Wednesday 29 September 2021

Showbus 2021

Sunday saw this year's Showbus event take place at the Hertfordshire County Showground with a number of local operators taking part.

Ipswich Buses provided Volvo B7RLE/ Wright Eclipse Urban 160 SN57 DDF which was previously with Lothian Buses

Next up is Peelings Coaches (Jonathan Joplin's) Jonckheere bodied Volvo B10M-62 X68 CNY, Delivered new to Bebb of Llantwit Fadre in February 2001 it has subsequently seen use with On A Mission Coaches of Soulbury, Buckinghamshire; Herrington Coaches of Fordingbridge, Hampshire and Carrs Coaches of Pluckley, Kent before moving to Norfolk.

The third 'local' representative was Beestons' East Lancs bodied Scania N94UD 526 FN - a plate previously carried by a Caroline Seagull Ford R1114

Ensign of Purfleet entered brand new Wright StreetDeck 171 LX71 AOM - despite the entry list suggesting it would be a StreetLite !

The Happisburgh Touring Society naturally brought along their Gloria, a Van Hool Alizee T8 bodied Volvo B10M YXI 6327, new to Shearing's as F741 ENE

There was also a special display celebrating the centenary of United Counties. The photo shows United Counties Preservation Group's Bedford YRT/ Willowbrook RBD 111M, Martin Robert's Ford R1014/ Duple OVV 59R and Bob Pain's ECW bodied Bristol VRSL3 XNV 882S

My thanks to 'Reg Vardy' for providing the photos


Lamberts Coaches Update

Beccles-based Lamberts Coaches has newly acquired a Van Hool bodied Scania L941B in the form of E13 LKR. 

It was purchased from Fords Coaches of Althorne near Chelmsford where it was previously registered V863 PPU. It is presently in white livery, awaiting fleet transfers.

A second addition is XIL 8515, a Plaxton Cheetah bodied Mercedes O814 which is not expected to stay for too long. Withdrawn is Van Hool bodied DAF SB3000 A6 LKR

My thanks to David Burdett for the update and photo


Service Alterations Registered ~ 29th September 2021

There are no items of local interest in today's Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner. However, the full report can be viewed here soon

First Group has issued a statement saying that Crab Lane in Gorleston will be closed to traffic between Monday 27th September to Wednesday 29th September 2021 due to work by Essex and Suffolk Water. As a result Crab Lane will not be served by their No 6 service which will divert via Shrublands Way and Beccles Road in both directions

Additionally First Group says that Coastlink X1 and X11 services will be diverted via South Walsham, Panxworth and New Rackheath in both directions from 20:00 until 06:00 each evening until 5th October 2021. This is due to the A47 being closed between Acle and Blofield for carriageway resurfacing which may continue after that date.


Tuesday 28 September 2021

Former ECOC Southwold Depot

Some of our local readers will be aware that the former Eastern Counties Omnibus Company (ECOC) garage at Southwold is due for demolition very soon.
Bristol KSW5G LNG 293 at the entrance with 1937 Bristol JO5G BVF112 outside
So the Eastern Counties Transport Collection, under the guidance of Syd Eade, took their former 'Counties' Bristol FS Lodekka OVF229 over to Southwold on Sunday morning to get some photos outside the building.

The Eastern Coach Works bodied decker was fitted with specially made destination displays for the trip which matched those on the bus in the old photo above.

Syd remembers when the depot was in use into the days of VRs, although it has been in private use for many years. He said 'It was still almost complete as it was when ECOC left the site. The right hand end of the building had a pit with a rather archaic toilet which was actually in that state when I worked there in the 1970s!'

The interior of the building taken on Sunday through the letter box!
My thanks to Syd for his contribution. Both he and Daniel Peart provided the photos


Monday 27 September 2021

Sanders News

The latest Sanders news includes the return of Optare Solo 203 MX09 AOU for use on the Holt town service. It joins just one other active of the type in use in the form of 200 YJ58 CBX.

Several inactive Scania CN94s are in hiding around both Holt sites with 307 YN53 GEU, 308 YN53 GFA and 314 YN03 UVR all in storage. 301 YS03 ZKR and 309 YN53 GFE are also out of use with a possible return to duties being considered. This leaves 303 YN53 GFX as currently the last Omnicity in service with Sanders. (Update: this has also been withdrawn so none of the type is in use)

On the decker front 107 PM03 EHR has been permanently withdrawn and is being stripped for spare parts. It has replaced Wright Gemini bodied DAF DB250 103 LJ53 NHN as the Christmas tree which has now been scrapped. Watch out for the arrival of some new deckers soon

Finally, Holt based Scania OmniDekka 116 YN53 CFZ has been loaned to North Walsham and has been seen on 55 services.

My thanks to LiamS for the information and photos


Friday 24 September 2021

Friday Flashback ~ December 2010 (Part Three)

Today's Friday Flashback is the last as I have now exhausted my collection of old photos not published before on the blog. It is a special one featuring vehicles operated by local independent Swift Taxis.

You may have seen photos of these vehicles previously but these were taken on Swift's James Watt Close yard on the 21st December 2010. The first features the only double deck vehicle operated by the company a Jonckheere Monaco bodied Volvo B12B registered SE51 DZV. Wearing fleet number 130 she was named Swift Flamingo

Earlier registered KSK 983 when owned by Parks of Hamilton, it was acquired from Trathens of Plymouth in August 2009 mainly for use on school contract work. Richards Coaches of Guist acquired the 71 seater from Swift in November 2012 and reregistered it as GDZ 435. After Richards closure it was bought by its current owner Completely Coach Travel of Norwich.

Also parked together in the yard that snowy day were Volvo B12M S11 WFT and Scania K113 M26 XSC. The former was earlier registered CE02 YRX and received fleet number 112 and named Swift Eagle having been acquired from McNaulty of Wembley in August 2006. It was later noted with Vale Travel of Aylesbury. As for M26 XSC it received a number of identities prior to joining Swift in August 2009 where it became Swift Kingfisher receiving fleet number 131.

The next twosome are 119 G470 LVG Swift Seagull and 114 N962 DWJ Swift Kite. Dennis Javelin Swift Seagull was originally with Cobholm Hire (Caroline Seagull) from new in March 1990. It was purchased from them following voluntary liquidation in March 2008 and was regularly observed on schools work. It was removed from operational duties in late 2012 due to age and condition and was ready for the scrap yard. However, a local enthusiast, Terry Wilkins, acquired it for preservation being stored in the open at Hopton. It stayed there for some time with Great Yarmouth's GEX 740F. But whilst there it received attention from vandals and in 2020 both vehicles were recovered for further preservation at Guyhirn in Cambridgeshire

As for Volvo B10M-62 N962 DWJ, it was new to Claribels of Birmingham in April 1996 and later became part of the National Holidays fleet from whom Swift acquired it in August 2006. In May 2014 I reported it sold P & M Coaches of Wickford in Essex. It was last observed on rail replacement duty for them in March 2017

The final photo shows another Swift twosome in the same yard in the shape of Dennis Dart L907 JRN and BMC Probus BX54 VUM. The Dart was new to London Buses in June 1994 as their DEL7. Swift purchased the East Lancs bodied bus from Cumfybus of Southport in November 2005 and it received fleet number 107. BX54 VUM was new to Amza Travel of Blofield in September 2004 and moved to Swift Taxis when they acquired the business in late 2009 and it became Swift Nightingale. It was sold to a Bedfordshire operator in .May 2013 and in October that year went to Bradford coach hire company Skyways Travel.

Well that's it! The final Friday Flashback completed and I hope you've enjoyed our regular weekly lookback. I must admit I am relieved now that I don't have to do the research for future editions but I am sure I will miss it!


EATM Trolleybus Weekend

Regularly at this time of the year, the East Anglia Transport Museum holds its end of season Trolleybus Weekend. This year's event will see all available vehicles from the fleet in use and, as the nights begin to draw in, there will be running after dark on the Saturday.

One visitor has already arrived courtesy of The Ipswich Transport Museum and that is the ex Eastern Counties Omnibus Company's Dennis Ace. (pictured)

As usual, the free park and ride service will run from the Co-op food store on Ashburnham Way in Lowestoft sponsored by First Eastern Counties. Bus services to Beccles and Lowestoft will also be operating using the museum's fleet of preserved vehicles.

There will also be the BBQ in the park plus trade stands along with static exhibitions and visiting vehicles. 

Opening times are 12 noon to 9pm on Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sunday. Normal admission prices apply £9 Adult, £8 Concession, £6 Child (5-15).

More information on the Museum can be viewed on their website at


Thursday 23 September 2021

Thursday Tour

Another reasonably early start gave me a further opportunity to look round the usual haunts and perhaps, maybe, get a photo of that Barnes of Swindon coach which evaded the camera on Tuesday. Surprisingly it was still about awaiting its passengers outside the Palm Court Hotel on North Drive. Identified as VDL Futura WJ16 KBE, it was, new to Barnes in March 2016.

A look in at Beach Coach Station found Amport & District's Van Hool WJ16 KCK and Richard Taylor's Mercedes Benz Tourismo RT70 RTT in addition to the others seen there earlier in the week.

Deciding to go home via First's Caister Road depot I noticed First Lowestoft Dart 42929 SN05 EAJ parked up against the Harley Road fence - no doubt still on the reserve list. Just inside the depot was First Ipswich Reds 32654 AU05 MUW


Service Alterations Registered ~ 22nd September 2021

Yesterday's Notices and Proceedings Report, published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner, includes a number of entries of local interest.

Applications to Vary Existing Services
BorderBus has amended the timetables of their schools services from the 2nd September 2021 namely
SJL 1 Kessingland to Sir John Leman School, Beccles
SJL 2 Oulton Broad/Lowestoft to Sir John Leman School, Beccles
SJL 3 Carlton Colville to Sir John Leman School, Beccles
SJL 4 Carlton Colville to Sir John Leman School, Beccles
SJL 5 Carlton Colville to Sir John Leman School, Beccles
SJL 6 Southwold to Sir John Leman School, Beccles
SJL 7 Oulton Broad and Sir John Leman School, Beccles
SJL 8 Blundeston and Sir John Leman School, Beccles
SJL 9 Wangford and Sir John Leman School, Beccles
In addition the operator has altered the timetable of its 521/ 521A Halesworth to Aldeburgh service from 31st August 2021

Operator Licensing Applications

Jubilee Coaches of Rollesby has been granted approval to increase the number of vehicles at their operating centre at Jubilee Farm, Fleggburgh Road in the village to eight.
Suffolk Norse of Phoenix House, Goddard Road in Ipswich has surrendered their operating licence with effect from 13th September 2021

Public Inquiries
A Public Inquiry (83779) was held at the Eastern Traffic Area Offices at Eastbrook, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge, on 6 September 2021, following the adjournment of a previous hearing on 28 June 2021, considered the affairs of the PTS Group of North Walsham. The decisions taken at that Inquiry were:-
The licence is revoked with effect from 23.45hrs on 06/10/2021
PTS Group (Norfolk) Ltd is disqualified with effect from 23.45hrs on 06/10/2021 for a period of 12 months.
Traffic Manager Matthew Wright is disqualified with effect from from 23.45hrs on 06/10/2021 for a period of 12 months. He was also found not to be of good repute

Transport Manager Public Inquiry
A Transport Manager Public Inquiry considered Matthew John Wright to be not of good repute and disqualified as a transport manager with immediate effect for a period of 24 months until 06/09/2023.

The full report can be viewed here


Wednesday 22 September 2021

Tuesday Touring

With an early morning commitment, I had the ideal opportunity to look around around the usual holiday area locations to see what long term stayers were about. I was pleasantly surprised to observe eleven during a sunny late September morning.

Travelling south to north, my first sighting was Caledonian Travel's NH69DHH close to the Hotel Victoria on Kings Road. The NH registration gave away the fact that it was originally with National Holidays and was new to them in November 2019.

Continuing along Marine Parade I found Ambassador Travel's BV17 CUA outside the SeaLife Centre. The Volvo B11R, which has Sunsundegui bodywork, was on charter work with Grand UK Holidays.

The next port of call was Beach Coach Station where seven vehicles were noted. Close to the entrance was G-Line Holidays Mercedes Benz Tourismo BV19 YKN

There was then a large gap before another trio were seen. Majestic Isle Travel's Setra JE55 TTL dominates the photo with AAA Coaches of Kirknewton's VDL AD16 AAA being next in line flanked by Happy Als Tourismo BU18 YSL, a former Shearings vehicle.

Another threesome were also parked together, the first being Skills Leisure's Volvo B11R/MCV BV19 LNH which was chartered to Shearings. The friendly driver said he had recently driven three charters for the company which were all fully booked.

Next up was Leons of Stafford Mercedes Benz Tourismo LE18 EON in their traditional maroon livery.

The last on the rank was Red Rose Travel's Mercedes Benz Tourismo UUI 7480 on hire to Torquay Travel. It was previously registered BV10ZKC

Returning home along North Drive I passed an unidentified Barnes Coaches vehicle on the corner of Sandown Road before seeing Roselyn of Cornwall's VDL Futura FHD2 RO67 LYN outside the Palm Court Hotel.


Tuesday 21 September 2021

Wrights Coaches

Earlier this month I reported that, following a hearing in Cambridge, the East of England Traffic Commissioner had issued a notice of closure to the Wroxham based PTS Group, trading as Wrights Coaches.

Our post of the 8th September had subsequently been taken down as it was alleged that the information was not correct and there was no official report available to verify the content.

However, further information has now become available in a newspaper article published by the Eastern Daily Press earlier today which can be viewed by clicking here

A short period of time been given to Norfolk County Council to allow it to re-tender schools contracts operated by the company and to provide existing drivers time to find new employment before the closure notice takes effect.

In addition to the revocation of the operator's licence, Transport Manager Matthew Wright has been given a two year ban.


Friday 17 September 2021

Friday Flashback ~ December 2010 (Part Two)

The penultimate Friday Flashback today comprises photos taken in Great Yarmouth during the early part of December 2010

Our first subject is Anglian Coaches (later Anglianbus) Optare Solo M950 335 MX08 MYV, in plain white livery, observed passing the long gone BHS store on Regent Road on the 581 Beccles service. Britannia Parking of Bournemouth was its first owners in April 2008. It later moved to Thames Travel and Carousel Buses which, together with Anglian and others, became part of the Go-Ahead Group.

Next up is another Anglian Solo and this time an M780 version. 307 AU54EOA was new in September 2004 and is seen here on Howards Street North in the town on the same day. Anglian was an early operator of gas powered buses and 307 had a pod fitted to the roof containing gas cylinders as part of a clean vehicle trial project. It later had the pod removed and was transferred to Vale Travel in Spring 2014 where it was frequently employed on Star Travel's routes 11 and 11a in Milton Keynes.

A third Optare Solo (an M920) YJ51 XSM in the black hole known as Market Gates on the 15th. Whilst the picture quality is passable, it is one of the few occasions when the lighting was OK. At that time the owners were quite often very frugal with the lighting in this area of the shopping centre! The Solo was new in September 2001 with Anglian acquiring it from Horsburgh of Pumpherston, Scotland in December 2010 - the same month the picture was taken.

Our final photo of this post is that of Shearings Holidays Kassbohrer Setra 111 BN09 FXA at Beach Coach Station also taken on the 15th. It passed to Thandi Executive, Smethwick, West Midlands in August 2016 and was reregistered THA 636 the following month. However, it had reverted to BN09 FXA by the time it passed to Grindle in April 2019 and was given its current mark of J300 TRG a month later.

Next week will be the last Friday Flashback as I have now exhausted my collection of old photos not published before on the blog. It will be a special one featuring vehicles operated by local independent Swift Coaches.


Wednesday 15 September 2021

Lowestoft Blues

Last week saw Great Yarmouth Transport liveried Volvo B7TL 32059 W219XBD spend a few days on loan in Suffolk, working a variety of routes around Lowestoft.

She is pictured above leaving Lowestoft Bus Station bound for Kessingland on the Coastal Clipper 99 service. Whilst at the Bus Station it was briefly joined by the latest GYT liveried vehicle in the shape of Volvo B9TL 37562 FJ08FYN which was working the Coastal Clipper 1/1A service to Martham.

Well done to Aaron who was on hand to capture both of Yarmouth's heritage deckers at the same time in Lowestoft!

Thanks for the photos Aaron.


Service Alterations Registered ~ 15th September 2021

Today's Notices and Proceedings Report, published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner, contains a few items of local interest.

A second licence application has been made by Stephens Coach Hire Limited for an operating centre at Unit 2 Jones (G.C.) Way at Great Yarmouth. The Transport Manager is named as Carl Joseph Crysell and authorisation is being sought for one vehicle at the site..

Thompsons Coaches of Framlingham has registered a new service between Silver Lace Green Darsham and Thomas Mills High School in Framingham Numbered 557 it operates on school days on Monday to Fridays only and began on the 6th September 2021.

First Eastern Counties
has amended the timetables of its X11/ 7 Great Yarmouth Market Gates to Belton Bracon Road and the X1/ X11 between Norwich Bus Station and Great Yarmouth Market Gates services from 5th September 2021. From the same date the operator changed the timetable of its X2/ X21/ X22 Lowestoft Bus Station to Norwich routes. Other timetables altering the same day include the 14 / 15/ 15A, and 15B operating between Wymondham and Wroxham/ Blofield Heath/ Lingwood and the 99A/ 99H Kings Head, Southwold to St Mary's Street, Bungay service. Additionally the route and timetable of the Norwich St Stephens Street to Bungay 40 / 40A / X41 / 41A / 41 services are also amended from the 5th September 2021

The full report can be viewed here


Tuesday 14 September 2021

Decker Update

The former Arriva London open top bus and London Sightseeing Tours LJ51 DKN returned to Ensign in early September before the end of the summer timetable. The Plaxton President bodied DAF DB 250 had been loaned to First to provide additional cover during peak demands for the seasonal open top 1C service.

Also in early September, Coastal Reds Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7TL 37174 SF07 FDE transferred to First Ipswich on loan whilst two First Ipswich deckers were receiving attention at Caister Road. Both 32479 AU53HJV and 32493 AU53 HKL have since returned to the Suffolk town. Another Ipswich decker, 32654 AU05 MUW, is now at Caister Road for repair

My thanks to First for the information.


Monday 13 September 2021

Coach Services Latest

My first conversation with Omar Atiallah since his move to Coach Services revealed that the Thetford operator has repainted former Tower Transit Volvo B9 VN37952 BN61 MWZ into its owner's colour of all over white. It arrived from dealer Ensign in June this year.

Former ex Trent Barton Alexander (Belfast) bodied Volvo B10M-60 M51PRA has been sold for preservation being one of only five in existence. New in January 1995, Coach Services acquired it from Green Triangle of Atherton, Greater Manchester in October 2008.

Optare Solo M920 MX04 VMA has left the fleet moving down the road to Salec Travel Limited also based in Thetford. It was new to Coach Services in July 2004.

My thanks to Omar for the information and photos.


Friday 10 September 2021

City Of Colour

Last weekend myself and my partner ventured to the city of Nottingham for a concert, the first for quite a while because of the pandemic of course! Friday night was concert night followed by a wander around the city centre on Saturday morning. The other half was far more interested in shopping so she and her friends ventured off leaving me with unfortunately just my phone to grab a few shots of the very colourful bus operations of Nottingham City Transport and Trent Barton.

The main body of vehicles within the Nottingham fleet are Scania E400 Envirocity Deckers and are all colour coded for various routes around the city.

Other vehicles in the fleet include ADL Enviro 200/400's, Optare Solo SR's and newer ADL Enviro 200 MMC's.

Another trip will be made i am sure, with the correct camera next time! A very colourful and vibrant city with plenty to view for any enthusiast.

Final photo is of Trent Barton ADL Enviro 200MMC YY18TPO pictured awaiting departure to Derby on the Indigo Line.


Friday Flashback ~ December 2010

As we near the end of our regular Friday Flashback feature, this week we look back to the early part of December 2010 with Great Yarmouth being the location for the photos.

For our first three contributions we look in at Beach Coach Station during the early part of the month. On the 2nd National Holidays' Transbus Paragon bodied Volvo B12M YJ03 VOF was present. New to Wallace Arnold in 2003 it later transferred to the National Holidays fleet and subsequently joined Edward Thomas & Son Coaches of Epsom

Shearings Holidays Kassbohrer Setra S416GT-HD 215 BF10 VCG paid a visit to the Coach Station on the 8th of the month

That same day Simonds Volvo B12B Jonckheere Mistral FJ06 BSO was also on site. It was new to Loch & Glens of Aberfoyle in March 2006 with Simonds acquiring it three years later.

The final photo is of First Eastern Counties 20107 N607 APU at Market Gates Bus Station with its destination showing X1 Peterborough