Thursday 31 March 2016

Sanders Fire Damaged Scania For Sale

Advertised for sale in the latest edition of Route One magazine is the fire damaged Scania Omnicity decker from the Sanders fleet

Scania YR10BBO is seen here at Sheringham on the X44 to Norwich   Photo: Grahame Bessey
Former demonstrator YR10BBO, which caught fire on the A140 near Aylsham in July last year, is available for sale with 'significant fire damage to the engine compartment and offside rear corner but is considered to be repairable' (Insurance salvage category D)

It was a Euro 5 demonstrator when new in October 2010 and saw use with Beestons/Constable of Hadleigh and is currently in store at the Rochford site of Stephensons of Essex

The asking price is £28,500 plus VAT but any 'sensible offers' will be considered


Service Alterations Registered ~ 30th March 2016

Following the publication of the latest Notices and Proceedings Report, issued by the East of England Traffic Commissioner yesterday, it's time for our fortnightly look at changes to local bus services

Stagecoach in Norwich in January 
Stagecoach Norfolk is reorganising its operation centres with those at Station Road in Reepham and Hall Road in Cromer being closed. On the positive side a new base is to be established at Egmere Airfield on the Holkham Estate near Wells-Next-The-Sea with the new authorisation being ten vehicles

A new 'Suffolk Coastal Connect East' route is to be introduced by Coastal Accessible Transport Services of Leiston. The Monday to Friday service is to commence on 13th of June 2016. This will be complimented by a Saturdays only 'Suffolk Coastal Connect East/West' service from the same date

A day earlier the operator will cease its Suffolk Pathfinder, serving the Halesworth area, and its Blyth Link - presumably the new services will replace some/part of these routes

The complete Notice & Proceedings Report covering the whole of the Eastern Traffic Commisioner's Area can be viewed HERE


Wednesday 30 March 2016

Suffolk Norse 108 Service

Following a re-tendering process by Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils, the service between Lowestoft Bus Station and Gorleston's James Paget Hospital (JPH), via Lound, is now being operated by another bus company

Since yesterday, Suffolk Norse has taken on the responsibility for the service which now runs as the 108 route. It was previously operated by Anglianbus as the 60J

With low loadings being noted on the 60J, it had been speculated that a minibus might be used on the route. However, the second day of the service saw ADL Enviro300 SN56AYP in control. The photo shows it having arrived at the JPH today with the 10:15 from Lowestoft with no passengers alighting on arrival!


Tuesday 29 March 2016

Market Gates Stand Changes

From the beginning of this week the bus routes serving Market Gates Stands A and H in Great Yarmouth have changed

First's services X1 and 1/1A towards Gorleston and Lowestoft have moved from stand A (outside BHS) to stand H. If there are two buses at the same time, then adjoining stand J will also be used.

At the same time Anglianbus service 61 to Kessingland and Southwold are departing from stand H (originally using stand A). Whilst the 81 departures to Beccles have transferred to stand A outside BHS. Their 7/7A to Norwich continues to depart from stand G.

Sanders Coaches have also moved their service 6 for North Walsham to leave from Stand A outside BHS

The Konectbus 71 route to Hemsby and Wroxham has also transferred and is now departing from stand A. Service 72 is unaffected and remains at Stand H. (Incorrect see comments below)

The reason for the changes is that the County Council is trying to match the passenger demand to the waiting facility and space available.


Monday 28 March 2016

Brighton on Easter Sunday

Prior to the arrival of Storm Katie we decided to venture off to Brighton on Easter Sunday and, as you might have seen from our Twitter feed, it was certainly a little cloudy on our arrival to say the least! Although the sun appeared shortly afterwards

Understandably there were not many takers for the top deck of the open topper with Brighton & Hove offering trips on their East Lancs OmniDekka bodied Scania N94UD YN06NYK

I also looked in at the 'compact and bijou' coach station and found two Caetano Levante bodied Volvo B9Rs in all over National Express livery. The duo were National Express FJ11GJO and Lucketts FN62CEO - the former new to Flights

The two other Levantees on National Express duties were Lucketts FJ58AHK and Epsom Coaches FJ11GLF


Friday 25 March 2016

Routemasters Sold!

Suprising news from First Eastern Counties is the sale of its two Routemasters which had recently been in store at Norwich

The deckers have recently been used primarily for special hire work but were extensively used on the seasonal service between Hemsby Beach and Great Yarmouth's Seafront a few years ago. However, there was the odd occasion when they would be pressed into service to cover for vehicle shortages as in October and November last year when JJD480D was employed on the 7 to Belton and the 8 to James Paget Hospital

SMK717F in a blue Great Yarmouth Transport livery
The twosome were part of a trio used for promotional purposes with one in Eastern Counties red, one in Flying Banana livery and the third in a poor version of  a Great Yarmouth blue bus colour scheme.

In September 2011, the blue Routemaster, SMK717F, was privately acquired and left for Glasgow but later thought to have been exported to Thailand. The two remaining deckers are both sporting red livery, although NML623E once carried the yellow and green of Flying Banana

I have been reliably informed that they have both been sold on to Purfleet dealers Ensign during March. Outstanding commitments are being covered by another operator


Tuesday 22 March 2016

Stroud & Cirencester Sightings

Our last post from the south west sees visits to Stroud and Cirencester with operators Stagecoach West and Cotswold Green dominating this report

I eventually found Stroud 'Bus Station' by negotiating my way through the back of the Merrywalks Shopping Centre and by descending some steps beside the multi-storey car park. When I arrived the scene was dominated by buses from the Stagecoach West fleet

However, minutes later I was pleased to renew my acquaintance with independent Cotswold Green in the shape of Northern Counties bodied Leyland Olympian R114XNO. This Oly has an interesting history being new to East London in May1998. As Stagecoach 16114 it then moved from Stagecoach London to Stagecoach Fife before being acquired by Cotswold Green

After a caffeine injection and some sustinence we then decided to look in at Cirencester where another two buses were snapped in the Market Place. The first was former demonstrator PN03OWA which I had earlier observed at Stroud. The East Lancs Myllenium bodied MAN was new in July 2003 and also saw service with Stagecoach

Speaking of Stagecoach, the only other photo taken in Cirencester was that of ALX400 bodied Dennis Trident 18448 VU06JDZ in the shadows of the medieval Church of St John the Baptist


Ipswich Bus Rally

The Ipswich Bus Rally took place on Sunday, organised by the Ipswich Transport Museum it was held on Portman Road in the town. Being a Norwich City fan this was a tad uncomfortable being so close to that other ground for a day i can tell you!, but we got through it!.
Our Transport for the day, Anglian 102 WX62HHF.
I was invited to attend with Anglianbus by David Smith of Go Ahead and we made the trip aboard one of the fleet of Gas buses, a first for me as i had never sampled one to travel on. We left around 9.45 and headed along the A12 to Ipswich. I was joined by Sam & Kieron from the Norwich Buses Blog for the trip also.
Ipswich 16, AEC Regent CDX516
On arrival the rally site was filling up rapidly and lots of vehicles were in place with others moving around to operate the various special services for the day, included in the day were depot tours and Bus Wash rides at Ipswich Buses as well as a link to the Transport Museum via many of the vintage & modern vehicles on display.
Making its debut on the rally scene was former Thamesway Dart N952CPU,this was its first outing after being repainted into its original livery at Mardens, it was latterly part of First Essex fleet before going into preservation.
Coach Services of Thetford Routemaster JJD401D pictured outside 'That other football ground' being looked down on by Sir Bobby Robson, you could say Two English legends together!.
I also ventured into the town centre to have a look in at First's Depot and photograph a few vehicles there and observed quite a number of Ipswich Buses vehicles working their Sunday services including the recent Mercedes Benz Citaro arrivals, 154 BF65HVU is seen here working its usual route 9 in Tower Ramparts Bus Station.
Towards the end of the afternoon a line up of all the visiting Bristol RE's was created on the opposite car park of the rally site with seven examples on show including three Eastern Counties versions, RAH681F, EPW516K & GCL349N of which all three looked superb as did all the others on display.
A very enjoyable day was had catching up with many people and seeing some classic vehicles still going strong and it was finished off with a quick trip past Ambassador Travel's depot on the way home hoping to spot their two latest arrivals. It was my lucky day as both were parked outside the yard and it was like they knew i wanted photos as they were perfectly positioned to do so.

Many Thanks to David from Go Ahead for the invite (We wont mention the braking!) and nice to catch up with many others on the day.          


Monday 21 March 2016

Cheltenham Visit

The blog is on tour again and this time it finds itself down in the south west of England, once more, with a visit to Cheltenham earlier today

Normally I use the Racecourse Park and Ride but, with no trains running on the Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway, I decided to try the Arle Court Park and Ride instead. This 511 route is operated by Gloucester independent Bennetts Coaches using their Mercedes Benz Citaros and a pleasant ride it was too

The main operator in the town is Stagecoach West which also runs gold services between Cheltenham and Gloucester

However, the major difference since my last visit to Cheltenham is the significant increase in the number of services operated by Marchants Coaches which appear to have been gained at the expense of Stagecoach

Pulhams, from Bourton on the Water, also has a presence providing two regular Monday to Friday services plus further a Thursday only and Saturday only routes. They also seem to be in competition with Border Bus in getting as many buses as possible with BUS appearing on their registrations!

Independent Swanbook still has a small presence with Optare Solo FZ2356 seen active on the regular N route to Noverton View. Swanbrook's former Ulsterbus Volvo B10M BCZ1642 was noted laying over at Royal Well Bus Station for most of the day

National Express 444 services were being operated by Caetano Levante bodied Volvo B9R's with Bennetts Coaches BF63ZRL arriving from London for Gloucester with Yeomans of Hereford FJ60EFZ departing in the opposite direction

A notable working seen was the Gloucester County Council supported V service connecting Whaddon Sainsbury's and Cheltenham town centre. It is operated five times daily Monday to Friday by Community Connexions with Mellor Coachcraft bodied Mercedes DK13FEO doing the honours today


Saturday 19 March 2016

City Sightings

As usual a gloomy start to a Saturday i had planned for some photography but with a strong will i decided to venture up to Norwich to capture some of the latest arrivals around the various local operators.
First sighting of the morning was one of the trio of ex London DAF/Wright Geminis belonging to Sanders, LJ53NHP was sitting in St. Stephens about to depart on the X44 to Sheringham. LJ53NHV was also photographed later in the day. Another new arrivals for Sanders are YJ60GDX & YJ64FWF both single deck DAF/Wright which were with Fishwicks of Leyland, neither were seen today in the city but i later found out YJ64FWF would have been going past my front door on the 6 to North Walsham .
Stagecoach Norfolk run the X29 service between Norwich and Fakenham and vehicle allocation is very random and all sorts of vehicles from their fleet can be seen working the route. Today was no exception with a variety of Optare Versa, Tempo, Solo & Solo SR in use alongside a Trident or two!  Solo SR 48025 YJ15ANV is seen here in Castle Meadow heading out of the city to Fakenham.
Simonds of Botesdale are currently running a pair of Optare Tempos on loan from Kings Lynn based Lynxbus. YJ58CEY & PF10MDX are both shorter wheelbase versions and were in use on the 85 service today. Both are still in a base livery of former owner Diamond Buses and are yet to be repainted by Lynx.
Finally at a very damp Bus Station we have former Great Yarmouth Gemini 37575 AU58ECZ now working from Lowestoft on the X2 today showing a very basic destination screen, first time i have seen this in use.

Hopefully i shall be off to the Ipswich running day tomorrow so a full report will be up on the blog at some point at the beginning og next week.                                   


Friday 18 March 2016

Another Ambassador Arrival

YN16UAF awaits its passengers from the Nelson Hotel
Ambassador Travel has a second new Higer Touring bodied Scania in the fleet. YN16UAF is branded for Grand UK Holidays and wears fleet number 254

The driver tells me that it arrived during the middle of last week and is 'a dream to drive'. It is also fitted with the latest anti collision device

An informed source tells me that Ambassador Travel also have some tri-axles in the pipeline to replace the 09 registered Levantes on National Express duties


Shearings' Setras

Today an early morning run out to Great Yarmouth to view the Friday departures from the local hotels

Shearings had three Setras on Marine Parade ready for departure after their clients had completed their packing following their breakfasts at the nearby Carlton Hotel. Number 631 BX63BFA was still on the roadside whilst 325 BK11CRJ and 633 BT63GCK were both outside the hotel for a quick getaway


Thursday 17 March 2016

Thursday Report

This afternoon's Bernies run with 32348 and 32062 in charge
Some time to spare this afternoon so a quick look around the usual haunts to see what was about

After a shake, rattle and roll into town on First Dart 42929 SN05EAJ, I walked to Nelson Road North to view today's Bernard Matthews' contract working. Doing the honours were Gemini 32348 LK53LZL and ALX400 32062 W422SRP

Returning to Market Gates, the only other working of note was Shearings Holidays' Setra 325 BK11CRJ passing through

I endured a further shake and rattle on my journey home from sister Dart 42921 EU05AUN - the rattling was especially loud when the bus was idling!


#TBT ~ NAG585G

Today's Throw Back Thursday subject is an Eastern Coach Works bodied Bristol VR from the Eastern Counties fleet

NAG585G was new to Western SMT in Bonnie Scotland in October 1969 receiving fleet number 2240. It subsequently transferred to Eastern Counties becoming VR 330 in the fleet and also served some time with Cambus. During June 1981 it was converted to a driver trainer as X65 painted in an all over yellow livery. The bus was subsequently scrapped in the mid 1980s

The photo was unusual in that it was rare to see an Eastern Counties departmental vehicle at the town's Wellington Road Bus Station plus it was taken at the Devonshire Road entrance. It is is dated 21st October 1983

This report is expected to be the last in the current Throw Back Thursday series


Wednesday 16 March 2016

Ambassador Activities

New to Great Yarmouth's Ambassador Travel is a Higer Touring bodied Scania registered YN16UAG in Sunrise livery. It is one of the first examples of the shorter bi-axle versions to appear on the road with 255 being pictured at Torquay's Ashley Court Hotel - a location I used for a photo of one of their coaches when on holiday there a couple of years ago

At the same time, Grahame tells me that a couple of the Plaxton Paragon bodied Volvo B12Ms have left the operator's James Watt Close site on trade plates. (see comments)

Meanwhile, I looked in this morning and noted the former Lodges' MAN/East Lancs Myllennium FY52PMU was present (right) having earlier been reported with sister company Semmence

My thanks to Will Spencer for his permission to allow the use his photo of YN16UAG


Service Alterations Registered ~16th March 2016

Another fortnight quickly goes and, before you now it, another Notices and Proceedings Report is issued by the Traffic Commissioner for the East of England. The only thing of interest regarding the local operators is three registrations by Our Hire of Acle

Trading as Our Bus, the operator is to provide a new service between St Stephen's Street and Bishopgate in Norwich via Castle Meadow. The limited stop Monday to Friday service 157 commences on 6th May 2016

Granted under short notice is a Monday to Friday Corbett Avenue, Sprowston to St Stephen's Street, Norwich service. Operating via Pilling Park, Thorpe Hamlet, the 32 route starts on 29th March 2016. The above 157 route has also being registered under short notice to begin on the 27th March 2016

The full report also contains changes by other companies not affecting our local services and this can be viewed HERE


Saturday 12 March 2016

Revisited Lowestoft 2006

This time we go back to Lowestoft and a visit in May 2006. Like today First were the main operator in the town, Anglian were just beginning to appear and they ran the local 108 service using Mercedes Benz Varios.
V380HGG working the 108, seen on Gordon Road.
The National Fleet renumbering had begun for First and Eastern Counties had not long gained the new system and the majority of vehicles could be noted carrying a lot of different numbers during the changeover.
Olympian 34975 J625BVG or 117 in old money, leaving the Bus Station on an X2 service to Norwich

45118 LDZ9118 one of many Wright bodied Darts to serve Lowestoft
Recently transferred from Yarmouth, 47203 M203VWW was also given a repaint into Barbie livery
Photography at the time was interesting with the renumbering and a lot of repaints being done as First phased out their Barbie 2 livery (The one with pink fades) in favour of a new version of the corporate livery with a smaller willowleaf at the rear. My final photo shows former Beeline Olympian 34876 F176LBL entering the Bus Station in its new livery, a photo i had placed in Buses Magazine at the time!

Hard to believe its Ten years ago since these were taken, i wonder how things will have changed when we look back in ten years from today.


Friday 11 March 2016

Gorleston Diverts Continue

With heavy plant finally arriving at Brasenose Avenue in Gorleston today for resurfacing work, First Eastern Counties put in place their bus diversions for the second day running.

The shuttle from Magdalen Square to Gorleston High Street was running again with ALX400 W422SRP this time in charge displaying 'Shuttle Bus' as its destination.

It also looks as if First's route 6 to Bradwell and the 7 to Belton could also be diverted this weekend with resurfacing scheduled for the Beccles Road/ Crab Lane area. Heavy plant was seen parked up at the latter earlier this evening.

However, the good news is that South Quay in Great Yarmouth reopens to traffic early tomorrow morning with bus services returning to their normal routes


Thursday 10 March 2016

False Start to Gorleston Diverts

Today was to be the first day of a three day closure of Gorleston's Brasenose Avenue to enable the road to be resurfaced. First uses the road for three of its routes - the 2 and 8 services to and from the James Paget Hospital plus the X1 route to and from Lowestoft

ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL 32065 W425SRP in Middleton Road on the rerouted 8 to the James Paget Hospital
This morning all X1 buses ran via Middleton Road with the 8 also using the same route to gain access to Lowestoft Road and the James Paget Hospital (JPH)

Wright StreetLite 47502 SN64CPV at the temporary terminus of the 2 on Hertford Way
Meanwhile, First's service 2 was being stopped short of the JPH and being turned at Hertford Way to regain its normal route via Magdalen Way and Trinity Avenue

President LT52WTN was running a shuttle service between Magdalen Square and the High Street
First also provided a regular shuttle bus between Magdalen Square and Gorleston High Street, via Magdalen Way. This was to enable some of its passengers to gain access to its other services from the High Street. However, its destination showed 'Special Service' as it could not display Magdalen Square, which led to more confusion!

All the X1's used Middleton Road instead of the usual Brasenose Avenue - This is LK58EDJ heading southbound
However, as no resurfacing work had commenced by lunch time, services returned to their normal routes this afternoon. What happens tomorrow, and the days after, is anyone's guess!