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Wednesday 10th December 2008 ~ Contrasts

It must be strange being a regular X1 passenger. Where else in this country would you find a cross country express service operated 90% by 'state of the art' 58 reg double deckers and the other 10% by N reg coaches ? Why the FEC order originally quoted in official publicity as being 20 vehicles was subsequently reduced to 17 and the seats in the new vehicles downgraded from the leather type promised are matters for conjecture. At this point I ought to add that I'm fully aware that any service which spends nearly 15 minutes negotiating narrow lanes and then a suburban housing estate (Toftwood) can hardly be described as 'express', but there you are. Whether the 'Geminis' can be regarded as 'state of the art' is also dubious, it is a reflection on the times we live in that seats are grouped so closely together that a comfortable journey is almost impossible, yet at the same time passengers are monitored by 16 security cameras ! I still find it incredible that there were no timing trials with the new buses. It was simply assumed that they would keep the current timings despite the fact that the mainstay of the service was 12 litre coaches and their replacements just 9 litre deckers used elsewhere on town services.
Today, my first encounter was as usual with K1 07.48 ex Peterborough which was 10 late at Wisbech with 20104. Later on a B10 passed Bruce westbound at 16.37 on K2 and it would seem likely that this was 104 having stepped down a turn at Lowestoft. At lunchtime we had a nostalgic moment when at 13.12, K16 arrived at Wisbech bus station from Lowestoft with 20111 (and the miserable driver incidentally), just as 20109 departed on L13 13.09 to Lowestoft. I didn't see a great deal today, but everything else I witnessed was Geminis.
Michael Bryant reports that K19 was once again a Lowestoft decker ( in fact a Royale) at lunch time swapped this evening for Gemini 37574. On the x1 B9s reported were 37565 (K6), 37572 (Y8), 37571 (Y9), 37568 (L12), 37573 (K15), 37566 (K17), 37564 (K18), and 37570 (K7). Thanks to Bruce and Terence for most of this.

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