Saturday 28 February 2015

Postcard From Worthing

Just a quick post from Worthing this morning where we travelled to yesterday

As regular readers of the blog will be aware, the major operators in the town are Stagecoach South and Compass Bus

Following our four hour run and a stop for sustenance, we walked along the prom to the town centre for a spot of shopping.

We retraced our steps and came across Compass Bus Transbus Dart GX05AOP arriving at the bus terminus near the pier for its next duty. The 37 seater Plaxton bodied bus was new to Jemkins of Newick as fleet number 124 in April 2005

Thursday 26 February 2015

Oldest Oly In Town

S686AAE on schools duty - Photo Roger Bellward
Despite its age, First Great Yarmouth's oldest Olympian continues to provide sterling service - in some respect a tribute to the staff at Caister Road

34186 S686AAE was on 'Schools Service' first thing yesterday. After completing the route to the East Norfolk Sixth Form College it was subsequently observed by Jamie Skinner returning from Bradwell to Great Yarmouth on the 6

The Northern Counties bodied Olympian will be 17 years old this year having been delivered to First Bristol in August 1998. It came to First Eastern Counties some ten years later

In other news, it appears that the fate of the last built Olympian, 34110 W437CWX, may have at last been determined. At the moment no further information is available

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Lunchtime Lurking

National Holidays Setra NH11DTH at Beach Coach Station
at lunchtime today
At lunchtime today I had a quick run around the usual haunts in Great Yarmouth to see what was lurking about

Looking in at Beach Coach Station it revealed a sole National Holidays Setra NH11DTH soaking up the rays from the winter sun. Though when I took my photo the sun went in!

The next port of call would be Marine Parade but, on exiting Sandown Road, I saw a white liveried Volvo parked up to my left on North Drive. Closer inspection showed it to be former
Former Swift Taxis Volvo B10M 491JVX outside the Waterways on North Drive
Swift Taxis 491JVK; another former
National Holidays' coach which was then registered M123UWY when with them. It is now owned by local operator Our Bus

Another National Holidays Setra, NH13GWH, was noted outside the Sea Life Centre on Marine Parade. Keeping company were two Shearings Holidays Setras in the form of 119 BN09FJX and 317 BK11CPN

National Holidays Setra NH13GWH being watched by Shearings BN09FXJ

I then adjourned to Market Gates to observe movements there and met Malcolm Gee, who often contributes photos to the Ipswich Transport Society Journal

However, nothing out of the ordinary to report from there

Gasbus Damage

Our Beccles correspondent Tim Miller tweeted yesterday that one of Anglianbus' Gasbuses came in for repair at Car and Commercials

Caetano bodied 101 WX62HGU was noted in the CarCom yard yesterday with a nearside window broken and very slight damage to the bodywork

My thanks to Tim for the report and photo

Tuesday 24 February 2015

30886 in the can

30886 heading past the Railway Station this afternoon on the 99.

After missing out on seeing 30886 on Saturday's visit i managed to grab a shot of her today in the town showing the new Destination Screen fitted after refurbishment at Rotherham.


Monday 23 February 2015

Eastnorfolkbus Now On YouTube

With the Oscars very much in the news from over the pond, I thought I would establish a YouTube channel for eastnorfolkbus to provide a repository for some bus related videos

Whilst I do not intend this project to provide a significant amount of content, I intend to upload any videos there for your enjoyment

The first contribution shows celebrity Enviro400 SN60CAA on the X1 in Gorleston High Street. There are already connections to other similar bus video channels and links to bus videos of local interest

I hope you enjoy what little amount there is online at the moment, but keeping checking back to see if any new content or links have been added

The eastnorfolkbus channel can be found be clicking HERE

Sunday 22 February 2015

Saturday Morning in Lowestoft

The plan yesterday was to venture up to Norwich to catch up with things in the city but the winter sun appeared early to put that plan on hold so i decided to go over to Lowestoft to get a few sunny shots of the ex Yarmouth Jersey Darts that have migrated to Suffolk.
43863 entering the Bus Station on the 103 still minus any local ID at present.
All were noted in service, the only vehicles at Gasworks Road were ironically two i would have liked have in the can, 30886 recently returned from refurb and loanee 66112, never mind good job i work in Lowestoft so i can always try again!
33820 heads back to Yarmouth at a jaunty angle!
32058 has returned to Yarmouth after a short loan, sister 32059 was noted on the 1 alongside 32205 & 32207 while i was there as was Oly 34111 which was sporting a very steamed up destination screen.
34111 with a difficult job for passengers wanting to know what she is up to!

Finally Anglianbus had a few Scanias out on the 61 aongside the usual Gas bus fleet which made a nice change as i still need a few of them with new fleetnames.
Scania 454 waits its next run to Yarmouth on the 61.

A nice but chilly morning was had, popped into Caister Road on the way home, Norwich vehicles 33060 & 33149 both here for MOT, 65588 was off with a slight gearbox issue apart from that nothing else to report.

Friday 20 February 2015

Steps Up To The Plate

Yet another Excel liveried Gemini has sustained windscreen damage from a bird strike. 37578's upper deck screen had an coming together with a pheasant on its way back from Norwich on the X1 this morning

This meant it had to be taken out of service on arrival in Great Yarmouth with slimjim 43864 deputising on the 8.05 X1 to Lowestoft. As a result EG52FGA ran some ten minutes behind schedule

Swift Taster

It's been a month or so since East Norfolk Bus Blog published a report that a former Great Yarmouth AEC Swift WEX685M had been acquired for local preservation

Swift WEX885M loaded up and ready to go - someone has been playing with the destinations!
The 1973 Eastern Coach Works bodied saloon has been acquired by Chris Speed, Business Manger for First Eastern Counties, and Danny Beales, First's Great Yarmouth Operations Manager

The Swift leaves for its journey south 
As everything appears to have gone quiet about the bus since then, you may have wondered what has been happening with it

The journey from Yorkshire begins
Previous owner Nigel Blair contacted me last night to tell me that the Swift started its journey south from Yorkshire yesterday and sends me some photos showing the start of its voyage

WEX685M heads for Norfolk

Many thanks to Nigel for the photos which are a taster of what is to come

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Recent Ipswich Scania Wonderings

Following my recent report on First Ipswich wonderer Scania 65588 V588DVF in Gorleston High Street, regular correspondent Jim Long has been in contact

He has forwarded a photo (shown above) he had taken of 65588 during its first week in service based at Ipswich and with an X77 limited service to Felixstowe Dock

Another ex Ipswich based Wright Axcess Floline bodied Scania L94UB was stored at Norwich until recently. 65579 T579JNG has since found its way back to Ipswich to provide cover for ALX400 32486 AU5HKD which has a major unit problem at the moment

Jim has also provided a photo of sister 65578 T578TNG, when almost brand new, working the X94 from Kings Lynn to Great Yarmouth in May 2000. No doubt returning later as she was a Lynn car back then

My thanks to Jim for the information and photos

Service Alterations Registered ~ 18th February 2015

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

Publication No 2199 contains a 'bumper bundle' of changes to local services affecting our local area

Licences Surrendered
The Great Yarmouth & Gorleston Steam Packet Company Limited of Ferry Hill, Gorleston in Great Yarmouth have ceased running registered bus services and accordingly the licence is discontinued with effect from 3rd February 2015

Registration of New Services
As already reported on this blog, Borderbus of Beccles has registered its 146 route as two distinct parts - Southwold to Beccles via Reydon, Wrentham, Carlton Colville and the Beccles to Norwich service via Gillingham, Stockton, Thurton. The Monday to Saturday service alterations take effect from 30th March 2015

Registration of New Services Granted Under Short Notice
Paul Frost trading as PF Travel of Woodbridge is to introduce a new service between Bridge Street Framlingham and Woodbridge's Turban Centre from 30th March 2015. The Monday to Friday service is operating as 62

Applications to Vary Existing Services
Ambassador Travel of Great Yarmouth is to amend the route and timetable of its Reedham to Great Yarmouth 730 service from 30th March 2015
Borderbus is to amend the timetable of its 521 service between Halesworth and Aldeburgh from the same date
Sanders Coaches of Holt are making a number of changes to the timetables to the following routes, amongst others, to take effect from 29th March 2015:-
  • 6 North Walsham Post Office and Great Yarmouth Market Gates
  • 18/16/18A/19/79 Aylshan to Holt
  • 34 North Walsham Post Office and Stalham
  • 35B Swafield to Cromer
  • 44/44A/X44 Reepham and Norwich High School
  • 45 Norwich and Holt
  • 46  Holt and Fakenham
  • 55 North Walsham Post Office and Norwich City Centre
  • 79 between Lower Gresham  and Cromer High School
  • 210 North Walsham - Norwich Bus Station
Sanders are also changing the following routes and timetables also from the end of March 2015:-
  • 5 Holt Charles Road and North Walsham Post Office
  • 33/33A North Walsham and Cromer
  • 36 Happisburgh Post Office and Norwich High School
  • 42/43 Reepham Market Place and Norwich Bus Station 

Cancellations of Existing Services
Sanders are to cease operating the 601 route between Melton Constable and Reepham plus the service 4 linking Edinburgh Road, Holt and Cadogan Road in Cromer. Changes to take effect from 29th March 2015

Variation Applications Granted
Whilst not specifically located in our area, it is noted that Freestones Coaches are establishing a new operating centre for six vehicles at Bessemer Road in Norwich and accordingly the new authorisation at its Beetley site has decreased to nine

Phew, I hope that you have got all that! The complete Notice and Proceedings Report can be viewed on the website by clicking HERE

Free Bus Magazines Available

Chris Knobes has contacted me regarding a number of bus and coach magazines available for collection

A list of the total numbers of the publications is shown below, but unfortunately there are not any complete years
Bus and coach preservation 117        Buses 70
Bus fayre 17                                       Buses focus 9

The magazines are available free to those wishing to arrange for their collection
Chris lives in the Dereham area in Norfolk and can be contacted on email at

Tuesday 17 February 2015

ALX400 Loan

As you may aware from the media reports, First Yorkshire Wright Renown 62143 R589SBA was involved in an accident close to Norwich Bus station on Friday last

In the meantime Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX400 32058 W218XBD has been sent from Great Yarmouth to Lowestoft on loan to provide cover

It has already been reported by Tim Miller in use on the X2  to Norwich this morning

My thanks to Tim and to First for the update

Monday 16 February 2015

Whippet's Demise

Whippet's J688LGA at Beach Coach Station in October 2010
A Whippet coach, which regularly appeared on its Cambridge to Great Yarmouth Coastal service, has met its end

Van Hool Alizee bodied Volvo B10M J688LGA was taken away by the scrapman towards the end of last week and was reported to be in a very poor condition in its last days at Swavesey

My thanks to the Anglia & Thames Valley Bus Forum for the above information

Friday 13 February 2015

Gemini 37573 Returns Home

I am pleased to report that First Gemini 37573 AU58ECX has arrived at Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot in its new colours.

Now in X1 Excel livery, the bus returned to the town from Kings Lynn just before midnight last night and, after a couple of adjustments, 37573 returned to service early this afternoon

The Gemini was involved in a head on collision with a car a few months ago resulting in significant damage to the front and offside. Full Circle of Banham undertook the repair and repaint

My thanks to my sources at First for the information and photo

Thursday 12 February 2015

TBT - Yarmouth Buses At The Millenium

Its Throw Back Thursday again and Des Speed has sent me this amazing photo of buses and staff lined up at Caister Road depot in early January 2000 to celebrate the Millennium

The array of buses in different liveries is a joy to behold. On the left is Flying Banana Mercedes P682HND complete with its Shrublands Estate blind

Next to that is First Blue Bus Olympian G52XLO (later 34952), new to London Buslines in August 1989. Even then the Olympian was being used on Bernard Matthews duties!

To the right is Excel Plaxton Premiere bodied Volvo P330RVG which is next to an unidentified Scania in Park and Ride colours. Finally in First Blue Bus livery are Dart K744JAH and Mercedes G834RDS

Des adds that the picture was taken by commercial photographer Keith Blackwell from the upper deck of a bus parked in the slip road. Of the 24 staff shown, 7 still work for the company, 4 are still driving out of Yarmouth, 2 are managers, (Chris Speed & Cliff Hussey (now at Ipswich)) and 1 works in the garage.

Thanks for the interesting photo Des

Super Nova

Regular reporter Tim Miller tweeted yesterday to say that Chesterfield based Nova Tours had taken up residence in Lowestoft's ASDA car park!!

Three of the company's coaches had deposited their clients at the site for a spot of shopping. The trio included two Mistrals and a three axle Setra which had travelled in from nearby Gunton Hall

Many thanks for the report and photo Tim

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Gorleston Gloom

Following Graham's report this morning on the surprise move of a former Ipswich Scania to Caister Road, I thought I would venture to Gorleston's High Street to seek it out

As almost all of First's single deck worked services pass through the High Street, I thought I was on a safe bet to see the Scania there (if it was out in service that is!)

First up through the gloomy weather was former First Norwich Wright Eclipse saloon 66344 MV02VCX on the 13:30 service 2 from Great Yarmouth showing its recent First Great Yarmouth embellishment

Closely following behind was similar 66341 MV02VCT on the 13:35 Great Yarmouth to Bradwell circular route 6

Having waited for what seemed ages, and as I had viewed all the saloon workings, I was about to leave when the wondering Scania was seen heading my way! 65588 V588DVF, still retaining its First Ipswich fleetname, was on the 13:41 from Caister Second Avenue to the James Paget Hospital. Mission accomplished!

First Update

A few movements to report which happened late yesterday.

Norwich Volvo B7L 66301 has returned to her home depot and has surprisingly been replaced by former Ipswich Scania 65588 (V588DVF), she was noted sitting in Caister Road Depot this morning on my way in to work!

Lowestoft ALX400 30886 has returned home after DDA work at Rotherham, it now has brightec displays fitted, new floors, staircase and seating arrangements to comply with the DDA criteria. 30900 made the journey North yesterday to have the same treatment.

30886 with new display pictured at Rotherham's Midland Road Depot yesterday (Photo. Roger Bellward)
Thanks to First for the information.

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Bus To The Mocks!

Regular contributor Jamie Skinner reports that Norwich City College were using the Norfolk Showground as a base for some 1000 students sitting mock examinations earlier today

First Norwich laid on several deckers for transporting students to and from the showground with Tridents 33007 and 33155, former Yarmouth President 32202 and Gemini 36172 being among those noted

It appears as though it may have been a dry run for the real thing later in the year - in more ways than one!

My thanks to Jamie for the report and photos

Monday 9 February 2015

Today's Yarmouth Activity

ALX400 32063 W223XBO - my trusty steed for the journey into town
Today meant an earlier start than normal to view activity in Great Yarmouth town centre and my means of getting there was by a former Leicester Citybus ALX400 in the form of 32063 W223XBD.

Luckily the front seats on the top deck were available and I grabbed one of them prior to contacting fellow blogger SteveW for a meet up at around lunchtime. Just as I was finishing the tweet, Northern Counties bodied Olympian 34186 S686AAE was seen just leaving the Gorleston High Street stop heading for the James Paget Hospital on the 8

Still with First Norwich's Green Line branding, 66301 exits Market Gates
After getting a pic of my bus, then on its way to Caister, I observed one of the Wright Eclipse bodied saloons recently transferred  from Norwich. 66301 KV02VVC, complete with Green Line branding was running back to the depot having completed a trip to Burgh Castle

Formerly with Excelsoir of Bournemouth, P803BLJ operates the ASDA shuttle
ASDA shoppers were enjoying the relative comfort of coach travel as Ambassador were employing Volvo B10M No 195 P803BLJ on the 600 route

Sanders Coaches Scania OmniCity 313 YN03UVM in its unusual 'Postcards From Sheringham' livery
Caetano Slimbus 43859 EG52FHD has returned to Great Yarmouth on loan
During the short time it has been at the Suffolk town it has gained the First
Lowestoft fleetname
Former Anglianbus Scania YN03UVM paid a visit to the town on a Sanders Coaches service from North Walsham. Sanders has adorned it with a 'Postcards From Sheringham' design, which I personally didn't think was that attractive

With high noon approaching, it wasn't long before Steve made his appearance shortly followed by one of the Caetano Slimbuses which had escaped from Lowestoft only a week or so after being transferred there

Olympian 34186 S686AAE poasses Enviro400 33824 YX63LKO in Regent Road
In the meantime, Olympian 34186 had returned from Caister and both Steve and I captured it on film passing ADL Enviro400 33824 YX63LKO waiting to head off to Lowestoft

We then adjourned to the local hostelry (The Troll Cart) for a spot of lunch, ensuring we had a window seat to observe the comings and goings. Unfortunately not much out of the unusual was seen from our vantage point

Last pic of the day was that of KP54KAX on the X1 but it was spoilt by some idiot getting in the way - only joking Steve!
After a welcome chat, it was time to go our separate ways and we vacated the premises; only to see ex Leicester Gemini 32629 KP54KAX about to leave for Norwich on the X1

Following a talk with a friendly Anglian driver, who had a little trouble restarting his bus, we bade farewell

Friday 6 February 2015

Borderbus To Split Its 146 Route

BB62BUS on the 146 in St Stephens Street in Norwich during August 2014
Contributor Christian Newsome has recently been in contact to tell me that Border Bus is splitting its 146 service along similar lines to First's X1 route

His use of the VOSA website reveals the Suffolk operator providing the 146 to Beccles via Carlton Colville which then continues as a Beccles to Norwich service

This arrangement has been confirmed on Steves Bus & Train blog and I would like to thank Christian for his 'heads up'

Thursday 5 February 2015

Norwich Interlude

EU05AUN on the 39 service at Castle Meadow 
With business to attend to on the outskirts of Norwich yesterday, I was hoping for a little time in the city centre for some observations

It seems that when any news appears on this blog other bloggers in the area are quick to act on it. As Charles Caleb Colton would say 'Imitation is the sincerest of flattery'!

Never one to hold a grudge, my city centre visit also revealed two sightings of Yarmouth loanee ADL Dart 42921 EU05AUN on the 39 Purple Line between Mile Cross and Lakenham.  However, lighting conditions were not conducive for a good picture of the Dart on its return from Mile Cross during the late afternoon

Driver trainer S658RNA runs through Norwich Bus Station
Konectbus Gemini LB02YWY 
On my mid morning journey into Norwich, I noted driver trainer 60807 S658RNA heading eastbound on the A47 towards Great Yarmouth. I rued the missed opportunity of getting a photo of the B10BLE but later got one of the ex Caister Road saloon passing through Norwich Bus Station

Norfolk Green sightings on the X29 route included Dennis Trident/ Alexander Enviro 400 10054 SN13EEA Kev Graves and Optare Solo 47890 YN53SSZ

A notable Konectbus working was the appearance of Volvo B7TL/ Wright Eclipse Gemini LB02YWY on the 16:10 service 2 to Sheringham

Talking of North Norfolk, Sanders Coaches employed a former Bus Vannin East Lancs Myllennium Lowlander bodied DAF DB250 on services in the form of 116 PM03EHU
Sanders Coaches PM03EHU passes through Castle Meadow on an inbound service from North Norfolk

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Service Alterations Registered ~ 4th February 2014

McMaster's open top Leyland Olympian G520VBB active in
Norwich on City Sightseeing services
The latest Eastern Area Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report was published on the Gov.UK website earlier today

Publication No 2198 contains decisions on local operators' licences and changes to local services affecting our area

The only entry of local interest relates to an application to vary an existing service by David McMaster trading as Awaydays. The operator is to amend the route, stopping places and timetable of its Norwich city centre route 1 from 28th March 2015

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

Latest First Movements

42921 EU05AUN pictured at Hemsby Kingsway in April last year.
Latest transfers to report are Great Yarmouth ADL Dart 42921 EU05AUN has moved up to Norwich on loan with Volvo B7L 66301 KV02VVC moving in the opposite direction joining sisters 66334/66341 and 66344 at Caister Road.

Former Norwich Solo's 53119/53122 and 53124 have all been reported arriving at First Potteries Adderley Green Depot, Stoke.

Again thanks to contacts at First for the info.