Wednesday 29 June 2016

A Busy Weekend Ahead!

There's a busy weekend ahead with two events planed in our the local area

Firstly there's the annual Vintage Transport Weekend at the North Norfolk Railway with many preserved buses and coaches taking part. My thanks to Reg Vardy for providing the information

Finally, there's the East Coast Pirates Car Club's annual Mega Meet to be held on the the town's Marine Parade close to the Britannia Pier. It is hoped that the former Great Transport Swift WEX685M will make an appearance at Sunday's event

Another President Goes

Another Great Yarmouth stalwart, Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL 32211, has been stood down from service

LT52WTU is expected to follow similar former Caister Road deckers in their onward transfer to the South West

My thanks to sources at First for the information

Tuesday 28 June 2016

Purple Haze!

Over the last couple of weeks or so the town's service 8, between Caister's Marram Drive and the James Paget Hospital, has seen the use of yellow and pink liveried deckers, This afternoon a purple one was to be seen on the route!

Norwich Purple Line's Plaxton President bodied Trident 33166 LR0LYD is seen leaving Market Gates Bus Station heading for the James Paget Hospital

I understand from Grahame that Norwich Red Line Trident 33233 LT52WWV is also in town


Lowestoft Loanee

A couple of vehicle swaps have taken place this week which has seen Lowestoft based Enviro 200 45118 ST09JPT go on loan to Ipswich Depot as cover for their Enviro fleet whilst Ipswich Volvo B7RLE 66850 MX05CHD moves in the opposite direction to the Suffolk Coast.
66850 Pictured in Kessingland working the 99 to Lowestoft on Tuesday morning.


Craske Coach ~ Final Journey

Norfolk operator Craske Coaches saw the departure of a coach from their Catfield depot for its last time yesterday

The Plaxton Paramount bodied DAF SB, registered ORY640, left on a low loader during yesterday morning after being owned by the company since August 2011.  It started life as E986AHH with Yeowart of Whitehaven in January 1988. They sold out to SCoach and became part of the CMS coach subsidiary Coachline from where it gained its cherished plate from a stablemate Van Hool in February 1995. It was later sold to Hatton of St Helens and subsequently found its way to TD Travel of Bridlington

My thanks to Kevan Portas for the photo and information about the departure


Sunday 26 June 2016

Service Alterations Registered ~ 22nd June 2016

As you will probably have guessed, I am back from my trip to the west coast of the USA and will be posting about our San Francisco experience later in the week

I would like to thank Grahame for holding the fort and for his contributions to the blog whilst I have been away; his tribute to Jim Long couldn't have been an easy one for him to write

In my absence, the East of England Traffic Commissioner issued his latest Notices and Proceedings Report last Wednesday, so here's the main points as far as it affects local service operations

Registration of New Services
Konect Bus is to introduce a new Monday to Saturday service between Caister on Sea and Norwich Bus Station from 24th July 2016. The new number 7 route will run via Great Yarmouth Market Gates and Norwich Postwick Park & Ride 

Applications to Vary Existing Services
Anglian Gas Bus 108 AU62DWG unusually operates the 81 service in Great Yarmouth on 9th February 2016Anglian Bus is to alter the timetables of the following from 24th July 2016:-
7A Blofield Heath to Great Yarmouth College
60H Beccles to Halesworth
60S Beccles to Southwold
83 Harleston to Norwich
84 Harleston to Norwich Bus Station
82/82A Beccles town services 
Konect Bus is to amend the route, stopping places and timetable of its 71 route between Wroxham and Great Yarmouth from 24th July 2016

Applications to Vary Existing Services Granted Under Short Notice
Sanders Coaches has changed the route and timetable of its X11/10 service between Happisburgh Post Office and Norwich High School from 6th June 2016

Decisions Taken at Public Inquiries
Freight Rover Sherpa ersalz char-a-banc operated by Olde Norwich Tour
Fred Agombar, operator of the Olde Norwich Tour with a Freight Rover Sherpa (right), was requested to attend a Public Inquiry at the offices of the Traffic Commissioners on the 9th June 2016. There it was determined that the licence would be revoked with effect from 23:59hrs on 23 June 2016. It is understood that the business had recently been advertised for sale

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


Friday 24 June 2016

Obituary ~ Norman Sanders

Yesterday the Sanders family regrettably announced the death of the founder of Sanders Coaches, Norman Sanders, after a short illness.

Norman was born in Woodford, Essex in 1930 and worked as a steam fitter for British Rail for many years. After the change to diesel in the early 1960’s he was retrained, but found the fumes caused him illness, The family doctor suggested a new start and in 1968 the family moved to Sheringham in North Norfolk where they had enjoyed many holidays.

Norman first worked at Kingsland engineering but hated the indoor factory life so took a job with Mascot Coaches at Cromer as a mechanic where he first learnt to drive a coach. Mascot was taken over by Reynolds Coaches and in summer 1975 Norman left Reynolds to join the 5 coach business of Bennett’s coaches at Holt.

George Bennett unexpectedly told Norman in October of the same year he was going to retire and Norman was worried about his job and income. Having discussed with George what might happen, George again unexpectedly said 'Look Norman, you seem to know what your doing why don’t you take it over' Norman who had six children at home and no money said he couldn't afford to and George said 'No worries you can pay me as you go'.

On Norman’s 45th birthday, at the end of the day, he was handed the keys of the six vehicles and Sanders Coaches was born the next morning of the 1st December 1975. Little did he envisage that day how the company would expand and grow over the next 25 years. By the year 2000 the company was operating close to 100 vehicles. As other companies dropped rural routes a way was found to replace them, Norman was passionate about serving his local community and ensuring peoples transport links remained open. He was often to be found out in his car collecting someone who had mistakenly missed the bus and had an important appointment. Norman and his wife Gladys spent many years personally escorting many of the 50 plus coach holidays and short breaks they arranged each year. Their personal style and delivery of these holidays was unique and very successful for that reason.

Norman hung up his driving gloves on his 80th birthday November 30th 2010 after what can only be described as a job very well done – The Company he built will go on as a living testimony to his life’s work.

Our sympathies go to the Sanders family and their friends

Thursday 23 June 2016

What a Week!

Oh my goodness what a week has gone by; new operator(s) for the Great Yarmouth - Beccles- Bungay service, an open topper for the Great Yarmouth seafront route (yep,the cat is out of the bag!), streetdecks operating in the town plus new transfers in. (That's without mentioning the Brexit vote). And I've missed it all!

Our haulage for the trip - a Canadian MCI triaxle
Things here in the USA have been quite hectic too. We arrived in San Fran yesterday to the news that it's gay pride weekend and that Obama is in the city today. So the next couple of days will be a bit messy transport wise and we have to be at the airport at Saturday lunchtime. We also witnessed an 81 year old gentleman have a heart attack on our tour bus  - not very pleasant for him or us. Fortunately he has survived after transfer to hospital

So, all in all, a week very much to remember and I will be doing a report on our San Fran visit on my return to the UK


Tuesday 21 June 2016


It is with great sadness and shock we are reporting the sudden passing of Jim Long. Jim was a regular contibutor to our blog and has been a truly good friend to myself for the past twelve years or so.

I first came across Jim after he emailed me back in 2004 regarding a photo of mine he had seen in Buses magazine and he asked me if i could send him a copy to which i duly obliged and from that day on we became firm friends and began to share our photographs from our local areas. Jim was Ipswich through and through and his knowledge of all things Eastern Counties and Ipswich Buses was huge going back to the 1950's. His collection of photos was massive, i am lucky enough to have copies of many of his Black & White images he has taken and collected over the years and he was always grateful to me for sharing all my photos from trips around our area.
ECOC Bristol RE HAH891D taken by Jim on Yarmouth Sea Front in July 1966.

Jim had health issues earlier in his life which he overcame and once retired he was always out and about with his devoted wife Eve capturing the latest happenings around Ipswich, he had a problem with large crowds which stopped him from attending events such as Showbus and various local rallies in the past few years but always made and effort to keep his collection of FEC and Ipswich Buses photos up to date whilst i did my best to assist him from this end with Norwich, Yarmouth & Lowestoft pictures which i know he was always truly grateful. I met Jim and his wife Eve on many occasions and his enthusiasm for Transport was endless and we shared thousands of emails, texts and numerous phone calls over the years all about this hobby of ours, sadly our last message was last night when he sent his photos from Simon Morris of the Blue Line repaint, i know he would have been out this morning with Eve at his side getting some more for us today! Needless to say the phone call from his Son in Law today came as a true shock and i still cannot believe you have gone buddy. He never forgot my childrens Birthday's or Christmas Cards and whenever i saw him he would always put a note in my hand and tell me to spoil them. His kindness and thoughfulness will be missed and it will be a while before i get used to not seeing the words 'Jim Mobile' pop up on my phone with a text saying 'Pics in ur box'

There have been lots of kind tributes and words about Jim today across social media, he was truly respected and well liked within the Enthusiast circles and his face and photos will be sorely missed by many people around the area. He was a special man who always went out of his way to make sure i was ok with my personal life and helped me along the way with some wise words. I will miss you Jimbo and as you always said to me 'Take Care'

Myself and Roy would like to thank Jim for his contibutions and being part of our Blog Family, they will be truly missed.

Our Thoughts, Prayers and Love are with Jim's wife Eve and his family.

Rest in Peace Buddy.      Grahame

Monday 20 June 2016

Latest First Happenings

A busy start to the week for First Eastern Counties. We begin with news that a batch of Volvo B9TL/Wright Geminis are being transferred to East Anglia from First Leeds. The full list of arrivals due is 36181 - 36202. 36181 (BF12KXU) & 36185 (BN12JYM) were collected today and have now arrived in Norfolk. The vehicles were purchased new in 2012 for First Games Transport operations for the London Olympics prior to heading North to Leeds.
Pink Line branded 35198 SK16GVX in Temple Road today  (Photo Zak
Next to report was another brightly coloured day for the Yarmouth 8 service, last week it saw Yellow, today it went pink with not one but two Norwich Pink Line branded Streetdecks on the route, 35198 (SK16GVX) & 35199 (SK16GVY) Both worked this afternoon in the town.
35199 leaves Market Gates bound for Caister  (Photo Zak
Finally continuing the multi coloured theme our regular Ipswich contributor Jim Long has been down to the paintshops of Simon Morris in Ipswich to catch up with the progress of the first Blue Line repaint for Norwich. Volvo B9TL 36166 is currently being transformed into its new look in Suffolk.
36166 with its new look now well underway  (Photo Jim Long)

Many Thanks to Chris Speed, Danny Beales, Zak at Norwich Bus Page and Jim Long for the Info and use of Photos, much appriciated!


Blog On Tour ~ Stoughton Bus

Saturday saw a visit to the Evergreen Air Museum at McMinnville in Oregon and surprisingly an old bus was on display

During the 1920s and 1930s the Stoughton Cab & Bus Company of Stoughton, Wisconsin designed and manufactured buses exclusively for Chevrolet. The bus, thought to provide a new influence on the progress of transportation, was powered  by a Waukesha four cylinder engine and was capable of an amazing top speed of 30 miles per hour!

Badger Bus Line, the first company to operate a passenger service between Madison and Milwaukee in Wisconsin, used the Stoughton Bus for its services. The coach bus also saw service with country clubs, hotels, schools and also in connection with railroad and aviation travel.


Sunday 19 June 2016

Blog On Tour ~ Portland

After a couple of days travelling through areas with limited or no bus activity, we have now crossed the state border from Washington into Oregon and briefly visited downtown Portland this morning

Unit 235 on a Green Line service to Clackamas
The major public transit company in the city is TriMet, formerly known as the Tri-County Metropolitan Transit District of Oregon (bit of a mouthful!) which provides bus, light rail and commuter transit services in the area

123 arriving at Pioneer Square with a Green Line service to Clackamas
The accompanying photos provide a flavour of the light rail operations around Pioneer Square where all the services pass through. As with routes in many city, each line is allotted a different colour to help its passengers quickly identify the service. However, you wouldn't readily identify the route unless you faced the front/rear of the unit which displays a colour light in the top of the screen

Unit 207 on the red line service to Beaverton
Further details of the TriMet network and services operated can be viewed HERE


Thursday 16 June 2016

Blog On Tour ~ Port Angeles

The second hotel on our USA itinerary is located at Port Angeles, situated in Clallam County in Washington State

Port Angeles has a population of just under 20,000 and, public transport wise, is served by Clallam Transit. Although formed in July 1979 the transit company didn't begin operating until October in the following year. Supported by sales tax collection, it commenced with a fleet of 22 vehicles working ten routes in the County area.

Today Clallam Transit serves a modern transit station in Port Angeles and currently runs twelve routes in the county with 24 buses on the active roster. Most of the vehicles in the fleet are Gillig low floor buses with those seen today of the 32 seater variety

Further details of Clallam Transit, including information on the routes operated can be viewed on their website


Wednesday 15 June 2016

Blog On Tour ~ Seattle

Once again the blog is on tour with a trip across the pond to the USA - yes you did read that correctly as I am reporting from Seattle on the west coast!

As normal for us Brits, the weather is first mentioned in any conversation and all I can say about Seattle weather today is that it reminds me very much of a typically cold summer's day with a bracing cool breeze. So I really feel at home!

Much of the local transportation is provided by King County Metro and the photos accompanying this report provide a flavour of the types of vehicles operating in the area. The trolley buses are branded Electric Trolley zero emissions

Details of the operator and services provided can be viewed on their website


Tuesday 14 June 2016

Yellow Eight

An unusual sight this afternoon on the 8 service in Great Yarmouth was Norwich based Trident 32106 (LT02ZCV), it wears the Yellow Line livery for Norwich Network services so was quite noticable in the town. It had just passed its MOT at Caister Road and was pressed into use due to a vehicle shortage.
32106 pictured on Barnard Avenue heading towards Caister.
Another recent arrival from Norwich was also noted in use on the 1's today, I managed to Photograph Gemini 36180 in my home village of Ormesby this evening as it headed through to Yarmouth.
36180 BD11CDZ turns out of West Road in Ormesby.

Sunday 12 June 2016

Latest from Caister Road

Latest news from Caister Road sees recent arrival from Essex 30887 moving to Lowestoft this evening on a permanent basis after a very brief spell back in Great Yarmouth.
30887 W742DWX awaiting transfer to Lowestoft this afternoon.

Norwich based Volvo B9's 36172 & 36180 will move to Caister Road for the summer period, 36180 was at the depot on my visit this afternoon with 36172 which has been on loan at Lowestoft coming in return for 30887 later this evening. Ex First South Yorkshire Trident 32955 (X611HLT) is now in service also here.
32955 X611HLT now in use, seen here in Caister yesterday (Photo Cameron Robinson)
Volvo B7 32348 Suffered a blown Turbo whilst on X1 duties this afternoon at Norwich Bus Station, she was recovered back to Caister Road.

Thanks to Danny Beales for the info and Cameron for the photo of 32955.


Saturday 11 June 2016

New Arrival for Reynolds

A new arrival to report for the Caister On Sea operator is Dennis Javelin/Plaxton bodied YD05DFY. It was new to VT Aerospace, Lonton on Ouse.
The new arrival tucked inside the Ormesby Road Garage. (Photo Cameron Robinson)

It has been repainted into the Silver fleet livery and is awaiting the lettering and name to be applied.

Many thanks to Cameron for the photo.


Wednesday 8 June 2016

Service Alterations Registered ~ 8th June 2016

As another fortnight quickly passes by, it's time for our regular look at the Notices and Proceedings Report issued by the East of England Traffic Commissioner earlier today.There are some interesting changes

Registration of New Services

Buckland Omnibus Company of Hatcheson, Woodbridge is to provide a Wednesday, Sunday and Bank Holiday service from Fort Green, Aldeburgh to Dolphin Public House, Thorpeness. Known as service 250 it commences on 27th July 2016.
Acle based Our Hire is to introduce a seasonal service from Vauxhall Holiday Park to Seashore Holiday Park in Great Yarmouth, via Market Gates and Britannia Pier, from 21st July 2016. The 300 will run half hourly Monday to Friday and hourly at the weekend.

Applications to Vary Existing Services

Ambassador Travel is to amend the timetable of its 879 service between Ditchingham and Gorleston from 5th September 2016
Anglianbus is to amend the route, stopping places and timetables of three of its services from 24th July 2016. They are the 88A/88B/BH272 between Halesworth and Southwold; the 61/61A/61B/61C from Bungay to Southwold and the 87/88 between Durban Close, Halesworth and Newmarket Road, Norwich,
Go West Travel, trading as Stagecoach in Norfolk, is to amend the timetable of its Wells-next-the Sea and Cromer Coasthopper service from 24th July 2016

Cancellations of Existing Services
Anglianbus is cancelling its service 90 between Lowestoft and Southwold from 24th July 2016.
Konectbus is to cease its 503 Postwick Park & Ride service from the same date

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


Tuesday 7 June 2016

Heritage Deckers on X1/X11

I was in Gorleston High Street this afternoon and noted Eastern Counties heritage liveried Transbus AU53HJV on the X1 13:30 Lowestoft to Norwich. As I didn't have my camera with me, I had to make do with the mobile phone and this is the result below

Some ten minutes later the 13.57 X11 from Belton went past with Great Yarmouth Blue Bus W219XBD in charge, also on its way to Norwich. However, it was too quick for me to get a photo..Knowing that others may be interested in the workings I tweeted the photo and information

W219XBD at Norwich Bus Station having arrived on the X11 from Belton.  Photo: Jack Alexander
Unbeknown to me, Jack Alexander was travelling on the upper deck of AU53HJV as it passed me in the High Street. Having received my tweet, he waited in Norwich to get a photo of them both together in Surrey Street Bus Station

Both heritage liveried deckers captured on film in Norwich Bus Station by Jack Alexander this afternoon
My thanks to Jack for contacting me and for his consent to use the two photos


Monday 6 June 2016

Two More Deckers

First Great Yarmouth were expected to have taken delivery of another two double deckers during the weekend

First Essex Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL 30887 W742DWX arrived at Caister Road on Saturday. The second bus is Plaxton President bodied Dennis Trident 32955 X611HLT which was due from First South Yorkshire yesterday

30887 W742DWX on North Denes Road on Bernard Matthews duties on 6th February 2012
W742DWX is no stranger to Great Yarmouth having previously worked here during 2012, but has acquired a repaint since then


Sunday 5 June 2016

Norwich P&R Tridents

Ross Newman at Ensign has recently published details of the comings and goings at the Purfleet dealer during May
PN03ULL in Castle Meadow in June 2011 with a Sprowston Park & Ride service Photo: Grahame Bessey
Of interest is that the penultimate Norwich Park & Ride Trident at Ensign has found a new owner. PN03ULL is now with Axe Valley of Seaton in Devon. By my reckoning that leaves just PN03UMC as the last of the ten arriving there in last November

The fourteen ex London General Tridents first arrived in March/April 2010 to work the Norwich Park and Ride services. As mentioned above, ten of them were disposed of to Ensign in November. As far as I am aware, this is the current state of play regarding subsequent ownerships:- 

Ex Norwich P&R Trident PN03ULT still works in the city with Norwich School

Finally my thanks to Ross for the continuous monthly reports from Ensign and to Grahame for the use of his photo


Friday 3 June 2016

Chenery In Administration

I understand from various sources that Norfolk based coach company R W Chenery has suddenly ceased to trade

Chenery Travel's Setra RYG684 at Gorleston's Lower Esplanade in December last year
The company has been placed into administration with all assets being repossessed. Chenery's drivers turned up this morning at Long Stratton to find a deserted yard

Caetano Levante bodied Volvo B9R FJ11MKC on National Express duty at Norwich Bus Station on 22nd April 2014 
For the time being Chenery's National Express duties are being covered by Galloway of Mendlesham and Ambassador Travel of Great Yarmouth

Norfolk County Council are reassuring parents that the eight school routes provided by Chenery will run as normal when pupils return on Monday. However, they will be provided by different operators and details of the services affected have been published on the Norfolk County Council website HERE


BorderBus Trials New MetroDecker

BorderBus began trialling Optare's new MetroDecker at its Beccles base on Moor Business Park during yesterday

The Suffolk operator hopes to commence using the 11.1 metre orange demonstrator on its services from Saturday with it staying for a fortnight for evaluation purposes.

Optare launched the MetroDecker during 2014 and the delays of getting it into service were down to parent Ashok Leyland's insistence that it was thoroughly tested and not developed in the field after going into production

However, would it pass the stringent testing undertaken by fellow blogger SteveW? You can read the report on his experience and evaluation on riding with YJ65EPU HERE

The MetroDecker has recently seen use with Reading Buses, Arriva Yorkshire Tiger and the NAT Group in Cardiff and is reported to be the lightest double decker currently available in the UK

My thanks to Tim Miller for the photos which retain his copyright and to Charlie Blagg regarding Reading Buses


Thursday 2 June 2016

Local Loanees

You will have seen from a previous post that there are a couple of deckers on loan at First's Caister Road depot

Eastern Counties branded AU53HJV leads KP5454KAX on this afternoon's Bernard Mathews run
I reported yesterday that heritage liveried Transbus ALX400 AU53HJV had found is way to Great Yarmouth. This afternoon it was working the Bernard Matthews contract from Great Yarmouth along with Gemini 32629 KP54KAX. On arrival at the factory the duo joined up with Great Yarmouth Transport heritage liveried 32059 W219XBD

Two heritage liveried deckers together at the Bernard Mathews factory this afternoon. Photo Roger Bellward
The two arrivals from Great Yarmouth join 59 which had arrived from Lowestoft. Photo Roger Bellward
I also looked in at Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot to see 36173 BD11CFX lurking near the entrance ready for the call. An unidentified Norwich Green Line StreetLite was also reported to have paid a visit but there was no evidence of it when I arrived

Norwich Network branded 36173 BD11CFX on loan at Great Yarmouth awaits its next duty in the depot this afternoon 
My thanks to Roger for the two photos


Blog Monthly Summary ~ May 2016

If you have missed any of the posts on the blog during May you can now view the monthly summary on Pinterest  by clicking HERE

Pinterest East Norfolk Bus Blog Summary for May 2016Roy

Wednesday 1 June 2016

Summer Weekday Timetable Starts ~ Updated

Yesterday saw the start of First's new weekday Summer timetable; although if you look at the weather you wouldn't have believed it!

Wright StreetLite 47506 threads its way through Shrublands Estate yesterday on the first day of the weekday service
As part of the summer changes two new routes have commenced including the 9 between Market Gates and the James Paget Hospital. The service replaces the 2 which previously served the Gorleston area with a tour around Cliff Park Estate tacked on for good measure

Enviro400 33820 YX63LKK passes the Millenium Beacon at Beacon Park heading for Belton on the X11 earlier today 
Another alteration is the replacement of the 7 between Belton and Great Yarmouth with the X11 operating via the James Paget Hospital. Not only does it provide the village with a direct link with the hospital it also offers a service to Norwich via the new Beacon Park link road

Heritage liveried Transbus ALX400 AU53HJV having arrived at the James Paget Hospital on the 8 late this afternoon 
Finally on the transfer front, Gemini 36180 BD11CDZ has returned to Norwich off loan to be replaced by similar 36173 BD11CFX at Caister Road. Also here is Transbus ALX400 heritage liveried 32479 AU53HJV from across the border at Ipswich.

My thanks to Grahame Bessey for the information and to Roger Bellward for the photo of 32479