Monday 30 May 2016

Fourth Ex-Norwich Trident Arrives

So far unreported on the blog is the arrival of a fourth Trident from the First Norwich fleet in the last couple of weeks or so. 33246 LT52WUX left the fine city on Friday evening after having its branding removed

Ex Norwich Trident 33246 LT52WUX on the 8 this afternoon complete with the latest destion display
It immediately entered service on Saturday morning working the 8s between the James Paget Hospital and Caister Second Avenue. It joins the ranks of 33004/7/151 already transferred from the city to Caister Road


Sunday 29 May 2016

Norwich Pictorial

From previous Norwich related posts you may probably know the routine by now! The better half enjoys her retail fix whilst I wander the streets of the city taking various bus related photos!

Ex Great Yarmouth President 32201 LT52WTF now earning its keep on Purple Line route 36
Not much out of the unusual to report really, with the accompanying photos providing a record of some of the sights seen

At last one of Sanders' Geminis captured on film - ex Arriva London LJ53NHV on the X55 North Walsham Express
Another subject I wanted to record was one of the Streetdecks in standard livery - this is 35201 SK16GWA
After a period of lurking in St Stephen's Street I made my way to the Bus Station and during the short time there I witnessed the arrival of Freestone's Scania YN08DGU in Megabus livery on the M16 London service. Following closely behind was National Express Scania./Caetano Lavaneo FJ12FYO

However, the most surprising presence was that of Stagecoach Coasthopper branded Enviro200 MMC 37437 SN16ORG at Norwich Bus Station - more than twenty miles away from the coast!

Walking along Castle Meadow it is so noticeable how colourful it is now bus wise
The final pic shows Marett's Chariots' Mercedes Benz PK11WDO being passed by a Sanders' OmniDekka

These and other photos taken on the day can be viewed on my Flickr site by clicking HERE


Thursday 26 May 2016

Another Presidential Move

Grahame has been in touch with the latest from First's Caister Road depot which is that President 32208 has been withdrawn.

First's Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL 32208 LT52WTO in Gorleston High Street on 31st October 2014
LT52WTO has been moved to Norwich for storage before transfer elsewhere within the First Group.
Thanks for the information Grahame

Steve's Bus & Train Page 
For those readers who love SteveW's blog, you may have recently noticed its non-availability. Steve has taken it offline for a short period whilst he deals with some personal issues. As he said to me last night 'nothing to worry about, I will bounce back soon, you know me!'
I hope you will join me in wishing him well and hope that it won't be too long before he is back to his usual self with his general banter!!


This Week's Gorleston Diverts

Yesterday was the third day of bus diversions from Gorleston High Street following the closure of High Road for subsidence investigation work

First Eastern Counties Wright Eclipse Gemini 37578 AU58EDJ heads for Great Yarmouth on the X1 from Lowestoft 
So during yesterday afternoon I had a wander along the diversion route to get the odd photo or two of buses working away from their usual haunts - plus I got some surprises as a bonus!

First ALX400 W774DWX  passes the Kevil Arms on its way to Belton with the 7
The surprises included First X1 Excel liveried 37274 LK58EDF on a Bernard Matthews contract working and it's the first time I have seen one of them on a 'Bernies' duty (see below)

A couple of Belle Coaches were seen on school duties prior to me being taken unaware by the passing of Volvo driver trainer 20122 P732NVG - I was not quick enough to get a photo!

Belle Coaches Setra LIL9454 southbound on Church Road with a school duty 
Another couple of surprises lay in store when I arrived on Beccles Road. Whilst I was quick enough to get a photo of Anglianbus East Lancs Lolyne bodied Trident T812RFG on the 61 to Market Gates, I missed a photo opportunity of on loan First Norwich Gemini 36180 BD11CDZ on the 7 travelling in the opposite direction. You can't win them all can you!

Anglianbus Dennis Trident/East Lancs 712 T812RFG on Beccles Road on the 61 to Great Yarmouth
However, Grahame Bessey came to the rescue as he had captured the Gemini leaving Market Gates earlier on the 7. Thanks for the pic Grahame

The diversions are scheduled to end tomorrow evening


Wednesday 25 May 2016

Service Alterations Registered ~ 25th May 2016

It's time for our fortnightly look at the latest Notices and Proceedings Report is issued by the East of England Traffic Commissioner earlier this morning

Registration of New Services
Many of the Borderbus Plaxton President bodied Volvo
B7TLs are used on Latitude services
Borderbus has registered a new annual Latitude Festival service LAT4 from Kessingland to the Festival site via Wrentham and Wangford which this year will operate on 15th, 16th and 17th July

Applications to Vary Existing Services
At the same time under the 'Variation' heading Borderbus is amending the timetables of its LAT3 service from Southwold, from the 15th July 2016, and the LAT2 service from Halesworth Station, from the 12th July 2016, to the Henham festival site
Other changes include the amendment of route, timetable and stopping places of two services provided by Paul Frost Limited of Woodbridge. Trading as PF Travel the operator has registered changes to its 62/65/71/72 routes between Orford and Woodbridge and the 62 from Framlingham to Woodbridge all effective from the 13th June 2016

Cancellations of Existing Services
Ipswich Buses has cancelled its Woodbridge to Sutton Hoo service 8 from 11th July 2016

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


Monday 23 May 2016

More Vehicles On eBay With Local Connections

Further to Saturday's post on the long lost Norfolk Bedford on ebay, which incidentally has so far received 13 bids, there are three other bus and coach entries with Norfolk connections

KIG1857 on ASDA duty in Great Yarmouth  in July 2012
The first of interest is former Ambassador Travel Plaxton Paragon bodied Volvo B12M KIG1857. New to the Great Yarmouth operator as FN52HRM in November 2002, the coach is currently being offered for sale by  Durham based Snowden Coaches at £19,500 with nineteen days of bidding left to go

The second vehicle with a local connection is Alexander bodied Volvo B10BLE VAG608R owned by Acle based Our Bus. It was new to Busways in April 1998 as R249KRG. Stagecoach North East later sold it to dealers Ensign in November/ December 2012 who
VU52UEB in St Stephen's Street, Norwich in late 2009
moved it on to Velvet of Eastleigh. Our Bus acquired it from Stagecarriage of Grangetown in August last year. It is thought to be too large a vehicle for the operator's current requirements

The final bus is that of former Norse owned Optare Solo VU52UEB. It was acquired from Cameron and Farish of Jedburgh (trading as Munro) in March 2009 and used primarily on the County Hall Circular 100 service. Following withdrawal of the 100 the bus was seldom was used in service. The 33 seater was acquired by a Wiltshire operator earlier this year


Sunday 22 May 2016

Gorleston Diverts

The X1 service will be one of many affected by the diversion
This is 33818 YX63LKG on 10th July last year
Gorleston High Road is being closed for five days from Monday 23rd May 2016

This is due to subsidence investigation works being carried out with all buses diverted via Beccles Road and Church Road. The arrangements mean that First are unable to serve the stops on Gorleston High Street during the road closure.

This is the third time that buses have been diverted from the High Street in less than three years. Water main repairs were undertaken in January 2014 and emergency road works in Church Lane during July last year


Saturday 21 May 2016

Long Lost Norfolk Bedford SBG Now On eBay

Earlier tonight I received a message from John Wakefield regarding a long lost Bedford which gave years of service to a couple of Norfolk independent coach owners

John tells me that 'SPW999, a Bedford SBG Duple Vega, has turned up after twenty five years and is still in Norfolk. The coach was new to Babbage trading as Green Grey of Cromer in 1955. It went to Reynolds of Caister in April 1962 and in circa 1991 was sold to a private owner near North Walsham. It has been barn stored since and has not appeared on PSVC preserved lists'.

He continues that it is currently on eBay for spares or renovation and can be viewed HERE 
My thanks to John for bringing it to my attention and for supplying the photos


Bits & Pieces

Following yesterday's post entitled Friday's Observations, contributor Roger Bellward has been in touch

You may remember reference to the presence of First Training Bus 32052 X578RJW with the photo taken of the rear of the bus from some distance away.

Roger has been able to provide a better picture of the decker from the front and it's still parked in the same place next to the inspection bay

He also sends me a photo (below) of a Lochs & Glens Jonckheere bodied Volvo B11R at the Travelodge in Lowestoft last night. Registered SE15AXG, the 57 seater is to commence a seven day Scottish tour from early tomorrow morning - it will be departing Gorleston High Street at 5:30 tomorrow morning if anyone is up early enough to see it! (Certainly not me as I will be kicking out the zzzz's at that time!)

My thanks to Roger Bellward for the use of the photos


Friday 20 May 2016

Friday Observations

With Friday usually being the change over day for short breaks at the local hotels, I thought I visit the usual haunts in town prior to some retail therapy

As expected, outside the Carlton Hotel were two Shearings Holidays' coaches ready for a quick getaway. What was unexpected though was a 16 plate Mercedes Benz Tourismo in the operator's latest Grand Tourer livery. It has ordered thirty of them as part of the group's 2016 intake and 834 BF16XOW is the first one I have 'clocked'! Incidentally the second coach was Setra 632 BG63VVN

Meanwhile a couple of Alfa Travel's Tourismos were awaiting their passengers outside the New Beach Hotel with BU13ZTO at the front. As I returned to the car an unidentified member of the National Holidays fleet passed me heading for the Carlton Hotel

News from First Great Yarmouth is that another President has moved from Caister Road to Norwich last night. 32207 LT52WTN joins 32200 and 32209 which left Caister Road earlier in the week. A new arrival though is the First Training Bus 32052 X578RJW which was noted lurking at the back of the depot this morning. The Volvo was new to Centrewest (later First London) in September 2000

My thanks to Grahame for the latest news from First


Wednesday 18 May 2016

Lowestoft Bus Changes

Hot on the heels of changes to Great Yarmouth bus services is the news that First are making some changes to the X2/X22 and 99 routes from Sunday 29th May

X2 & X22 Norwich - Carlton Colville - Beccles - Loddon - Lowestoft

Due to the popularity of the new 15 minute frequency and fast X2 journeys, introduced last December, First are making some minor adjustments to timings on these services to help keep buses on time during the busy summer period.

All X22 journeys will depart Lowestoft 5 minutes earlier and be given extra time between Lowestoft and Beccles.

The 0600 X2 from Lowestoft to Norwich will now leave at 0555 due to frequent passenger requests.and there are some minor timing changes to other journeys.

However, the 0645 X22 Beccles to Lowestoft (Monday to Friday), 1820 X22 Lowestoft to Carlton Colville (Monday to Saturday) and 2315 X2 Lowestoft to Beccles (Monday to Friday) will no longer operate due to low passenger numbers.
99 Lowestoft - Pakefield - Kessingland - Southwold

For the summer holiday season, the popular service 99 is being extended to Southwold, travelling direct via the Coast Road.

Buses to and from Southwold will run approximately once an hour, and will travel via the Kessingland 'loop' (Field Lane, Wash Lane and Africa Alive) in both directions.

In Southwold, buses will serve the town centre stops at Kings Head PH, and Southwold Pier.


Presidents Leave

Simon Taylor reports on the FEC Bus Blog Facebook site that two President bodied Volvo B7TLs have left Great Yarmouth for Norwich for transfer elsewhere

Both 32200 LT52WTE and 32209 LT52WTP were awaiting transfer last week when regular contributor Roger Bellward photographed the former in the side yard at Caister Road

My thanks to Roger for the photo


Tuesday 17 May 2016

New First Great Yarmouth Timetables Published

Click here to download the leaflet
First Eastern Counties has published a press release about changes to its services throughout Great Yarmouth from Sunday 29th May 2016.

First says the changes are as a result of passenger feedback and to reflect changes in demand and in the light of new developments in the area.
As part of these changes, First has had to make a difficult decision in reducing the number of routes that operate cross-town to make services more punctual and reliable for the majority of passengers. Where cross-town links still exist, extra time has been added to allow for delays caused by traffic along the route.
A new easy to read printed timetable leaflet and route guide has been published,which contains all the information that you’ll need to know to use any of the services. You can get your copy from any of the usual outlets, including libraries and Tourist Information Centres or you can download or print out your own PDF version.
This leaflet covers all of First's routes within the town apart from those to Norwich (X1 & X11) or along the east coast (1 & 1A) which have their own dedicated booklets, which you can also get from any of the places above or you can download and print out your own copy by clicking on the red text above.
A summary of the changes in the Great Yarmouth area can viewed on First's website

Saturday 14 May 2016

Norse At The Beach

Five coaches were at Beach Coach Station when I looked in this afternoon and one of them included Norse's YN60BZG. The Plaxton Profile bodied Volvo B7R was parked next to National Holidays Setra NH10OSH


EATM's 1940s Weekend

Today was the first day of the East Anglia Transport Museum's 1940s Weekend with the attraction reporting it to be 'a fantastic success' on its Facebook site

The home fleet were out in force as shown by the accompany photo with Great Yarmouth Corporation and Lowestoft Corporation represented. The former by Leyland PD2 EX6566 and AEC Reliance AEX85B and the latter by AEC Regent GBJ192. Making up the foursome was another AEC Regent from London Country in the shape of KXW234

First Eastern Counties supported the event by sending along one of the new First Norwich Streetdecks. However, not one of the pink ones but one of the duo in standard First livery - namely 35200 SK16GVZ.

Driving it on free Park and Ride duties, between the museum and the Ashburnham Way, was non other than the star of television and radio Mr Chris Speed! (No scratches on it yet Sheldon!)

There were also free trips between the Museum

and Beccles and, at one point, you could see a decker from each of the two local 'Corporations' at the latter's Old Market Bus Station at the same time

Another Great Yarmouth interloper in the Suffolk town was the Penine bodied AEC Reliance AEX85B seen here arriving via Smallgate

Adding to the interest at Beccles was the appearance of Konect's Optare Solo 901 VX51RJZ on an Anglian Beccles Town Service. Incidentally, it had also worked a service from Gorleston's East Norfolk Sixth Form College during yesterday afternoon

My thanks to our intrepid reporter/cameraman for the day Mr Tim Miller. This post could not have been made without his assistance. All photos remain his copyright


Thursday 12 May 2016

Change of Plan!

To update Tuesday's post, Volvo Olympian 34114 W434CWX did not leave Caister Road yesterday as expected. The recovery vehicle didn't arrive until just after nine o'clock last night which means the decker will now leave on its last journey this morning

The Apha Recovery truck at Caister Road last night with 34114 at the entrance ready for this morning's departure
A second tow truck was expected to arrive later last night which will take sister 34108 W435CWX today as well and not tomorrow as originally planned

The arrangements will mean that Wright Renown 66169 W369EOW will not now leave until Saturday

My thanks to Roger Bellward for the photo


Wednesday 11 May 2016

Wednesday Wanderings

A brief visit to the town centre earlier this morning via Beach Coach Station yielded some interesting observations

A roll call at Beach Coach Station revealed seven vehicles present including three from the Shearings Group. They were Shearings Holidays' Setra 324 BK11CRF and National Holidays' Setra NH13KWH and Mercedes Benz Tourismo NH15LDH. Another Tourismo from the Alfa Travel fleet in the form of BU13ZTX was also parked up

You will probably have seen that three First Norwich Dennis Tridents have transferred to Caister Road. So far photos of 33007 LK51UZE and 33151 LR02LXK have already featured on the blog and I was fortunate it obtaining a picture of the third, 33004 LK51UZT, leaving Market Gates earlier on the 8 for the James Paget Hospital. Its Norwich branding has been removed and has yet to recieve the First Great Yarmouth treatment!

20500 seen on Crab Lane returning on the service 7 from Belton this lunchtime
Two of the Volvo B12M's also passed through Market Gates this morning. 20514 WV02EUP  on a contract duty plus 20500 AO02RBX, which arrived from Norwich only yesterday morning, on the 7 to Belton

My thanks to SteveW for the heads up on the Volvo B12M Belton working


Service Alterations Registered ~ 11th May 2016

As a fortnight quickly passes by another Notices and Proceedings Report is issued by the East of England Traffic Commissioner

It contains little of interest regarding changes to local bus services apart from the withdrawal of an application for a new licence by Don't Travel Empty Limited. The submission was for a a two vehicle operating centre at Laundry Loke in North Walsham.

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


Tuesday 10 May 2016

Friday Farewells

Following on from my previous report, it appears that the last Volvo Olympian at Caister Road will not remain at the depot on its own for very long.

The last Olympian to leave will be W435CWX seen in the rear yard this afternoon. Photo Roger Bellward
34108 W435CWX is due to leave on Friday and will be taken away by Alpha Recovery for scrapping. Its removal means the end of a long association of the type with First's Great Yarmouth depot

W369EOW's days are numbered as it awaits collection this afternoon.  Photo Roger Bellward
Also expected to suffer the same fate on the same day is Volvo B10BLE 66169 W369EOW - also to be removed by Alpha Recovery. The saloon had returned to Caister Road in mid November last year to help out with the increased number of buses required for Bernard Matthews duties. It was withdrawn at the end of December as being non DDA compliant and has remained in the rear yard ever since

My thanks to my sources at First for the information and to Roger Bellward for the photos


Another Olympian Leaves For Scrapping

Grahame was in contact at lunchtime today with the news that one of the remaining withdrawn Olympians, in the rear yard at First's Caister Road depot, had been taken away for scrapping

Olympian 34111 in use on the 7 route between Belton and Market Gates in January last year
The last one active, 34111 W431CWX was collected by Alpha Recovery this morning. I thought that the end of its active life with First would come last year following its withdrawal in late December. However, that was not to be as 34111 was resurrected early in the new year for further Bernard Matthews' contract work. It subsequently faltered on a few occasions during January before being finally condemned in the following month with a twisted chassis.

First's Olympian 34114 being prepared this afternoon for collection tomorrow.    Photo: Roger Bellward
It's departure leaves only two languishing in the rear yard - 34108 and 34114. The latter was being made ready for its final journey tomorrow by being moved from the yard to the front of the depot

Another new arrival at Caister Road this afternoon is Volvo B12M AO02RBX.   Photo Roger Bellward
On the plus side, Caister Road has gained another Volvo B12M coach in the shape of 20500 AO02RBX, which was delivered to the depot from Norwich this morning. Regarding the use of sister 20501 AO02RBY on the service 7 to Belton, it is becoming more of a regular occurrence over the last few days

My thanks to Roger Bellward for his photos and Grahame for the information


Sunday 8 May 2016

Beach Coach Station This Afternoon

After spending most of the day at Dereham I thought I would look in at Beach Coach Station on my way home on this gloriously sunny day

As a well known football pundit is known to say - 'unbelievable Jeff'. I was surprised there was only one vehicle present and that was from Dereham - Dereham Coachways Volvo B12B/Van Hool Alizee YJ06GLF in fact!


Mid Norfolk Railway Bus & Coach Day

Today I visited the Bus & Coach Day event  held at the Mid Norfolk Railway's Dereham Station

Some twenty two buses and coaches were present including three sent by the event's supporters Konectbus. These comprised two Enviro400s; SN65OAB in Norwich P&R livery and SK15HKA in the Konect express 8 colour scheme. They were joined by Mercedes Benz Citaro artic BD57WDA also freshly painted in Norwich P&R livery (see above)

Five of the buses were Bristol RE's with former Crosville ERG53 UFM 53F being a notable attendee. New in June 1968, this ECW dual purpose bodied bus is owned by Messrs Lawrance and Sampson from the Colchester area

The three Routemasters from Bus & Us arrive at Dereham for the event.  Photo: Reg Vardy
Four former London Transport Routemasters turned up on the day - three from Bus and Us of Melton Constable (including the recently acquired JJD480D from First) and Coach Services' CUV151C

Recently preserved by Leon Wells was this ex Ipswich Buses decker M41EPV, an East Lancs bodied Volvo Olympian, which is seen above entering the car park

After some sustenance, I decided to travel on one of the trains for Hoe - as it was part of the line I hadn't been on during the heritage period. Although I had been on specials to Fakenham in British Rail days!

Having achieved my goal, I perused the timetables and, for the only time I had left, I
Norfolk Coachways Bedford YNT 2176MZ was used on the return from County School
opted for a coach ride to County School. Smith's (Peelings) Plaxton Supreme bodied Volvo B10M duly turned up in the shape of FAH275Y. With the coach filling rapidly, Norfolk Coachways Plaxton Paramount bodied Bedford YNT 2176MZ was summoned forward to assist
Driver's view from FAH275Y heading to County School with Bristol RE XOI2526 making the return journey
Unfortunately the ventilation on the former was almost non existent on a very warm day, so I made my mind up that I would transfer to the later for the return trip. It would also allow for a comparison between the two coaches. For me 2176MZ won hands down being more comfortable and cooler for the ride back. Indeed it should have been as it was delivered new to Cleverly of Cwmbran in in May 1985 as B631 DDW

All in all a very enjoyable event and wished I could have spent more time there taking part in other trips which also included Hardingham, Yaxham (for the light railway) and the Konectbus depot in Dereham. My thanks to the organisers and lets hope it will be repeated soon