Tuesday 31 January 2017

Tuesday Sightings

Earlier this afternoon I made a quick visit to Great Yarmouth to see what was lurking about!

My first observation was that of a Shearings Holidays Setra parked up on Marine Parade. BK10EJN (fleet number 209) was noted outside the SeaLife Centre.

I continued on to Beach Coach Station to witness the Bernard Matthews contract workings. No sooner had I arrived then National Holidays Setra NH14FBH passed me empty heading southbound along Nelson Road North.

As for the Bernard Matthews trips they yielded nothing spectacular; the usual Plaxton Paragon WV02EUP was followed by two former First Leicester ALX400s


Thursday 26 January 2017

#TBT Throw Back Thursday ~ Interlopers

The coach lay over area at Eastern Counties former Wellington Road Bus Station could often be relied upon to provide the odd surprise or two.

And so it was on on 15th June 1984 when an Eastern National Leyland National was seen in the form of MHJ732V. It had worked the Fridays only 815 Highwayman service leaving Harwich at 08:45 that morning. What an 'pleasantly interesting' journey for passengers that must have been!

On the extreme left of the photo (also above) is Potteries Motor Traction (PMT) Plaxton Paramount bodied Leyland Tiger ERF72Y - new as its 72 in June 1983. Note the company's marketing ploy in coming up with the PMT name in ParaMounT. It later migrated north of the border finding work with Midland Bluebird receiving the cherished number plate GSU338. Making up the numbers is an unidentified Eastern Counties LL

My apologies for the quality of the photos


Wednesday 25 January 2017

Another Demonstrator For BorderBus

Yesterday BorderBus took delivery of another double deck demonstrator bus for evaluation purposes. Alexander Dennis Enviro400 City SN66 WLK is the third demonstrator the Beccles operator has trialled in the last seven months.

SN66WLK, which was displayed at the Euro Bus Expo 2016 exhibition at Birmingham's NEC, was out in service today on the BorderBus 146 route between Norwich and Southwold and I got some photos of it at Beccles earlier this morning.

The vehicle retains the main features of the Enviro400 with a raked, wrap-round driver’s windscreen with the wipers recessed at the top. Additionally it has a stylish glazed stairwell plus a shallow upper deck windscreen which, combined with other design features, significantly reduces 'solar gain' in warm weather.

The Enviro400 City is powered by a 6.7 litre Euro6 Cummins engine and is lighter and more fuel-efficient than other double-deck vehicles in its class. It also has a glazed sunroof, coach-style high-backed leather seating as well as USB power sockets.


Service Alterations Registered ~ 25th January 2017

The Eastern Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceeding Report, affecting local bus services in our area, was published earlier this morning.

As already previously reported, Konectbus is cancelling a number of services from 12th March 2017 and they include:-
7 Caister on Sea to Norwich via Great Yarmouth               51 Pilson Green to Norwich
52 Acle to Cringleford                                                         53 Wroxham to Queens Hill, Costessey
73 Wroxham to Great Yarmouth
Further details can be seen HERE in yesterday's post on the blog

Coastal Accessible Transport is to vary its current service by altering the boundaries of operation to exclude Tunstall, Campsea Ash and Wickham Market in the North and Martlesham, Waldringfield, Newbourne and Hemley in the South. The changes are due to take effect from 20th February 2017

The complete report can be viewed HERE


Tuesday 24 January 2017

Revised Konectbus Services

The Konectbus website states that from Sunday 12 March 2017 there are to be significant service changes across the Konectbus network affecting local routes 7, 51, 52, 53 and 73.

The alterations mean Caister, Great Yarmouth and Acle are removed from the Konectbus network with alternatives provided by First. Also affected is the Horning, Wroxham, Salhouse and Rackheath to Norwich service reduced to hourly intervals. The details affecting services in our local area are as follows:-

5 - Postwick P&R - Yarmouth Road - Norwich - Dereham Road - Queen's Hills
New Konectbus 5 combines the Konectbus 7 and 53. There will be a 15 minute frequency between Postwick, Yarmouth Road and Norwich with additional routes (Konectbus 5A /5B/5C) serving Yarmouth Road giving seven buses an hour.

5A - Blofield Heath - Brundall - Norwich - Eaton
New Konectbus 5A replaces service 52 with some minor timetable changes with Konectbus 5C providing additional services from/to Pilson Green and South Walsham.

5B - Horning - Wroxham - Dussindale - Norwich
New Konectbus 5B replaces service 53 and will operate on an hourly frequency

5C - Great Plumstead - Dussindale - Norwich
New Konectbus 5C replaces service 51.with journeys operating via Dussindale instead of Plumstead Road/Harvey Lane. Additional services from/to Pilson Green and South Walsham are provided by Konectbus 5A

One of the casualties is the withdrawal of the 7 between
Great Yarmouth and Norwich leaving the route solely in
the hands of First 
7 - Great Yarmouth - Acle - Postwick P&R - Norwich
The service between Caister, Great Yarmouth and Postwick Park & Ride will be withdrawn. Postwick Park & Ride to Norwich via Yarmouth Road will be catered for by the new Konectbus 5 every 15 minutes. Passengers travelling from Caister, Great Yarmouth and Acle to Norwich have First's 8/X1/X11 services as an alternative

51 - Great Plumstead - Norwich
Replaced by Konectbus 5C . 

52 - Blofield Heath - Brundall - Norwich - Eaton
Replaced by Konectbus 5A .

53 - Horning - Wroxham - Dussindale - Norwich - Queen's Hills

Replaced by Konectbus 5B/5C (Horning/Plumsteads - Dussindale - Norwich) and Konectbus 5 (Queen's Hills - Norwich) .

73 Wroxham - Caister - Great Yarmouth (for Norwich)
This service will be withdrawn with passengers travelling from Caister, Great Yarmouth and Acle to Norwich having to use First's 8/X1/X11 services as an alternative,


Monday 23 January 2017

East Anglia Transport Museum ~ 2017 Events

The East Anglia Transport Museum at Carlton Colville has recently updated its website to include details of the following special events being held during 2017
The EATM's 2012 London Event

  • 15th and 16th April -  Easter Egg Hunt
  • 13th and 14th May - Mid May 40's Weekend
  • 18th June - Dad's Day Out
  • 8th and 9th July - ECW 30th Anniversary Weekend
  • 23rd and 24th September - Trolleybus Weekend
  • 29th October - Halloween
  • Dates to be confirmed - Santa Tram

Further information about the events, including park and ride services, can be found on the Museum's website


Thursday 19 January 2017

#TBT Throw Back Thursday DEX226T

This week's Throw Back Thursday features an Eastern Counties Bristol VR at the old Wellington Road Bus Station in Great Yarmouth

The photo was taken sometime during the summer of 1986 and shows DEX226T in an experimental livery being considered to replace the NBC poppy red. It was delivered new to Eastern Counties in February 1979 as VR226 with an H43/31F Eastern Coach Works body. It lasted in service until 1998 when it was sent to Wigley (dealer) of Carlton for scrapping.

Another Former Great Yarmouth Bus Converts To Open Top

Further news from First South West is that a second ex First Great Yarmouth double decker has been converted to an open top bus

Following hard on the heels of the conversion of Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL 32207 (LT52WTN), sister 32202 (LT52WTG) has also received the same treatment.

My thanks again are due to First South West Business Director Marc MorganHuws for the information and for supplying the photo.

Ex Great Yarmouth President LT52WTG with a service 8 diversion on Crab Lane, Gorleston on 18th February 2013

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Service Alterations Registered ~ 18th January 2017 ... And More!!

For the third week running there has been no entries in the Notices and Proceeding Report affecting services in our local area. The Eastern Traffic Commissioner's Report for the 18th January 2017 can be viewed HERE

Konectbus SN65OAU on the 7 at Market Gates in July 2016
However, a recent query of the Government's Vehicle Operating Licensing site has revealed the cancellation of a number of services operated by Konectbus in the Great Yarmouth and Norwich areas including the 7 Caister to Norwich Bus Station service, operating via Great Yarmouth's Market Gates and Norwich's Postwick Park & Ride. This tactical withdrawal leaves First as the only operator along the Great Yarmouth to Norwich corridor after the 12th March 2017. The Dereham operator is also to cease running the 52 Acle to Cringleford  and the 73 Norwich St Stephen's Street to Caister services from the same date.

Presumably this will mean the end of any of the Go Ahead subsidiaries involvement with the A47 route in which First's operation was initially challenged by Anglianbus. Konectbus began the new 7 route in late July 2016


Tuesday 17 January 2017

A new look for LT52WTN
More On First Kernow Open Topper

Following Saturday's post concerning the conversion of a former First Great Yarmouth President into an open-topper, I have been provided with more information by Marc MorganHuws who is the Business Director for First South West.

He tells me that 32207 (LT52WTN) will be one of nine such buses specially converted for use on four Atlantic Coaster routes. These are the all year round Service 1 between Penzance and Lands End plus the 17 connecting Boscaswell and St Ives. The other two are the 57 from Newquay to St Ives and the 300 St Ives to Lands End seasonal routes.

Marc has also provided additional photos which may be of interest including a couple showing what the new livery will look like.
The open top of  LT52WTN showing the seating fitted beneath the front canopy

The above photo shows the final livery on one of the closed toppers 33177 (LR02LYW) and also provided is a picture of what the front looks like as well.

Finally I would like to express my thanks to Marc MorganHuws for his help with this article and for the supply of photos.


Saturday 14 January 2017

New Use For Ex Great Yarmouth President

LT52WTN in Magdalen Square
in Gorleston during March 2016
Many of our blog readers will be aware that a number of former First Great Yarmouth Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL's have moved on to First Kernow

First 32207 (LT52WTN) left Caister Road for Norwich in May last year prior to moving to the south west. After a period of use in Cornwall it is now being converted into an open topper

Work began late last year with progress being reported on First Kernow's Facebook site which can be viewed HERE

The above photos, showing the conversion, were uploaded to Facebook in early December and yesterday the company went public on the new colour scheme although no hint of the branding yet!

It looks like a two tone green livery which I must say looks similar to a variation of the Arriva colour scheme!

Richard Warwicker has subsequently been in touch and says 'Reading your first Kernow open top report I noticed near the end you've mentioned there being no hint of branding as yet. They are due to receive very similar branding as the closed toppers for the 56, as seen HERE on Flickr' 

My thanks to fellow blogger Sam Larke for bringing this information to my attention and to Richard Warwicker for supplying information on the branding. It would be nice if any of our readers could supply a photo when the work is completed


Friday 13 January 2017

Seafront Shearings

Yesterday afternoon whilst driving along Great Yarmouth's seafront I observed three touring coaches parked up

Shearings Holidays Tourismo BF15XPU in the latest version of the Grand Tourer livery with Setra BK10EJJ behind
Two Shearings Holiday's examples were noted outside the SeaLife Centre on Marine Parade both in Grand Tourer livery. They were Mercedes-Benz Tourismo 743 (BF15XPU) and Setra 207 (BK10EJJ)

On North Drive, close to the Britannia Pier, was National Holidays Setra NH14DBH


Thursday 12 January 2017

#TBT Throw Back Thursday ~ Norfolk Motor Services

Subsequent to my posting of the 14th November 2016, regarding the passing of Norfolk Motor Services (NMS) owner Alfred Blackbourn, further information has come to light on the history of the company.

Norfolk Motor Service's Fullers Hill site was badly affect by
fire in August 1984 destroying four coaches 
The January 2017 issue of the Ipswich Transport Society Journal reports that the move of Alfred and his father to Great Yarmouth in 1946 led to them buying the Norfolk Motor Services business. It was acquired from Robert Potter who established the firm at Cobbs Place off Middle Market Road during 1925.

NMS subsequently introduced a Great Yarmouth to London express operation which later ran in conjunction with Grey Green's service. Additionally operated on summer weekends was a service from Great Yarmouth to Southsea

The Norfolk Motor Services' Fullers Hill site on 25th March 1985 with two Plaxton bodied Ford R1114's present.
On the left are the burnt out remains of DEX623T (new April 1979) with then extant YEX127S (new April 1978) 
Norfolk Motor Services later passed to the Diamond Jersey Group which ceased in March 1985 following a fire at the Fullers Hill premises the previous summer. However, the successful UK and Continental holiday tours business, Sunrise Holidays, was sold to Norwich Travel agents Sterling Holidays. The tour business continues today with Ambassador's coaches regularly seen sporting Sunrise Holidays branding.

My thanks to the Ipswich Transport Society for the additional information - their Facebook site, which includes many local photos, can be found here


Wednesday 11 January 2017

Service Alterations Registered ~ 11th January 2017

For the second successive week there has been no entries in the Notices and Proceeding Report affecting services in our local area. The Eastern Traffic Commissioner's Report for the 4th January 2017 can be viewed HERE whilst today's publication may be seen HERE


Monday 9 January 2017

Seek And Ye Shall Find

FJ08FYN on Bernard Matthews duty this afternoon
passing Beach Coach Station in the rain 
Three posts earlier I highlighted the fact that Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TLs 30887 (W742DWX) and 30902 (W757DWX) had moved from Lowestoft to Great Yarmouth at the year end for contract work as they are no longer DDA compliant. I went in search for one or both of them again earlier this afternoon.

There I was standing on Nelson Road North in the drizzling rain hoping an appearance would be made on the Bernard Matthews workings but alas no show by either with unbranded Wright Gemini 37562 (FJ08FYN) leading the show. The other two were ex First Leicester ALX400s.

Volvo B7TL/ Alexander ALX400 30887 (W742DWX) in the rear yard at Caister Road depot
On my return home, I decided to look in on Caister Road depot's rear yard and I could see a decker peeping over the wall. Yes it was W742DWX, which was keeping company with Plaxton Paragon 20500 (AO02RBX). I have it on good authority that both 30887 and 30902 are living on borrowed time now with a one way journey expected very soon! 


Thursday 5 January 2017

Throw Back Thursday ~ Cobholm Hire

Cover of the September 1979 issue
of Terminus
Around this time every year I undertake a cull of magazines acquired over the past twelve months with the aim of moving them on to a neighbour or local groups associated with buses and railways. This year the task is a little more onerous as in October we had some fitted wardrobes installed leading to the discovery of 'mountains' of others I hadn't tackled previously!

Surprisingly I came across some old copies of the Eastern Counties Omnibus Society's Terminus magazine with the September 1979 issue containing an article on the then current fleet of Cobholm Hire trading as Caroline Seagull. I reproduce it here for interest

'Now the largest coaching firm in Great Yarmouth, it was started 25 years ago by Maddison and Mays at Cobholm with two small coaches (incidentally Caroline Coaches was named after Mr Maddison's daughter) By the acquisition of Lake of Halvergate in 1955 the fleet rose to six.
Two former Tyne & Wear (Economic) Reliances 902FUP and 901FUP at a wintry High Mill Road yard in Cobholm
Cobholm Hire's ex London RTL MXX87

Growth was gradual over the next twenty years until 
associate Mascot-Seagull Limited was formed which incorporated all the well known fleets in the resort i.e Hayletts 'Felix' and Sayers 'Grangeway' Coaches. Since 1977 the fleet had been incorporated into one unit.

Between 1964 and 1976 double deckers were to be found in the fleet including. a London RTL, a Crossville LD and two Oxford Lolines
(I often remember the last two being on hire to 'Counties' for a summer season often seen on standby on the St Peter's Road parking area)

A daily service operated from Moulton St Mary via Freethorpe into Great Yarmouth (often worked by the RTL on Saturdays). Race day services were provided from Marine Parade which was the focal point of the extensive excursion commitments controlled from the ex J Calver 'Seagull' office at Queen's Road. A miniature Harrington coach from the same source was also used for advertising its services.'
Some Cobholm Hire coaches including Duple bodied Bedford SB3 EEX4 new to Yaxley & Sayers in August 1960
A fleet list of 31 coaches was then provided which included three former Tyne & Wear Reliances and six ex East Kent examples; although two had by then received new bodywork. The December 1979 issue later reported that a total ten had been acquired from East Kent - some were robbed for spares

Ex East Kent Marshall bodied Reliance OFN732F outside the Queen's Road premises. It was new in June 1968
As for Terminus, it was in A4 format then and must have taken editor Mick Capon ages to type and set out which he undertook for a number of years. Mick continues his interest in buses on our local patch and keeps up to date by reading our blog in North Carolina. My thanks to Mick for all the efforts in putting together those issues of Terminus and hope we are now paying back all your hard work!


Wednesday 4 January 2017

In The News

With the local newspaper observing a tweet featuring a former Great Yarmouth bus, Grahame contacted the the Eastern Daily Press providing more details and a photo.

The report in today's edition featured ex London Transport Routemaster SMK717F (which has often been a subject on the blog) in its suspect version of the Great Yarmouth blue and cream livery

It also provided the opportunity to give the blog a plug which Grahame duly did! However, as is normal with the press they print what they thought they heard and not what is fact - even if you do provide a press release!

Nevertheless it gave the blog a creditable mention


Tuesday 3 January 2017

Bernie's Buses

With Grahame reporting that Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TLs 30887 (W742DWX) and 30902 (W757DWX) transferring from Lowestoft  to Great Yarmouth at the year end for contract work, I thought I would attempt to see if they were on the Bernard Matthews' run today.

No such luck earlier this afternoon, but I was fortunate in being able to get a photo of Plaxton Paragon 20514 (WV02EUP) in its latest colour scheme. Following sometime behind were former First Leicester duo 32064 (W224XBD) and 32062 (W422SRP)

Both 30887 and 30902 are presently not DDA compliant so are only available for contract work. Great Yarmouth's ALX400's 30900 (W774DWX) and 30901 (W756DWX) have moved in the opposite direction


Sunday 1 January 2017

Revisited Kings Lynn 2011

Seems hard to believe that 2011 is now six years ago,i remember this day out like it was only a few weeks ago. The Saturday in June 2011 was the last day of First's town operations in Kings Lynn leaving only the X1 service continuing the company presence in the West Norfolk town.
Optare Solo 53705 LK05DXT working town service 42.
The main town fleet for First was made up of a batch of short wheelbase Optare Solos transferred from First London, these have since moved to various other depots within First. A few ex Scottish Scanias also were allocated here plus ALX400's originally from Bradford.
20352 WA05UNE pictured at Vancouver Avenue, used as back up for the X1 service

Norfolk Green would take over all the town services and later become part of the Stagecoach group, they ran a very mixed fleet in 2006 with Optare Solo, Versa & Tempo making up the single deck fleet along with Agoralines purchased from Norfolk County Council whilst the double deck fleet was also Optare filled with a batch aquired from Reading Buses.
Solo MX55WCV wearing a special livery celebrating the M & GN Railway

Former Reading YG02FWD wearing a special livery promoting the Sport & Culture Festival in the town

Excel Geminis 37566 & 37569 about to depart to the East and West from the Bus Station
First still remain part of the Bus community in Kings Lynn working the X1 service now between Norwich and Peterborough, the scenery very different today with the livery of Stagecoach now very prominent along with newly installed independent Lynxbus.

A Very Happy New Year to everyone and especially to Roy who keeps this well oiled blog running and i will do my best to keep things rolling along also with my contributions.