Sunday 31 May 2015

Three for One

As you will already have read on previous posts, the summer 3 service is now under way until September. Currently running at an hourly rate with two vehicles required. I had seen that recently refurbished ALX400 32058 was in use today so decided to brave the weather and grab some shots of her at the Seashore terminus. I was greeted with the sight of Streetlite 47501 which was parked awaiting a driver change and then before you know it the famous saying came true, "You wait for one then three arrive at once". 32058 appeared heading for Hemsby with Gemini 37576 arriving bound for the Seafront and Vauxhall Holiday Park.
3 in a row at Seashore

32058 W218XBD about to head off for Hemsby


Saturday Sightings

Nothing in the way of a planned day out but it began at Caister Road where another ex Yarmouth vehicle had found its way back to the coast. 20515 had been working rail replacements between Yarmouth & Norwich on Friday and was parked up in front of the depot yesterday.
20515 WV02EUR in the morning sun at Caister Road

I then ventured into town for some shopping, nothing of note to report here on the bus front, new arrival 32202 was noted on the 1's with 32211 on the 8's. Excel liveried 37573 had again found its way onto Bernard Matthews duties at lunchtime.
I decided to go up to Norwich in hope of seeing some of Sanders recent arrivals but no luck on that front, although ex Neaves Solo AU03HWS was seen in its new colours for the first time by myself although being reported elsewhere in the past couple of weeks
Former Anglian & Neaves Solo AU03HWS in Castle Meadow

Purple Line pair in Castle Meadow

Former Yarmouth Gemini 37562 was noted unusually on the 35 service, a photo of her will appear on my Flickr site. Nothing else of note to report apart from a very nice pint of Norfolk Nog was had in the Bell Hotel prior to my return to Yarmouth!
Ambassador 252 ex FJ08FYA now registered KIG8458.

Final stop on my journey was Ambassador's yard on Gapton Hall, another re-reg to report is       Volvo B12B FJ08FYA has now gained cherished registration KIG8458 along with quite a few others recently on the fleet, FJ08FYB was also noted still with original plates.

I will be covering the blog whilst Roy is away in the USA, so any reports or sightings will be welcome via email


Friday 29 May 2015

San Diego Bus and Train

Not to be confused with a well known blog, this is a brief resume of the public transport system in San Diego

A bendibus at Balboa Park heading for Downtown San Diego
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) operates a total of 93 bus routes throughout the urban area of San Diego and the rest of the southern half of the County reports Wikipedia

There is also the iconic bright red trolley which runs in and around the city. It provides a convenient services linking major locations downtown to the Convention Center, close to our hotel

Also operating in the old town are regular old town trolley shuttle buses

Bernard Matthews Excel

Unusual allocation for the lunchtime Bernard Matthews contract run today saw Excel liveried Gemini 37573 AU58ECX appear in use from Yarmouth Depot.
37573 awaiting its passengers at Bernard Matthews.

Many Thanks to Roger Bellward for sending the photo.  Grahame.

Thursday at LAX

Arrived in Los Angeles Airport after an eleven hour flight from Heathrow. That wasn't the end of it as we had to get through passport control followed by a further two hour drive to San Diego

However, our tour bus was late on the stand which meant a quick session of taking photos of buses passing the terminal building including one showing a gas bus

Commuter Express Update

Further to Thursday's post on the Commuter Express, I received an email from David Burdett correction my assumptions on the use of this bus
He writes:-
Good to see the piece on the blog about LH 930 today. It was actually painted up as the 'Commuter Express' for a service which we started up in North Norfolk in the early eighties between Holt and Norwich. Fitted with coach type seats and giving out daily newspapers, it ran via the main road to Norwich once a day in each direction. I frequently drove this service with the LH although other types also appeared from time to time. You could not find a worse road to put an LH on, and I think that it probably spent more time airborne than attached to the road surface!! The service was worked by Cromer depot with the bus running dead to and from Holt each day. In later days, the LH spent much time on local routes around Cromer and North Walsham, and even managed some main road services as well before transfer away. One of my favourite buses of the time.
David Burdett.

Many thanks for putting me straight on that one David which has filled a gap in my records

Thursday 28 May 2015

First Yarmouth Latest

Latest News from Caister Road sees two former Yarmouth vehicles return in the shape of Volvo B7TL's 32202 & 32211 from Norwich. Both will be on loan here for the summer due to the increased PVR for the 3 service.
32211 working the 3 at Seashore back in July 2010.

Other news sees Lowestoft's 30889 currently on loan here whilst Olympian 34109 is off the road with a gearbox problem also.

Finally ex Leicester Gemini 32629 is a Volvo in Norwich having a new engine fitted.

Thanks to Danny at First for the information.  Grahame.

#TBT Commuter Express

Our 'Throw Back Thursday' this week looks at the 'Commuter Express' which is though to have operated to Norwich during the early 1980's. I belive it was a fast version of the old 702 service which ran between Great Yarmouth and the city employing a specially branded saloon on the route to attract customers

Eastern Counties LH 930 WEX930S pictured on St Peter's Road beside Wellington Road Bus Station
The 43 seater single decker was an Eastern Coach Works bodied Bristol LH6L which was new to Eastern Counties in April 1978. In its early years, WEX930S was allocated to Great Yarmouth but it was later to found operating from Ipswich in ECOC livery

LH930  stayed with the company for ten years before being disposed of to Trimdon Motor Services. In April 1990 it passed to Bedlington & District of Ashington prior to scrapping at North Eastern Bus Breakers in August 1993


Airport Photos

A rushed post today before I fly off to the USA for a couple of weeks. Don't despair though as Grahame will be holding the fort and he will no doubt bring you the latest as it happens

We stayed overnight at the Park Inn Hotel close to Heathrow Airport and straight-away I observed National Express Enviro200 8343 SN08ADV providing a connecting shuttle between the hotel and the airport terminals.

Finally a London Transport bus in the shape of Enviro 400 YX12FOH heading for Slough on the 81 route operated by London United

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Bus Diverts Due to Subsidence

The western side of Market Gates Bus Station was closed earlier today due to subsidence in Regent Street.

All buses exiting the town centre heading for Gorleston now have to use the stop outside the Troll Cart on the eastern side of the bus station. Those services going forward for Norwich or Caister are using stops in Howard Street South

As well as First, services operated by Ambassador, Anglianbus, Konectbus and Sanders Coaches are affected by closure of King Street and Regent Street

It is not known how long the temporary arrangements will remain in place. Although a period of five weeks has been rumoured!

 My thanks to the man on the spot Jamie Skinner for the report and pictures

Monday 25 May 2015

ALX400 on the X1

Regular contributor Jamie Skinner tweeted that he had observed one of First Great Yarmouth's Volvo B7TL/ Alexander ALX400s working on the X1 service earlier this evening

He sends a picture of the recently repainted 32063 W223XBD at Market Gates ready to work the X1 to Norwich

My thanks to Jamie for the report and photo


Summer Service begins with a difference

The usual Summer Service 3 began this weekend with an hourly service between Great Yarmouth and Hemsby. It will increase to half hourly at the beginning of the School summer holidays. The current vehicle requirement for the route is 2 vehicles and Monday morning saw a couple of strangers working the route, neither from Yarmouth's own depot.
Norwich Gemini 36176 BD11CGE heads towards Seashore Camp en route to Hemsby.

Lowestoft's 37570 AU58ECT heads along the Seafront

Away from the buses, I would just like to send our best wishes and thoughts to Yarmouth Driver Paul Chipperfield who was in involved in a serious car accident on Saturday evening. He is currently being treated in Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, I know Paul and I'm sure lots of others who read the blog will too.


Saturday 23 May 2015

60621 Out and about

60621 in Ormesby heading towards Martham
Latest loan arrival from Rotherham 60621 R784WKW is now in use here, i managed to grab some photos of her this morning working the 1 service to Martham. Prior to transfering to the the refurb unit at Rotherham it was in use with First Bradford.

Friday 22 May 2015

Big Weekend Moves Updated

Radio 1's Big Weekend takes place this weekend in Norwich, with extra vehicles being required for Park & Ride and shuttle services First are drafting in extra vehicles from other depots to cover the services. Yarmouth Volvo B9's 37574,37575 & 37576 have so far made the move city bound along with Lowestoft 37571. Ipswich are supplying ALX400's 32655/32656 and Heritage liveried 32479.

On my way home this evening from Lowestoft on the A12 i noted Norwich Based Volvo B9's 36176 on the X1 and 36178 on the 1's heading to the suffolk town.

I can now confirm that Norwich vehicles 36170,36176,36178,36179,36180 and 66335 are on loan to Yarmouth. The reason for the changes is due to the fuel tank capacity on Yarmouth's own B9's being larger than the Norwich ones and they are also being used on Monday to take Norwich supporters to Wembley Stadium so the Norwich vehicles will remain at Yarmouth until Tuesday.

36170 working the 1 to Martham on Saturday Morning in Ormesby

Blue Line 881

First Great Yarmouth driver Roger Bellward had an unusual bus for his 881 service between Gorleston's East Norfolk Sixth Form College and Carlton Colville during yesterday afternoon

It was a First Norwich Blue Line Volvo B9TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini in the form of 36178 BD11CDX. This working can sometimes provide some unusual vehicles

Many thanks to Roger for the report and photo


Thursday 21 May 2015

N368LPN Relocates

In early March, Grahame reported the arrival of a Stagecoach decker in Great Yarmouth - the original post can be viewed HERE

Ex Stagecoach N368LPN at the rear of the coach station on 13th May
N368LPN in secure premises at Great Yarmouth College
He deliberately didn't publish its location but, as revealed by others, it was stored at the rear of Beach Coach Station behind the toilet and admin block

It has now moved from its location to more secure premises at Great Yarmouth College and Ryan sends a photo of it at its new abode!

Grahame reported the vehicle as N368LPN (16368) an Alexander bodied Olympian which is ex Stagecoach Kent. It has been purchased by a local charity and is to be converted for use a shelter/sos type vehicle for the charity.


#TBT Eastern Counties FLFs

This week's 'Throw Back Thursday' looks at Eastern Counties' Bristol 'Lodekka' FLF6Gs - known as the FLFs. Eastern Coach Works built them with H38/32F bodies with Eastern Counties beginning to introduce them into the fleet from 1966 onwards

Regular contributor Jim Long tells me that FLF453 JAH553D was a visitor to Beestons depot at Hadleigh yesterday. He remembered taking a photo of it when brand new working the Great Yarmouth to Lowestoft route. The photo was taken at Eastern Counties Wellington Road Bus Station on 21st July 1966. As you are probably aware, the bus is now owned by Stagecoach and forms part of their heritage fleet

He also photographed FLF452 JAH552D when it visited Ipswich back in April 1982. The Lodekka, pictured at the Old Cattle Market, is also with Stagecoach but now in open top form in Stagecoach livery

In 1973, Eastern Counties were involved with the FLF/VRT exchange with Scottish bus operators which saw some heading north of the border.  Not all of the VRs involved entered service with Eastern Counties as some were exchanged with FLFs from Eastern National and Lincolnshire Road Car Company

Many thanks Jim for the photos and the memories


New Arrival at Caister Road

Further to yesterday's First Great Yarmouth repaint update, it has been confirmed that another vehicle has arrived at Caister Road on loan

Rotherham has sent Wright Renown bodied Volvo 60621 R784WKW as a temporary replacement for ALX400 32064 W224XBD which went 'up north' on Tuesday

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


Wednesday 20 May 2015

Beach Coach Station Today

On my return from Caister, I passed Beach Coach Station and observed ten coaches in attendance just before midday

Two were from the Alfa Travel fleet; Mercedes Benz Tourismo 70 BU13ZTO and 55 PO59FHY, a Volvo B12B with Plaxton Paragon bodywork. The former carried legals for Commercial Coaches

Shearings Holidays weighed in with Setra 121 BK09LUH


First Divert & Repaint Update

Since 30th March last, First Great Yarmouth has had to divert its service 4 between Caister-on-Sea and town's Barrack Estate.The route links the two destinations with the town centre and has been amended following the closure of St Hilda Road in Caister due to footway resurfacing work

Ex First Essex Dart 42929 SN05EAJ turning into Braddock Road from Ormesby Road on the divert this morning
The bus continues southbound along Ormesby Road but instead heads east into Braddock Road prior to taking up its normal route. The work is expected to last for fifteen weeks which means normal working should resume during mid July

32064 W224XBD arrived at Great Yarmouth from Leicester in June last year
Meanwhile, news on the repaint front regarding the ALX400s is that 32064 W224XBD returned to Rotherham last night for its repaint. It joins four other deckers there in the form of 32059 W219XBD, 32065 W425SRP, 30888 W743DWX and Norwich's President 32100 LT02ZCJ. As already mentioned elsewhere, 32059 is to receive Great Yarmouth Blue Bus heritage livery whilst 30888 will be similarly treated in Lowestoft heritage colours


Tuesday 19 May 2015

New Anglianbus Rear Adverts

Noted on the A12 today, MAN AU13FBK with new Student travel info

Anglian have begun promoting Student travel on the rears of some MAN Gas buses, a couple noted on the 61 service today in Lowestoft. The design is similar to promotions carried by fellow Go Ahead company Konectbus.


Monday 18 May 2015

EATM 1940's Report

Unfortunately I was unable to spend much time at this event due to earlier family commitments. However, I did enjoy the band and choir giving their all to an appreciative audience

Both new in 1940 to London Transport - AEC Regent III FXT183 is posed beside Metro Cammell trolleybus FXH521 
There were a few additions to the home fleet on view and one was the much travelled London Transport AEC Regent III RT8 FXT183, which fitted in well with the 1940's theme. Bodied in 1940 it entered service in April of that year at Chelverton Road Depot. Ten years later it was in use a training vehicle and saw such use at Hendon, Southall and Clapham among others. In September 1960 RT8 was sold to Birds Commercial Motors of Stratford on Avon and a year later was exported to Chicago the USA. Towards the end of 1961 it was preserved at the Museum of Transport in St Louis, Missouri and there it stayed until Ensign acquired it and brought it back home in 2006

Ex ECOC Bristol LS5G/ ECW KNG711 leaving the museum to stretch its legs on a run to Beccles 
Also present was Patrick Burnside's immaculate Eastern Counties Omnibus Company KNG711, a 1950 Bristol L5G 35 seater saloon with ECW body and Gardner engine. New to the company in July 1950, LL 711 was withdrawn in January 1968 and passed on to dealer Ben Jordan of Coltishall. Its stay there was short lived quickly being sold to Simplex of Sawston, Cambridgeshire for use as a workers bus in all over green. On withdrawal and ownership by two preservationists, LL711 was bought by Patrick who has fully restored the bus to its original 1950s condition.

Anglianbus OmniDekka YN55PZF on Park and Ride duty
Park and Ride duties were shared by deckers from the Anglian and First fleets. The former provided Scania OmniDekka YN55PZF whilst the latter supplied appropriate Lowestoft Gemini 37572 AU58ECW - (ECW - Eastern Coach Works)

First's Gemini 37572 AU58ECW also featured on Park & Ride service
Just as I was about to leave, one of First Lowestoft's former Jersey Dart's 43863 EG52FFK arrived from Lowestoft Bus Station. Faced with a warning light in the cab, the driver decided not to proceed any further and called for assistance

An expired Dart on the 14:50hrs 123 service from Lowestoft Bus Station
My thanks to Ians Bus Stop and the Eastern Transport Collection for information regarding FXT183 and KNG711 respectively


Sunday 17 May 2015

Norwich Yesterday

Norwich City Centre was quieter yesterday than a normal Saturday - had it got something to do with a certain football match I ask?

It was the same with unusual bus activity too, as my stint in Norwich Bus Station yielded only a National Express coach I hadn't photographed before. It was in the form of Caetano Levante bodied Volvo FJ11MJY on the 727 service to Brighton via Gatwick Airport. Ten minutes earlier the stand was occupied by Freestones Scania YN08JBX on the Megabus M16 route

The only other thing I can muster for the post is a photo of Norfolk Coachways' immaculately liveried Scania WJZ9286 on Red Lion Street

So, with Norwich making the final of the Championship play-offs will they grab the last place available to play in the Premiership next season?


Saturday 16 May 2015

New Arrival at Reynolds

A new arrival to report here is Mercedes Tourismo SN57LKC, it has gained full Reynolds livery and has been named Lady Eleanor.
Lady Eleanor pictured at Reynolds Garage in Caister On Sea

It was new to Allan of Gorebridge as B13DWA before being re-registered in March 2010, she last operated for Boultons of Cardington in Shropshire before heading to Norfolk.


Friday 15 May 2015

Photos of 20514 New Look Completed

Courtesy of Jim Long we can bring you some of the first photographs of newly refurbished First Coach 20514 which has been repainted into a new Purple livery with Gold Lettering for Firstgroup's Private Hire Fleet in the area. The vehicle was repainted by local company Simon Morris in the town.
20514 outside Foundation Street Depot in Ipswich

Full Side view of the new livery

Sister 20515 is also due to gain the new colours, A far cry from their look when they first arrived at Great Yarmouth for X1 shuttle duties a couple of years ago.

Many Thanks to Jim for the photos as always.   Grahame.

EATM Mid-May 40's Weekend

The East Anglia Transport Museum's 'Mid- May 40's Weekend' happens this Saturday and Sunday and provides the opportunity to look back at the roaring 1940s

For the event there will be a park and ride service in operation in addition to the free bus services to Lowestoft and Beccles using period buses plus many visiting vehicles from the era appearing on both days. Timetable details can be viewed HERE

Also featured is the running of the museum's tram and trolleybus fleet on the Saturday night under the gentle glow of lamplight accompanied by the sounds of the band playing

There will also be many trade stands on site as well as the BBQ. The proceedings begin at midday on Saturday with after dark running until 9:00pm. Sunday opening times are 10:30am to 4:30pm.


First Bus Changes In Great Yarmouth & Lowestoft

First Norfolk & Suffolk issued a press release yesterday concerning changes to bus services in the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft area. They have been made following feedback and the alterations will come into effect from 24th May

♦ X1 Lowestoft - Great Yarmouth - Norwich
There are some changes during the day on Mondays to Saturdays to improve punctuality. It is also intended to publish two separate timetable leaflets for the east and west parts of the service

♦ X2 Lowestoft - Beccles - Norwich
Also changes to the service during the day to coordinate departure times from Norwich Bus Station with the X1 route

♦ 3 Hemsby - Caister - Great Yarmouth
This seasonal service will be reintroduced to operate at hourly intervals seven days a week until mid September with it operating every 30 minutes during the school holidays

♦ 4 Caister - Great Yarmouth
Minor changes to improve punctuality

♦ 8 Caister - Great Yarmouth - Gorleston
Also minor timetable changes on early Saturday mornings to improve connections with X1 to Norwich at Great Yarmouth, Market Gates.

♦ 99 Lowestoft - Kessingland
Minor timetable changes to co-ordinate services between Lowestoft and Pakefield.

♦ 103 Lowestoft - Carlton Colville
Minor timetable changes.

♦ 111 Lowestoft - Carlton Colville
Minor timetable changes.

The new timetables can be accessed by clicking HERE