Friday 31 July 2020

Friday Flashback ~ October 2007 (Part One)

Friday Flashback this week looks at the early part of October 2007 with the second part following next Friday.

We start at First Eastern Counties Caister Road depot on the 2nd October and I was fortunate my visit coincided with schools contract departures. The caption on the photo is self explanatory.

Later that afternoon for some reason I decided to walk down Southtown Road and witnessed the passing of Caroline Seagull's J786 KHD. The Van Hool Alizee bodied DAF SB2700 was new to Hallmark Coaches of Luton in March 1992 and also spent time with Reading Buses/Goldline as their 234. After leaving Norfolk it also found use with RB Travel of Kettering.

The scene now changes to St Stephen's Street in Norwich on the 5th with a collection of Optare Solos dominating the view. At the bus stop is Anglian's YN53 ENL about to be passed by MX53 FDN. In the background is a third member of fleet with a white liveried version beyond that.

The following day at Bury St Edmunds Rail Station was First Eastern Counties Dennis Dart SLF 43356 V356 DVG. It was new in November 1999

The final photo shows an unusual visitor to Bury with North London based Sullivan Buses Dennis Trident PJ52 PYP about to turn into the bus station. It was apparently on one of the operator's Autumn Days Out tours - this was a Bury St Edmunds / Plough & Propellers Weekend trip which included a visit to Rougham Airfield.


Thursday 30 July 2020

Norwich Update

Following issues with Enviro200 44909 YX09 AFY this morning, the recently transferred Dart 43848 SN55 CXE has deputised for it on service 10. Also similar 43486 has moved from Chelmsford to First Eastern Counties but is now based at Ipswich.

Konectbus Enviro200MMCs have recently been straying from their usual park and ride services. This morning 202 YX69 NPG was observed on the 11 to Dereham. Apparently this is due to the Postwick Park & Ride site being the covid testing site for Norwich so the saloons are now appearing on other routes.

My thanks to LiamS for the photos and to Joe Wilson-Smith for explaining the current use of the Postwick site


Wednesday 29 July 2020

Service Alterations Registered ~ 29th July 2020

Some changes to local bus services are listed in today's East of England Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report.

Ipswich Buses is to cancel its 173/174 service between Woodbridge and Felixstowe from 30th August 2020.

Also withdrawn is Buckland Omnibus Company's 250 route between Rendlesham and Thorpeness from 19th July 2020.

Christopher Henry, trading as Fox Cars in Beccles, has surrendered his licence with effect from 19th July 2020. The operating centre at The Street in Benacre was licenced for two vehicles.

The full Notices and Proceedings Report will be available to view here soon.


Tuesday 28 July 2020

Enviro200s in Use

This week saw the start of First Eastern Counties Pink Line routes 10 and 10A in Norwich currently employing two Alexander Dennis Enviro200s.

One of them, 44909 YX09AFY, was on its way to Cringleford on the 10A earlier this morning as captured by LiamS. My thanks to him for the photo


Sunday 26 July 2020

Border Bus New Arrival

Noted at the Border Bus premises at Moor Business Park in Beccles during early yesterday evening was this newly painted Scania N230UD

Registered YR61 RPX, it was until recently with Ipswich Buses who acquired it from Metroline in late March 2018. It received its Ipswich colours some three months later (Latest Ipswich Repaint - 3rd July 2018)

It is believed to be required to provide additional cover to operate the new 522 Aldeburgh to Saxmundham and Peasenhall to Leiston services and will no doubt receive a cherished BUS registration plate in due course.

My thanks to Reg Vardy for the photo


Completely's First Bus Service

Costessey-based Completely Business ran its first bus service in Norfolk this morning with the expected Volvo B7TL/ Plaxton President LK04 NLZ

LK04 LNZ at Horsford about to commence its journey to the city. Photo: Dan High
Service 36, which operates on Sundays and Bank Holidays only, runs two trips from Horsford's Columbine Way into Norwich in the morning followed by two return trips in the late afternoon

The 36 at journey's end in Norwich's St Stephen's Street Photo:Joe Wilson-Smith
The service interlinks with the 4 between Shipdham and Norwich Bus Station via Dereham and Mattishall. Both workings were recently won by Completely Business on a tender contract from Norfolk County Council.

The yard before the off showing the President sandwiched between Citaro BX04 MXK and Volvo 9700 GDZ 435
Photo: Joe Wilson-Smith
My thanks to both Dan and Joe for the use of their photos


Trolleybus Arrives At EATM

Tim Major reports on the recent arrival of a trolleybus at the East Anglia Transport Museum in Carlton Colville

It is former Notts and Derby 357, a BUT with Weyman body. NNU238 entered service in 1949 and, after withdrawal in April 1953, was sold to Bradford for further use. It became number 774 in the Bradford fleet.

Following the end of its useful life it passed into preservation and spent time stored at various locations, latterly in Lincolnshire. The vehicle is now in need of some extensive restoration!

The museum, is currently closed to the public but is hopeful of reopening on a limited basis in August, Details will be announced in the very near future.on the museum's website.

My thanks to Tim for the report and photos.


Friday 24 July 2020

Friday Flashback ~ September 2007

This week's Friday Flashback includes photos of visits to Ipswich, Norwich and Peterborough in addition to Great Yarmouth

We start at Market Gates on the 3rd of the month where Swift Taxis' East Lancs bodied Dennis Dart L80 YNE was awaiting its next duty. Originally registered L907 JRN, the special plate looked similar to one of the owners surname which was Boyne. It was new to London Buses as their DEL7, passing to London Central upon privatisation. Subsequent owners were Collinson's Coaches of Lancashire and Cumfybus of Southport prior to it joining the Swifts fleet

The 11th saw a visit to Peterborough where I took the opportunity of photographing one of the Delaine fleet. This is Y8 OCT, an East Lancs Vyking bodied Volvo B7TL new to the operator in August 2001. It is seen approaching the Queensgate Bus Station.

Our next location is Norwich Bus Station on 21st with National Express Y319 HUA having just arrived on the 727 service. The Van Hool bodied DAF SB3000 was new in June 2001

Ipswich is our next port of call the following day with the photo featuring X91 LBJ. The East Lancs Spryte bodied Dennis Dart  SLF was new to the municipal operator in September 2000 as their 91 and named Centaur. It was taken out of service in 2015

Continuing the Ipswich theme, we return to Great Yarmouth and its Beach Coach Station  on the 25th where Gemini Travel's R191 HOH is present. The Plaxton bodied Mercedes Benz O814D was new to Armstrong of Gisland in Cumbria in August 1997. Gemini subsequently sold it to Barrett of Bangor Erris in the Republic of Ireland


Thursday 23 July 2020

Angies' Y169 HRN

Following its visit to LG Perfect's yard in Great Yarmouth last week (New For Angies Tours - 15th July 2020), Angies Tours recently purchased Volvo B10BLE/ Wright Renown was seen in Lowestoft this afternoon near the rail station.

Y169 HRN was turning from Katwijk Way into Denmark Road displaying Rail Replacement Service on its destination screen. However, Andy Swan, who took the photo, said he was unaware of any rail replacements today. So I am guessing it was probably on driver familiarisation or a test run.

My thanks to Andy for the information and photo.


Enviro200s Arrive For Pink Line

Two Alexander Dennis Enviro200s arrived in Norwich earlier this week in preparation for the introduction of First Eastern Counties Pink Line routes 10 and 10A in the city.

The buses, First's 44908/9 YX09 AFV/Y, were earlier with First Essex and have transferred to Norwich via Ipswich. The former was noted on shuttle bus duties in the city centre yesterday whilst the latter was at Roundtree Way. A third vehicle will join them later

The routes connect Eaton Park/Cringleford with Mousehold Heath and have been won on contract from Norfolk County Council. The six day service will commence on 27th July 2020 and was previously operated by Konectbus

My thanks to Luke Champeny for the use of his photos.


Wednesday 22 July 2020

Service Alterations Registered ~ 22nd July 2020

Today's East of England Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report contains a number of changes to bus services in our local area

Border Bus is introducing a new Monday to Friday 522 service Aldeburgh to Saxmundham and Peasenhall to Leiston from 1st September 2020. The operator is also amending the routes and timetables of its Sir John Lemans School services from the 3rd September 2020. They are:-
SJL1 from Kessingland          SJL2 from Oulton Broad/Lowestoft     SJL3 from Carlton Colville
SJL4 from Carlton Colville     SJL5 from Carlton Colville                   SJL7 from Oulton Broad
SJL8 from Blundeston           SJL9 from Wangford

First Eastern Counties has amended the timetable of its X7 service between Ipswich and Felixstowe from 7th July 2020. It has also altered timings of the X1 between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft from 12th July 2020 as well as the X1/X11 between Great Yarmouth and Norwich Bus Station from the same date. Further timetable changes have taken place on the X11/7 (Great Yarmouth Market Gates to Belton), 2 (Great Yarmouth Market Gates to South Beach Parade), 1/1A/1B (Lowestoft to Martham) and the 8 (Caister-on-Sea to Gorleston's James Paget Hospital) also from 12th July 2020.

Sanders Coaches is to amend the route and timetable of its 6/X6 services from North Walsham Post Office to Great Yarmouth Market Gates from 26th July 2020. From the same date the timings of its 6A route from North Walsham to Cromer Bus Station will also change

The full Notices and Proceedings Report will be available to view here soon.


Tuesday 21 July 2020

Ten Year Time Tunnel

The Ten Year Time Tunnel returns and with numerous photos taken during July 2010 we had the difficulty of deciding what ones to leave out of this post!

We begin with a visit to Bury St Edmunds on the 3rd of the month and First Eastern Counties were still running services in the town as witnessed by this picture of Dennis Dart 43455 P445 NEX having just left the bus station with the 81 Mildenhall Road service.

Staying in Bury parked up that day at the bus station was Chambers' Alexander bodied Volvo Olympian S131 RLE. It had joined the fleet from Metroline in February 2008

On the 11th of the month Anglianbus were allowing visitors to their Ellough site in conjunction with an East Anglia Transport Museum event. Naturally yours truly went along and I snapped another Volvo Olympian, HIL 5679. With an Alexander (Belfast) body it was new to Dublin Bus as 96 D 306 in August 1996 and withdrawn by them twelve years later. In October 2008 it was acquired by Anglian registered as P476 SWC and was observed many times in Great Yarmouth

Also capturing the camera's attention that day was their Mercedes Benz O.303 CSK 282 which was earlier registered as E993 KJF. It was new to Pullmanor of Camberwell in May 1988.The CSK registration was later transferred to one of Anglian's Dennis Javelins.

My return from Carlton Colville that day was on preserved Ipswich Corporation AEC Regent III ADX 1. The Park Royal bodied vehicle was Ipswich's first motorbus and marked the transition from electrical to diesel power for the town's fleet. It can still be seen at the Ipswich Transport Museum.

After our tour of Suffolk we return to Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station on the 20th of the month where we view Mulleys' Jonckheere bodied Volvo B10M G973 LRP. New in April 1990 to Hilo of Sandy, Bedfordshire, it was acquired by Mulleys in March 1993.


Sunday 19 July 2020

Yesterday's Visitors

In addition to the visit of Blue Bus Scania S574 TPW yesterday, another welcome surprise was the appearance of three coaches at Beach Coach Station as a sign towards some form of normality returning

The photos were taken by 'Reg Vardy' with the first showing Falcon Coaches Scania Interlink YT19 ECC operating an Enfieldian Tours trip to the town. Their website also shows a tour to Southwold towards the end of the month.

The last picture features Mil-Ken Travel's AM11 KEN alongside Sunfun's Y19 CCB. The former was new as YN11 AXK to Logan of Dunloy, Ballymena whilst the latter was new to Sunfun as WA68 FAA

Encouraging to see the presence of coaches there and my thanks to 'Reg' for the two photos


Saturday 18 July 2020

Blue Bus Back In Town

A Former Eastern Counties Scania L94/Wright Single Deck made a welcome return to its old stomping grounds today as part of a tour visiting stops on the old Coastliner route once operated by the company. S574TPW was new to FEC in 1998 and began life in Norwich before finishing its career with FEC in Kings Lynn. It then moved to First Northampton and finally to Essex to see out its final operational days.

574 is part of The Eastern Counties Preservation Group and owned by Jamie Vendy. The Bus is kept at Guyhirn in Cambridgeshire with other ex Eastern Counties vehicles including former Excel Coach P330RVG amongst others.

Jamie decided to repaint 574 into one of his favourite liveries, First Blue Bus, although none of this type wore the livery it does look impressive on the Scania.

First stop on the tour was Wisbech then Kings Lynn before heading to the North Norfolk Coast and Wells next to the sea, Hunstanton and Cromer were all paid a visit en route to Yarmouth.

574 alongside an Excel Scania in Wisbech
574's owner Jamie with his four legged sidekick!
574 headed down to Yarmouth via Stalham, Potter Heigham and then a welcome visit to my home village of Ormesby St. Margaret for a quick photo shoot (Thanks to Jamie for the tracking link!)

It then made its way to Caister Road Depot for another Photo Shoot and then a brief trip along the seafront before its return to base.

Looked like a great day out for everyone involved and well done to Jamie and everyone involved getting 574 looking so good in its new guise. Many Thanks to Jamie for the info, photos and updates throughout the day allowing me to get some photos for the album!

Also thenks to Mark Pitman for the final photo at Caister Road.

Stay Safe, Grahame.

Rail Replacement ~ Lowestoft

With Oulton Swing Bridge broken in Lowestoft, rail replacement is in use today at Lowestoft with a former Metroline Plaxton President bodied B7TL LK04 NLZ on duty.

Whilst the double decker is owned by Completely Business, it is currently on hire to P J Overy trading as Angie’s Tours

My thanks to Tim Miller for the report and photo


Caister Road Quick Update

A brief update from First's Caister Road depot includes a return to duty for Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL 32210 LT52 WTR following its temperamental gear issues. Its place in the workshop has been taken by similar 32206 LT52 WTM which is having an engine rebuild.

Meanwhile Dennis Dart SLF 42929 SN05 EAJ has transferred to Lowestoft permanently.


Friday 17 July 2020

Friday Flashback ~ August 2007

Today's Friday Flashback returns with another look at August 2007 and we begin with a Reynolds Coaches Plaxton bodied Dennis Javelin.

BIG 9836 was delivered new as M606 WTW to Ferrers of South Woodham Ferrers in November 1994 and was acquired by the Caister-On-Sea operator eight years later. It is seen here at Great Yarmouth's Market Gates on 13th August with owner Charles Reynolds at the coach entry.

On the same day Our Bus SF54 OUY was also at Market Gates. The Plaxton bodied Mercedes Benz O814D was new to them in December 2004 and had (or was just about to) work the 731 route serving the villages in the late afternoon

Two days later and the focus changes to a damp Beach Coach Station where we see two National Holidays' Coaches. They were Plaxton bodied Volvo B10M-62s Y736 HWT and Y719 HWT

On the 28th of the month the weather at the same location had improved somewhat with Burton's triaxle Bova Futura XL04 BCT enjoying the sunshine


Thursday 16 July 2020

Seasider Continues

I ventured into Great Yarmouth town centre yesterday for probably the first time since lock-down, but only stopped to drop off my passenger! However, I continued to the seafront area to see if the open top bus was out in service.

It was and I caught up with First's Dennis Trident 32905 W905 VLN heading north along North Drive. I overtook it to park up close to the Seashore Holiday Park terminus to get my photo.


Wednesday 15 July 2020

New For Angies Tours

Lowestoft based Angies Tours have aquired a Volvo B10BLE/Wright Renown Single Deck which is the first Bus to be part of their fleet although they did trial the use an Alexander Dennis Enviro Demonstrator recently for Rail Replacement Work.

Y169HRN was New to Burnley & Pendle in August 2001 and continued to work under the Transdev name before being withdrawn and sold to Square Peg Buses in Leeds. It is still in its former operators livery. It was noted today at LG Perfects Yard in Gorleston.

Thanks to Alex Claughton for use of the Photograph.


Service Alterations Registered ~ 15th July 2020

First Eastern Counties again feature prominently in this week's Notices and Proceedings Report, published today by the East of England Traffic Commissioner.

Among the operator's retrospective entries are alterations to the timetables of the following routes from 5th July 2020:-
11/11A 12/12A Norfolk & Norwich Hospital to Sprowston/Wroxham
28/29/X29 Norwich, St Stephens Street to Fakenham, Oak Street
40/40A/X41/41/41A Norwich, St Stephens Street to Bungay, Hillside Road West

Also in today's publication is a Notice of Public Inquiry to be held later today following the adjournment of an earlier inquiry in April. It relates to Kessingland Kabs of London Road in Kessingland. It will consider disciplinary action under Section 17 of the 1891 Public Passenger Vehicles Act; consideration of disciplinary action under Section 28 of the 1985 Transport Act and consideration of Transport Managers Repute under Schedule 3 of the 1981 Public Passenger Vehicles Act.

The full report will be available to view here soon.


Tuesday 14 July 2020

Local Dart In Norwich

Another First Great Yarmouth Dart SLF appeared at Norwich Bus Station earlier today to work the 14:10 X1 service from the city.

The sighting of 42920 EU05 AUM comes less than a month after 42919 EU05 AUL was noted on an X11 duty there (X11 Dart: 18th June 2020). The Dart was commandeered as the planned decker had developed a fuel leak.

My thanks to Omar Atiallah for the report and photo.


National Holidays Brand Saved

The JG Travel Group, which includes Just Go! Holidays and Omega Breaks, has purchased the National Holidays brand and database from the administrators of the Specialist Leisure Group (SLG).

The group intends that their National Holidays programme will use coach operators from the same regions that tours were delivered from previously. It wants wants to replicate the product with it being delivered by third-party operators with some of the coaches carrying the National Holidays branding.

SLG ceased trading on 22 May after the coronavirus pandemic caused 'a significant cash shortfall.' The Shearings brand, database and customer website were subsequently acquired by Leger.


Monday 13 July 2020

Our Bus Solo On ebay

Joe Wilson-Smith has alerted me to the availability of an Our Bus Optare Solo being advertised on ebay today

It is Optare Solo M920 X313 CBT which was acquired from Goodwins of Manchester in November 2018. The 33 seater was new to Durham County Council in October 2000

My thanks to Joe for heads up and the ebay entry can be viewed here


Sunday 12 July 2020

Last B7 Leaves

So far unreported here is the last Volvo B7L departure from First's Caister Road depot. 66341 MV02 VCT left on Thursday with its destination unknown. It had languished in the rear yard for sometime being withdrawn as long ago as January 2019.

Meanwhile at Lowestoft's Gas Works Road Depot Dart SLF 42956 WX06 OMO is in use as the drivers' canteen!

Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL 32210 LT52 WTR has been a little temperamental of late, so it found itself on the naughty step in the rear yard at Caister Road on Friday. It still has gear problems.

Finally, summer must be arriving as the Dennis Trident open topper W905 VLN was in use earlier today.

My thanks to First Great Yarmouth for the information