Wednesday 30 May 2018

Beach Coach Station Nine

There were nine coaches at Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach when I passed earlier today. As expected the gathering featured members from the Shearings, National Holidays and Alfa Travel fleets.

Shearings Holidays were represented by Setra 316 (BK11CPF) whilst National Holidays had regular visitor Mercedes Benz Tourismo NH15LDH and Setra NH13NWH parked up.

The last named was accompanied by Alfa Travel's Mercedes Benz Tourismo 65 (BN12CLU)


Service Alterations Registered ~ 30th May 2018

Today's Notices & Proceedings Report, published by the Eastern of England Traffic Commissioner, includes proposed changes to the local bus network by Konectbus 

The operator is making alterations to its 83, 84 and 87/88 services from the 1st July 2018. The 83 and 84 between Harleston and Norwich will see changes to the route, stopping places and timetable. Similarly affected is the company's 87/88 routes between Southwold and Halesworth plus its Halesworth to Norwich services.
The full report will be available soon on the Traffic Commissioner's website.


Monday 28 May 2018

Darting to the Paintshops

I understand from First Eastern Counties that work is restarting on the repaint of Lowestoft Darts (those not already treated) into First Olympia livery.

SN05EAE at Gordon Road in Lowestoft prior to turning into the bus station earlier this month on 3rd May
Alexander Pointer bodied 42926 SN05EAE has made the journey south to Ipswich and is to receive its new colour scheme very shortly.


Sunday 27 May 2018

Visit to Cromer & Sheringham

A pleasant few hours were spent on the North Norfolk coast yesterday to catch up on the latest Sanders Coasthopper developments

As you will have seen from Grahame's report of 22nd May 2018 (Sanders Coasthoppers Fleetlist) Sanders Coaches have acquired a dozen Volvo B7RLE's from Go Ahead which are being used in their former owners livery with Coasthopper branding and, naturally, Sanders fleet names.

I photographed five them in use at both Sheringham and Cromer and it was interesting to note that some had their rear destinations in use as well.

Later in the afternoon, I observed Sanders Scania CN94UB OmniCity YN03UWH at Cromer deputising for a Coasthopper branded bus.

It was good to see the service being relatively well used and I finish off this post with a picture showing a comparatively busy period of activity at Cromer Bus Interchange.


Thursday 24 May 2018

First Summer Timetable Starts

From this coming Sunday, 27th May 2018, First Norfolk and Suffolk are making changes to their bus services in our local area. The majority are minor with many being carried out to assist with the additional passenger demand during the summer period.

X1|X11 - Norwich - Great Yarmouth - Belton or Lowestoft
There are some minor timetable changes to this service.

X2|X21|X22 - Norwich - Loddon - Beccles - Lowestoft
There are other minor timetable changes to this service, mainly in the morning peak to improve punctuality. Also, due to the alterations in road layout on the A146 at Hales, buses will no longer enter Hales village with all buses using new bus stops on the A146 road

Coastal Clipper 1|1A|1B - Martham - Hemsby - Caister - Gt Yarmouth - Gorleston - Lowestoft
A new summer timetable is being introduced, including the operation of extra buses on the 1B service between Hemsby and Vauxhall Holiday Centre (via Great Yarmouth Rail Station) until mid September

Coastal Clipper 99 - Lowestoft - Kessingland - Southwold
An extra Mondays to Friday journey between Lowestoft and Kessingland, leaving Lowestoft Bus Station at 1440 which returns from Kessingland, Africa Alive at 1505. Additional journeys will operate on Sundays during the summer season between the fourth Sunday in May until third Sunday in September

Great Yarmouth Seasider 3
The popular Open Top service is being reintroduced along Great Yarmouth seafront to and from the Seashore Holiday Centre.

Great Yarmouth Town Service 4
This service will operate in the opposite direction in Tessera Park in Caister, departing Prince of Wales Road one minute earlier than at present.

Clicking on the service title will take you directly to the relevant timetable.


Wednesday 23 May 2018

Another Arrival

Another arrival to report for First Great Yarmouth is that of an Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL from First Manchester.

30961 YJ51RDV arrived at Caister Road yesterday and is the third of a quintet due to see further use here. It joins 30954 and 30959 which are already here. The two outstanding (30960 and 30964) are currently at Norwich's Vulcan Road depot

Full registration details of the five can be seen in Grahame's post dated 16th May - Arrivals Update

My thanks and appreciation go to First Eastern Counties for the photo and information


Service Alterations Registered ~ 23rd May 2018

This morning's Notices & Proceedings Report, published by the Eastern of England Traffic Commissioner, contains little of interest concerning the local bus network. 

However, Buckland Omnibus has been given authorisation for six vehicles at an operating centre at Base Business Park in Rendlesham near Woodbridge
The full report will be available soon on the Traffic Commissioner's website


Tuesday 22 May 2018

Day Trip To Bangor?

A little known service operating to and from Great Yarmouth is the National Express 375 which runs daily between the town and Bangor in North Wales. It serves such places as Kings Lynn, Peterborough, Leicester, Coventry, Birtmingham, Liverpool and Prestatyn along the route which takes a rather long 13 Hours and 10 minutes !

It leaves Market Gates each morning at 7.00am and gets to Bangor at 8.10pm. The opposite journey starts in Bangor at 8.10am and arrives in Yarmouth at 8.45pm. I managed to photograph one of the vehicles used this evening after parking up for the night at Beach Coach Station. Caetano Levante LJ66LLJ is operated by Llew Jones International of Llanrwst.


Stagecoach Investment

Stagecoach South launched a £6 million investment yesterday with new buses entering service in the Littlehampton, Worthing and Brighton coastal areas.

The thirty double deckers, featuring free customer wi-fi and USB charging points, were operating on the Coastliner 700 route yesterday linking the three areas mentioned above.

They are all based at Worthing and it is hoped that I will sample them in service in the next month or so and thereby provide more photos for the blog and our flickr site

My daughter has supplied the photo used to illustrate this post.


Sanders Coasthopper Fleet List

The full list of vehicles aquired for Sanders Coasthopper operations has now been finalised and below are details of the batch.

510 HF54HGE at Sheringham Station (5/5/18)

The batch is numbered 503-514 as follows,

503 HF54HFO
504 HF54HFP
505 HF54HHA
506 HF54HHB
507 HF54HGJ
508 HF54HGN
509 HF54HGX
510 HF54HGE
511 HF54HHM
512 HF54HHE
513 HF54HGA
514 HF54HGC

Many Thanks to Jack Farrow at Sanders for the information.


Monday 21 May 2018

Where Are They Now ~ WV02EUR?

Regular readers will know that Plaxton bodied Volvo B12B WV02EUR left the First Eastern Counties fleet earlier this year. It is now to be found to be with 2 Way Transport of Scunthorpe.

20515 is seen here outside First Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot in early October 2012 shortly after arriving from First Midlands (Worcester). It was used on the X1 shorts between Great Yarmouth and Norwich.


Thursday 17 May 2018

Mid Norfolk Raiway ~ Bus & Coach Day

Last Sunday witnessed the Mid Norfolk Railway's Bus and Coach Day and those that went said it was a pleasant and well attended event.

As you will have guessed, I was elsewhere but I did receive some 40 photos for use on the blog with offers of many more. As you can imagine it was very difficult in deciding what (and what not) to use in this post and to edit the photos accordingly.

I decided to mainly concentrate this post to feature vehicles that had not been viewed and used here previously. The first is a former London Transport RMF1254 254CLT which has led quite a busy existence. After appearing at the 1962 Commercial Motor Show it was handed over to London Transport for a series of demonstrator visits. It had stints with Liverpool Corporation, East Kent, Halifax Corporation and BEA. After fitting with a Leyland engine it was acquired by Northern General where it stayed in service until October 1980. It subsequently entered preservation and is now with Imperial Buses of Outwell. It completed two trips on the Yaxham Circular.

Former Belfast Citybus Bristol RE XOI2526 is the next subject which has appeared at Dereham before but is now in Ipswich livery (See Mid Norfolk Railway Bus and Coach Day 2017). Other ex Ipswich attendees were AEC Regal 8 BPV8 and Leon Wells' Volvo Olympian 41 M41EPV.

Another Volvo Olympian making an appearance was Eagles' P492FRR. The East Lancs H49/35F bodied bus was purchased new by Nottingham City Transport in March 1997 for use by their South Notts subsidiary. On disposal in February 2008 it passed to Irvine's of Law, and then to Bryan's Coaches of Denny in Scotland on Irvine's demise.

Another Norfolk independent represented was Sanders Coaches who sent along Plaxton Elite bodied Volvo B9R SD60DGO which was previously with Parks of Hamilton as KSK986. Built to National Express specification, it features a lower front destination display. The operator's Yutong NS17GAS also accompanied it to the event.

An unusual visitor was former East Kent recovery vehicle PFN865. The AEC Regent V was new to the company as a double decker in 1959 with a Park Royal body and was converted into its present form in 1979.

There were complimentary connecting services to County School and Hardingham Stations on the Mid Norfolk Railway line. The latter is privately owned and only opens to the public on special occasions and the photo shows Westcliff-on-Sea Bristol K5G AJN825 in the station.yard.

The final photo is of former Lincolnshire Road Car Company's Bristol VR 1904 JVL619H. New in August 1969, it was withdrawn 20 years later and sold to dealer PVS of Carlton before seeing further use as a fun bus and play bus prior to entering preservation in 2002.

My thanks to Reg Vardy and Tim Major for the supply of all the photos for this post and my appreciation goes to others for offering their photos too. All but the last one is attributed to the former whilst the latter provided the final one. I must also acknowledge Ian's Bus Stop for the history of  RMF1254 and to Rob Sly for his Illustrated History of JVL619H. My apologies for the delay in finalising this post but I hope the effort has been worthwhile!


Wednesday 16 May 2018

Yarmouth Arrivals Update

Further to Yesterdays post we have been informed of more pending arrivals from First Manchester, with 30954 & 30959 already here a further three more similar vehicles are also expected shortly.

The full list will be as follows,

30954 YJ51RDO
30959 YJ51RCO
30960 YJ51RDU
30961 YJ51RDV
30964 YJ51RAU

These arrivals will mean that 3 Volvo B7TL's from the 322** series will move up to Norwich

Thanks to Chris Speed and First for the Updates.


Service Alterations Registered ~ 16th May 2018

Today's Notices & Proceedings Report, published by the Eastern of England Traffic Commissioner, contains no changes to any of the local bus network. 

However, of interest is that West Norfolk Community Transport has increased its authorisation to 15 vehicles at its Merchants Close premises at Old Meadow Road in Kings Lynn.
The full report will be available soon on the Traffic Commissioner's website


Tuesday 15 May 2018

New Arrivals For First Great Yarmouth

Two new arrivals to report this afternoon for Great Yarmouth in the shape of a pair of Volvo B7TL/ALX400's from First Manchester.

The two are 30954 YJ51RDO and 30959 YJ51RCO which were latterly based at First's Oldham Depot. Both were new to First York in 2001.

Thanks to Will Drake for the Photos.


Monday 14 May 2018

An Old Friend Returns

On Sunday evening I had a quick look in at Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station and found an old friend present. Grahame posted last month (Where Are They Now- KIG1856) that two former Ambassador Travel Volvos had joined the Isle of Wight fleet of ALS Travel.

However, last night KIG1857 was back in town! Both KIG1856 and KIG1857 were new to Ambassador in November 2002 as FN52HRG and FN52HRN respectively for National Express work. Both received their new registrations in early 2012.

There were also three Alfa Travel coaches present with 83 (BX14LCM), 96 (BU16HBD) and 73 (BU13ZTS) representing the company.


EATM's 1940's Event

Saturday and Sunday saw the East Anglia Transport Museum hold their 1940's event and our regular Lowestoft reporter Simon Bartram has sent some photos of some of the buses in action.

On Saturday the park and ride service between Ashburton Road and the Museum was provided by First Norwich Streetdeck SN65OMU, It is one of of two Norwich received from First Bristol during mid March.

Also on Saturday Simon got this photo of former Lowestoft Corporation Eastern Coach Works bodied AEC Regent GBJ192 on Gordon Road

Both days saw ex Eastern Counties Bristol FL6G LFL57 557BNG in use and it is pictured here on Sunday with Richard Alger at the wheel in Gordon Road

The final photo is of another AEC Regent in the shape of ex London Country KXW234 on Waveney Drive in Kirkley.

My thanks to Simon for the photos.


Sunday 13 May 2018

Seven Shearing Setras

On my way back from a weekend trip to the midlands, I looked in at Corley Services on the M6 to see what Shearings coaches were about.

Surprisingly none of the recent arrivals were to be seen but instead I was rewarded with the presence of seven of their Setras. They were 302 (BK11GJF), 307 (BK11GJV, 308 (BK11GJX), 330 (BK11CSF, 518 (BU13ZTK), 519 (BU13ZTL) and 639 (BT63GCZ)

Just as I arrived a further two coaches turned up. They were Greenline's Mercedes Benz Tourismo GC18GLC and National Express liveried Volvo B9R/ Caetano Levante FJ13EAY operated by Travel De Courcey.


Friday 11 May 2018

The Bus Of Many Colours

Another repaint for First Norwich to report is Volvo B7RLE 66982 KX05MHL which has now gained a generic Lilac front for use on any route in the city.

66982 pictured in Norwich shortly after returning from the paintshop (Sam Larke)

This particular vehicle certainly enjoys the paintshop as this is its fourth different colour front it has carried since being painted out of its original Barbie livery.

66982 Pictured in its Ipswich livery whilst on loan to Norwich (Kieran Smith)

Next it went Turquoise for use on the 13 service in Norwich

Seen in Castle Meadow in its then new Yellow guise for routes 28/29 in the City.

Thanks to Sam & Kieran for use of their photos, the other two being my own.


Thursday 10 May 2018

More Burgh Castle Diverts

First Great Yarmouth Dart EU05AUL showing one of the
updated destinations. (Photo Simon Taylor)
With the closure of Butt Lane in Burgh Castle for further water works, First's service 5 is being diverted from the A143 Beccles Road to Belton. It then runs via Stepshort and Mill Road to Market Road.

The diversion started on 8th May with work expecting to be completed on Friday 25th May. Meanwhile, a Norfolk County Council funded Swift Taxis minibus is connecting Butt Lane and High Road to the revised route.

My attention was drawn to this when I saw Dart 42919 (EU05AUL) with one of the new updated destinations. Despite me taking 20 photos, not one of them showed the new front destination!! However, I did manage to get at least one showing it on the side screen.

Of the 20 photos I took, this is the only one showing the destination on the side screen
I am grateful, therefore, for Simon Taylor's photo of it at Market Gates Bus Station earlier this afternoon


Wednesday 9 May 2018

Lights, Camera, Action... Take Two

Our roving reporter Reg Vardy has contacted me to say that the stunt team are preparing for tonight's shooting of the next scenes for the latest Danny Boyle film in Gorleston's Pier Gardens. It also seems that lighting has been placed in cargo nets hanging on cranes overlooking the site

The Optare Solo seems to be part of the action tonight and we have it confirmed by a member of the PSV Cirle that it is former Halton Transport 59 LIG1677. It has been sold to a company in Berkshire reverting to its V247HEC registration

However, Reg's pictures from this evening show it is still not carrying a registration on the front of the vehicle, but the rear features a FN55ORJ plate. That shows on the internet as being the registration of a Vauxhall Astra police car which was being used for filming purposes.

My thanks to Reg for the information and photos


Service Alterations Registered ~ 9th May 2018

Today's Notices & Proceedings Report, published by the Eastern of England Traffic Commissioner, contains just one item of interest concerning local bus services. 

Victor Damski of Lowestoft has applied for a licence for an operating centre for one vehicle at The Ravine in North Lowestoft.

The full report will be available soon on the Traffic Commissioner's website


Monday 7 May 2018

Sunday Evening Sights

Following the Felixstowe visit and an evening meal out, I returned home via Beach Coach Station and the seafront area of Great Yarmouth.

At the coach station were four coaches including two Mercedes Benz Tourismos from the Alfa Travel fleet in the form of  63 (BN11UFM) and 65 (BN12CLU). The other two in the quartet were KM Travel's VDL Bova Futura M200KMT and GN17AZZ, a Plaxton Panther bodied Volvo B11R from Crosskeys of  Folkestone.

In the Burlington Hotel car park, surrounded by cones, was Bakers Dolphin 11 (BN08HNU). The Mercedes Benz Tourismo was formerly with Andersons of Bermondsey, Weston Super Mare


48th Ipswich - Felixstowe Run

Sunday saw the 48th Ipswich to Felixstowe Heritage Vehicle Run. Organised by volunteers of the Ipswich Transport Museum, it featured more than 500 vehicles, including cars, lorries, motorcycles, buses and military vehicles.

I made a determined effort to get there this year and the star of the show for me was Roger Burdett's restored Bristol GJW open topper VG5541 from 1933. It originally entered service with Norwich Electric Traction company in June of that year. By December 1935 it was recorded with Eastern Counties Omnibus Company, but it wasn't until 1950 that its Weymann H24/24R body was converted to open top for the Felixstowe Sea Front Service. After withdrawal in 1960, it went to dealer Ben Jordan of Coltishall and saw subsequent use in California USA. Roger Burdett began restoration at the turn of the century and it certainly looked the part.

It was nice to see an 'old friend' in the shape of former Great Yarmouth AEC Swift WEX685M on its first year's outing in the sunshine. Not to be outdone, Lowestoft's YRT898H was also in attendance which was notable for catching fire whilst with the Corporation but rebuilt at Eastern Coach Works.

As in previous years, Ipswich was represented by John Bedford's AEC Regent III CDX516 but a surprise visitor was Park Royal bodied AEC Regal IV BPV8. New in August 1953, it was sold to Bickers of Codenham twenty years later. It is now privately preserved

Also of interest was E343TYD , a Reeves Burgess bodied Mercedes Benz 709. Built in 1988, it was operated by Village Cars around Woburn and subsequently acquired by Felix of Long Melford prior to becoming part of Malcolm's Bus Service fleet.

A number of Bristol RELL's were present including ex Eastern National SVW274K. New to the company as their 1546 in May1972. Withdrawal came in July 1985 when it was purchased by Essex County Council for non PSV use. Viv Carter subsequently obtained it and entered it into service by May 1994. A private owner acquired it for further preservation in mid 2013

Chelmsford based Lodge's Coaches regularly attend the event when some of their old Bedford's OB's are on view. This year Duple bodied LTA752, CFV851 and TMY700 made the trip and were some of the last to arrive. The trio are pictured entering the display area.

Finally, First Eastern Counties entered into the spirit of the event by providing Volvo B7TL / Transbus ALX400 AU53HJV 'James Long' for the 77 Ipswich to Felixstowe service.

Photos of all the buses and coaches on display at Undercliff Road West in Felixstowe can be viewed on our Flickr site HERE


Sunday 6 May 2018

North Walsham Sightings

Whilst looking in on Sanders Depot in North Walsham yesterday on my way up to Sheringham I came across a couple of Buses I was not expecting to see.

First up noted in Sanders yard was Volvo Olympian N743VBA, New to Finglands, Lancashire as their 1743, following a Google search it had also worked for Langton & Tasker in Buckinghamshire on School Contracts. I was informed by a member of Sanders staff that it is being stored there for a private owner.

Secondly i noted anoher Olympian parked in the yard of Drury's Transport. BIG6506 is ex Kowloon Motor Bus 3BL151, DJ3644, was C884 RFE. It was last with MASS Transit of North Anston as part of its Brightbus operations which ceased in July 2017.