Friday 29 January 2016

Revisited Ipswich 2006

The next in our Revisited series goes back to 2006 and a trip to a sunny Ipswich in June of that year. Armed with my trusty Canon Powershot S80 I drove down the A12 to capture the latest happenings in the Suffolk town.
First up is Beestons of Hadleigh's Optare Metrorider M939FTN working the 119 service into Ipswich. It was new to Sunderland & District which became part of Go North East. It left Beestons in late 2006 and passed to Zeebus in Canterbury.
Next up is Network Colchester Scania Omnidekka AY55DKA, new in 2005 the vehicle was operated by Tellings Golden Miller who took over operations of Arriva Colchester in 2004 and set up the Network Colchester brand under the control of Burtons Coaches, the operations were then sold back to Arriva in 2008 but continue under the same name.
Another local operator working into Ipswich is Carters of Capel St Mary, owned by local enthusiast Viv Carter, the fleet is ever changing and still going strong today. Pictured above is Dennis Dart SLF P693RWU which was new to Armchair of Brentford.
Finally its a vehicle that ended its career back here in Great Yarmouth. Former First Potteries Dart 40114 M953XVT transferred to Ipswich in 2006 before moving to Yarmouth later that year. Its pictured here working the 64 service from Aldeburgh arriving at the Old Cattle Market Bus Station.


Thursday 28 January 2016

#TBT 22nd September 1983

As mentioned previously many of my lunch breaks from work entailed trips to many locations in or near the town centre to view activity and take the odd photo or so

The 22nd September 1983 was one such occasion when I had the camera with me, but I wanted a different vantage point. How about the top of the Market Gates multi-storey car park?

After climbing the many steps to the top, I got a reasonable view of the comings and goings. The simultaneous approach of an Eastern Counties single decker and a Great Yarmouth Transport liveried bus was a photo opportunity not to miss.

The former was an Eastern Coach Works bodied Bristol RELL6GH with the registration TVF704G whilst the latter was Willowbrook bodied AEC Swift LEX858H

The Bristol was delivered to Eastern Counties in May 1969 as RL704. It is returning from Norwich on the 701 service.  During its time with 'Counties' it also spent some time in Cambridgeshire. It was finally withdrawn in 1985 and disposed of to Ben Jordan of Coltishall

The Swift was numbered 58 in the Great Yarmouth fleet when new in June 1970. It later passed to Centre 81, and is shown here working its local community transport service.  No further information appears to be available on the vehicle

Following the subsequent retail expansion at Market Gates this photo cannot be repeated. I haven't ventured to the top since but I am almost certain that you can't get a similar view


Wednesday 27 January 2016

Wednesday Workings

With not much out of the unusual happening, I initially thought I would prepare a post relating to Wednesday operated services in Great Yarmouth but ended up reporting more than that!

My first photo shows Our Bus Optare Solo YE52FHC on the 13:10 Gapton Hall Retail Park to Reedham 730 route via Market Gates. It also runs on Saturdays

Next up was the Wednesday only 13:30 Great Yarmouth to Chedgrave 577 service operated by another Solo - this was Ambassador Travel's 901 MX54KYA

Ambassador was also employing re-registered 181 KIG7202 on the Asda shuttles - it was previously FD54DVG

On passing Beach Coach Station I saw National Holidays Setra NH10MSH was the only coach parked up

At the back of First's Caister Road depot were Olympians 34108/14 W435/4CWX - probably awaiting their final journey. Hiding in the corner was Wright Renown 66169 W369EOW (sister 66168 W368EOW had long departed for Rotherham for an upgrade to become a 'paint spare')

Where was the remaining Olympian then?  It didn't take long to find out as 34111 W431CWX was on active duty on a Bernard Matthews contract working - tailing ADL Enviro400 33423 SN60CAA


Monday 25 January 2016

Where Are They Now? ~ GLZ3141

In May 2014 I reported that Jonckheere Deauville bodied Volvo B10M-62 GLZ3141 had left the Swift Taxis fleet for Karmeen & Fletcher of Whitehaven in Cumbria

The firm trades as 3D Travel and I am now pleased to bring you a photo of the Volvo in the operator's blue and yellow livery with the kind permission of Mark Egdell. The photo shows GLZ3141 heading north along the A595 road at Egremont returning to base after dropping children off at school - a similar service it provided when with Swift

GLZ3141 was formerly registered M733KJU and, along with sister M734KJU, was new to Dun Line of Nottingham in March 1995. Both were acquired by Swift Taxis in September 2006 with the former gaining the name Swift Ibis and fleet number 116

My thanks to Mark for the use of his photo


Thursday 21 January 2016


An early 1980s Leyland Leopard forms the subject for this week's Throw Back Thursday article

WEX826X is an Eastern Coach Works bodied Leyland Leopard (a PSU3G/4R to be precise!) which was new to Eastern Counties in March 1982

After a couple of years with 'Counties', in National Holidays livery, it moved on to Cambus. Subsequent operators were Rowe of Mulkirk and Goodwin of Eccles. It was last heard of when it joined Tamworth based Invincible Coaches during August 1999

The photo was taken outside the Garibaldi Public House on St Nicholas Road in Great Yarmouth during May 1983. It was unusual to see a 'local' coach laying over there as the nearby Coach Station was only a few hundred yards away. (Although at the time it was not uncommon for coaches to park on the pub's adjoining car park)  As for the Garibaldi, it has long since disappeared to be replaced by housing


Wednesday 20 January 2016

Service Alterations Registered ~ 20th January 2016

As the East of England Traffic Commissioner released his Notices and Proceedings Report earlier today, it's time for our fortnightly look at the proposed changes to local bus services

Many of the changes relate to Anglianbus which were reported in the last 'Service Alterations Registered' but are repeated here for the sake of completeness

Applications to Vary Existing Services
Anglianbus is to amend the timetables of the following routes from 22nd February 2016:-
  • 7/7A  Blofield Heath to Great Yarmouth College
  • 61/61A/61B/61C  Bungay to Lowestoft
  • 87/88/BH274  Halesworth to Norwich
  • 88A/88B/B272  Halesworth to Southwold

Applications to Vary Existing Services Granted Under Short Notice
Sanders Coaches have retrospectively amended the timetables of its following services from 4th January 2016:-
  • 201 South Creake to Wells High School
  • 203  Binham Post Office to Wells High School
  • 204  Holt to Wells High School
  • 205  Blenheim Park to Wells High School
Additionally Sanders has amended the route and timetable of its 202 service between Salthouse Post Office and Wells High School

Cancellations of Existing Services
As already extensively reported, Anglianbus is to cease its Norfolk County Council sponsored 85 Loddon to Norwich and  86 Beccles to Norwich services from the 22nd February 2016 which are be taken over by Simmonds
Anglian is also to end the 61 service between Wrentham and Southwold but is extending the route to replace the 7 between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. Both to take effect from the same date

The full East of England Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report can be viewed HERE


Tuesday 19 January 2016

Sixth Form Services

OmniCity YN07EZB awaits its passengers
With my wife off from work yesterday, I didn't have to rush to get back from Gorleston High Street to take her in. The arrangement meant that I made my way home with dusk falling

My route saw me pass the East Norfolk Sixth Form College on Church Road and a couple of vehicles arrived to transport students home. In addition to the routes operated by First (the 881 and 882) Anglianbus and Sanders Coaches also provide services
VanHool bodied DAF SGF965

I was fortunate in being able to capture photos of the last two mentioned operators but, with the light deteriorating rapidly, there were no pictures to be had of the First operations - maybe next time!

As I didn't have my camera with me I had to settle for photos taken with the phone - so apologises for the picture quality. Plus I also had to ensure that the advancing hoards of students didn't appear in front of the subjects!


Monday 18 January 2016

Revisited Norwich 2007

I have been going through my photo collection and putting them in some sort of order and with that the idea of producing a few posts based on the days out i have had over the years.

The first in the series goes back to October 2007 and a trip to Norwich on a very sunny day for the time of year and a few photos of various operators in action at the time
Anglian 400 X228WRA on the 588 to Halesworth.
The first photo is Anglian Optare Excel X228WRA which was quite new to the area when i saw her in the city, new to Trent in 2000 she became 400 in the fleet before being withdrawn in January 2013 with Fire damage to the rear.
Norfolk County Council YJ55YHL in Castle Meadow.
Another vehicle which had a short stay in Norfolk was Optare Solo YJ55YHL which was new to Norfolk County Council for use on their 600 shuttle service between the city and County Hall. The vehicle remains in use today with Gibsons of Renfrew in Scotland.
Freshly repainted 47231 M231VWW outside Castle Mall.
Firstgroup was going through a major repaint program in this year with vehicles being repainted out of the shortlived Barbie 2 livery with the pink fades. 47231 (pictured above) had moved from Great Yarmouth and i luckily got a sunny shot of her after repaint. Recent arrivals at Norwich were a batch of Volvo B10's from Manchester, they moved on to Lowestoft during their stay with FEC also.
60306 M511PNA going over Fye Bridge into the city.
W262CDN also heading over Fye Bridge
Sanders had recently aquired a batch of DAF/East Lancs single deckers from Luton Airport Parking and were used on a variety of routes, W262CDN is pictured working the 44 into the city from Cromer.


Memories of R86EMB

You may remember I recently posted details of the demise of former Anglianbus Scania/ Wright Axcess Ultraflow R86EMB

A former driver, who shall remain nameless,  has subsequently contacted me reminiscing on his 'fortunes' when driving the same bus! He takes up the story of what he considers to be his jinx bus

410 at Beccles in July 2010 minus front bumper and radiator grille
'I remember the first day she was shipped up to Rackheath and I begged and begged to be able to take her out. In the end my operations manager gave in - so I took her out to Great Yarmouth on the old X47 route. On the return journey I left Market Gates OK and headed to Norwich and just got over the Vauxhall roundabout and lost all acceleration! With a bus full of passengers I managed to glide her off the main road which meant tow in number 1 with fitters finding a broken wire in the end

The next breakdown was when the Scanias (including 410) were on the 123 route. It started making some weird gearbox noises going through Rackheath and I thought nothing of it at first. Arriving at the mini roundabout, just before the garage, I lost all gears so I let her roll around the corner into a layby. This resulted in tow in number 2 meaning a gearbox replacement.

A line up at Ellough depot during July 2010
The next happened some three months later, as I was leaving Salhouse towards Norwich in R86EMB. Again strange gearbox noises started being heard but I carried on as there were no warning lights etc. I got as far as the Anglia Television building on Rose Lane. Whilst trying to accelerate up the hill, I started to roll backwards towards the bus behind and I just managed to get the handbrake on quick enough! The fitters came out and looked at the wiring etc, but still couldn't get her to move so this meant tow in number 3. The next day the operations manager passed me a photo showing the main shaft inside the gearbox was completely twisted and broken - I wasn't too popular that day!

However, I did like to drive them and put them through their paces and I would always swap buses with another Rackheath driver, even on route, just to get one of them old Scanias. Although I considered number 410 to be my jinx bus!

Many thanks for the memories driver


Sunday 17 January 2016

Saturday In The City

Saturday meant a flying visit into Norwich City Centre with the other half needing some shopping therapy. This allowed for a couple of short periods of observing activity in the city centre.

My bus into the city centre was this Wright StreetLite MAX 63321 SK65PXB
We travelled in from Thorpe on one of the new StreetLites with 63321 dropping us off in Castle Meadow where we headed for the market for a cuppa and a roll on Reggie's tea stall!

I was then let loose for a half an hour to take a few pics and the first was that of Shearings Holidays Setra 121 BK09LUH which had ventured into the city from Great Yarmouth

Not much else to report in the first session other than 'paint spare' Volvo B10BLE 60626 R789WKW being observed on Red Line duties and freshly painted Yellow Line Volvo B7TL/President 32106 LT02ZCV on the 28s

The second session brought more interest though with my first sighting and photo of a Stagecoach liveried decker in Norwich. It was former Cambridge based ADL Enviro400 bodied Trident 18342 AE55DKF on the X29 from Fakenham.

The remaining photo taken is that of Norwich School's Plaxton Premier bodied Dennis Javelin M790LPH prior to us heading back to Thorpe on another StreetLite - this time 63323 SK55PXD


Saturday 16 January 2016

Marrett's New Chariot

A local company which doesn't often get a mention here is Aylmerton based Marrett's Chariots. The operator took delivery of a brand new Mercedes Benz Tourismo on Wednesday and posted details on Twitter

BG65VXU is pictured alongside the second newest coach in the fleet which is another Tourismo registered BU64MYR. The former has Wifi and air conditioning fitted

My thanks to Marrett's Chariots for the information and permission to use their photo 


Friday 15 January 2016

Where Are They Now? ~ R86EMB

Another in our occasional series of 'Where Are They Now?' which looks at the current situation of buses/coaches which were once regularly operating in our area

Today's subject is Scania/ Wright Axcess Ultraflow R86EMB which was new to Chester City Transport in December 1997 as their number 86

Scania R86EMB captured on film in Lowestoft by Grahame Bessey in  May 2008
It became one of five similar buses purchased from Chester in 2008 by Beccles based Anglian - the others were R81/2/4/5EMB and were seen quite regularly on services within the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft area

R86EMB in its new guise as MUI7949 at Bury St Edmunds Bus Station in March 2014
In October 2011 R86EMB was one of a trio of the ex Chesters acquired by Mulleys and was painted in their colours prior to entering service with a new registration of MUI7949

Unfortunately there's not a happy ending as the Scania lasted some four years with Mulleys before being sent to a scrapyard in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire during late September/early October last year

The above is based on information recently supplied by David Slater to Anglia Thames Valley Bus Forum


Thursday 14 January 2016

Shearings Places UK's Largest Tourismo Order

As many of you will know, Shearings Group coaches are common place in the Great Yarmouth area with their Shearings Holidays and National Holidays vehicles regularly seen in the town

One of the 2015 intake NH15LDH in Great Yarmouth during May last year
This week's bus and coach industry magazines are reporting that the group have just placed the UK's largest order for Mercedes Benz Tourismos for the second year running.

Last year, the operator took delivery of 38 of the type and has now ordered 46 of them for delivery in the 2016 season built to luxurious and unique specifications

The company's National Holidays fleet will take 16 of them while the remaining 30 will join the Shearings Holidays fleet


Border Bus Features

Local operator Border Bus features in this week's Bus and Coach Buyers magazine as founder and managing director Andrew Pursey finds a solution to the pending PSVAR legislation.

The legislation requires double deckers on registered bus services to be compliant by 2017 and Border Bus currently uses seven Volvo Plaxton Presidents on schools' services. The solution has been provided by Thetford based Portaramp in them supplying a portable ramp to overcome the DDA issues

The article also continues to provides details of the background to Border Bus and of Andrew Pursey's pioneering thoughts on bus operation. He was behind Anglianbus introducing MAN EcoCity gas powered buses and Anglian was the first operator to take the Wrightbus StreetLites



Another LFS from the Eastern Counties fleet forms this week's Throw Back Thursday' with the subject being DVF108C

Eastern Counties LFS 108 DVF108C on North Drive in 1981 - note the cars at the time
Firstly, apologies for the picture quality but I thought it was unusual in that it features an Eastern Counties decker working north along North Drive. With the appearance of a passenger on the top deck I assume it must be in service although the blinds are blank (probably not been fitted with Great Yarmouth ones)

Eastern Coach Works bodied Bristol Lodekka DVF108C was new to Eastern Counties in May 1965. It spent much of its time in Norwich being recorded there in June 1969 and October 1975. It was withdrawn from service in November 1981 and, like many of the LFS fleet, was sent to Ben Jordan of Coltishall for scrapping, although its final resting place was at Carlton breaker PVS


Wednesday 13 January 2016

Caister Road Visitors

Contributor Roger Bellwood recorded the appearance of a couple of visitors to First's Caister Road premises yesterday

The Great Yarmouth depot frequently receives interlopers from Norwich for their regular MOT and so it was yesterday when Plaxton President bodied Dennis Trident 33150 LR02LXJ attended for its annual inspection

Also observed by Roger at the depot yesterday was driver trainer Volvo B10BLE/ Wright Renown 60807 S658RNA. The saloon was making another return visit as it used to based in the town operating services here

My thanks to Roger for the use of his photos


Sunday 10 January 2016

Another Two Ex Norse Tridents Find A New Owner

You may remember that at the end of December I reported that four of the former Norse Park and Ride Dennis Tridents are now with Belle Vue of Manchester

Norse PN03ULV between duties at Postwick Park & Ride in October 2010
I am pleased to report that another two of the original ten have found a new owner. The two deckers, PN03ULU and PN03ULV are now with award winning West Midlands operator Central Buses - a company whose vehicles have featured on the blog in the past. The information was recently reported on the Central Buses Fans Facebook Page

My thanks to Jamie Skinner for drawing my attention to the site


Belle's New Arrival

RX62GDU at Belle's premises today Photo: Andy Avery
Contributor Paul Bennett has contacted me with the news that Belle Coaches has acquired another vehicle

The new arrival is a Mercedes Benz Sprinter 516, a 16 seater coach in white livery complete with the registration RX62GDU. It was previously with Roy's Travels Minibus Hire of Cardiff

My thanks to Paul for the info and to Andy Avery for the photo plus Tim Miller for playing his part


First of the New Year from Norwich

My first trip of 2016  to the city yesterday to catch up with the latest arrivals and repaints for the local operators. I travelled up to Norwich using my usual route, drive to Acle from Ormesby and then the X1 into the city. My timing was superb (for a change!) 37573 arrived just as i had reached the stop and we were off.
First South Yorkshire loanee 60626 R789WKW in Castle Meadow.
First sighting in Castle Meadow was recent arrival from Rotherham, 60626 which was working the 14 service or Green Line to Wymondham, usually worked by the batch of new Streetlites here. I was looking to photograph the Orange Line vehicles which had recently returned from refurb, i managed all bar two, one was parked up at Vulcan Road with the other, 33150 currently at Yarmouth for MOT. The first Yellow line liveried Double Deck had returned to Norfolk overnight, 32106 LT02ZCV is now being prepared for service at Vulcan Road. Sister 32105 LT02ZCU has now headed North in its place to join 32107 at Rotherham.
37562 FJ08FYN working the 13 route to Spixworth.
Recently repainted & refurbished Sanders Scania YS03ZKR was out on the 43 service from Aylsham and duly photographed along with a couple of the DAF/VDL single decks i still needed to see.
Sanders 301 YS03ZKR in Castle Meadow.
A good couple of hours with the camera was had and got me pretty much back up to date bar a couple of stray Oranges! I wandered back up to the Bus Station to be greeted by recent arrival from Slough 37274 LK58EDF laying over before heading back to Gorleston, so i would get to see what all the fuss is about regarding the Leather seating and all the other mod cons these ex Greenline vehicles provide!. I bagged an upstatirs seat (with table!) and headed back to Acle, very comfortable and also very warm i have to say.
37274 leaves Acle Kings Head behind and continues on to Yarmouth.

Friday 8 January 2016

Lazarus Returns!

Twitter followers of the blog will have seen that First Eastern Counties Olympian 34111 W431CWX returned to active service (again!) yesterday after being withdrawn in late December.

W431CWX passes through Market Gates earlier this morning.  Photo: Tim Miller
As expected, it was used on the Bernard Matthews' contract during yesterday afternoon and was out again this morning and Tim Miller was on hand to record the event

My thanks Tim for the photo


Thursday 7 January 2016


Its back to Eastern Counties for this week's Throw Back Thursday

Today's subject is 70DPW, an Eastern Coach Works bodied Bristol FS5G. Having a H33/27RD configuration, it was new to 'Counties' in December 1963 and became LFS70 in the fleet

I am unable to find much history about 70DPW on the internet, apart from that it spent a fair amount of time allocated to Cambridge being noted there in June 1969 and October 1975. The photo was taken in the early 1980s when it was based in Great Yarmouth and is seen working the 622 to Hemsby Beach

It was withdrawn from service in May 1981 and is thought to have gone for scrapping soon after 


Wednesday 6 January 2016

The End is Nigh!

Passing the Southtown yard of Swift Taxis this afternoon, I observed that the operator's last full sized coach was present. It was confirmed by one of the employees that the coach, registered as SJI8127, is available for sale

The Neoplan bodied Dennis Javelin was acquired with the Amza of Blofield business during December 2009. Swift subsequently named the coach Swift Goldcrest and gave it the fleet number 136. The Javelin was previously registered as Y83LJO when new to Pearce of Berinsfield, Oxfordshire in May 2001 and it still retains the Pearce stripes on her bodysides.

Its sale will see the end of an era with another Great Yarmouth independent ceasing to operate coaches; although the name continues in use on the company's freight vehicles, minibuses and taxis


Service Alterations Registered ~ January 2016

Firstly, as this is my first post of 2016, can I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. Now down to the blogging and a post to let you now that today's Notices and Proceedings Report, issued by the East of England Traffic Commissioner earlier this morning, contains nothing of interest regarding our local area

Nevertheless the full East of England Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report can be viewed HERE

However, a query on the VOSA site this morning revealed Anglianbus are 'reorganising' their local services with timetables being amended on the following routes from 22nd February 2016:-
  • 87/88/BH274  Durban Close, Halesworth to Newmarket Road, Norwich
  • 7/7A  Blofield Heath and Great Yarmouth/Great Yarmouth College
  • 88A/88B/BH272  Halesworth and Southwold

Additionally the route, stopping places and timetable of the 61/61A/61B/61C services between Bungay and Lowestoft are also to be altered from the same date

The operator is also cancelling a number services operating in the area to take effect from 22nd February 2016. These include the 85 between Loddon and Norwich and the 86 between Beccles and Norwich Bus station. Both are provided under contract to Norfolk County Council with Simonds becoming the new operator.

Others to go comprise part of service 7 between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft which will see the route revert to its original Great Yarmouth to Norwich service. The 61 between Wrentham and Southwold will also be axed.


Monday 4 January 2016

Latest First Comings and Goings

Well first may i say a very happy new year to all our readers and welcome to January! Our first offering for 2016 sees a bumper crop of movements for Eastern Counties.

We begin with  Lowestoft where the four remaining Caetano bodied Darts (43859/60/67/68) have all left Suffolk bound for Cornwall. 43860 only managed as far as Ipswich where it had an overnight stay before continuing its journey south today.
43860 over the pits at Foundation Street, Ipswich  (Jim Long)
Two more ex First Bath Darts arrived at Lowestoft on Sunday in the shape of 42914 WX05RVZ & 42938 WX05SVD. 42914 is the only one of the recent additions in the latest Olympia livery still wearing West Of England names and was noted out in service this morning on a very unusual allocation for one of its First duties!
42914 pictured outside BHS in Yarmouth working the X1 to Lowestoft (David Waters)

Onto Norwich where newly arrived Volvo B10BLE 60626 R789WKW has now entered service and was noted in use on the 36 route today in the city.
60626 in St Stephens today (David Waters)
Finally its back to Yarmouth where another Olympian has been collected by Alpha Recovery today and is now heading up to the North East for scrapping. 34112 W432CWX arrived with FEC in October 2008 and was allocated to Lowestoft before moving to Yarmouth in 2009. Our final piece of news is the confirmation that Volvo's 66168 & 66169 are withdrawn with 66168 heading for Rotherham for DDA conversion and to become part of the South Yorkshire fleet, 66169 is to be scrapped.
34112 in Gordon Road, Lowestoft November 2008.
Many thanks to Chris and Danny at First for the information and to David Waters and Jim Long for being in the right place at the right time for the Photos supplied.