Monday 30 May 2022

President For Scrap

First Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL 32213 LT52 WTW made its last journey earlier today to Trevor Wigley of Carlton, Barnsley for scrapping and Will Drake was on hand to record its departure.

The decker's last day in active service was on April 2nd when it mainly worked the 8 route between Caister Second Avenue and the James Paget Hospital. It is pictured here opposite the the former Magdalen Arms Public House in Gorleston with the 12.27 from the hospital on its final day.

My thanks to Will for the use of his photo


Former Hopton Timber Site

It's been some time since I last reported on developments at the former Hopton Timber site at Hall Road. 

The site had previously been used to store two vehicles owned by a local enthusiast which wasn't that secure as the local vandals found out to their 'amusement'. Fortunately the two residents were rescued by the Eastern Bus Enthusiast Group for restoration (see GEX 740F Saved - 3rd August 2020)

Since then the site has been made more secure and I have been made aware that there were some vehicles stored there. So I made my way there on the way back from the EATM 50th Anniversary event in the hope of seeing what was about.

I initially saw a colourful LJ03 MBY now in use as a play bus and Grahame had previously published photos on the blog in November last year. (see All Aboard The Playbus - 26th November 2021) It's a Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini new to Arriva London as their VLW 151.

Also observed was a King Long KMQ6127 coach parked at the southern end of a large compound. It was one of a number being stored there by Angie's Tours during the COVID pandemic. Its identity is thought to be P21 PJO which is currently 'SORNed'.


EATM 50th Anniversary

The East Anglia Transport Museum (EATM) held their 50th Anniversary event at Carlton Colville yesterday. The clouds looked a little ominous as I left home and I arrived at the Ashburnham Way Park & Ride as the heavens opened. After a short while it subsided and I caught First Eastern Counties Volvo B9 36187 BN12 JYK to the museum.

A long queue greeted my arrival which had to continue to the opposite side of the entrance with the end reaching Routemaster RM613 WLT 613 as shown in the accompanying photo! An informative welcome was provided by a greeter providing details of what could be seen and what was available - a nice touch.

After payment for my half price ticket, the museum was available for me to explore at my leisure and the first item of interest was ex Lowestoft tram 14, one of nineteen operated by (the former) Lowestoft Corporation Tramways between 1903 and 1933. No 14 itself entered service in 1904 and is currently undergoing restoration.

Four trolleybuses were assembled on the area opposite the depot comprising London Transport CUL 260, Ashton-under-Lyme YTE 826, Maidstone LCD 52 and Portsmouth ERV 938. Passing the group was London Transport EXV 201.

After a burger lunch, I ventured onto Blackpool Corporation tram 159 for a visit to the Woodside terminus and the ceremonial reversing of the seats for the return journey. It subsequently announced its presence by going bang but was quickly repaired and re-entered service. I then retraced my steps by walking to Woodside terminus to get a photo of two trams passing in the loop - Sheffield's 513 passes London Transport's 1858

One of the trolleybuses I have constantly missed in service during my many EATM visits was NESE (Copenhagen) Strachan & Brown bodied Garrett and I was pleased to see it in use yesterday. The chassis was built 'down the road' at Leiston and is the oldest trolleybus still in active service.

A last look around the buses present and I noted the usual resident fleet plus a couple of visitors including Eastern National liveried PTW 110. This Eastern Coachworks bodied Bristol L6 was new in 1950

Our final photos show former Great Yarmouth Corporation AEC Reliance/ Pennine Coachworks AEX 85B including an interior view

I understand that more than 1,000 visitors attended the event with 60 plus volunteers signing on. Well done to all those who organised the event and assisted it making it a successful one.


Sunday 29 May 2022

New Arrivals for First Norwich

This weekend has seen the arrival of two Volvo B9TL Wright Geminis from First Bristol. 37405 & 37406 MX58DXS/DXT were collected from Lawrence Hill depot and have made the trip to Norfolk.

37405 is pictured at Lawrence Hill ready to head to Norwich earlier today. Both were new to First Manchester before heading south to Bristol

Many Thanks to Simon for the photos


Saturday 28 May 2022

Coach Station Trio

This afternoon saw three visitors to Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station. Close to the entrance was Theobolds' Temsa Y6 TBC with its friendly driver inviting me onboard to take interior photos.

Two coaches were parked together at the southern end of the site; one was Gee-Vee Travel's GT11 GVT, a Bova Futura new in 2011 and originally registered YJ11 ANV. The other was Wilkinson Travel's Van Hool bodied DAF SB4000 T12 MCU


Discovery In Deepest Wales

David Bell has just returned from his trip with the Merseyside Bus Club to a couple of sites in South Wales including the former Barry bus depot where the Cardiff Transport Preservation group keep many of their vehicles.

Whilst in the area the club also looked in at a storage site on an industrial estate near Llandow in the Vale Of Glamorgan where many other exhibits in various stages of preservation are kept.

Much to his surprise, at the rear of the depot was former Norfolk Motor Services and ex-Caroline Seagull Plaxton-bodied Ford R1114 SVF 511W converted at some point into a mobile home. You can just make out Caroline Seagull on the front glass panel. Looks like it has been there for several years.

My thanks to David for his report and photo


Thursday 26 May 2022

Greetings From Denmark!

We received an email from John Hansen of Denmark a couple of days ago. John visited Norwich over the last weekend as his son and future daughter in law moved to the fine city last year. 

Konectbus Greatest Hits Radio sponsored ADL Enviro400 SN10 CFD on Park and Ride service
The weekend provided the opportunity to visit them and, 'carrying out a bit of research on the local bus scene before going, I found your excellent blog. I had a couple of hours taking photographs of everyday buses in Norwich on Fri 20th of May, perhaps you'll consider publishing them on your blog?'

First Turquoise Line Volvo B9 BD11 CFX leaving City Bus Station on the 13 route
John also provides a link to his bus photos from Denmark, and you are invited to take a look by clicking on Unfortunately John's English is considerately better than my Danish - although Google Translate offers the English language option!

Another Volvo B9 First Yellow Line 36268 BG12 YKA at Castle Meadow
Many thanks for your contributions John and for your kind comments and trust you enjoyed your stay

Marett's Chariots Volvo B12M/Jonckheere 502 M27 AAM at Norwich Railway Station

Wednesday 25 May 2022

Service Alterations Registered ~ 25th May 2022

No relevant local entries appear in today's East of England Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report. However, the full Report can be viewed here soon


New £3m Development

Ground is being cleared at the southern end of Great Yarmouth's Beach Couch Station for a new £3 million housing development. The Jubilee Court development will comprise the construction of three blocks of three storey buildings containing one bedroom flats for council tenants.

Whilst the development is not in the area used for coach and lorry parking per se, there are plans being considered for the use of the whole of the Coach Station site for housing.

Whilst the site is not intensively used through out the year, there is a need to provide a location close to the holiday area to accommodate long stay coaches - during off peak season too. The coach industry is still recovering from the COVID pandemic and its is encouraging to see some recent growth in this sector. If this is to continue there needs to be some recognition of this issue.

The closure to traffic of the St Nicholas Road/ Nelson Road Central junction has already led to confusion among operators with at least one coach not being able to find its way to the coach station. The driver had to call the police as he couldn't negotiate a way out of his predicament. There doesn't appear to be adequate signage for coach drivers trying to find the coach station. When out with my camera, I have had at least one driver approach me to say he had difficulty finding parking in the town whilst this construction work is under way.

Those involved in the planning process need to be aware that there has to be adequate and convenient parking for coaches or the operators will take their coaches and their money spending passengers elsewhere.


Monday 23 May 2022

First Day Of Cabriolet 1C Service

Following Saturday's publicity launch of Great Yarmouth's open top seafront service, the Clipper Cabriolet 1C service began yesterday.

Alfie Clarke supplies a photo of the first departure from Hemsby Beach at 09:15 with Cabriolet 6 CRZ 622 in charge. Numbered 37059 in the First fleet, it was previously registered YJ06 XML and formerly operated in closed top form for First Bradford

Regular contributor Syd Eade also provided some photos of the first day of the service 1C and some are reproduced in today's post.

He says all ran very fine and many had decent loads. The only issue was the road train getting in the way plus illegally parked cars causing difficulty turning at Seashore.

His first contribution shows the normally standby vehicle CRZ 166 passing the under construction Ferris Wheel.

The next features CRZ 266 at the Marina Centre stop. The new state-of-the-art Marina Centre is on track to open in the summer of this year.

An on board view of the passing of CRZ 488 seen on Marine Parade just before the Marina Centre,

The final offering shows CRZ 466 at the Seashore terminus prior to continuing to the Pleasure Beach,

My thanks to both Alfie and Syd for their photos


Saturday 21 May 2022

Saturday Open Top Freebie

It was quite a relief that the weather played ball today with the sun shining compared to the previous day's cloudy and damp offering. An ideal day for an open top bus ride; and free at that!

Never one to miss such an event I found myself early to the venue (unusual for me as I'm nearly always late!) The first bus arrived well before start time ably driven by Chris Speed who reversed CRZ 599 onto the forecourt of the Britannia Pier to act as standby.

It was said Mr Speed who also bagged his place to take the first one out and he is seen here driving CRZ 366 past the Tower building on Marine Parade.

He is also observed with CRZ 366 passing the old Windmill Theatre on the return journey to the Britannia Pier

Not to be outdone CRZ 466 also joined the fray and is noted passing the Wellington Pier entrance and the Winter Gardens

As it would be rude not to accept the invitation for a free ride, I duly climbed on board for the run to the Pleasure Beach and back which was well loaded!

An interesting couple of hours and I wish the venture well. Chris said that after a successful first year it justified the investment to run an improved service this year.


Thursday 19 May 2022

Lowestoft Flying Visit

With the car booked in for a service, a quick visit to Lowestoft beckoned this morning with the first observations recorded at Gordon Road's Bus Station.

My first photo shows First's Coastal Clipper 37568 AU58 ECJ preparing to leave the bus station on service 1 to Martham via Great Yarmouth.

Shortly after, Dennis Dart SLF 42921 EU05 AUN arrived at Gordon Road following the completion of its 109 route from Hollow Grove. The former First Great Yarmouth stalwart is seen here with its subsequent working, the 122 to the town's Rock Estate via Oulton Village.

Adjourning to the rail station, Vertas Alexander Dennis Enviro300 SN56 AYO was at the bus stop 'not in service'. It had transferred from Suffolk Norse.

After a visit to Lowestoft Tourist Information and bookshop, I was about to leave the station when the heavens opened! Standing outside I was fortunate to get a photo of Angie Tours' Caetano Levante bodied Scania P28 PJO passing by.

Finally on return to the bus station, I witnessed one of the two First Lowestoft Coastal Clippers, 37576 AU58 EDC, on the 99 service.


Free Open Top Bus Tours

As a forerunner to the introduction of First Eastern Counties' open top bus service commencing this Sunday, the operator is offering free rides on its Clipper Cabriolet service on Saturday.

The rides begin at the Britannia Pier bus stop and will run as far as the Pleasure Beach before returning to the Pier and are available between 10 am and 3pm. There is no need to book and buses will run every few minutes according to demand.

My thanks to Zak Nelson for the photo which features all six open toppers.


Wednesday 18 May 2022

Morning Round Up

A quick tour around the holiday area of Great Yarmouth this morning witnessed at least eleven coaches in evidence. I travelled to Marine Parade via St Peter's Road passing Hodgsons Coaches' VDL YD19 GTZ on the way - complete with National Holidays branding. Although I didn't get a photo of it, as I was driving, there was picture of it at Beach Coach Station posted on their Twitter feed

Heading from south to north the first coach encountered was Skills Coaches' BU69 XYR in Leger Holidays New livery. The Volvo B11R is awaiting passengers from the nearby Carlton Hotel

Further along Marine Parade, outside the Royal Hotel, was Mercedes Benz BJ59 OJL operated by ICM Travel of Derby. The coach was new to Pullmanor of Herne Hill of South London in January 2010.

Van Hool TX17 Astron YD14 GFK, owned by Gibbons Coaches, was parked outside the New Beach Hotel. New to Parry of Cheslyn Hay, Staffordshire in April 2014, it still retains their livery which has been adapted by Gibbons.

Continuing northwards, Prince's Road was busy with two coaches picking up passengers at the same time. First to arrive was Klarners Executive Travel's Mercedes Benz Tourismo BL16 GBZ immediately followed by Welsh's Tours' VDL W26 HOL

Outside the Prom Hotel on Marine Parade was Elcock Raisen's Irizar i6S integral 1577 NT. New to the Shropshire operator as JE18 ACF in May 2018, it received its current registration in October of the same year.

Noted on North Drive was locally-based Marett's Chariots BMC 403 VF62 GAA, previously with Felix of Long Melford. The driver informed me the coach was being retained on contract to a film company shooting a pilot series for a television company.

Meanwhile three coaches had managed to find their way to Beach Coach Station via a complex route after the closure of the the Nelson Road North/ St Nicholas Road junction. With regular visitor Alfa Travel's Mercedes Benz Tourismo BN17 JCU was Caledonian Travel's VDL SF17 EDJ and Acklams Holidays' Tourismo BV69 LOJ


Service Alterations Registered ~ 18th May 2022

Today's East of England Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report includes changes to some local services.

BACT Community Transport is to introduce a flexible North Lowestoft Buzzabout service from 4th July 2022. Operating on Mondays and Thursdays only it will serve Blundeston, Somerleyton, Lound and Gunton.

First Eastern Counties has provided a Monday to Saturday 36/36A service between Horsford and Harleston/Long Stratton via Norwich from 24th April 2022. Its previous 36 route form Horsford to Long Stratton was cancelled on the same date. The operator has also cancelled the 922 Great Yarmouth, Market Gates to Cliff Park Ormiston Academy from 17 April 2022.

National Express has cancelled a number of its services from 1st April 2022. They include 375 Birmingham Coach Station and Great Yarmouth's Market Gates and the 727 between the University of East Anglia and Gatwick Airport South Terminal.

The full Report can be viewed here soon


Monday 16 May 2022

First Great Yarmouth Update

Time for an update on current activity at First's Caister Road depot in Great Yarmouth

Lowestoft's Enviro400 33814 YX63LKA is in the workshops with what appears to be an electrical fault with the engine constantly cutting out.

Olympia liveried Gemini 32345 LK53LZF is awaiting a rear axle which is to be donated by the recently withdrawn ALX400 30961 YJ51 RDV.

Another Lowestoft vehicle, Enviro200 44532 SN62 DBO, is receiving its annual MOT

My thanks to First Great Yarmouth for the update

Wednesday 11 May 2022

Service Alterations Registered ~ 11th May 2022

Sanders Coaches has four entries in today's Notices and Proceedings Report published by the East of England Traffic Commissioner.

The operator has amended the timetables of three of its services from 1st May 2022 and they are
⧫  44 / X44 / 44A Hempstead Road, Holt to Sheringham, Station Approach
⧫  X44 / 44A Norwich Bus Station to Sheringham, Station Approach
⧫  CH1 / Coasthopper  Cadogan Road, Cromer to Wells Next the Sea (Quay)

It has also amended the route and timetable of its service 8 - Holt Hopper between Nightjar Road, Heath Farm Estate in Holt and Kelling Hospital & Doctors Surgery from the same date.

The full Notices and Proceedings Report can be viewed here soon


First's Cabriolet 6

So far unreported here is the recent arrival of the sixth open top bus to work Great Yarmouth's Clipper Cabriolet service this summer.

Cabriolet 6 is newly registered CRZ 622 and was formerly First Bradford Volvo B7TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini 37059 YJ06 XML. Full details of the Cabriolet open top fleet was reported in Grahame's post of 28th April 2022 - 'Another Open Top Arrival and New Registrations Revealed'

Following a successful first season, this year's service will be bigger, better and more frequent than previously, starting from Sunday 22nd May. It returns in time for the school half term holidays and the Platinum Jubilee weekend and will transport locals and holidaymakers around the key resorts and attractions of the East Norfolk coast.

My thanks to Alfie Clarke for the use of his photo.