Search This Blog

10/10/2017

Monday 9th October 2017 ~ It's the X30 !



Many thanks to Nathaniel Mills for this picture of 33808 on the X30 today, see yesterday's blog for details.

09/10/2017

Sunday 8th October 2017 ~ Airport Possibilities

Enviro 400 33808 which was involved in the storm incident back in February has left King's Lynn today for Chelmsford where it is to undergo a week of tests on the route to Stansted Airport . If successful, following the expiration of the 5 year period next September, the Enviros may be redeployed on this route.
 There is still no definite news about what will replace the Enviros on the X1 although another demonstrator is in the pipeline, a Wright bodied Mercedes vehicle is rumoured, but apparently this is still under construction. 
33821 is once again scheduled to step into the breach caused by the temporary loss of 33808. Meanwhile 33806 is due to have an axle replaced shortly. 

Here's an unusual scene. Passengers disembarking from 33807 and transferring to the Ensign Bus demonstrator at Walpole Highway. The Enviro was running very late due to Friday congestion and an incident with a passenger at King's Lynn. It then went empty to Peterborough to regain time. Photo taken by Victor Meldrew on September 8th.

Breakdowns in service with the Enviros are quite rare due to the preventative maintenance afforded to the fleet, however, on Bank Holiday Monday August 28th, an unexpected oil leak halted 33815 soon after a late morning departure from Peterborough. 33808 was sent to the rescue and passengers transferred to the following service. Photo taken by me !


The 94 seater monster demonstrator is seen leaving Walton Highway on its last run to Peterborough on September 26th

02/09/2017

Saturday 2nd September 2017 ~ It's That Time Again

The next vehicle to be used as a demonstrator on the X1 arrived on Thursday and should enter service on the 07.23 Dereham - Peterborough on Monday morning if all goes according to plan. It is a Triaxle version of the Ensign double decker which was on loan in late June and early July, here are the pictures from my man on the spot at First :






I will do an update on the last few months trials and tribulations with the Enviro fleet this month.

29/06/2017

June 29th 2017 ~ Fleet Changes

Time for an update on the Enviro fleet. 33821 left King's Lynn on Monday evening for Yarmouth after arrival in service. It had been on long term loan.
33808 which was involved in the Storm Doris incident in February arrived back at King's Lynn at 16.30 today after collision damage repairs, it needs an MOT and safety service before it can re-enter traffic.
33817 has had some bodywork repairs and no longer has bodyside fleet numbers on the offside. 33816 now has larger fleet numbers following similar attention and one night in mid June both the last buses into King's Lynn from Peterborough and Norwich had altercations with muntjac  deer resulting in identical panels needing replacement. The picture below depicts 33817 & 33814 flanking 33804. This would make a good 'spot the difference' picture, the replacement panels on 33817/4 are obvious when highlighted.

26/06/2017

Monday 26th June 2017 ~ Enterprise In Service

As we predicted, today was the first day in service for the latest demonstrator on the X1 route. The lack of air conditioning and wi-fi may be noticed by some passengers  I daresay but it seemed to do quite well today on diagram 6005 which commences with the 07.34 King's Lynn - Peterborough and finishes as the 15.45 Peterborough - Swaffham. Here are a few pictures of the new bus taken today :


Two views of the newcomer on the 09.05 Peterborough - Norwich at Terrington St. John this morning.
Now here's a strange picture, the demonstrator is seen from the upper deck of 33803 which had just replaced 33805 at King's Lynn garage on the 17.45 King's Lynn - Peterborough. Our photographer was just leaving the garage when the demo arrived back light from Swaffham after completing its first day in service on the route.
Photo by Peter R.

21/06/2017

Wednesday 21st June 2017 ~ Ensign Loan

The latest bus to arrive at King's Lynn for demonstration purposes belongs to Ensign (Purfleet). Newly delivered BCI Enterprise LX17DZB arrived on Tuesday for evaluation and it is intended to use it on a week's trial on the X1 commencing next Monday all being well.
Here are some pictures courtesy of First at King's Lynn.






27/04/2017

Thursday April 27th 2017 : Part 2 !

A postscript to today's blog..... the Scania double decker demonstrator had its last day on the X1 route today and it is returning home tomorrow.

Here are three more pictures of the coach that was tested today. I'm sure I have seen the driver somewhere before :)


Photos by kind permission of Julian Patterson

Thursday April 27th 2017 ~ More Testing

An interesting development today was the running of a Scania coach over the western end of the X1 route for clearance purposes and performance evaluation. Coaches are believed to be the preferred option for the route in some quarters, so this is not altogether surprising.
The coach was tested between King's Lynn and Norwich this morning. Particularly pleasing was the section through Dereham Market Place which was thought to be a stumbling block, as the vehicle is some two feet longer than the Enviro 400s currently in use, however, this was navigated with room to spare.
This afternoon the coach ran at 15.15 from King's Lynn to Peterborough following the service route without any problems. The coach was collected at Peterborough and returned north whence it came.
It must have been quite strange to have witnessed the coach on test passing the Scania double deck demonstrator between Wisbech and Guyhirn this afternon. The double decker is now working longer diagrams in its last few weeks on loan, having proved itself on the shorter turns.

Here are some pictures kindly provided by our contact at First showing the coach on test today :




All pictures courtesy of RT / First.

The length of the six wheeler is emphasised by my poor shot of it leaving Wisbech this afternoon :



23/04/2017

Sunday April 23rd 2017 ~ Post Easter

After much nagging from my deprived readers I have at last got round to updating the blog. Someone said "When you titled your last post 'Final Update', I didn't think you actually meant it !!".

Photo copyright : Matthew Holland
Time is perhaps opportune to look at the year so far. MOT's on the Enviro 400s at the western end of the route have been proceeding apace, 33803-807, 33809, 33812-815 have been done so far leaving five King's Lynn vehicles outstanding. This figure includes the accident damaged 33808 which came to grief on February 23rd.
The usual crop of unscheduled repairs have also seen buses out of service, so far these are summarised as follows :

33803 14th - 21st Feb : Powertrain : Gearbox

33804 14th Jan - 2nd Feb : Full Circle : Bodywork repairs
            8th - 14th Feb : Powertrain ; Flexplates modification
           2nd - 12th April : Rear axle replaced at First Norwich

33805 has suffered with an intermittant gear selector fault which has seen it removed from service on several occasions.

33806 4th-11th Jan ; Powertrain : Flexplates modification

33808 Full Circle for assessment since Feb 25th

33809 24th Jan - Feb 8th : Powertrain ; gearbox mod and fuel fault
            9th - 19th March : Cummins : Engine failure (broken valve)

33812 Jan 10th - 23rd : Powertrain : Flexplates modification

33815  18th - 26th March : rear axle fault

33816 21st - 24th Feb : gearbox mod at Powertrain

The Scania demonstrator in Wisbech on March 2nd

The Scania demonstrator has been fairly reliable with just two periods out of traffic, namely 16th - 20th February (starter motor) and 7th - 11th April (electrical fault). It currently is having an issue with its handbrake sorted.

This has at times led to a full vehicle run out being impossible without assistance, meaning that Yarmouth's 33821 which originally arrived on October 12th last year remained on loan to King's Lynn until 23rd February. The failure of 33809 and MOT work then meant it returned for a further fortnight between 13th & 27th March. In addition, the replacement of the back axle on 33804 saw the loan of Norwich green liveried 36171 and this was in service on the X1 from 7th to 13th April.
Gemini 36171 at Walpole Highway while working the 14.45 Peterborough - Norwich on April 10th
I'm delighted to be able to include some photographs from the eastern end of the route thanks to Matthew Holland. The pictures below were all taken on March 17th

33824 working the 10.45 Norwich - Lowestoft


33823 on 11.15 Norwich - Lowestoft


Now restricted to the Eastern end of the route here is 37575 on the 12.00 Lowestoft - Norwich

Malcolm Hicks reports visits of ex Leeds based Geminis on the Eastern X1 fairly frequently, but 33423 is less seen these days. 37274/5 also appear and Matthew Holland photographed 32348 working on March 21st, it is seen below at Lowestoft before working the 15.00 to Norwich


Photos copyright Matthew Holland

23/02/2017

Wednesday February 23rd 2017 ~ Final Update

I can confirm that X1 services resumed at 19.00 this evening after the storm had passed. Sam Larke has advised me that the good company relations between Lynx and First continue and this afternoon Lynx ran a relief service at 16.45 from King's Lynn to Swaffham  with this fine vehicle :

Photo courtesy of Julian Patterson.

Meanwhile 33808 is spending a night in a field guarded by security to prevent material thefts. Having seen the stricken vehicle at close hand I can say it is only by pure luck that casualties weren't more serious and fortunately a very experienced driver was at the helm and was rescued shocked but I believe unharmed. 

Wednesday 23rd February 2017 ~ Storm Doris Update

An update now on the earlier news that the X1 service was suspended following the incident near Walton Highway. Reports vary of the number of injured, although it is believed only three had to visit the QE Hospital at King's Lynn. Storm Doris had of course been forecast, but scarcely a week goes by these days without us being warned of a named storm in the vicinity. Quite often these pass without any notable damage or reactions. Bruce spoke with the driver of 33808 who said the gust took hold of the bus and despite trying to take evasive action and braking, the wind was just too strong and the gust took the bus off the road wiping out a lamp post in the process. The bus will require a major exercise to extricate it from the ploughed field where it landed. Most windows on the passenger side are destroyed as is the top front screen. Here are a few pictures of the damage :



Photos : Bruce Billingham / Gerard Fletcher

A limited X1 service has resumed between Norwich and King's Lynn early this evening as the storm disappears off eastwards. More news as it arrives.

23rd February 2017 ~ Storm Doris

X1 services between Norwich and Peterborough are currently suspended due to high winds from Storm Doris.
33808 working the 12.45 King's Lynn - Peterborough was blown off the road to the west of Walton Highway. Ambulances etc attended and a couple of passengers were taken to hospital. The driver was rescued and is ok thank goodness. More news as we have it.

17/02/2017

Friday 17th February 2017 ~ Update

The Scania demonstrators outings on the X1 have been hit and miss so far, It worked diagram 6010 successfully on Monday and then followed that up with a start on 6003 on Tuesday, however, it was replaced by 33813 in the middle of the turn,
On Wednesday it did diagram 6011 but was halted at Peterborough at 18.30 when the starter motor failed. It has since been sent to Truck East and is awaiting a replacement. 
On the Enviro 400 front, 33803 is currently away for repairs and the MOT programme has restarted.

13/02/2017

Monday 13th February 2017 ~ On Test

Today was the first day in service on the X1 route for the Scania demonstrator, registered YN16CFU. I was able to nip out from work - I have very understanding bosses - to get this picture at 11.00 just after it had departed from Wisbech on the 10.54 service to Peterborough (diagram 6010)



Later it was photographed arriving at King's Lynn to work the 13.11 service to Norwich by Cameron Robinson 

Photo copyright : Cameron Robinson


By mid afternoon the sun was getting low and here is the Scania in Dereham photographed by Sam Larke

Photos copyright : Sam Larke


Sam also captured the newby departing Norwich on the 15.10 to Peterborough.

I hope to do a further update on the success or otherwise of this vehicle later in the week, but many thanks to Cameron and Sam for supplying the pictures.

01/02/2017

Tuesday January 31st 2017 ~ Demonstrations ?

Plans are coming to fruition now over the provision of demonstrator buses as the search begins for what will replace the Enviro 400s when the time comes. Several  options are being considered and the suitability of the various types is to be evaluated. First arrival is this Scania which arrived at King's Lynn today. Initial thoughts are that an increase in the vehicles speed will be necessary before and if it takes up X1 duties, there are also some concerns about headroom upstairs. Photographs kindly supplied by our man on the spot. More news on this as I receive it.


24/12/2016

Saturday December 24th 2016 ~ Happy Christmas

It's been a long drawn out affair, but finally in the last week all 15 King's Lynn based Enviro 400s have been in operation on the X1 route.
The two loan Geminis which were helping during the crisis in October were last used on 24th October (36169) and 3rd November (36190). Enviro 33821 which arrived to assist at King's Lynn on October 12th is, however, still on loan and has worked on pretty much a daily basis since its arrival. It is noticeable by the lack of X1 branding and route itinerary compared to 33803 - 33817, see picture below.

The continued loan of 33821 has been to cover for vehicles away for gearbox attention, engine problems and bodywork repairs.

I last monitored individual bus mileages on January 7th and so I can update this to December 23rd. During this period of 50 weeks, the mileage covered by the King's Lynn examples was as follows :

33803 83,005
33804 109,695
33805 92,188
33806 96,761
33807 101, 330
33808 95,569
33809 102,704
33810 100.108
33811 101,254
33812 107,006
33813 102,852
33814 66,358
33815 78,625
33816 96,067
33817 98,747

The highest mileage bus 33812 nearly came out on top again, only beaten by 33804. 33812 has now travelled 362,126 miles since new just over three years ago.
At the other end of the scale the vastly reduced accumulations for 33814/15 reflect the long periods out of traffic this year. 33803 remains the lowest mileage of the Lynn fleet at 305,381. Loan bus 33821 has only amassed 287,204 due to its normal use on the shorter journeys at the eastern end of the route.
Since the 20th December there has been an opportunity to see three of the fleet without any advertisement boards and only three buses still have boards on both sides, this is thought to be due to an industrial dispute.
The last week has seen services during the middle of the day at times of Christmas peak traffic being diverted via Wisbech St. Mary not serving Wisbech Tesco and Weasenham Lane stops.
During a comfortable journey on 33804 on 17th December I noticed a blip on the scrolling information screen upstairs. After we passed Eau Brink eastbound, the display said the next stop was Dereham Sandy Lane for a couple of minutes before reverting to the correct South Gates stop !

Malcolm Hicks reports that the ex-Leeds Geminis are becoming increasingly common on the Eastern section now, while on 9th December 30900 came into Lowestoft on the 09.15 from Norwich.

I hope you all have a splendid Christmas and a great 2017. Cheers Gerard




20/10/2016

Thursday October 20th 2016 ~ More Variety



Last night (Wednesday) loan Geminis 36180 and 36172 are seen here at King's Lynn after finishing their duties.
Today they were both due for safety services and as King's Lynn no longer stock a comprehensive range of parts and materials for Geminis, they were required back at Norwich.
This morning 36180 worked diagram 6013 commencing with the 07.10 Wisbech - Norwich and 36172 went out on diagram 6007 which starts as the 07.23 Dereham - Peterborough. The vehicle for this turn in reality runs light (empty) from King's Lynn garage at 06.30 to Dereham. The 06.45 Norwich - Dereham X1 which arrives at 07.18 is worked by a Norwich bus and passengers for destinations westbound have to change to catch the 07.23.
During the day the opportunity was taken during layover times at Norwich to swap 36180 for 36190 and similarly 36172 was replaced by blue liveried 36169, so tonight we have two new loan buses at King's Lynn seen below accompanied by the other loanee, Enviro 33821.



33815 which was returned to King's Lynn with a replacement engine yesterday was utilised today on diagram 6004 07.04 King's Lynn - Peterborough etc. Meanwhile 33816 has gone back to Cummins for...... a replacement engine, believed to be its third in its short life so far ! 
33813 has now returned from receiving a new back axle, but 33810 has gone the other way for the same treatment. 33814 remains at Full Circle receiving bodywork repairs. 
A close eye is being kept on 33811 which has had gearbox problems - yesterday it lost 30 minutes on its last run in from Norwich and 33805 is also misbehaving in this department. I hope to bring you better news before long, but in the meantime catch one of the loan Geminis if you can, although they are limited to a lower top speed, they do have wi-fi and leather seats.