Thursday 30 April 2015

Worthing Pics

Thought I would share with you some photos taken in Worthing on Monday last (27th)

The first shows two Stagecoach South deckers passing outside The Dome on Coastliner 700 service; YN64XSR is destined for Brighton whilst GX10HBE heads for Littlehampton (the locals refer to it as affectionately as LA!)

Wondering into the Town Centre I stumbled across one of the three Compass Bus deckers in the fleet arriving on service 11 from Worthing College. T184CLO is a Dennis Trident/Alexander ALX400 purchased new by Metroline and subsequently sold to K & H Doyle Coaches, Alfreton. It then passed to Stafford Bus Centre and to Compass in February last year

Returning to Marine Parade I observed Metrobus Scania OmniCity YN05HCF about to work a service 23 to Crawley Bus Station. Four similar buses left Metrobus for Anglianbus during 2012. Note the fleet numbering is now common to both Metrobus an Go Ahead London

#TBT Flying Banana Buses

The week's ThrowBack Thursday post features another long gone Great Yarmouth operator Flying Banana Buses

Flying Banana was the trading name for Halesworth Transit which began running bus services in the Great Yarmouth area during October 1989

Flying Banana's three minibuses are seen at the firm's operating centre at Harfreys Road on a Sunday when no
services ran. They are left to right C431BHY, C430BHY and E237VOM 
The company started its first route between Gorleston's Shrublands Estate and Great Yarmouth's Market Gates exploiting a gap in services operating in the town at the time. I seem to remember the first day of service was a Saturday when the company supplied a free banana to its customers

Initially the service was provided by two former Bristol City Line Ford Transit 190D Dormobiles. The two 16 seaters were painted in yellow and green livery and were registered C430/1BHY

Shortly after, they were joined by Carlyle Citybus bodied Freight Rover Sherpa E237VOM from Strathclyde and were able to operate the route on 20 minute frequency

Later the service was extended to the Barrack Estate and the James Paget Hospital which became the forerunner of today's First Eastern Counties service 2

Subsequently the company expanded its presence in the town and also spread its wings to operate routes in Lowestoft prior to its acquisition by First during 1998

Wednesday 29 April 2015

20514 Repaint Due

First Eastern Counties Plaxton Paragon bodied Volvo B12M WV02EUP has had its vinyls removed and is awaiting a repaint reports regular contributor Jim Long

Previously based at Caister Road, 20514 was a regular on the X1 service between Lowestoft and Peterbotough

Now operating from Ipswich depot, the coach is seen at outside the Simon Morris premises in the town awaiting a variation of the X1 livery. Some suggest blue and gold whilst others indicate it may be purple-blue and gold scheme similar to First Ipswich's 69426/8

As Jim says we will just have to wait and see what materialises. Many thanks for the photos and report Jim

Tuesday 28 April 2015

More From Rotherham

Whilst contributor Roger Bellward was at First's Rotherham depot yesterday he took some more photos. I am pleased to reproduce them here

Of particular interest was the picture of recently refurbished First Great Yarmouth ALX400 32058 W218XBD and First Norwich President 32100 LT02ZCJ. The former has been repainted whilst the latter is having revised seating installed on an experimental basis

Nearby was this First South Wales Wright Eclipse Urban bodied Volvo B7RLE CU08AHP which has been repainted in excel colours

Also at Rotherham was this privately preserved AEC Swift WEX685M owned by a certain twosome

My thanks to Roger for the photos and his continued support

Another Heads North

Another of First Great Yarmouth's deckers headed north earlier today

ALX400 30888 W743DWX was pictured outside Caister Road at 5:00 am this morning prior to setting off for Rotherham

My thanks to Roger Bellward for the photo and information

Monday 27 April 2015

First Repaint Update

Things have recently gone a little quiet on the local repaint front. However, the plan for today was First Great Yarmouth's ALX400 32059 would be taken to Rotherham today with 32063 coming back to Caister Road

32059 sharing the forecourt with Olympian 34108 ready for the first run to Bernard Matthews
So the former was ready for its trip up north at 04:30 but, on arrival at Rotherham, 32063 was not ready for the return trip as an area of the bus requires further treatment

Lowestoft's ALX400s 30900 and 30889 are ready to head south
Instead Lowestoft's 30900 will be returning today and it is thought that 32063 will return to Caister Road on Thursday

My thanks to Roger Bellward for the information at photos

New Compass Buses

As regular readers of the blog are aware I am spending a few days on the south coast based in Worthing

Following our visit to Tesco in Durrington yesterday, my daughter mentioned that local operator Compass Bus had a depot near by

We found it quite easily but everything was locked away for the day but I could see many of the vehicles through the fence

One interesting discovery was the appearance of three new Alexander Dennis Enviro200s, which I later found out had only arrived in the last seven days. Unfortunately they were rear parked but I managed to get a reasonable photo

Other vehicle types in the fleet were also well represented

Sunday 26 April 2015

Star Recovery

Whilst driving south to spend a few days in Worthing, my spies were still on the outlook for unusual workings and regular contributor Tim Miller observed some activity outside Great Yarmouth's Star Hotel earlier today

Two coaches were present in the lay-by at Hall Quay. However, a pick up truck was in the process of recovering a Tarus Holidays coach as the Northampton based vehicle had run out of water. It was identified as OVF750 from R B Travel

My thanks to Tim for the report and photo

Thursday 23 April 2015

#TBT Great Yarmouth Atlanteans

This week's ThrowBack Thursday posting features the first of Great Yarmouth Leyland Atlanteans

DEX701 operates a service to the town's racecourse from the Britannia Pier - a bargain at 20 pence!
Great Yarmouth Corporation acquired a batch of four of these new Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1s with a Metro-Cammell H44/33F body during July1960

Registered DEX701-4, they received fleet numbers 1-4 and were designed to introduce one man operation to the fleet. However, the Transport & General Workers Union would not agree to one person operation on double deck vehicles at the time of their arrival

DEX702 leaves the Regal bus stop for Gorleston's Magdalen Estate - note Freddie Starr appears in the summer show
As can be seen from the photo, DEX702 had a different front end when photographed - it was rebuilt at Lowestoft's Eastern Coach Works following accident damage

I remember these deckers very well as I often travelled on them to my grandparents in Newtown and they were easily recognised by their rear bustle

They gave some twenty years of service to Great Yarmouth before being withdrawn

Freestones Repaint

M16UEA in its freshly painted livery
Contributor Tom Baker tells me that one of Freestones' megabus branded coaches has had a repaint

VanHool T916 Astron M16UEA has been painted in the new livery featuring mascot Sid

The tri-axled coach was new to Devon based Taw and Torridge in April 2011 as GB11TAW. It was subsequently re registered by Freestones last year

My thanks to Tom for the information and photo

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Oranges and Lemons

As reported on social media yesterday Norwich's Orange line branded 33162 is currently at Yarmouth awaiting MOT and found itself working the 8's yesterday afternoon and today it was drafted into action this afternoon on the 1/1A service. Luckily I finished work at lunchtime today and managed to photograph her near my home in Ormesby bound for Martham on the 1A.
33162 LR02LXX sits opposite the Green in Ormesby this afternoon heading for Martham.

My lunchtime finish was due to me taking my Dad up to the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital for an appointment. Whilst he was in the hospital I grabbed a coffee and wandered outside to see what buses were about and I was surprised to see Anglianbus Optare Excel 229 X229WRA arrive working the Konectbus service 4, I believe it had been noted in use previously in the city last week with Konect. Luckily I managed to grab some shots of it for the records!
Anglian Optare Excel 229 at the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital this afternoon.


High Street Happenings

A visit to Gorleston High Street this morning with nothing more than a daily exercise in mind; although I did take the camera with me - just in case!

Gasbus 106 AU62DWN leads Scania OmniCity 553 AO57HCD on Anglian's 61 route to Market Gates
An unusual sighting was that of the bunching of two Anglianbus vehicles on the 61 Southwold to Great Yarmouth service - one was obviously running late!

First Eastern Counties training vehicle 20122 P732NVG heads southbound in Gorleston High Street
Another rare observation was the use of a driver training vehicle running through the High Street with Plaxton Premier bodied Volvo B10M P732NVG being so employed

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Latest on Olympian W437CWX

First's W437CWX in the rear yard at Caister Road
in December last year
Some three weeks ago I wrote a post concerning the possible future of the last Volvo Olympian built for use in the UK - namely W437CWX

Since that date, the post has gone viral and has been the most viewed on the blog ever - amazingly over 30% more viewings than the previous highest one

Not only was it well received, but it generated a considerable number of enquiries from would be preservationists.

Fellow blogger SteveW was instrumental in getting someone from his home county of Kent interested, which later fell through.

An Essex preservationist also viewed the decker and local enthusiast, Jamie Skinner also tried to save it but his attempt was also in vain

Not surprisingly a considerable amount of interest has been shown from within Yorkshire bus preservation circles as well. As you will have seen from the original post, which can be viewed HERE, the decker was new to Yorkshire Coastliner in June 2000

W437CWX in the rear yard this morning as viewed from Harley Road
I understand from a reliable source at First that there are presently seven parties willing to take on the project and that discussions are still ongoing.

Whilst finance is certainly a consideration, the decision made will also reflect the determination of the selected party to succeed and able to provide a suitable home for 34110

All I can say is watch this space!

Seaside Sunshine

Following the school run this morning I ventured on to the seafront to see if any coaches were lurking there

Outside the Carlton Hotel was Shearings Setra 119 BN09FXJ awaiting its passengers who were then close to completing their breakfasts

Nearby was Ambassador Travel's FJ08FYA outside the Nelson Hotel. The Volvo B12B/Sunsundegui Sideral C49Ft coach was resplendent in its Grand UK Holidays branding

At Beach Coach Station nine coaches were on site including two each from Alfa Holidays and National Holidays plus a Shearings Holidays vehicle

The Alfa examples were Mercedes Benz Tourismos 67 BN12CLX and 70 BU13ZTO, whilst National Holidays were represented by Setras NH10OSH and NH11DTH

Alas not a 15 registered Shearings coach but a Setra in the form of 115 BN09FXD

Sunday 19 April 2015


Yesterday evening witnessed First Eastern Counties presenting long service awards to employees at Sprowston Manor in Norwich.

Staff are honoured from 25 to 45 years service and two Great Yarmouth drivers were celebrating 35 years of employment with the company. The same period was also served by two fitters

Those attending were ferried from Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth to the venue by First's photogenic ADL Eviro400 33423 SN60CAA

Des Speed had the honour of driving the bus, but all didn't got to plan as there was the slight problem of a small fuel leak which was quickly rectified by a visit to Vulcan Road.

With staff enjoying a free bar and an 'amazing' meal during the evening, it was left to Des to operate the return journey with 33423 arriving back at the Caister Road depot at 01:45 - a late night for him

My thanks to Des for the information and photos

Thursday 16 April 2015

#TBT Beach Coach Station ~ August 1991

For this week's Throwback Thursday feature we look back at a summer Saturday scene at Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station in August 1991

Unlike now, the coach station then was full of buses and coaches bringing holidaymakers and day trippers into the resort and often provided glimpses of vehicles not normally seen in the town

The first example is that of Northampton Transport's East Lancs bodied Volvo B10M-50 D101XNV which was new to the company in October 1986. With a CH45/31F body layout it later saw service with First Northampton

Next up is East London Coaches WDA3T complete with its original West Midlands registration plate. It is one of five former West Midlands PTE Leyland Titan/Park Royal deckers passing to London Transport. The bus was new in January 1979 and carried fleet number 7003 when with the PTE

On the same day Colchester Borough Transport's H47MJN put in an appearance. The Leyland Olympian was new in March 1991 and is still in use with Talisman Coach Lines of Bromley, Essex

To complete the quartet is a Duple Laser 2 bodied Leyland Tiger, which was then with Leicester Citybus. Numbered 23 in the Leicester fleet, B160WRN was new to Ribble in February 1985

An unbelievable variety of buses visiting Great Yarmouth on a summer Saturday!

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Service Alterations Registered ~ 15th April 2015

Time for our regular fortnightly look at future changes to local bus services as contained in today's Eastern Area Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report

The full contents of publication 2203 can be viewed HERE but the main points relating to our area include revision to First Eastern Counties timetables in late May and a new service being introduced by Swift Taxis

Registration of New Services Granted Under Short Notice
Local operator Swift Taxis is to introduce service 6A linking Mill Road in Cobholm with Market Gates Bus Station. The Monday to Friday service will run between 5th May 2015 and 24th March 2016 and invokes memories of a similar service 6 provided by Great Yarmouth Corporation. Presumably this will replace that previously operated by Anglianbus

Applications to Vary Existing Services
First Eastern Counties are amending the timetables of a number of their services from 24th May 2015
  • X1 Great Yarmouth's Market Gates to Lowestoft Bus Station
  • X1 Norwich Bus Station and Great Yarmouth's Market Gates
  • X2 Lowestoft Bus Station and Norwich All Saints Green
  • 4 Great Yarmouth's Barrack Estate and Caister
  • 8 Caister and Gorleston's James Paget Hospital 
  • 99 Lowestoft Bus Station and Lowestoft Bus Station via Kessingland
  • 103 Lowestoft Bus Station and Lowestoft Bus Station via Pakefield
  • 111 Lowestoft Bus Station and Carlton Colville's Transport Museum
  • 807/808/809 Hemsby to Martham's Flegg High School 
  • 882 North Cove to Gorleston's East Norfolk 6th Form College 
Additionally First are also changing the timetable and route of its seasonal service 3 between Newport Caravan Park and Great Yarmouth Seashore Holiday Park with effect from the same date

New Applications Received
Whilst outside our immediate area, the application for a PSV operator's license by Leeds based CT Plus is of interest. The operator has applied for authorisation to use Norwich's Harford Road Park and Ride site for 25 vehicles

Variation Applications Granted
Following the closure of its Rackheath depot in Norwich, Anglianbus has received consent to use its Beccles Business Park site for 80 vehicles

Monday 13 April 2015

New Arrivals for Suffolk Norse

Two new arrivals to the Suffolk Norse fleet entered use today and we can bring you photos of both vehicles courtesy of Robert Garrad. Both are Brand New Volvo B8R with the latest Plaxton Leopard Bodywork and are fitted with Euro 6 Engines.
70 Seater YX15OUM

YX15OUL is a 56 Seat version

Another recent addition to the Suffolk Norse Fleet is Dennis Javelin AF57WHF which has a Norfolk connection as it was previously with Sanders.
Former Sanders Javelin AF57WHF in her new colours 

Once again, many thanks to Robert for use of his photos.   Grahame

An Hour In Beccles

Unfortunately I was unable to complete my visit to Lambert Coaches in Beccles today as staff were unavailable. However, alternative dates are being arranged

That meant an hour to spare in this little Suffolk town which I spent around the Old Market area observing activity

On arrival I noted Anglianbus Solo 903 AU04JKN having problems but, after receiving some attention, it was able to continue under its own power

Next up was Borderbus Alexander Dennis Enviro200 MX12DYU on the 146 service heading for Southwold

After Anglianbus Optare Excel 229 X229WRA departure on the 80 to Diss, the operator's Dennis Trident/ East Lancs Loline decker 722 W822NNJ was noted on a 60 working

First Eastern Counties were noted using ALX400 30888 W743DWX and Gemini 37563 AU58ECA on X2 services between Norwich and Lowestoft

Sunday 12 April 2015

Excel in Ipswich

Rail Replacements between Norwich and Ipswich yesterday saw Two of First's Excel Fleet in use between the two, 33820 YJ63LKK & 33823 YK63LKN were noted in use amongst the various Coach companies.Regular contributor Jim Long was on hand at Ipswich Station along with David Warren yesterday afternoon to see the Enviros in action.
33820 in the Ipswich sunshine yesterday (Photo Jim Long)
33823 entering Ipswich Station, the weather slightly damper! (Photo David Warren)

Another from Norfolk was Sanders 537FN also on duty at Ipswich (Photo David Warren)
Many Thanks to Jim and David for the photos from yesterday.  Grahame.

Friday 10 April 2015

Yesterday At The Beach

I looked in at Beach Coach Station during yesterday afternoon and found ten coaches on site, half of them from the Shearings Group

Shearings Holidays were represented by two Setras; 215 BN09FXD and 219 BN09FXJ - both in the blue livery. The National Holidays' trio were Setras NH10OSH, NH11DTH and NH11RTH (the last two are shown below)

Two Norse Coaches were also present in the shape of Dennis Javelin Y327YUT and white Volvo B10M  LKZ4453. The latter was formerly registered P193HNT and 6280RU and it was acquired from Abbey Coaches of Neilston in September 2011

A surprise visitor was that of Beestons NSV372, a Jonckheere bodied Volvo B12M ex Voel of Rhyl in 2014