Thursday 30 December 2021

Beach Coach Station Yesterday

Five vehicles were noted at Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station during yesterday afternoon as the light was fading

Angies Tours' Scania OmniCity Y70 PTS had left after a short period of residence over the Christmas break to be replaced their Volvo B10BLE/Wright Renown Y169 HRN. The single decker had been reported the previous day working rail replacement in the Colchester area.

Among the four coaches gathered together at the southern end of the site was Sleafordian's Volvo B8R / Plaxton Panther SC67 SLE together with its friendly driver.

Next along the rank was Chesterfield-based K M Travel's Bova Futura bodied VDL M300 KMT, a regular visitor to the area.

Third in line was Bagnalls of Swadlincote's Van Hool TX15 Alicron JT05 BAG. It was previously YJ13 GYU when with Landtourers Coaches of Alton, Hampshire.

The final visitor was Al's Coaches Irizar i6 AA16 ALS which, together with SC67 SLE and JT05 BAG, were chartered to Alfa Travel


Wednesday 29 December 2021

Konectbus Volvos Nearing The End

The time of the red Volvo B7TLs at Konectbus' Dereham depot appears to be drawing to a close.

518 LX05 EZW and 526 LX06 EAJ have recently been withdrawn which leaves East Lancs Myllennium Vyking 509 PN02 XCL plus Gemini’s 516 LX05 EZL, 518 LX05 EZW and 519 LX05 EZZ still in active service. The foursome are still going strong for now but replacements are due soon.

My thanks LiamS for the information and photos and also to Konectbus


Service Alterations Registered ~ 29th December 2021

The publication of today's East of England Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report was slightly delayed. However, the only entry of relevance locally is the refusal of an application for an operating licence by Igor Tudor of Albany Road in Great Yarmouth for an operating centre for one vehicle at the same address.

Due to time constraints, I was unable to provide information on the previous week's Notices and Proceedings Report for which I offer my apologies. The relevant entries included the granting of a variation of an operating licence by David Wain McMaster of Wood Dalling in Norwich for a new undertaking by Daniel Tony Keith Ward from 28th February 2022

The second licence application made by Stephens Coach Hire Limited for an operating centre for one vehicle at Unit 2 Jones (G.C.) Way in Great Yarmouth has been refused

The two full Notices and Proceedings Reports can be viewed here


Tuesday 28 December 2021

Ensign in December

Over the Christmas period Ross Newman published his monthly Ensign activity report for December. Among the departures were two Wright Eclipse Urban bodied Volvo B7RLE’s for Sanders Coaches. They were SK07 CGG and SK07 CFX and were new to Lothian Buses in May 2007

My thanks to Ross for his monthly updates


Coach Services Enviro200 Leaves

Thetford-based Coach Services has disposed of their ADL Dart SF07 KCE for scrap reports Omar Atiallah

The 29 seater, which left the operator just before Christmas, was originally acquired from Hansons of Wordsley in the West Midlands in January 2009 but was new to Whitelaw of Stonehouse

David Slater sends in a photo of SF07 KCE entering Thetford's old bus station on 10th June 2010. It is seen passing the statue of the Dad’s Army character Captain Mainwaring which had been unveiled earlier that day.

My thanks to Omar for the report and to Zak Nelson and David Slater for their photos


Sunday 26 December 2021

Boxing Day Backtrack

Firstly we hope everyone is having a great Christmas break and hopefully Covid free aswell. I thought i would delve into my photo collection and go back 11 years to 2010 and a rather dull and chilly day beginning at the James Paget Hospital stops capturing the variety of routes that pass through.

Norwich Park and Ride vehicles were often seen working town routes in Yarmouth if a spare was available, 32483 AU53HKA is pictured laying over awaiting its next trip to Caister.

Anglianbus ran the 608 route between Lowestoft and Yarmouth, this began in 2009. Optare Tempo YJ55BLX began life as an Optare demonstrator before moving to Anglian it then passed over to Konectbus before ending up at Lynx in Kings Lynn.

Ambassador Travel Optare Solo MX54KYC is seen working the 606 service to Carlton Colville.

First's X1 Excel service was now operated by Volvo/Wright Geminis which were new in 2008, 37574 AU58ECY is heading for Peterborough in this photo and is now part of the Coastal Red fleet at Yarmouth. There were also still some Volvo B10M Coaches in use on the route.

The Lowestoft-Martham 1/1A service was where the ex Hong Kong Leyland Olympian could be found most of the time, 30101 K485EUX is heading into the Hospital from Lowestoft.

On the way home, it was a quick look in on Ambassador Travel Depot where former National Express Volvo Plaxton Paragon FN52HRM was noted in between workings.

Final stop was Swift Coaches on Southtown Road where the rather odd looking Scania WJI8928 was parked up, it was new to Shearings as G881VNA in May 1990, it latterly passed to Black & White Coaches, Scunthorpe.

As Roy posted earlier i would also like to thank everyone for their support and contributions to the blog, old and new, please tell all your enthusiast friends where we are and help us continue to provide the most up to date news, historical stories and photos on a regular basis in 2022.

Enjoy Christmas and have a happy and safe new year!

All The Best, Grahame.

Friday 24 December 2021

Seasonal Greetings & Thanks

2021 has been another year of uncertainty! Lockdown occurred again and who knows what Boris has in store for us after Christmas! However, some relaxation in the rules has allowed us all to get about a little bit more this year which is reflected in the number of contributions received in last twelve months. Although I have dispensed with annual reviews, you are still welcome to look through the blog archive at the bottom of the left hand column of our webpage.

All that remains is for me to thank all the many contributors (including many new ones!) to the blog over the past year as the numbers continue to grow. Thanks to each and everyone of you as your reports and photos are much valued and appreciated.

Again my very special thanks to Grahame Bessey for his many contributions and continued support - a busy man indeed but he still spares the time ! Last, but not least, ENBB would like to wish all readers, supporters and contributors a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. We expect to continue our high standard of reporting into our twelfth year despite the effects of COVID-19

Take care all and stay safe


A Lonely Banana

Christmas Eve Coaches

Just after lunchtime today I observed a gathering of coaches next to the Arc Cinema and also outside the New Beach Hotel. Next to the Arc was a line of three with Lucketts' Mercedes Benz Tourismo BV19 YKD at the front.

Immediately behind was Country Lion's Volvo B11R/ Plaxton Panther LI ONU in use with Cloud Nine Holidays.

Bringing up the rear was Alfa Travel's Mercedes Benz Tourismo 115 BV19 YCK.

On the opposite side of the road, outside the New Beach Hotel, were a further two Alfa Travel Mercedes Benz Tourismos - 119 BV20 HNC in front of 118 BV20 HNB.


Thursday 23 December 2021

Angies Tours & Wrights Coaches ~ A New Way of Working

Its been three months since the working relationship began between Angies Tours in Lowestoft and Wrights Coaches in Wroxham following the loss of Wrights Coaches Operators Licence in October.

Both companies are still trading, albeit slightly different under the new regime with Wrights Coaches operating in more of a brokerage role regarding Coach Hire (Exactly the same as any other Coach Hire broker in the UK) and also still selling their popular DayBreaks in North Norfolk and they’re currently exploring lots of different avenues in terms of Coach Holidays and how they can expand their offering to their loyal customer base. Its been a difficult time for the operator over the last few months after what seemed to be a promising start over the past four years. Its great to see their vehicles still out on the road.

Angies Tours, based in Lowestoft have long term leased a selection of Wrights Coaches vehicles and are now taxing, insuring and maintaining the vehicles and all staff members have also transferred over to Angies Tours too. Speaking to Mr Philip Overy, Owner of Angies Tours he says “Wrights Coaches is a ready made business ready to compliment my existing operation. North Norfolk is an area I know very well from the days as Eurosun Coaches in the 1990’s and i’m pleased the working relationship is going from strength to strength”. He continued “I’m starting to see comments from members of the public, or enthusiasts which are so wide of the mark its unreal; they can only be described as upsetting, and slanderous – I’d like to assure people are aware that all vehicles are operated by Angies Tours”. The relationship between Wrights Coaches and Angies Tours means that Wrights Coaches are effectively a very good customer for Angies Tours, which includes their own DayBreak Programme, and a very large bookings diary which has also been shared out to ourselves and a handful of other Coach Operators in the area.

Asked about plans for the future Philip Overy commented “The Coach Hire and Travel Sector is a very difficult one, so the advantage comes through economies of scale, a larger team of dedicated drivers, and having the right people, in the right position. There were, and still are many positives to Wrights Coaches as a business and I think the future could a very successful one for both companies here in East Anglia. We face a wide range of issues like PSVAR, Covid etc over the short term period and they should be our, and other people focus in the industry. We maintain committed to offering our customers the very best and if anyone would like to be part of this continued success story, id actively encourage them to come and see me – We’re always looking for dedicated individuals to join our team, and our selection of vehicles, and range of work in the diary mean an enjoyable employment is here waiting for the right candidate(s)”.

Former Yarmouth Bus in New London Venture

Extract from Big Issue website
In September last year I reported that ex First Great Yarmouth ALX 400 bodied Volvo B7TL 32058 W218 XBD had left Purfleet dealer Ensign for a new owner, Buses For Homeless in Croydon.

It now features on the Big Issue website as one of the two buses transformed into healthcare and support hubs for people sleeping rough

It has been internally refurbished for its new role and has also received an external repaint (see photo)

My thanks to Ryan for the information and link to the website


Wednesday 22 December 2021

BorderBus Arrival Reregistered

Following the arrival of a new bus at BorderBus, the operator has tweeted that it’s latest purchase is now ready to hit the roads of Norfolk and Suffolk in January with its new number plate and vinyls. Registered BB71 BUS it has has fleet number 112 and looks very smart.

Andrew Watts tells me that BorderBus has recently won the Suffolk County Council contract to operate the BR022 service which runs from Uggershall to the Sir John Leman School in Beccles. It commences from the beginning of the next school term on 6th January 2022 and was previously operated by Lamberts Coaches.

The photo is sourced from the company’s Twitter site and my thanks to Andrew and Alfie Clarke for the heads up.


Flying Banana Retires

I received news from First yesterday evening that one of the last Great Yarmouth Alexander Dennis Dart SLFs had been withdrawn. Not only that but it was the Flying Banana heritage liveried 42943 WA06 OAS.

The saloon joined First Eastern Counties from First South West in November 2015 and was initially allocated to Lowestoft. After later moving to Caister Road I received news in June 2018 that it was heading for Simon Morris at Ipswich for a repaint into a 'local heritage livery'. The 'Flying Banana' received a new engine a month later and I was pleased to get a photo of it operating on Shrublands Estate where the former business started its first service.

It also appeared at the East Anglia Transport Museum's Trolleybus event in September 2018 offering Park and Ride services and went on to be stored at Lowestoft's Gasworks Road depot during the first COVID-19 lockdown in April 2020. Following an ease in restrictions it returned to work at Caister Road with a visit to Norwich featuring in one of its duties.

What of its future? Unfortunately its next journey is a one way trip to the scrapyard.

My thanks to First Great Yarmouth for the information


London Routemaster In Norwich

For the fourth year running, Norwich is able to offer free travel around the City Centre in a London bus from 20th December until Christmas Eve

A restored 1965 London Transport Routemaster is offering shoppers free rides on a circular route of the city so they can soak up some of the festive atmosphere. The bus, which operated in London until 2005, is being run by a team of bus enthusiast drivers and conductors all suitably dressed for the festive season.

Buses depart from Castle Meadow frequently between 10.30am and 3.30pm each day and, whilst services are free, donations are being accepted which will go to the cancer charity Big C.

My thanks to Dan High for the photo of the Routemaster in service yesterday and I believe another ex London bus, the East Anglia Transport Museum's RT3125 was also in use.


Tuesday 21 December 2021

Christmas Comes Early

Christmas has arrived early at Beccles-based BorderBus with the arrival of a brand new ADL Enviro 200MMC

Registered  as YX71 OJB, the new bus was announced on their twitter feed (@BorderBus) yesterday. 

My thanks to Alfie Clarke for the heads up


Sunday 19 December 2021

Beach Coach Station Surprise

Heading home, following my success of a photo of the Ensign's decker at Caister Road, I drove back past Beach Coach Station as a matter of habit. Another surprise was the presence of a white decker.

It was Scania OmniCity Y70 PTS with the legal information stating Philip John Overy t/a Angies Tours with the address Norwich Road Industrial Estate, Lowestoft.

I will have to attempt a few more early Sunday starts methinks - but not just yet!


Early Foggy Start

An early Sunday start is quite a rarity for me but I had to be up and about to take my daughter to Great Yarmouth Station this morning. As it was foggy I thought I would attempt some 'different' photos.

After leaving the station, I headed north to deliver some Christmas cards passing First's Caister Road depot on the way. I immediately noticed the unusual sight of First Norwich Volvo B9 36177 BD11 CGF at the St Luke's Church bus stop.

Walking past the depot I took a couple of more pictures of buses on the forecourt being readied for the days work

After passing the two deckers I could see Ensign's ADL Enviro400 MC 132 YX66 WLH peeking through the gap. This is a bus I had been trying to photograph for sometime and a walk along the pedestrian walkway beside the offices enabled me to do just that!

My stopping off was worthwhile and hadn't been in vain!


Thursday 16 December 2021

Bus Substitution

Following the breakdown of First Volvo B9 37572 AU58 ECW at Lowestoft Bus station earlier today, First Great Yarmouth's Enviro400 33423 SN60 CAA began working from Lowestoft depot with its first job being the substitution for the former on an X22 service to Norwich. My thanks to Josh for the photo showing to the failed 37572

Meanwhile, 37572 was towed to Great Yarmouth later this morning for repair with Will Drake witnessing its arrival at Caister Road. My thanks to Will for the photo


Ex Swift Solo For Sale

A former Swift Taxis' Optare Solo, currently owned by Norfolk operator Simonds, has been made available for sale.

Swift's Optare Solo YK55 ENL in Gorleston High Street on 16th March 2009

New to the Great Yarmouth-based company as YK55 ENL in February 2006, it passed to Simonds in October 2010 and now now carries the SIJ 82 plate, which is not included in the sale. It has recently being fitted with a new gearbox, which is still under warranty, but has developed an electrical fault

My thanks to Jaimie Skinner for the heads up. All enquiries to the operator - telephone 01379 647300


Wednesday 15 December 2021

Megabus Prospects

Regular contributor David Slater provides a guest post today:

When checking the Megabus website the other day I saw that the Norwich-Birmingham service M37 now has two services each way on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. This service had been suspended during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Departure times from Norwich are 0955 and 1615 and from Birmingham at 1110 and 1600. Points served are Norwich (Bus Station), UEA (+15 mins), Cambridge (Victoria Avenue) (+1h 35m), Coventry (Pool Meadow Bus Station) (3h 15m) and Birmingham (Brunel Street) (+3h 55m). The 0955 from Norwich and 1600 from Birmingham are operated by Freestones Coaches

The 1110 from Birmingham and the 1615 from Norwich are operated by Prospect Coaches of Lye near Stourbridge. On Sunday 13 December and Monday 14 December the Prospect Coaches vehicle was PR19 STU, an Irizar i6 integral in their own livery rather than Megabus blue. The use of such a liveried vehicle may explain why there is a note shown on the website for these trips which reads ‘Operated by Megabus run by Prospect Coaches’. The trips run by Freestones don’t carry a similar styled note but show ‘Operated by Megabus’.

I photographed the Prospect Coaches vehicle at Barton Mills on both the above days.

My thanks to David for the post and photos

Service Alterations Registered ~ 15th December 2021

Today's Notices and Proceedings Report, published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner, contains information on a couple of changes to local bus services.

BorderBus Limited, of Unit 3 Moor Business Park in Beccles, has received authorisation for six vehicles at a new operating centre in neighbouring Unit 6 on the same estate.

Sanders Coaches is to amend the timetable of its X44/44A Reepham to Norwich High School service, in the city, from 8th January 2022

The full Notices and Proceedings Report can be viewed here soon.


Monday 13 December 2021

Rail Replacement ~ Saturday

This weekend saw rail replacement services in use between Ely and Cambridge with Omar Atiallah recording some examples of the vehicles in use on Saturday

Galloway provided Caetano Levante bodied Volvo B9R which was pretending to be a motorcycle!

M&M Staffing supplied Neoplan OU15 ZVX

Also in attendance were a couple of deckers from the HCT Group including Enviro400 E17HCT and ex Metroline LK59CXC

Essex based Trustybus provided Central Connect branded CT12 GAL

Both of Youngs Scania Omnilinks are regular performers on rail replacement with A13 YCC and K17 YCC also being employed on Saturday. Both originated from Brighton & Hove being registered YN58 BCO and YN58 BCV respectively

The final photo features C& G Travel's LX03 OSC - a former Stagecoach London Dennis Trident

My thanks to Omar for providing the photos


Sunday 12 December 2021

Saturday Late Snapshots

As daylight was fading yesterday I managed to get pictures of three coaches parked up opposite the Arc Cinema, close to the Britannia Pier.

I was surprised to see two of them with Wrights Coaches branding but showing Philip Overy/ Angies Coaches legal lettering. They were Mercedes Benz Tourismo Y25 PTS and Kassbohrer Setra W25 PTS

Bringing up the rear was Caledonian Travel's YJ20 FPU, a Temsa HD12RHD Safari