Tuesday 31 March 2020

JPT Darts

Yesterday's Ten Year Time Tunnel featured a picture of a JPT Dart in Manchester which was seen by Ken Aveyard. In the post I mentioned that First acquired four former JPT buses which were prepared for service at Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot following a repaint at Full Circle.

Ken has supplied photos of all of the four when they were in use in use with JPT. The first two were taken in Middleton during December 2011 whilst the others were snapped at Oldham Bus Station in July 2009

The list below gives the JPT fleet number followed by the registration and the subsequent First fleet number
303   ST58JPT   45117
304   RT09JPT   45119
305   VT09JPT   45118
306   ST09JPT    45116

The foursome were noted locally in the rear yard at Caister Road in early August and can be viewed on our Flickr site HERE and HERE

My thanks to Ken for supplying all four photos


Monday 30 March 2020

Ten Year Time Tunnel ~ March 2010 Part Two

Continuing our occasional series of looking back at photos taken during the same month ten years ago. The second part of the month was fairly quiet as far as the number of photos taken are concerned. I spent a couple of days photographing buses in the Manchester and Oldham area during a stay with my daughter at the latter.

This first picture is of an Optare Solo M950 at Oldham Bus Station on the 15th March. MX07JNV was with Stotts of Oldham but was new to Morrison of Whiteness in April 2007. It left the Shetlands for the Lancashire independent in 2009 and was then loaned to Anglianbus becoming their 332. It was then sold to Go Ahead Damory in 2011 and later gained the red and blue More colour scheme.

The following day a trip to central Manchester occurred and I snapped Dart SLF S3JPT operating for JPT Bus Company in their yellow and blue colours. The only link to our area is that First Eastern Counties acquired four JPT registered Darts which were prepared for service at Great Yarmouth prior to seeing use at Lowestoft. The Greater Manchester operator ceased trading in April 2014 with the business acquired by Stagecoach Manchester.

Only two further photos were taken during the remainder of the month with the first of them being National Holidays' YC02DJK  resting at Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station on the 24th.

The final one shows two Dennis Darts in the rear yard of First's Caister Road depot and, by the note on both windscreens, they seemed to have completed their last revenue earning services. L807OPU first saw use with Eastern National in May 1994 whilst N625GAH began its Eastern Counties career in August 1995. The view is dated 29th March

Coming soon observations for April 2010


Sunday 29 March 2020

Reynolds Coaches' Visit ~ 29th March 2014

After a suggestion by Joe Wilson Smith (thanks!) we are publishing posts from the same date in another year. The first is a visit by Joe LW to the Caister depot of Reynolds Coaches during the morning of 29th March 2014

A total of eight vehicles were at the Ormesby Road site including the oldest in the fleet 221WPH. New in 1989, it was previously F740MVR, and had then benefited from the application of the new livery.

One noteable presence was that of BIG8768 Lady Corina. Unaware of that registration, I checked my records and it appears it was formerly X208UAO

Others present included Volvo B10s BEZ3139 and 7289DD, Dennis Javelins BIG8773 and BIG9854 and Mercedes Benz BIG8790 and W600JSB.

JSB still retained its white livery despite being acquired by Reynolds more than two years previously. It sees continuous use in schools traffic and Joe speculates whether this is going to be with them much longer

My thanks to Joe for the report and photos and I hope you enjoyed this flashback!
The line up at Reynolds premises at Ormesby Road during Joes visit

Friday 27 March 2020

Ten Year Time Tunnel ~ March 2010 Part One

Whilst the Coronavirus crisis continues, we are introducing the first in an occasional series of looking back at photos taken during the same month ten years ago.

This post looks at the first half of March 2010. The opening picture shows First step entrance Dart 47626 N626GAH on the 2 which then operated throughout from Barrack Estate to the James Paget Hospital. Following behind was all over white Excel liveried Wright Eclipse Gemini 37572 AU58ECW. The location was Gorleston High Street.

The next two photos were from an Ipswich visit made on the 6th of the month with the initial offering showing Ipswich Buses Optare Excel 170 YG52DGO being passed by Carters Plaxton Pointer Dart R707YWC.

The next features Plaxton Beaver bodied Mercedes Benz Vario O814D 131ASV from the Beestons fleet.at the Old Cattle Market. Its previous registration was V967RCX with the dateless plate having been previously affixed to a Volvo B10M-60

Back to Great Yarmouth then for the next one which shows the use of Norwich Park & Ride liveried TransBus ALX400 32481 AU53HJY leaving Market Gates on town service 6. The decker later moved to First Essex and returned to the fold at Ipswich

The next contribution is of National Holidays' Volvo B12M YC02CFV at a wet Beach Coach Station on 9th March

Later that same day Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL 32105 LT02ZCU was parked outside First's Caister Road depot with 602 Harford Park & Ride displayed on the destination screen. It had transferred only that month to First Eastern Counties from First CentreWest in London  Hiding behind is Leyland Olympian 30104 K488EUX.

The final picture is of Van Hool saloon M595BLC which was observed parked outside the Lady Haven Public House at Cobholm in Great Yarmouth on 12th March. Operated by R J Hipkiss & S J Atkinson the bus was stabled there and used to transport Norwich City football supporters to home matches; appropriately in yellow and green colours. The vehicle was previously in use as a British Airway aircrew shuttle bus at Heathrow Airport.

Hope the above has jogged a few memories and hope you enjoyed today's post - part two follows shortly


Wednesday 25 March 2020

Service Alterations Registered ~ 25th March 2020

Today’s Notices and Proceedings report from the Office of the Traffic Commissioner contains just the one entry regarding changes to our local bus services.

First Eastern Counties is to amend the route, stopping places and timetables of the 40/40A/X41/41A/41 services between St Stephen's Street in Norwich and Hillside Road West in Bungay from 19th April 2020

The full report is available to view here.


Tuesday 24 March 2020

Stay Home ~ Stay Safe

Following last night's announcement by the Prime Minister, I am urging all bus enthusiasts to please stay at home. Buses will still be operating when this is all over and you can get to photograph them then to your heart's content.

In an attempt to discourage outings we are temporarily suspending our news feature and will only post the weekly Notices and Proceedings Reports (if published) and possibly some photos from our archives.

In the meantime should you have to use public transport please check the operator's website for developments. In the case of First Eastern Counties please click here. Another very useful site for the latest information, which also includes independent operators, is Norwich Bus Updates which also has a twitter feed.

Please follow government advice to help save lives in staying safe by staying at home.


Monday 23 March 2020

Ex Ipswich 53 Preserved

'Reg Vardy ' contacted us yesterday to say that Kings Lynn based Coastal Red had donated former Ipswich Buses 53 to the Ipswich Transport Museum.

Operating as Lynx Bus, the company has given the Optare Spectra bodied DAF DB250 UWW2X to the museum

It was new to Ipswich buses as X153LBJ in September 2000 who operated it on the Bury Road Park & Ride service in the town. It was acquired by Lynx exactly sixteen years later and subsequently gained the UWW2X plate. It was collected from Lynn on Saturday

A press release appears on the the Ipswich Transport Museum's website with more photos featuring the vehicle are on the Museum's Facebook site

The photo, supplied by 'Reg Vardy', shows it being inspected in Kings Lynn last month. Thanks 'Reg'


Sunday 22 March 2020

Bawburgh School Bus

In late May last year I reported that one time First Great Yarmouth Plaxton President bodied Trident 32809 T809LLC had been towed to Bawburgh Village School, west of Norwich.

Courtesy of LiamS I have some subsequent pictures of the decker at the school showing that all seats have been removed as the plan is to convert into use as a school library.

T809LLC first saw use in Great Yarmouth in early November 2017 after transfer from Norwich. It was needed to help cope with an increase in Bernard Matthews contract work in the lead up to Christmas. It was withdrawn the following February prior to returning to the city for use as a driver trainer during April 2018.

My thanks to LiamS for sourcing the photos and to the school for allowing them to be published.


Saturday 21 March 2020

107 Service Ends

The Monday to Friday three times daily 107 service between Lowestoft Bus Station and Gunton St Peter ceased yesterday afternoon

Suffolk Norse SN06BOH operating the 107 service in May 2018
Operated by Suffolk Norse, the service ended with the last run at 13:40 employing Alexander Dennis Enviro300 SN06BOH. There were only six passengers on board.

My thanks to Simon Bartram for the information.


Friday 20 March 2020

BooBee Bus In Town

Yesterday was BorderBus' last day of operating the 'Boobee' bus, ADL Enviro 400MMC, on its services.

The company had not used any of its previous loan vehicles on the 580 route between Bungay/ Beccles and Great Yarmouth, but yesterday it employed YX19ONU on the service which meant a number of appearances in Gorleston.

The first photo shows the loanee passing Gorleston Parish Church with the 11:26 service from Bungay heading for Great Yarmouth. The remaining photos are of the return 1240 working from the town's Market Gates with YX19ONU being pictured in Gorleston High Street.

A welcome relief from home confinement with social distancing being observed at all times! More photos plus further information on the bus and the Breast Cancer Charity can be found in our earlier post here


Thursday 19 March 2020

First Vehicle Update

Work continues on preparing Ipswich Reds liveried 32475 AU53HJJ for service at First Great Yarmouth's Caister Road Depot. The Transbus bodied Volvo B7TL is to receive the engine donated by similar 32494 AU53HKM

Also in the workshops recently was Volvo B9 37572 AU58ECW which was fitted with a new rear axle.

After being noted out of use in the yard at First Lowestoft's Gasworks Road depot last week, Dart 42956 WX06OMO is now in the rear yard at Caister Road. It is believed to have developed an electrical fault

Whilst on the subject of Lowestoft depot, Simon Bartram reports withdrawn ALX400s 30900 W774DWX and 30913 W768DWX were parked together in the yard towards the end of last week. Their fleet names and numbers were 'blued out' and no doubt awaiting collection. Meanwhile Lowestoft heritage liveried 30888 W743DWX, was sat at the opposite end.

My thanks to Simon and First for their reports


Wednesday 18 March 2020

Service Alterations Registered ~ 18th March 2020

Today’s Notices and Proceedings report from the Office of the Traffic Commissioner has nothing to report concerning changes to our local bus services.

However, there is notification of a Public Inquiry to be held in Cambridge on 22nd April 2020. It concerns Kessingland Kabs whose four directors are Michael Sutton, Fiona Smart, Hayley Sutton and Carole Sutton. The Inquiry is to consider disciplinary action under Section 17 of The Public Passenger Vehicles Act of 1981 and under Section 28 of The Transport Act of 1985.

The full report will be available to view here soon.


Tuesday 17 March 2020

Worthing Wanderings

Being a person of a certain age, this could possibly be the last posting comprising my own sightings for the immediate future. This report features a couple of observations in Worthing yesterday.

This is Metrobus Scania OmniCity 6559 YN07LKF which is seen on Marine Parade about to leave for Crawley on the 23 service. It is similar to those previously operated in our area by Anglianbus.

Also noted was Compass Bus Enviro200 Dart 4109 GX62CSF which was passing Indcar bodied Irisbus AE60DBX owned by A & A Travel of Ferring.


Sunday 15 March 2020

BorderBus BooBee Loan

Beccles based BorderBus has taken on the loan of a bright pink ‘BooBee’ double deck bus until the 20th March

The ADL Enviro 400MMC, registered YX19ONU, was observed on the operator’s 146 route yesterday between Southwold  and Norwich by @Ashleybus444 He has provided photos of it at Southwold.

The decker has been travelling around the UK and spending time with bus companies to raise awareness about breast cancer and educate women about breast health.

More information about the BooBee bus can be found at https://www.boobee.co.uk/whats-all-the-buzz-about or to donate to the Prevent Breast Cancer charity visit https://preventbreastcancer.org.uk/donate/

My thanks to @Ashleybus444 for the information and the photos. BorderBus will also also be pleased to receive any feedback on the use of the bus.


Friday 13 March 2020

Friday Round Up

The occasional series of Friday Round Up returns this morning when we look around the holiday area of Great Yarmouth to see what coaches are about on their short breaks. Only two coaches were observed today (outside the New Beach Hotel) but that may be due to a couple of reasons. This morning's tour was a little later than usual (so I may have missed some!) or there may be some cancellations due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

However, I was rewarded with my efforts with my first sighting of a 20 registered coach in the form Alfa Travel's Mercedes Benz Tourismo 119 BV20HNC. It is one of ten new 49 seated additions to the fleet - their fleet number and registrations are shown below:-

117   BV20HNA          122   BV20HNF
118   BV20HNB          123   BV20HNG
119   BV20HNC          124   BV20HNH
120   BV20HND          125   BV20HNK
121   BV20HNE          126   BV20HNJ

The other observation was that of Rotherham based Expressway Coaches' BV17CKE, a Sunsundegui bodied Volvo B8R new in March 2017


Thursday 12 March 2020

Konect's Annual Loss

This week's Bus & Coach Buyer contains a report on Go-Ahead owned Konectbus regarding a call from the Unite trade union to enter into meaningful negotiations on working conditions.

The article continues that Konect's parent made £75.1 million last year although it says 'Konectbus currently runs at an annual loss of in excess of £500k. This loss is absorbed by the Go-Ahead Group, which has continued to invest in our business and its people in order to secure a long term future for Konectbus'

Go-Ahead continues to work with the Unite union to secure a voluntary recognition agreement.


Only Way Is Essex

Following our report in February (Stranger in the Camp: 28th February 2020) regarding the loan of ADL Pointer Dart 42955 WX06OMM to First Colchester, I am now able to bring photos of it in service there.

They were taken at Colchester Station by Ryan Hannah. One shows the saloon on the 62B route to Wivenhoe Co-op which runs at 20 minute intervals. The second displays the return service to (Colchester) North Station.

My thanks to Ryan for the photos


Wednesday 11 March 2020

Service Alterations Registered ~ 11th March 2020

Today’s Notices and Proceedings Report, published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner, contains some changes to local bus services provided by First Eastern Counties.

The operator is to introduce a 173 Monday to Friday service between Woodbridge and Great Eastern Square in Felixstowe from 6th April 2020. From the same date there will also be a Monday to Friday 179 service between Ipswich and Woodbridge.

Additionally First Eastern Counties is to amend the timetable of its 71 route between Orford and Woodbridge also from 6th April 2020

The full report will be available to view here soon.


Tuesday 10 March 2020

Where Are They Now? ~ AU06BPF Updated

Lincolnshire Bus Fleet News reports the acquisition of former Anglianbus AU06BPF by Hunts Coaches of Alford. (Subsequently re registered to DSZ7401)
The Volvo B7RLE/ Wright Eclipse Urban was purchased from Blackpool Transport and has subsequently been repainted in all over white by PCR Bodyworks of Horncastle.

My last sighting of the bus was during a depot visit to Anglian's Ellough premises in July 2010 when it was being prepared for its move to Blackpool.

My thanks to PCR Bodyworks for consent to use their photo.


All of the five former Anglianbus AU06 batch have now been sold by Blackpool Transport and the disposal details for the the remaining four are:-
AU06BOV to South Lakes Travel of Barrow in Furness
AU06BPE to AC Travel of Gosport
AU06BPK to Paul S Winson of Loughborough
AU06BPO to David Ogden Coaches of St Helens

AU06BPK was also being prepared for its Blackpool move during my Anglian visit in July 2010 
My thanks to Paul for the update


Saturday 7 March 2020

More Departures For Ensign

First Great Yarmouth continues to export withdrawn double deckers from its Caister Road depot.

W223XBD on Temple Road in Great Yarmouth in March 2014, a month after arrival from First Leicester
The latest one way journeys to Ensign’s Purfleet site were made by two former First Leicester ALX bodied Volvo B7TLs. They are 32058 W218XBD and 32063 W223XBD. Similar 32065 W425SRP and President 32212 LT52WTV remain parked in the rear yard.

The Ensign website subsequently advertised W223XBD as being available for sale!

My thanks to First for the update.


Friday 6 March 2020

Sanders Activity

The North Norfolk based Sanders Coaches fleet has gone through a period of recent change and I am pleased that Stephen Purkiss has gone some way in providing an update complete with photos.

He tells me that the operator has acquired a trio of former Blackburn based Transdev Wright bodied Volvo B7RLE's which retain their Lancashire United colours and they are:-
515 FJ57 CZN (ex Lancashire United 1841)          516 FJ57 CZM (ex Lancashire United 1842)
517 BX07 AZJ (ex Lancashire United 1840)

516 FJ57CZM at South Creake heading for Fakenham on the 27
Stephen managed to capture both 516 and 517 in service on Wednesday plus 515 was in the Heath Road yard at Holt.

Caetano Levante 6542FN at Cromer Coach Park
The former National Express Caetano Levante bodied Volvo B9R FJ11 GMY has acquired fleet number 908 and now carries Sanders cherished plate 6542FN. The registration was previously carried by a former Caroline Coaches and East Kent AEC Reliance.

My thanks to Stephen for the information and photos. A draft up to date fleet list from Sanders can now be viewed HERE


Thursday 5 March 2020

Local First Update

With the exception of Great Yarmouth heritage liveried 32059 and the open topper, all of First Great Yarmouth's W registered ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TLs have now been taken out of service. The last to go were 32063/5, W223XBD and W225SRP.

W425SRP on a Bernard Matthews contract working in October 2018
Similarly Lowestoft have now lost all of their 309XX fleet numbered deckers. 30961 YJ51RDV has moved from Lowestoft to Great Yarmouth whilst 30900 W774DWX became the last operational W registered vehicle here.

30900 W774DWX returns to Lowestoft Bus Station after working the 99 route in April 2019
In other transfers, 36183/5 BN12JYF/H moved to Norwich on Tuesday night with 36188 BN12JYL joining them shortly after following gearbox replacement at Caister Road. (Not Lowestoft as previously stated)

My thanks to First for the information


Wednesday 4 March 2020

Where Are They Now? ~ 221WPH

Following a short stint with Derrick Ball Coaches of St Helens on Merseyside, former Reynolds Coaches 221WPH has now entered preservation.

The 35 seated Plaxton bodied Dennis Javelin was new to Woodward of Glossop in June 1989 as F740MVR and was later re-registered as 221WPH. It was then acquired by Reynolds in early 2008 and named Lady Charlotte. The coach was still going strong when I photographed it on a schools duty on Burgh Road in Great Yarmouth during November 2016.

John Wakefield tells me it was subsequently acquired during January 2020 by preservationist Robert Lamsdale who intends to  restore it to Reynolds livery. It is now based in the Wolverhampton area. My thanks to John for making me aware of its preservation and to Robert for the additional information


Service Alterations Registered ~ 4th March 2020

Just one item to report from today’s Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner.

Michael and Anita Dabbs, trading as Felixstowe Travel, has surrendered an operating licence during the week ending 21st February 2020. However, they will continue to operate under another licence at their Beach Station Depot on Walton Avenue in the town

The full report will be available to view here soon.


Tuesday 3 March 2020

Scottish Exiles Active In Lowestoft

Two former Scottish Volvo B9TLs were active on Lowestoft town services earlier today. 37142 SN57HDC was photographed by Andy Swan on the 101 route. Meanwhile, similar 37141 SN57HDA was employed on the 99 service.

Both arrived at First Eastern Counties' Caister Road depot from Midland Bluebird in April 2017. They are now allocated to First Lowestoft.

My thanks to Andy for the photo and report


Monday 2 March 2020

Oxford Konects

Oxford Bus Company, part of the Go-Ahead Group, is hiring four Mercedes Benz Citaros from Go East Anglia reports Malcolm Crowe of The Oxford & Chilterns Bus Page

HF55JYZ, one of the four Citaros moving to Oxford, in Castle Meadow Norwich in November 2019
Three of the vehicles, Konectbus 422 HF55JYY, 423 HF55JYZ and 427 HF55JZE, have already arrived at Oxford and are being prepared for service. The fourth, 421 HF55JYX, was due to be collected on Saturday. They will be renumbered 884 to 887 and are replacements for MANs which have been withdrawn following their unreliability.

My thanks to Malcolm and Konectbus for the information


Ensign in February

Following SteveW's visit to Ensign last month, I now have a report from Ross Newman regarding the comings and goings at the Purfleet premises during February.

ALX400 W422SRP on a Bernard Matthews contract run in October 2018
In addition to Steve's sighting and photos of ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TLs 30901/48 and 32061/64 from First's Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft depots, a fifth example also appeared during the month in the shape of 32062 W422SRP

First Lowestoft Dart WX05RVR on town service 101 in May 2018
Also arriving From Caister Road during the month were ex First Essex Darts 42483 SN03WLK and 42486 SN03WMX. First Lowestoft also sent 42908 WX05RVR, formerly with First Somerset & Avon.

My thanks to Ross for the regular monthly updates.