Tuesday 31 March 2015

Shearings Group Watch

I looked in at Beach Coach Station during late afternoon to see if any of the Shearings Group's new vehicles were present

Unfortunately they weren't! As I arrived the two incumbents were being joined by two Shearings Holidays coaches

Already there were National Holidays Setra NH13GWH and Cymru Coaches B12CYM. The arrivals were Shearings Holidays liveried 226 BF10VCW and 106 BK09RMY in Grand Tourer colours

Monday 30 March 2015

Wanted ~ Lots of Money & Enthusiasm!

As many of you may already know, the last Olympian built for use in the UK currently resides in a withdrawn state in the rear yard at Caister Road

First's 34110 W437CWX has recently attracted at least two serious bids to secure it for preservation but both interested parties later withdrew due to the amount of money being required to bring it back to road worthiness

W437CWX was new to Yorkshire Coastliner in June 2000 but didn't enter service until August that year. It sustained accident damage in December 2001 but  437 re-entered service the following month with a new rear square registration plate between decks and bumper
W437CWX at Market Gates in November 2008 only a month after being transferred to First Eastern Counties
437 was withdrawn in February 2006 and subsequently moved to First Somerset and Avon. The Olympian then migrated east transferring to First Eastern Counties during October 2008. Its move to Caister Road came in October 2012 and it remained in service there for some two more years

So what will become of it? Will the scrap man arrive at Caister Road and take it away or will someone/group materialise and save it?

Anyone with plenty of money and enthusiasm should come forward very soon or it will be lost forever

My appreciation goes to Jamie Skinner for the information and the first two photos

Saturday 28 March 2015

The Changing face of Shearings

With the news this week that Shearings have announced a new order for Mercedes Benz vehicles I thought I would look back at the various types noted in the town over the past 10 years or so. Whilst living in Yarmouth i worked a stones throw away from the Coach Station so a lot of photos were taken on my way home in the evening mainly during the summer and Shearings vehicles were always present.
Van Hool bodied W285JBN April 2003

Originally New to Wallace Arnold, P305VWR sits on the A149 at Stalham on a June evening in 2003
Shearings merged with Wallace Arnold in February 2005 creating the WA Shearings brand before becoming Shearings Hoilidays once more in 2007
Plaxton bodied MX06AMU in the Gold Grand Tourer livery, May 2007
Sunsundegui bodied YC02CHK in the Blue WA Shearings livery in 2007

Shearings own the Carlton Hotel in Great Yarmouth so their vehicles are noted here all year round, as well as Hotels in North Norfolk. At peak times it is not uncommon to see up to 4 coaches in the town at any one time. National Holidays are also part of the group and the current fleet of Setra based vehicles are regulars to the Coach park, another blog entirely I think!
2009 saw the introduction of Setra vehicles to the fleet, BN09FXA pictured when new in the town.
Today's fleet is mainly based around Setra 415/416GT-HD vehicles with over 100 now in use, some Plaxton, Van Hool & Jonckheere vehicles also remain active within the group.
A typical sight in the summer months at Beach Coach Station.

Myself and Roy are keeping our eyes peeled for the first MB Tourismo to appear in the town, I'm sure it wont be too long, its strange looking back when doing a feature like this just how much companies change and evolve, Shearings has certainly done that since my first photos in 2002/3!

Friday 27 March 2015

Afternoon In Norwich

An afternoon trip to Norwich and an excuse for another post whilst the better half was having some more retail therapy

The first to report was the appearance of Alfa Travel's Plaxton Paragon bodied Volvo B12B YN10EOC waiting to pick up its passengers at Castle Meadow prior to returning to Cromer.

Other local operators with a presence included Reynolds of Caister with Volvo ICZ6697 and Tourismo BX55FYO. Eastons were using Bova A18AWE

Ex Lowestoft Alexander Dennis Enviro200 ST09JPT is about to pass former Yarmouth President 32100 LT02ZCJ
I returned a couple of hours later to see former Great Yarmouth President 32100 LT02ZCJ in its new turquoise line livery prior to heading off to Spixworth

Stagecoach Norfolk Green Alexander Dennis Enviro300 27642 GX10HBU put in an appearance on the X29 Fakenham service

Former Go Ahead London Tridents PN03UME and PN03UMA employed on Park and Ride duty yesterday
Norse Tridents were continuing with their Park and Ride duties. I understand from SteveW that Konect have been awarded all the Norwich Park and Ride routes commencing in September so we won't have long now to enjoy those hard seats!

Lastly, as I was about to leave for home, former Yarmouth Dart 42921 EU05AUN passed me complete with its Great Yarmouth College rear advert. It appears that its loan to Norwich is to be made more permanent

Thursday 26 March 2015

Local Vehicles For Disposal

Swift Sandpiper BV57MTJ at Swift's Southtown yard
A quick scan of yesterdays Route One magazine revealed some local operators' vehicles available for sale

Great Yarmouth's Swift Taxis still has its 70 seater Autosan Eagle BV57MTJ advertised for disposal. It has fleet number 118 and the name Swift Sandpiper

Belle Coaches of Suffolk has added a third coach to its list of vehicles surplus to requirements. Eurocoach (Bunbeg) bodied Mercedes-Benz O814D AE05MZN is the latest addition. The others are Setras, K2JTB and Y752DDA (ex NJI9245)

#TBT Trent Motor Traction 213CCH

This week's Throwback Thursday features a bus that mostly operated well away from the local area but could be seen on the occasional summer Saturday foray to Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station

Leyland PSU3/1R's from the Trent Motor Traction fleet used to regularly run to the town from the East Midlands during the holiday season. Often up to four could be observed at the former railway station site at the same time and I recorded the visit of six them on one Saturday!

213CCH on South Quay. The railway lines beneath were originally used to transport goods offloaded at the quayside
213CCH was one of a batch of twenty three Willowbrook bodied dual purpose 51 seaters delivered to Trent during April and May 1963.

There is a photo on Flickr of 213 in Alfreton Bus Station in March 1972, working out of Mansfield Depot on the 43 service between Alfreton and Mansfield

Following withdrawal it could subsequently be seen on the streets of Great Yarmouth having been converted into a mobile catering vehicle.

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Norwich Gemini On The 8

Another First Norwich bus has seen use in Great Yarmouth area over the last day or so

After being reported on schools duty yesterday, Volvo 36180 BD11CDZ continues to operate on the 8 between Caister and the James Paget Hospital today

Luckily I managed get a photo of the Eclipse Gemini at lunchtime on the 11:56 from Caister Second Avenue to the JPH passing the East Norfolk Sixth Form College

Shearings Group Delivery

Shearings Group coaches on Marine Parade in February
The Shearings Group, a touring coach company that is often featured on this blog, is due to receive 38 new Mercedes Benz Tourismo vehicles later this month reports today's Route One

The company has previously purchased Setras but, with Euro 6 specification unavailable in the UK, they have bought Tourismos instead

This forms the largest Tourismo order for the UK and the 38 includes 23 twelve metre versions for National Holidays with the remainder being the 13 metre option for Shearings Holidays.

The delivery has provided the opportunity to revise Shearings' Grand Tourer livery. Gone are the gold and brown colours which are replaced by Shearings' standard blue.The National Holidays white livery remains unchanged

The first vehicles went on the road this week and it is expected that it won't be too long before we see one of them in Great Yarmouth

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Anglian OmniDekka Arrives

Anglianbus reports on the Enthusiast page of their website that their first newly refurbished East Lancs bodied Scania OmniDekka YN55PZF has arrived!

The Beccles based company reports that the other two will follow shortly and all will sport a revised Anglianbus livery. All three were previously used by another Go Ahead subsidiary Metrobus and a photo of YN55PZF in Metrobus livery can be seen HERE prior to repaint at Hants & Dorset Trim

It is anticipated that YN55PZF will start its revenue earning activities tomorrow on services 88/88A (Norwich - Bungay - Halesworth - Southwold)

2007 Variation on the One's

After going through some old photos, i came across a folder named Hemsby 2007, I was surprised to see how many different vehicle types had worked the Martham - Lowestoft service that year, i lived in the village at the time and Hemsby Kingsway is the ideal stop to photograph vehicles heading to either Martham or Lowestoft, below is a small selection of photos showing the variation of vehicles noted on the service
Coach 20126 P766XHS was a regular on the route, seen here in September 2007
Lowestoft Olympian 34973 heading to Martham in June 2007   

65522 R142GSF On loan from Norwich in June 2007
Marshall bodied Dart 40113 M952SRE shorrtly after repaint in August 2007
Former Manchester Northern Counties Dart 40259 N627CDB in June 2007

Monday 23 March 2015

Sightings In Tamworth

After staying overnight on Saturday in Coleshill we transferred to Tamworth's Holiday Inn for our next night's stay

Whilst the better half decided on some retail therapy I thought I would look in at Corporation Street, one of the two bus terminals in the town

A 48 route branded ADL Enviro200 36169 KXDTN at Tamworth's Corporation Street stops
Previously I had not observed much on a Sunday but this time it was different. As I turned the corner from Church Street I was met by a view of specially branded Stagecoach ADL Enviro200 36169 KX60DTN. Its intended use was for the 48 service between Coventry and Leicester via Nuneaton - clearly not being used on that service that day!

ADL Enviro400s 4411 YX64VMF and 4407 YM64VMA with Citaro 3012 BJ12YPX bringing up the rear
Behind the saloon were two of Arriva Midlands North ADL400's; one about to leave and the other arriving on the 110 Tamworth- Birmingham service. Immediately behind was one of the operator's Mercedes Benz Citaros having worked in from Lichfield on the 765 service

I thought that would be the last of the photos I would take in Tamworth, but next morning (Monday) I found a foreigner in our midst!

The apparition was in the form of a silver liveried coach from German operator Timor Bus parked in the Holiday Inn car park. It was my first view of the Turkish manufactured Temsa Opalin and was quite a surprise!

Postcard From Coleshill

Before continuing with this post, I would to place on record my thanks to Grahame for attending and preparing a post for the Norwich Classic Bus Day. Hope you have now recovered from an exhausting weekend!

As mentioned previously, I was unable to attend the event as I was visiting friends and family in the West Midlands.

National Express West Midlands 4146 Y741TOH on the 70 Coleshill - Solihull service which runs half hourly
On the Saturday we were based in Coleshill, just south of Birmingham, and I managed one photo and that was of an ALX400 bodied Dennis Trident in National Express West Midlands fleet

24 Hours To Norwich

A Blog with quite a story as far as i am concerned this morning, my weekend began by spending 24 Hours on Harbour Radio doing a Charity Sponsored Marathon from 8am on Saturday, finishing at 8am on Sunday morning then having an hour and a half to go home, freshen up and return to Caister Road in time to board Routemaster JJD480D at 9.30 for the trip to the Norwich Classic Bus Running Day based at County Hall. Sleep was not an issue as i had been looking forward to attending and also the fact that blog owner Roy was away on family duties and he insisted i appear on behalf of the blog! (Only Joking).
First Public outing for former ECOC Bristol VR JNG50N with new owner Viv Carter, a credit to him for the work done!

Chris Speed invited myself and Colin White from the Eastern Transport Collection along for the trip aboard 39480 which did not look out of place amongst many classic ECOC vehicles attending and also found itself in use doing shuttle journeys around the city and a trip to look round First's Roundtree Way Depot for an insight into how First maintain their Norwich Fleet and what entails keeping the services running on a day to day basis.
Inside Roundtree Way Depot, Trident 33159 is up in the air awaiting a new engine to be fitted

A Journey around the city aboard Ipswich based heritage liveried ALX400 32479 was an eye opener simply seeing the volume of people who were in the city observing the classic buses and wanting to ride them, we pulled up at Thorpe Station (in a vehicle driven by another Thorpe, Joe in this case!) to be greeted by at least 40 people waiting to grab a ride back to County Hall which deemed difficult for us as we were already near to capacity!
32479 sits at Roundtree Way, about to have a new Headlight bulb fitted! (Good Job you were driving Joe)

County Hall proved an excellent base for the event with parking and plenty of good photo spots on the site, also nice to catch up with fellow bloggers, Sam Larke, Steve W, Clive Nixon as well as our Beccles reporter Tim Miller and Chris Dugdell & David Smith from Konectbus.
The Very Smart Eastern Counties RLE747 GNG349N in the Sunshine with Colin Apps at the wheel

All my photos will be uploaded to my Flickr site in due course as i did book today (Monday) off work for recovery purposes following my 24 Hours in a Radio Studio, which i shall be back to my normal slot of 7pm on Thursday Nights on www.harbourradio.co.uk  (Shameless Plug, i know!)
Lodekka 557BNG at County Hall (Note Photo Bomber Chris Dugdell!)

A very enjoyable day was had by all i am sure, well done to Neil Chilvers of the EATM for his organisation and members of both the Eastern Transport Collection and Ipswich Transport Museum and finally my buddy Chris Speed for his part in orgainising the County Hall site and the depot trip to Roundtree Way and also non Bus related thanks for the Kebab at 2am on Sunday morning in the studio!
Final photo is JJD480D returning to County Hall with a full load after a trip into Norwich with Chris at the wheel

 Yours Sincerely, Tired of Ormesby St. Margaret.

Friday 20 March 2015

Classic Bus Day Reminder

Just a timely reminder about the Classic Bus Day being held at County Hall in Norwich on Sunday between 11am and 5pm

Situated in close proximity to the A47 Norwich Southern Bypass/A146 junction, the event will offer regular free services between the Railway Station, Castle Meadow and County Hall. At the latter there will be a static display of vehicles to view with plenty of on site car parking available

I will be in the west midlands over that weekend, but I hope my partner in crime, Grahame Bessey, will be in some fit state to attend as he will be involved in a 24 hour event for Harbour Radio on the previous day. So treat him gently

Failing that, I have promises of photos from others attending as well so I should be able to provide a report for the blog soon after

Also on this page is a timetable for the three services running on the day and by clicking on the image you will see an enlarged view

There is also a Classic Bus Day Facebook Page where you can keep up to date with the latest information which I believe now includes the offer of a visit to First's Roundtree Way premises

The local newspaper, the Eastern Daily Press published an article on the event earlier in the week which can be viewed HERE.

It should be a good day out and all we can ask for is a good day weather wise

More On Metroliners

Following our Throwback Thursday feature on Ambassador Travel's MCW Metroliner C917BPW, regular correspondent Jim Long got in touch

As many of you may know Jim is very much based in the Ipswich area, so it wasn't the best place to be if you wanted regular sightings of these deckers

C916BPW making a rare appearance at Ipswich's Old Cattle Market in July 1988. Photo: James Long
However, two Metroliners have put in an appearance in the Suffolk county town and Jim tells me the first was Ambassador's C916BPW which was diverted because the driver became ill with another called for

Five years later C521WBF paid a visit to the Post House in Ipswich. Photo: James Long
The second sighting was of a loanee covering Snow White promotional duties and carried a temporary number of T919. C521WBF was delivered new to Midland Red Coaches in March 1986 as their 1521. The following year it moved to Yorkshire Traction and, from the presence of its fleet names, subsequently saw use with Ambassador as well

My thanks to Jim for the information and the photos


I probably wasn't the only one hoping to see the partial eclipse this morning and, like many others, found it disappointing as cloudy overcast skies dominated the 'view' of the sun

However, I was hopeful of seeing at least one eclipse this morning and got it in the form of  Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7L 66344 MV02VCX on the 6 to Bradwell. I was hopeful of getting a decker version so I hung on a bit more

Surely there would be one appearing on the 8, but I only saw a couple of ex Leicester ALX400s pass me on the route. I decided to wait for the next one but that that wasn't an Eclipse either, but  operated by Olympian W436CWX

First Eclipse 37573 AU58ECX at Gorleston Parish Church during the eclipse
At that point I decided to return home but saw an Excel liveried Eclipse coming towards me on the X1 to Great Yarmouth and Norwich. So I got a 'going away' shot in front of Gorleston Parish Church at 09:30 during the eclipse

At least I managed to view two eclipses this morning!

Thursday 19 March 2015

#TBT Ambassador Travel C917BPW

Another day delving into the photo albums and this time I have come up with a photo of an Ambassador Travel double deck coach with National Express Rapide branding

MCW Metroliner C917BPW is seen on St Peter's Road at the side of the old Eastern Counties Wellington Road Bus Station in Great Yarmouth during the summer of 1987

C917BPW was one of a batch of four new to locally based Ambassador Travel in March 1986. The four had a CH55/16Dt body configuration and were registered C915-8BPW with corresponding fleet numbers 915-918. A similar number joined the fleet from Midland Red Express

After being displaced from National Express work C917BPW was one of many receiving open top conversion by Ensignbus for use on open top sightseeing tours in London. It is not known whether 917 continues to see gainful employment. If anyone knows I would be pleased to hear from them

Other photos of C917BPW can viewed HERE on Flickr

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Belle Coaches Wins Award

Suffolk based operator Belle Coaches has just been named Just Go Holidays Coach Operator of the Year 2014

Belle Coaches operated three coaches in Just Go livery last year and has just taken delivery of a fourth. The company carried more than 9,000 passengers for Just Go in 2014

Director Ken Shreeve  received the award from Just Go Director of Product and Operations Paul Mason

Service Alterations Registered ~18th March 2015

Every fortnight we look at forthcoming changes to bus services covering our local area. The information is taken from East of England Traffic Commissioners' Notices and Proceedings Report published on the Gov.uk website

Today's publication includes a bumper bundle of changes proposed by Go Ahead subsidiaries Anglianbus and Konectbus with the latter operating into Great Yarmouth for the first time

Registration of New Services
Beccles based Borderbus is introducing new schools service SJL7 between Oulton Broad and the Sir John Leman School in Beccles from 27th April 2015
Konectbus of Dereham is to provide three new routes from early May:-
  • 22 Weybourne to Cromer via Sheringham
  • 71 Wroxham Roys Store to Great Yarmouth Market Gates via Hemsby
  • 72 Norwich St Stephen's Street to Great Yarmouth Market Gates via Blofield, South Walsham and Acle
The 22 is a Monday to Sunday service commencing on 3rd May 2015, whilst the others run Monday to Friday starting on 5th May 2015

Applications to Vary Existing Services
Anglianbus of Beccles is to amend the route and timetable of the following services from 3rd May 2015:-
  • 7/7A Blofield Heath to Great Yarmouth
  • 60 Bungay to Lowestoft
  • 61/61A/61B/61C Bungay to Lowestoft
  • 80 Diss and Beccles
  • 81/81A Beccles to Great Yarmouth
  • 86 Beccles to Norwich Bus Station
Additionally Anglianbus are altering the timetables of the following from the same date:-
  • 60H Beccles to Halesworth
  • 60S Halesworth to Southwold
  • 82/82A Beccles Town Service
  • 83 Harleston to Norwich
  • 87/88/BH274 Halesworth Durban Close to Norwich Newmarket Road
  • 88A/88B/BH272 Halesworth to Southwold
Konectbus are amending the route, stopping places and timetable of its 53 service between Wroxham and Tuckswood plus the 52 between Blofield Heath and Eaton in early May. The timetables of its 2A Sheringham - Holt service and 2 Norwich - Sheringham service will be revised from 3rd May 2015

Cancellations of Existing Services
Anglianbus is to cease operating its 63 route between Hemsby and Cobholm and the 7 schools service between Norwich Bus Station and Great Yarmouth's East Norfolk Sixth Form College effective from 3rd May

Licenses Surrendered
The licences of Keith Anderson trading as A2B Travel of Saxmundham and that of Soveriegn Mobility Travel of Great Plumstead, Norwich were surrendered in early March. Turner and Butcher of Kenninghall, Norwich has also surrendered its licence with immediate effect.
All registered bus services  running under theses licences have also ceased

The latest East of England Traffic Commissioners Report can be viewed HERE 

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Whippet Coastal Services ~ The End?

Following the publication of a new Whippet timetable folder and map, Suzy Scott, Administrator for Anglia & Thames Valley Bus Forum, asked if their Coastal Services would be running this year

Whippet's Volvo B12B SF05XYZ on the first day of their Coastal Service route last year
As many of you are aware, Whippet has operated a number of routes to the coast from the Cambridgeshire area for a number of years now. Although termed as seasonal, one Great Yarmouth service even ran through until December!

In response to Suzy's question on Twitter, Whippet replied 'We don't expect to run the coastal services this year, but look out for information on our website if our position changes'

So it appears that the end is nigh!

Monday 16 March 2015

Just What The Doctor Ordered

A bit of a contrived title to this post, but I was on my way into Bradwell this morning to pick up a prescription when I observed a few interesting workings heading towards Great Yarmouth on the main A143 Beccles Road

I deliberately planned my walk to coincide with the 10:25 Beccles to Great Yarmouth working and was suitably rewarded with a photo of Anglianbus' only operating Optare Excel, X229WRA. New to Trent in September 2009, Anglian received it from sister company Konect in 2013

Continuing my walk, I the observed a Reynolds of Caister coach heading towards me in the form of Mercedes BU04FAJ bearing the name Lady Merroney - new to Cosgrove of Dundee in April 2004

Unexpectedly following behind was an empty Anglian MAN/ Caetano Gasbus which is quite rare to see on the A143 route as they normally see use on company's 61 and 7 routes.

Displaying 'Not in Service' I can only speculate that 106 AU62DWN was to pick up a working in Great Yarmouth

An interesting ten minute walk which was not reflected on the return journey

Sunday 15 March 2015

More On NMS VEX190L

I continue to get responses to the blog's Throwback Thursday post of last week featuring Norfolk Motor Services Ford VEX190L

Noel Whiteley emailed me to say that he had a personal connection with the coach. His father, Raymond Whiteley, was a driver for Norfolk Motor Services and that VEX190L was his father's coach which he had driven from brand new

Raymond Whiteley with his Norfolk Moitor Services coach VEX190L on a Scottish tour. Photo: Noel Whiteley
Raymond was a driver for the company for more than thirty years and is currently living in Melbourne, Australia, having reached the tender age of 85

Many thanks for the information and photo Noel, and I hope your father enjoys his five minutes of fame!

Saturday 14 March 2015

Scania Sidelined

Well reported on its recent 'tour' around the eastern counties, it looks as though one time Ipswich Scania 65588 V588DVF is currently off the road

The Wright Axcess-Floline bodied saloon is currently sidelined at Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot with gearbox problems

The photo shows 65588 at the rear of Caister Road depot with two Olympians for company