Friday 30 April 2021

Friday Flashback ~ November 2009

With summer not too far away (hopefully!) this week's Friday Flashback begins in Blackpool on 3rd November 2006

Even in November the Blackpool Sightseeing open topper was out with Leyland Olympian/ Eastern Coach Works D149 FYM on the 20 to Pontins. New to London Buses as LL149 in September 1986, it arrived in Blackpool in December 2004. After some years in operation it was placed in store in April 2010, transferring to City Sightseeing in Llandudno in July the same year.

Trips to Blackpool inevitably include a ride on the trams. Here 711 is passed by 709 both are English Electric double deck balloons. The latter had rebuilt front ends with large destination boxes. An Optare Solo is on route 16 Lifestyle Line to the right of the photo

The opportunity was also taken to look in at the Rigby Road Tram Depot where illuminated cars 716 The Warship and 733 Western Train could be seen along with Brush Railcoach 623

Back in Great Yarmouth on the 17th we see Anglianbus Volvo Olympian HIL 5679 arriving at Market Gates having completed a school contract. New to Dublin Bus in August 1996, it was subsequently reregistered as P478 SWC and acquired by the Suffolk operator via dealers Ensign. Withdrawal as HIL 5679 came in January 2015 and it was sold for scrap a month later

Our final photo is of First Manchester Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B9TL 37562 FJ08FYN at Market Gates on 24th whilst on hire to First Eastern Counties. It was later acquired in June 2013 and is still with them today


Record High!

Looking through the blog visitor statistics this morning I see that the monthly high has already been exceeded by more than 5,500 views and the month has still to complete!

My thanks to all readers and contributors for your continued support


Wednesday 28 April 2021

New Arrival For Sanders Coaches

 Today saw the arrival of a Brand New Plaxton Panther bodied Volvo Coach for Sanders.

It has been given cherished registration OC21SAN with reference to Charles Sanders grandson Oliver, the name also given to the coach and carried by the entrance door.

 Many thanks to Jack for use of the  photos.


Last of the Clipper Cabriolets

The final Coastal Clipper 'Cabriolet' has been completed in the shape of Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini 32348 LK53LZL. It was new to First Beeline for Greenline services between London & Windsor prior to moving to Great Yarmouth a few years ago.

It joins Dennis Trident 32905 W905VLN and Volvo/Gemini 37000 LX53AYY Which will form the Open Top Fleet for the summer season in Great Yarmouth.

Thanks to First for the Photograph.


Latest from First

First stop is Ipswich where recent arrival from First Potteries 31785 YN53EOK has now moved on to First Colchester as it was unable to use the fuel lane at Ipswich due to its slight height difference with all the native ALX400 in the fleet.

It has been swapped with another former FEC Volvo B7TL/ALX400 32476 AU53HJK from Colchester, Pictured below en route back to Ipswich yesterday.

Next we move back to Yarmouth where the latest Coastal Clipper Gemini 37570 AU58ECT entered service after its repaint into the new livery. Only 37569 is left to gain the new colours.

37570 pictured on its first trip into Lowestoft yesterday morning. The Lowestoft fleet will see two Gemini's (37575/576) gain the Clipper livery for the 99 service in the coming weeks.

Yarmouth Gemini's 37154 & 37563 are currently on loan at Lowestoft to cover the repaints.

Thanks to Joe for the Ipswich photos and to First for the info.


Service Alterations Registered ~ 28th April 2021

There's just the one entry of interest in today's Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner.

Vertas of Ipswich has lodged an application for three operating centres in Suffolk. Based at Landmark Business Park in the town, the operator has applied for a Centre for eleven vehicles at the East Suffolk Council Depot on Rotterdam Road in Lowestoft

The full Report can be viewed here soon


Tuesday 27 April 2021

Jubilee Moves

Among the recent changes at Rollesby based Jubilee Coaches is that Dennis Javelin L555 JCR has resumed its former identity of N899 KFA. It has now left the county following its purchase by Rambler Coaches of Hastings.

Latest arrival Plaxton Prima bodied Dennis Javelin YM51 WGN began its Jubilee duties during yesterday afternoon. The 70 seater was previously with Norse

My thanks to Kevan Portas for the update and photo


Monday 26 April 2021

Dolphin Skyliner Arrival

Dolphin Travel has acquired another Neoplan Skyliner which arrived at its Norwich premises at the weekend.

LX05 BWN has been purchased from Oxford-based Walters Coaches and was new to Stagecoach East London in March 2005 operating Megabus services out of its Waterdean Road premises. It has also seen use with Stagecoach Western, Dartline and Hunters Coaches.

My thanks to George Wilson-Smith for the photo


Saturday 24 April 2021

Latest From First Great Yarmouth

The following is the latest news from First's Caister Road depot

Wright Eclipse Gemini 37174 SF57 FDE has returned to active service whilst President 32214 LT52 WTX (pictured) has gone back to Norwich

Both Enviro400 33805 YX63 LJK and open top 32905 W905 VLN are off the road with electrical faults. Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX400 30961 YJ51 RDV is having a new gearbox

My thanks to First for the information


Friday 23 April 2021

Friday Flashback ~ October 2009

Apologies for the much delayed Friday Flashback and this week we turn the clock back to October 2009

The first shows a general view of Ambassador Travel's yard at James Watt Close on the 23rd October. The five vehicles appearing in the shot are East Lancs Greenway PJT 267R, Volvo BM10 decker B140 GAU and Volvo saloons G108 HNG, FD54 DHY and G261 UAS. The ex Blackburn Leyland National Greenaway was primarily used as an ASDA Free Shuttle Bus whilst I never did see the decker in use although it apparently was used by Derby.

The same day I looked in at Swift Taxis' Southtown Road yard and found two coaches of interest. The first was yellow coloured Swift Canary WJI 8928. It was a Plaxton bodied Scania K93CRB which was new to Shearings as their G881VNA in May 1990 and last heard of with Black and White Coaches of Scunthorpe

The second coach at the yard was Plaxton Paramount bodied Volvo B10M UIL 7824. Named Swift Crane it was aquired from Springfield Bus & Coach of Grappenhall in Cheshire in February 2009. It subsequently appeared in an online auction in August 2011.

Our final photo is of Reynolds of Caister BEZ 3139 outside the Marina Centre on the 27th awaiting the return of schoolchildren following their swimming lessons there. The Van Hool bodied Volvo B10M-60 was purchased from Ingleby of York in February 2005. It was new to Kenzies of Shepreth in April 1992 as J43 UFL. It later passed to Chet Coaches of Chedgrave near Loddon


Thursday 22 April 2021

Oxford Visitor

This afternoon I had a rare outing to Great Yarmouth to record bus activity in the town - something I've not done for some time! My first observations were of two First Volvo B7s on Nelson Road Central heading for the Bernard Matthews factory at Holton near Halesworth. They were 30959 YJ51 RCO and 30964 YJ51 RAU with the former shown in the photo

The rest of the afternoon I spent in or near Market Gates Bus Station to build up my library of recently repainted deckers in the Coastlink and Coastal Clipper liveries.

All too soon it was time to return home and unsure as to which way to drive back. Luckily I decided to return via the sea front where I found green AF55 OXF on the forecourt of the Britannia Pier. Closer examination found it to be Oxford Bus Company's Mercedes Benz Citaro 839 recently converted into three mobile clinical treatment bays for COVID-19 testing

All in all a profitable afternoon


Dolphin's Arrival

The latest arrival at Norwich based Dolphin Travel is YJ55 EYS, a Sitcar bodied Mercedes Benz O814D

New to Lux Travel of Biddenham in September 2005 it has more recently seen use with Abbey Travel of Erith in Kent

My thanks to Joe Wilson-Smith for the information and photo


Wrights Latest Acquisition

Norfolk independent operator Wrights Coaches has added another vehicle to the fleet in the shape of a Mercedes Benz Tourismo. BF16 XRS was new to Wheeler of Kendal (KTs Coaches) in May 2016.

My thanks to Wrights Coaches for the information and photo.


Wednesday 21 April 2021

Second Clipper Cabriolet arrives

The second of three Open Top vehicles for Great Yarmouth's Coastal Clipper Fleet is due back at Caister Road today.

37000 LX53AYY is a Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini which was new to Go Ahead London as WVL147. It was sold to Ensignbus and converted to Open Top for use with Ensign and did carry Cherished registration 392MBF for a while.

It was last used in service with Ensignbus running a Seafront service in Southend On Sea last year. It was also used as a Campaign bus for the Brexit Party for a short while.


It joins Dennis Trident 32905 W905VLN at Yarmouth ready for use, Gemini 32348 LK53LZL is the final vehicle of three due to arrive, that previously being part of Yarmouth's own fleet. It is currently being prepared for Repaint after its Conversion to Open Top.

Many Thanks to First for use of the Photographs.


Service Alterations Registered ~ 21st April 2021

With the latest lockdown coming to an end, many operators are rescheduling their timetables and this is reflected in today's Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner.

Sanders Coaches has altered timetables on the following routes from 12th April 2021:-
6/X6 North Walsham Post Office to Great Yarmouth Market Gates
6A North Walsham Post Office to Cromer Bus Station
34 North Walsham Post Office to Stalham Former Rail Station Site
55/X55 North Walsham Post Office to Norwich City Centre
Other timing changes taking effect from 15th April 2021 were:-
25 Oak Street to Tesco Store in Fakenham
27/28 Green Lane to Morrisons Store in Pudding Norton

Konectbus has similarly amended timetables on the following services from the 12th April 2021:-
5B Stalham to Norwich City Centre
21/21A Fakenham Oak Street to Dereham Market Place
X11 Wroxham to Norwich Bus Station

The full Report can be viewed here soon


Tuesday 20 April 2021

Engine Arrives To Continue Restoration

The Eastern Transport Collection, which is committed to the preservation of vehicles and artefacts relating to the Eastern Counties Omnibus Company, is currently restoring its Bristol KSWG

The engine secured in the van at Coventry ready for its trip to East Anglia
The work on LKH 341 (NAH 941) is slowly getting closer to completion following the arrival of an overhauled Gardner 5LW engine from Coventry based RBCTC Ltd over the weekend. After a lengthy period of inactivity, the charity is now ready to start work on its fitting .

The engine arrives and all that's left to do is to fit it!
My thanks to Daniel Peart for the photos and to Syd Eade for the heads up


Saturday 17 April 2021

More On The New Arrivals at Lynx

Further to Roy's post regarding the new Enviro 400MMC with Lynx, Sam Larke has kindly sent us some excellent photos to show off both of the new additions.


The pair are 61/62 SK21FNG/H and were originally ordered at the start of 2020 after the successful trial of a demonstrator vehicle. Sockets and tables upstairs, other features include arm rests on aisle seats and a bespoke luggage rack downstairs which will be helpful for those catching the bus to their seaside holiday destinations with big suitcases! 

They are the first vehicles Lynx have acquired brand new and will be employed on Coastliner 36 in anticipation of a (hopefully) busy summer! 

Underneath they are powered by a 6 cylinder Cummins diesel engine with a ZF gearbox.

Many Thanks to Sam for the photographs and information.


Friday 16 April 2021

Friday Flashback ~ September 2009

This week's Friday Flashback looks back to September 2009 with most of the photos taken in Great Yarmouth

The first shows Anglianbus Volvo B7RLE/ Wright Eclipse Urban 404 AU06 BPK leaving Market Gates on the 12th. It was one of a batch of five purchased new by the operator in March 2006 with all of the quintet later joining Blackpool Transport in 2010. Blackpool sold all five last year with AU06 BPK being acquired by Hunts Coaches of Alford, Lincolnshire and re-registered DSZ 7401.

Next up is First's Alexander RH bodied Leyland Olympian triaxle 30099 K483 EUX peering out of Caister Road depot on the 15th. It went for scrap in early 2011 with only one of the batch of ten escaping into preservation. They were new to China Motor Bus during 1993

On the same day I walked back to town via Caister Road and Northgate Street and was passed by Sanders Coaches W265 CDN heading for North Walsham on the 6. It was one of five similar East Lancs Myllennium bodied DAF SB220's operated with W265 being acquired from National Car Parks at Luton in June 2008

The final photo is of Network Colchester's T133 AUA seen on Ranelagh Road in Ipswich on the last day of the month. The DAF DB250 / Plaxton President was new to Capitol of West Drayton in April 2009 and saw use with a number of operator's including WilTax, Fairbrother Coaches of Warrington and Selwyns Travel of Runcorn .


Thursday 15 April 2021

Lynx Enviro400MC on Coastliner

Taken on its first day out in service, Lynxbus Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 MMC number 61 SK21 FNG is caught on camera by Stephen Purkiss. The picture was taken today between Burnham Overy Staithe and Burnham Overy Town with the bus employed on the 1233hrs Wells-next-the-Sea to Hunstanton Coastliner 36 service.

Number 61 is one of a pair that has been purchased new to operate certain journeys over the full length of the Coastliner route from King’s Lynn via Hunstanton, Wells and Walsingham to Fakenham, the other is number 62 SK21 FNH.

My thanks to Stephen for the photo and information


Wednesday 14 April 2021

Service Alterations Registered ~ 14th April 2021

There are no entries in today’s Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner concerning changes to any of our local bus services. The full report will soon be available to view here.

First Eastern Counties has also issued a statement on the VOSA website which says
'Following an assessment of passenger numbers on our Great Yarmouth routes it has been decided that we will not be restoring the following services as part of our post-lockdown service level increases.
* Service 4 - Great Yarmouth Barrack Estate to Caister (via Great Yarmouth Town Centre, Newtown)
* Service 9 - Great Yarmouth Market Gates to James Paget Hospital, Gorleston (via Shrublands)

Flying Banana liveried Dart WA56 OAS on service 9 on Oak Road in Shrublands Estate

We wish to thank passengers for their support of these services.

To assist some passengers affected by the withdrawal of these services it has been agreed to amend the Our Hire 271 service, which operates with financial support from Norfolk County Council. This will provide a number of journeys on those sections of these routes where there have been passengers using the services in the past.' (see Monday's post)

However, the re routed 271 service only provides just the one early morning outward and return journey each day through the Shrublands Estate!


First Ipswich Arrival

Another Volvo B7TL has arrived from First Potteries in the shape of 31785 YN53EOK. It was new to First South Yorkshire in 2003 and was latterly at Doncaster Depot prior to a brief spell at Stoke with Potteries.

We are told it is to replace 32489 which has ongoing mechanical issues. It is not known at present when 31785 will enter service in the town.

Thanks to First for the info and to Mark Doggett for use of his photo.


Tuesday 13 April 2021

Preservation Group Launches Newsletter

The Eastern Counties Bus Preservation Group officially launched its 'Just the Ticket' quarterly publication over the weekend

The group's objective is to preserve and restore historic commercial vehicles with the focus around the 1990’s era of Eastern Counties. This includes the de regulation period - Grampian takeover leading to the formation of First Bus. The vehicles in the group represent this era in various ways. There are also  large artefacts from this period including articles from Great Yarmouth Transport, Eastern Counties, First Eastern Counties, Flying Banana etc

If you are not a member why not join now by finding out more through visiting their website at,. Memberships begin from £20.00 per year and include free travel/invites on the group's vehicles to rallies plus quarterly newsletters. All membership money raised is put into the restoration pot!

The Group looks forward to welcoming you aboard, so email them today for further details at

Monday 12 April 2021

Our Bus 271 Covers Gorleston and Caister

Beginning today Our Bus is extending its 271 route to cover parts of Gorleston and Casiter which haven't been served by a bus service since lockdown. The operator's leaflet says that 'together with the local council we have looked to cover routes that have been withdrawn by First Eastern Counties'.

Optare Solo YJ62 FZV returning to Bradwell on the 271 via Shrublands this morning
In Caister Our Bus will serve both Braddock Road and Eastern Avenue to cover First service 4. Whilst in Gorleston it will operate along Long Lane, Kings Road, Crab Lane, Forsythia Road, Almond Road and Oak Road in place of parts of the currently withdrawn service 9

The revised 271 service timings can be viewed HERE


Saturday 10 April 2021

Newcomer On The Clipper

Following Grahame's post of earlier today, concerning the Norwich loaned vehicles, AaronM managed to get a photo of 32105 LT02 ZCU in Ormesby St Margaret earlier this evening. The Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL was employed on the Coastal Clipper 1 route

My thanks to Aaron for the report and photo


Lots Of Loans

Yarmouth has seen the arrival of Five vehicles from Norwich on loan this weekend to assist with Vehicle Requirements and Maintenance cover.

First vehicle noted this morning at Caister Road was 32214 LT52WTX which was once a Yarmouth vehicle in its Barbie liveried days.

Another Lilac fronted vehicle here is 32105 LT02ZCU which has had previous spells in Yarmouth also

Former Manchester Volvo B7RLE 66870 MX05CKA was noted working the 8 service this morning seen above in Beatty Road heading for the Town Centre.

Two other vehicles here are former Sheffield Volvo B7RLE'S 69029 SF55UAX and 69031 SF55UAZ.

Ipswich Volvo 66986 KX05MHU also remains here on loan.

Volvo Gemini 37566 AU58ECE is now in service in full Coastal Clipper livery with 37565/567 away for repaint.

Gemini 37563 AU58ECA will return to normal duties from Contract work this monday.

As always many thanks to First for the information.

Stay Safe Grahame.

Friday 9 April 2021

Friday Flashback ~ August 2009 (Part Three)

This week we conclude our trilogy of looking back to August 2009 with our visit to Bury St Edmunds on the 22nd of the month

Our first picture features Chambers' Marshall bodied Mercedes Benz 811D P236 EJW laying over between duties at the bus station. It was one of a batch new to Travel West Midlands in early 1997. Withdrawn in November 2005 it moved to Chambers via Fleetlink of Mossley Hill a month later. The Suffolk operator disposed of it in March 2010.

Next up is Leyland Olympian H155 PVW having just left the bus station with the 345 service to Haverhill. The Alexander Belfast bodied decker was new to Dublin Bus in May 1991 as 91-D-1094 and acquired by Wiltax, the Surrey rail replacement specialist, in March 2007. It subsequently transferred to Burtons in April of the following year.

Our third subject is Optare Solo MW52 PYU from the Coach Services fleet. Adorned with Thetford Nipper branding, it was new in December 2002 and stayed with operator until sold in mid 2015

The final contribution is Stagecoach East's S587 BCE appearance on St Andrews Street North waiting to turn into the bus station. New to Stagecoach Viscount in November 1998, the Alexander bodied Volvo Olympian later saw use with Judds Travel

Bury St Edmunds always provides a wide cross section of operators and I can't wait to visit again once  lockdown eases.


Wednesday 7 April 2021

New Look For Open Topper

The first of three Open Toppers to be used this summer at Great Yarmouth is due to return today after repaint. Dennis Trident 32905 W905VLN has been at Yarmouth a few summers now and will again be in use but in a new look livery.

It began life as the 'Seasider' in 2016, pictured above on North Drive in that summer.

Here she is pictured in her new livery ready to head back to Caister Road.

The new services will once again see open top vehicles run from Hemsby to Great Yarmouth with some trips taking a journey along the seafront in the town.

Thanks to First for use of the photos today.

Take Care, Grahame.