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21/08/2016

Sunday 21st August 2016 ~ Update


Sometimes it is a job to know where to start having not written an entry here for some considerable time. If anything, the major news concerns the sheer volume of non bus related incidents on the A47 which have conspired to make the X1 operators days extremely trying ones. Seldom has a day gone by without delays accumulating due to roadworks, accidents, road closures etc etc. It certainly seems to have been worse than in previous summers, but maybe we have had a sustained period of better weather in July and so far in August in comparison to recent years. A warm spell always brings out extra day trippers to add to the already clogged roads.
Rather than trawl through the individual incidents, I will make this a catch up blog. My decorating at home is nearly complete now and I, at last, should get more time after 16 months of chaos at home, during which time it has been a wonder any blog entries appeared at all.
I ought to apologise also to those who keep me updated with news and events, I have not kept up with this and will try and do better.
Diversions via Wisbech St. Mary have been commonplace in the last couple of months and also X1s can regularly be spotted taking Northside from Thorney to Whittlesey to avoid delays in the Peterborough area.
On the vehicle front, the current fleet of Enviro 400s on the western section have been fairly reliable, save a few instances of gearbox problems and oil cooler failures. With MOTs now complete, there is a little more margin for error, although a backlog of bodywork repairs are now being tackled by Full Circle.

33806 - 33811 inclusive lined up numerically for a change at King's Lynn

Since the last report, the following vehicles have had extended periods off the road ;

33803 21st May - 15th June : Engine failure,  26th June - 14th July : rear axle.

33812 18th - 23rd June : MOT
33814 2nd July - 31st July : rear axle.  7th August - 11th  body repairs

33815 1st June - 19th June ; Engine failure

To help out Yarmouth's 33823 had an extended period on loan to King's Lynn from April 25th until July 12th.
33823 seen at King's Lynn garage four days before its long loan spell ended. 

Photo taken by kind permission of First Group.

Going back briefly to early June and Malcolm Hicks says on 7th unusual sightings were heritage liveried VA 479 on 1000 X1 Lowestoft to Yarmouth , 36172 1000 X2 to Norwich, 47506 1015 to Martham 1, 32348 1040 X22   to Norwich , 66112 1430 to Norwich X2 & 8 (30888) on 1440 to Oulton Broad 106. In this connection, Zak Nelson sent some photographs of the heritage vehicles working the X1 and X11 during a bus shortage in June.





Later in June, some X1 vehicles were seen on Yarmouth local services  and again Zak was kind enough to send some of his pictures for us :




Moving forward to the last week and it was another very difficult time with road conditions responsible for many late running buses and even cancellations due to driver displacement. Fortunately the Enviro 400s have been improved in reliability lately and at least this has helped the situation. 33809 did fail near Hockering last Sunday (14th) on the penultimate turn from Norwich to Lynn - 33810 went to the rescue, but 33809 which had the oil cooler fault was fixed and out next day. Tuesday was the only weekday when there wasn't considerable disruption to diagrams, but the last two days (Sat and today) have gone very smoothly. Maximum lateness recorded on Saturday was 16 minutes after the 14.11 King's Lynn - Norwich with 33809 had to visit Vancouver Avenue garage before continuing eastbound. It returned from Norwich exactly on time.


30/05/2016

Monday May 30th 2016 : Whatever Happened to...... ?

A week ago last Friday. as I came home from work and passed a sorry looking 33803 sitting with its hazard lights on in the bus stop at Walton Highway, I thought to myself "I wonder whatever happened to the X1 blog ?" It then reminded me that I am responsible for writing it and yet it has still taken me a further week or more to do something about it ! A dull Bank Holiday Monday seemed a good time to do a long overdue catch up, so here goes.... 

Firstly to the East and it is some weeks ago now that Roy Northcott contacted me with news of an X1 diversion. He says "You may be aware that the Eastern part of the X1 service is being diverted in Gorleston whilst Church Lane is being resurfaced. A slight delay has occurred which will see it closed another day and hopefully reopening tomorrow (7th April)

I ventured out yesterday and got a few photos with some X1 workings amongst them and attach them for your interest

33822 in Gorleston, thought to be on the 14.00 from Lowestoft (running very late) or the 14.42 from JPH which was booked via Middleton Road. Photo RN/East Norfolk Bus Blog

37274 on diversion in Gorleston working the 13.15 ex Norwich. RN/East Norfolk Bus Blog

37568 still doing welll on the 13.45 Norwich - Yarmouth & Lowestoft X1 on diversion in Gorleston. Photo RN/East Norfolk Bus Blog
Finally all hasn't gone well on the diversions as I understand that one of First's StreetLites was involved in an accident last night on Shrublands Way

A report on the diverts is up on the blog at  http://eastnorfolkbus.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/church-lane-diverts.html

Thanks to Roy for that and more from him later. No sooner had I published the last blog on 4th April than the 21.40 Peterborough - King's Lynn broke down at Tilney with 33815 ailing. A bus was sent to collect the few passengers. Jamie says "I knew it wouldn't be too long but as Christine was waiting at South Gates for me, I phoned her to collect me and got home marginally quicker". 33815 was viewed by Louise being towed into Vancouver Avenue at 01.30 by a recovery vehicle, it being another victim of the gearbox problem.  Louise herself having been 'repaired' at A & E !
 The 4th was also marred by a fatal accident at Scarning involving an artic and a motorcycle which saw the A47 closed at this point from 09.30 - 18.00. 
Tuesday 5th passed relatively without incident which was just as well as there were no spare vehicles at the western end at all. This despite 33818 still being on loan from Lowestoft. Traffic was pretty much brought to a stand between Eye and Guyhirn for a while at lunchtime and the 10.35 ex Peterborough was 23 late into Wisbech with 33806. Later the 12.05 was seen arriving 45 minutes late with 33817 before punctuality improved.

 33809's MOT was brought forward to Wednesday 6th and it was soon back on the road. This left 33808 with the gearbox drive plates issue, it finally returned on 13th April and 33815 remained dumped on the forecourt at Vancouver Avenue until despatched to ZF on 13th. Here it was dealt with very quickly and was back on the road on Saturday 16th. 
Saturday 16th was the last day of the old timetable and consequently the final time a late service ran to and from Peterborough. Here is the last 22.05 King's Lynn - Peterborough passing Eau Brink.....
video


33818 was finally sent back to Lowestoft on 13th April which coincided with the completion of 33816's MOT. For three days the fleet was then at full strength but then 33807 was stopped for MOT and on 19th 33809 was taken off the road with a rear axle problem. This entailed a visit to Powertrain and a 17 day layoff, it finally returning to  traffic on 6th May. 
 Traffic into Wisbech was pretty chronic on the evening of Thursday 21st which provided an unusual X1 experience for our old friend Victor Meldrew.....


He says "What in Heavens name is going on, we've just done a loop in Nestles access road and are now heading back to Weasenham Lane". Oh Dear !! Nice reflections Victor !


On Saturday 23rd April 33814 failed with a serious engine fault - its duty being taken over by 33810. 33814 was the subject of much investigation and eventually ended up at Cummins, not returning to traffic until May 16th. All this meant help was required and this arrived on April 24th in the shape of 33823 and this is still on loan as I write (May 30th). 
Not content with his unusual diversion seen above, Victor reports getting some more unusual route mileage on the X1 on April 26th : "This time we have turned left at the new A16 roundabout and are going into Peterborough via Welland Road St. Pauls Road and Lincoln Road !"













33815 didn't do a lot of work after having its gearbox repaired, firstly it was required for MOT and then on Saturday 30th April broke down at Peterborough with a failed injector. 33812 was sent to Wisbech to take up the diagram restarting as the 16.05 to Norwich. Later that evening, 33804 on the 20.30 from Peterborough had a window smashed by a pedestrian at Peterborough railway station. Some passengers gave chase and the delinquent was apprehended and handed over to the British Transport Police. Commendable stuff, but inconvenient and not nice for a lady who was showered with glass, fortunately without serious injury. 33810 was sent to the rescue.

Some hard work by the King's Lynn engineering staff made sure a full compliment of vehicles was available for the run out on Tuesday May 3rd after the Bank Holiday. There was once again no spare bus though and when 33811 suffered a puncture while working diagram 6013 at King's Lynn bus station. The vehicle had to retire to the garage for a tyre change before chasing its diagram as the 14.41 King's Lynn - Norwich. 
Wednesday May 4th saw more disruption due to a collapsed manhole near Swaffham. An example of late running was diagram 6009  with 33805 which was due off Wisbech at 10.14 to Peterborough, but which departed at 10.54. In addition many afternoon services were diverted via Wisbech St. Mary. 
Having had an injector replaced, 33815 was back in action on Friday 6th May, however, just as 33809 came back from attention to its gearbox, 33807 suffered the same complaint, coming off turn 6007 on Saturday May 7th and being replaced by 33823. With 33817 stopped for MOT, almost a week went by with no spare buses. 
Sunday May 8th provided a change. Cheryl sent me a text to say X1s were passing her house between Thorney and Whittlesey. They were indeed X1 buses, 33806/12/13 to be precise and they were on hire as rail replacement between Peterborough and Ely. The route from Whittlesey to Thorney does quite often see X1 services though when other roads are blocked locally.

Yet another collapsed manhole caused problems on Thursday 12th, this time at Middleton, Bruce monitored proceedings and worst affected service appeared to be the 13.15 from Peterborough, diagram 6013 with 33811 which arrived at Walpole Highway at 14.35. Most buses were running 15-20 minutes late throughout the afternoon.
Having had its original MOT date postponed due to the bus shortage, 33808 was finally dealt with on Thursday 19th and was immediately returned to service.  On this date it took over diagram 6007 from 33810 which was then sent away to have its gearbox looked at. It returned from Powertrain on 25th. 
So to Friday 20th May and where I first started this blog entry, 33803's engine went into meltdown while working the 15.15 from Peterborough and it finally expired at Walton Highway. 33815 took over the turn and 33803 is currently at Cummins being assessed. 

On 23rd, 33806 on diagram 6010 15.10 Norwich - Peterborough was halted at Dereham with an electrical fault. It returned to work on 27th May. A broken down car on Guyhin bank saw most services diverted again via Wisbech St. Mary on the afternoon of Wednesday 25th, although 33809 managed to use the normal route on the 14.24 ex Wisbech and 15.15 ex Peterborough, losing 18 minutes in the process. 33810 returned from Powertrain on 25th and 33813 immediately went west in its place to have its gearbox examined. 
Thursday 26th saw 33805 expire in Norwich with the oil cooler fault and 33814 was sent to Dereham to restart the service at 19.21. 33817 was also needing attention to its oil cooler on this date and it was taken off diagram 6008 and replaced by 33807. All the more surprising then after this catalogue of woes that the Friday before the Bank Holiday seems to have passed without a hitch and all services seemed to be running within 5 minutes of time - a situation almost unheard of on a BHF. 

Now then, well talk about things turning full circle ? Zak Nelson reports "Hi Gerard, Hope all is well!  I've attached a photograph of ex-X1 coach 20501 AO02RBY which is now based in Great Yarmouth alongside sister 20500 AO02RBX. The interesting thing about this picture however is that it's been reunited with the X1! It's seen here working this afternoon at County Hall roundabout.

I've also attached a photo of 33821 which has had the X1 part of the vinyl removed. It is believed but not confirmed that is to be replaced with new vinyls for the Eastern side of the route to include the new X11 Norwich to Belton service.

Many thanks for those Zak - do you think we can get some western side vinyls for 33823 ? !!

Whatever next ? Well sadder news from Great Yarmouth. Former X1 relief bus 34108 is now being cannibalised for spares at Great Yarmouth, pictures courtesy of Des Speed :



Well while we are on the subject of X1 buses past - another one which amassed a huge mileage on the route was Premiere coach 20122 which is still in service as a driver trainer and is pictured undergoing MOT work at Yarmouth in this photograph from Roger Bellward


She's still in proper livery too ! 

Now let's hear a bit more from Roy Northcott, who says " Buses are being diverted from Gorleston High Street for five days for subsidence investigation works on High Road

37578 (AU58EDJ) arrived at Gorleston Church at 14:32 so I am assuming its the 14:00 from Lowestoft Bus Station. 

This one shows 37577 (LK58EDF) on a southbound Bernard Mathews contract working - unusual to say the least! Both pictures taken on May 25th.

Many many thanks to Roy and all who have contributed to this rather lengthy and overdue blog entry. I will try and make the next one a bit sooner !

04/04/2016

Monday 4th April 2016 ~ Who'd Run a Bus Service ?

March was a very trying month for the operators of the X1 service. After a relatively quiet period for incidents on the A47 and fleet  problems, March certainly gave those in charge a headache !
On Wednesday 2nd the service ran well with the exception of the 12.45 King's Lynn - Peterborough which turned up at Wisbech 24 late with 33811 only ten minutes before the next bus, 33817. This was a reaction to an earlier incident at East Winch.
33813 had its MOT completed on 3rd and returned to traffic on 5th whereupon 33805 was stopped for the same reason and this was back at work on 10th just a few hours after MOT completion.
 The evening of Sunday 6th saw two problems, firstly the 21.20 Peterborough - King's Lynn with 33811 suffered vandalism at Walton Highway when a window was broken. The bus eventually arrived in Lynn 35 minutes late. By coincidence at almost exactly the same time, 33809 failed at Honingham with a fuel problem on the 22.20 from Norwich and 33806 was sent out as replacement, although 33809 was resuscitated and got as far as Dereham, it was repaired at King's Lynn and managed to be back in service early next morning. 
On Thursday 10th, 33803 finished its duty and limped into Vancouver Avenue after which it shut down and was unable to be moved, this happened at the garage's busiest time and a queue of buses developed until eventually 33803 responded to treatment ! It was subsequently grounded until 15th while the fault was established and rectified.
The morning of Friday 11th saw disruption on the Peterborough - Wisbech section after an accident at Eye Green. The 07.30 from Peterborough (33813) was 13 late from Wisbech and the next service due to depart at 08.55 arrived at 09.27 with 33812. Taking a double load of passengers the lateness had increased to 39 minutes at Walpole. The 08.35 from Peterborough ran 51 late and the 09.05 (33805) was 33 late into Wisbech. After this things quickly returned to normal.
Monday 14th saw 33805  taken out of traffic and replaced by 33814 after becoming noisy. After inspection 33805 was eventually towed to ZF Powertrain at Willenhall for attention to its back axle. It was seen being hauled along the Wisbech bypass by Bruce at 09.30 on 16th. Back to the 14th and 33816 hit a stray dog at Thorney while working the 15.15 from Peterborough. After inspection at King's Lynn 33816 was able to continue in traffic.
Another A47 accident on the Pullover Road west of Lynn caused delays on Thursday 17th. The 07.15 Swaffham - Peterborough (33812)  left Wisbech  23 late as a result, but a swift turnaround at Peterborough saw it arrive back in Wisbech at 10.26, just a minute after its scheduled departure time eastbound. Other services seemed unaffected.
Late on the evening of 17th, 33804 failed just after leaving Peterborough with the 23.30 back to King's Lynn. Fitters attended and were able to get the bus back home. It had a fuel fault and was back in traffic two days later. By Sunday 20th, 33806 was stopped for MOT work and with 33805 still away at Powertrain, 33818 was summoned from Lowestoft to assist in keeping the passengers moving. 
Monday 21st began with 33818 in action working the 07.15 Swaffham - Peterborough, however, this was not  to be a good start to the week and a three vehicle accident near Thorney caused havoc with some services taking the Thorney to Whittlesey route to avoid the obstruction. After the 08.20 service to King's Lynn left Wisbech on time, the next eastbound X1 was 33808 at 09.45 and then 33803 at 09.58 and 33804 at 10.12. The latter had borne the brunt of the delays and was actually the delayed 08.55 departure ! 33818 came back 26 late and then the service got back to normal with 33811 at 11.27 (37 late) and followed by 33807 at 11.29 (9 late). All this had a chaotic effect on positioning of buses and drivers and it was amazing how the service returned to being punctual.

Thursday 24th was predictably busy being the day before the Easter holiday and during the afternoon an accident on Guyhirn Bank with a lorry and three cars affected the X1. The 14.54 Wisbech to Peterborough with 33807 departed 15 minutes late and left by its normal route, however, it did a U turn at Cromwell Road roundabout and by 15.32 it was back in Wisbech to take the diversion via Wisbech St. Mary Even more unusual was the route of 33815 on the 14.15 from Peterborough which ran via Wisbech St. Mary but then encountered a further blockage in Wisbech Old Market, enterprisingly the driver took the route over Town Bridge and took the tight left turn to resume the normal route past the Clarkson Memorial down Nene Quay. This is the first time I have seen this manoeuvre attempted !
The Easter holiday traffic had a detrimental effect on the timetable and on Good Friday Bruce reported the following : 
10.05 ex Norwich 33815 11 late, 11.05 ex Norwich 33806 46 late, 12.05 ex Norwich 33811 24 late and 13.05 ex Norwich 33818 19 late. Going east the 11.05 from Peterborough was 33814 running 37 late, the 12.05 ex Peterborough was 33804 34 late and suggesting that 33806 terminated at Wisbech it returned on the 14.05 from Peterborough just 4 minutes late. All observations made near Walpole Highway.
Very unusually on Easter Sunday and Monday the same six buses were out on the road, these being 33804/10/11/13/15/17.  
On 26th 33806 was stopped with an alternator problem but it was back in use on 30th, while 33805 arrived back on 31st and plans were made to return loan vehicle 33818 to Lowestoft, however, the best laid plans and all that. 33808 decided to play up. It was taken on a test run and lost all power on the A47 Tilney bypass. It was collected from this point and carted off to ZF having the gearbox drive plates problem. This is surprising as all the fleet have had remedial work carried out to prevent this. So 33818 is still with us as I write and 33809 is now being prepared for its MOT.
All this has rather overshadowed the announcement of the changes to the western section of the service taking place from 17th April. The opportunity to again provide a regular interval weekday evening service has again been passed over and instead the 20.20 departure from King's Lynn will now terminate at Wisbech, which sounds guaranteed to provide some fun.  The evening departures from Peterborough will now be at 19.30, 20.30 and 22.30. The 22.30 departures from Norwich and Peterborough will be the last two arrivals in King's Lynn at around midnight. On Sundays the late evening service is completely withdrawn and the last two services into King's Lynn are the 20.05 from Peterborough and 20.20 from Norwich. The latter is the last arrival at King's Lynn at 21.46.
The new timetable can be downloaded here :



01/03/2016

Monday February 29th 2016 ~ View from on High

Nearly managed to miss a calendar month without an update, but hey we don't get February 29th every year so let's get on with it.
The revised timetable in the west is due to begin on about April 17th. As expected the gap in the evening service from Peterborough is to be corrected and although last buses will be earlier, at least we can get back to a regular timetable (well that's what I'm hoping !)
I recently had a trip to Norwich on the X1 at the invitation of our old friend Victor Meldrew.  I already had a Western Ten trip ticket, so it just meant buying a Dereham to Norwich day return to fill the validity. It did make me wonder how many people actually do this, as the driver seemed very surprised when we went downstairs at Dereham and explained the circumstances. Nevertheless, we had a good day and I took the opportunity to take some photographs from upstairs of passing services. Apparently consideration is being given to abandoning the 5 year rolling replacement programme and the current fleet may be replaced after 4 years. Among the options being discussed are a new fleet of coaches with extra capacity for use on the western section, while existing vehicles may remain on the Norwich - Lowestoft leg. This is all very uncertain though and planning is at an early stage.
MOT's have started on the King's Lynn Enviros although the plans were disrupted when the first candidate, 33803, was away for repairs when it was due, so 33804 took its place. In fact 33803/6 were both away for repairs at Cummins and Full Circle, so this saw the temporary loan of Lowestoft's 33819 to cover the shortfall.
33803 was absent from 29th January to 12th February after sustaining a severe oil leak and 33806 which had been involved in a scrape with an errant car was out of service between January 23rd and February 4th. 33819 arrived to help out on January 28th and returned home after use on 11th February. The MOT on 33804 took place between 7th & 10th February.
Zak Nelson reports that the Lowestoft fleet of Enviros has at last received vinyls stating ' Cared for by the Lowestoft  depot team' which is good to hear.
Here are the aforementioned pictures taken on my day trip to Norwich .....
We were just approaching Walton Highway having left the B198 when we encountered 33806 heading for Peterborough on the 06.45 from Norwich, the first westbound through service of the day.
On the Pullover Road just west of the roundabout 33809 flew by with the 07.15 ex Norwich


The new King's Lynn Interchange with 33817 occupying the X1 bay with the 09.35 Peterborough departure (07.45 ex Norwich). Conflicting arrival times mean some services have to use alternative bays as seen here.
On loan to King's Lynn depot to cover for absentees, Lowestoft allocated 33819 passes through Middleton spot on time on the 08.15 Norwich - Peterborough


Necton and 33812 with a cheery wave from Wyn arrives on the 09.15 from Norwich. The 08.05 from Peterborough which I was on with 33816 is booked to pass this service at 10.14 here so the timetable was running well to schedule.
Having just left Easton and rejoined the A47, 33813 passes by on the 10.30 Norwich - Peterborough X1 and another wave from GH, we are doing well !
Shortly after leaving Norwich 33815 heads for Dereham on the 11.00 Norwich - Peterborough.
Last one for now and contrasting liveries on former X1 Geminis. 37573 nearest the camera is in new Excel livery with a connecting X1 to Lowestoft, while 37569 in the distance is ready to leave on the direct service X2.
All photographs were taken on Tuesday February 9th 2016

21/01/2016

Thursday January 21st 2016 ~ Frost but no snow

Well I can hardly believe Christmas and New Year have passed the blog by ! Hope you all had good ones. Time to catch up with goings on . Firstly a word about the proposed changes at the western end of the route - these have now been postponed owing to a delay in finalising the drivers rosters and registering the changes with VOSA. March 2016 now looks more likely. Slightly revised fares came into operation on 11th January.
Since the last post the service has generally well with a few notable exceptions. Pre Christmas congestion affected a few services on 16th December, the 08.35 Peterborough - Norwich (which is a pretty good guide as to morning traffic conditions) was 17 late into Wisbech with 33805 and Friday 18th was predictably busy. 33810 which had worked the 08.35 was only 6 late but by the time it had been to Norwich and back it was 23 late on the 14.24 Wisbech - Peterborough, also that day the 15.24 westbound was 14 late with 33805. By 22nd afternoon services were generally running around 15 minutes late and on 23rd the 12.25 Wisbech - Norwich was seen 23 late at Walsoken with 33809 while other services were only slightly delayed.
 Christmas Eve was marred by a car crash at Wendling which occurred around 14.30 and tragically claimed the lives of three people. Not surprisingly the X1 was diverted to avoid the area and delays were inevitable. The 14.45 and 15.45 services from King's Lynn to Peterborough are believed to have been cancelled as was the 16.15 Peterborough - Norwich and 19.40 return to King's Lynn but otherwise services ran,though often well out of course. The 16.39 arrival from Norwich (33808) then did the delayed 16.15 to Peterborough and 33812 which was due in from Norwich at 17.39 then formed the delayed 17.15 eastbound back to Norwich. With a few vehicle swaps for maintenance purposes in the period between Christmas and New Year, things ran fairly smoothly.
Into 2016 and the first few days were quiet with only an accident at West Bilney causing slight delays on 5th : 33816 seemed to be the only westbound bus affected and this was 25 late departing Wisbech for Peterborough on the 10.44 service.
 Flooding is not a phenomenon which normally affects the X1 route, but the very heavy rain of January 7th caused chaos in the afternoon. The A47 was under water near Honingham and then an accident nearby made things worse. Some X1 services were diverted to reach the A1047 and arrive from the Fakenham direction in Norwich. The repercussions of this were not evident  on the western section until after the 11.00 from Norwich had passed through on time. Subsequent services ran. Westbound from Wisbech services ran as follows : 13.54 to Peterborough 33807 20 late, 14.24 33817 36 late, 14.54 cancelled, 15.24 33815 35 late. Darkness fell after that but delays and cancellations continued. Fortunately next day, Friday 8th, the X1 service ran completely to timetable so everyone breathed a sigh of relief. The evening of Sunday 10th saw an unexpected vehicle swap when 33805 went into derate mode and had to be changed for 33814 to work the 19.58 King's Lynn - Peterborough and 21.20 return.
Failures in service have been rare though, On 29th December 33804 failed at Hockering but was able back to limp back to King's Lynn on the 18.40 ex Norwich. The next leg of the turn, the 20.20 King's Lynn - Peterborough was taken on by 33813, 33804 was taken out of service and went to Cummins at Wellingborough for repairs.Ian spotted it returning through Thorney on Friday 8th on tow and it eventually returned to traffic on 12th January. 33808 departed from King's Lynn as the 16.45 to Peterborough on 13th but was halted at Tilney with its engine in derate mode. 33809 was despatched to take over, then next day 33816 broke down with a suspension fault in Wisbech bus station before leaving as the 11.44 to Peterborough. 33810 was sent to the rescue but resumed the turn with the 13.25 to Norwich. 33816 was repaired and was out again next day. To date (21st) 33806 has worked on every day since January 2nd and apart from the three Bank Holidays has worked daily since 14th December.
Over in the East reports have been few but Malcolm says that the most unusual sight of late was on 4th January when the 09.45 Norwich - Lowestoft had the delights of ex Cornwall Dart thingy 42914.
Finally in this report a look at the King's Lynn fleet mileage as at 7th January, I hope to bring you the Lowestoft fleet next time.

33803 222367
33804 237150
33805 244140
33806 251315
33807 232990
33808 220640
33809 072006*
33810 246576
33811 238620
33812 255620
33813 237004
33814 248677
33815 246005
33816 226065
33817 226886

* 33809 has been fitted with a replacement odometer. The hub meter read 239294. Highest mileage is 33812 and lowest 33808 which has had a couple of occasions out of traffic for bodywork repairs.

Oh and I nearly forgot - the guys who fix the boards on the buses have had a bit of a nightmare of late - I am told an old hand is to step in and put things right.




15/12/2015

Tuesday 15th December 2015 ~ Early to Bed

Well since my last offering, there has been a revised timetable introduced on the eastern section between Norwich, Yarmouth & Lowestoft. These alterations mean a slightly reduced service at Lowestoft as a few services now terminate at James Paget Hospital. There have also been big changes on the X2 with the main service now running fast from Beccles to Norwich and the X22 supplementing this by calling at Loddon and the villages. Kieran Smith explains the changes in greater detail here : http://norwichbusesblog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/major-changes-to-first-x1-and-x2-this.html
Lowestoft now have Geminis 37575/6/7/9 in addition to 37563 -72 inclusive on their books to cater for the increased vehicle requirement. While on the subject of Lowestoft, Plaxton Pointer Dart 42943 (ex Camborne) has arrived at the expense of 43865 - the latter a 7'6" wide Caetano Nimbus bodied Dart which may be more suited to Cornwall's narrow lanes, assuming this was a straight swap and East Norfolk bus blog reveals that this is indeed the case with 42358 and 43861 also heading west. Back at Yarmouth, ex Green Line 37275 is now expected to appear in these parts before long to increase the fleet of X1 vehicles. Thanks to East Norfolk Bus Blog for this gen. Paragon coach 20501, formerly of X1 fame, along with 20515 has been busy operating rail replacement services on the eastern part of the X1 route during the recent diesel unit crisis at Crown Point
Photo copyright : Kieran Smith

At the Western end of the X1, the late night services are being curtailed from next month. Currently the last two buses arrive back at King's Lynn around 01.00, but in the revised timetable the last bus is believed to be due back an hour earlier. On Sundays the service finishes much earlier from January, the present 01.00 finishes being scaled right back so that the last arrival at King's Lynn garage is at about 22.00. It is not known whether the new schedules will see the evening services revert to an hourly interval pattern rather than the ragged departure times in the present timetable. 
Looking back over the last month, the usual causes for delays have been evident, namely incidents on the A47, in particular the Acle Straight. On the western section, Tuesday 17th November was a poor day with the peaktime 07.15 Swaffham - Peterborough leaving Wisbech 17 minutes late (33815), however, some smart driving saw it come back just a minute behind schedule,  The next bus ran to time, but an hour later the 09.44 ex Wisbech westbound (07.15 from Norwich) passed by 16 late with 33814, this also regained most of the deficit though coming back just 2 minutes late. Later the 11.44 Wisbech - Peterborough came past 18 late with 33804 but the arrears had been reduced to 7 minutes on its return eastbound. Finally on 17th the 13.15 King's Lynn - Peterborough and 14.45 return were cancelled due to no driver being available. An accident on Wisbech Horsefair roundabout caused a few problems on the morning of 19th and 33803 on the 10.44 Wisbech - Peterborough eventually got away 18 minutes late. The 07,30 Peterborough - Norwich due through Walpole Highway at 08.31 was delayed on Monday 23rd, 33814 running 16 late and next day 33803 was 10 late on the same service. This one is usually a fairly good timekeeper. On the 24th also, the 09.35 from Peterborough had a unhindered run and was seen coming into Wisbech 4 early with 33815. During December thus far services have in general run quite well with the expected heavier loadings. Friday 11th was a good example when just one service was seen delayed, this being 33816 on the 15.24 Wisbech - Peterborough which had lost 15 minutes. A rather bizarre if unfortunate incident happened on Wednesday 25th November, a motorist was stung by a wasp and went into cardiac arrest causing closure of Guyhirn bank on the A47. 33806 working the 13.24 Wisbech - Peterborough departed on time by the usual route, only to be halted by the congestion, so it then turned round and came back into Wisbech at 13.42 before taking the route via Wisbech St. Mary. 
The King's Lynn fleet of Enviros seem to have been fairly well behaved over the period under review. The last week though has seen 33817 sent to Cummins for engine attention and 33811 in engine derate plus 33805 with a gear problem. 


X1s gather for their roost at King's Lynn garage

The delights of Chapelfield are being extolled on many Enviros at the moment, but the weather has not been encouraging for would  be shoppers

12/11/2015

Wednesday 11th November 2015 ~ More Pix and things

Thanks to Cameron Robinson we can see 'newby' 37274 at work today on the X1 , firstly at Great Yarmouth and later at Norwich :





Photos copyright Cameron Robinson
Doesn't look like 37274 will get the disfiguring adverts either ! Cameron also reports that similarly liveried 37578 put in an appearance on the 14.50 service 7 to Belton this afternoon, while 32061 worked the 07.40 Lowestoft - Norwich returning as far as Yarmouth where it was swapped for an Enviro 400. This might possibly have been 33821 which was due to receive a new alternator ar Great Yarmouth today. 

In response to Richard Adderson's queries about diversionary routes a driver ( whose anonymity has been respected) says "Just read your latest posting. I think you will get different responses from different drivers on the subject of how much discretion drivers are allowed. One thing to keep in mind is it is my belief that our route is not fixed, just the stops are fixed, although some are missed during major disruptions on the A47.

I can really only speak for myself. Most of the time when one sees X1 buses on secondary roads it is usually due to being diverted by controllers to get around road blockages. Whether a Controller will divert a particular bus comes down to an individual drivers experience. At the Peterborough end of the route  I personally have several ways out of the city if the usual route is blocked or congested, especially during school/peak hour traffic. In the evenings after 1800, drivers are generally left to their own devices, I have been known to take the bumpy little road between Thorney and Whittlesea when the A47 was suddenly closed for roadworks without any notification as an example. So drivers do have some discretion, depending on the time of day and the circumstances"

Norwich Bus Station on 27th October at midday showing 33821 & 33822 , one just arrived the other departed a few seconds after I took the photo. Photo : A Nonymous