Friday, 4 March 2016

Olympian Ology

34108 on a divert in Alexandra Road on 28th January 2013
With the final cessation of the use of Olympians at First's Caister Road depot I would like to offer the following tribute

First Eastern Counties 34108-14 saw their last days out operating out of Great Yarmouth but the Alexander Royale bodied deckers were new to Yorkshire Coastliner in the summer of 2000. The registrations carried were respectively W435/6/7/1/2/3/4CWX

The magnificent seven were ably supported by two older Northern Counties Palantine bodied
34109 on Church Lane in Gorleston on 7th March 2013
versions 34186 and 34187. Registered S686/7AAE, they were delivered new to First Bristol in August 1998 before moving to First Eastern Counties some ten years later
The last three surviving members of the Royale batch eked out their last days in public service during September last year. At various times in the year, five of them saw service including 34108/9/11/4 and 34186 - although they were predominantly employed on Bernard Matthews contract duties

During that period inroads were made in
34110 on the 'Bernies' at North Denes Road in 2011
removing some of the withdrawn Olympians from the rear of Caister Road with 34186, 34109 and 34113 among those being taken for scrap by Alpha Recovery. On a happy note, the blog's campaign to get 34110 W437CWX preserved was successful with Colin Thorne saving it for preservation at Yeldham Transport Collection in November  last year

The last in service was 34111 W431CWX which was withdrawn from use in late December and we all thought that was that.
34111 in Gorleston High Street on 29th of January 2015
However, rumours of its demise were unfounded as it was resurrected early in the new year for further Bernard Matthews contract work. It faltered on a few occasions during January but continued to see further use before finally being condemned in early February with a suspected twisted chassis

The withdrawal of the Olympians sees the end of another era for local bus enthusiasts and, as one enthusiast recently said 'We got some bonus time out of them, but for me Yarmouth has just lost one of its main attractions'

34112 basking in the sunshine outside the Caister Road depot on 24th October 2013
34113 seen in Lowestoft Bus Station in use on the X2 to Norwich on 18th April 2009
34114 in Hall Quay on 20th August 2014
Northern Counties bodied 34186 on a Bernies contract on a snowy North Denes Road on 6th February 2012
34187 heads in to Market Gates on an X1 service on 25th June 2012
Finally a well earned slap on the back for the maintenance team at the Caister Road depot for keeping them on the road. 

I trust you have all enjoyed this tribute to the Olympians which were on the roads of our town giving sterling service for so long 


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