Thursday 31 October 2019

AU05DMF Returns

First Ipswich Eclipse 69006 AU05DMF has returned to Norwich after having its old Ipswich look replaced by the generic lilac theme. Unusually it has had its fleet number applied to the rear nearside window.

It entered service in the city earlier this week having been noted on the 36 Horsford and 37 Mulbarton Purple Line routes. My thanks to Dan High for the information and photos.

Also in Norwich former Great Yarmouth President 32204 LT52WTK disgraced itself by braking down in the city last week. It has recently been towed to Caister Road for an engine replacement. Meanwhile ALX400 30959 YJ51RCO is due for its MOT today.

My thanks to First for the update


Wednesday 30 October 2019

Service Alterations Registered ~ 30th October 2019

For the second consecutive week there are no changes to local bus services included in today’s Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner.

The full report will be available to view here soon.


Tuesday 29 October 2019

BorderBus Decker Passes To Academy

I received an email from Laine Tisdall this morning saying that on his 'daily commute to Norwich using the X2/X22, I've noticed that there is a BorderBus Plaxton President in the grounds of Beccles Primary Academy in Worlingham. It's presumably been there for some time, probably as an extra classroom or playground feature. It's easily viewable from the top deck of an X2/X22, but too far away to identify which one it is'

After some internet research, I found a tweet dated 22nd of September by the academy (@BecclesPrimary) which revealed it to be Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL X647LLX. It was identified by the fact that it still has its fleet number 203. The tweet also includes four photos of the bus on the way to or at its present location.

The accompanying photo was taken on a visit to BorderBus in February this year with 203 seen in a withdrawn state at the operator's Moor Business Park site in Beccles.

My thanks to Laine for bringing this to my attention.


Ambassador Arrival

Locally based Ambassador Travel took delivery of a further Caetano Levante bodied Scania for National Express work on Thursday.

BV69KPT is pictured at the operator's James Watt Close premises by Karl Farrow. Whilst it is only here for a short period it already has Ambassador's fleet number 216.

My thanks to Karl for the information and photo.


Sunday 27 October 2019

Rail Replacement

Again rail replacement services were in operation this weekend on the Wherry Lines with both Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Stations affected on Sunday.

Belle Coaches and Marett's Chariots provided the coaches at Lowestoft with the former providing Van Hool bodied Volvo B12M AA52MCC. Now displaying fleet number 503 the coach was new to Shearings in December 2012 registered MX03ACY. Seen behind Belle employed Kassbohrer Setra LIL9452 on the Beccles rail replacement.

Meanwhile at Great Yarmouth Station this afternoon Smiths Coaches DAF SB3000/Van Hool Alizee T9 YJ51EKX was being readied for departure

Whilst on standby behind the station was Freestones Coaches' Kassbohrer Setra LIB3768

My thanks to Simon Bartram for the photo of AA52MCC at Lowestoft Station during yesterday.


Beach Coach Station Today

Three coaches were sighted at Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station at lunchtime today with one of them formerly owned by a local company.

Volvo B12M KIG1857 was new to Gapton Estate-based Ambassador Travel in November 2002 as FN52HRM. It is now owned by ALS Travel from the Isle of Wight. The others were Hodgsons Coaches' Jonckheere bodied Volvo B11R BV18AYB and Travelstar's Scania YN16UAT.


Friday 25 October 2019

Two Million Not Out!

The blog has just reached the welcome milestone of two million page-views, something I thought would never happen.

The first photo was of step entrance Dart 46379 M379YEX
The first post was on 3rd January 2011 and was entitled 'Into the Unknown ....' and contained just six lines of text and no photos. I was encouraged by the success of Gerard Fletcher's 'The X1 Blog' and 'Andy's Bus Blog' and thought I could have a go at that!

When I started I said that I hoped that I would be able to generate some interest in local bus activity in the East Norfolk and East Suffolk area and I trust that I have achieved that over the last (almost) nine years. Following its continued interest others subsequently started their own blogs, but have since drifted away to other interests and, more importantly, their own work commitments.

Anglian operated StreetLites in January 2011 - MX60GXA
is on the 581 to Beccles on Beccles Road in Gorleston
Never did I realise where this venture would take me but I have met some great people along the way which I am now pleased to call my friends. Grahame Bessey joined me on the journey when he foolishly volunteered to help out whilst I disappeared on holiday for a couple of weeks! He's stayed ever since and his contributions are greatly valued.

All that remains is to thank all of your for your continued support and contributions during this period which are very much appreciated.

Here's to the next million!


Wrights Departure

Yesterday saw the final departure of one of Wrights Coaches (PTS Group) vehicles for pastures new. It was their Mercedes Benz 616CDI W25BUS.

It was the very first coach operated by the company and reverted to its previous registration YX06DXL prior to its sale to a Northern Ireland operator.

My thanks to Matthew Wright for the use of his photo


Thursday 24 October 2019

Ipswich Interlopers

Two Wright bodied Volvo B7RLEs are currently on loan to Norwich from First Ipswich. They are 66950 WX55TZM and 66959 WX55TZW

The latter was recently observed in St Stephen's Street with 66950 being noted in the rain at Castle Meadow earlier today

My thanks to Dan High for the two photos


Wednesday 23 October 2019

Service Alterations Registered ~ 23rd October 2019

There are no changes to local bus services included in today’s Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner.

The full report will be available to view here soon.


Tuesday 22 October 2019

More Moves!

After a short stay in Lowestoft, First Great Yarmouth's Volvo B7TL 32204 LT52WTK transferred to Roundtree Way in Norwich yesterday. Also making the same journey was a single deck Volvo B7 - confirmed to be 66344.

32204 LT52WTK on Church Road diverts in Gorleston on 30th September last
Another Great Yarmouth decker on the move is ALX400 30947 YJ51RRU, which is expected to go to Lowestoft today.

My thanks to First for the update.


Sunday 20 October 2019

Beach Coach Station Today

There were four coaches at Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station around lunchtime today. Half of them were National Holidays' vehicles with the third also associated with the same operator. The pair were Mercedes Benz Tourismo NH15JDH and Kassbohrer Setra NH13JWH

The third vehicle also worked for National Holidays but its legals reveal it is now with Shearings Holidays and it also carries fleet number 335. Kassbohrer Setra NH11MTH had used the fleet number 360 when working for the former and showed no other markings that it was being used by the latter.

Regular followers will be aware that trips down to Worthing often feature pictures of Compass Travel vehicles and it was surprising to see one of their coaches in Great Yarmouth today. Irizar i6 bodied Scania K360EB4 YN15EKH was new to Solus of Tamworth in April 2015 and acquired by Compass in February this year

Some interesting finds!


Waves & Wheels

Yesterday witnessed the Waves & Wheels event, a celebration of Lowestoft engineering and transport - past and future.

It was held at the Ness in the town with the East Anglia Transport Museum playing their part with three vehicles employed. One of them was the last Eastern Coach Works bus built, Olympian D367JDD, in its SelKent Travel guise.

'In service' were former Lowestoft Corporation's AEC Regent GBJ192 and AEC Swift YRT898H both with Eastern Coach Works bodywork.

Again my thanks to Simon Bartram for the photos


Saturday 19 October 2019

Lowestoft Activity

On Thursday I reported the arrival of TransBus Pointer bodied Dart 42486 SN03WMX at First Great Yarmouth. It found use the following day operating from Lowestoft on the 99 route. However, Simon Bartram again found it in service this morning in the Suffolk town on the 105 to Rock Estate.

Also unusually seen in Lowestoft Bus Station yesterday was First Great Yarmouth StreetLite 47501 SN64CPU departing for Great Yarmouth on the 1

My thanks to Simon for the photos.


Thursday 17 October 2019

It's Here!

As predicted in yesterday's post, the first of three TranBus Pointer bodied Darts arrived at First's Caister Road depot yesterday from First Essex.

42486 SN03WMX is to provide support for the traditional increase in demand for Bernard Matthews contract workings in the lead up to Christmas.

My thanks to First Great Yarmouth for the photo


Wednesday 16 October 2019

Latest Repaints for First

A couple of repaints to report from the First Eastern Counties Fleet.

Firstly Volvo B7TL/ALX400 32487 AU53HKE has been treated to the new Ipswich Reds colours.

Secondly former Ipswich Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse 69006 AU05DMF has been painted into the generic Lilac livery for Norwich services, and will move back to Norfolk shortly.

Many Thanks to First for the info and to Joe Thorpe for use of his Photographs


Service Alterations Registered ~ 16th October 2019

There are no published changes to local bus services included in today’s Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner. 

However, there is some activity on operator licensing. AFSC Limited, trading as Maretts Chariots, has received approval for a new centre at Cornish Way Business Park in North Walsham for five vehicles. Victor Manuel Serrano Carvalho of Anson Road in Great Yarmouth has applied for a licence for an operating centre for one vehicle at Beach Coach Station in the town. 

The full report will be available to view here soon.



Posted on First Eastern Counties Facebook page last night, by Sheldon Rees, was news of the impending arrival of three Transbus Darts at Caister Road from First Essex.

Five years ago with Olympians leading the procession on Bernard Matthews contract work in December 2014
42486 SN03WMX is expected later today with 42484 SN03WLW and 42485 SN03WMM to follow at the weekend. They will assist with the traditional increase in Bernard Matthews contract work on the lead up to Christmas.

My thanks to Sheldon for the update.


Tuesday 15 October 2019

Another Jubilee Acquisition

Rollesby based Jubilee Coaches has acquired yet another vehicle from the former Wreningham operator Spratts Coaches.

It's a fairly unusual coach in the form of Caetano Enigma bodied MAN 14.280 registered FJ53VDK. New to Pilling of Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire in February 2004, it spent some time in Suffolk with Felix Taxis (Golynia and Warnack) of Long Melford

My thanks to Kevan Portas for the photo


Musical Chairs

First appears to have been having a session of musical chairs in Lowestoft/ Great Yarmouth area of  late.Wright Eclipse 66334 MV02VBZ has returned to active duty once more and seems to be having more lives than a cat! It immediately transferred to Lowestoft where it was later observed on X22 services to Norwich. It came back to Great Yarmouth after the weekend.

Meanwhile another Eclipse, 66333 MV02VBY, has gone back to Norwich whilst Dart 42920 EU06AUM has returned to Caister Road after a period at Lowestoft. Going the other way to the Suffolk town is 32204 LT52WTK


Monday 14 October 2019

Sunday Pairing

At Sunday lunchtime Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station was occupied by two coaches employed on National Holidays work.

National Holidays' Mercedes Benz Tourismo NH15BDH was alongside Briardon Coaches' Neoplan Transliner MJ11KVG. The friendly driver told me that it would soon be leaving the Leeds-based fleet, to be replaced by a 2017 registered Tourismo previously exhibited at the Belgian international bus and coach event.


Sunday 13 October 2019

Blue Bus Revival

Heritage liveries are very much an ongoing trend within Bus companies these days and we can proudly report the rebirth of a local livery courtesy of enthusiast and friend of the blog Jamie Vendy. He purchased former Eastern Counties Scania S574TPW from Connexions Buses near Harrogate and had a vision to transform it by giving it one of his favourite liveries, that being the Blue & Cream of First Blue Bus, the colours used when First took over Great Yarmouth Transport in the early 2000's.

574 pictured shortly after passing to Jamie's ownership.
65574 as she was in 2007, seen here in Kings Lynn.
574 was revealed to the public yesterday in her new look and the following statement was posted by the Eastern Counties Bus Group,

12 Months in the planning, the proud moment has arrived that we at the Eastern Counties Bus Group can share with you the news we have been itching to share & deliver for the past few weeks.
Introducing the vision brought alive by our friends at DS Coachworks, Sheffield.

574 will be now named “Alan Richard” a tribute to Jamie’s dad who we lost in 2012 & Next year in 2020 he would have been turning 60 and as Alan wanted to retire in Great Yarmouth so the naming of the Bus seems fitting amongst other personal reasons to Jamie.

Jamie’s dad played a massive part enabling Jamie to go to Great Yarmouth to see how Great Yarmouth was transformed during the 90’s and 00’s through the various stages of Great Yarmouth Transport, Flying Banana to GRT First Bus onwards to First Group.

We are very proud of what we have achieved this year marking 574’s twenty years on the road.
Now Jamie and his dad can ride together again along the open road, Alan may not be here but we know he will be watching down on Jamie.

Big thanks has to go out to Darren Sentence, Sharon Taylor of DS Coachworks, WrightBus Customcare Jim McMaster, HMG Paints, Carlyle Bus & Coach, N&M Fibreglass. And most of all thank you to everyone here who has supported us over the last 2 years.

Well done to Jamie and all involved and hopefully it wont be too long before it appears on the roads of Great Yarmouth!

Thanks to Jamie for all the photos.


Saturday 12 October 2019

Jubilee Fest

Earlier in the week I had a tip off that there would be some form of 'jubilation' going on at Beccles Road in Gorleston on Friday. Kevan Portas informed me that a number of coaches from Rollesby based Jubilee Coaches were to be employed on a schools contract requiring four vehicles to ferry schoolchildren from Lynn Grove High School to Great Yarmouth College just before lunchtime. I managed to get photos of three of the quartet involved on the return journey later that afternoon

Former Reynolds Coaches Dennis Javelin KBZ3617 was the first to arrive

Plaxton Premiere bodied Dennis Javelin L444JCR was next

Van Hool bodied Scania W26JCR was the third - adorned with some decoration from its previous owner
My thanks to Kevan for the information


Wednesday 9 October 2019

Service Alterations Registered ~ 9th October 2019

There are no changes to local bus services included in today’s Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner. However, the licence of Richards Coaches of Guist near Dereham has been revoked without a public Inquiry.

The full report will be available to view here soon.


Monday 7 October 2019

Worthing Decker

Venturing into Worthing town centre earlier today I again noted a double decker on the service 10 to Durrington Tesco

Stagecoach South Alexander Dennis Enviro 400MMC 10942 SN18KNF is seen in South Street in 700 Coastliner livery


Sunday 6 October 2019

Bath's Buses

With the wedding not due until the Saturday evening at the Roman Baths, most of the group (all females) indulged in some shopping leaving me to my own devices. Naturally I gravitated towards the bus station and its immediate environs.

Passing by on the way to the bus station was First Park & Ride branded Wright Streetdeck 35114 SO15CUX

In the yard was First's ALX400 32007 TPR354 (ex W807PAE) and Solo 53817 WX05RUO
Specially liveried University buses operate three routes in the city - First YX66WEO heads to Oldfield Park
Bath Bus Company runs regular services to Bristol Airport - here Volvo B9TL/MCV BJ11XGV awaits time
Bath Bus also runs the sightseeing service and Unvi Urbis bodied Volvo WX15OFU is seen in Manvers Street
Edwards Coaches Volvo B11RT/ Caetano Levante BV17GUK nears journeys end on the 403 from London
A number of Bath City branded Optare Solo's work local services - First 53857 YJ68FWV  in Manvers Street
At the bus station we see the Mendip Explorer depart in the form Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7RLE WX59BZM
Chippenham based Faresaver provides some services in the city - ADl Enviro200 FA54VER arrives on the X72
A very interesting couple of hours around lunchtime. Whilst First dominated the scene it was good to see the variety of liveries with other operators playing their part


Saturday 5 October 2019

Reading Photo Interlude

On our way to Bath yesterday for a wedding, we stopped off at Reading to pick up my daughter on the way which provided an opportunity for these photos.

Reading Buses Scania N230UD OmniCity 1108 YN08MMA
Reading Buses ADL Enviro400 MMC 761 YY15OYC
Reading Buses Optare Solo M950 183 RG05BUS

Thursday 3 October 2019

Church Road Diverts ~ 2

On Monday we looked at the southern part of the diversion in place on Church Road in Gorleston following the closure of the High Street and High Road for bus access. Today its the turn of the northern part to feature.

The first photo shows a southbound Bernard Matthews contract working which was not on diversion! Former First Leicester ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL 32063 W223XBD is shown passing the Avenue Road junction on Church Road

Venturing on to Beccles Road I had just turned the corner at the roundabout when BorderBus ADL Enviro200 BB62BUS was heading towards me on the return 580 Waveney Line service to Bungay

Crossing the dual carriageway, to ensure the sun was in the correct position for Great Yarmouth bound buses, a decker was heading westbound and a quick picture was taken of ADL Enviro400 33423 SN60CAA on the X11 to Belton passing the Wheelwrights Arms.

Fortunately there was seating at the bus stop which provided a good vantage point of buses entering the roundabout from Church Road. After quite a few minutes I thought I saw an open topper join the roundabout, so I was quickly off my perch to get some photos. Of the many I took only one came out clearly showing the destination display. Dennis Trident 32905 W905VLN showed Great Yarmouth Town Centre plus the number 8. I expect it may have been a little on the cool side for those on the top deck with a slight northerly wind blowing!

Pleased with my catch, I retraced my steps along Church Road when Excel liveried Enviro400 33822 YX63LKM passed on the X1 to Lowestoft. It is seen passing the flats at Da'Volls Court.