Thursday 31 March 2022

Date For The Diary ~ Subsequently Cancelled

The Eastern Counties Bus Preservation Group was jointly hosting the Great Yarmouth's Wheels Festival this year with the event taking place on Saturday 2nd July and Sunday 3rd July 2022. (SINCE CANCELLED)

The Group was bringing along former Eastern Counties Wrightbus bodied Scania S574 TPW in Blue Bus livery and Leyland National YYE 274T in Eastern Counties colours for static display.

My thanks to Jamie Vendy for the information and more about the Eastern Counties Bus Preservation Group can be found HERE

Update: Unfortunately this event has now been cancelled


Ambassador's Eclipse

During the early part of the month I reported that Ambassador Travel had obtained Wright Eclipse Urban bodied Volvo B7RLE GN07 AVF from Purfleet dealer Ensignbus.

New to Arriva Kent Thameside as their 3819 in April 2007, the Volvo was recently taken to sister company H Semmence's premises at Wymondham for preparation for entry into service. It is expected to arrive at Ambassador Travel's Gapton Hall Estate premises sometime today.

Following this post Nigel contacted me with a photo he had taken of GN07 AVF at Braintree in June 2013 when it was with the TGM Group in SXConnect livery for service 133 between the University of Essex and Stansted Airport

My thanks to LiamS for the photo and information and to Nigel for his contribution


Wednesday 30 March 2022

Service Alterations Registered ~ 30th March 2022

Some entries of local interest in today's Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner..

Coastal Reds of Kings Lynn, operating as Lynx, is to amend the timetable of two of its services in our local area. The 36 Hunstanton to Wells next-the-Sea and the 48/49/49A Kings Lynn to Fakenham Oak Street to take effect from 15th April 2022.

Anthony Marett Consultants of Metton Road, Roughton in Norfolk has applied for an operating centre at the same location for two vehicles

The full Notices and Proceedings Report can be viewed here soon


Tuesday 29 March 2022

Electric Bus Funding Secured

Yesterday Norfolk County Council issued a press release saying its ambitions to run a net zero transport system had resulted in it securing £3.2million in funding for the introduction of fifteen electric buses to the network in Norwich.

The release said 'Norfolk County Council has secured the funding after a joint bid with First Bus was submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) for funding from the ‘Zero Emission Bus Regional Access’ (ZEBRA) scheme.

First Norwich Yellow Line Gemini BG12 JVX on
Great Yarmouth Airshow Park & Ride duties in 2018
This bid is matched by £3.6m of local investment from First Bus and will deliver 15 battery electric buses which will be in operation by March 2024.
The new vehicles will operate on four existing bus routes, all of which operate through the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in Norwich City Centre. 

The routes are:
  • Green Line: Bus routes 15 / 15A / 15B
  • Yellow Line: Bus route 29
  • Purple Line: Bus route 39
  • Charcoal Line: Bus routes 40 / 40A
The full press release can viewed on the County Council's website HERE


Seven Up

After taking my daughter into work first thing this morning I continued on to Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station to see what was about.

A total of seven were present including two Alfa Travel representatives in the form of Mercedes Benz Tourismos 118 BV20 HNB and 124 BV20 HNH.

Passing along the rank the first encountered was another Mercedes Benz Tourismo BX64 JZU operated by CAB Executive Travel of Goole.

Alongside was Arvonia Coaches' Volvo B11RT BU20 VWO all the way from Llanrug, Caernarfon in north Wales.

The threesome was completed by the inclusion of Storrington based Roadmark Travel's Mercedes Benz Tourismo BV69 LTX.

The two remaining visitors were Pauls of Stoke's Mercedes Benz Tourismo Y66 POS and HM18 HEM, a VDL from Hemmings Holidays of Devon.


Saturday 26 March 2022

New Rear Branding

Whilst recently arrived First Eastern Counties open top 32336 LK53 LYW was called into its its first day in service on Friday, other topless deckers are beginning to receive attention.

As part of its preparation for the forthcoming summer service, the first open topper to appear on the seafront route has received a new rear branding. Gone is the 'circus' feature on 32905 CRZ 166 and in its place is 'cruising with the top down along the sunrise coast'

It is anticipated that the former W905 VLN will not be so intensely used as previously with the latest and future newcomers being the mainstay of the seafront service

With British Summer Time commencing overnight tonight, it wont be too long now before they are seen in regular service

My thanks to First for the photo


Friday 25 March 2022

First Great Yarmouth Activity

Following on from Grahame's post of yesterday, the two recent Wright Eclipse bodied Volvos from West Yorkshire were earlier today being prepared for entry into service, 37055 YJ 06 XMF has already had its Bradford branding removed whilst 37056 YJ06 XMG still has much to be done.

With comparatively milder sunny weather this afternoon, the latest open top bus to join the fleet had its initial outing with First Eastern Counties 32336 LK53 LYW working on service 6 from Market Gates to Bradwell and return. It is pictured at the former prior to working the service.

My thanks to Roger Bellward for the photos.


Thursday 24 March 2022

Bradford duo arrive at Caister Road

Two new arrivals at Caister Road depot this evening in the shape of ex First Bradford Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini's 37055 YJ06XMF & 37056 YJ06XMG. Both arrived on tow after leaving West Yorkshire earlier in the day.

Three more arrivals are also expected in the shape of 37026/37057 & 37059 also from Bradford.

Thanks to First for the info and the news of their arrival.


Sanders Latest Arrival

Further to last week's post concerning the anticipated arrival of a new Mercedes Benz Sprinter at Sanders Coaches (Sanders Coaches Activity - 16th March 2022), LiamS obtained a photo of the new vehicle on its first day in service yesterday.

Receiving fleet number 222, RX22 SKU is in an all over white livery and is seen seen laying over in the sun at Wherry Road in Norwich. It has been employed on the Wednesday only route 23 between Honingtoft Church and Norwich City centre

My thanks to Liam for the photo.


Wednesday 23 March 2022

Afternoon Delights

This afternoon saw a quick visit to Great Yarmouth for shopping via the seafront and Beach Coach Station, providing an opportunity for photos!

Firstly, outside the Sealife Centre on Marine Parade were two visitors from the Belle Coaches fleet thought to be providing school transport. At the front was Kassbohrer Setra S315GT-HD LIL 9452 whilst similar MIL 3503 was bringing up the rear.

Continuing northwards, in the coach parking area next to the Arc Cinema was Freestones Coaches' Lahden bodied Scania K470EB YT68 GXM branded for Megabus work. This vehicle appears to be making regular appearances in the town during weekdays when it is thought to be transferring students between the University of East Anglia and the James Paget Hospital - an activity previously undertaken by Dolphin Travel.

Regular visitor Gee-Vee Travel's VDL GT16 GVT was parked immediately behind in the same layby.

Four coaches were present at the Beach Coach Station which included Alfa Travel's Mercedes Benz Tourismo BX15 OEC and Johnson Brothers' Irizar i6 Integral 7 JBT which was new as YS15 BNE.

The remaining two coaches were KM Travel's VDL Bova M200 KMT and another i6 Integral from Glynneath-based Watkins Coaches in the shape of X20 PMW


Service Alterations Registered ~ 23rd March 2022

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


Tuesday 22 March 2022

Another Role For Former Norfolk Coach

Although I had seen this earlier, LiamS reminded me to look again at a photo of a coach which I thought I had seen previously in a different guise.

New to Whitelaw of Stonehouse in Scotland as 191 WHW in June 2008, this Volvo B12BT was acquired by Richards of Guist in October 2013 where it was later registered as GDZ 435. It continued with the operator until Richards closed following the voluntary winding up of the business in late 2018. GDX 435 was subsequently purchased by Completely Coach Travel retaining its Richards livery when I saw it on rail replacement at Great Yarmouth station in December 2019.

That's not the end of the story, however, as it is seeing further use with Greenslades Tours of Exeter where it has recently been employed on a trip to Zahony on the Hungarian border with Ukraine. It was packed full of toys and teddies for child refugees under the TeddyBusz initiative. More information on the initiative can be found on their Facebook page

My thanks to Davef1276 (@nscoaches on twitter) for the photo and if you would like to contribute towards fuel and other costs of keeping the project going (it was a 200km round trip every day!), the details for a BACS transfer is 40-34-39 and 41488724. This morning the coach began its long journey home.


37174 Returns

Among recent moves at First is the return of Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7TL 37174 SF07 FDE to Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot.

Transferring to Eastern Counties from First South Yorkshire in September 2019, the decker was previously based at Lowestoft.

It is seen here yesterday in the rear yard alongside the last remaining Volvo B7RLE SF55 UAZ awaiting collection by the scrapman

My thanks to First for the information and photo.


Wednesday 16 March 2022

Sanders Coaches Activity

Firstly, I have to say it's great to be back doing the blog again following a period out of circulation after testing positive for COVID on Saturday. I'm slowly on the mend and thankfully there's not been much to report on in my absence!

There has, however, been some activity at Sanders Coaches following recent tender changes with some vehicles having new routes being added to their destination equipment, including the recently won 29A starting in April. The new screen is seen here on Volvo B7RLE/ Wright Eclipse Urban 511 HF54 HHM which is presently on loan at Holt from North Walsham.

Further candidates for disposal soon include VDL SB200 407 YJ59 AYY and Optare Solo 200 YJ58 CBX with the latter observed in Norwich on Saturday.

One recent arrival is a twenty seat Mercedes Benz Sprinter with the registration RX22 SKU which is expected out on the road next week. Also due soon are new Volvo B8RLE/ MCV saloons.

My thanks to LiamS for his update and photos.


Service Alterations Registered ~ 16th March 2022

Two entries by Our Bus feature in today's Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner. They comprise the cancellation of the operator's 73C Beighton to East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston and the 271 Hemsby Beach Road to Bradwell Green Lane services from 3rd April 2022

The full Notices and Proceedings Report can be viewed here


Sunday 13 March 2022

Gorleston Grabs

Dad duties on Saturday morning was drop the daughter off for some girly pampering for an hour so i decided to wander along to Gorleston High Street and surrounding areas to grab a few photos.

First up was the only Olympia liveried Gemini currently in the Great Yarmouth fleet, 32345 LK53LZF arrived a couple of months ago from the South West, it was new to First Beeline for use on Green Line services.

One of the last remaining ex London B7TL's is 32206 LT52WTM, now looking a bit worse for wear it only has a few weeks left in service we are told, noted yesterday working the 8 to the JPH.

30960 YJ51RDU was noted on the 6 service, seen here heading for Bradwell, these seem to be avoiding the dreaded scrapman at present and still appear in daily use on various routes.

Finally Coastal Red liveried Gemini 37021 YJ06XKK is pictured loading for its trip to Caister On Sea on the 8 service.

One other piece of news to report is that  Excel Scania 36913 has now returned to Kings Lynn after its brief loan spell here over the past couple of weeks.


Wednesday 9 March 2022

Service Alterations Registered ~ 9th March 2022

More entries in today's Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner.

As previously reported, Ambassador Travel is to introduce two 'new' services; the 271 from Green Lane Bradwell to Hemsby Beach plus the 73C from East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston to the Cantley Cock Public House. Commencing on the 3rd of April 2022 and 20th April 2022 respectively, they are tender wins from Our Bus

Sanders Coaches is providing three Monday to Friday school/college services all starting from the 19th April 2022. They are the 608 Morton on the Hill to Reepham High School, the 29A from Fakenham Oak Street to Easton College and the 605 Melton Road Green Farm to Reepham High School. The operator is also cancelling a number of services to Reepham High School - the 602 from Heveringland School Road, the 601 from Melton Constable Hillside and the 611 from West Foxley. All from the 18th April 2022

The full Notices and Proceedings Report can be viewed here soon


Tuesday 8 March 2022

Open Topper Arrives

Another open top bus has joined the First Eastern Counties fleet to provide seafront services in Great Yarmouth

Former First West of England Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7TL 32336 LK53 LYW has been freshly converted by Thorntons of Ashington, in Northumberland. It was delivered to First Norwich's Roundtree Depot on Monday and transferred to Caister Road this afternoon

Apparently there are 'more to come' so watch this space.


Coach Services Arrival

Coach Services of Thetford has recently acquired an Alexander Dennis Enviro200 from Solihull based Johnsons Coaches. YX67 VGL is pictured here at Coach Services by Omar Atiallah who says it has already been out on a variety of routes.

The bus, new to White Bus Services of Windsor, is similar to the operator's YX67 VGG which was purchased new in October 2017. My thanks to Omar for the update and photo


Sunday 6 March 2022

Group Acquires Ex Norwich Dart

After four months of planning, First's Dennis Dart SLF / Plaxton Pointer 42764 S664 SNG finally arrived at Eastern Counties Bus Preservation Group's headquarters on Saturday.

New in 1998 in Hong Kong to New World First Bus Services as HV 5087, it came to the UK in the early 2000’s and worked with Eastern Counties at Norwich before finishing in Plymouth with Devon & Cornwall.

The Group has a number of vehicles in its care including ex Eastern Counties Scania L94UB Wright Axcess Floline S574 TPW operational in the Great Yarmouth Blue Bus livery. It is also currently restoring former Great Yarmouth Transport Bristol VR double decker CVF 29T.

Further information about the Group can be found at where you can sign up to receive regular newsletters. My thanks to the Group for the photos


Thursday 3 March 2022

Ambassador Update

Gapton Hall-based Ambassador Travel has recently secured tenders to operate two services in the Great Yarmouth area.

The first involves the takeover of the 271 Bradwell (Green Lane) to Hemsby Beach route from Our Bus from the 3rd April 2022. From the 20th of the month, Ambassador is also to provide a 73C Cantley to Gorleston service operating via Reedham, Acle and Great Yarmouth Market Gates Bus Station. This is another tender win from Our Bus.

The operator has also recently acquired Volvo B7RLE GN07 AVF from Purfleet dealer Ensignbus,

My thanks to Melvyn King for his regular VOSA updates and Ross Newman for his monthly Ensignbus activity reports


Thursday Round Up

A quick run through the Great Yarmouth seafront area this morning and also a brief look in at First's Caister Road Depot to view any activity.

Surprisingly there were four long stay tourers on view, with three queuing to pick up guests at the New Beach Hotel on Marine Parade

At the head of threesome was Alfa Travel's Mercedes Benz Tourismo 109 BV19 YFD with KM Travel's VDL Futura M400 KMT behind.

Bringing up the rear was GV18 GVT, another VDL Futura in Gee-Vee Travel's distinctive livery.

Nearby in the North Drive layby, beside the Arc Cinema, was smart looking Irizar i6 FC19 EXC from Farleigh Coaches of Rochester in Kent

As I was leaving a white Plaxton Premiere bodied Volvo B10M turned the corner in the form of S53 UBO. A regular visitor to the town when previously with Our Bus, it is now operated by H Semmence of Wymondham. (Apparently on loan to Ambassador that day)

Meanwhile, in First Caister Road's rear yard, Flying Banana Dart 42943 WA56 OAS had been prepared for its final journey to the scrapyard. (but it wasn't collected that day, as expected, but on Tuesday 8th!) This leaves Volvo B7RLE 69031 SF55 UAZ as the sole occupant


Wednesday 2 March 2022

Service Alterations Registered ~ 2nd March 2022

Some interesting entries in today's Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner.

The only change to local services is that relating to the cancellation of the Bintree to Reepham 606 service by Sanders Coaches with effect from 18th April 2022.

Three variation of PSV Operators Licences are worth a mention:-
Freestone Coaches has removed its operating centre at Beetley, Dereham and amended its authorisation to twelve vehicles at its Bessemer Way premises in Norwich.
Paul Simon Whincop has removed its operating centre at Bramfield Road in Halesworth and increased the authorisation to fourteen vehicles at its premises at The Street in Peasenhall, Saxmundham.
City to Coast Tours, of Staines-upon-Thames, has a new operating centre for one vehicle at The Involve Centre on Pinbush Close in Lowestoft and has relinquished the use of an operating centre at East Point Storage Solutions on the same road.

The full Notices and Proceedings Report can be viewed here soon


Last Journeys 2

To update Tuesday's posting, Volvo B7RLE 69045 SF55 UBE was duly collected from First Great Yarmouth yesterday for its final journey to the scrapyard..

Next up for removal is Flying Banana branded Alexander Dennis Dart SLF 42943 WA56 OAS which is due for its last outing tomorrow. It is seen here in the rear yard of the Caister Road depot during last week

My thanks to First Great Yarmouth for the update


Tuesday 1 March 2022

Last Journeys

Efforts are being made to dispose of the withdrawn single deckers in First Great Yarmouth depot's rear yard. The first of the Volvo B7RLEs to be collected for scrap was 69029 SF55 UAX yesterday with similar 69045 SF55 UBE expected to go today

69045 SF55 UBE seen in better times in Gorleston High Street in April 2021
My thanks to First for the information