Wednesday 30 December 2020

Blue Line Bernards

Three Norwich Blue Line liveried Volvo B9TL Geminis have arrived at Caister Road on loan to assist with rising contract work for Bernard Matthews Factories across the region.

The vehicles involved are 36176 BD11CGE, 36177 BD11CGF and 36178 BD11CDX.

Many Thanks to Will Drake for the photos from Caister Road today.

Stay Safe Everyone and a Happy New Year, Grahame.

Service Alterations Registered ~ 30th December 2020

Today's Notices and Proceedings Report, issued by the East of England Traffic Commissioner, contains nothing of interest regarding our local area services.

Nevertheless the full Report can be viewed here


Tuesday 29 December 2020

Rail Replacement Connexions

Recent rail replacement workings have provided the odd unusual appearance of vehicles not normally associated with our local area.

That was the case last night when Joe Wilson-Smith looked in at Norwich Railway Station and observed a bus well away from its normal base. It was Harrogate Coach Travel's YN05GXC, a Wright Solar bodied Scania L94UB. 

Operating as Connexions, the company provides a network of local bus services from Harrogate and York in the North Yorkshire area as well as Otley and Ilkley and Leeds in West Yorkshire.

Joe referred me to their Facebook site which stated they had hired one of their DDA compliant service buses to fulfil Rail Replacement services and to 'Look out for them in East Anglia.... ' 
Update: Apparently it's on hire to Angies Tours

My thanks to Joe for the information and photo


Sunday 27 December 2020

Lowestoft Rail Replacement

Following on from Grahame's earlier report on rail replacement at Great Yarmouth Station, Andy Swan provides a couple of photos of vehicles in use at Lowestoft Station whilst out on his Boris walk this morning.

The first shows Wright Coaches Scania OmniCity decker R70 PTS awaiting its next trip with an Ambassador Travel Caetano Levante behind, thought to be FJ09 DXE.

On lay over waiting a call to service was Completely Coach Travel's Volvo B7TL /Plaxton President LX04 NLZ and alongside was former Ensign Enviro 200 SN11 FFM currently with Simmonds of Bottesdale.

Also present were two from Angie's Tours and a Sanders Coaches representative.

My thanks to Andy for the photos and report


Velvet Replacement

Essential Shopping took me to Asda this morning and a busy Rail Station greeted me on my way in with quite a selection of Rail Replacement vehicles on show.

First up is Freestones Scania K360/Irizar i6  S26DDA, This was new to West Coast Motors as YT11LVL.

Sanders had a pair of Caetano Levantes on duty in the shape of  6546FN & 3990ME which do look the part in Sanders colours in my opinion!

Finally an unusual visitor to the area was Scania L94UB/Wright Solar FJ03VVR which is on loan to Completely Coach Travel. The vehicle is listed as preserved but has appeared around the country on Rail work recently. It was new to the Wellglade group operating for Trent Barton and Kinchbus before moving to TM Travel in Sheffield. It is in the livery of Velvetbus a now defunct operator in Eastleigh, Hampshire.

Thanks to Liam for the heads up on this, have a safe time everyone.


Thursday 24 December 2020

Seasonal Greetings and Thanks

Well what a year 2020 has been! When the first lockdown occurred in late March I feared that we wouldn't have much to report on the blog for the foreseeable future.

How wrong I was! Despite all the concerns, the reports continued to arrive and the introduction of our lookback/flashback features have contributed to the third highest number of reports in our ten year history. Whilst I dispensed with the annual review last year, you are still able to look through the blog archive at the bottom of the left hand column of our webpage. The highlight for me was my invitation to the press launch of First's new £5.3 million excel fleet - really enjoyable.

All that remains is for me to acknowledge all the many contributors to the blog over the last twelve months as the numbers continue to grow. Thanks to each and everyone of you as your reports and photos are much valued and appreciated.

My very special thanks also go to Grahame Bessey for his many contributions and continued support - a busy man indeed but he still spares time for his reports! Last, but not least, ENBB would like to wish all readers, supporters and contributors a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and safe new year. We hope to continue our high standard of reporting into our eleventh year despite Tier 4!

Take care all and stay safe


First Great Yarmouth Latest

30964 in Gorleston High Street in September this year
The latest from First's Caister Road Depot is that five double  deckers require, or are receiving, attention. The three Geminis concerned are 37569  AU58 ECN (steering rack), 37578 AU58 EDJ (compressor) and 37023 YJ06 XKM (rear axle)

The others are two ALX400s in the form of 30959 YJ51 RCO (electrics) and 30964 YJ51 RAU (gears). StreetLite 47503 SN64 CPX also requires a new gearbox

My thanks to First Great Yarmouth for the reports received throughout the year


Christmas & New Year On the Buses

During the festive period the many bus operators in our area will be running amended services. 

Details of changes to First Eastern Counties services during the Christmas and new year period are shown here. Please click on the poster for a larger version

Other bus companies arrangements can also be viewed by visiting the individual company's own websites which can be found by clicking on the 'Local Operators' tab above 

Wednesday 23 December 2020

Service Alterations Registered ~ 23rd December 2020

A few entries of interest in the latest Notices and Proceedings Report, published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner earlier today.

Following last week's amendment, National Express has again altered the timetable of its 490/491 Lowestoft Bus Station to London Victoria Coach Station service this time commencing on 18th December 2020

Binumon Thankachan and Shirley Spicer of Falcon Street in Ipswich have successfully applied for the approval of a new Wickham Market Railway Station to Framlingham College Street service to commence from 1st March 2021. The 'flexible registration' will run daily including Sundays

A new operation is being established at Woodbridge with the registration of a new operating centre under the name of Stowmarket Minibus and Coach Hire Limited

The full Notices and Proceedings Report is available to view here.


Tuesday 22 December 2020

Daimler Surprise!

After the first lockdown I decided to redecorate our third 'bedroom' plus all the work that entailed. The room is really where all the books/magazines etc are stored and where the PC is based for compiling the blog. The work has not been without its surprises however. The main one was the total collapse of a shelving unit almost burying me under it!

Removal of  the same and the sorting of the old publications within it has also yielded a few surprises including this photo falling out of an old Buses magazine. It was taken by me with an old Brownie camera and the scene is local history at its best. 

The bus is a Roe H43/33F bodied Daimler 'Fleetline' CRG6LX parked beside the shelter adjoining the then ABC Regal Cinema/Theatre. New in June 1963, No 53 HEX253 awaits passengers for its A service to Magdalen Estate - all buses to Gorleston had destination letters then. I believe it was taken on a Sunday in the mid/late 1960's as work had yet to start on the demolition of the old Nichols Restaurant to make way for the Market Gates Shopping Centre.

HEX253 was withdrawn in 1978 and was disposed of to dealer Martin of Middlewitch presumably for scrap.


Sunday 20 December 2020

Sunday Express

Noted on Sunday afternoon was a National Express liveried Caetano Levante parked at Beach Coach Station in Yarmouth. Not that unusual you may say!

BV69KRK a newer bodied Levante is operated by E. Clarke & Son of Lower Stoneham in London. What caught my attention was its destination screen showing the 491 service to London, this to my knowledge is normally run by Ambassador Travel, having checked the Bustimes website a bit later at home one of Ambassador's own Levantes was indeed in London on a return journey to Yarmouth.

The coach was also previously operated by Travel Decourcey in Birmingham.

Stay Safe, Grahame.

Friday 18 December 2020

Friday Flashback ~ December 2008

This week we turn the clock back to exactly twelve years ago to view movements in Great Yarmouth during December 2008.

Our first view is of a visit to Ambassador Travel's premises at James Watt Close on Gapton Hall Estate on the 4th of December. FN52 HRM is at rest after presumably returning to the town on the 497 service. New to the operator in November 2002, the Volvo B12M was later re registered KIG 1857. However, after being acquired by Isle of Wight business ALS Travel, it made a return trip to the town in May 2018 with its new owner.

On the 17th the scene changes to Nelson Road North next to the town's Beach Coach Station and awaiting its next duty is Belle Coaches' Plaxton Paramount bodied Volvo B10M LIL 8481. It was new to Dodsworth of Boroughbridge as G720 NWY in April 1990.

On the same day First Eastern Counties Dennis Dart 40288 M944 SRE was passing the M&GN spandrels at the Beach Coach Station. As many of you will know the coach station is on the site of the former Midland & Great Northern Railway station of Yarmouth Beach. 40288 was new to Pennine Blue in August 1994 and then became part of the First Manchester fleet. It was subsequently taken out of service by First during Spring 2009.

Our final photo shows a couple of Shearings Holidays coaches at Beach Coach Station on the last day of the year. The coaches featured are Volvo B12M/ Jonckheere Minstral MX03 AEE and GT02 WAM. The former later saw use with Sherwood Travel of Immingham whilst the latter moved on to Haytons of Manchester and Kings Norton Coaches of Birmingham.

There will be no Friday Flashback next week as it will be Christmas Day and I think I am due a day off!!


Thursday 17 December 2020

Coach Services Disposal

Yesterday T766 JYB, a Volvo B10M/ Van Hool T9, left Coach Services for a new home in Suffolk

It was new to Berry's of Taunton in April 1999 from where it was purchased by Simonds of Botesdale in  June 2009. Coach Services acquired the Volvo in March 2013. Its new owner is Dan's Coach Travel of Stowmarket.

My thanks to Cameron Robinson for the report and photo


Wednesday 16 December 2020

Service Alterations Registered ~ 16th December 2020

Just the one entry in the latest Notices and Proceedings Report, published earlier today by the East of England Traffic Commissioner.

National Express has amended the timetable of its 490/491 service between Lowestoft Bus Station and London Victoria Coach Station from 3rd December 2020

The full Notices and Proceedings Report is available to view here.


Coach Services Volvo Branding

Cameron Robinson reports that Coach Services' recent arrival Volvo B9 BJ11 EAX is now carrying the operator's branding.

Another recent newcomer Volvo B7RLE HF05 HXE is to receive the same treatment soon.

My thanks to Cameron for the information and photo


Tuesday 15 December 2020

Another Jubilee Arrival

Jubilee Coaches latest acquisition is G210 UAS, a Plaxton Paramount bodied Dennis Javelin which was formerly with Dan's Coach Travel of Stowmarket.

It was previously with Panther Travel as BIG 8856 and new to Maynes of Buckie in October 1989. How many 30 year old Javelins are there still in use? Kevan Portas tells me it has been well looked after and the underneath is 'rock solid'

After a check over and a tidy up, the 57 seater will become the spare vehicle at Rollesby replacing a smaller capacity coach which sees little work.

My thanks to Kevan for the report and photos


Monday 14 December 2020

Converted Olympian For Sale

Still for sale at a St Olaves boatyard near Great Yarmouth is this Alexander (Belfast) bodied Volvo Olympian with the registration S916 ANH.

It has recently been converted to a 3 bedroom holiday home featuring a kitchen with two seating areas, flat screen televisions and many original features maintaining its bus character. It has also received an external respray and a new MOT at point of sale.

Further details including many interior shots can be seen on the Anglia Yacht Brokers website and it is available for sale at a reduced price of £12,500

The Olympian was last with Bennetts of Kilwinning in Scotland; at least until January last year. It was new to Midland Red (South) in December 1998 which subsequently became Stagecoach Warwickshire 16616.

My thanks to Tim Miller for the latest exterior photos


Saturday 12 December 2020

Coastlink Corner

Finally managed an hour or so out with the camera this morning, its been a while so i decided to head for Acle to grab a few Coastlink liveried vehicles as i was yet to add many to the collection.

First up was 33822 YX63LKM working the X1 through to Norwich. Acle is always good for X1/X11 services as both directions are served so ideal for photos either way!

Heading back to Lowestoft was one of the Gemini pair recently repainted 37274 LK58EDF seen at the Kings Head stop heading towards Yarmouth.

My timing was perfect as 33423 SN60CAA pulled up bound for Norwich on the X11, another i was hoping to see with the camera.

Finally it was 33820 YX63LKK seen at the Kings Head bound for Belton on the X11. A good morning of photos gained followed by a nice warm Coffee!

Stay Safe, Grahame.

Friday 11 December 2020

Friday Flashback ~ November 2008

This week's Friday Flashback looks back to activity in Great Yarmouth during November 2008

We start with a photo of Shearings Holidays Volvo B12M/ Plaxton Panther 622 MX04 AFF at the town's Beach Coach Station on the 6th November.

On the 18th at the same location was Brighton & Hove's Volvo B10M Y867 GCD which was new in March 2001. It later moved to Go South Coast where it was re-registered as VUV 246 and operated on the Isle of Wight.

Our third subject was photographed on the same day picking up passengers from the since demolished Raynscourt Hotel on Euston Road. The coach was EOS BIG 9885 from the now defunct Reynolds Coaches fleet and was previously registered N63 FWU. It later moved to Reading & Wokingham Services Limited

Our final photo is of First Eastern Counties 34110 W437 CWX observed on the same day at Market Gates Bus Station. The Alexander Royale bodied Volvo Olympian was new to Yorkshire Coastliner in June 2000, subsequently moving to Eastern Counties in 2008. It entered preservation in November 2015 and changed hands in 2017, prior to arriving at the South Yorkshire Transport Trust. Privately owned it still runs but has severe chassis rot which requires extensive repairs, which have yet to be commenced.


Wednesday 9 December 2020

Service Alterations Registered ~ 9th December 2020

Today's Notices and Proceedings Report, published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner, contains two entries relating to local bus services.

Halesworth Community Transport has registered a circular Halesworth Area Community Bus Service commencing on 2nd December 2020. Operating five mornings a week it runs via Southwold, Reydon, Walberswick and Blythburgh

Barway Services Limited has received approval for four operating centres in the East of England. The application includes one site at North Road in Ormesby St Margaret near Great Yarmouth for the use of three vehicles.

The full report will be available to view here soon


Tuesday 8 December 2020

66987 Moves to Norwich

After spending a few days in the rear yard at First’s Caister Road site, KX05 MHV has subsequently transferred to Norwich.

Having had its First Ipswich branding removed, it was seen by LiamS leaving Taverham on the 29 route to the city centre this morning.

Dan High travelled on it to the city and got a photo of it on arrival in St Stephen’s Street.

My thanks to both Liam and Dan for their photos


Trainer at Great Yarmouth

Parked in the rear yard at First Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot during yesterday evening was driver trainer Volvo 66840, MX05CGE, a Volvo B7RLE/ Wright Eclipse Urban saloon.

My thanks to First for the information and photo


Monday 7 December 2020

First Lowestoft Dart's Final Journey

After more than eight month's residence at dealers Ensign's yard in Purfleet, a former First Lowestoft Dart has made its last journey. November's report on activity at the Essex site reveals 42908 WX05 RVR, also formerly with First Somerset & Avon, has been dispatched to its final destination at Shelton Motors for scrapping.

WX05 RVR on Lowestoft town service 101 during May 2018
My thanks to Ross Newman for his monthly reports


Sunday 6 December 2020

Rail Replacement Today

Rail Replacement was in effect again earlier today at Lowestoft with the usual suspects out to play. The photo shows Angies Tours Volvo B10BLE/Wright Renown Y169 HRN, their loanee Plaxton bodied Volvo B12BT SV56 BWF and Completely Coach's Citaro BX04 MXK awaiting a call to duty.

My thanks to Andy Swan for the information and photo


Coastlink Clipper

A Coastlink branded Enviro400 was observed working a Coastal Clipper service this morning. Aaron Martin took this photo of 33803 YX63LJF at Ormesby St Margaret.

Many thanks to Aaron for the report and photo


Friday 4 December 2020

Friday Flashback ~ October 2008

This week's Friday Flashback returns to October 2008 with the subjects being located in the towns of Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft

The first depicts the visit of Anglian Buses Scania K230UB/Wright YN08 MRO to Market Gates on the 6th. It was on trial with the Beccles based operator and also operated with First Leeds and Bradford prior to moving to Centrebus for use in Yorkshire and Derbyshire. I believe it was also used by Coach Services of Thetford at one point.

The remaining photos are from the First Eastern Counties fleet with the our next picture featuring 60307 M512 PNA at Market Gates on the same day. The Wright bodied Volvo B10B-58 was new to Greater Manchester North in February 1995

Our next location is Gordon Road in Lowestoft near the bus station where Leyland Olympian 34825 F105 AVG is noted. It was one of a batch of five purchased new by Counties in April 1989 and received the DD prefix. The first three were painted in the mainly red bus livery whilst the other two (including F105) carried a mainly cream livery with orange and red stripes and fitted with high backed coach style seating. One of its regular duties was operating the Peterborough-King’s Lynn-Norwich/Great Yarmouth limited stop service 794 the forerunner of what became the Excel branded service.

Another Olympian was heading for Beccles that same day in the form of 34950 G50 XLO. This Alexander bodied version was new to London Buslines in August 1989. After transfer to Centrewest in 1989 it was acquired by First Eastern Counties in May1999. It lasted until 2010 and after being cannibalised at Kings Lynn it passed to Erith Commercials for scrap

Another Leyland Olympian seen on Gordon Road on the 14th was 34922 G122YEV which was new to Ensignbus in September 1989. After a stint with Capital Citybus it moved on to First Eastern Counties in May 1999 and was similarly scrapped by Erith Commercials


Wednesday 2 December 2020

Service Alterations Registered ~ 2nd December 2020

For the second consecutive week there are no entries in the latest Notices and Proceedings Report, published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner, affecting any of our local bus services. The full report will be available to view here soon


Monday 30 November 2020

Last Trip

The latest from Rollesby - based Jubilee Coaches is that the remnants of the Plaxton bodied Volvo B10M, recently acquired from Norfolk Coachways, is about to leave on its final journey for scrap.

Since arriving in late September, P122 JNF has been broken up for spares and is seen here awaiting collection this morning. I understand that good ventilation is a requirement for minimising the effects of COVID19 but I think its appearance on the next schools service might be taking things a little too far!!

My thanks to Kevan Portas for the information and photo.


Saturday 28 November 2020

Saturday Sightings

Couple of sightings to report from today whilst doing the Shopping and Exercise duties.

First up whilst visiting Adsa a couple of vehicles laying over whilst on Rail Replacement duties at Yarmouth Station.

First up is former Metroline Volvo B7TL LK04NLZ now with Completely Coach Travel which is becoming a regular on such duties around the area.

Also on duty was Angies Tours Caetano Levante P28PJO.

On the way home i also managed to spot the latest arrival at Caister Road which is another ex Sheffield Volvo B7RLE 69020 SF55UAN which was changing drivers in Beaconsfield Road.

And finally back in my home village another of the Sheffield exiles was working the 1 service to Lowestoft in the shape of 69046 SF55UBG.

Stay Safe everyone, Grahame