Saturday December 19th 2009 ~ Service Suspended
Less than four minutes behind a preceding Lowestoft bound X1, 37572 negotiates the ice past Wisbech town bridge at just after 13.30 this afternoon.
It's Gemini city ! I was within a whisker of photographing four B9s in Wisbech bus station simultaneously this afternoon. 37575 was 'out of service' but later resumed K15. To the right of it is 37568 on K17 14.18 to Peterborough, whilst departing is 37570 on Y13 running 30 minutes late.
A revived 37575 kicks up the snow as it approaches Terrington St. John this afternoon on K15. By this time the temperature had plunged to -5'c.
37577 was one of the better behaved B9s today, it is seen nearing Walpole Highway in this afternoon's sub zero temperatures while working K19.
The day started with an attempt to run a full service as booked, but plummeting afternoon temperatures resulted in diesel pipes freezing up and a number of failures were recorded. At King's Lynn five breakdowns were reported by 18.30, chiefly to local services and these included 30902 which caught fire at Castle Rising - first reports unconfirmed indicate a possible brake fault - and suffered external and internal damage as a result.
X1 wise, operations were hampered by minimal gritting to roads in the King's Lynn area. Bruce was out early as his wife was off to London by Harrods coach and viewed 37573 passing at 07.08 on K2 (due past at 06.34) running 34 late. This was followed by 37158 at 07.11 on K3 just 7 late. Two minutes later 37577 was seen on the bypass heading for Wisbech on K19, it is due off at 07.30 so was on time. Finally in this session Bruce saw 37566 - whereas all the other B9s he'd seen were proceeding very cautiously, this descended from the A47 flyover at normal speed on K18 and passed at 07.20, about 11 late.
Progress by 37573 & 37158 came in a text from Peter who says "At 08.35, 37573 and 37158 were followed by me in convoy approaching Thorney, 573 took the bypass and 158 went via the village". This would mean K2 with 573 was now 47 late and 158 17 late.
I didn't venture out until lunchtime. In Wisbech there was a gap in the service before 37576 was seen arriving at 13.28, followed by 37572 at 13.32, both heading for Lowestoft and assumed to be L11 and L12 running 38 and 12 late respectively. A spell at Wisbech bus station from 14.10 to 14.30 meant I saw more X1s than I bargained for. Present throughout this spell was 37575 which had terminated here on K15, reasons unknown. Services seen arriving were Y13 at 14.21 (due 13,51) so exactly 30 late heading for Lowestoft with 37570 and arriving just 6 minutes later at 14.27 was 37563 on K14, this one was only 6 late arriving and a smart turn round meant it was almost on time departing with a keen driver. Rob H reports 563 on the heels of 570 at Walpole. Going west was 37568 arriving at 14.27 on K17, only 14 late.
37566 reported earlier had been seen still on K18 arriving at Lynn by Bruce, but never passed through Walpole and the next services seen here were revived 37575 on K15 passing K19 with 37577, 4 and 8 late respectively.
So far so good then, but few could have predicted what was to unfold. Firstly mention should be made of two unusual arrivals at King's Lynn on Friday evening, the final B7 to arrive 37156 came in, as did old hand coach 20127. The latter was used on K4 but unfortunately was in trouble at Hockering mid afternoon with the oil pressure light glowing. It made it to Lynn but was taken out of service here. With the freeze intensifying, 37156 was seen passing Hardwick at 16.48 'not in service' heading east - it should have been K16 and if so was 40 late. 37573 which we have mentioned as being K2 was seen yet again, by me this time at Tilney Shoreboat at 16.21, so now 26 late and it was seen for a final time at Nar Ouse Way at 18.48 about 24 late heading for Lowestoft.
I did a mega supermarket shop and before going home paid a visit to King's Lynn bus station where 37569 was seen departing on K1 18.35 to Lowestoft, just 4 late. In the parking area in the centre were 37157 which had just arrived ten late on Y7 (terminates at 18.07), 37159 and 37567. We know that K2 departed at around 16.00 to Peterborough, but it is not known how many - if any - services ran beyond Lynn after this. Bruce didn't see any and Rob Brooks had the misfortune to be one of around 25 people who turned up for the 19.10 at Peterborough Queensgate. This didn't appear and neither did the 20.10, so Rob understandably disgruntled hired a taxi to get himself to Wisbech setting him back £30. "We didn't pass the vehicle incoming for the 21.10 either" says Rob. Bruce says " The service appears to have been suspended and the only bus seen in the evening was an unidentified white elephant which went west through Walpole Highway at 22.20 and returned an hour later, obviously having terminated at Wisbech. I hope to have more details on this situation in due course, but if the service was suspended then it reflects very poorly on 'First' that the situation was not relayed to passengers waiting at Peterborough.