Friday 30 September 2016

Spruced up Spectra

Earlier this year Stagecoach Norfolk withdrew the remaining Optare Spectra Double deckers in its fleet and one has made its way up to the North West and found a new owner.
YJ51ZVF pictured at Pilkingtons Depot. Photo. Gobbiner

YJ51ZVF was new to Reading Buses as their 722 before being aquired by Norfolk Green at Kings Lynn, it was number 7 in their fleet before being renumbered to 13981 when the company was taken over by Stagecoach. It is seen above in its new livery of Pilkingtons of Accrington in Lancashire.

Pictured by myself at Kings Lynn Bus Station in 2013 

Many Thanks to Gobbiner for the use of the photo, you can view more of his excellent photos on his Flickr site here


Wednesday 28 September 2016

Service Alterations Registered ~ 28th September 2016

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

As always we look through the publication for information on changes to our local bus services and this time there is little to report other than the surrender of a licence by Kessingland Cabs from the 23rd September 2016. Any registered services running under this licence have also been surrendered with immediate effect

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


Ex Local Coach Surfaces In Cyprus!

Observed on a Facebook group site yesterday was this run down looking Plaxton bodied Ford R192. The photo, taken in Cyprus earlier this month, was supplied by Paul Emery and is reproduced here with his consent

What has it to do with this area I hear you ask? Well the number plate disguises the fact that it is believed to be former NEX945J which used to operate with Norfolk Motor Services. Apart from being able to discover that the 45 seater was new to the company in April 1971, I can find no further information about it

Robert Kelly subsequently contacted me and says 'the body configuration was C45F and it stayed with Norfolk Motor Services until December 1977 before later going to Granville Tours.

My thanks to Paul for the use of the photo and to Robert for the later information


Tuesday 27 September 2016

X11 Dart!

EU05AUM crosses Haven Bridge on its way to Belton
Kyle Hewett emailed me yesterday evening about an usual working on the X11 service to Belton

He says that 'while walking back to work on my lunch break I crossed over and noticed an unusual bus working the X11 which was none other than a Dennis Dart'.

The X11 is almost exclusively worked by double deckers and the use of  Dart SLF 42920 (EU05AUM) was quite rare

My thanks to Kyle for the photo and taking the time to email it in to me

Subsequent to this post Richard Woods contacted me and suggested 'it may be the case that it was a short run working from Market Gates rather than through from Norwich. I work in Acle and overlook the route, so I see most of the buses out on the road.

Yesterday it had Streetlite 47505 out on an unidentified X1/X11 diagram, along with usual Excel and Barbie liveried DDs. I only saw it heading towards Great Yarmouth, so I must have missed it heading towards the city earlier. I didn’t see the Dart at all, so 47505 may have been operating on the same diagram to cover for shortage/failure?'

Thanks for that Richard and I also suspected the same thing with 42920


EATM Recovery

Nicky Pursey contacted me yesterday regarding some bus antics at Beccles on Saturday afternoon. The East Anglia Transport Museum was running one of its regular outings to Beccles with one of their vehicles; former Eastern Counties Bristol FL6G 557BNG.

Some entertainment provided at Beccles Old Market Place on Saturday afternoon. Photo: Nicky Pursey
However, it was declared a failure at Beccles with TWO punctures, which meant ASW Recovery Services being summoned. Nicky said it was incredible watching the driver manoeuvring the vehicles around the Old Market Place effecting the recovery.

My thanks to Nicky for the photos and information. Meanwhile 557BNG was noted at the Museum on Sunday afternoon


Suffolk Norse

On my way back from the Trolleybus Weekend, on Sunday afternoon, I thought I would try and find the Lowestoft operating centre for Suffolk Norse. In the PSV Circle's Suffolk Fleet Publication it is listed as the Highways Depot, Mobbs Way, Oulton Broad Industrial Estate.

The three Suffolk Norse coaches parked up at the operating centre
Accordingly I turned off Yarmouth Road into Mobbs Way and continued to the western extent of the road and no sign of it! However, a small road off to the south led to the centre and three 'full sized' coaches were parked up. The trio comprised Alexander Dennis Enviros SN56AYL and SN56AYP with third being Dennis Javelin YO52FHJ.


Monday 26 September 2016

Trolleybus Weekend

This weekend saw the East Anglia Transport Museum hold their Trolleybus Weekend featuring all available vehicles from the fleet. As usual, On the Sunday I took advantage of the Park and Ride service from the Co-op store on Ashburnham Way and was rewarded with a trip on First's heritage liveried ALX 400 30888 (W743DWX)

Understandably the event concentrated on the trolleybuses at the museum where rides were available on the vehicles themselves

Accordingly a ride was secured on Maidstone Corporation Trolleybus 52 (LCD52) and, again, I did a double take when passing Ashton-under-Lyne trolley 87 (YTE826) painted in similar colours to the old Great Yarmouth Corporation livery!

Next up was the Dennis Lancet UF YYB118 in the colours of Somerset independent Hutching and Cornelius - a very enjoyable ride with a number of circuits around the site

Also on display was Sheffield Transport No 513, a Roberts car dating from 1950. It was moved from Blackpool to the EATM in early 2011 on long term loan from Beamish but due to operational difficulties the tram is unable to run the full length of the track 

The visiting buses included a Midland Red coach on the Saturday, a London Transport Green Line RF on both days plus a former Eastern National Bristol Lodekka FLF6G on the Sunday.

Unfortunately I missed the first mentioned vehicle, but thankfully Tim Major provides a photo of the Midland Red BMMO C5 4780 780GHA in the Museum car park. I can just about remember these C5's arriving at Beach Coach Station in the early 1960s from the West Midlands

The Green Line RF was Metro Cammel bodied AEC Regal MLL818 new to London Transport in September 1952 being based at Dorking garage. RF218 was withdrawn from service at Addlestone in August 1977, being acquired for preservation two months later

The third visitor was NTW942C an ex-Eastern National Bristol FLF Lodekka with an Eastern Coach Works body dating from 1965.

My thanks to Tim for the photo and for the private viewing of former Lowestoft decker 918NRT currently undergoing restoration


Sunday 25 September 2016

Bury's Buses

A visit to Bury St Edmunds yesterday and I noted some changes there since my last time there in early August last year. The front part of the travel office at the bus station hads been divided off and available for lease whilst the waiting area and toilets at the rear were retained for passenger use.

Stephensons continue to operate Bury town services since it 'breezed' into the town in October 2011. However, the Darts employed then appear to have been replaced by ADL Enviro200s with 431-4 (EU10NVP/R/S/T) being noted. These newer saloons had been transferred in from use on 'the Blackwater Link' between Witham and Maldon with two of them still branded as such.

I also observed two of Stephensons single deckers branded for its Suffolk Rider service which runs from Newmarket to Bury via Mildenhall; they were Enviro200s EU60CBF and YX11CTU.

Often one of the operator's deckers is seen and yesterday was no different with ex Transdev/London Sovereign Scania N94UD/East Lancs YN55NKH putting in an appearance.

 On my last visit, Stagecoach East was employing similar vehicles on its service 11 between Cambridge and Bury but this time Enviro400s were employed with 15458/61 (AE09GYF/N) and 19164 (MX07MNF) being observed. The latter was wearing the Cancer Research livery. Volvo B7BLE/Wright Eclipse Urban 2 21227 (AE09GYX) also worked the route.

Mulleys of Ixworth continues to operate local services and can often be relied upon to provide unusual buses in their orange livery. A trio of former Nottingham Scania CN94UBs were viewed including YN54AHA/D/E, but the star of the show was decker MUI7949. This was a former Dublin Bus Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL thought to have been new to them in December 2001/January 2002 as their 01 D 10202. The registration, incidentally, was previously used on ex Anglianbus R86EMB when operated by Mulleys.

Chambers was employing ex Metrobus Scania Omnidekkas on the 753 route between Bury and Sudbury with YN55PZD/E/G being recorded - these are from the same batch that saw three moved to Anglianbus. Chambers Enviro200 EY57FZE was laying over at the bus station at lunchtime.

Other operator's vehicles regularly arriving included Coach Services, Galloways and Simonds with the first named utilising deckers Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL X509EGK and ex Stagecoach London Scania LX59CPK.

National Express also serve the town with Whippets Volvo B9R bodied Caetano Levante BK15AKF seen heading off to Stansted Airport.

The odd day tripper also looks in with Andrews of Foxton Scania/Irizar RUI9414 paying a visit.


First Great Yarmouth Update

News from First Great Yarmouth is that two Wright Eclipse Geminis have headed back to Norwich this morning following a loan period. With the end of seasonal service 3, the local PVR has reduced meaning the return of 36172/80 (BD11CFV/Z) to the 'Fine City'

Volvo B9 BD11 CDZ on Regent Road heading for Norwich on the X1 on 30th June
 In addition, two Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TLs have also transferred on loan to Norwich. They are 32205/12 (LT52WTL/V) which currently leaves only three Presidents at Caister Road (excluding the open topper)

LT52WTV ready to turn from Regent Road into King Street on 6th August
 My thanks to our friends at First Great Yarmouth for the news update


Reynolds Latest

Further to Roy's post last week regarding Reynolds Dennis Javelin BIG8773 being up for sale, it looks as though the sale has quickly gone through as it was noted this morning wearing trade plates and its registration taped over and had left the Ormesby Road garage for pastures new around 11.00am, i did just happen to be on my way home and noticed it!
Lady Lisa about to head off to her new home.
Also at the garage was one of the latest arrivals AT55CZJ now wearing full livery and fleetnames, along with all the Reynolds fleet it has gained a name and it is now Lady Clio-Grace.

I recently contacted Mr Reynolds and myself and Roy have been invited to meet up in the near future to speak about the latest arrivals and have a look around.


Friday 23 September 2016

Thursday in the City

A Day off work so i decided to venture across to Norwich to catch up with photos and a lunch appointment with First Eastern Counties newly appointed Head of Operations Chris Speed, most of you will know i have been friends with Chris for many years and its good to hear how things are progressing at First and what is in the pipeline for the company.
66982 KX05MHL now wearing Yellow line livery.
First on my list to photograph were the two former Turquoise line liveried Volvo B7RLE's 66980/66982 which have just been repainted into Yellow for the upcoming timetable changes for Norwich next week. Regarding repaints, Two more Volvo B9TL's are currently at Simon Morris in Ipswich gaining Blue Line colours, 36174 & 36176 are the final two to be done. 36171 & 36173 will be gaining Turquoise livery once the Blues are completed

My first 66 plate Coach was noted outside Castle Mall, YN66WTE a Scania belonging to K&E Horton of Wolverhampton was collecting passengers on a Just Go Tour.

Another coach at Castle Mall was a local visitor, PO15AZU is a Mercedes minicoach belonging to Richards of Guist in West Norfolk, it was new to them in April 2015.

Final shot is Awaydays recent Open top arrival X589EGX pictured in a sunny Theatre Street collecting passengers for a tour around the city, both open top vehicles were in use yesterday, Olympian G520VBB was also enjoying the September sun.


Its that time of the year again

Once again its time for a local farm to increase its workforce. Hirsts Farm in Ormesby St Margaret has supplied us with posts in the past regarding vehicles used to transport workers to its site and the first two of this season were noted yesterday in the village.
The vehicles are operated by Shropshires of Barway in Cambridgeshire. Two were noted yesterday, Olympians V181KRL and ex London Central NV14 and latterly Aintree Coachlines N414JBV.


Thursday 22 September 2016

Bus Changes

As the seasons change so do the local bus timetables with Anglianbus, First and Konectbus all publishing changes to local services on their websites

First Eastern Counties
From Sunday 25th September, the 1 & 1A First Eastern Counties service along the east coast will be changing to its autumn & winter timetable. This means that 1B buses between Hemsby Beach and Great Yarmouth will no longer operate.

However, there will be a bus up to every 30 minutes during Mondays to Saturdays during the day along the main route between Martham - Hemsby - Caister - Great Yarmouth - Gorleston - James Paget Hospital  - Lowestoft, with buses up to every hour on Sundays.

The full timetable can be downloaded or viewed HERE

From Monday 3rd October Anglianbus revised bus timetables will operate on the following routes:-
61 Kessingland - Lowestoft - Gorleston - Great Yarmouth - Barrack Estate
A revised timetable will be in operation to aid punctuality with all journeys will operating through Kessingland village in both directions. Buses will continue to connect with Konectbus 7 at Great Yarmouth Market Gates for Norwich.
87/88/X88 Halesworth - Bungay - Poringland - Norwich
The afternoon 87, 88 and X88 departure times are being revised to aid punctuality during the afternoon peak. Additionally the 21:30 87 service from Norwich to Bungay will run 30 minutes later in response to the request for a later bus.
88A Southwold - Halesworth
The 1715 88A service from Halesworth will operate 10 minutes later at 1725.

Timetables are available HERE on the Anglianbus website

Also from Monday 3rd October Konectbus revises its timetables on the 7 and 71 routes
7 Great Yarmouth - Postwick Park & Ride - Norwich
A revised timetable will be in operation with buses departing Great Yarmouth Market Gates at 20 and 50 minutes past the hour. Theywill continue to leave Norwich Bus Station at 10 and 40 minutes past the hour. The last bus back from Norwich Bus Station to Great Yarmouth will be at 1840. Buses will continue to connect with Anglianbus 61 from/for Gorleston, Lowestoft and Kessingland with through tickets being available.
71 Wroxham - Great Yarmouth
A revised timetable will operate with the service being renumbered 73.

Timetables are available HERE on the Konectbus website


Wednesday 21 September 2016

Something For The Weekend!

Regularly at this time of the year, the East Anglia Transport Museum holds an end of season event

This year's Trolleybus Weekend will see all available vehicles from the fleet in use and, as the nights begin to draw in, there will be running after dark on the Saturday.

As usual, the free park and ride service will run from the Co-op food store on Ashburnham Way in Lowestoft, with bus services to Beccles and Lowestoft also operating

There will also be the BBQ in the park plus trade stands along with static exhibitions and visiting vehicles. This promises to be a busy weekend for vehicle enthusiasts and families alike.

Opening times are 12 noon to 9pm on Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sunday.

The Museum's website can be viewed HERE


Tuesday 20 September 2016

Javelin Disposals

A perusal of the latest Route One Vehicles database reveals three 'local' coaches available for disposal

BIG8773 Lady Lisa at Reynolds' Ormesby Road yard in Caister during July 2016
The first is Reynolds of Caister Plaxton Premiere bodied Denis Javelin BIG8773. Previously owned by the Ministry of Defence, Reynolds acquired the 41 seater in August 2010

Also on the list is two 53 seated Denis Javelin/ Berkhof Axial vehicles currently owned by Smiths Coaches of Blofield. Whilst there is no identifying photos, they are believed to be RIL3846 and either L18SLT or L88SLT


Sunday 18 September 2016

Eastern Counties In Gorleston!

On Thursday last I was contacted by 'Reg Vardy' offering me a place on the Ipswich Transport Museum's bus to the North Norfolk Railway's 1940s weekend. Whilst the Saturday definitely wouldn't be a goer for me, the Sunday might be ok - until a family commitment put paid to that!

LL407 (KAH407) running a little late on Crab Lane in Gorleston
However, I was provided with a timing so that I could get a photo opportunity of an Eastern Counties LL travelling through Gorleston on a Sunday morning.  KAH407, a 1949 example of a Bristol L chassis with Eastern Coach Works 35 seater bodywork, was running a little late though.

The rear of the Bristol LL heading east on Crab Lane on its way to Holt
The rear entrance bus carried fleetnumber LL407 until becoming LL907 in 1964. It was withdrawn a year later and passed to dealer Ben Jordan of Coltishall. It then moved on to Drewery of Chigwell, and then Winlon Autos of Harrow before being purchased for preservation by the West of England Transport Museum, Winkleigh in October 1969.

It was acquired by Ipswich Transport Museum in January 1977 after ownership by two different Northampton based preservationists. After a full restoration KAH407 returned to service in 2001.

My thanks to Reg for the invite and updates and also to the Ipswich Transport Society for the history of LL407


Saturday 17 September 2016

Beach Early Evening

Robert Kelly looked in at Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station earlier this evening, prior to the fading light, and he took pictures of three of the coaches on site

The first was of newly registered Mercedes Benz Tourismo BO66AVY of West Midlands based Bowens Coaches

Second up was Lancashire based AVA Coach's Volvo B12BT F6AVA, which was on hire to Alfa Travel. It was new to Mills S&S (Yorkshire Rose Coaches) of Barnsley as YR09HOL

The last of the trio was a Van Hool Alicron T917 coach registered A9XLA This coach was new to Parry of Cheslyn Hay in the West Midlands as YJ57EYP. Now operated by Limited of Chirk in Wrexham as shown by the logo on the side of the vehicle

My thanks to Robert for the photos


Friday 16 September 2016

Caister Road Visitors

Many of you will know that First Norwich buses have their annual MOT inspection at Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot.

Today was no different as a couple of their vehicles were at the seaside depot this morning with White Line Gemini 36173 (BD11CFX) calling in for its yearly assessment

Also to add some colour, Yellow Line Volvo B7RLE / Wright Eclipse Urban 66982 (KX05MHL) was present following its recent repaint from Turquoise. It is not known why it was at Caister Road

My thanks to regular contributor Roger Bellward for his pictures


Thursday 15 September 2016

Hour In Town

This morning I had an hour free to catch up on activity in Great Yarmouth town centre and was hopeful of obtaining a photo of a Borderbus Gemini and a picture of an Our Bus new working

Arriving in Regent Road, I observed one of the said Geminis awaiting time for its 09:35 departure for Bungay. It was LF52ZPB which was new to London General in December 2002. That's one ticked off the list then!

After a bit of shopping, I popped back to the bus terminus in time to see noisy ex First Leicester Gemini KP54KAX about to leave on the 2 to the Barrack Estate. Before the route was split, earlier this year, it became very rare to see a decker on the route. This morning two consecutive departures to the Barracks were worked by deckers

 My second goal of the morning was to get a photo of the Our Bus 271 Hemsby Beach to Great Yarmouth service, which started on the 30th August last. The service involves two outward and return journeys on Mondays to Fridays and I was surprised to see a new addition to the Our Bus fleet in charge. Optare Solo CN54HFD was employed on 09:45 Hemsby departure and seemed to be well patronised. The Solo was noted on the internet as still being part of the Chippenham based Faresaver fleet in September 2016, so a very new acquisition. With the second one also ticked off I had accomplished both of the tasks I set out to achieve!


Wednesday 14 September 2016

Service Alterations Registered ~ 14th September 2016

The East of England Traffic Commissioner published his latest Notice & Proceedings Report this morning with only two items of interest concerning alterations to local services

Applications to Vary Existing Services Granted Under Short Notice
Ambassador's FJ09DXC in Bury St Edmunds in August
last year on the 491 National Express service to Lowestoft
First Eastern Counties has retrospectively lodged an application to amend the route, stopping places and timetable of its 881 service between Worlingham and Gorleston's East Norfolk Sixth Form College from 4th September 2016

Cancellations of Existing Services
National Express is to cancel its 491 service between Lowestoft and London Victoria from 31st October 2016. The three times daily service is operated by Ambassador Travel and runs via Gorleston and Great Yarmouth

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


Tuesday 13 September 2016

Arriva in Town

Simon Taylor was driving past Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station 'this morning and saw a rather eye catching coach from Arriva Bus and Coach.

After speaking with the driver he found it was a demonstrator being used by Johnsons Brothers Tours of Worksop in Derbyshire. It arrived at their yard on Friday

YJ16EPX is a Van Hool EX and its specification is apparently £30,000 cheaper than most models in its range. It was recently used by Premiere of Crawley

Simon says 'I'm not a usually a one for coaches but I did like bumping into this one this morning'.

My thanks to Simon for his consent to reproduce the photos on the blog and to Paul Talisman for the corrected information


Spratt's Loanee

Another regular contributor has contacted me regarding changes at Norfolk operator Spratt's of Wreningham. Kevan Portas informs me that the business is currently in the process of updating its fleet with some vehicles being sold

 To tide Spratt's over until replacements arrive, they have hired this Bedford YNT from one of their own drivers Simon More who is based at Rollesby. Simon is using the vehicle himself on route 7 in and out of Stalham's High and Middle Schools.

A400NNK may be familiar to some of the locals as it was originally owned by Kenninghall based Turner and Butcher, which ceased trading after the brothers took retirement early last year. New to Trincia of London WC2 in October 1983, it more recently saw use with Norfolk Coachways

My thanks to Kevan for the photo which was taken with Simon's permission


Freestones New Arrival

Regular contributor Tom Baker has emailed with some photos of the latest addition to the Freestones Coaches fleet

It's an Irizar bodied Scania K440EB4 with the registration YR10BBK, which was new to Olympus of Harlow in October 2010. The Scania has also seen use with Barry's Coaches of Weymouth

It will be primarily seen on Megabus duties although will also be used on other duties

My thanks to Tom Baker for the information and the selection of photos