Saturday 30 July 2022

National Express 727 Service ~ Edwards Coaches

David Slater reports 'Since 1 July, which saw changes to the Great Yarmouth-Heathrow National Express service 727, there is now a vehicle of Edwards Coaches (Bristol/South Wales) to be seen on one of the workings.

I am puzzled about it. On paper it is simple enough but in reality it is not quite as clear. The workings, which would be far more conveniently worked from the Norfolk end, are as follows:
    0320 Norwich Bus Stn-Heathrow 0715
    0920 Heathrow-Norwich Bus Stn 1320*
(* no intermediate calls between Cambridge and Norwich on the 0920 ex Heathrow)
However, based on what I have so far looked at, the coach works from the Heathrow end and appears to spend fourteen hours in Norwich.

I have added a longish posting on the Anglia Bus Forum outlining what I have found regarding the latest 727 workings with a photograph of an Edwards coach taken at Barton Mills on Friday 29 July. To save repeating the text here this is a link:

Edwards Coaches BV22 VTZ approaching Fiveways at Barton Mills on 29th June 2022
I wonder if any of your contacts have mentioned about seeing the Edwards Coach in Norwich? I was wondering if the coach was being driven by Ambassador drivers to avoid an Edwards driver being off duty in Norwich for that length of time. In my photograph the driver is visible so someone might recognise him if he works for Ambassador.

I would be very interested to know if anyone knows anything

So would we! - Roy

Another Blackpool Tram For EATM

The East Anglia Transport Museum had an interesting arrival yesterday morning. Namely Blackpool Corporation 'Brush' single deck tramcar no.290.

The 1937 built car was acquired from the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust following that organisations abandoning plans to create a museum in Fleetwood and they are seeking homes for the trams in their collection.

Although modernised in various ways in the 1960's it still retains its streamlined appearance. and makes an interesting comparison with Blackpool 'Vambac' no.11 already in the fleet at the museum. Electrically and mechanically no.290 is a much simpler car than no.11 and therefore easier to maintain and operate. It is intended to superficially modify the car to accept wheelchairs and thus become the specialised 'disability tram in the museums fleet.

Having been out of use for a number of years the tram requires some attention before entering into service at the museum.

My thanks to Tim Major for the information and photos.


Friday 29 July 2022

Sanders Disposal

Sanders Coaches have disposed of a Wright Pulsar bodied VDL200 in the shape of 405 YJ59 AZA It was new as a demonstrator serving with Arriva and First Bradford (the latter as number 62900 in the fleet) and a new life now beckons

My thanks to LiamS for the information. My photo shows YJ59 AZA in Castle Meadow, Norwich on 16th January 2016.

Update: The VDL is now with Tanat Valley Coaches of Montgomeryshire


Sandringham Flower Show

David Bell sends his annual report on coaches attending the Sandringham Flower Show which returned after a three year gap on 27th July. Changes made since the last show took place include charges for car parking and prohibition of car parking on the approaching roads.

The entry fee for the show has also been significantly increased from £12.50 in 2019 to £20 in 2022. Despite this over 70 coaches turned up mostly from East Anglia but also from Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. Attached is a selection of photographs. Note how brown the grass is an indication of how little rainfall there has been in the area in July.

Details of vehicles illustrated is as follows. KY08 KUF Volvo/Plaxton with Dans Coach Travel of Stowmarket still in the livery of previous owner Three C's Travel of Nedging Tye.

Also attending was MIL 8912 Mercedes/Unvi with Grebe Coaches of Beccles;

Another was WIW 1672 short Sunsundegai Sideral with Grayscroft coaches of Mablethorpe;

Operated by Skills of Nottingham was YS22 JFY a new DAF Irizar

EDZ 114 Mercedes Benz Tourismo was also present from Avanti Coaches of Norwich..

Notable absentees this year were Wrights of Newark who have ceased operation, Sanders of Holt and Ipswich Buses who normally provide a double decker.

My thanks to David for his report and photos


Lambert's Coaches Closure

A long weekend break down in Worthing and I thought nothing much is happening so I won't take the iPad for posting as there wouldn't be much to report. How wrong I was! So I've prepared the posts in date order and re-dated them so they appear as they would've done on the days.

The first to report is the demise of Lambert's Coaches of Beccles and the rumours of closure became a reality when viewing David Martin's photo of an empty yard on the Friends of PSV Circle Facebook Group on Saturday morning which confirmed it.

Lambert's Coaches was a family operated business of some 110 years experience and I sent a personal message to Managing Director Lorraine Reade who said it was a very hard decision to make.

The photos are from a visit I made in Spring 2015


Thursday 28 July 2022

Dereham Coachways Closure

Following our Saturday post regarding the two disposals by Dereham Coachways (Dereham Coachways Departures - 23rd July 2022), Nick F visited the their Rashes Green premises yesterday and found the operation had closed. It was subsequently confirmed on Facebook that closure took place last week

However, three coaches remain on site which included two Van Hool T9 bodied Volvo B10Ms in the form of V64 FSK and XFK 305. The former was acquired from Docherty of Auchterarder, Scotland whilst the latter previously registered as R790 WSB was purchased from Collins of Cliffe, in North Yorkshire. The third resident was Jonckheere seventy seater Y176 KCS, another Volvo B10M

My thanks to Nick for the photo and information.


Wednesday 27 July 2022

Service Alterations Registered ~ 27th July 2022

For the  second consecutive week there are no relevant 'local' entries in today's East of England Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report. However, the full Report can be viewed here.


Tuesday 26 July 2022

First Wessex Newcomer

Ken Aveyard noted in his visit to the Plymouthian Transit blog at the weekend that a post had been put up on our site concerning the movement of Volvo B7RLE's from First Wessex.

He was in Ipswich the previous Wednesday when he saw First Eastern Counties 69010 AU05 DMY outside the station, noticing it had guide wheels attached. He 'understands these older Eclipses from 2005 need replacing and Wessex are sending some of their 2012 examples as replacements as they're the newest Volvos in the south of England and you can't fit guide wheels to Streetlights.

When new these were used on the Eclipse busway in Gosport moving to Weymouth in 2017 as the Eclipse had a 5 year age limit. Some ran in Weymouth in Eclipse livery before getting either light green or dark green fronts for the 2/10 services. 69550 was one of two that later got blue fronts for the 4.

I won't overload you with pictures but seeing as 69550 has been pictured on arrival, here it is in 2014 in Gosport, 2017 in Weymouth with a green front and again in 2019 with a blue front'.

Thanks Ken for the email and photos.


Another Last Journey

The Grim Reaper is expected to make another visit to First Great Yarmouth's Caister Road Depot today to collect a Barbie liveried double decker for scrap.

Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL 32206 LT52 WTM is the decker making its final journey and was last active at the beginning of April. It didn't venture out on its last day in service but was parked up at the front of the depot. A last minute bid for preservation fell through.

As anticipated, the wrecker arrived around lunchtime and 32206 was being prepared for its tow away to Trevor Wigley & Son at Barnsley

My thanks to First for the information and Will Drake for the photos


Monday 25 July 2022

Ex Great Yarmouth Trident Scrapped

It is reported in this month's Buses Magazine that Black Cat Coaches of Lincoln has disposed of its ex First Great Yarmouth Dennis Trident/ Plaxton President T801 LLC.

The Trident, the first low floor double decker for First London, was scrapped by the end of last year. It was new to First Capital in June 1999 as their TN801.

It was one of three former First South West Dennis Tridents which had moved to the Great Yarmouth area, via Norwich, on loan over the Christmas 2017 period.

The photo shows T801 LLC in the rear yard at First's Caister Road depot keeping company with T849 LLC in March 2018


Sunday 24 July 2022

Octet At Beach Coach Station

Eight coaches graced us with their presence at Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station just after lunchtime yesterday. Two of them were from Arlesey based Landmark Coaches with Volvo B11R BJ14 KTG and Volvo B12B WJZ 2968 both present with Jonckheere bodywork. The latter was earlier registered FJ04 ETR

Alongside WJZ was another Jonckheere, this time a CHV from Osprey Travel's Chelmsford base in the form of D16 FST; formerly BX61 DXH.

Unusually there were no Alfa Travel visitors although a former coach with the company, BN12 CLV, arrived in a red livery for Suffolk Travel of Ipswich.

Chandlers Coaches' Mercedes-Benz Tourismo CT18 CCT was next along the rank having journeyed from Westbury in Wiltshire.

Also making up the numbers were Three Star Coaches' Sunsundegui bodied Volvo B8R SD15 UWN and Theobalds Coaches Neoplan Tourliner MF11 LUJ

The final visitor Swan Travel's Noone Turas /Iveco Daily minibus BX20 AAK.


New Arrivals for Ipswich

Our resident roving reporter Simon Taylor is busy again this weekend collecting new vehicles for Eastern Counties. Its the turn of Ipswich depot to have some upgrades in the shape of Ex First Wessex Volvo B7RLE's.

A total of nine are due to be collected, expected to be from the 69542-69555 batch. Pictured above is 69550 BF12KWO.

All all expected to head for Norwich for storage prior to refurb and repaint and then onwards to Ipswich.

These are expected to replace older Volvo B7RLE currently at Ipswich.

Many Thanks to Simon as always for the photos and info.


Saturday 23 July 2022

Dereham Coachways Departures

Two of Dereham Coachways' newest coaches have moved on. As you may have seen earlier from David Bell's photos of coaches attending the Royal Norfolk Show (Royal Norfolk Show-7th July 2022) Van Hool bodied Volvo B12B YJ55 EZE has joined the Salec Travel fleet of Carbrooke and David's photo is reproduced here

The other departure is that of similar YJ06 GLF which has moved down the road to Carters of Litcham and the photo shows it at Great Yarmouth's Beach Coach Station in May 2016.

My thanks to Nick for the heads up.


Wednesday 20 July 2022

Overnight Visitor At Caister Road

Last night First Great Yarmouth’s Caister Road Depot played host to an unusual visitor - a Plaxton Elite Interdeck bodied Volvo B11RT from the Stagecoach Megabus fleet.

YX68 UAT, numbered 54610 in the fleet, is pictured on the forecourt earlier this morning. Named as Jenson Busson, it is linked to an ITV Coach Trip in connection with the Loose Women programme.

It is not the first time that members of the fleet have stayed overnight in the town, as the operator introduced a short lived M37 service during the Summer of 2015 connecting the town with Cardiff. The vehicle operating the service overnighted at Beach Coach Station.

My thanks to First Great Yarmouth for the photos.


Service Alterations Registered ~ 20th July 2022

With only a small number of entries this week, the East of England Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report contains no relevant 'local' entries. However, the full Report can be viewed here soon


Tuesday 19 July 2022

Ex First Great Yarmouth Decker Moves On

In July 2017 I reported that two former First Great Yarmouth double deckers were being used by Avon Buses of Birkenhead (Avon Calling! - 14th July 2017) On 5 October the following year, drivers were told that the firm was to cease trading immediately with issues cited for closure being rising insurance and fuel costs.

Upon closure one of the twosome, W757 DWX, moved on to Archway Travel of Fleetwood and painted red with a yellow band. It was primarily employed on Wyre schools services. However, it has recently been acquired by Shoreline Suncruiser Buses of Scarborough and worked to York on private hire a couple of days ago.

I am grateful to Brendan Upfold for consent to use his photo and my thanks to a couple of our readers who made me aware of its recent move 


Sunday 17 July 2022

US School Bus Visits

Following our recent article regarding the possibility of a USA school bus operating in Lowestoft, one did actually turn up at the local ASDA store in Great Yarmouth this morning.

Will Drake got a photo of this International CE320 parked in the car park with the registration YW58 HDE. I could find no reference to it on the internet but it must have felt at home being parked close to McDonalds!

My thanks to Will for the photos


Saturday 16 July 2022

Cromer Coaches Today

Three coaches were at the Cadogan Road Coach and Car Park at Cromer this morning reports Trevor Arbon; two from Richard Taylor Travel and one from Alfa Travel.

The two from the former were VDL Integral Futura RT19 RTT. named in memory of William Bill Taylor and Volvo Sunsundegui RT18 RTT named Miss Ella. 

The Alfa coach was Mercedes-Benz Tourismo 91 BX15 OEC.

During late afternoon Trevor recorded a further two visitors with the first being Crosskeys Coaches' Mercedes-Benz Tourismo BF16 XPE. It was new to First Aberdeen in May 2016 as their 24103.

The second example was Minsterley Motors' Scania K410EB4 Interlink YT19 EBZ.

My thanks to Trevor for the reports and for the photos.


Weeting Traction Engine Rally

Regular contributor Tim Major visited the Weeting Traction Engine Rally yesterday and came across Bedford WHB TM 9347. It was tucked away at the end of a row of vehicles and was the only passenger carrying vehicle at the rally that he could see.

The 1931 built vehicle has a 14 seat Waveney body and was used as a demonstrator by the Arlington Motor Company and was restored by the company in the 1970's subsequently passing to Vauxhall Heritage.

Following a review, the bus was sold at auction in 2020. Its first operator is believed to have been Woodhams of Melchbourne in Bedfordshire.

Thanks for the information and photo Tim


Thursday 14 July 2022

First Ipswich Deckers To UEA

Following a rumour that three First Ipswich deckers were being used on the 511 route (recently won from Konectbus), Dan High made his way to the University of East Anglia (UEA) to see if it was true.

It certainly was - as the UEA was holding its first graduation day and he captured pictures of three Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TLs in Ipswich Reds livery on the route. They were 32492 (AU53 HKK), 32493 (AU53 HKL) and 32654 (AU05 MUW). Also reported by Bus Times was a fourth example in the form of 32486 (AU53 HKD).

First also surprisingly employed excel Scania N250UD / ADL Enviro400 City 36901 YN69 XZD on the free service from Costessey Park and Ride to the University

Sanders Coaches' OmniDekka bodied Scania N94UD 115 YN55 CFF provided additional assistance for the route

My thanks to Dan for his report and photos


Wednesday 13 July 2022

New Driver Trainer

A First Norwich Volvo B7RLE has been converted into a driver training vehicle, been repainted and rebranded.

66865 MX05 CJO was observed by Dan High passing through Castle Meadow earlier today and my thanks to him for providing the photo


Busy At Beach Coach Station

Around a dozen coaches were at Beach Coach Station in Great Yarmouth at around noon today, which included three already observed on Sunday; Alfa Travel's Tourismos BN17 JCZ and BV 20HNB plus Johnston's Volvo K21 JCT.

Also present were two Caledonian Travel branded Mercedes-Benz Tourismos BV22 WPM and LSK 512, although the latter carried 'legals' for Parks of Hamilton.

When I arrived, three coaches were queuing on the east periphery road of the site trying to negotiate a way through to park as part of the coach/HGV area was taken up by building contractors with the car park also seeing use.

The third picture illustrates just that with both Lodge's Tourismo AL17 DGE and C & J Tours Tourismo BN17 JBX carefully manoeuvring past parked coaches to find their way to the front rank.

Also in attendance were two more coaches from Essex in the form of Kings Tours' VDL KC16 ABC and Kirby's Tourismo K99 BYS

An anonymous looking white Volvo B7R / Plaxton Profile, registered MT55MTT, represented Motts Travel of Aylesbury.

After earlier taking a photo of Clair's of Derbyshire's UUI 4776, the lady driver asked if I could take a another photo of the Volvo B12B /Plaxton Paragon with the door closed, as it would look better. I duly obliged!