Wednesday 30 September 2020

Tuesday in Norwich

We have received reports from @Ashleybus44 and LiamS concerning some unusual workings in Norwich yesterday.

The latter observed First Lowestoft ADL Enviro 200 44532 SN62 DBO on St Stephen's Street in the city yesterday morning with the vehicle laying over for some time.

Meanwhile Ashley witnessed Volvo B9 36201 BN12 WOB on an Excel service to Dereham (pictured). However, it wasn't the only Excel service not using the new Scanias as another B9, in the shape of 37574  AU58 ECY, returned to its old stomping ground working through to Peterborough.

Finally Liam got a photo of  First Great Yarmouth's Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 33423 SN60 CAA picking up 'students only' in Norwich for their journey to the town on the 901 service. Coincidentally I later saw this working continue along Church Lane in Gorleston.

My thanks to Ashley and Liam for the reports and photos.


Service Alterations Registered ~30th September 2020

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

First Eastern Counties has retrospectively amended the route and timetable of its 972 service connecting the Turban Centre and Farlingaye School in Woodbridge from 1st September 2020.

Konectbus has revised the timetable of its X11 service between Norwich Bus Station and Wroxham from 9th September 2020.

Sanders Coaches has cancelled its 605 Cawston to Reepham High School service with effect from 1st September 2020.

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


Unusual School Working

Aaron Martin of Ormesby recently sent in a photo of an unusual schools working. It shows newly liveried Coastlink Enviro 400 33803 YX63 LJF on the 903 Flegg High School service.

My thanks to Aaron for the photo


Tuesday 29 September 2020

Spares Acquisition

Rollesby independent operator Jubilee Coaches has acquired a Plaxton bodied Volvo B10M from Norfolk Coachways. Registered P122 JNF, the coach is to be broken up for spares.

My thanks to Kevan Portas for the information and photo


Monday 28 September 2020

Wet Sunday In The City

Reg Vardy enjoyed some 'wet time' in Norwich yesterday and took a few photos whilst there. His first one is that of Completely Coach Travel's Mercedes-Benz Citaro O530G BX04 MXK

It is pictured at the the bus station laying over before its next duty and reminded him of another bendy bus which visited the old Surrey St Bus Station. The photo he sent wasn't the one I expected to see! It was another Mercedes in the shape of the 1992 O405G /Alexander CityRanger K1 GRT. In 1995 it did the rounds with many Grampian owned companies. Originally built for Aberdeen it was also used in Leicester, Northampton, Norwich and Ipswich. It is now in the First Heritage collection in Aberdeen.

His next port of call was the rail station with rail replacement buses in use instead of trains between Norwich and Ipswich. The first shows Wright Coaches former London United Scania OmniCity Y70 PTS (in fact both of the operator's Scania deckers were in use) alongside Felixstowe Travel's MCV eVoRa Volvo B8RLE M20 FXO

There was also a line up of three other coaches available for duty with Felixstowe Travel's Scania M90 FXO at the front and Sanders Coaches' Volvo B9R 537 FN bringing up the rear

My thanks to Reg for the photos.


Sunday 27 September 2020

New Rear Ads

On a recent visit to Lowestoft regular contributor Mark Doggett noted new rear adverts on two Wright Eclipse Geminis

The adverts, on 37025 YJ06 XKO and 37575 AU58 ECZ, were for utility company Essex and Suffolk Water

My thanks to Mark for the photos


Saturday 26 September 2020

Repaints Continue

The repainting of the Excel branded ADL Enviro 400s into the new Coastlink livery continues with the recent return of 33808/21 YX63 LJO/LKL to First's Caister Road depot. It is believed that 33805 YK63 LJK is the next in line for similar treatment.

Currently in the workshops is Dennis Dart SLF/ ADL Pointer 42929 SN05 EAJ undergoing electrical work

My thanks to First for the update and photo


Friday 25 September 2020

Friday Flashback ~ March 2008 (Part Two)

Again Friday Flashback returns to March 2008 with most of the photos taken in the Suffolk town of Ipswich on the 21st of the month.

First up is East Lancs Spryte bodied Dennis Dart SLF 97 X97 LBJ at Tower Ramparts with the unusual mid nearside advertisement for the local newspaper publications

Next we make our way to Constantine Road depot where we find Leyland Olympian 39 H775 PTW on the ramp. Previously Dublin Bus RH28 (90D1028), it moved to Ipswich in April 2003 where it was a number acquired from the operator which were almost exclusively used on schools services. After a brief stint in private ownership it moved to Mulleys in early 2012 and the Classic Irish Buses website records that it had left there by September 2015

Also in the yard that day was Optare Solo 235 X235 MBJ and Dennis Dart SLF/ East Lancs Spryte 133 R133 FBJ. The former was previously with Yorkshire Tiger whilst the latter was new to Ipswich in April 1998

Our final photo is of Norfolk County Council Services' Caetano bodied Dennis Javelin V667 FPO at Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station on the 25th. It subsequently moved north of the border to Bradley Contracts of Barrhead in East Renfrewshire


Thursday 24 September 2020

Arrival At Coach Services

Thetford based Coach Services has taken delivery of a former First double decker in the form of Volvo B9L BJ11 EAX

It was formerly First London 36144 and will act as a spare vehicle which will eventually receive the Coach Services 'livery'. 

My thanks to Cameron Robinson for the information and photo.


First 37023 Returns

First Great Yarmouth's Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B7TL 37023 YJ06 XKM has returned to activity duty following the fitting of new engine at Caister Road

With Coastlink repaints still underway Enviro 400 33816 YX63 LKE left today for its turn for treatment.

Additionally the loan transfer of Wright Streetlite 47512 SN64 CRZ  from Norwich to Great Yarmouth has now been made a permanent move.

My thanks to First for the information.


Wednesday 23 September 2020

First 26X

Following on from Liam's post on Monday concerning First's 25X route between the University of East Anglia and Norwich City Centre, there is also a similar 26X service between the two destinations.

Mark Doggett got a photo of the 26X on Monday and it wasn't the expected blue liveried decker but a yellow version in the form of 36367 BG12 YJG masquerading as one!

My thanks to Mark for the photo


Service Alterations Registered ~23rd September 2020

There are a few changes to local bus services to note in today's East of England Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report.

First Eastern Counties has retrospectively altered the route and timetable of of its 63/64 service between Ipswich Rail Station and Aldeburgh Fort Green from the 1st September 2020.
It is also amending the timetable of many of its other Suffolk services services from the same date including:-
64/65/964 Aldeburgh to Saxmundham
73/74/973 Woodbridge to Felixstowe
99/99B/999 Lowestoft Bus Station to Southwold Pier Avenue
99A/99H/995 Kings Head, Southwold to St Mary's Street, Bungay

Kessingland Kabs of London Road, Lowestoft has surrendered its operating licence with effect from 11th September 2020

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


Tuesday 22 September 2020

In Search Of Enviro 200s

Regular contributor Mark Doggett recently went in search of the two ADL Enviro 200s which had just returned to First Essex from Norwich

44909 YX09 AFY at Nether Mayne in Basildon
He found 44908 YX09 AFV was undergoing engine repairs whilst 44909 YX09 AFY was out in service in Basildon on route 10 from Basildon to Shotgate via Wickford. Both buses still retain Norwich branding.

My thanks to Mark for the report and photo


Monday 21 September 2020

Semmence 9

Following the report earlier in the month that Norfolk independent Semmence had acquired two Mercedes Benz Citaros from Konectbus, it was utilising one of them today on their service 9 between Wymondham and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Dan High captured HX06 EZC on the route earlier at the Hospital terminus. The evidence of the 'ghosting' of the konectbus fleet name remains and so does the presence of its former fleet number above the driver's cab window.

My thanks to Dan for the photo


First 25X Starts

First Eastern Counties 25X service started in Norwich this morning and LiamS was quick off the mark to get a photo

With the UEA's Undergraduate Academic Year beginning today with its Welcome Week, First has added extra journeys between the City Centre and the University during peak hours

My thanks to Liam for the photo


Saturday 19 September 2020

Norwich Today

Dan High was also in Norwich today and sends along photos of these interesting buses at work in the city today. 

The first is a photo of Coach Services Volvo B7RLE HF05 HXE on the 37A to East Harling. The saloon was new to Wilts & Dorset with Coach Services acquiring it from Go South Coast (More Bus).

Next is similar former First South Yorkshire 69017 SF55 UAK still in Mainline colours but with fleet names removed. It is waiting to leave Castle Meadow with First Norwich 24A to Queens Hills.

The final photo is of Galloways Plaxton Centro bodied VDL SB 220 AY09 BYC. It was on hire to Simonds of Botesdale.

Again my thanks to Dan for the photos.


Colchester Couple

Regular contributor Dan High was in Colchester today and sends these photos of two buses of interest.

The first shows former First Great Yarmouth Volvo B7TL/ Wright Gemini 32629 KP54 KAX in Osborne Street in the Essex town. It had arrived at Caister Road from First Leicester during June 2014 leaving for First Essex a year ago.

The second photo is of First Essex Volvo B9TL 37007 WX55 VHR - now in Eastern National heritage livery. It was new to First Bristol and transferred to First Essex in March this year.

My thanks to Dan for the photos


First Great Yarmouth Update

The latest news from First's Caister Road relates to three ADL Enviro 400s

33807 YX63 LJN has returned with Coastlinks livery with 33808 YX63 LJO (pictured) taking its place. The third Enviro 400 making the news is 33803 YX63 LJF which has received a brand new engine.

One of the recently loaned former South Yorkshire Volvo B7RLEs (69033 SF55UBT) is out of service requiring a new gearbox.

My thanks to First for the information


Friday 18 September 2020

Friday Flashback ~ March 2008

This week's Friday Flashback returns to March 2008 with most of the photos taken in the fine city that is Norwich!

The location for the first two subjects is Norwich Bus Station on the 11th with the first showing Leyland Olympian 34954 G54 XLO waiting time for its departure to Lowestoft on the X2. The Alexander RH bodied decker was previously with CentreWest and left First Eastern Counties for its final trip to PVS of Barnsley for scrapping.

Next is R W Chenery's Jockheere Mistral bodied Volvo B12B returning on a National Express service 490 in the Bus Station

The location of the third photo taken on the same day is Castle Meadow and shows Norfolk Green's Optare Solo MX55 WCU in 'TESCO extra' livery

The final photo is of AnglianBus Scania Omnicity AO57 HCC at Great Yarmouth's Market Gates on the 19th with the short lived A47 Yarmouth-Acle-Norwich service. The bus is also no longer with us having been written off in a head on collision with a car at Watton.


Wednesday 16 September 2020

Service Alterations Registered ~16th September 2020

Wednesday means a look at the weekly Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner.

This issue refers to a new First Eastern Counties Monday to Friday 79 service between Ipswich and Woodbridge Turban Centre from 1st September 2020.

From the same date Sanders Coaches amended the route and timetable of its 610 service from Holt to Reepham High School

The latest Notice and Proceeding Report can be viewed here 


Tuesday 15 September 2020

Unusual Decker On 580

Chris Baines writes that he was in Great Yarmouth yesterday and observed the rare appearance of a Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7Tl on the Border Bus 580 service.

The appearance of X664 LLX was due to the failure of another vehicle and it only undertook the one return trip before going back to schools duty.

My thanks to Chris for the information and photo.


Saturday 12 September 2020

W768 DWX Repaint At Seaford

On 26th August last I reported that former First Lowestoft ALX bodied Volvo B7TL 30913 W768 DWX had joined the Seaford and District fleet in East Sussex.

Over the last week or so the decker has received Seaford and District livery and today has been ‘vinyled up’ with fleet names etc and looks very smart too

My thanks to David Mulpeter for the information and photo


Friday 11 September 2020

Friday Flashback ~ February 2008

For this week's Friday Flashback we look back to the month of February 2008 where we return to Bury St Edmunds and Dereham in addition to Great Yarmouth

We begin on the 6th of the month at North Drive in Great Yarmouth where we see AMZA Travel's SJI 8127, a Caetano Algarve bodied Dennis Javelin. The business, including vehicles, was later acquired by Swift's Taxis of Great Yarmouth and the registration passed on to a Neoplan Transliner bodied Javelin which became the last full sized vehicle operated by Swift.

Two days later and we are at Market Gates witnessing the use of First Eastern Counties Dennis Dart 46062 K62 KEX on a Belton service. The bus was the last one to be ordered by Great Yarmouth Transport and is now with the East Anglia Transport Museum who acquired the vehicle from First following withdrawal in 2009.

We move to Dereham on the 9th where Konectbus Optare Excel T789 XVO is seen at rest. It was new to Trent in August 1999 and later left Konect to join the Headingham fleet.

Our final location is Bury St Edmunds on the 16th where Burtons of Haverhill's Mercedes Benz Vario S550 BNV is seen leaving the bus station for Lakenheath. It was new to Meteor Parking in February 1999 and later, in 2008, it became an internal airside bus at Stansted Airport.


Thursday 10 September 2020

Loan arrivals at Caister Road

Two of the thirteen recent Volvo B7RLE arrivals from First South Yorkshire have arrived at Great Yarmouth Depot on loan from Norwich. They are 69033 SF55UBT and 69046 SF55UBG.

 Many Thanks to First for the info and to Will Drake for use of his photographs.


Wednesday 9 September 2020

Service Alterations Registered ~ 9th September 2020

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

First Eastern Counties has retrospectively registered a 73/74 service between Woodbridge and Felixstowe, operative from the 1st September 2020
It is also amending the timetables of its Ipswich to Woodbridge 70/70A and Orford to Ipswich 71 services from the same date.
The operator has also cancelled its 173 Woodbridge to Felixstowe and 179 Ipswich to Woodbridge routes from 31st August 2020

There were no entries in last week's Notices and Proceedings Report affecting local services. This and the latest Notices and Proceedings Report will be available to view here soon.


Tuesday 8 September 2020

First Great Yarmouth Latest

The sixth repainted ADL Enviro 400 has returned to First's Caister Road depot in the new Coastlink livery. 33822 YX63 LKM arrived this afternoon with similar 33811 YX63 LJY taking its position in the paint shop

Recent activity in the workshop sees the return to duty of Volvo B7TL 32213 LT52WTW after lengthy electrical repairs. It was noted on service 8 Caister on Sea to the James Paget Hospital for most of today.

Dennis Dart SLF 42921 EU05 AUN is in need of repair requiring a new differential.

Meanwhile all four local StreetLites (47501-4) have now returned to Great Yarmouth from loan to be joined by a fifth example on loan from Norwich in the form of 47512 SN64 CRZ.

My thanks to First for the information and photo.


Ex South Yorkshire Buses Out

As you may have seen a significant number of Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7RLEs arrived in the county from First South Yorkshire towards the end of August

A total of thirteen vehicles have been expected with most of them arriving in Norwich or Kings Lynn for preparation to enter service. Those at the latter were 69033 & 69046 which were undergoing deep cleaning and repairs before moving on to Norwich.

A list of those anticipated for transfer have been provided by First and can viewed in the attached panel

LiamS has already reported the use today of 69026 SF55UAU on the 12 route between Wroxham and the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital whilst 69029 SF55UAX is on the 15A from Lingwood Rail Station to Wymondham

My thanks to First and Liam for the information


Decker Delights

Two double deckers provided some interest at Norwich Bus Station yesterday

The first picture is of a First Norwich Blue Line branded Volvo B9 working the Excel D service to Dereham yesterday. 36168 BD11 CFN is normally found on services connecting the rail station with the university.

The remaining pictures are of Konectbus Park & Ride Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 SN10 CFD which has recently been adorned with an advert for the newly launched Greatest Hits Radio

Greatest Hits Radio has this month replaced dozens of local radio stations across England and Wales including The Beach, Radio Norwich, North Norfolk Radio and KLFM

My thanks to @Ashleybus444 for the photos


Monday 7 September 2020

Newcomers Out Already!

As you may have read earlier, two ADL Enviro 200's transferred to Norwich from Ipswich during the weekend and they were already in service at the former this morning

44928 EU08 FHB is seen in Red Lion Street in the city centre and still retains its 'Ipswich reds' branding.

The other, 45119 RT09 JPT, is observed in St Stephen's Street on the 10 to Eaton Park. It is thought that the twosome have replaced similar 44908/9 YX09 AFV/Y on the route following their return to Basildon off loan

My thanks to LiamS for the photos. Was it only eight years ago that these two were at Caister Road for a refurb/repaint following their acquisition? How time flies!


Sunday 6 September 2020

New Life For Great Yarmouth Bristol VR

The Eastern Counties Bus Prerservation Group have announced their latest addition and its another piece of Great Yarmouth Heritage to add to their fleet......
After months of planning, we are very proud to announce the acquisition of First Eastern Counties 329 from Mick and Judy Peters. The famous Bristol VR ECW body numbered 23456 has been residing in North Norfolk since December 2003, after being exchanged with Ben Jordan (breaker) for Mick's Bedford Plaxton Supreme, TNX 901T.
Of course 29 was new to Great Yarmouth Corporation in February 1979, some 20 years before our first group vehicle 574!
29 will be known as “Blue Peter” - firstly to mark the legacy of Mick and Judy Peters' sheer efforts to keep this vehicle so well kept at their home in North Norfolk, and also because our eventual plans will be to restore 29 back to Great Yarmouth Transport blue with cream relief stripes livery with the “BLUE BUSES” strap lines that were worn in the 1980s/90s, which is very much at the heart of our chairman Jamie's first memories of holidaying in Great Yarmouth.
Some fun facts:
29 worked solely from Caister Road, Great Yarmouth, from February 1979 - firstly for Great Yarmouth Corporation, which then changed in the mid-1980s (can anyone confirm?) to Great Yarmouth Transport “BLUE BUSES”.
In September 1996, First Eastern Counties took over operations of Great Yarmouth Transport with 29 becoming First Blue Bus branded and renumbered 329.
Not long after, in 1997, Flying Banana was purchased - incorporating the last competitor the easterly town had!

329 continued to work from the coastal town until finally being withdrawn in March 2002, some 23 years after it entered traffic at Great Yarmouth.
29 then went to Ben Jordan’s, Coltishall (breaker) and the story should have ended there... but there was a twist! In December 2003, it went to spend its retirement in North Norfolk - and the rest, as they say, is history. 329 became the family “summer house”, but is now getting its 3rd lease of life.
This has only been successful with the help of Mark Judd at MR Judd Commercials and our friends at the Eastern Bus Enthusiasts. But our biggest thanks has to go to Mick and Judy for allowing us the chance to take on this project, which will be worked on alongside our other ongoing projects.
As winter fast approaches, we have even bigger and more exciting things happening behind the scenes as we prepare for 90 years of Eastern Counties next year.

I think we shall be looking forward to seeing 29 back in its Blue colours and once again sitting on the forecourt at Caister Road just like the photo above!
Thanks to Jamie for the info and to myself for keeping it a secret aswell!