Friday 29 January 2021

Friday Flashback ~ March 2009

This week's Friday Flashback moves on to March 2009 with most of the second part of the month spent in the Manchester area.

We start with a picture from 16th of March with Swift Taxis' Optare Solo 109 YK55 ENL in Gorleston High Street with the 600 Vauxhall Station to the James Paget Hospital service. Named Swift Snipe, it moved on to Simonds of Bottesdale in October 2010 where it has been re-registered SIJ 82

Once a very common sight in Great Yarmouth were members of the Shearing's fleet of coaches. This is Plaxton bodied Volvo B12M 816 MX06 ANR pictured on Marine Parade on 17th

The rest of the photos show independents in the Manchester area. With former JP Transport vehicles in the First Eastern Counties fleet, I thought I should include Dennis Dart SLF P2 JPT passing Shudehill Bus Station in Manchester on 26th. JPT operations ceased in April 2014, with the business, including 41 buses and most staff, passing to Stagecoach Manchester

The following day we see Bluebird Bus & Coach Alexander Dennis Enviro200 DD56 BLU at Oldham Bus Station. Following the acquisition of the business by Stagecoach in 2012 it became their 36075

The next day we were at Ashton-under-Lyme Bus Station and observed Speedwellbus' Plaxton Beaver bodied Mercedes Benz O814D R506 YWC. New to Stagecoach Selkent in December 1997, it transferred to Stagecoach Manchester in October 2003 with Speedwellbus acquiring it in February 2009. Speedwellbus was founded in 2002 and ceased ten years later due to financial problems and was also close to having its licence revoked.


Thursday 28 January 2021

Temporary Emergency Timetables

Recent information obtained from the Government's Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and other websites have revealed the following local changes during the current lockdown

First Eastern Counties has temporarily suspended the following services from 25th January 2021
♦ 901/902 Lowestoft to James Paget Hospital to Notre Dame School, Norwich
♦ 907 James Paget Hospital to Norwich City College (Mornings)
♦ 908 Caister to James Paget Hospital
♦ 915/918 Rendlesham (Rockford House) to Faringaye School
♦ 981 Worlingham to Lowestoft
♦ 992 Beccles to Lowestoft via Worlingham
♦ 995 Southwold to Bungay
♦ 998 Kessingland to Pakefield
Further timetable changes have also been made to some First services in our area which are provided on their Coronavirus - COVID19: Service Information webpage

Sanders Coaches has suspended all Sunday services and introduced emergency timetables. For further information visit their website at

Other operators may have introduced temporary changes and links to their websites can be found here


Wednesday 27 January 2021

Enviro200 For Disposal ~ Updated

Following Monday’s report that Costessey based Completely Coach is selling its ADL Enviro200 KX58 GUW, I can reveal it has now been sold.

Ipswich Buses has acquired it to replace an Optare Versa says a post on this morning’s Ipswich Buses Enthusiasts Blog, receiving fleet number 83. It was new to NCP Car Services of Marble Arch in December 2008 and has also seen use with Reading Transport and The Big Lemon.

My thanks to LiamS for the photo which shows it at Norwich Bus station on a Sunday service to Shipdham in August last year.


Service Alterations Registered ~ 27th January 2021

For the third consecutive week the latest Notices and Proceedings Report, issued today by the East of England Traffic Commissioner, contains nothing of relevance regarding local area services.

Nevertheless the full Report can be viewed here soon


Tuesday 26 January 2021

First Norwich Snippets

Recently repainted Pink Line ADL Enviro200 45119 RT09JPT was observed off route operating Norwich Purple Line services yesterday. My thanks to Anon for the photo

Meanwhile sole Norwich Dart SLF 43838 SN55CXE has seen no action over the past month and is reported as being withdrawn and awaiting collection for scrap.

Its not the only saloon in danger as four of the former Sheffield B7RLEs have been taken out of use pending transfer or a final journey.

My thanks to LiamS for the Dart photo and First Norwich for the latest information


Sunday 24 January 2021

Coastlink Wanderers

Noted a couple of stray Coastlink liveried vehicles working local routes today whilst i was having my Sunday exercise.

33423 SN60CAA was noted working the Coastal Clipper 1 to Martham, this seems to be the norm for a Sunday with a few Coastlinks working the route, similar to the last lockdown when they were still in Blue Excel livery, apart from 33423 of course!

Lowestoft based Volvo B9TL 37574 LK58EDF was also noted working the 8 service in Caister this afternoon, seen here turning towards the Marram Drive Terminus.

Stay Safe Everyone, Grahame.

Friday 22 January 2021

Friday Flashback ~ February 2009

This week's Friday Flashback looks back at activity during the later part of February 2009 - the highlights of the earlier part of the month were published last Friday

We begin with photos from the 20th of the month with the first one showing a Dennis Dart from long gone local independent Swift Taxis. It was new to London Buses in June 1994 as L907 JRN with fleet number DEL7. Swift purchased the East Lancs bodied Dart from Collinson of Ribchester in Lancashire during November 2005.

Our second photo from the same day was First Eastern Counties Northern Counties Palantine bodied 34186 S686 AEE. It is seen entering Market Gates Bus Station on the 1A service destined for Lowestoft Bus Station. It was one of many taking their last journey to Alpha Recovery for scrapping during 2015

On the 24th another member of the Swift fleet arrived at Market Gates in the form of Volvo B10M N962 DWJ. In May 2014 I reported it had been disposed of to P & M Coaches of Wickford in Essex after being advertised for sale as spares or for repair.

In late February the North Norfolk Railway held a commemorative gala to acknowledge fifty years since the closure of most of the Midland & Great Northern Railway system. Norfolk Green entered into the spirit of the occasion by having one of their Optare Solos re-liveried. Here 617 MX55WCV is seen in the yard at Weybourne Station on 27th

Later that day Eastern Counties Transport Collection's Eastern Coach Works bodied Bristol LL5G LL718 KNG718 was noted having just departed Weybourne Station on its way to Holt, New to 'Counties' in October 1950 it was sold to Anglian Building Products of Lenwade in 1967 and then to L V Carter of Colchester some eight years later


Wednesday 20 January 2021

Service Alterations Registered ~ 20th January 2021

For the second consecutive week the latest Notices and Proceedings Report, issued today by the East of England Traffic Commissioner, contains nothing of relevance regarding local area services.

Nevertheless the full Report can be viewed here soon


Friday 15 January 2021

Little & Large

Seen together in Norwich's St Stephen's Street earlier this morning was the double deck and single deck versions of Pink Line buses

Joe Wilson-Smith was on his way to the Post Office when he quickly got this photo of Wright StreetDeck 35196 SK16 GVV leading ADL Enviro200 45119 RT09 JPT

My thanks to Joe for the photo


Friday Flashback ~ February 2009

For this week' Friday Flashback we look back at activity during the early part of February 2009

We initially feature the competition between First and Anglianbus on the Great Yarmouth - Norwich corridor with journeys commencing from Gorleston High Street. Both operators vehicles were laying over outside Gorleston Church on Church Lane in between duties.

On the 10th First were using Volvo B7RLE 66957 WX55 TZU on its X1 service whilst Anglian employed Scania N230UD YN08 MOF on the X47. The former is now part of its Ipswich fleet carrying the superseded charcoal grey livery whilst the latter has subsequently seen use with Wessex Conect, Preston Bus and Rotala Diamond.

On the 14th I made a trip to Bury St Edmunds and was fortunate to capture Fareline's Bedford YNT/Plaxton Paramount TJH 881Y preparing to turn into the bus station. The Bedford was new to Reliance of Newbury in April 1983 and was scrapped by Fareline in November 2011

An unusual visitor to Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach on the 19th was Yorkshire Rose Van Hool bodied Volvo B12B YJ06 GMV. It was new to Galloway of Mendlesham in April 2006


Southwold 99

Ten years ago today saw First operating its last day of the 99 service between Lowestoft Bus Station and Southwold. Young 'Reg Vardy' was there to record the event with his first photo showing Volvo Olympian 34156 P656 UFB waiting to leave Southwold for Lowestoft

The next picture records the same bus in Station Road passing the junction with Blyth Road in Southwold. An interesting view as to the immediate right of the bus is the red and blue building formerly occupied as the Eastern Counties Bus depot. Also just out of the shot to the right is the Police Station where the Southwold Railway Station was originally sited

First's withdrawal left services in the hands of Anglianbus which continued with its 601 route. Scania YN63 UVR was in the High Street that day when buses were allowed to continue as far as the Swan Hotel

First's 99 was reintroduced in May 2014. My thanks to 'Reg' for the info and photos


Thursday 14 January 2021

Coastlink On the 8s

Aaron Martin reports the odd working yesterday afternoon of a First Great Yarmouth Coastlink liveried ADL Enviro400 on service 8.

The decker concerned was 33803 YX63LJF which was heading for the James Paget Hospital via Great Yarmouth. It is pictured on Marram Drive in Caister.

My thanks to Aaron for the report and photo


Wednesday 13 January 2021

Service Alterations Registered ~ 13th January 2021

Today's Notices and Proceedings Report, issued by the East of England Traffic Commissioner, contains nothing of interest regarding our local area services.

Nevertheless the full Report can be viewed here


Tuesday 12 January 2021

First's Belton Shuttle

Following continuing carriageway works on New Road in Belton, First Eastern Counties is operating a temporary X11 service terminating at James Paget Hospital,. From the Hospital there will be a shuttle to allow passengers to complete their journeys to Belton. The arrangements will continue until further notice with the timetable available here.

Services on Sundays will be unaffected but will operate via A143 and Beccles Road and then continue along Station Road North and St Johns Road, turning right at the end into New Road and left to the terminus point at Bracon Road.


Friday 8 January 2021

Little Pink One

The first single deck vehicle with First Norwich to gain Pink Line branding has appeared today.

ADL Enviro 200 45119 RT09JPT has been given a new look with branding for Pink Line 10 services.
It was previously in Ipswich livery with the grey front before moving to Norwich. It also spent time in Olympia livery at Lowestoft and Norwich with Purple Line branding. It was new to JP Travel up in the North West.

Many Thanks to First for use of their Photos.

Stay Safe, Grahame.

Friday Flashback ~ January 2009

Friday Flashback returns with another look back at January 2009 with these subjects attracting the attention of the camera at that time.

We start with a visit to the James Paget Hospital grounds on the 9th to see the arrival of First Eastern Counties 69010 AU05 DMY from Great Yarmouth on the 1A service. The Wright bodied Volvo B7RLE was in Norwich Park & Ride livery and will continue to Lowestoft Bus Station. It is now part of the Ipswich Reds fleet.

The next three photos were taken in Peterborough with the first showing Delaine's Volvo B9TL/East Lancs Olympus AD07 DBL at Queensgate Bus Station. It is seen on the 24th of the month loading passengers for the 101 service to Bourne

At the same location on the same day was Peterborough City Council's Optare Solo 585 MX05 OUE operating local link services. The Solo is now with Coach Services of Thetford.

In the nearby Acland Bus Park on the 24th was an apologetic Stagecoach In the Fens 33302 V675 FPO. The Dennis Dart SLF was wearing Cavalier Travel livery and was new to Wilkinson of Staines in December 1999

Our last photo is of First Eastern Counties Alexander Dash bodied Volvo B6 48070 M870 DYS. It is seen in a withdrawn state at Ipswich Star Lane depot on the last day of January. Immediately behind on the ramp is Park & Ride Volvo B7RLE 69424 AU58FFL


Wednesday 6 January 2021

Service Alterations Registered ~ 6th January 2021

Just the one entry of interest in the latest Notices and Proceedings Report, published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner earlier today.

Following recent amendments, National Express has again altered the timetable of its 490/491 Lowestoft Bus Station to London Victoria Coach Station service, this time commencing on 28th December 2020.

The full report will be available to view here soon


Tuesday 5 January 2021

Our Bus Update

The latest addition to the Our Bus fleet is this 16 seater Mercedes Benz Trekka EJ65 NZH which replaces Ford Transit AV08 YHZ which has moved on

More newcomers are Plaxton bodied EIG 9929 and Volvo B10M/ Plaxton Paramount OAZ 5315. The latter (previously Y783 MFT) also saw service with Southern Vectis and is currently awaiting a repaint

The operator has also disposed of PIL 4724, a Volvo B10M/ Van Hool Alizee which was previously registered L141 AHS

My thanks to Alex Claughton for the fleet update and photos


Monday 4 January 2021

StreetLite Clipper

Aaron Martin has sent in this photo of First Great Yarmouth StreetLite 47502 SN64 CPV unusually working the Clipper 1 service to Martham. The photo was taken in Ormesby earlier today

My thanks to Aaron for the photo


Halton Trio 'Update'

Back in May last year Christian Newsome provided a photo of three former Halton Transport buses which were surprisingly parked up in Lowestoft.

He recently returned to the site and observed the trio had hardly moved since his previous visit other than to reshuffle and receive a wash  The trio were among those sold in an online auction in March 2020 after the company ceased trading during January.

The buses have been identified as East Lancs Myllennium Spryte bodied Dennis Darts DK03 TNL, PX55 EGV and PX06 DWD. Since our last report the first mentioned vehicle's MOT expired last month with the others due in February and April this year. As expected, all are currently SORNed. We are still unaware of the new owner and plans for their future use.

My thanks Christian for the photos and the latest information


Sunday 3 January 2021

Sunday Sightings

A visit to check on the parents in Newtown and the daily exercise around the village gave me some opportunities to get the camera working today so here is a selection from a damp morning at Caister Road and Ormesby St Margaret in between rain showers.

First up is Volvo B7RLE 69046 SF55UBE pictured on the forecourt at Caister Road.

Another Yorkshire exile on duty was 37021 YJ06XKK

On loan Blue Line Gemini 36177 BD11CGF is seen awaiting its next duty outside Caister Road Depot.

Geminis 37568 & 37142 were about to embark on their duties to Bernard Matthews at Great Witchingham shortly after this was taken on Northgate Street.

Once back home in Ormesby i went for a timed wander to catch a couple of 1 journeys through the village, Coastlink liveried 33809 YX63LJU is seen heading for Yarmouth having just come from Hemsby.

Finally former Bradford Gemini 37022 YJ06XKL is pictured on Cromer Road bound for Martham.

Stay Safe Everyone! Grahame.

Friday 1 January 2021

Friday Flashback ~ January 2009

First of all a happy new year from myself and Grahame. We begin 2021 with a look back to January 2009

Our first photo shows Northern Counties boded Leyland Olympian P656 UFB leaving Lowestoft Bus Station for Southwold on 3rd January. The decker had only arrived at First Eastern Counties a month earlier from First Somerset and Avon. It was new to First Bristol in June 1997 and after withdrawal was donated to Norfolk Fire Service at Gorleston for training purposes in January 2014. In July the following year P656UFB was collected by Alpha Recovery for scrap.

The following day a visit to Lakeside Shopping Centre was arranged with yours truly spending a little time observing activity at the bus station The first photo shows Ensignbus 115 Volvo B9TL/ East Lancs Olympus PO58 NPP in between trips. It was later repainted and became the #the orangebus before returning to its original colours

Also present that day was Arriva Southend's Enviro200 4001 GN08 CGU ready to leave for Romford Market on the 370

First Essex was represented by Scania L94UB 65673 SN51 UYG which ended its days at First Great Yarmouth. It left the rear yard of Caister Road depot on its last journey to Alpha Recovery in January 2020. The bus arrived here in October 2018 by default from First Essex as the selected bus broke down a couple of days previously!

The final photo shows a variety of Shearings coaches spending early January in Great Yarmouth. Taken on 7th of the month, it shows Volvo B12Ms from left to right MX05AJU, YC02DFX, MV02ULN and MX04AEJ at the town's Beach Coach Station