Sunday 31 July 2016

Great Yarmouth Open Toppers

I have received an email from our regular contributor Syd Eade following my last post on recent Great Yarmouth Open Toppers and saying how remiss of me it was not to include an Eastern Counties example.

He writes:- How could you have possibly missed out on mentioning Eastern Counties open top VRs in your report!!! I have sent a photo of one resting in Wellington Road depot to address the balance!!

My thanks to Syd for his contribution - balance now addressed!


Saturday Sights and First News

A sunny Saturday morning meant a couple of hours with the cameras to catch up with the recent arrivals at Caister Road. First vehicle on the list was Open topper 32905 W905VLN which was out and about after a brief appearance on Friday.
32905 heading along North Drive
32905 turning in the sun at Seashore Camp terminus
Next on my hitlist were more of the latest arrivals from Leeds, the majority were employed on the 8 service so i did clear a few more off the list.
36187 BN12JYK in Caister

Movements to report include another President heading to the South West, 32211 LT52WTU left Caister Road on Thursday. Also i am reliably informed that 32213/32214 & 32955 are due to move to Norwich next week although this is to be confirmed.
32211 back in July 2010 on an evening duty in Martham not long after arriving with FEC


Thursday 28 July 2016

Throw Back Thursday ~ Great Yarmouth Open Toppers

Following the reported arrival of First's open topper at Caister Road on Tuesday, I thought I would have a rummage through my old photos to see the last time when an open topper operated a regular service in Great Yarmouth

The last operator was Awaydays Travel of Wood Dalling of Norfolk which regularly used MCW Metrobus KYV670X in Great Yarmouth Sightseeing livery. Originally numbered M670 in the London Buses fleet, it moved to London General on privatisation, then to City Sightseeing  for use in Inverness before passing to Awaydays who operated the City Sightseeing franchise.

The open top service continued until the end of the summer of 2010, although KYV didn't quite make it until the end necessitating the use of Bath Bus Company's Leyland Olympian E767LBT. Originally registered TWY7, it was new to South Yorkshire Motors of Pontefract and moved on to to Arriva Yorkshire and subsequently saw use with City Sightseeing. In January 2011 it was exported to Cyprus where it continues to operate

Finally, I found an old photo of Caroline Seagull's open topper former Leyland Atlantean JSC890E. New to Edinburgh (later Lothian) in September 1967, it is pictured outside Caroline's Queen's Road premises during August 1982.

Let's hope it wont be too long before First's Dennis Trident W905VLN is seen in service on the streets of Great Yarmouth


Wednesday 27 July 2016

Anglianbus Fleet Changes ~ Updated

With revisions to the Anglianbus network and timetables from Monday last, I eagerly awaited any fleet changes which are normally published on their website

LB02WYW heading to Sheringham
from Norwich during February 2015
With numerous rumours spreading throughout enthusiast social media, I expected a reduction in the number of vehicles in the operating fleet of 35. However, on Monday the operator published its latest fleet-list which showed the addition of two Wright Eclipse Geminis from Konectbus, namely 510 (LB02YWX) and 511 (LB02YWY)

To return to the rumour mill, I have been contacted by some enthusiasts from Plymouth who have asked whether there is any truth that any (or some) of Anglian's gasbuses are to be moved to the south west. Whilst the same rumour is spreading locally, I have not had any official confirmation that this may happen. This has been compounded by the fact that Plymothian Transit has also carried the same story

I leave you to form your own opinion but, as I have always said here, we report things as they happen and not the rumours of what might happen. However, this is one exception that I thought you all might like to be aware of!

Update: Graham Richardson of Plymothian Transit bus blog has had the move of the gas buses to the south west confirmed from within Plymouth Citybus. 'I have spoken to the boss myself and asked him' he says
(See also the comments below)


Tuesday 26 July 2016

Open Topper arrives at Caister Road

After all the anticipation and teased photographs, Yarmouth's new Open Topper arrived at Caister Road this afternoon with a little assitance from ASW Recovery, this was due to a minor Turbo problem which will soon be rectified.
Right place, right time for me as i passed this afternoon!

32905 W905VLN is a Dennis Trident with Plaxton President bodywork, new to First London (Centrewest) as TNL905 in 2000. It has had a brief spell with FEC before moving onto First Essex. It was converted and repainted at Rotherham's Midland Road works into the new "Seasider" livery for the Summer 3 service in the town.


Monday 25 July 2016

New Services Start

Today saw the Go Ahead group launch new services in the Great Yarmouth area through their Konectbus and Anglianbus subsidiaries

Konectbus 7 replaces the Anglian version with some serrvices extending to and from Caister 
I had previously mentioned the replacement of Anglian's 7 service between Great Yarmouth and Norwich with the Konectbus version via the Postwick Park and Ride. The Swift 7s were in the hands of the Enviro400s

Anglian's 456 (AN61BUS) reinstates the direct Barrack Estate to Gorleston link - seen at Magdalen Square
Meanwhile, Anglian extended its 61 service through to Barrack Estate serving Magdalen Estate on the way. This replaces the direct link between Gorleston, the James Paget Hospital and the Barracks which had recently ceased with the termination of First's 2 route at Market Gates

Our Bus 300 Shoreliner service also services the Barrack Estate - CN05JYP is seen in Admiralty Road this morning
Talking of the Barrack Estate area, this now sees three operators providing services to the South Denes - First's 2, Anglian's 61 and also Our Bus' 300. The latter commenced last Thusday

Rivalry between operators using Market Gates Stand K could be worse if other operators and day coaches arrive
In addition to a little bit of competition for the route, there is also rivalry for the use of Market Gates Bus Stand K which tends to block through traffic which also makes it dangerous for passengers alighting in the middle of the two lanes! Surely a limit on the number of taxis using the area would solve the problem - plus there are other taxi stands in close proximity


Refurbished Gemini returns

The first of the former X1 Gemini fleet to be refurbished has returned from Rotherham to Lowestoft after having an internal tidy up and some new seating added. 37568 AU58ECJ is now back in Suffolk with former Yarmouth Gemini 37575 AU58ECZ going up to South Yorkshire in its place.

Two sets of seats have been removed from either side of the upper deck to create more legroom and the new E leather seating has replaced the tired cloth.

Also currently at Rotherham are 37563 AU58ECA and 37572 AU58ECW both having similar work carried out.

Many thanks to First for the update and Photos.


Saturday 23 July 2016

Saturday Sightings

Following up from Grahame's Friday post, I was in Great Yarmouth town centre today and I was keeping my eye out for any approaching Geminis. Of the recent incoming trio of 36186/87/ 88, I did manage to observe the last two in service on the 8s between Gorleston's James Paget Hospital and Caister's Marram Drive

First 36188 (BN12JYL) carefully negotiates the pedestrians as it leaves Market Gates on the 8 to the JPH
Earlier in the day, Konectbus tweeted that one of its freshly repainted Alexander Dennis Enviro400s, was on display in the Great Yarmouth seafront area. Fortunately the new Swift 7 liveried decker also made a brief appearance in Market Gates Bus Station from where I managed to get a quick photo

konectbus 635 (SN65OAU) on a promotional visit to Market Gates - the service starts for real on Monday


Friday 22 July 2016

Friday Round Up

It's been a busy morning with many observations to report in addition to Grahame's earlier post on the 'new' trio arriving at First's Caister Road depot

Grahame was also in the vicinity of South Burlingham this morning and looked in at the Our Bus depot and noted two Optare Solos MX58AAY and CN05JYP were labelled up for its 300 Great Yarmouth Shoreliner service

Former London Transport SMK696F now owned by Burlington Bathrooms
Meanwhile, an ex London Transport Routemaster was observed on one of the town's industrial estates. This was former RML2696 (SMK696F) which entered service in the capital during June 1967 on the 207 service to Hanwell. In 2003 it was sold to Ensignbus and later converted into a bathroom fitting promotions bus complete with bath on the lower deck! After export to Latvia it returned to this country for refurbishment in May last year. It is currently at the Shoreline Bathrooms premises at Morton Peto Way and is being used to raise funds for the Moon Walk for Breast Cancer

Ipswich Buses Scania PJ54YZT makes one of its many visits to the town
Venturing along the town's seafront I immediately saw Ipswich Buses' East Lancs OmniDekka bodied Scania 60 (PJ54YZT) offloading its passengers outside the Britannia Pier on an excursion from the Suffolk county town

Bovas FRZ1509 and FRZ2054 from the Dolphin fleet basking in the summer sun at Beach Coach Station
Whilst in town, I thought I would look in at Beach Coach Station and found three of the five coaches present were comparative 'locals'. Sanders Coaches Volvo B12BT / Jonckheere OGR647 (formerly FJ08BZF) took up the prime position whilst two Bovas from the Norwich fleet of Dolphin Autos were parked further down the line

My thanks to Grahame for the use of the Our Bus photo


Latest Arrivals for First

No less than six new arrivals to report for First Eastern Counties today. Starting with five more Volvo B9TL Wright Geminis from First Leeds which were collected from Hunslet Park Depot yesterday. 36186-36190 made the journey to Norfolk with 36186/187 & 188 arriving at Yarmouth and 36189/190 going to Norwich.
36186 & 36187 Pictured at Caister Road last night. Photo First.
Full details of the arrivals as follows,

36186 BN12JYJ
36187 BN12JYK
36188 BN12JYL
36189 BN12JYO
36190 BN12JYP
36186 at Caister Road this morning.  Photo Robert Collins.
The final arrival to report is the long awaited Open Topper for Great Yarmouth in the shape of 32905 W905VLN,  A Volvo Plaxton President new to First London and latterly with First Essex, it has been painted into a special livery for the Seasider service 3, it is currently at Roundtree Way in Norwich having Vinyls added and its final checks before moving down to Caister Road.
32905 at Roundtree Way, Norwich.  Photo Norwich Bus Page
Thanks to Robert, Zak and First for the photos and info,                   Grahame.

Wednesday 20 July 2016

Another Streetdeck Appears

A further Wright Streetdeck appeared at First Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot this afternoon and it was another pink liveried example.

First Norwich 35196 SK16GVV is the third pink bus from the fleet to be seen in the town and Roger Bellward was at the depot to record its presence.

My thanks to Roger for the use of his photo.


Service Alterations Registered ~ 20th July 2016

Another fortnight quickly passes us by and, before you know it, the East of England Traffic Commissioner publishes his latest Notice & Proceedings Report

As always we look through the publication for information on changes to our local bus services and I note that this time there are some service cancellations too

Applications to Vary Existing Services
Anglianbus is to amend the route, stopping places and timetable of its 81/81A service between Beccles and Great Yarmouth with effect from the 28th August 2016
Borderbus is to revise the routes and timetables of some of its services from 5th September 2016
S Carlton Colville to  Sir John Leman School, Beccles
SJL1 Kessingland to Sir John Leman School, Beccles
SJL2 Oulton Road Lowestoft to  Sir John Leman School, Beccles
SJL4 Carlton Colville to Sir John Leman School, Beccles
SJL8 Blundeston to Sir John Leman School, Beccles
Konectbus is to alter the route, stopping places and timetable of the Acle to Cringleford 53 service from 28th August 2016
Sanders Coaches is to amend the timetables of the following services from 4th September 2016
5 Holt Charles Road to North Walsham Post Office
9 Holt Market Place to Fakenham
34 North Walsham Post Office to Stalham former station site
44/44S Hempstead Road, Holt to Sheringham Station Approach
X11/10 Happisburgh Post Office to Norwich High School
X44/44A/X40 Reepham to Norwich High School
X55/55 North Walsham Post Office to Norwich City Centre

Cancellations of Existing Services
Konectbus is to cease operating the 72 Norwich St Stephen's Street to Market Gates route from 28th August 2016
National Express is cancelling its 497 service between Great Yarmouth and London Victoria from 29th August 2016
Our Hire is abandoning its 290 circular route from Roys of Wroxham Store via Neatishead and Horning from 5th September 2016
Sanders Coaches is to terminate its 15 North Walsham Post Office to Norwich  St Stephen's Street route from 4th September 2016 Norwich
Simonds of Botesdale is to end its 85/86/86A service between Loddon Church Plain and Norwich Bus Station from 3rd September 2016

Cancellations of Existing Services Granted Under Short Notice
Anglianbus is to stop operating its 80 service between Diss and Beccles from 28th August 2016

The complete Notice & Proceedings Report for 20th July 2016, covering the whole of the Eastern Traffic Commissioner's Area, can be viewed HERE


Sunday 17 July 2016

Beach Coach Station ~ Saturday

Passing Beach Coach Station during Saturday afternoon, I espied some interesting vehicles on site including two double deckers!

Fortunately the deckers were both parked side by side and they included a representative from both the Souls Brothers and Three Star fleets. The former was tri-axle Optare Olympus bodied Volvo B9TL PN09EOL which entered service with them in May 2009. The latter was SF07OSE, a Berkhof Axial 100DD bodied Volvo B12B, formerly with Parks of Hamilton. A second member of the Luton based fleet was also present in the form of Volvo B11R TC15TSC

Another 'local' attendee was Greys of Ely's Mercedes Benz Tourismo G20ELY - first registered in October 2009


Friday 15 July 2016

Farewell Jim

As many readers will know my good friend and regular contibutor to our blog James Long passed away suddenly on the 21st of June. Yesterday i travelled to Ipswich to attend Jim's Funeral service and pay my respects.
The service took place at the Seven Hills Crematorium on the outskirts of Ipswich. Jim's cortege arrived followed by Viv Carters immaculate RML CUV266C and First VA479 AU53HJV. As a tribute to Jim the screen on 479 had been programmed especially for Jim as you can see from the photo above, he would have loved that!
It was a very moving service with members of Jim's family sharing their memories of their Dad & Grandad, he was a real family man but had injected his hobby into them with his son Darren describing how he could tell various sorts of buses from a distance thanks to his Dad's enthusiasm! I was joined by Chris Speed and members of staff from First's Ipswich Depot as well as a full chapel of family, friends and former work colleagues including fellow enthusiasts Viv Carter, Maurice Doggett, Stuart McNae and many more.
Jim will be sadly missed by many people, he always wore a smile and had time for anyone who wanted to talk Buses, i will miss our chats, texts and emails, i still look now in my inbox hoping one will appear from him but thats not to be, he will be looking down on events now noting all the changes and keeping up to date i am sure. You were a good man Jim and may you Rest in Peace now my friend and as you always said to me after any conversation, email or text, Take Care.

1943 - 2016


Thursday 14 July 2016

Blog Summaries

The last couple of months have been quite a busy time for the blog and if you missed any of the reports during May or June you can now catch up with a summary of what's been happening by visiting our Pinterest site HERE

Earlier two monthly summaries for the year are also available to view on the site


Wednesday 13 July 2016

Clapton Pond & Corton Road!

For those that were possibly unaware, two of the former Lowestoft buses at this year's EATM London Event were especially fitted with a blind showing a London destination - Clapton Pond in Hackney.

The destination blinds were made by Daniel Peart to ensure the Lowestoft buses fitted into the London themed weekend. They even carried 'On Hire to London Transport' signs in the front window. Even the Stevensons ex London RTW joined in by displaying Clapton Pond too.

Tradition was not abandoned though and a tour was run by PBJ2F on the Sunday to the old 2 Corton Road terminus in Gunton Drive. This was abandoned when loop working via Gunton Cliffs was introduced for one man buses some 45 years ago.

The above photos were supplied by Syd Eade who began looking through his archives for a photo he had taken of the original Corton Road terminus. However, the nearest he could find was this one showing AEC Regent III LBJ744 across the road. The stop is located behind by the telephone box!!!

My thanks to Syd for the use of the photos


Monday 11 July 2016

Another Streetdeck at Caister Road

Earlier today First's Caister Road depot was visited by another Wright Streetdeck; the type is normally based in Norwich.

However, it was not a pink liveried version but one in the standard First Olympia colour scheme in the form of 35200 (SK16GVZ). It was photographed inside the depot earlier this afternoon by Roger Bellward although it's not known why it was there.

My thanks to Roger for allowing me to use the picture.


The London Event 2016

As you will probably know, the East Anglia Transport Museum held their annual London Event at Carlton Colville this weekend

First Norwich BD11CFO on Park & Ride dutes on Saturday. Photo Copyright Syd Eade
First Eastern Counties provided Park and Ride services on both days with Norwich Blue Line Wright Eclipse Gemini 36169 (BD11CFO) providing the horses on the Saturday. Former Norwich Gemini 37562 (FJ08FYN) performed the same duty on the Sunday (right), albeit with First Norwich branding still in place above the entrance

Three vehicles were especially 'shipped in' for the event. These included two road vehicles and one tram

The first was preserved London General Omnibus Company bus K424 (reg. XC 8059), a 1921 AEC K-Type which is normally kept at London Transport's Acton depot. The second London Transport vehicle is another Acton resident - a 1931 AEC Renown GO5198

The tram was London County Council No 106 from Crich Tramway Village. Built in 1903, it was one of a hundred 'B' class built. Following withdrawal in 1926 it was converted into a 'snow broom' and last saw active service in this form in the winter of 1951/2. Escaping the scrapyard, restoration began in 1970 and it subsequently moved to Crich. After more restoration in 2010, it was relaunched into service in June last year. I enjoyed my ride on the top deck and I ensured I escaped any 'frying' by keeping my hands below head height as suggested by the guide!

As to be expected there were also visiting London buses attending which included RM 613 and RM 857. The former, WLT613, was new in February 1961 and based at Hollaway's Pemberton Gardens garage. Withdrawal came in August 2003 and was acquired later in the month by the RM613 Preservation Group

RM857 began its LT career at Stamford Hill in July 1961 and in December 1984 it was taken out of service when allocated to Hackney. It was later used for promotion work South Park Motors of Reigate before being purchased for preservation in 1998. Its current owner, Mr T Wright of Hornchurch, acquired WLT857 in February 2007

Another LT representative was CRL4 (SLT59), a prototype entering the fleet in London Transport's line of Green Line double-decker coaches during July 1957. The body was unusual as it was the only Routemaster to be built by Eastern Coach Works. Withdrawal from normal duties came in May 1979. and, after a repaint, it was allocated to Hertford for special duties. In early 2000, there was considerable alarm when Arriva announced that it had been sold. Bids by well-known preservation bodies had been rejected, and there were fears that it had been consigned to the scrap-heap. Fortunately the decker found a preservation home and was restored to Green Line livery. It has subsequently been bought by Roger Wright for his London Bus Company, where it earns its keep on weddings and outings, while providing joy for enthusiasts at Rallies and Running Days.

A further attendee was former London Transport Scania Metropolitan KJD260P. It started its career at Peckham in mid 1976 and spent its early years there before going to Plumstead almost four years later. In May 1984 it was withdrawn whilst in store and was purchased for preservation four months later. Ensign restored it during 2008

Our final photo is of Stevensons of Uttoxeter KLB908 a 1949 preserved Leyland PD2/3 with Leyland RT6 H30/26RD body. It was originally London Transport RTW178 until sale to Stevensons in 1965 who installed the rear door and modified the destination displays.

I would like to acknowledge Iain's Bus Stop website as the source of the history for the many vehicles and my thanks to everyone at the museum for making a very enjoyable occasion. The large number of members involved must have been phenomenal and this effort was reflected in the numbers attending - never seen it so busy. Finally my thanks to Colin White who put up with my company!


Saturday 9 July 2016

Latest from First

Transfers, Refurbishements, Repaints, its all go at the moment! Former First Leeds Volvo B9TL's 36182/3/4 have moved down to Great Yarmouth from Norwich. 36185 will be the last to move once repairs are carried out to 33246 which will move back to Norwich.
36185 BN12JYH pictured alst weekend in Norwich
Former Norwich vehicles 33004/33007/33151 have all moved back to city operations from Caister Road with 33246 to follow.
33007 LK51UZE pictutred last month in Ormesby.
On the refurbishment front Lowestoft Gemini 37568 is expected back from Rotherham with sisters 37563 & 37572 heading North for their work to be carried out, two more Volvo B10BLE are due on loan in return, one being 60622 to join sister 66112 already at work in the suffolk town.

33169 (BD11CFO) has returned to Norwich in the new Blue Line livery joining sisters 36166 & 36179 in the latest colours. 36167 & 36168 are currently at Simon Morris for repaint.

Finally i would like to mention the Funeral details for the late Jim Long, Jim's service will take place on Thursday 14th July, 3pm at Seven Hills Crematorium in Ipswich. I will be attending to pay my respects to a dear friend.