Tuesday 30 June 2020

Morris Moves

Some of you may have visited the Whitwell & Reepham Railway in Norfolk and observed a Morris Commercial vehicle on site there

CYC 476 is a 1937 Morris Commercial CS11/30 estate bus bodied by Real Medland and Wells but later rebuilt for PSV use by Taylor of Cringleford, Norfolk as a B12F. It was moved from the Whitwell and Reepham Railway, Norfolk in June where it had been for eight years to a new owner Chris Stokes who lives near Chelmsford in Essex.

Chris reports that its condition is in a bad state, the body despite restoration work being carried out on it by a Norfolk car restoration company in 2013, is as rotten as the proverbial old pear. So the new owner, a qualified carpenter/joiner and boat builder, has to take stock of whats left and how to proceed. Hopefully it will be rebuilt again as an estate bus, but it maybe not in the exact form it was before. At least it's now under cover and restoration has commenced in earnest.

CYC 476 was first licenced in July 1937 by Sidney F Jenkins, Goathurst, Bridgwater as non PSV but later licenced as a PSV from January 1948 to February 1951. The bus was used both pre and post war on a bus route starting at Goathurst picking up in Enmore and Spaxton before terminating in Bridgwater. In between the morning and evening runs the seats were removed so that it could be used to transport coal and other goods and livestock.

After a number of subsequent owners Chris Cook, a volunteer at the Whitwell & Reepham Preservation Society, acquired it from the Wensleydale Railway in December 2012. As mentioned above it was then acquired by Chris Stokes.

My thanks to John Wakefield for his help in preparing this report and to David Beardmore for the use of his photo which was taken at Whitwell in August 2015.


Monday 29 June 2020

Konectbus Timetable Changes

Commencing yesterday, Konectbus introduced timetable changes on routes 3, 4, 5A, 5B, 5C, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13B, 33, 81 (new) and X11. These changes reflect recent contract awards by Norfolk County Council and only those affecting routes in our immediate area are mentioned here. Information on the remaining services can be obtained by visiting the Konectbus website which features links to the new timetables.

Route 5A: Blofield Heath - Brundall - Norwich
This route has been withdrawn and is now being served by First's Green Line routes 14/14A/15.

Route 5B: Stalham - Wroxham - Dussindale - Norwich - Eaton
Minor timetable changes have been made with the new timetable available to view here.

More information on the Konectbus Website


Friday 26 June 2020

Friday Flashback ~ July 2007 Part One

Friday Flashback returns with a look back through the photos taken during July 2007 with mainly a Mercedes-Benz theme.

We start with a visit to Lowestoft Bus Station where we see Waylands Minibus Services' B10 WFB, a Picher Green bodied Mercedes-Benz 609D. Frank Berry and Margaret Berry traded as Waylands in Bungay but had their licence and related services revoked in late 2014. The thirteen seater later moved on to Llew Jones Coaches in Llanrwst in North Wales.

The following day (the 8th) will travelled further into Suffolk to Felixstowe where First's 32489 AU53 HKG was observed at Crescent Road prior to continuing to Ipswich with the 75 service. The TransBus ALX400 has recently received Ipswich Reds livery (see Grahame's Sunday posting).

The penultimate picture is of Sanders Coaches' P542 SCL in the car park at Sheringham Station awaiting its next duty on 9th. The Plaxton Beaver bodied Mercedes-Benz O814D was new to the operator in March 1997.

Our final contribution is that of Norfolk Green's S309 DLG taken on the same day. Numbered 414 in the fleet, the Mercedes Benz O814D/Plaxton Beaver is observed on the Station Approach in Sheringham in Coasthopper colours. The bus was new to Davidsons Buses of Bathgate in October 1998.


Wednesday 24 June 2020

Leger Holidays Saves Shearings Brand

An article on the Travel Weekly magazine website reveals that escorted touring specialist Leger Holidays has acquired the former Shearings brand, customer database and website. Leger says that in 'bringing the iconic Shearings name back to life', it will offer a new programme of coach holidays in the UK and Europe.

Shearings’ parent Specialist Leisure Group (SLG) ceased trading in May. SLG blamed the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic for causing “a significant cash shortfall.” The demise of SLG also affected Caledonian Travel and National Holidays among other subsidiaries. Leger has not purchased those brands.

Leger Holidays Chief Executive Ian Henry says that the Rotherham-based company will operate Shearings as a stand-alone brand within its portfolio. Speaking to Travel Weekly magazine, Mr Henry confirmed that the deal does not include any coaches, former employees or hotels.


Service Alterations Registered ~ 24th June 2020

Sanders Coaches feature prominently in today’s Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner.

The operator is retrospectively amending the following timetables from 11th June 2020:-
5/CH2 Holt Charles Road to North Walsham Post |Office
5A Cromer to Norwich
6/X6 North Walsham Post Office to Great Yarmouth Market Gates
6A North Walsham Post Office to Cromer Bus station
43/43A/43B Reepham Market Place to Norwich Bus Station
44 Hempstead Road Holt and Sheringham Station Approach
44/X44/X40 Reepham to Norwich High School
45/45A Norwich to Holt
55/X55 North Walsham Post Office to Norwich City Centre (from 8th June 2020)
210 North Walsham to Norwich Bus Station
CH1/CH3/CH4 Cadogan Road Cromer to Wells Next the Sea (Quay)

Koneectbus is cancelling is 13B service between Norwich Castle Meadow and Easton College from 24th July 2020.

The full report will be available to view here soon.


Tuesday 23 June 2020

First Great Yarmouth Latest

The latest information from First's Caister Road depot is that all serviceable buses are now available for duty and that includes the three saloons previously in the reserve fleet.

Heritage liveried vehicles Dart WA56 OAS and ALX 400
W219 XBD at First's Caister Road
One of the trio was Flying Banana Dart 42943 WA56 OAS which is seen here alongside Great Yarmouth Heritage liveried decker 32059 W219 XBD

Minor work continues on Enviro400 33808 YX63 LJO which has seen its recent engine replacement completed.

Also needing attention is Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL 32210 LT52 WTR which has had its gearbox removed ready for a new one to be fitted.

On the subject of engine replacement, First Ipswich 32488 AU53 HKF arrived at Caister Road earlier today for just that very reason - following a repaint.

In other First Ipswich news, repaints are being carried out elsewhere to 32490 AU58 HKH and 32655 AU05 MUY.

My thanks to First for the information and photo plus Clive Nixon for the Ipswich news


Sunday 21 June 2020

Painting The Town Red Continues

The transformation of the First Ipswich fleet from Grey to Red continues at pace with two more Volvo B7TL's getting the new look this past week or so.

First up is 32489 AU53HKG seen above and below is 32491 AU53HKJ both pictured whilst en route back to Ipswich after repaint, 32491 is yet to have the various vinyls applied.

Many Thanks to Joe Thorpe for sending us the photographs.


Friday 19 June 2020

Friday Flashback ~ June 2007

Friday Flashback moves on to June 2007 with remarkably only a few photos in my library to choose from!

That is until I realised that the earlier part of the month was taken up with a two week break touring the USA ending up in New Orleans where I noted the effects of Hurricane Katrina after our earlier visit. So our first photo this week shows streetcar 905 on Canal Street. It is one of thirty five Perley Thomas 900 series streetcars built in 1923/4 for the St. Charles line.

Meanwhile back in the UK First Great Yarmouth were employing their three acquired ex London Transport Routemasters on the service 3 between Hemsby and Great Yarmouth. Each received a different livery and the photo shows Flying Banana branded 39623 NML 623E at Great Yarmouth's Market Gates about to leave for the Seashore Camp.

Earlier that day I had seen a WA Shearings Van Hool Alizee bodied Volvo B12M MX03 ABK at Beach Coach Station. The WA was reference to its merger with Wallace Arnold which took place in 2005.

Our fourth photo is of  Chambers M655 KVU a Volvo B10M-62 with similar bodywork which was observed at Beach Coach Station on 20th June. It was new to Shearings in January 1995 and acquired from them in February 2003. The Volvo was also noted on loan to Anglian in May 2013

A week later and I was in Norwich photographing the use of the First Routemasters on shuttle services to the Norfolk Showground. The photo shows 39717 SMK 717F in St Stephen's Street in its 'Great Yarmouth Transport' livery on 29th of June. It was subsequently exported to Asia and latter reported to be still carrying passengers in Bangkok, Thailand in the same colours in August 2016. It now resides at the Jetsada Museum in Nakon Pathom.


Thursday 18 June 2020

X11 Dart

The 10:25 X11 service from Norwich Bus Station to Belton was unusually provided by a First Great Yarmouth Dart this morning.

Omar Atiallah took this photo of 42919 EU05 AUL prior to departure but it only worked as far as Great Yarmouth‘s Market Gates. I have often seen Darts running on the X11 between Belton and Great Yarmouth but never between the town and Norwich (or vice versa).

My thanks to Omar for the information and photo


Wednesday 17 June 2020

Former First Volvo B7L Preserved

Former First Eastern Counties Volvo B7L 66334 MV02VBZ has been saved by Northampton Transport Heritage after being purchased from Ensignbus. The group posted a photograph and information earlier on their Facebook page.

‘All of our vehicles we have, until now, inherited or kindly have the use of. We have though had the opportunity and have purchased our first vehicle at a very good price for preservation.

MV02 VBZ is a Volvo B7L with Wright Eclipse body work. Originally numbered 358 it was new to First Manchester in June 2002 to help with the Commonwealth games. A year later in 2003 it was brought to First Northampton where it operated out of St James garage until 2012 and gained a new fleet number 66334 From St James it was transferred to First Norwich, and finished it's commercial days at the Caister road depot of First Great Yarmouth. 

It was withdrawn and sold to Ensign Bus in March this year from where we have purchased it. Why, we hear you say? Well mainly for three reasons really; it's part of our transport history having served in Northampton for nine years, it will appeal to a mainly younger demographic of people who we need to attract to the movement and all importantly it complies with public service vehicle accessibility requirements.

Being PSVAR compliant means on many of our event days that we can run alternate trips on this as well as our traditional vehicles, meaning people with disabilities need not miss out on the action.

Currently we are looking for some undercover storage as there is currently no room at our current facility. At the moment 66334 is stored outside at a temporary location pending a more permanent premises. If you know of anywhere undercover please let us know. All being well, if Heritage Days goes ahead, it will make its return to Northampton in September.

Thanks go to Ross, Karl and the team at Ensign for their assistance’.

Many Thanks to Northampton Transport Heritage for allowing us to share their news!


Service Alterations Registered ~ 17th June 2020

There are some items of interest in today’s Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner.

Sanders Coaches have retrospectively amended the timetable of its 25 service between Fakenham Oak Street and Tesco from 4th June 2020

Jubilee Coaches of Rollesby have been granted approval to increase the number of vehicles authorised at their Fleggburgh Road site in the village to seven

Stephen Kenneth Roberts has applied for a restrictive licence for an operating centre at St Josephs Road in Sheringham

The full report will be available to view here soon.


Tuesday 16 June 2020

Lowestoft Arrivals

Two First Great Yarmouth deckers have been transferred to First Lowestoft. Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini 37021 YJ06 XKK on a temporary basis, whilst Volvo B9 37570 AU58 ECT returns to its former stomping ground permanently.

37021 in Gorleston High Street on 5th February 2020
My thanks to First for the information


Sunday 14 June 2020

Ambassador Transfer

Ambassador Travel's Plaxton Paragon bodied Volvo B12M CN53 NWB has been transferred to sister company H Semmence of Wymondham.

It was new to Bebb of Llantwit Fardre in December 2003 with Ambassador acquiring it in February 2007 where it initially saw use on National Express services. It was more recently employed on schools work.

My thanks to Joe Wilson-Smith for the update


Lowestoft Rail Replacement

Rail replacement services were in position at Lowestoft Station earlier today with a variety of vehicles available for use

Andy Swan has provided some photos on social media which he has given me approval to use here. The first one shows Completely Coach Travel's Mercedes-Benz Citaro O530G BX04 MXK on standby in the car park. Alongside the former Arriva Midlands Bendy Bus is Felixstowe Travel's Volvo B8RLE M80 FXO and Sanders Coaches' Caetano Levante 6542 FN.

Completely Coach Travel was also using Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL LK04 NLZ. The bus was new to Metroline London Northern as their VPL581 in July 2004

My thanks to Andy for the use of the photos.


Friday 12 June 2020

First Update

First 37566 in an earlier guise during December 2011
The latest from First Great Yarmouth is that Wright Gemini 37566 AU58 ECE has had its rear axle replaced but has now developed a gearbox fault.

Enviro400 33808 YX63 LJO is awaiting a new engine whilst three single deckers have been moved to the reserve fleet. This comprises Dart SLFs 42919 EU05 AUL and 42943 WA56 OAS plus StreetLite 47501 SN64 CPU

In the meantime StreetLite 47502 SN64 CPV and Gemini 37570 AU58 ECT have been loaned out to Lowestoft.

My thanks to First for the update


Friday Flashback ~ May 2007

Today's Friday Flashback concludes our look back to May 2007 with Norwich visits again forming the mainstay of this week's post

We begin with independent Neaves with its N374 JGS working the 14:45 departure on the 36 route to Sea Palling on the 26th. The Plaxton Beaver bodied Mercedes-Benz 709D was new to The Shires (LDT) in April 1996 and was subsequently stored in January 2006. The following June it was purchased by Goldline of Ellough before being acquired by Neaves in October the same year

Also at Norwich bus station the same day was VRG 417T employed on the City open top sightseeing services. New to Tyne & Wear in June 1979 it was acquired by London Buses in 1988 and five years later by Merseybus who converted into part open top in 1996. It saw use with City Sightseeing of Windsor from July 2003 and it is thought it was on loan to Awayadays when the photo was taken

Four days later I was back at the bus station where I noted National Express Irizar bodied Scania YN05 WJJ wearing the Irish themed National Express livery. Alongside is Anglian's Mercedes Benz O814D X477 XVG - new to them in January 2001

On St Stephen's Street the same day was Anglian's R361 DJN on its way to the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital on the 123 service. The East Lancs bodied Volvo Olympian was new to Harris Bus of Wesr Thurrock in February 1998. It was taken over by London Buses and painted red in 2000. Anglian purchased it in June 2004 and subsequently sold it on to York Pullman in September 2007

The final photo is of local Caroline Seagull's Leyland National RSG 814 in 2004. Seen operating the Great Yarmouth's seafront service, the bus was new to Alexander (Fife) in January 1980. The family firm ceased operating in March 2008 blaming 'crippling' fuel crisis for its closure after 55 years of trading.

I am grateful to Iain's Bus Stop for helping to fill in the blanks of  the histories of the former London buses


Thursday 11 June 2020

Ten Year Time Tunnel ~ June 2010

The ten Year Time Tunnel returns with a look back at June 2010 and there appears to be only a small number of photos taken during the month with a gap of about three weeks. Further investigations revealed a holiday in California - more of that later!

We begin on the 2nd of the month with the lucky catch of a photo of an Optare Tempo demonstrator on loan to Anglianbus. It is seen on Middleton Road in Gorleston heading for Great Yarmouth on the 608 route. YJ59 NNZ was subsequently acquired by Norfolk Green which then became part of the Stagecoach fleet.

The next photo of is of Blackpool boat car 228 in San Francisco on 20th June. It was built in 1934 and lasted in service with Blackpool until 1975. It was shipped to the USA in February 1976 where it operated as part of the Bi-Centennial celebrations in Philadelphia. It then returned to Blackpool in July 1978 and after six years of storage it made one final trip across the Atlantic following its donation to Muni for operation on the historic streetcar “F” line in San Francisco.

Back in blighty the the next subject is Smiths Coaches HKZ 1329. The vehicle is a Dennis Javelin 12SDA/ Plaxton Paramount 3200 which was previously registered as G469 LVG. It was new to local independent Caroline Seagull in 1989 along with sister G470 LVG, It spent ten years with Smiths prior to moving to Norfolk Coachways. It was parked in the unusual location of Blackfriars Road in Great Yarmouth on the 29th of June. It had ferried a group of schoolchildren to the nearby Time & Tide Museum.

The final photo is of Whippet Coaches J689 LGA, a Van Hool Alizee bodied Volvo B10M-60. It was new to Parks of Hamilton as J460 HDS in March 1992 and subsequently became LSK 500. The date of the photo is also the 29th.


Wednesday 10 June 2020

Service Alterations Registered ~ 10th June 2020

There are a few listings of interest in today’s Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner.

First's YJ51RDV in Gorleston High Street heading for
Martham on service 1 on 12th March 2020
They mainly refer to retrospective timetable changes made by First Eastern Counties from 1st June 2020. The services affected are:-
⧫  1/1A/1B Lowestoft to Martham via Great Yarmouth Market Gates
⧫  64/65 Aldeburgh to Saxmundham
⧫  65 Ipswich Rail Station to Aldeburgh
⧫  99A/99H Kings Head, Southwold to St Mary's Street, Bungay
⧫  122 Gordon Road, Lowestoft and Lowestoft Bus Station via Oulton
⧫  X1 Great Yarmouth Market Gates to Lowestoft Bus Station
⧫  X11/7 Great Yarmouth Market Gates to Bracon Road, Belton 

Our Hire, trading as Our Bus, is to amend the timetable of its 85 Claxton to Norwich Bus Station route from 13th July 2020. It has also registered a Monday to Friday Norfolk County Hall shuttle service to Harford Park and Ride from 1st August 2020.

The full report will be available to view here soon.


Photo Service Offered

Kelvin Amos, an enthusiast from Bristol who owns three preserved buses, is offering a photo sales service to help raise funds for the three vehicles.

He writes 'Over the period of the early 1980s until the late 90s, myself and a couple of friends have been travelling the country taking photographs of the vastly changing bus scene. I now have a massive collection of bus photographs taken all over the country which includes major operators, nbc, municipal buses, pte. large and small independents and of course all the deregulated companies that are with us today'.

He continues 'Looking at your website I am very likely to have photos of many vehicles in your collection either with original or subsequent operators. I intend to sell the photos on a SALE OR RETURN basis, at 50p each with a discount for bulk orders'.

The blog is being contacted to give readers 'priority before I advertise on the general market nationwide'. Should you require specific vehicles please contact Kelvin direct. He adds 'it is not just the revenue, I want the photos to go to the people that will appreciate them'

Kelvin's contact details are email ka92@blueyonder.co.uk and mobile at 07748 634224


Tuesday 9 June 2020

New To Anglian

Today's post is an unusual request for assistance in identifying the current location of vehicles which were new to Anglian of Beccles

Sam Wickham has embarked on this project and says 'Some just disappeared from Anglian never too be seen again. Have searched blog posts and got some info but others are a mystery. I've no idea where they are and was wondering if your readers could help'

He has supplied a spreadsheet which includes the information so far and it was quite interesting to see where some of the vehicles are now. The spreadsheet can be viewed HERE

So can you help update the information? Please send any updates to sam.wickham@gmail.com


Monday 8 June 2020

First Update

The latest from First Great Yarmouth is that only three vehicles are in the Caister Road workshop for attention.

33808 works the 99 service to Southwold from Lowestoft Bus Station on 19th May this year.
They comprise Volvo B9 37566 AU58ECE, which requires a new rear axle, whilst Enviro400 33808 YX63 LJO needs new injectors. Work also continues on Flying Banana Dart 42943 WA56 OAS.

Meanwhile, Lowestoft's Gas Works Road depot still contains withdrawn Volvo B7TL 30913 W768 DWX together with Lowestoft heritage liveried 30888 W743 DWX.

My thanks to First for the information.


Sunday 7 June 2020

Deckers For PTS

The Passenger Transport Specialist Group (Wrights Coaches) has recently acquired two double deck buses from London United.

The two Scania OmniCities, registered YN08 DHA and YN08 DEU, are to be used on the company’s  latest contract wins from the County Council and also allow the operator to keep up with enforced PSVAR legislation. There are also other plans for their use which will be announced in the next week or so.

The buses were both new to London United in March 2008 and are to be registered with a PTS plate in due course

My thanks to Matthew Wright for the information and photo.


Saturday 6 June 2020

Ensign in May

Ross Newman continues to supply monthly updates on the comings and goings at dealers Ensign.

May's report includes the arrival of ten buses from First Essex and among the three Darts appearing is a one time member of the First Great Yarmouth fleet. ADL Pointer bodied Dart 42955 WX06 OMM was one of two transferred to First Caister Road from First Cymru during November 2018. Whilst in use at Lowestoft it transferred to First Essex Colchester depot in February this year.

Contributor Mark Doggett visited Ensign on the 4th June and also observed the presence of former Lowestoft Dart 42908 WX05 RVR plus ex Great Yarmouth Volvo B7TL 32058 W218 XBD and Wright Eclipse bodied 66334 MV02 VBZ.

Another First Great Yarmouth exile, Volvo B7TL 30947 YJ51 RRU, made its final trip from Ensign to Shelton Motors for scrap during May. It had arrived in Norwich from Oldham in November 2018 and moved to Great Yarmouth in June 2019 to assist with with the summer season. Four months later it transferred to Lowestoft and was withdrawn there the following February.

My thanks to Ross for the updates and to Mark for the use of his photos.


Friday 5 June 2020

Excel Oddities

Regular contributor Omar Atiallah contacted me this afternoon regarding a couple of odd workings on Excel services at Norwich Bus Station today.

The first shows Volvo B9TL/ Wright Gemini 37579 AU58 EDK which had been employed on the D service to Dereham all day instead of the usual Scania

Not to be outdone, the eastern part of the Excel route came up with the use of elderly 30961 YJ51 RDV on the 15:25 X11 service to Belton. Not bad for an eighteen year old bus

My thanks to Omar for the information and photos.


Friday Flashback ~ May 2007

This week's Friday Flashback looks back to May 2007 with a visit to Norwich on the 5th of the month dominating the post.

We start with a scene in St Stephens Street in the fine city with Sanders Coaches decker DAF DB250 R381 GTW passing Eastons Coaches Optare Delta bodied DAF H843 UUA. The former was new to Harris Bus of Thurrock in March 1998 and was subsequently with Hayletts of Thrapston and Geldards Coaches of Leeds. The latter, which began life with KF Cars of Gatwick in November 1990, was employed on service 25 to Reepham

For some reason I changed my vantage point to Queens Road where, in the lay-by, I found one of First's Routemasters laying over during a wedding private hire. JJD 480D was new in May 1966 and during its say with First Eastern Counties was used on many seaside services originating from Great Yarmouth

Back into the bus station where I found Optare Excel V90 EEN on Neaves' 36 route to Sea Palling. It was new to Reading Buses in September 1999 as V941 DCF

For the final photo we move on to the 21st at St Peter's Road in Great Yarmouth where Ambassador Travel's F106 CCL is being overtaken by First's K742 KAH. The Ambassador coach was new to the company in February 1989 and was on the afternoon's 826 St Mary's Roman Catholic School service from Gorleston to Great Yarmouth. First's Dennis Dart 46042 was new to Eastern Counties in December 1992 and appears to be running empty to take up its next duty to Belton.

More memories from May 2007 in next week's Flashback Friday


Wednesday 3 June 2020

Service Alterations Registered ~ 3rd June 2020

Only two entries are of interest in today’s Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner. 

They relate to timetable amendments to the 146 service operated by BorderBus.  Both sections of the route, Southwold to Kessingland and Kessingland to Norwich, are to be altered with effect from 8th June 2020.

The full report will be available to view here soon.


Monday 1 June 2020

Semmence Arrivals

There are two new arrivals to report at Wymondham based H Semmence and Company. The first is former Anglianbus Optare Solo MX53 FDN which arrived a few weeks ago from Galloway of Mendlesham where it was previously registered 4092 PP

MX53 FDN was new to Anglian in January 2004 but it never attracted the attention of my camera whilst it was there. It moved to Galloway in May 2009 and gained its new registration in February 2014. I did see it in that guise during a visit to Bury St Edmunds in November 2017

The other more recent arrival is believed to be Plaxton Beaver EN53 NOF previously with Coach Services of Thetford who had acquired it from Euroview of Dereham by August 2017

My thanks to Joe Wilson-Smith for the Semmence update