Monday 31 October 2016

W437CWX Moves On

Earlier today Colin Thorne contacted me to say that W437CWX, the UK's last Volvo Olympian, was collected from Essex to begin the next chapter in its life, hopefully leading to its ultimate preservation

Retaining its First livery and fleet number 34110, it departed Great Yeldham this morning destined for its new Rotherham home for further restoration.

The new owner, who remains anonymous, will continue to keep in touch regarding progress and has promised to provide pictures of its arrival in South Yorkshire

My thanks to Colin for the information and photos of the decker's departure


Bernies Sightings

Another opportunity presented itself, earlier this afternoon, to observe Bernard Matthew contract workings on Nelson Road North

 On arrival, I was encouraged to see more workers than last time awaiting for the arrival of their transport. I was quite surprised that only Plaxton Paragon bodied Volvo B12M 20501 (AO02RBY) arrived which was clearly too small to take all the passengers!

Just before it took off, I saw a decker in the distance which arrived in the form of ex Leicester Citybus Volvo B7TL 32063 (W223XBD). Following immediately behind was numerically adjacent 32064 (W224XBD)

 It was good to see that the deckers were again in use on the contract


Sunday 30 October 2016

Norwich Sightings

Thursday took me to Norwich to catch up on the latest arrivals and repaints around the local operators. First sighting was a new arrival for Sanders working the X11 Express service.

DK09DZH is a Volvo B7RLE and has been aquired along with sister DK09DZD from GHA Coaches. Three Coaches have also recently been purchased, DA04GHA, FN09AMX & FN09APY.

First are beginning to apply new Network Norwich branding to the fleet and a few were noted out and about on my wanderings.

Trident 33060 LN51GJU in St. Stephens showing off its new branding, it carries a much larger version above the entrance door also.

Two Geminis are gaining a new Turquiose livery for service 13, 36173 BD11CFX is the first to return to service in its new look, 36171 is away being painted at the moment.

36195 BN12JYV in St. Stephens
Finally, Seven more Volvo B9TL's have arrived from First Leeds after a brief spell on loan in the South to assist with Rail Replacement duties. The following have all arrived so far,
36191 - BN12JYR
36192 - BN12JYS
36193 - BN12JYT
36194 - BN12JYU
36195 - BN12JYV
36196 - BN12JYW
36197 - BN12WNX

36194-36197 have all entered service this past week with 36193 heading to Simon Morris in Ipswich for repaint into Red Line livery, this will see the withdrawl of Tridents from the route also. 33057/33058 among the first to be stood down, its believed these will transfer elsewhere within Firstgroup.


Thursday 27 October 2016

Gorleston Sightings

A short outing to Gorleston High Street this afternoon where I observed BorderBus' recently acquired Alexander Dennis Enviro200 on the 580 to Beccles and Bungay.

YX09HZH on the 15:40 Great Yarmouth Market Gates to Bungay seen in Gorleston High Street
YX09HZH was new to Dunn Line in July 2009 which later passed to Veolia Transport and Tates Travel of Barnsley. Following the collapse of the South Yorkshire operator in February this year, the saloon found itself at bus dealers Ensign from where BorderBus acquired it last month

I made my way back through Shrublands Estate and was surprised to see a southbound First service to the James Paget Hospital using the southern part of Almond Road heading east! The only reason I could suggest that happening was that Forsythia Road was temporarily blocked; as the northbound service successfully negotiated its normal route only minutes later.


Wednesday 26 October 2016

Service Alterations Registered ~ 26th October 2016

With the Eastern Traffic Commissioner publishing his latest Notices and Proceedings Report earlier today, it's time for our fortnightly look at alterations to local services

A very quiet time for local changes with only a licence surrender to report. Jeremy Cushing and Darren Littlewood, trading as Our Hire at Englands Lane in Acle, has handed in one of their licences. This took effect from 13th October 2016 with all registered services running under that licence also surrendered with immediate effect. Our Hire continues to operate under another licence with permission for ten vehicles at its South Burlingham premises

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


Monday 24 October 2016

South West Convoy

Further to our earlier report on the move of Anglian's MAN 18.270 gas buses to the south west, they arrived at Reading Services last night for an overnight stop

Arrival at Reading Services during yesterday evening
This morning saw them them leave for Reading Buses depot for refuelling prior to continuing the second day of the journey to Plymouth

Refuelling underway at Reading Buses earlier today
En-route a stop was made at Taunton prior to the completion of their journey to Plymouth where they arrived later this afternoon

Two of the newcomers at Bretonside Bus Station in Plymouth

All twelve have safely arrived at their new home in Plymouth (the missing two are parked behind the camera!)
Driver Jason Beverley has been recording their journey to Plymouth and the pictures are reproduced with his consent. My thanks also to Graham Richardson of Plymothian Transit Bus Blog


Anglianbus Developments

The main news of the weekend was the departure of Anglian's gas buses to the south west of England but I was unable to be there to witness the event as I was in the Midlands visiting the outlaws!

Fortunately for me, our roving reporter Tim Miller was part of the 'stake out' to record their departure to Plymouth via an overnight stay at Reading Services. This morning they were due to refuel at Reading Buses before the last part of their journey to Devon's south coast

Trident T812RFG has returned to active duty

Their departure means the resurrection of Scanias OmniLinks 450/1/4/5 (YN07LFU/EZB, YT11LVF and AN61LAN). Five OmniCity buses also rejoin the active fleet, namely 458-62 YN05HFH/J/F/G and YN03WRJ. Former Brighton Trident 712 (T812RFG) also returns to service. This means the active fleet has now dropped to 28!

Finally my thanks to Tim Miller for the use of his photo and apologies for not being able to meet up on this occasion


Saturday 22 October 2016

Saturday Sightings

A trip over to Lowestoft this morning enabled me to grab a few shots whilst wandering around catching the latest Pokemon with my son Finlay, luckily all sightings corresponded to a Bus being nearby also!
WX62HHF pictured in Gordon Road

It was of course the last day of operations for Anglian's fleet of MAN Ecocity Gas Buses before they head off to their new home at Plymouth, i caught WX62HHF waiting its next run through to Yarmouth at the Bus Station.

Yarmouth based Volvo B7TL 32061 W221XBD was also spotted in use at Lowestoft today working the 99 to Southwold, seen above passing the Railway Station.

"Ivana" waiting to deliver its fuel load.

Final spot of the day was not Bus related but a very rare sight indeed for me in my home village of Ormesby St Margaret, seen delivering to the village Petrol station was Eddie Stobart Tanker PE64UTU "Ivana". We all know the popularity of this well known haulage company and it was certainly a surprise to see it this morning.


Friday 21 October 2016

Anglianbus Bits and Pieces

YN05HFF beside YN57HPU at Ellough depot in June 2014
As I won't be about to get some photos of the last gas bus workings tomorrow, I thought I would get some last pictures of them in service passing through Gorleston High Street this afternoon

I was a little slow in leaving the library when Scania Omnicity 460 (YN05HFF) passed me on a southbound 61 service to Kessingland. Quite a surprise as the latest fleetlist indicates it as withdrawn! Clearly Anglianbus are looking at resurrecting some of them to replace the departing gas buses

However, as the heavens began to open one of the MAN EcoCity buses appeared on the 71 to Belton in the form of AU62DWG. A lucky shot too as nobody got in the way as I stood undercover

 As I was about to leave my shelter for the car, the rain came down again and I was able to snap WX62HFU stopping for passengers outside the Boots store heading for Market Gates

Finally, I reported that all twelve active examples will be heading south on Sunday; it appears that the withdrawn example will be going too (on a low loader) as a source of spare parts


Thursday 20 October 2016

Former Local Goes Retro

A Former Anglianbus Volvo B7RLE has been treated to a makeover by its current owners Blackpool Transport. AU06BPO was new to Anglian in 2006 before being sold and passing to the North West company in 2010 along with others from the same batch.
Pictured by myself in Norwich with Anglian in September 2008
It has been repainted into the old traditional Green and Cream livery of Blackpool Transport and was revealed at a recent event in Blackpool and ran alongside many of the preserved vehicles that operated for the company.
Now 524 with Blackpool, pictured alongside the Tram lines.

Many Thanks go to David Warren for use of his excellent photgraphs.


Gas Buses Bow Out At Weekend

Anglianbus is to run its last gas bus operated services on Saturday before they move to the south west of England. The twelve Caetano bodied MAN vehicles will then begin their long journey to Plymouth on Sunday

WX62HHE arrives at Lowestoft Bus Station for the official launch on 3rd December 2013

Andrew Pursey cuts the ribbon at the official launch at
Lowestoft Bus Station on 3rd December 2012
During March 2012 the operator secured a £624,000 grant from the Government's Green Bus Fund for the acquisition of 13 new gas powered single deck buses for use throughout Norfolk and Suffolk. Six of the MAN EcoCity buses arrived in early December of that year and were immediately put to work on the then new 146 route between Lowestoft and Norwich

Eastnorfolkbus was at the official launch on the 3rd of December to see the then AnglianBus Managing Director Andrew Pursey cut the ribbon to unveil the new vehicles in the presence of MAN representatives

Six were delivered for the first day when I sampled a journey on WX62HHE, the 10:05 departure as far as Beccles; which provided a very quiet and smooth ride with almost a full load. One thing I did notice, however, was that the rear interior of the bus looked uninviting to passengers as the exterior contravision wrap made it look a little gloomy. That, thankfully, has long since been removed

WX62HGG in happier times at Norwich Bus Station
The thirteen were subsequently reduced to twelve following a rear end shunt on Acle New Road in March last year. As a result of the incident the chassis of WX62HGG was twisted and beyond repair with the vehicle being subsequently written off

The first in the fleet 100 WX62HHP at Market Gates in January 2014 - a favourite of blogger SteveW!
After some initial teething problems, they have reliably settled down in service and, at one time, the gas buses provided all of Anglian's Sunday services without the need to for any other vehicles. The transfer of 40% of the active fleet to Plymouth, however, will see a large gap in the number of vehicles available to Anglianbus to operate their services. Presumably we shall see some of the current inactive fleet returned to service from withdrawn status. There might also be the possibility of the transfer of buses from other Go Ahead subsidiaries. All speculation - with next week providing the answers to these questions

Further details are also available on the excellent Plymouth Transit blog which can be viewed HERE


Wednesday 19 October 2016

Tourismo Twosome

Yesterday afternoon saw two Mercedes Benz Tourismos at Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station

National Holidays' NH16HEH was accompanied by Alfa Travels' BU13ZTO


Tuesday 18 October 2016

Latest Gemini Repaint For First

The latest repaint for the Norwich Network to be completed in Gemini 37173 BD11CFX, it has gained the Turquoise line colours for service 13 which runs from the city to Spixworth, Attleborough and Wymondham.
36173 pictured outside Simon Morris in Ipswich.
It left Ipswich early this morning and was quickly reported on social media back in Norwich around lunchtime. Another visitor to Simon Morris was Streetdeck 35199 SK16GVY which had some bodywork whilst there. 36171 BD11CFU has now gone to Ipswich also to gain the new Turquoise livery.
Pastel shades in Ipswich this morning!
Another vehicle currently at Simon Morris for repaint is Volvo B7L 66333 MV02VBY which has been repanelled and is awaiting is turn to be outshopped in the latest livery.

Many Thanks to David Warren for the excellent photographs.


Sunday 16 October 2016

Saturday in the City

Firstly apologies for the dearth of posts on the blog lately - due to a lack of activity on my part plus not much happening locally at the moment!

Saturday meant a trip to the Fine City during which some observations were carried out using the short amount of time available. The first photo is one of the yellow line deckers which I hadn't captured on film before; President 32106 (LT02ZCV) was being employed on the 28 to/from Thorpe Marriott

Continuing my stroll along St Stephen's  Street, I was fortunate in snapping National Express Volvo B9R/Caetano Levante FJ11WLN negotiating the roundabout on its way to the bus station to work the 13:20 to Brighton 727 service. Also about to depart the bus station was Freestones' Scania/Irizar YT62HTX on the 13:10 to London Victoria

Another notable occupant was Stagecoach East Enviro300 27642 (GX10HBU) on the X29 to Fakenham - a second similar ex Stagecoach South 27644 (GX10HBZ) was also seen on the route at Castle Meadow. Both were previosly used on the 700 Coastliner route whilst on the south coast

Awaydays' recent arrival Volvo B7TL/Plaxton President X589EGX was in use on the City Sightseeing service complete with its new registration 100BGO

Finally, as I was about to return to shopping duties, former Caister Road stalwart President 32213 (LT52WTW) arrived on a purple line duty


Thursday 13 October 2016

Service Alterations Registered ~ 12th October 2016

Time for our fortnightly look at future changes to our local bus services following the latest Notice & Proceedings Report published yesterday by the East of England Traffic Commissioner

Registration of New Services
Whincop of Peasenhall has retrospectively registered schoolday service TM02 between Orchard Valley, Holton and Thomas Mills High School, Framlingham via Bramfield, Yoxford and Peasenhall commencing from 30th Setember 2016

New Applications Received
Jubilee Coaches (Rollesby) Limited have submitted an application for the use of Jubilee Farm at Fleggburgh Road in Rollesby as an operating centre for five vehicles

Variation Applications Granted
Bus and Us Limited of Melton Constable has been given approval to increase the number of vehicles at its operating centre at Vicarage Farm in Briston to four

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


Wednesday 12 October 2016

First 34110 Saved Again!

Following a conversation with Colin Thorne earlier this evening, I am pleased to report that ex First Olympian 34110 (W437CWX) has been saved again from the attention of the scrapman

Olympian 34110 leaves Caister Road for the last time on 3rd November 2015
Following its availability being advertised on the Preserved Owners Facebook Group, a preservationist from Yorkshire has come forward to purchase 34110 for further restoration. Whilst the new owner wishes to remain anonymous for the time being, Colin assures me that he is very genuine person with a proven track record.

W437CWX starts its jouney south to Great Yeldham 
I would like to thank Colin for keeping me informed all along the way and for stepping forward in the first place to save the Olympian from being disposed of at Caister Road


Saturday 8 October 2016

Driver Trainer ~ Worthing

Our last blog post from down south features a Stagecoach South driver training vehicle. The operator has four Volvo B10M coaches which it uses as driver trainers and one of them is 52618 (411DCD) based at Worthing. The others are located at Aldershot, Basingstoke and Portsmouth

Moments after taking the photo yesterday on South Street in Worthing, Metrobus Scania OmniCity 6559 (YN07LKF) appeared on the half hourly 23 service from Crawley


Thursday 6 October 2016

London Liveries

Most of today was spent in the big city with some time to spare for photos and observations whilst the other half had some retail therapy with our daughter

I decided to set up shop at the busy Oxford Street/ Tottenham Court Road junction and after only just a few minutes of snapping London's red buses, I was getting a little bored and therefore confined myself to pictures of double deckers with an advertising theme and I hope you enjoy the selection

Finally a photo of Tressor Paris Volvo B7TL / Plaxton President T23SOR - this was previously registered X598EGK which was new to London General in February 2001


Wednesday 5 October 2016

Bluebird in Worthing

On the way to the local Range store in Worthing earlier today, I came across this former Bluebird bus which has been acquired by Compass Bus

Apparently Compass has purchased the SussexBus operation and began running the latter's services from the 3rd October with PP57BLU being one of the vehicles acquired from Ensign to cover the additional routes. It has also appeared on Worthing route 16 from South Lancing over the last couple of days too

It's an MCV bodied Alexander Dennis200 forty seater new to Dunstan of Middleton (trading as Blubird in the Manchester area) in October 2007. The business was subsequently acquired by Stagecoach and hence the reason for its Stagecoach livery in the photo


Olympian Shock

This morning I have received some surprising news from Colin Thorne concerning the former First Eastern Counties Olympian 34110 (W437CWX) in that he has decided to withdraw from the project.

Colin's financial circumstances have changed during the past year and as things currently stand he is unable to make any serious progress with it. His abandoning of the project has been due to lack of finances and engineers prioritising other work. It is also forcing one of his other vehicles off the road as he has had to use the legal tyres off another. This means he has to keep a perfectly usable vehicle off the road for 34110 which is nowhere near roadworthy and won't be for sometime yet.

It was thought that with the impending uncertainty with the Great Yeldham site would mean the need for legal tyres on 34110 to take it on the road to another site. However. he is frustrated by having the other vehicle off the road so he will be replacing 34110s tyres with illegal ones again

He considers that realistically 34110 does need a massive amount of work with the corrosion bad enough to justify scrapping. As mentioned on the blog previously, there's holes in the chassis over the rear axle which weren't seen until the wheels were removed.  That's without a lot of mechanical work required too including brakes and airbags He says if it wasn't for it being the last UK Olympian he would simply walk away and scrap it!

Scrapping is an absolute final resort option though  as it has been advertised on the preserved owners group on Facebook. He is currently not in a rush to make that decision so there is some breathing time yet

If there is anyone or group wishing to take this project forward please do not hesitate to contact Colin via email at

My thanks to Colin Thorne for contacting me regarding the sad news and I just hope someone else with a lot of enthusiasm and money (!!) takes it on