Friday 30 October 2020

Friday Flashback ~ June 2008

For this week's Flashback Friday we revisit June 2008 with our first photo being of a rare visit by a Hedingham vehicle to Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station on the 18th. EK51 JAU is a Plaxton Paragon bodied Volvo B10M-62 which was new to them in January 2002 and subsequently exhibited at various events including Showbus and Brighton Coach Rally.

Two days later and the adjoining Nelson Road North was graced with the appearance of Ambassador Travel's Volvo B10M-60 G512 MNG. New in April 1990, it appears to be on a contract working.

We now move to Norwich Riverside on 23rd June where Anglian's C75 CHM is observed following a schools duty. The Leyland Olympian was new to London Transport in June 1986 entering service at Plumstead Garage. On privatisation, in late 1994, it became part of the Stagecoach Selkent fleet and was subsequently sold to Ensignbus. Sanders Coaches acquired the ECW bodied decker in January 2002 and by September 2006 it had passed to Anglian where it lasted in service until 2008

The final photo is of Norwich Bus Station on the same day with different coloured vehicles present. On the right is First's Transbus ALX400 32483 AU53 HKA on the Harford P&R whilst on the left is Norfolk County Council's Irisbus Agoraline OY53 RFV on the Airport P&R


Thursday 29 October 2020

Great Yarmouth Branding

Following my last post, Aaron Martin has been in contact regarding the use of former South Yorkshire Mainline Volvo B7RLE 69017 SF55 UAK on the 8 to the James Paget Hospital earlier today. It has also recently acquired Great Yarmouth branding.

My thanks to Aaron for the report and photo

Gorleston High Street Diverts

With Anglian Water carrying out further excavation work, Gorleston High Street is currently closed between Back Chapel Lane and Trafalgar Road East. This means all bus services are being excluded from using the High Street and are instead traveling via Beccles Road and Church Road to resume their usual the roundabout next to Gorleston Parish Church.

Yesterday I wandered along Church Road to get some photos and First's Wright Eclipse Gemini 37024 YJ06 XKN passed me on its way to Great Yarmouth (and ultimately Norwich) on the X1 Coastlink service

Unmistakeably heading in the opposite direction was First Ipswich branded Volvo B7RLE 66987 KX05 MHV on the 8 to the James Paget Hospital

It was noticeable that a significant number of the type were in use on the route with three of the South Yorkshire contingent being observed including latest arrival 69045 SF55 UBE heading for Caister. Mainline liveried 69017 was also out earlier in the day on the 6 to Bradwell.

Coastlink branded Enviro400s were also out in force on the divert as this photo of 33814 Y63LKC shows of it on the X1 to Lowestoft.

The diversions are expected to be in place until 6th November


Wednesday 28 October 2020

Service Alterations Registered ~ 28th October 2020

Just the one entry affecting local bus services in our area in today's East of England Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report.

First Eastern Counties has retrospectively amended the timetable of its X2/X21/X22 Lowestoft Bus Station to Norwich City Centre service from the 28th September 2020

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


Fourth Wright Eclipse Identified

Following the permanent transfer of ex South Yorkshire Mainline liveried Volvo B7RLE 69017 SF55 UAK to First's Caister Road depot on Monday evening, the second expected Wright Eclipses has now shown itself.

It was originally intended to be 69029 SF55 UAX but the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry and conspired to ensure it didn't take place after all!

Instead similar 69045 SF55 UBE made the journey to the east coast and is pictured here inside Caister Road depot yesterday

This makes it the fourth of the original thirteen that are now based here; the other two being 69033 SF55 UBT and 69046 SF55 UBG.

My thanks to First Great Yarmouth for the information and photo


Tuesday 27 October 2020

North Norfolk Outing

Yesterday was one of those now rare day outings with the camera - probably the first since the Covid-19 lockdown began. The end of the month coincides with the cessation of  Autumn Services on the North Norfolk Railway, so I planned to get a day in for a steam fix! However, during the last couple of weeks there has been rarely a day where rain hasn't been experienced (or forecast) so Monday looked the best day for no rain. BUT it still did!!

Armed with camera and lunch, I decided to look in at Cromer first to see the Rail Head Treatment Train (see twitter feed for photo) and get some pictures prior to heading for Sheringham. I didn't plan for the slow queue into the latter though but arrived in plenty of time.

Bus activity at Cadogan Road was initially very quiet but the number of arrivals gradually picked up with the Coasthopper branded bus standing out among the usual Sanders livered vehicles.

After spending some time there, I drove on to Sheringham for the railway where I was frustrated that access to platforms weren't allowed to the general public - quite understandable though. So I decided to park up at the Golf Links level crossing beside the line and consume lunch prior to the 12:10 steam departure. Half way through my first roll the audible warning alarms sounded and I got out just in time to witness the railcar arriving from Holt. Lunch was consumed in plenty of time prior to the steam train passing (see Twitter feed for photo)

I returned to Sheringham's Station Approach to obtain more photos with Sanders Coaches Optare Olympus Minerva PN09 EMJ awaiting time for its departure to Holt on the 44. Immediately behind was VDL/Wright Pulsar YJ10 DJU

All in all an enjoyable day out despite the 10 minute burst of rain!


Monday 26 October 2020

Seeing Red

First Norwich Green Line passengers were seeing red today when their bus turned up for its 15A duty. The usual Green Line branded vehicle had been replaced by Red Line Volvo B7RLE 66850 MX05 CHD

My thanks to Aaron Martin for the information and photo


Mainline to Great Yarmouth

Former South Yorkshire Mainline liveried Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban 69017 SF55 UAK has appeared at First's Caister Road depot this evening from Norwich

I understand from First that the move is permanent with another of the former South Yorkshire contingent to follow.

My thanks to First for the information and to Will Drake for the photo


Dolphin At The Beach!

Travelling past Great Yarmouth’s Beach Coach Station this afternoon I noted there was just the one coach present.

It was Dolphin Travel's Bova Futura YJ03 GYB which was new to Johnson's of Henley in Arden, Warwickshire in March 2003. Dolphin obtained it from Peoplemovers of Felthorpe in February 2013.


Sunday 25 October 2020

First Great Yarmouth Latest

The latest news from First Great Yarmouth is that former South Yorkshire Volvo B7RLE 69033 SF55 UBT (pictured) is still off the road with a gearbox problem. 

Meanwhile, Geminis 37575 AU58 ECZ and 37150 YN06 URD have received attention, the former had engine issues whilst the latter has been fitted with a new axle.

Concerning Coastlink repaints, 33815 YX63 LKD has just returned in the new colour scheme with 33819/20 YX63 LKJ/K departing to receive the same treatment. They are thought to be the last of the Enviro400s to have the new livery, leaving Volvo B9s 37274/75 LK58 EDF/J still to be repainted.

My thanks to First for the update.


Friday 23 October 2020

Friday Flashback ~ May 2008 (Part Two)

Friday Flashback this week concludes our look back to May 2008 with a visit to Ipswich Old Cattle Market Bus Station on the 17th of the month

The first photo is of Carters' Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart K418 MGN. New to R&I Tours of London in March 1993, it became part of the Metroline fleet on take over becoming their DP38. It went into store during 2002 and subsequently sold to Ensign in April 2004 where it was immediately snapped up by Carters. Following withdrawal in early 2009 it was cannibalised with the remains sold for scrap.

The second picture is of Plaxton Beaver bodied Mercedes Benz Vario O814D HF54 NLE from the Galloway fleet. New to Romdrive of Melton Mowbray in September 2004, as LP54 WET, it joined Galloway in March 2008.

Next up is former Manchester Wright Renown bodied Volvo B10BLE R644 CVR which was then with First Eastern Counties. New to First Bradford in June 1998 it later moved to First Essex and allocated to Basildon to replace fire damaged sister R642 CVR

The final offering is of Far East Travel's Optare Solo 950SL MX08 DHC. New to them in April 2008, it  moved to Galloway four years later.


Wednesday 21 October 2020

Norwich Blue Line Oddities

Norwich's Blue Line can usually be guaranteed to be worked by Volvo B9's, but over the last couple of days LiamS has observed four Plaxton Presidents and two Eclipses gracing the route as the following photos show.

My thanks to Liam for the report and photos


Service Alterations Registered ~ 21st October 2020

Wednesday is the day when the weekly Notices and Proceedings Report is published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner

This week's publication contains no alterations affecting bus services in our local area but there is an interesting entry in the PSV Operator Licensing Section. It refers to an application being made by Barway Services Limited of Cambridge for the use of a number sites including one at North Road, Ormesby St Margaret in Great Yarmouth for three vehicles.

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


Tuesday 20 October 2020

Sanders Branding

Two of the former Transdev Lancashire United liveried Volvo B7RLEs have been repainted during the last couple of months into Sanders colours but each of them carries a different fleet name design.

BX07 AZJ appeared with a red Sanders branding whilst FJ57 CZN has its fleet name in a different white font. In an online poll the former narrowly won the day. The photo shows the bus with the least favourable design in St Stephens Street, Norwich earlier today.

My thanks to LiamS for the photo


Sunday 18 October 2020

Billy No Mates

During these unpredictable times with COVID-19 around, it now seems unusual to see a coach parked up at Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station.

Late yesterday afternoon was one of those now rare occasions with smartly turned out Scania K360 IB4 /Irizar i6 from the Coopers Tours fleet. YN15 EHZ was new to Dunwood of Dudley in March 2015 and acquired from them in 2018. The coach had earlier dropped off passengers at the New Beach Hotel.


Saturday 17 October 2020

Ambassador’s Citaro

In early September I reported that Semmence of Wymondham had acquired two Mercedes Benz Citaros from Konectbus with a third one joining Great Yarmouth’s Ambassador Travel fleet. (Citaros Join Semmence Fleet - 2nd September 2020)

With it being in blue livery it would be quite noticeable on the local streets and, up until Thursday afternoon, I had not seen any evidence of it operating locally and began to doubt whether the information was correct!

However, on my way home from Great Yarmouth I decided to look in at Ambassador’s premises at Gapton Hall Estate to see what was about. Straightaway blue liveried HX06 EZD stood out among the sea of white vehicles - thereby confirming the report. It still retains its Konectbus fleet number 445.

Also present was Mercedes Benz O814D SF53 KUV despite reports elsewhere that it had returned to Semmence. I had also observed it on local schools workings the previous week thereby raising doubts concerning its move.


Friday 16 October 2020

Friday Flashback ~ May 2008 (Part One)

Yes its Friday again and time for Friday Flashback, when we journey back into the past and this week we look at happenings in May 2008. Again a busy month for sightings recorded on the old camera, so this is part one with the second part following next week.

On the 11th we enjoyed the delights of a warm sunny Felixstowe with First Eastern Counties 32494 AU53 HKM on Crescent Road heading back to Ipswich on the 75

Back in Great Yarmouth two days later and Reynolds of Caister was providing transport for local school children from the town's Marina Centre. BIG 9842 was a Plaxton bodied Volvo B10M-62 formerly registered N966 DWJ. It was new to Brent’s Luxury Coaches and after leaving Reynolds it found its way to Shy Coaches of Southend and was more recently operated by M Cunningham trading as Purley Coaches from London Road in Westerham. (see Ex Reynolds Returns - 4th August 2019)

Our third photo sees a visit to First's Caister Road depot on the 16th. Volvo B10M 20121 P731 NVG had just completed a schools service whilst former China Motor Bus 30106 K480 EUX was being readied for a trip to Norwich on the X1

At the rear of the depot on the same day was Volvo B6/ Alexander Dash 48013 L103 WYS nearing the end of its useful life. It was new to Kelvin Central in March 1994 passing with the business to Strathclyde Buses Holdings where it subsequently became part of the First Glasgow fleet. First Eastern Counties later acquired it from Glasgow and its scrapping occurred at PVS of Carlton.

Our final photo was taken on a trip to Ipswich the following day where Network Colchester's 302 M722 CGO had taken up residence at the town's Old Cattle Market Bus Station following use on the 95 route.


Unusual Workings

Yesterday afternoon I received reports via messenger and twitter concerning some unusual workings by First vehicles.

Dan High sent me a photo of yet another Norwich Yellow Line vehicle and this time it was Volvo B9 36268 BG12 JKA on St Stephen's Street in Norwich. It was unusually employed on the X41 Charcoal Line to Bungay!

The tweet came from Aaron Martin who captured Wright StreetLite 47501 SK64 CPU on the Coastal Clipper 1 service to Lowestoft in Ormesby St Margaret.

My thanks to both Dan and Aaron for the photos. We are able to receive them in many ways, so why not send in pics of your unusual sightings. Contact details can be found in the left hand panel.


Thursday 15 October 2020

From the Streets of London to the Farms of Norfolk

Its the time of year when the farms of Norfolk hire extra workers to maintain their crops and buses are supplied to transport workers around the farms. Hirst's Farm in Ormesby St Margaret is one such farm and every year workers are employed to help with harvests. Two ex Arriva London Volvo B7TL/ALX 400's have been noted at the yard over the past few days.

Former VLA18 LJ03MXM is pictured above whilst former VLA20 LJ03MXP has also been noted in use around the village.


Both are operated by Barway Services of Cambridge and both were recently purchased from Ensign, Purfleet in September.

Stay Safe, Grahame.

Colourful City

The city of Norwich looks colourful with the use of the many liveries for First Norwich routes plus there's those of Konectbus too, as Dan High's latest pictures show.

First's Yellow Line service usually brightens up the day but here the usual saloon, 66980 KX05 MHJ, is observed on a part route working known as the 25X. Normally the Blue Line route, the Volvo B7RLE is providing additional journeys between the University and the City Centre.

Norwich Bus Station is the location for the next photo with two Konect buses and a First Gemini making appearances. On the left is Konect's Park & Ride branded Enviro400 627 SN65 OAG on the Airport P&R whilst recently transferred East Lancs Myllenium bodied Volvo B7TL 507 PJ02 PYX has just completed its duties. The decker on the right is former First Berkshire Greenline Volvo B9 37274 LK58 EDF still in the blue Excel livery on the X22 to Lowestoft.

Dan's last picture shows First Norwich's Yellow Line Volvo B9 36265 BG12 JYX actually on the X29 service to Fakenham.

My thanks to Dan for the photos


Wednesday 14 October 2020

Service Alterations Registered ~ 14th October 2020

There's just the one entry in today's East of England Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report affecting local bus services in our area.

Sanders Coaches has retrospectively amended the timetable of its 35B Swafield to Cromer service from 21st September 2020

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


Saturday 10 October 2020

Ipswich Saloon On The Clipper

Further to Wednesday’s report on the First Ipswich loan of Volvo B7RLE 66987 KX05 MHV to Great Yarmouth I have, at last, a photo of it working locally.

However, the photo is supplied by LiamS who saw It on a Coastal Clipper service to Lowestoft in Market Gates Bus Station during early yesterday afternoon. My thanks to him for the photo


Friday 9 October 2020

Friday Flashback ~ April 2008 (Part Two)

This week's Friday Flashback completes our look back to the month of April 2008

We begin on the 22nd with Ambassador Travel's G107 HNG heading south on Nelson Road North passing Beach Coach Station. The Plaxton Paramount bodied Volvo B10M--60 was new to the operator in August 1989 and is thought to be on a contract working.

Our second subject is Mercedes Benz O814D V451 NGA from the Anglianbus fleet pictured outside the Troll Cart Public House on the 28th. New to Whitelaw of Stonehaven, its about to leave on the 580 to Beccles. The 580 now departs from outside the Poundstretchers store (previously BHS) and is operated by Borderbus.

The following day First's Volvo B10BLE/ Wright Renown 60864 R642 CVR is seen entering Market Gates Bus Station with an X1 service bound for Gorleston High Street. Great Yarmouth had three of these which later transferred to First Essex. 60864 subsequently made news when it caught fire on the A130 road in Essex during October 2013 and was scrapped soon after.

The penultimate photo is of First's Optare Solo 50274 S305 EWU also arriving at Market Gates on the same day with a Barrack Estate service. I can only remember First Great Yarmouth having a couple of these which didn't stay for very long

Our final photo is a bit of history, in more ways then one, with the operator and the Marina Leisure Centre both no longer in existence. The coach is Reynolds of Caister's BIG 7661 also photographed on the 29th. The Neoplan Transliner bodied Dennis Javelin was picking up schoolchildren from the Centre following their swimming lessons. New in 1997 to Bob Bailey of Folkestone as P992 HWF, the coach joined the Reynolds fleet in 2006. It then ran with Carefree Holidays of Marske for its last two years before seeing its final duties in 2011.


Wednesday 7 October 2020

Dart To Ipswich

First Great Yarmouth has loaned ADL Dart 42921 EU05 AUN to First Ipswich to allow the latter's Enviro200s to be repainted for Village Links services.

In return First Ipswich have sent Volvo B7RLE 66987 KX05 MNV to the Norfolk seaside and it has already been recorded in use on the town's 8 service between Caister-on-Sea and the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston. Unfortunately it has eluded my camera all day!

My thanks to Joe Thorpe for the photo of the Dart in Ipswich


Wrights Coaches Activity

There has been a little activity in the Hoveton based fleet of Wrights Coaches with a coach leaving, another arriving and a repaint

The coach departing is Kassbohrer Setra K250 K400 PTS and was the first full sized coach the operator acquired

The repaint is that of Neoplan Skyliner N122/3 W90 PTS which is now in all over white compared to the multi coloured livery of its previous owner when it arrived

The newcomer is a former Shearings Kassbohrer Setra S416GT-HD, the identity of which has yet to be revealed

My thanks to Wrights Coaches for their continuous updates and all photos have been taken from their Twitter feed