Saturday, 29 December 2018

2018 ~ Looking Back

As the year draws to a close we take a brief look back at local bus activity during the last twelve months.

First Great Yarmouth witnessed the incoming and outgoing of  a number of buses during the period. The positive side included two Volvo B7TL/ Geminis from First Borders which moved on to  First Essex in August. In May the first of five First Manchester ALX400s began to arrive; to be followed by two ADL Pointer Darts from First Cymru in October.

One of the two ADL Pointer Darts recently transferred in from Wales
Following an increase in demand for buses for Bernard Matthews duties, two First Essex Scania L94UB saloons came from First Essex and a Norwich Trident driver trainer returned to active duty

Heritage liveries were being applied on repaint with a Caister Road Dart receiving a Flying Banana livery

First Lowestoft received three Alexander Dennis Enviro200s from First Berkshire in February allowing the release of smaller versions to First Glasgow later that month. The Gasworks Road depot lost one of its Excel liveried Enviro400s to Kings Lynn to replace one lost following a fatal accident. It was temporarily covered by the loan of a Norwich Volvo B9TL then permanently by a similar bus from First Leeds.

Two Alexander Pointer Darts received special repaints including one in an Eastern Counties heritage livery with the other advertising the company's M Ticket App

Some of the Reynolds Coaches fleet on Viewing Day on August 10th
The period saw the closure of four Norfolk independents. These included Craske Coaches of Catfield in June, Caister based Reynolds Coaches in August, Richards Coaches of Guist during November and Spratts Coaches of Wreningham at the end of this month.

Lowestoft based Angies Coaches added three vehicles to their fleet; a MAN from Sunbeam Coaches, a Volvo from Our Bus and a King Long from a Leeds based operator. The company also re registered their other two King Longs

Following the closure of Reynolds Coaches, Ambassador Travel gained a couple of schools contracts. The company were later being stretched to cover their commitments following the loss of one of their coaches in a fire whilst working a schools duty. The transfer of two Caetano Levantes at the beginning of the year couldn't have helped the situation.

Two demonstrators were loaned to Belle Coaches during the summer in the form of a Mercedes Benz Tourismo and an Irizar i6. Another Tourismo has also joined the fleet permanently.

Alexander Dennis 200MMC demonstrator YX17NNM on loan to BorderBus
An Alexander Dennis 200MMC demonstrator was on loan to BorderBus in March seeing use on the 146 route between Southwold and Norwich. In October it acquired a fifth ex Stagecoach London Scania which it previously used for evaluation last year. Leaving the fleet was the operator's only Enviro300.

Some positive news is that Rollesby based Jubilee Coaches continues to expand with more vehicles joining the fleet including a former Reynolds' Dennis Javelin. Apparently more vehicles are due to come next year!

The year also meant an influx of vehicles for Konectbus with five Go-Ahead London Geminis joining the fleet early in the new year together with a Enviro200 from Carousel Bus. The arrivals continued with at least nine Go South Coast Mercedes Benz Citaros entering service complete with their Bluestar livery, to be followed by two Darts

Alexander Dennis Enviro200 OU57FHA transferred to Konect from Carousel Bus
On the minus side former Anglanbus Solos were removed from service with an OmniCity decker withdrawn following a road traffic accident. Two further similar ex Anglian deckers moved on to Hedingham whilst more Anglian saloons were withdrawn during August.

Meanwhile the Anglanbus licence was surrendered in April with services registered with Konectbus.

By September the Lamberts Coaches fleet had reduced to six active vehicles with one of them being a Mercedes Benz Vario purchased from an operator in Cumbria.

Our Bus latest arrival Optare Solo X313CBT
Our Bus acquired a blue liveried Optare Solo during November from the Manchester area. Early sightings of VOSA registrations suggests some cancellation of services by this operator in 2019.

During the year, Sanders Coaches saw the arrival of two smart looking Plaxton Elite bodied Volvo B9Rs from Parks of Hamilton. More newcomers included a dozen Volvo B7RLEs for the new Coasthopper services plus some ex Lochs and Glens Volvo B13Rs to replace two Berkhof Axial bodied VDLs which left earlier in the year.

Airshow Park & Ride
The Great Yarmouth Airshow Park and Ride services, were organised by First during June; which brought a wide variety of operators and vehicles to the area to provide the two routes from the north and south of the town.

With a lot of engineering work being carried out on local railway lines there were many local operators providing rail replacement services

Finally the shooting of Danny Boyle's latest film in the area meant the appearance of a former Halton Transport Optare Solo in the Gorleston Beach area.

That's about it from me for this year and all that remains is to wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Roy

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