire Volvo 60618 R781WKW was brought back as cover, I can confirm it has now arrived back at Caister Road. 32064 W224XBD is next to go from Yarmouth this week.

Thanks to First for the update.      Grahame.

Speedy Swift!

My report on the East Anglia Transport Museum's Suffolk Made and Operated event held in May last year drew some comment from regular correspondent Jim Long

Jim forwarded a photo he had taken at the Norfolk Showground in 1993 of a former Great Yarmouth Eastern Coach Works bodied AEC Swift which begged the question if any examples of the batch had survived

Ex Great Yarmouth Transport Swift now in the hands of  Chris Speed and Danny Beales.  Photo Chris Speed
In response Neil Jordan said that he knew 85 was still extant and, lo and behold, news of its new buyers surfaced yesterday on Facebook

For those that that don't have access to (or are not interested in) Facebook, Chris Speed, Business Manger for First Eastern Counties, announced that he and Danny Beales, GY Operations Manager, have both acquired WEX685M for preservation

It's good to see the 1973 built bus in safe hands again and Chris has already said it will be used at rallies leading to the possibility of a Swift reunion on the cards.

The couple last met up was in  June 2012 when No 85 visited the EATM  and was posed alongside former Lowestoft Corporation YRT898H

Looking forward to seeing her again 

Saturday 3 January 2015

The Great Fire of Stalham

Eastern Counties once used many outstations for their operations but over the years they have all gone by the wayside and only the major depots are in use. In the early hours of the 3rd of May 2004 an arson attack on vehicles at Stalham outstation in Norfolk saw three vehicles destroyed and another damaged.

The three vehicles destroyed were Coach N613APU, Darts M230VWW & J513FPS and Scania R144GSF suffered minor damage in the blaze.

The photos were taken on the evening after the fire had taken place by myself.
The remains of Volvo B10M  N613APU 
End of the road for these Darts
Reflections of the damage!
Former First Leeds Dart/Alexander M230VWW