Friday 31 July 2015

59 Ventures out on the 3's

Since 32059 has returned from repaint into GYT livery it has normally been found working the 8 service, last week it ventured to Lowestoft on the 1's and today i noticed it at Yarmouth Rail Station waiting for passengers on the 3 service.
59 at Vauxhall Station

I thought i would venture through to Hemsby to get some shots at the Beach Road terminus but those plans went up in smoke (literally!) as a rather large fire had broken out opposite!


Grey Green ~ Ipswich Recollections

Yesterday's post on Grey Green prompted a response from our regular Ipswich contributor, Jim Long, on his memories of Grey Green in the Suffolk town

'Having looked at your blog ,it jogged the ole brain box on George Ewer. Personally I wasn't a follower until, like all things, they pulled out of coming our way on the Yarmouth to London service via Ipswich. I could kick myself, if i was double jointed, all those superb Leylands & tired ole Bedfords that tried to keep to time as they pulled into St Margaret's Green Ewer depot over the years My loss entirely.

I did take two pix, the first was of TWU845Y with Dix Travel which is in your blog photo. Looking at where I took her, I gather she was off route slightly in order to take in the Orwell bridge & it's river settings. Behind her is the old coaled fired Ipswich power station, long gone now. The photo was taken in the late 80's or early 90's.

The other is of E899KYW. I only caught this one as the other two had already pulled out onto the main road, which made me call in at Tesco Copdock. This is where I captured this gal and I expect she was off to Great Yarmouth or Felixstowe; or as it said on the board a tour.'

Many thanks for the your recollections and photos Jim

Thursday 30 July 2015

#TBT Ewer Group

Before you know it - its Thursday once more and time for our regular Throw Back Thursday feature and we continue the Grey Green theme from last week

This time the photo is taken at Beach Coach Station in the early 1980's when the former railway buildings were then still intact

I quickly glanced at the photo and initially thought there was a trio of Grey Green coaches but I was wrong. The one on the left IS from the Ewer Group but the Dix Travel subsidiary. Leyland PSU3E/4R A848VML was registered new in 1983 but was in fact was a rebuild of FRA64V delivered new to Skills of Nottingham in August 1979. It later saw service with G & G Travel in Leamington

The other two vehicles are also 1983 rebuilds; TMU845Y and TMU846Y were respectively JRK621K and JRK618K. The Duple bodied Leyland PSU3E/4R's were therefore sister vehicles to JRK622K featured last week which was also rebodied at the same time becoming TMU847Y. TMU845Y later saw use with Hills of Tredegar


Wednesday 29 July 2015

Worthing Bus Gathering ~ Photo Special

An assortment of Southdown double deck buses lined up
along Worthing's Seafront
The morning started dry and bright but by 9am it was overcast and the rain had started. It continued through most of the day although your intrepid explorer decided to brave the elements at just before 2pm

Upon entering the display area I enquired how many attended - sixty was the reply but many have already left for home!

Many of the entrants were either Southdown or London Transport orientated and have been featured before. So this year's report concentrates on the other operators

The first of these was ABO 145B an AEC Reliance /Harrington Grenadier new to Western Welsh in February 1964 as their 145.

Seaford and District was showing UUF 329 J - "Brighton Belle" a 1971 Leyland PSU3BR/4R Leopard with Plaxton Elite luxury touring bodywork. The coach has only 28 luxurious seats and would normally accommodate 53 people. 'Brighton Belle' was operated by the former Southdown Motor Services of Brighton, and is in "Pullman" chocolate and cream livery.

Another AEC product on view was that of former East Kent WFN513. Shown in that livery it is a 1961 built Reliance 470 with Park Royal 41 seater dual purpose bodywork.

Maidstone & District vehicles often appear at the Gathering and this is a Park Royal-bodied AEC Reliance 277DKT. New to the company in June 1959 it carries fleet number SD277

Also displayed was Maidstone & District/Arriva Kent & Sussex Volvo Olympian P928MKL. Purchased in March 1997, it has a Northern Counties H47/30F body and bears fleet number 5928

A surprise find was this Eastern Counties ECW bodied Bristol RELH RPU869M with Eastline branding. New in May 1974 to National Travel South East, it moved to Eastern Counties some four years later when it received fleet number RE849. In September 1984 it moved to Ambassador Travel and stayed for eight months before being sold to dealer. It then passed to a number of owners including Shearings, Rose Hill Coaches and Northern Bus Company of North Anston. It was there where it was withdrawn after catching fire at the beginning of 1993 but repaired and reinstated two months later. It was subsequently acquired by a Hastings preservationist by January 2007

One of the new buses exhibited was Reading Buses Alexander Dennis Enviro 400MMC YY15OYA and very smart it looked too

Former Alder Valley Leyland National 251 NPJ472R also made an appearance and was new to the company in September 1976

Another East Anglian representative was Southend Transport Van Hool Astromega JEV245Y. It was new in April 1983 and was acquired by Ensign earlier this year following service with Fords of Althorne

The final bus is that of Southern Transit's Leyland Olympian/ECW B194 BLG which was acquired from Axe Valley Buses in May 2013. It was new to Crosville in March 1985

Last but not least is this 1940 Austin K2 registered FYY413, complete with trafficator ears. Whilst in London Transport green, it was never owned by London Transport. Apologies for the poor quality photo as, by then, the rain was getting the better of the camera and me!

I hope you enjoyed this photo special and let's hope that next year we are blessed with better weather and that I don't get soaked to the skin!


Tuesday 28 July 2015

Service Alterations Registered ~ 22nd July 2015

Our belated look at the East of England Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report published on the 22nd July follows

Registration of New Services
Borderbus Limited is to introduce schoolday service SJL8 between Blundeston and the Sir John Leman School in Beccles from 4th September

First Eastern Counties are to run the schooldays 910 route between Wroxham Road Police Station in Norwich to Broadland High School, Hoveton via Spixworth commencing on 30th August

As we all know by now, Konect Bus are to start their new Monday to Saturday Norwich Park & Ride services from 7th September
501 Thickthorn & Park & Ride to Norwich Airport Park & Ride via  Norwich Bus Station
502  Harford Park & Ride to Sprowston Park & Ride via  Norwich Bus Station
503 Postwick Park & Ride to Postwick Park & Ride via Norwich Bus Station
512 Harford Park & Ride to Norwich County operating Monday to Friday only

Acle based Our Hire, trading as Our Bus, is to provide a number of 'new' services including the 291 route between Roys Bus Stop in Stalham Road, Wroxham and Tunsead Primary School in Market Street, Tunstead. Running on Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays only the services starts from 3rd September
Our Hire is also to operate a Monday to Saturday 730 service between Hopwell Gardens, Beighton and Gorleston's East Norfolk Sixth Form College,via: Beighton, Cantley, Reedham and Stokesby from the same date
Its 292 route will run from Squires Road in Halvergate to Roys Bus Stop in Stalham Road, Wroxham via Halvergate, Reedham, Lingwood and Blofield on Tuesdays Only from 1st September. It will also operate on Thursdays only between Roys Bus Stop in Stalham Road, Wroxham and Reepham Market Place via Coltishall, Buxton, Aylsham and Cawston from 3rd Septemeber
Another Our Bus service, the 294, runs on Fridays only between Old Royal Oak in Ormesby to Bonds Bus Stop in All Saints Green in Norwich via Hemsby, Martham, Stokesby, and Acle from 4th September

Registration of New Services Granted Under Short Notice
Our Bus has registered a 293 route from Kings Head, The Street, Acle to Roys Bus Stop in Stalham Road, Wroxham via Ormesby, Hemsby, Potter Heigham on Mondays onlyfrom 31st August

Applications to Vary Existing Services
B R Shreeve & Sons, trading as Belle Coaches, is to amend the stopping places and timetable of its Lowestoft to Norwich Shopper service from 1st September

Borderbus is to amend the route and timetable some of its schoolday services to the Sir John Leman School in Beccles from 4th September

  • SJL1 originating in Kessingland
  • SJL2 starting in Oulton Road in Lowestoft
  • SJL3 commencing in Carlton Colville
  • SJL6 beginning at Southwold

The Beccles based operator is also to amend the timetable of both its 146 Southwold to Beccles and Beccles to Norwich routes from 7th September

First Eastern Counties is to amend the timetables of the 882 between North Cove and Gorleston's East Norfolk Sixth Form College plus the 1/1A/1B from Martham to Lowestoft from 30th August

Konectbus is amending the timetables of two North Norfolk routes - service 2 between Norwich and Sheringham and the 2A between Sheringham and Holt. Both come into effect from 21st September

Applications to Vary Existing Services Granted Under Short Notice
Anglian Bus is retrospectively altering the route of its Harleston to Norwich Bus Station 84 service

Sanders Coaches is changing the timetables of three of its services including the North Walsham Post Office to Great Yarmouth Market Gates service 6 from 30th August. The others are the 6A North Walsham Post Office to Cromer Bus Station route and the 834 Happisburgh Church Bus Stop and Gorleston's East Norfolk College

Cancellations of Existing Services
Anglian Bus is surrendering its 92 Hethersett to Langley Sshool service from 1st September

With the introduction of new Norwich Park & Ride services in early September Konect Bus are relinquishing previous services including the 601 from Thickthorn P&R to Norwich Bus Station and 602 Harford Park & Ride and Norwich Bus Station . Another route to go is the 22 between Weyboune and Cromer from 21st September

The full Notices and Proceeding Report can be viewed on the website by clicking HERE


Monday 27 July 2015

First Ipswich Ticket Sale

Today saw the start of a Ticket Sale in Ipswich for First's Town Services. Routes 53, 60, 61 & 61A are now offering Adult Single Journeys at £1 with Child Singles at just 70p. Vehicles are carrying new branding for the sale as well as programmed Destination screens showing the prices on offer to travel.
Volvo B7RLE 69009 now with the new branding in Boyton Road today.

 Many Thanks to Jim Long for the Info and Photo.

Monday in the City

I Finally managed to get up to Norwich this morning to catch up with all the recent repaints, loan buses and new arrivals here and there. A very sucessful day was had with the camera, the weather held out allowing for some good photos
66977 in Castle Meadow.

Former Ipswich B7RLE 66977 KX05MHA was on my list and it was duly captured working the 37 in Castle Meadow with its new Purple front. All recent repaints were noted out and about including the controversial 42921 EU05AUN which caused some raised eyebrows regarding its repaint as it was done in house rather than by a contractor and the style of it, it was working the 29A today. Both South Yorkshire loanee Volvo B10BLE's that came via Yarmouth, 60818 & 60622 were noted in use, 60818 on the 29A whilst 60622 was on the 22's.
42921 sits waiting its next driver in Castle Meadow
An unusual sight today was Simonds using Alexander ALX300 bodied Dart MSU916 on their 1 service,            I know it has appeared on the route previously but nevertheless a break from the normal vehicles seen. MSU916 was originally registered R239KRG, new to Stagecoach Busways, the batch then passed to Ensign from where it was purchased by Simonds.
ALX300 bodied MSU916 heads out of Castle Meadow.

The last of Sanders 'Musketeers' Porthos YN06JWP i needed was also noted along with another May arrival DAF YJ10DJU,both were working the X44 Express service today. A couple more photos below to finish off with, a very productive day was had catching up with the latest goings on in the city
Driver Trainer 60808 S659RNA 

Refurbished 32100 sits alongside one of the Go Dragons on Castle Meadow.

Too many photos to post on the blog so i will be uploading more to my Flickr site in due course.


Saturday 25 July 2015

The Other 85

As you will probably know by now, two Great Yarmouth single deckers with the fleet number 85 are now preserved locally with the most recent limelight taken by the return of the prodigal son

However, the AEC Reliance adorned with the 85 number (AEX85B) is in the care of the East Anglia Transport Museum (EATM) and is currently undergoing repair as Tim Major relates

'I thought you might be interested in an updated on 85 at the EATM as it has been confined to the depot for sometime! This is due to a bearing failure in the gearbox and the consequent damage caused to the gears by fragments bouncing around inside, which adds up to very expensive repair. Fortunately the museum had a spare gearbox which provided parts to effect the repair, I attach a couple of pictures, one showing

the gearbox on its return from repair and the other shows 85 on the lifts awaiting the reconnection of the gearbox. (I have not heard whether all is in order as I had to leave before it was tested)

Additionally LFL57 has been off the road awaiting a radiator re-build, now fitted and a couple of other repairs. Again the cost of the repair to the radiator was 'jolly expensive' (understatement!).'

Many thanks to Tim for the update and photos


Thursday 23 July 2015

#TBT Grey Green JRK622K

Many of my lunch time breaks from work often found me at either Eastern Counties Wellington Road or at Beach Coach Station. Or sometimes both!

On 22nd July 1982 my photo album records that I took this picture on the rear coach park at Wellington Road. It unusually shows Grey Green Leyland Leopard/Plaxton Elite II JRK622K laying over there. That is probably unusual as I believe their coaches normally used to park up at Beach Coach Station

The coach was new to the company in April 1972 and was re-bodied ten years later with a Duple Dominant body and re-registered TMU 847Y. It left the company towards the end of 1976

Grey Grey was part of the Ewer Group which previously terminated their London services at their own Apsley Road Coach Station in Great Yarmouth. The site was situated behind the current Tower Building and is now used for housing. My old friend from across the pond, Mick Capon tells me that the original Grey Green garage in the town was located on St Nicholas Road

Grey Green subsequently became part of the Cowie Group which morphed into Arriva


Freestones' News

Norfolk operator, Freestones Coaches has three new coaches on order and has obtained another for use on schools and private hire work

The coach acquired is Caetano bodied Volvo B12B SF07KGG from Manns Travel of Gravesend in Kent. It was new to Malcolm of Dysart in June 2007 and has also seen use with Ashalls Coaches of Gorton.

My thanks to my source at Freestones for the information and photo


Wednesday 22 July 2015

Wednesday's Wanderings

With the car requiring some remedial work I was in town early this morning with my first port of call being Beach Coach Station

For the first time I managed to get a photo of the Megabus coach working the M37 to Cardiff showing the destination screen in use. The friendly driver booked around four passengers onto KX61GFE. The Volvo B9R/ Plaxton Panther 2 was new in October 2011 as Midand Red (South) 53645

Also on site were two Setras; one was National Holidays NH63GYH with the other being Shearings Holidays 222 BF10VCP

I then adjourned to Market Gates to observe early morning activity there and noted one Volvo Olympian in service in the shape of 34108 W435CWX on the 8 to the James Paget Hospital Unfortunately the photography challenges of the bus station got the better of me, although I did get another photo after it departed but with too many people walking in front of the camera!

I was also hoping to be able to get a picture of W219XBD working the 8s in its Great Yarmouth heritage livery, as it had so far evaded my camera lens. However, today was my lucky day and I got my photo at the King Street/ Regent Street junction

A number of independents were seen to be dropping off their passengers at the bus station. These included Bobs of Clacton's Optare Nouvelle B2 CBT (above) and Peelings Coaches (Jonathan R Joplin) of Tittleshall's Jonckheere bodied Volvo B12M - JJZ 8022 'The Norfolk Olympian' (below)


More First News

Another quick update regarding First, Volvo B7TL 32062 W422SRP has returned from Rotherham this afternoon refurbished, meaning all of Yarmouths ex Leicester ALX400 vehicles are now in the new livery.

Volvo B10BLE 60622 R785WKW is moving up to Norwich to cover the refurbishments there joining sister 60618 which moved last month.
60622 pictured outside Caister Road last month.
Former Yarmouth Volvo/President 32201 has now gone up to Rotherham for refurbishment joining 33152/33167 & 32203 from Norwich at Midland Road.

Driver Trainer 60808 has been at Caister Road the past couple of days also.

Finally, 32059 drifted onto the 1's yesterday from its usual 8 duties which it has been on since returning in GYT colours.


Monday 20 July 2015

Express Competition

Today I thought I would compare express operations on the Great Yarmouth to Birmingham corridor. Megabus runs through to Cardiff whilst the National Express route continues to Birkenhead

This morning the former was using Plaxton Panther 2 bodied Volvo B9R KX61GDV on its M37 Cardiff service. New in October 2011, as Midand Red South's 53637, it is seen above at Beach Coach Station well before its departure time of 09:30

Meanwhile, getting a head start from Market Gates was the National Express 308 service with Ambassador Travel's Scania K340/ Caetano Levante FJ09DXA in charge. The 308 departs almost an hour earlier at 08:35. 

It is understood that the 308 is to be altered in September and will terminate in Birmingham as National Express attempts to compete with Megabus. The latter, however, is currently only committed to operate from Great Yarmouth until October


Sunday 19 July 2015

LL in Filby

Earlier this month I reported that preserved Eastern Counties Bristol L single deck LL 711 KNG711 would be operating a 'free to ride' bus service in the village of Filby over this weekend

The village was hosting an 'open gardens' event and the Eastern Coach Works bodied bus was operated on a basic hourly frequency between 10am and 4:45pm each day

I caught up with the LL earlier this afternoon parked up outside the village hall and playing field in between runs. Despite trying to eat his lunch, owner Patrick Burnside, and his conductor for the day John Laycock, still managed time for a chat!

Since I last saw KNG711, it has received exterior period adverts! Pat took her to Signs Express of Norwich earlier this week to have the newly made adverts applied to both sides of the vehicle. Pat says 'I'm sure you will agree that the application of these superbly well produced period adverts truly enhance the bus's character'

I would certainly agree Pat and thanks for sparing your time and hope you didn't end up with indigestion!


Friday 17 July 2015

Mega Friday

Today's Megabus on the M37 Cardiff working starting from Great Yarmouth was Scania K340/Caetano Levante FJ08KOE. 

Megabus Scania/Caetano Levante 5303 FJ08KOE at Beach Coach Station this morning
The Scania was new to Stagecoach Cheltenham & Gloucester for use on National Express services. I must admit that this Megabus livery doesn't look as good as other Scania/Levante colour schemes


Latest First Updates

A few things to report from First to round the week off. Rotherham moves this week include 32100 LT02ZCJ returning to Norwich after seating tests and sister Turquoise line vehicle 33167 LR02LYF has headed North in its place.
33167 LR02LYF in Castle Meadow earlier this year

Also currently at Midland Road are 32203 LT52WTJ for internal refurb and 33152 LR02LXL for refurb and repaint into the new Purple line livery.
32203 in Castle Meadow
After a brief conversation with Chris Speed yesterday i was informed that the current Route coloured repaints will now have the rear painted back into the standard livery as the Ipswich vehicles were treated meaning they will lose the coloured centre stripe.

Rounding up the Rotherham situation, 20514 remains there having internal refurbishment whilst 30888 is being transformed into Lowestoft Corporation Heritage colours.

Back here and Alpha Recovery have collected Olympian 34156 from Gorleston Fire Station and Dart 43481(R481DPW) from Lowestoft both for scrap. Olympians 34186 & 34109 are both now confirmed as Reserve/Withdrawn at Yarmouth.


Thursday 16 July 2015

#TBT Wellington Road

Our Throwback Thursday this week features two deckers at the Eastern Counties garage in Great Yarmouth's Wellington Road

A contrast in Eastern Coach Works' bodywork - the FLF had worked back to Great Yarmouth from Martham
on the 621 whilst the VR is off to the seaside at Hemsby Beach with the 622
The photo, taken in July 1982, shows Bristol FLF6G Lodekka TVL310 alongside Bistol VR/SLG SNG439M.  Both were bodied at Lowestoft's Eastern Coach Works with the former spending its last summer in the town prior to withdrawal

TVL310 was new to Lincolnshire Road Car Company in July 1962 as their 2509.  After Eastern Counties ownership, it was exported to the USA where it is recorded as being with Porter of Burnsville in Minnesota in March 1983.

SNG439M was new to Eastern Counties in August 1974 as VR139. It lasted exactly twenty two years in service prior to scrapping in August 1996


Great Yarmouth Seasonal Service Changes

W218XBD on last year's service 3 on Alexandra Road
From Sunday 26th July First are introducing some alterations to some Great Yarmouth bus services for the summer season

Service 3 from Hemsby Beach to Vauxhall via Newport, Scratby, Caister, Seashore, Great Yarmouth town centre and Rail Station will be increased in frequency to every 30 minutes seven days a week. The change comes into effect from Sunday 26th July and lasts until Saturday 29th August.

Services 1/1A from Lowestoft to Martham via Great Yarmouth's Market Gates will have a temporary timetable for the summer holiday period to aid punctuality. A new timetable provides details but essentially the service still operates every 30 minutes with buses leaving Lowestoft earlier than normal. In addition the 2100 service 1 journey from Great Yarmouth is diverted to serve Scratby seven days a week.

Further information can be obtained by contacting First's Customer Services team on 0345 602 0121 with timetables appearing soon on the Traveline East Anglia website


Wednesday 15 July 2015

Beach View

This morning I looked in at Beach Coach Station and found a number of long term stayers present

Shearings Holidays were represented by Setras 115 BN09FXD and 119 BN09FXJ whilst National Holidays were present in the form of  another Setra, NH14LBH

Flying the flag for Alfa Coaches were Mercedes Tourismos 62 BN11UFL and 88 BX14OMO


Sunday 12 July 2015

Sunny Saturday Morning

Had a morning around my local haunts when growing up in Yarmouth around the Newtown area taking the opportunity to Photograph newly repainted 32059 and also a couple of other recent repaints.
59 pictured on Beaconsfield Road

I stuck to the route of the 8 and managed to get some nice shots of the latest Blue Bus to return to Caister Road, first stop was Beaconsfield Road where the sun was in the right place to show off the new paintwork.
32064 heads along Beatty Road towards the Town Centre

I moved up towards the Racecourse and waited for 59 to return from Caister to get some shots of her heading back into town along Beatty Road which i walked along to School at North Denes (A few years ago now!), whilst i waited another recent repaint, 32064 was on the car line in front so she was duly ticked off my wanted list, 32065 was also noted.
If only they were all Blue again
Steetlite 47502 working the 4 service to the Barrack Estate

A successful couple of hours in the sun and some nice photos aswell!       Grahame

Heading For Scrap?

Two of  the Olympians being stored
The Volvo Olympian scrapping theme continues with the news that three of them turned up at Anglian's Ellough depot last week for possibly similar treatment

Our Beccles Correspondent, Tim Miller, informs me that the trio are former Clacton based Alexander (Belfast) bodied versions from the Hedingham fleet. They are M276UKN, M282UKN and M144UKN which were new to Dublin Bus in March 1995 as 95D199, 95D200 and 95D202 respectively

The deckers are being stored there prior to disposal and potentially scrapping

My thanks to Tim for the information and photos