Saturday, 16 February 2019

First Driver Trainer Replacement

It appears the oldest member of the current FEC fleet has finally expired, Trident 32809 T809LLC has given up after engine failure at Norwich. It was latterly being used as a Driver Trainer.

32809 pictured at Caister Road last year.
A Replacement for the driving school has been sourced from First Bradford in the shape of Volvo B7TL/ALX400 30913 W768CWX.

30913 Seen working in Bradford in July 2018 (Mark Doggett)

 Thanks to First for the info and to Mark Doggett for use of his photo.


Friday, 15 February 2019

Friday Findings

A total of seven coaches were observed on the trip around Great Yarmouth earlier this morning.

Outside the Hotel Victoria on Kings Road was Majestic Travel's Mercedes Benz Tourismo BN17JMX whilst on the hotel car park was Skills of Nottingham's VDL Futura YJ13HVB (pictured).

As usual, a group of Shearings/ National Holidays coaches were parked on Marine Parade close to the SeaLife Centre. Together were the latter's Kassbohrer Setra NH14JBH with the former's 849 BF16XOV bringing up the rear. On the opposite side of the road was a second Shearing's Tourismo in the shape of 133 BU18YSK

At Beach Coach Station was Belle Coaches' Scania K410EB4 BC17BEL, in Just Go livery, and National Holidays' Tourismo NH15GCH


Thursday, 14 February 2019

Mid Week in Norwich

One of those rare mid week days when I was determined to get to Norwich to photograph activity in the Fine City. It initially meant a stroll to the city centre via Bishopgate and I was hopeful that I may see a Norwich School Olympian in the lay by. There wasn't, but there was a Dolphin Travel Bova in the form of FRZ2054.

On arrival in the city centre, it was noticeable that Konectbus were using vehicles of many colours as the attached photo shows. Here former Go Ahead London red Wight Eclipse Gemini LX05EAJ is passed by ex Thames Travel ADL Enviro200 SN10CCZ.

Lurking behind the twosome in the photo is Bluestar liveried Mercedes Benz Citaro 426 HF55JZD on 'the shining bus service for Southampton' - a little off route perhaps!

During my couple of periods of observation I noticed Simmonds were using a couple of deckers on their services including East Lancs OmniDekka bodied Scania WVE284 (pictured) and Volvo B7TL/ Plaxton President MSU917

At the Castle Mall entrance, on Castle Meadow, were two Sanders Coaches on a school trip. Former Lochs & Glens Volvo B13 920 BT14DLZ was parked in front of  ex Parks of Hamilton Volvo B9R 918 SD60DGO.

A former Sanders vehicle seen in its new guise was VDL/ Berkhof YJ12CHK now re-registered by its new owner Felixstowe Travel as M30FXO. It was one of two of the fleet seen on Theatre Street - the other was Volvo B9R M50FXO.

Of the National Express services I saw, all three were in the hands of Whippet's Caetano Levantes including the 490 London service.

Yes, I know I haven't posted a First photo, but I didn't notice anything that unusual to report!


Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Bedford VAS5 Update

Last Thursday I reported on the abandonment of a long term plan to preserve ex OK Motor Services Bedford VAS5 LPY721W. (see Jubilee Coaches Update) Subsequent developments have now taken place.

Late yesterday afternoon the Bedford was being prepared for its long journey to Liddells of east Ayrshire. Apparently it will be joining three others there, hopefully for preservation and not as a source of spares.

My thanks to Kevan Portas for the information and photo.


Service Alterations Registered ~ 13th February 2019

There are a couple of entries of interest in this morning's Notices and Proceedings Report concerning our local area.

BorderBus is to vary the timetable of both parts of its 146 route from the 25th February 2019. They operate separately as Southwold to Kessingland and Kessingland to Norwich services.

Also included in the publication is a notice of a public inquiry regarding David McMaster which is to be held at Cambridge on 25th February 2019

The complete East of England Traffic Commissioner's Report will soon be available to view on the website.


Tuesday, 12 February 2019

First 32348 Returns

Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B7TL 32348 LK53LZL has returned to service at First's Caister Road depot.

32348 LK53LZL seen in Great Yarmouth on 1st February 2016
Meanwhile, Volvo B7 saloon 66344 MV02VCX has moved to Roundtree Way in Norwich and is expected to be converted for driver training purposes.

My thanks to First Great Yarmouth for the information.


Monday, 11 February 2019

Jubilee Outing

Earlier this morning one of the Jubilee Coaches fleet was waiting for schoolchildren from Lynn Grove Academy to board for an outing.

The coach was former Peelings Caetano bodied Dennis Javelin S100DJD and is seen here on Beccles Road in Gorleston.


Friday, 8 February 2019

Thursday Sightings

Six coaches were observed on my trawl around the usual haunts in Great Yarmouth early yesterday morning.

Three of them belonged to the Shearings' fleet and were parked in close proximity to their Carlton Hotel on Marine Parade. Two 18 registered Mercedes Tourismos were seen in the form of 149 BU18YTD and 133 BU18YSK (pictured). Also present in front of the SeaLife Centre was aROSA River Cruising liveried Kassbohrer Setra 637 BT63GCX.

Noted close to the Britannia Pier was Gee-Vee Travel's VDL GT16GVT with National Holidays' Kassbohrer Setra NH14EBH immediately behind.

With nothing observed at the Coach Station, I thought that was it until I returned home via Wellesley Road! Unusually next to the football ground I espied Courtney Travel's Unvi Touring GT bodied Mercedes Benz CS17CTS


Thursday, 7 February 2019

Jubilee Coaches Update

The latest news from Rollesby-based Jubilee Coaches is that Plaxton Premiere bodied Dennis Javelin L333JCR is to revert to one of its previous registrations N43AHH. It is due for an MOT and will afterwards be available for sale.

Dennis Javelin L333JCR which will shortly be available for disposal

A long term project to preserve former OK Motor Services Duple bodied Bedford VAS5 LPY721W has been abandoned. This is primarily due to a lack of storage space and the amount of time required to devote to this project. It is currently available for sale on eBay.

Photo of  Duple boded Bedford VAS5 LPY721W - reproduced through Creative Commons License
My thanks to Kevan Portas for the update.


Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Service Alterations Registered ~ 6th February 2019

Today's Notices and Proceedings Report includes couple of entries of note relating to our local area

National Express is to vary its Lowestoft Bus Station to London Victoria Coach Station 490/491 service from the 1st April 2019. The route, which also serves Great Yarmouth and Norwich, is to be altered together with a new timetable.

Granted under short notice is the timetable amendment to the Konectbus 87/88 service between Southwold and Halesworth from 2nd March 2019

The complete East of England Traffic Commissioner's Report will soon be available to view on the website


Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Caister Road Depot Pictorial

Mainly a photo post this evening with the first two pictures showing two former Norwich saloons still residing at Caister Road

Finally a shot inside the depot showing all six of Great Yarmouth's First liveried Darts

My thanks to First for the photos


Friday, 1 February 2019

Another Anglian Decker In Exile

On 21st July last year I published a post containing photos of three Hedingham & District double deckers still in their Anglianbus livery. (Ex Anglian Deckers In Exile). The photos were kindly supplied by Robert Appleton.

Robert has now provided another photo showing a former Anglianbus decker, still retaining its colours, but now in use with Go Ahead Chambers based in Sudbury, Suffolk. East Lancs Omnidekka bodied Scania N94UD YN55PZF is shown at Colchester Bus Station (Osborne Street) on 28th January 2019 waiting to depart on the 754 service to Sudbury.

My thanks to Robert for the photo.


Thursday, 31 January 2019

Eastern Counties Timetable Case Found

Noticed by a regular contributor to this blog, is an old Eastern Counties Omnibus Company Limited timetable case which was found in Suffolk.

It is thought to be some fifty years old and currently resides within the Jolly Sailors Public House in Orford

My correspondent remembers the days when the company used to operate a service to Orford and Bawdsey Ferry many years ago now.

Many thanks for the photo


Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Service Alterations Registered ~ 30th January 2019

A couple of entries of note in today's Notices and Proceedings Report

Coinciding with yesterday's post, Konectbus is to 'vary' the timetable of its 87 service between Halesworth and Norwich bus station from 2nd March 2019.

Acle-based Our Hire has also been granted consent for a special restricted licence for an operating centre with no further details provided.

The complete East of England Traffic Commissioner's Report will soon be available to view on the website


Loan arrival at Caister Road

Another addition to the Volvo B7TL ALX400 Fleet at Caister Road is ex Manchester 30948 YJ51RRV which has arrived on loan from Norwich.

30948 pictured above shortly after arrival from Norwich yesterday. Thanks to Will Drake for the photograph.


Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Konectbus Service Withdrawals

In the last day or so Konectbus has published information on their website regarding some service withdrawals affecting rural areas and most of it is repeated below

The X88 in Southwold on 2nd November 2017
when Anglianbus used to operate it
The Mondays to Saturday daytime buses on the 87/88 routes between Bungay and Norwich are to run for the last time on Friday 1st March. Evening and Sunday buses operated for Norfolk County Council will continue until Sunday 31st March.

This means that there will be no through buses between Halesworth and Norwich although Konect will still be operating the Southwold to Bungay via Halesworth route during March. Norwich bound passengers will need to change buses to a First Norfolk & Suffolk service in Bungay.

Norfolk County Council contracts for the evening and Sunday buses, and with Suffolk County Council for buses between Halesworth and Southwold, are due to end on Sunday 31st March. Konectbus will also be withdrawing buses between Halesworth and Bungay from the same date and there are currently no details available of any new contracts that county councils will be awarding.

The 90 service provided by Anglianbus on the same day
Konectbus also intend to cease operating route 272 between Southwold and Bungay High School at the end of the spring term on 5th April and route 90 between Halesworth, Beccles and Southwold after operation on Saturday 20th April. These routes are subsidised by Suffolk County Council and presumably a replacement operator will be found.

Konectbus states on their website that 'The reason that we are withdrawing these routes is that they continue to run at a loss. We have sustained losses of several million pounds in our Beccles based operation in the last few years. This has been because of the loss of contracts to other companies, the decline in the rural bus market and high operating costs and poor reliability which we have been unable to address at a small operation that is remote from our main business. We have also suffered from direct competition from First bus, whom most users now seem to prefer. We hope that First will have the good grace to step in and provide the extra facilities such as Sunday buses and the through route to Halesworth that we have hitherto provided, and not just focus on the profitable sections of route in Bungay and Poringland.'


Sunday, 27 January 2019

Our Bus News

New arrival here, Optare Solo SR YJ62FZV, has now had Our Bus fleet names applied but has yet to enter service. Affectionately known as Jasper, it is expected to see use on the newly won tendered 85 route between Claxton Green and Norwich Bus Station via Surlingham.

Yet another Optare Solo has been acquired and is expected soon. W441CWX is to arrive by low-loader and will donate its engine to CN05JYP. It will also be stripped for spare parts.

W441CWX was new to Crystals of Dartford and saw further use with Tellings - Golden Miller and Metrobus before passing to Classic Coaches of County Durham in June 2006. It was last taxed in March 2013.

My thanks to Sam Larke for the information and photo. The history of W441CWX was taken from the Metrobus Route and Fleet History website.


Saturday, 26 January 2019

Returns to Service

First Volvo B7 66334 MV02VBZ in active service during early yesterday afternoon

Friday, 25 January 2019

First Great Yarmouth Update

Dart 42955 in Gorleston High Street on 28th December last
The latest news from First's Caister Road depot is that Volvo B7 66334 MV02VBZ has been resurrected to active duty following a period of withdrawal.

Another single decker, Dart SLF 42955 WX06OMM, has also returned to service after the fitting of a new gearbox.

Finally two deckers, 37141 SN57HDA and 32063 W223XBD, are to receive new axles.

My thanks to First for the update.


Thursday, 24 January 2019

Reynolds of Caister

Following the closure of Reynolds Coaches in early August last year, owner Charles Reynolds and Jeffrey Buckle decided to start up a new business to keep themselves busy and occupied.

Trading as Reynolds of Caister, two brand new Ford Transits were purchased to operate two Norfolk schools contracts beginning in September last year. They run from Potter Heigham to Ludham Primary and Broadland High schools.

Unfortunately Charles passed away in early October but a former driver has come out of retirement to drive the other minibus. I understand from Mr Buckle that the premises has now been let by agents Bycroft Commercial to an undisclosed buyer.

Mr Buckle also told me that two other vehicles were on the Ormesby Road site with two Ambassador Travel coaches parked behind the garage for schools work. Those present yesterday were Volvo FNZ7763 and Scania FJ09DXB both labelled up ready for their duties.

My thanks to Jeffrey Buckle for sparing the time to speak to me yesterday.


Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Wednesday Sightings

A quick breeze through the usual haunts in Great Yarmouth this afternoon as it was too cold to hang around!

Outside the Sealife Centre on Marine Parade were two National Holidays Mercedes Benz Tourismos in the shape of NH15GDH and regular visitor NH15LDH. Parked opposite was Shearings Kassbohrer Setra 637 BT63GCX which carries an allover wrap advertising aROSA river touring holidays.

At Beach Coach Station was A.P.T. Travel's Irizar Century bodied Scania K114EB4 PT05APT. It was formerly registered YN05HAX


Service Alterations Registered ~ 23rd January 2019

Just the one item of local interest from today's Notices and Proceedings Report.

Melton Constable-based Bus and Us Limited is increasing the number of vehicles at its Vicarage Farm operating centre in Briston to seven. The licence is also being upgraded from Standard National to Standard International level

Also of interest is the surrender of operating licences by H C Chambers & Son Limited and Hedingham & District Omnibuses Limited on the 14th and 15th of January 2019 respectively. Konectbus took over the  registrations in late December although the Chambers and Hedingham fleet names will remain in use for the present.

The full East of England Traffic Commissioner's Report will soon be available to view on the website


Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Jubilee Arrival

Another arrival to report for Rollesby based Jubilee Coaches is a former Spratt's Of Wreningham coach.

The newcomer is Van Hool bodied Scania L914B W27GES, which was new to the Wreningham operator in April 2000. Arriving last week it has recently been tested on a schools service.

Meanwhile, former Norfolk Coachways A475TBX has been withdrawn (not TIG1295 as previously reported) with its next journey expected to be a one way trip to the scrapyard. The Plaxton Paramount 3200 bodied Volvo B10M-61 was being robbed for spare parts and previously carried the registrations RIG5199 and YDE679.

My thanks to Kevan Portas for the information and photo


Sunday, 20 January 2019

The Solo's Keep Coming

Another new arrival to report for Our Bus, South Burlingham.   

The latest being Optare Solo M920 SR B33F, YJ62FZV.

It was new to Brittania Parking in Bournemouth in 2012. It moved to East Anglia and was operated by Big Green Bus Company in Haverhill before its latest move to Norfolk.

Many Thanks to Sam Larke for use of the Photo.


Sunday Sightings from July 2002

Its always nice to sit and go through your photo collection and be reminded of the trips and days out you had when you had a bit more time on your hands! In July 2002 i was living in Caister and would often pop out in the car to visit the local operators depots on a Sunday morning to see what was around as the internet info was not quite as advanced as it is now so the only way to see any fleet updates was to physically go and see what was around.

Catfield was home to Neaves, a family run business that started as a coach company but had branched out into Buses over the years and 2002 the fleet was a good size with a mixture of Buses and Coaches for School Contracts and local services. The Bus Fleet was largely made up of East Lancs Greenway converted Leyland Nationals. JIL2197 was new in 1973 as BCD808L to London Country before conversion in 1994, it passed to Arriva Southern Counties and was re registered there, it later moved to Arriva Fox County before being purchased by Neaves in 2002.

THX139S was another Leyland National in the fleet, It was new to London Transport in 1978 as LS139 and was originally dual doored. It was purchased from Konectbus, it did run for a while in Konectbus colours before being painted allover Red.

Another Operator based in Catfield was Craske although they were classed as being at Sutton.Sadly another local operator that is no more. They had a fleet of around half a dozen coaches and NIL6567 is pictured above at their depot. It was repainted into allover white in 2003.

Along the A149 to Stalham where Eastern Counties had an outstation at the time for their 54 service, it was normally home to between 3 and 5 vehicles. 2002 saw the arrival of new Plaxton Paragon Coaches for the Excel X94 service which displaced the existing fleet of Coaches to City work in Norwich. 32 (P732NVG) Is pictured above having the day off at Stalham alongside Scania 566 (S566TPW) still with its Excel Branding applied. The outstation was closed after a Fire destroyed vehicles on the site.

Finally a quick visit to Caister Road was always a must, this Sunday saw Dart 421 K741JAH laying over whilst on duty for the summer 3 service. It was a recent repaint into the short lived Barbie 2 livery. Note the Vauxhall Astra GTE parked near the office which belonged to Controller Brian Fields at the time, a classic!


Saturday, 19 January 2019

Last 730

The last 730 service between Great Yarmouth and Cantley was worked earlier today by Our Bus Optare Solo YJ59NNL

Optare Solo YJ59NNL awaits time for the final 13:26 departure for Cantley this afternoon
For those interested, this operator's fleet list can be viewed HERE on the blog and it includes details of the recent acquisition. My thanks to Our Bus for the information.


Friday, 18 January 2019

Reynolds Retrace ~ PN06UBK

PN06UBK in January 2011 when named Lady Gillian
Originally reported to me by Will Drake, is the sale of another Reynolds coach to an Essex operator and is confirmed in this months issue of Buses magazine.

However, so far unmentioned on the blog is the sale of Beulas Cygnus bodied MAN PN06UBK to Lodge of High Easter. New to the Holmeswood Group, it was acquired by Reynolds in 2009 and was later the subject of an article in the local press when it was named Lady Abigail after a little girl who had a fascination for coaches in the Caister fleet.

My belated thanks to Will for the information


Thursday, 17 January 2019

Our Bus Obs

With the 730 service between Great Yarmouth and Cantley due to end this coming Saturday I thought I would make an effort to record the the penultimate day's working.

Our Bus Optare Solo CN54HFD on the return 13:26 to Cantley yesterday
Click on map for larger image
The 730 comprises an outward and return run on Wednesdays and Saturdays only and is operated by Our Bus. Parts of the service only run if the service is pre-booked the day previously.

The outbound version of the route is shown here and was taken from the Traveline website. The final run of the 730 is this coming Saturday

 A few minutes later another Our Bus service turned up with route 74 displayed. This is a Wednesday only outward and return service between Little Plumstead and Great Yarmouth Market Gates. It runs via Blofield, Brundall, Strumpshaw, Lingwood, Beighton and Acle.

Ford Transit AV08YHZ on the 74 service yesterday lunchtime
Also in service with First was Volvo B7 66344 MV02VCX on the 8 between James Paget Hospital and Caister. There is also the possibility that similar 66334 MV02VBZ may also return to service.


Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Service Alterations Registered ~ 16th January 2019

Hard on the heels of yesterday's posting, today's East of England Traffic Commissioner's Notices & Proceedings Report includes the granting of new applications for two operating centres in the Beccles area for Konectbus.

They comprise a centre at Ellough Park Raceway at Benacre Road in Ellough and at Anglianbus & Coach at Sandpit Lane also in Ellough. The authorisation at both centres is nine vehicles.

The full Report will soon be available to view on the website


Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Konectbus Developments

As most of you will know by now, Konectbus have absorbed the operations of the other Go Ahead subsidiaries in East Anglia. They had already subsumed Anglianbus operations in November 2017.

Anglianbus workshops in June 2014
The service registrations changed in late December and Konectbus discs have apparently been carried since that time. However, the Chambers and Hedingham fleetnames will remain in use for the present time. 

The Anglianbus Ellough site on a Sunday visit during July 2010
In addition, the withdrawn vehicles have been removed from the Sandy Lane premises in Beccles, some to a another site off Benacre Road and some to Alpha Recovery of Weetslade in Cramlington for scrap. The new site is not accessible by the public and vehicles are being operated from there with the PVR being six.

My thanks to Stephen Wright for the information.