Sunday, 16 May 2021

Rail Replacement ~ Norwich Station Today

With track renewal work underway today, buses are replacing trains between Norwich and Stowmarket via Diss, and between Norwich and Ipswich via Diss. Added to this is improvement work between Norwich and Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft

This is resulting in the appearance of vehicles not usually seen at Norwich Railway Station. Our man on the spot, LiamS, has sent in some photos and these are a selection of them

Saturday, 15 May 2021

Clipper Cabriolets Launched

Today saw the launch event for First Eastern Counties new Coastal Clipper Cabriolet fleet that will operate during the spring /summer period beginning tomorrow (Sunday 16th May).

I was kindly invited along by Chris Speed to have a ride along the seafront and take a few photos of course!

All three of the open top vehicles were in attendance with 32348 CRZ266 & 37000 CRZ366 operating the free rides between Brittania Pier and the Pleasure Beach.

32905 CRZ166 was on static display with Timetables available for the public to collect and have a look around also.

The weather was a little unkind for open top travel but many members of the public enjoyed a brisk drive up and down the front despite the conditions.

Full services begin tomorrow with trips to and from Hemsby also included on the timetable.


Friday, 14 May 2021

Friday Flashback ~ December 2009

Today sees the return of Friday Flashback following last week's absence and this time we look back to December 2009. We begin in Great Yarmouth and then move on to Lincoln before ending up at Sheringham.

We begin on Regent Road in Great Yarmouth with First Eastern Counties Leyland Olympian 34872 F172 LBL pictured outside the former BHS store. New to Berks & Bucks (Bee Line) in October 1998, it is about to leave on the service 1 to Lowestoft on the 4th December

The next day we decided to visit Lincoln Christmas Market and looking in at the bus station we noted Kimes of Folkingham's Dennis Trident T648 KPU laying over prior to its next duty. It was new to Stagecoach London in March 1999. The business together with the Trident was sold to Centrebus in 2011

Passing the Lincoln Rail Station PC Coaches Optare Solo PC06 PCC was in use on a service to Saxilby and is still in use with the operator. The trip to Lincoln was quite memorable in that the return trip was much delayed due to our vehicle braking down prior to arriving to take us home!

On the 6th we were at at Sheringham with Norfolk Green's 501 MX09 HJJ outside the station ready to work the X5 to Norwich. New to the company in August 2009 the Optare Versa was included in the sale of Norfolk Green to Stagecoach in December 2013. Becoming 25269 in the Stagecoach fleet it has been much travelled turning up in South Wales and East Scotland.


Open Top Shuttle

Prior to their official launch tomorrow, one of the three Coastal Clipper Cabriolet open toppers was in use as a shuttle bus yesterday ferrying drivers between Market Gates and Caister Road depot.

Chris Baines, who caught CRZ 266 on such a working, tells me that all three were on display outside the depot during yesterday morning.

My thanks to Chris for the photo.


Thursday, 13 May 2021

National Express Visitor

Observed parked up on Great Yarmouth seafront this afternoon was National Express Scania K410EB6/ Caetano Levante BV69 KTC

It was laying over on a short break for drivers who were route learning the 491 London Victoria to Great Yarmouth service due to recommence on the 17th May 2021

My thanks to Alex Andru for the information and consent to use his photo


First 'Coastal Reds' Revealed

A New look for Great Yarmouth & Lowestoft's fleets was revealed today with Wright Streetlite 47504 SN64CPY appearing in the new 'Coastal Reds' livery being introduced for the towns. It mirrors the current Ipswich Reds livery and will be introduced to all non branded vehicles over the coming months.

The finished vehicle prior to being returned to Caister Road

Many Thanks to First for the Photographs and Information.


Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Final Clipper Complete

The last of the newly branded Coastal Clippers has entered service this week with 37576 AU58EDC being the final vehicle to gain the allover Blue livery. It is one of two based at Lowestoft for use on the 99 services between Lowestoft, Kessingland and Southwold. 37575 AU58ECZ being the other.

It is pictured this morning in Lowestoft heading out to Kessingland complete with Giraffe on the rear!


Service Alterations Registered ~ 12th May 2021

There are many items of interest in today's Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner.

Our Hire, trading as Our Bus, has registered three 'new' services and cancelled another. The former includes the 100 service between Newport, Hemsby and Great Yarmouth's Market Gates and the 200 Vauxhall Holiday Park to Market Gates with both running Mondays to Fridays. The third, a Monday to Saturday service, is the 300 operating along Great Yarmouth Seafront from Seashore Holiday Park. All commencing from 25th July 2021. The cancellation relates to an older 300 service between Vauxhall Holiday Park and Seashore Holiday Park

First Eastern Counties has retrospectively amended the timetable of its 11/11A/12/12A services between the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital and Sprowston/Wroxham from the 12th April 2021. It has also registered the cancellation of two Great Yarmouth urban services (already reported here) - the 4 Barrack Estate to Caister Circular and the 9 Market Gates to the James Paget Hospital. Both effective from 13th June 2021. In addition the 911 from Rackheath to Broadland High School in Hoveton will cease from the same date.

Of particular interest is the application made by Completely Business to increase the number of vehicles to five at its High House Lane, Colton premises and a new authorisation for the same number of vehicles at a site at Hall Road in Norwich

The full Notices and Proceedings Report can be viewed here soon


Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Coach Services Evora

An update from Coach Services of Thetford who received a brand new addition to the fleet earlier today

The vehicle is a Volvo B8RLE MCV Evora carrying the the special registration CS21 BUS. It features smart wooden style flooring and high back moquette seating plus USB charging points at every seat.

My thanks to Cameron Robinson for the information and photos


Saturday, 8 May 2021

Coastal Clipper 99

Many thanks for all your kind words regarding my recent hospital visit and I am pleased to say I am back home now and on the road to recovery

Back to the hobby and @Ashleybus444 contacted me yesterday to say that Gemini 37575 AU58 ECZ made its debut in service during the morning with the 99 version of the Coastal Clipper complete with the relevant stopping points

My thanks to Ashley for the photo


Friday, 7 May 2021

Friday Flashback

Due to my current stay in hospital, this week's Friday Flashback will not be published. My apologies for this - normal service will resume as soon as possible


Thursday, 6 May 2021

Ipswich Arrival in Service

We reported the recent 'swap' deal involving Ipswich and Colchester Depots a couple of weeks ago which saw ex Potteries ALX400 31785 YN53EOK move to Essex as it was slightly taller than the native Ipswich vehicles of the same type meaning it was unable to use the Fuel road at the depot. It was replaced by former FEC vehicle 32476 AU53HJK which had passed to Essex.

Mark Doggett caught 32476 out and about in Ipswich yesterday now wearing Ipswich Reds fleetnames en route to Stowmarket.

Many Thanks to Mark for the Photo.


Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Clipper Cabriolet Launch Date Confirmed

First Eastern Counties have announced the details of their Coastal Clipper Cabriolet operations this week with services beginning on Sunday May 16th, A preview day is booked for Saturday 15th on Great Yarmouth Seafront.

History is in the making with not one but three open top buses being introduced to operate the new ‘Clipper Cabriolet’ service from Hemsby to Scratby & California onto Caister and the Seashore Holiday Park and into Great Yarmouth along the seafront terminating at the Pleasure Beach.

Locals and holidaymakers are in for a real treat as they can take in all the sights along the way as the service snakes its way along the coastline visiting key attractions and resorts on the east coast. With buses running daily up to every 20 mins along Great Yarmouth’s Golden Mile and a contactless payment facility to pay for your journey, it couldn’t be easier for people to experience a fun ride on an open top bus.       

The ‘Clipper Cabriolet’ is easily identified with its sleek and modern livery with open air seating on the top deck. This is also the first time that both the town and the wider east coast tourist area will have a regular service that uses more than one open topper bus.

There are some great value fares available too, with unlimited all day travel for a group of up to 5 people (maximum 2 adults aged 20+) costing as little as £5 between Seashore Holiday Park and the Pleasure Beach and just £10.50 for travel on the ‘Clipper Cabriolet’ as well as all other First Eastern Counties buses anywhere along the east coast.

Chris Speed, Head of Operations at First Eastern Counties said: “We are very excited and really looking forward to our ‘Clipper Cabriolet’ service starting on 16th May. With both Great Yarmouth town and other local resorts along the coast booking up with holidaymakers the service is expected to be a real attraction and a fantastic, fun addition to the holiday experience for many.

“For our local communities it will also provide a fun experience and convenient link to other locations along the coast where many people visit throughout the summer season”

Come and ride for free - on Saturday 15th May

To introduce our new buses, with favourable weather, we'll have all three buses will be on show on Great Yarmouth Sea Front on Saturday 15th May 1000 – 1500.

One bus will be parked on the paved area outside the front of the Britannia Pier – this will form the ‘hub’ of the event and will be equipped with information to promote the service.

Our other two buses will be providing complimentary round trips along the seafront, picking up at the bus stop outside Britannia Pier and travelling along the seafront as far as the Pleasure Beach before returning to the Britannia Pier.  A collection for local charities will be undertaken by the Great Yarmouth Lions on board the buses.

Many Thanks to First and Good Luck!


Service Alterations Registered ~ 5th May 2021

Just the one item of interest in today's Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner.

Optare Solo YJ62 FZD on the rerouted 271 on Kings Road in Gorleston on 23rd April 2021
As previously reported Our Hire, trading as Our Bus, has amended the route, stopping places and timetable of its 271 service between Beach Road, Hemsby and Green Lane, Bradwell from 12th April 2021

The full Report can be viewed here


Monday, 3 May 2021

Norfolk Motor Services Oldie

Every now and then we get an email in our inbox which provides a little bit of history of the local area's buses and coaches.

This weekend was one of those such occasions when I received a message from John Read who attached a photo of one of the Norfolk Motor Services vehicles which he was surprised to see in Cyprus in 1959 during his National Service with the R.A.F.

Its registration was TAM 743 and, despite many efforts to find out more about it on the internet, I can find no reference to it at all. John adds that he can’t remember exactly where it was taken but it must have been somewhere in the Famagusta / Larnaca area.

I'm very grateful to John for the photo and I just wander if there is anyone out there who can provide more details of the coach. 


Well it only took matter of hours for Robert Kelly to come up with the required information! The coach was originally EX 5818, a Duple bodied Bedford OB. It was new to Norfolk Motor Services in July 1947 and remained with them until January 1958. The 29 seater was reregistered to TAM 743 and exported to R Djafer of Famagusta a month later staying in service until April 1959.

My thanks to Robert for his thorough research.


Saturday, 1 May 2021

Open Toppers Get A Personalised Touch

The newly compiled fleet of Open Toppers at Great Yarmouth have all now arrived safely at Caister Road and are all being prepared for service in the coming weeks.

First Eastern Counties Manager Chris Speed took one of the new arrivals out for a spin yesterday and is pictured above in front of another of Yarmouth's newest attractions The Big Wheel on the seafront.

We can now exclusively reveal that all three will be carrying special registrations when they hit the roads around the town. The new plates have all been officially transferred by DVLA and the list is as follows,

32905 W905VLN  to CRZ166

32348 LK53LZL  to  CRZ266

37000 LX53AYY  to  CRZ366

Many Thanks to Chris and First for the information and Photographs.


BorderBus Update

So far unreported here is that BorderBus ADL Enviro200 109 BB60 BUS has lost its cherished plate to Scania OmniCity 214 YR61 RVA. The former has reverted to its previous registration of YX11 CSX and was observed in Wrentham yesterday afternoon on its way to Kessingland and ultimately Norwich on the 146 service.

All five Volvo B7s continue in daily use but primarily on schools duties. My thanks to BorderBus for the information