Search This Blog

28/12/2011

Wednesday December 28th 2011 ~ Last Post of the Year

I'm off to Bonnie Edinburgh for the Hogmanay celebrations after a break of a few years. My regular contacts have kindly agreed to stand in for me in my absence, so I will do a combined blog when I return. If I get time, I might also do a review of 2011, similar to that for 2010.
Today was at least sunny after yesterday's gloom. Delays didn't seem to be as bad as yesterday and it was back to a weekday service. 37579 travelled back to King's Lynn for screen repair and 20115 was then taken back to Yarmouth. 37572 on K14 was swapped at 12.15 for 37566 off repairs. It is always a bit of a challenge for Richard & Co at this time of year as the fortnightly safety services still have to be carried out, despite the loss of regular working days. At least with Christmas Day being on a Sunday things weren't quite as bad as some years past.
About the most interesting vehicle working into Wisbech today was this B10M coach on Emblings 380 service from March. If it looks a little familiar, it is because it is none other than R841DVF, now re-registered as TIL 7772. This coach was 20141 in the First fleet and was an X1 regular for many years. Its last working on the X1 was on October 22nd 2008.
The MaX1 zone details

Tuesday 27th December 2011 ~ Sales Rush

As is customary, more than a few people were reported awaiting buses which never ran on Boxing Day. After a fruitless wait, one couple spent time in the pub at Terrington before taking a taxi in to town according to Bruce. Today buses seemed heavily loaded and with an hourly service this was not unexpected. 37576 with the 14.22 Wisbech to Peterborough was seen departing along South Brink 30 minutes late and the 13.00 Wisbech to Lowestoft was around 20 late.  It was late afternoon before punctuality improved.
Coach 20115 spent the day in Vancouver Avenue along with an assortment of Geminis. One swap occurred when 37577 was taken out of service for cleaning after a passenger mishap and 37157 took its place.
Des was in Gorleston High Street this morning and espied 37572 on L10 09.48 from Lowestoft. It was already 11 late and nearly full, 37 passengers boarded and nine were left behind. This first westbound service is always very busy, but from Jamuary 8th this problem may be alleviated with the implementation of buses at 07.08, 08.08 & 09.08 from the JPH westbound. As things stand, Yarmouth garage doesn't open until 07.00, so this could be interesting !

24/12/2011



I hope you all have a grand old time and thankfully we have not had any conflagrations like this one :
http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Home/Firefighters-tackle-double-decker-bus-blaze-on-A14-24122011.htm

Cheers Gerard

Saturday December 24th 2011 ~ The Ghost of Christmas Past

These days the only chance of an unusual working on the X1 seems to rely on a mishap taking place at the eastern end of the route. This afternoon 37579 arrived in Lowestoft to work 13.55 K5 to Peterborough with a huge crack across its windscreen. The only option was to call 20115 out of Yarmouth to work forward at 14.42. I'd done all my Christmas 'stuff' so thought I'd pop out to get a picture of it. I went over on 37565 on K18 (yes twice I've travelled on it in less than 24 hours !) and 20115 arrived bang on time. With passengers boarded on 'Cinderella', the driver was just about to depart at 17.15 when the evil stepmother 37157 appeared ("It's behind you !!"and as much to our driver's surprise as anyones) we were all required to disembark and board the cold Gemini. What a pantomime ! As it turned out, with 37566/8 both stopped at Vancouver Avenue for an adblue fault and an injector sleeve , this was the only spare Gemini available. Not sure why 20115 was taken off so suddenly, even if it did have its usual screeching fanbelt when started.
The services seemed to run within about 10 minutes of time today and by mid afternoon, everything appeared to be on time.
I will take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and thank those of you who have contributed in any way this month.  G

Thursday 22nd December & Friday 23rd December 2011 ~ Christmas Countdown

As the Christmas rush nears its conclusion, the queues in and out of the towns served by the X1 grow ever longer, as shown by the increasing delays related here.

Thursday December 22nd

Mid afternoon saw the heaviest delays in the west. Most services had run within 10 minutes of time, but K14 came back from Peterborough 24 late with 37158 to work the 14.26 Wisbech to Lowestoft, K15 was 15 late with 36180 and K16 with 37157 had lost 27 minutes for the 15.26 departure.
37569 on K3 was swapped for 37575 which was seen at Walsoken 23 late heading west. 37575 had earlier worked Y13 to Lynn for 37574 forward at 11.45.
Once again the old girls were in service on the X2, 34158 on the 12.08 Lowestoft to Norwich and 34156 on the following 12.38.
Dale gives 37160 a bath at King's Lynn
Friday December 23rd

Not surprisingly, the timetable unravelled again today. Late morning delays of 15 minutes were standard, but 37158 on L11 was 16 late westbound and 31 late returning. 37565 with L12 was -12/-20 respectively. After Y13, services from Peterborough then passed Wisbech as follows : K14 37573 27 late, K15 36180 38 late and K16 37160 37 late. At least by this time passengers were being inconvenienced less as the delay had become over 30 minutes !
Eventually things got back on course with 37564 on K4 seen departing Quensgate at 18.22. Cheryl and myself were post Christmas party passengers on L12 tonight with 37565. My first trip with this one which was not as cold as some. At Wisbech everyone left apart from myself and we were joined by two drunks who were en route to Walton Highway and King's Lynn. They were of very limited vocabulary and it reminded me of what our late night drivers have to endure at times. Our driver handled them very well and I was back to Walpole on time.
Des had an interesting day, taking 37159 on Y9 06.45 James Paget Hospital - King's Lynn on time. En route he saw an Eddie Stobart had left the road at Little Fransham. It had been heading east and had ploughed into a lamp post bringing down power lines. Temporary traffic lights had been set up and for the Eddie watchers, it was H5616 Alison Jean.
 Later taking 37570 on L8 15.25 ex Lowestoft, 37159 was seen in Gorleston Magdalen Estate with passengers, but 'not in service' 35 late. My relieving driver was still on his break when I rolled into Yarmouth due to the heavy traffic.

21/12/2011

Friday 16th December 2011 - Wednesday 21st December 2011 ~ The Megablogs Continue

Well you all know what it's like at this time of the year, the days flash past and before you know it, Christmas has arrived. Cheryl says "Emblings bus called 'Kim' is decorated with tinsel, why can't 'First' do the same ?" Well I guess it might cost them a lot of money dear ! Let's have a quick look at recent events, oh and apologies for the large posting again.
Especially for Cheryl, here is another smaller operator's B10M decorated for the Festive season !
Friday 16th December : The mystery of 37160 and its MOT continues - I am told it has not taken place yet, so we will see what happens ! Today 37576 was seen on K5 passing me 6 late at 09.56 only to reappear on L12 21 late at 12.11. It has been having adblue problems of late. 37572 had been taken off L12 and K5 had gone forward with 37160, itself having started out on K4 but 37157 replaced it after attention to its heating system. This evening L8 had 37571 swapped for 37578 off Y7.
For a Friday near Christmas, punctuality was fair - apart from 37576 mentioned above, all other turns were reasonably near time. 37566 on K17 15.05 ex Peterborough was the poorest performer being 15 late.
Des says "Wellington Road in Dereham has been closed since Wednesday with roadworks due to finish today. Here's a nice little map (click to enlarge)


Saturday 17th December : I had a trip to Cambridge today and used the X1 to get me to Lynn. Bruce kindly agreed to give me a lift to and from Walpole Highway as beer drinking was involved.
I took Y7 with 37579 which was reasonably loaded, it is such a shame that the lack of air conditioning on these buses inevitably means windows are covered in condensation spoiling the good views which are affordable. Despite this handicap I was able to clear the window to look out for L11 going the other way - I needn't have bothered as it didn't run and 37574 was viewed lurking in Vancouver Avenue as we passed. We'd seen L12 on Nar Ouse Way with 37158. So in the end I was glad I was travelling east rather than a 30 minute wait going west.

37579 departs King's Lynn as the 11.32 to Lowestoft today. It is unique in the X1 fleet in retaining the small font destination display.
 I returned on Y10 with 37157 which was lovely and warm upstairs and with Blondie Karen in charge as far as the Southgates. After the obligatory 5 minute changeover, we set off again and our driver did his best to make up the lost time. 37569, 37572 & 37160 were not seen on the route today, although it is quite possible that one of them replaced 37574 on L11.

37579 still looks remarkably clean despite the wet conditions today.
Des writes "Icy roads off the main A47 made me 8 late into Lynn with 37579 on Y7 06.22 ex Yarmouth this morning. Later I was 4 late departing Lowestoft on the 13.55 (K5) westbound with 37571 after I had to take it to Gasworks Road for cleaning after some passenger illness. The roadworks in Dereham had not finished as expected and it was not until early afternoon that the road reopened and K3 was able to use the normal route".
On the X2 the new arrivals seem to be fairly reliable. Malcolm saw 32652/4/6 all in action today.

Sunday 18th December : The usual quiet Sunday with the only notable occurrence being the use of loan Gemini 36180 on K4 which ends up at Yarmouth (tut tut !). 37574 was parked front end in at Vancouver Avenue which is most unusual - perhaps after it was taken off L11 yesterday. Peter sent a text : " On a filthy (well outside anyway) 37567 on the 14.10 ex Peterborough. The driver got out at the bus station to wipe his mirrors and also came round to our front nearside window and wiped a clean square. He said "There you go mate, now you can see where you are going" ! Excellent ! He must have realised I was a friend of the X1 blogmeister". Des explains the current problems with 37576 which he drove again today "It is something to do with the adblue sensor being in a different position.This means 'Fill tank, Adblue system error, No Data etc' messages flag up on the dashboard and because the sensor thinks the emissions are high, the computer derates the engine performance".

Monday 19th December : Funny old world isn't it - not so long ago we had a fleet of X1s travelling about advertising the film 'Iron Man', now they have begun to appear with 'The Iron Lady' on the side ! I was otherwise engaged today at our Christmas work party so didn't see much, however, our loyal band of corespondents covered every turn. 37160 wasn't out - having an MOT maybe ??!!
36180 came back from its Great Yarmouth overnight on Y9.  Malcolm says Palatine 34157 was being used on the X2, although 32651 was spare in the bus station. Clive on EAB Group reports the sad news that former X1 vehicles 20112 & 20116 have been withdrawn by First Scotland.

Tuesday 20th December : One of those days ! The troubles began with a collapsed manhole cover between Thorney Toll and Guyhirn causing queues early this morning. These were then added to when a lorry and a car decided to have a shunt in the affected area. K2 and 37563 on the 07.30 from Peterborough passed me just 9 late with Calvin trying to make up time, but then things worsened. K3 with 37157 was 16 late into Wisbech, I missed seeing 37566 on K4, but K5 with 37569 - back in traffic at last - was 25 late. After this 37577 on Y6 was 11 down, 37574 on Y7 likewise and I missed 37567 on L8 which had been 7 late going west.
Y9 10.18 Wisbech - Peterborough with 37579 was 12 late departing and no less than 34 late coming back. 37565 was on L10 with Peter on board, he says "On the 10.48 ex Wisbech (4 late) and now the A47 is closed at Guyhirn to recover a lorry, so I'm enjoying my first ever X1 via Whittlesey - looks like it could take a while by the volume of traffic". He was not wrong, and it arrived at Peterborough bus station at 11.44.
 The delays continued into the afternoon and I saw 36180 on K15 14.05 ex Peterborough 25 late, K16 with 37571 15 late, K17 37568 23 late and K18 37159 17 late.
Des says " I had 37579 again today from the James Paget on Y9, the windscreen washer jets became blocked en route so we popped in to Vancouver Avenue for them to be cleared. Returning east on Y6, this bus had damage to a mirror, so another garage visit was required. The bus (37577) was lightly loaded and we got away at 11.27, about 20 late. Just 5 late into Norwich where K5 with 37569 was still loading. A quick call to control to suggest me running light to Lowestoft to takeover K5 at 13.55 was sanctioned and I was into Lowestoft at 13.47. 37569 then became Y6. Due to the Thorney Toll disruption, my next turn, L8 with 37567 was 18 late departing".
Cheryl was waiting for K2 at Thorney at 17.30, only to see 37563 as expected turn up, but going west instead of east. It was closely followed by 37157 on K3 and in the end 37563 went light from Peterborough to Lynn and poor Cheryl had to await the return of 37157 !

The spare bus pool was a bit depleted today with 37572 having an engine fault and 37576 stopped again with adblue problems. 37571 on Y13 was taken off at 11.40 and the 11.45 to Peterborough left Lynn with 37160. 37575 on K16 then needed replacing and 37571 was off again westbound at 13.15.

There were further problems in the evening peak after another A47 accident on the western Norwich bypass at 18.20. Y9 with 37579 got through OK, but L10 with 37565 and L11 with 37578 both became trapped in the ensuing chaos. L12 managed to avoid this and 37564 was seen arriving at Lynn on time at 20.40, however, the two delayed buses didn't arrive until after 21.00. 37574 was used to work L10 19.50 Lynn to Peterborough having come in on Y7. The A47 reopened at Longwater at 22.25.
In Lowestoft Malcolm saw 32652 having a sortie on the 101 town service to Hollow Grove while President 32210 worked the 11.38 X2 to Norwich.

Wednesday 21st December
A better day thank goodness, but the temporary lights near Thorney Toll were still in operation. Peter writes " 17 late into Peterborough on K4 with a very cold 37575 (due 08.29), but right time tonight on a sweltering 37157 on K5 18.40 eastbound. There's no happy medium with X1 heating !"
K4 was the exception though and morning services were little affected, however,  after lunch there was a dip in punctuality. Y13 with 37569 arrived into Wisbech 29 late for the 13.56 to Lowestoft and K14 didn't do much better, it was 20 late with 37160. K15 was a different story though and 36180 was 5 minutes going west and hadn't dropped any further time when it returned. Mind it did have a driver noted for punctual running at the wheel !
A couple of swaps took place this afternoon, 37567 on L8 was changed for 37572 at 12.02 and later the 17.02 Lynn to Lowestoft (K18) had 37574 swapped for a repaired 37576. Meanwhile 37573 had a day off for servicing.
The X2 continues to provide a variety of buses, thanks to Malcolm Hicks for his regular reports. Today 32656 was on the 11.38 to Norwich, 32210 was on the following 12.08 departure and later this afternoon 32652 arrived 24 late on the 12.40 ex Norwich meaning 34157 had to be found to work the 14.08 which departed 15 late.
The Fenland Citizen newspaper reports today that Nene Quay in Wisbech is to be closed eastbound from January 23rd until June 29th for the remainder of the flood defence work to be carried out. This will entail Lowestoft bound X1s taking a diversionary route, either via the A47 bypass and A1101 or via Weasenham Lane.
Thanks to all who have supplied information and photographs recently, much appreciated.

15/12/2011

Monday 12th December - Thursday 15th December 2011 ~ No News Is Good News

Monday 12th December : The service seemed to cope well with the busy roads today. 37575 on the 15.15 Lynn to Peterborough (K1) was 10 late through Wisbech, but all other diagrams were just a few minutes behind time. 36180 was on K17 and 37158/574 were out of service along with 37569.
The A47 was closed between Wisbech & Guyhirn again after an accident this evening. L10 was noted passing through Walton Highway around 22.25 (15 late) on the 21.10 ex Peterborough. The X2 still sees Palatine workings and today Malcolm saw 34157 on the 13.40 ex Norwich. President 32210 was spare in Lowestoft bus station.

Tuesday 13th December : Chris rang this morning to say that 37577 had expired at Wisbech Cromwell Road Tesco lights at around 09.30. It was at the head of a queue of traffic with its hazards on and with its driver on the phone. The problem was trivial though as a few minutes later it was on the move again and was seen returning just 9 late.
37563 arrives at Wisbech this morning on K3 08.05 Peterborough - Lowestoft
37578 was stopped at Lynn today receiving attention to some minor collision damage. 37576 on L10 10.15 Lynn to Peterborough was 16 late from Wisbech, but after this delays were slight until K15 with 36180 which passed Wisbech 16 late westbound and 20 late returning to Lowestoft.
Des says " I was driving 37160 on the 08.15 Lowestoft - Peterborough (Y13), however, a problem occurred on departing the James Paget Hospital as the exit was blocked by a low loader - in the end had to monitor the traffic light seqence and make a safe exit via the entrance road ! Returning east from Lynn with L10, 37576 had a variety of Adblu errors showing, but then the display would totally clear for a few miles before reappearing. President 32211 which has a reconditioned engine was considered reliable enough to work the 13.40 Norwich to Lowestoft X2 today, but 32210 was still in the bus station spare.
Wednesday 14th December : Timekeeping was pretty good until late afternoon, though maybe it was roadworks at Fransham which caused K19, K1 & K2 15.18/15.48/16.18 departures from Wisbech westbound all to run 10 late. 37160 was due MOT prep this week, but it continued in service until the day of its test (believed to be today) so must have been in prime condition. Today it started out on K3, but was replaced by 36180 off servicing for the 09.33 to Lowestoft. Y6 had 37574 taken off the duty today, but why is unclear. 37563 replaced it. On the X2, 32210 had been relegated to a Bernard Matthews contract (seen by Malcolm) while Michael Bryant saw no less than three Palatines working on the X2 itself.

Thursday 15th December : A large number of swaps occurred today. As early as 08.00 it looks like 37565 came off K19 for servicing to be replaced by 37574. Y9 with 37563 had an adblu problem and 37576 took over for the 09.45 Lynn to Peterborough. Next change was on Y6 where 37570 was off at 11.00 for 37565 to work forward. 570 was pronounced OK soon afterwards and when 37157 on Y13 meeded attention, 570 took over its turn as the 11.45 to Peterborough. It just did a return trip to the city before a repaired 37563 replaced it as the 14.32 to Lowestoft. As a consequence, 37569 - still undergoing bodywork repairs (+ the absent 37156) were the only X1 buses off the road today.

13/12/2011

Thursday December 8th 2011 - Sunday December 11th 2011 ~ Catching Up

I seem to have got well behind with the blog again (Christmas preparations and visitors being the main reasons), so here is a quick look at what's been going on of late :

Thursday 8th : K18 apparently began with 37564 and K19 with 37576, but by this afternoon they had become the other way around. An overtaking manouevre by 37576 perhaps ? Everything else was fairly normal today, 37569 is back at King's Lynn following its wheely at Acle on Saturday. It requires repairs to some panels before it can re-enter traffic. K4 had 37568 changed for 37574 at some point to facilitate booked safety services. All services noted managed to keep within 10 minutes of time except K17 with 36180. This was 6 late on the 14.18 Wisbech - Peterborough and 14 late returning.

Friday 9th : I worked a half day as I had impending visitors. An average lateness of around 10 minutes was evident in the morning, due to the extra traffic/passengers. L8 with 37570 was 14 late westbound through Wisbech and L11 with 37563 was 12 late. Bruce took over observations at lunchtime viewing 37577 on K15 running 14 late as was 37572 on K17.
37157 at Walton Highway this afternoon on K14 12.15 King's Lynn to Peterborough.
 I set out to drive to March at 15.30 and I nearly drove off the road with surprise when I met 37160 on K16 bang on time - yes and this on a Friday when it is so often the worst performer of the week ! 37579 & 36180 both had a day off at Lynn today, along with 37569. 32651/2/4 were all noted on the X2.

Saturday 10th : Gave Jamie a lift to Walpole Highway to catch Y7 09.03 to Peterborough which was 37566 spot on time. I waited to view K3 which was Blondie Karen driving 36180. Didn't see much else myself, but 37160 was 8 late on L9 11.56 Wisbech to Lowestoft after its exertions yesterday. The only swap today was 37577 for 37159 on K2, presumably because the former required attention from the cleaners.

Sunday 11th : 37574 on K6 10.10 Peterborough - Lowestoft was changed at Lynn for 37566, reasons unknown. All ten diagrams were B9s as booked.

12/12/2011

Wednesday December 7th 2011 ~ Dim the Lights

Today it was the turn of 36180 to have a headlight problem, it was taken off K15 this afternoon and 37160 replaced it. Earlier 37160 had come in on K16 and 37573 had gone out in its place. Another A47 accident, this time between Wisbech and Guyhirn resulted in two services becoming stranded in the resulting traffic this afternoon, K2 16.18 from Wisbech with 37564 and K18 15.35 from Peterborough with 37157 were the services affected. In the end 37157 went through to the coast, but probably light for at least part of the way. 37564 was replaced at Lynn by 37567 and on arrival, 564 went to berth in the garage. K3 with 37158 reached the Cromwell Road roundabout before turning back and was seen by Cheryl taking the Town Bridge to gain access to the Wisbech St. Mary road via Old Market.
The road was closed for some hours, but despite this L8 20.10 from Peterborough passed through Walpole 2 early with 37579, while ironically, coming the other way at this time was 37568 on L12 which was 8 late. services from Lynn which hitherto had been good for punctuality in the evenings, now inevitably run at least 5 late because of the Southgates driver changeovers.
Stuart Leader writes "Didn't know if you'd seen the Suffolk CC website, but there are upcoming changes to the evening X1s from January 3rd. The X1 will fill in for the service 1 between Yarmouth and Lowestoft". http://www.suffolkonboard.com/news/bus_service_news/passenger_transport_service_changes/january_bus_service_changes__1

09/12/2011

Tuesday December 6th 2011 ~ Headlight Headline

Ransomes were called in to work on some of the fleet today and 37157/8 & 37574 were swapped around accordingly. 37574 was kept in first thing with 37158 doing K4 until 09.57, after which it retired to Vancouver Avenue and 37574 which had been attended to, took over. In the end, 37157 was not used on the X1 today. Loan vehicle 36180 was used on K15, it was 13 late into Lowestoft this morning and Malcom reports 37578 on K16 having lost 16 minutes, meaning it was 7 late departing on the 09.55 to Peterborough. This had been cut to just 3 minutes when it passed Wisbech, 37158 was 10 late through on k4 this morning and K1 with 37566 was 13 late this afternoon. 37160 on L11 suffered a heavier delay though and it was 18 late leaving Wisbech on the 11.18 to Peterborough.
I've left the best till last today, 37564 had a headlight problem first thing and with nothing spare, 20126 was borrowed working through to Peterborough on L12 07.45 ex Lowestoft, it then worked the 12.35 from Peterborough throughout to Lowestoft (unless you know different !!).
20126 seems a bit lost these days  amongst all the elephants ! Last time it was out it was blinded for Lowestoft via Beccles, today it was only going as far as Great Yarmouth (may be 37564 took over there ?). No excuse for it being on the 1X though !
37564 was fit to resume its turn at 17.48 but in the event was 23 late into Lynn after yet another A47 accident at North Burlingham. The relieving driver stood at the Southgates at 21.02 only to see 564 pass by on its way into Lynn, rather than coming out westbound !
Nevertheless his spell waiting in the cold must have given him some incentive to make up time and Bruce reports 564 passing just a couple late on the 22.10 ex Peterborough.

08/12/2011

Monday December 5th 2011 ~ The Christmas Rush

With the Christmas shoppers in full flow now, it is not surprising that the X1 has begun to encounter delays due to the additional traffic. Timekeeping today was OK, but most ran a few minutes late. Surprise of the day on this score was loan vehicle 36180 which somehow manged to be 3 late going west, but a few seconds early returning into Wisbech to form the 15.56 to Lowestoft (K17). I would hazard a guess that this is probably only the second time this year that I have seen this service running before time.
New advertising schemes seen for the first time today include one for Alvin & The Chipmunks in Chipwrecked (groans all round !) and a new rear advert for Wisbech Grammar School. 37157, 37567 & 37571 were noted with these today and I expect further vehicles to acquire them when the adman gets round to King's Lynn.
Diagrams 4, 6 & 12 all had swaps today. K4 operated for most of the day with 37565, but at 16.45 this was changed for 37573. The latter had come across this morning on L12 as far as Lynn where 37578 had taken its place. Finally 37572 on Y6 was changed for 37577 for the 20.35 Lynn to Lowestoft this evening, 577 had already done a full turn having arrived on Y9.
That nice man Grahame Bessey was out with his camera today, so high time we featured some more pictures :
37160 departing Norwich on K16 11.25 to Peterborough today. [G Bessey]


37574 with the 09.25 from Lowestoft negotiates Norwich bus station [G Bessey]
Smile your on Candid Camera ! 37576 loads at Norwich today with K1 the 13.25 departure westbound. [G Bessey]


37565 on its way to Lowestoft with K4 at 11.50 (08.35 ex Peterborough). [G Bessey]
... and to finish from Grahame, a look at what you will  be likely to find on the X2 until further notice. One of the new girls is captured at Norwich bus station today.

 Malcolm also reports seeing 32656 (above) arriving in Lowestoft with the 10.10 X2 from Norwich and in addition, 32652 on the 10.08 to the City. 

07/12/2011

Sunday December 4th 2011 ~ No Parking !

I made my return from Scotland today and with my train scheduled to arrive in Peterborough at 15.48, this seemed a reasonable connection into the 16.10 Peterborough - Lowestoft X1. In the event, a signal failure at Arksey and a very slow approach into Peterborough on the slow line due to engineering work meant I emerged from the station at 16.06.
In the normal X1 bus stop were two rail link coaches, but no sign of a Gemini. A lady already waiting asked me if I was waiting for the King's Lynn bus and a glance at my watch confirmed it was now 16.08. I replied that I was indeed doing just that and that I'd expected it to have arrived by now. She said that a white double decker had been departing just as she came out of the station, so realising that this was our bus, I suggested she followed me to Queensgate on foot where we might just catch it. This was hardly satisfactory as we both had cases and the rain was pouring down. On arrival at Queensgate, there sat 37564 with its driver, a Lowestoft man I believe, already loaded, but with its engine switched off awaiting departure time. I didn't tackle the driver about his early departure from the rail station - it must have been at least five minutes early - as I appreciate that if he had parked on the road, there would have been a huge queue of traffic behind him by the time it was 16.10. Nevertheless, this is a problem which must be fairly regularly encountered when there are rail link buses or cars abandoned in the bus stop and which appears to remain unresolved. Time for this to be attended to I think !
The journey on 37564 was uneventful but comfortable and the bus was well patronised. Expecting to pass a westbound service near Thorney I was surprised when we passed 37576 at Guyhirn around 17 minutes late.
The full X1 compliment today was 37563/4/5/8, 37572/4/5/6/7/9. After last nights incident with 37569, it was decided to send 37157 light to Yarmouth to provide cover for Monday.

04/12/2011

Wednesday 30th November 2011 - Saturday 3rd December 2011 : On The X1

Wednesday : 37577 had an unusual day out today, it was spotted at The Forum in Norwich at an event for 'Bus Users UK' - thanks to Malcolm for the information. Punctuality was pretty poor today, although most services were only between 5 - 10 minutes late through Wisbech. 37158 on Y9 was 11 late and 37157 on K18 13 late. The new bus (36180) was given a safety service, so didn't appear and the same applied to 37160. On a day out to King's Lynn, Malcolm also saw 20126 on the 09.10 Norwich - Yarmouth short.

Thursday : A slightly better day for timekeeping. 36180 was back on K17 and this meant 37573, 37576 & 37160 were all kept in at King's Lynn for attention. Tonight 37578 on L8 was replaced by 37567 off Y7.
Palatines seen by Malcolm today were 34158 on the 10.10 Norwich - Lowestoft X2, 34186 on the 10.10 Norwich - Yarmouth X1 short and 34157 on the 14.08 X2 from Lowestoft.

Friday : Time for me to have an X1 experience. I was at Walpole Highway this morning for Y6 08.33 to Peterborough. 37577 arrived with a smiling Mr. Parry at the wheel, he seems to be my regular chauffeur on my X1 outings. Heavy congestion into Wisbech saw us depart 9 late, but the journey was very pleasant.  I was on my way to Scotland, so had to rely on Bruce and Dale for the rest of the days workings. 37563 on Y7 was swapped for 37565, but everything else stuck to diagram including 36180 which was used on K15 today. 37571/8 were spare at Lynn. 32212 appearing on the X2 13.40 Norwich - Lowestoft was to prove notable !
37566 on Y9 was 12 late past Bruce this morning, but by the time Roy spotted it at Yarmouth this afternoon, it was waiting time. Photo : East Norfolk Bus Blog.

Saturday : Thanks to Richard, Des and Malcolm for keeping me in touch with events. Firstly the appearance of 32656 on the 10.38 Lowestoft - Norwich X2 and 32651 09.40 ex Norwich announced the types arrival on the route. Syd says "The ex London B7s have proven to be unreliable on longer distance work, so the Lowestoft ones used mainly on X2 work are being exchanged for ALX400s.  32212/3/4 are being swopped with 32651/2/4 at Norwich whilst 32207/8 should transfer to Gt Yarmouth over the weekend, releasing 32100/101 to go to Norwich (Caister Roads only short length pair) and 32655/6 then to Lowestoft. The first moves occurred Friday evening,but its not yet confirmed which buses were involved".
On the X1 a fairly unremarkable day with 37158 and 36180 spare at King's Lynn. Tonight, 37569 was in trouble at Acle on K18. It sustained some body and wheelarch damage. This may leave Yarmouth short when the full timetable resumes on Monday.

01/12/2011

Tuesday 29th November 2011 ~ New Technology

Today 36180 entered into service on the X1. It worked K17 as we half expected and was spotted by several of our regulars.  Richard kindly sent me a picture of it on his mobile phone yesterday afternoon, but while writing a blog is up to my capabilities, transferring a picture from mobile phone to PC is a bit beyond them. I must read the manual and see what it is I have to do !
36180 heads up to the A47 flyover at Walpole bang on time on the 13.45 King's Lynn to Peterborough (10.25 ex Lowestoft) this afternoon
Syd says "I am sure you will be inundated with photos of this newcomer, but anyway you can't beat a first day shot.
James Race was on hand to get a couple of shots prior to 36180 departing on the 2040 from Lowestoft this evening, and there is something about a decent night picture as well.
Thanks to James Race for these photographs.
With the new vehicle out on the road, in theory this gave three other vehicles a day off. 37159 was given scheduled maintenance, while the other two were used as maintenance swaps. 37567 on K19 was changed for a repaired 37565 - its injector sleeves had been drawing in air causing its recent failure. L10 had 37579 changed for 37563 and K14 had 37568 taken off for 37579 to work forward.
An A47 accident at Blofield at breakfast time had a knock on effect on a couple of services. Y9 10.18 Wisbech - Peterborough with 37575 had lost just 7 minutes, but L10 (37579) was 16 late going west, reduced to just 7 late going back east. Earlier Rob Brooks reports 37564 on K2 08.21 Wisbech - Lowestoft being slightly delayed departing while the driver "rebuilt his ticket machine".


28/11/2011

Monday November 28th 2011 ~ Announcing The Arrival Of ......

36180 in Norwich. Photo courtesy of East Norfolk Bus Blog / RN. http://eastnorfolkbus.blogspot.com/
To deputise for the damaged 37156, Norwich 'Gemini' 36180 arrived at King's Lynn today on temporary loan for X1 use. After a deep clean at Lynn it should enter service on the route tomorrow (Tuesday).
So a new bus for the route, but today we also had an old one - dear old 20126 was pressed into use. Last night 37565 on Y7 (the final eastbound turn) expired at Hopton. Yarmouth fitters took 37570 to take over and the service resumed at 00.50. Meanwhile 37565 was brought in to Yarmouth for repairs at 04.00. Des drove 37565 this morning on Y13, but it was labouring to gain speed and only reached Gorleston Library on the 07.30 Yarmouth - Lowestoft. It returned to Caister Road garage at reduced speed and the arrival of 20126 off its college turn was then awaited. This worked forward from Yarmouth to Lynn at 09.07 where it was replaced by 37564 off servicing. 20126 went back light to Norwich with a Lynn driver and here a Yarmouth driver took the bus back to Yarmouth garage.
This left King's Lynn with one spare bus, 37158 until the arrival of 36180. Punctuality was pretty good today, 37157 on K16 14.35 from Peterborough was the worst performer 11 late.
Malcolm reports some X2 sightings from Lowestoft, 32208 on the 10.08, 32207 on the 10.38, 32211 on the 13.40 and loanee 60813 on the 15.03 to Norwich.

27/11/2011

Thursday November 24th - Sunday November 27th 2011 ~ Is This The World's Most Boring Blog ?

That was one of the questions the press asked earlier in the year, however, although I would have then disagreed, may be now they would be correct. The X1 service continues to operate as advertised - shock, horror  !
Thursday : Punctuality was pretty average, worst delays through Wisbech were around teatime with both K1 15.48 to Peterborough with 37575 and K2 16.18 with 37572 noted 11 late. At the other end of the scale, 37579 on K5 was a minute early this morning for the 09.56 Wisbech - Lowestoft despite a three car pile up between Thorney and Guyhirn shortly before.
37158 on K16 looks like it was changed for 37574 this afternoon, while 37569 was spare at Lynn after servicing.

Photo courtesy of  Joe Watson

Friday : Notorious for poor timekeeping, today fared well for a Friday. 37575 on Y6 was already 12 late for the 08.48 Wisbech to Peterborough and Bruce saw it 20 late returning. Things went fairly well after this until K14 which was 20 late with 37567, but this was the worst performer and even 37157 on K16 was only 7 late.
37573 was stopped with a compressor problem at King's Lynn, while 37577 replaced 37574 on L11. Presidents 32208/10/11/14 were all noted on the X2 by Malcolm.

Saturday : Once again excellent punctuality for a Saturday with only 37569 on L12 appreciably late at 11 minutes westbound. Earlier the 08.10 from Peterborough was in to Wisbech a record breaking 2 minutes early with 37564. 37573 remained stopped at Lynn and 37158 was the second spare vehicle today. Y7 with 37576 was on time this morning but had to pay a visit to Lowestoft garage before departing on the 14.55 to King's Lynn, while 34157 was on the 14.38 X2.

Sunday : An all B9 operated service as usual. The 17.50 King's Lynn - Peterborough with 37567 was 9 late, but otherwise timekeeping was OK. 37568 which was one of the Lowestoft spare vehicles today was seen by Malcolm in Lowestoft bus station which indicates it may have had a run out on the X2.

24/11/2011

Monday November 21st - Wednesday November 23rd 2011 ~ Exciting Blog !

OK I lied about the title :+)   Another trio of days where the X1 service ran well - don't forget I try and tell it how it is and these days it is usually fine.
I had a nice email from the driver who was in charge of 37156 when it was involved in its accident last week. He says he and his passengers were very lucky to escape unscathed and the police had to do a search (successfully!) for the driver of the car.
Speaking of B7s, a series of problems with 37160 now seems to have been resolved. Various ailments have afflicted this bus, it has received new heating pipes, a new radiator and also suffered electrical problems which affected some of the lighting in the downstairs saloon. It's now back in service and all seems OK.
Monday saw me have a day off from X1 observing. My correspondents made sure I knew what was going on though and the early evening saw yet another A47 collision between Wisbech and Peterborough.
A maintenance swap on Y13 today saw 37566 come in from Lowestoft to be replaced at Lynn by 37570. Des drove 37579 on Y7 this afternoon and encountered bad traffic congestion in Dereham, ten minutes to get out of the Market Place here alone. 37563 on K4 suffered a large windscreen crack today.

Tuesday saw 37160 & 37572 off the road at Lynn and the rest of the fleet  (minus accident damaged 37156) in service. Punctuality wise, 7 minutes was the heaviest delay noted today through Wisbech. Presidents seemed to be much in evidence in Lowestoft today, Malcolm saw 32211 on the 11.08 X2, 32210 appeared on the 10.10 from Norwich, while 32200 & 32204 were seen on Martham services.

Wednesday

37563 had its windscreen sorted and 37573 was also at Lynn for servicing. 37578 was the most delayed X1 this morning, it was 10 late on Y13 11.45 ex King's Lynn to Peterborough, but the 308 Yarmouth - Birmingham National Express coach was just ahead of it running 60 late for some reason.
37160 had its repairs completed today and was in use on K18. 37577 was 13 late into Lowestoft on K19, but by the time it passed through Wisbech at 17.00 it had regained all its lost time.
The X2 saw 34158 & 34157 on successive departures to Norwich at 10.38 & 11.08, while loan Volvo single decker 60813 was also on the route along with 32212. Thanks to Malcolm for the gen.

21/11/2011

Thursday 17th November 2011 - Sunday 20th November 2011 : Omniblog

Yes another omnibus edition , thanks largely to the X1 fleet behaving themselves. I was out sampling beer with Peter last night and he said "When you do several days in one entry in the blog, can you do the days in reverse, otherwise it seems in the wrong order". Well I've had a long think about this and the answer is No ! Oh Dear that's another friend I've lost - and my oldest one at that. I don't think I could handle writing it backwards Peter it's as simple as that. Anyway, see what you think of this :

Thursday 17th November

Punctuality was quite good, with 3-4 minutes being the average delay. 37157 on L11 passed me 10 late at 11.30, but by the time it returned from Peterborough (due by me at 12.50) it was just a minute late.
37579 was 12 late into Lowestoft with Y7 and departed 4 late on the return 14.55 to King's Lynn says Malcolm. 37574 on Y6 was changed for 37575 at some point while 37160 was off the road at Lynn for repairs.

Friday 18th November

37574 was at Vancouver Avenue today for its turbocharger to be replaced. 37160 was back in traffic on K3. There were some unusual diversions around Wisbech this afternoon. K15 with 37568 was spotted by me coming in from Peterborough about 14 late at 15.04 through the Old Market having travelled via Wisbech St. Mary and then Jamie R saw K2 coming in to the town over the Norwich Road speedbumps with 37566 at around 16.20.
Until L12 services through Wisbech seemed to run well, but Y13 with 37570 was viewed on Lynn Road running 13 late on the 13.56 to Lowestoft. K14 ws also delayed and was 19 late in from Peterborough for the 14.26 eastbound.
As usual on a Friday, K16 saw the heaviest delay and fittingly it was dear old 37159 in charge of the 14.35 ex Peterborough, seen arriving Wisbech 31 late and then viewed 28 late at Walpole by Bruce. & Rob Brooks.
K17 and 37576 ran 21 late eastbound but after this services gradually returned to normal.

Saturday 19th November

An incident on the A47 between Wisbech and Guyhirn saw the road closed until 15.30 today. All services were diverted via Wisbech St. Mary. 37160 was kept at Lynn garage with its interior lights malfunctioning and 37563 also had a day off here for attention to some panels.
'First' seem to have decided that it's about time they challenged Konectbus on fair promotions , both Des and Sam sent me this link :
http://www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/suffolk_norfolk/travel_news/news_initiatives/?item=3511

Sunday 20th November

An all B9 operated service with minimal delays noted. 37565/7/8, 37571/2/3/4/5/8/9 were the buses used. 37572 is now the highest mileage B9, it has now done just over 368,000 miles !

18/11/2011

Wednesday November 16th 2011 ~ A Rarity

Following last night's accident which occurred east of Thorney Village, 37156 was taken off the road and today sent to the Full Circle workshops for assessment. This brings the spare X1 fleet down to two vehicles temporarily and both these are at King's Lynn. Problems this morning then when 37570 was failed at Lowestoft with a dashboard warning of a brake problem. This meant nothing available for L12 07.45 Lowestoft - Peterborough. B10M Premiere coach 20126 was joined by L12's driver at Yarmouth after it had completed its regular college contract and then went empty to Norwich to resume the service.
20126 on Nene Quay this lunchtime and a friendly wave from John.
It was 5 late through Wisbech but returned bang on time. Unfortunately a lady with a wheelchair was waiting at Walpole Highway for the 12.35 ex Peterborough, so I gave her warning that the service was a coach a couple of minutes before it arrived. Not sure whether they waited for the next low floor X1 or NG service or whether they managed with the coach.
By the time 20126 returned to its destination, 37570 had been fixed and this did the remainder of L12 commencing with the 17.48 from Lowestoft.
20126 heading back home near Walpole Highway on the 12.35 from Peterborough. Eagle eyed Mr. James spotted that the blind reads 'Lowestoft via Beccles' !

The appearance of the B10M was not the only incident today. At 16.35 a four vehicle crash on the A47 near Middleton saw an initial diversion via Blackborough End aborted due to congestion and the police then closed the road throughout from the Hardwick roundabout to the A1122 roundabout west of Swaffham.

Delays were extensive and K5 (due Lynn at 17.07) together with Y6 and Y7 all rolled into Lynn at about 18.50. This meant there was nothing westbound, so when 37158 on K1 arrived to do the 18.02 to Lowestoft, it was turned round to go to Peterborough in the place of K5 and Y6. K1 was cancelled and eventually a driver took 37565 empty to Lowestoft in lieu. K2 had Mr. Speed in charge (he was supposed to take K1). K5 and Y6 had been stuck on the A47 and Y7 travelled via the diversion route. L8 arrived into Lynn just 12 late as things recovered. Further east 37566 on K14 travelled via Filby eastbound after queueing traffic at Acle. 37575 on K15 took the normal route and was 10 late into Yarmouth.
Problems with a few B9s saw 37569 on K19 come off at 14.37 to be replaced by 37160, however, this just managed the leg to Peterborough and back to Lynn before it was removed with its heaters not working. 37578 off repairs worked forward to Lowestoft. K17 had problems with 37571 and at 16.32 the aforementioned 37569 replaced it. Finally 37572 on Y6 was swapped for 37571 for the 20.35 Lynn to Lowestoft.

17/11/2011

Tuesday November 15th 2011 ~ Collision Course

37576 running about 5 minutes in arrears this lunchtime on K15 12.45 King's Lynn to Peterborough (the 09.25 ex Lowestoft)

The day began well with morning services running to time. 37579 on Y7 seemed intent on not losing any time and positively rushed past my vantage point on the 10.05 from Peterborough, after lunch K17 with 37565 was 9 late westbound from Wisbech and then K18 with 37563, which had replaced 37566 at Lynn was 7 late and K19, K1 & K2 all ran five late with 37575/572/573 respectively.
Over at Lowestoft, Malcolm reports 32210 out of service at the bus station with Palatine 34157 on the 14.38 X2 and 32213 on the 14.40 1a to Martham.
Ryan takes me to task for failing to report the reinstatement of vintage Olympian 34333 at Great Yarmouth - it is purely intended to help out on Bernard Matthews contract work for the time being.
It was a bad evening on the X1 route though with Y6 needing to have 37578 removed with a water leak and 37568 off L11 worked forward from Lynn to Lowestoft at 21.35.
Just before 22.00 37156 on L12 was involve in a RTA at Thorney. An errant car was in head on collision with the B7 and 37156 sustained considerable damage to the front and side panels, fortunately the driver and passengers on L12 escaped unscathed. 37571 on Y13 (the last service of the day) was able to take delayed passengers onward.

Sunday / Monday November 13th/14th 2011 ~ Double Blog

Sunday seemed a very quiet day, but several services ran late. The service was worked by B9s 37565, 37568 -573 & 37577 - 579.
Monday was better timings wise, some services ran slightly early and Y13 with 37159 was 2 early heading westbound. K14 had 37570 swapped for 37156 at lunchtime, but as the latter didn't leave the depot until its bus station departure time of 12.15, the service was 6 late at Wisbech. 37158 & 37160 were out of use at King's Lynn. One of these was viewed on the Southgates webcam arriving from the Hardwick direction at 15.15, presumably after a test run. I missed K2 this morning as it was bang on time, but Phil M says he followed it all the way to Thorney with 37577. Malcolm saw three Presidents at Lowestoft this afternoon, 32211 leaving the bus station not in service, 32210 on the 14.38 and 32207 on the 15.03 X2 services to Norwich.

13/11/2011

Tuesday 8th November - Saturday 12th November 2011 ~ All Is Well

Another combined blog and whilst it doesn't mean I can make an individual daily blog, it must be pleasing for 'First' who seem to be enjoying a very settled spell operating the X1.
This week saw the three spare vehicles all still at King's Lynn and this gave the chance for some small remedial jobs to be carried out by Richard and his team at King's Lynn.

Tuesday 8th

Light traffic meant punctuality was pretty good today, but even I wasn't prepared for 37156 on K14 12.48 Wisbech to Peterborough running a minute early, as well as 37159 on L10 11.35 from Peterborough also a few seconds ahead of schedule. 37160 returned from Volvo meaning that all the B7s have now had their brake disc mods carried out. Swaps today included 37578 for 37572 on Y6 at some point, 37579 passing through Wisbech on both Y9 and K17 with Y9 believed to have gone forward to Lowestoft from Lynn at 12.32 with 37160 and K17 arriving at Lynn with 37574. Strangely 574 then took over from 564 on Y13, so why they didn't simplify things by keeping 574 on K17 and putting 579 on Y13 is anyone's guess. All Geminis were used at some point apart from 37157 which was at Lynn being serviced. Malcolm reports "32212 on the 10.08 X2 to Norwich with 32207 on the 09.10 from the city. 60808 reported on an X2 yesterday was on the 101 town route today".

Wednesday 9th

Almost all services were 3 - 5 minutes late at Wisbech today. K16 as usual was worst performer with 37159 (seems to be its favourite turn) 9 late on the 14.35 from Peterborough. 37577 was working L8 for the third day in a row. 37564/67/73 were all spare at Lynn. After yesterdays' Sightings of the booked Presidents on the X2, today was just the opposite with Malcolm seeing Palatines 34155/7/8 in use. President 32213 was on the 14.40 service 1 to Martham.

Thursday 10th

37577 switched to L10 today and was a minute early in each direction this morning. Timekeeping was pretty good, though 37576 on K17 was 5 late westbound and 12 late coming back on the 15.05 from Peterborough. 37566/8/9 all had a day off at Vancouver Avenue.

Friday 11th

37575 was in a spot of bother on K2 today, I think it broke down in Norwich but that needs confirming as I write. Naturally there were several options to replace it and 37577 took over the turn. Friday timekeeping deteriorated in  the afternoon, but nowhere near as bad as sometimes. No prizes for guessing the tardiest bus, yes it was 37159 on K16 again - this time a mere 14 late on the 14.35 from Peterborough. L12 had 37574 to Lynn this morning for 37564 forward. 37563 was 8 late into Lowestoft on L8 and Malcolm saw Presidents 32207/12 back on the X2.

Saturday 12th

Eleven minutes was the maximum lateness noted through Wisbech today, this being the busy 10.18 to Peterborough with 37576 (pictured above) which was a slightly improved 8 late returning. The  funny noises 37575 was making yesterday were repaired in time for it to work K1 today. This turn sometimes gets a B7 on a Saturday, but today the trio of 37156/58/60 were spare at King's Lynn.
Tonight 37563 which has had a badly glaring nearside headlight all week was taken off L8 and 37577 off L11 replaced it.
37157 pictured in Peterborough with the Saturday 11.35 to Lowestoft (Y10). Photo courtesy of Tony Irle

08/11/2011

Friday 4th - Monday 7th November 2011 ~ A Few Notes

Very little to report over the last few days, so here goes :

Friday : 37159 returned from Volvo after attention to its brake discs and this just leaves 37160 to be seen to. Malcolm saw Presidents 32208/14 at Lowestoft depot with 32211 on the 10.38 X2. 37569 spent the day at King's Lynn having complete new pipework fitted above the nearside rear wheel after its recent problems.

Saturday : A strange swap involving K16 & K18 today, originally allocated 37157 & 37156, this afternoon they looked to have swapped turns with 37157 8 late on K18. I wonder if the drivers took the wrong buses from the garage ? 37576 was kept at King's Lynn with an adblu fault and 37564 suffere a similar problem on K19 this afternoon with 37578 replacing it.

Sunday  : All B9s, err that's it. Thanks to Bruce and Malcolm for sightings.


37563 on K2 in Gorleston at lunchtime. Photo from Des Speed
Monday : 37563 on K2 (above) lost time this afternoon, seen 18 late departing Thorney eastbound. Earlier things had been much better with even K16 with 37159 being dead on time at Terrington westbound.   37572 on K3 was changed for 37566 at Lynn at some stage, both because of servicing commitments.
37156 had a special guest on board today, Snowy from the new TinTin movie on L11 15.20 eastbound from Norwich. The proof is here !

04/11/2011

Thursday November 3rd 2011 ~ Jack & Jill Went Up The Hill .......

Peter had a day out today via the X1, I passed him waiting for Y6 (37564) at Walton Road at 08.40. It was running a little late, Peter says "I was beginning to get a bit worried, especially with the congestion going into Wisbech. I was aiming for the 09.46 train and it looked unlikely to start with, but our excellent driver went straight to the railway station and I made it comfortably". He adds, "Been on the Guided Busway into Cambridge today, now these buses would be good for the X1, high back leather seats, wi-fi and power points".
It was Des who drove Y6 from Yarmouth as its rostered driver didn't turn up. He was 6 late departing, but on time by Norwich.
Timekeeping was pretty good today, the only exception being L8 which expired at Peterborough this morning, Jamie Robinson texted to say "37569 in Queensgate with hazard lights on". The poor B9 had a recurrence of its coolant problems, Jack & Jill's pail of water would have been handy. Instead 37565 off servicing at Lynn took up the turn at 12.02 to Lowestoft.
37158 returned from Volvo yesterday and was back in traffic on K3 today. This leaves 37159/160 to be dealt with and 37159 was taken off L8 at 09.00 and sent to Volvo Norwich for this to be done. 37569 replaced it but then failed (see above). 37579 should be back tomorrow after its MOT today.

Wednesday November 2nd 2011 ~ Much Better



37566 running 8 minutes late this morning passing Boskoop Farm with the 07.35 ex Peterborough.

A much better day today, Congestion in Wisbech was particularly bad this morning, 37575 on Y6 was 12 late departing, but had cut this to 6 returning east. Y9 with 37570 was 6 late going to Peterborough, but only a minute late returning, but the exceptional performance was yesterday with of all things a B7. 37160 passed me at 09.28 (8 late) and returned from Peterborough at 10.49 (1 early), quite extraordinary and one item I failed to mention amongst all yesterday's confusion. Just when it looked as though things were going well today, L10 failed to run westbound - yesterday it was 49 late, today it didn't run at all. The following service, L11 was itself 6 late with a packed 37567. The answer to L10s whereabouts was answered later when 37157 passed by on L10 eastbound 17 late at 12.37, presumably having gone light to Peterborough - I may have missed it, but I don't think so.
This afternoon I was out and about and saw 37159 on K16 unusually bang on time at Walpole, next was K17 with that nice Mr. Parry - Doreen must have been impressed, I saw her getting off 37565 at 16.04 at Walton Road, dead on time. Let's hope she hadn't been waiting for L10 earlier.
Earlier in the afternoon their was an unusual sight on the Southgates webcam with two B9s on the roundabout alongside each other, 37563 on a test run after servicing and 37565 on K17.

As a postscript to yesterday, here is a map of the unusual diversionary route used. Today 37576 was back in service, windows repaired on K19, after its altercation with as it turned out, a beet lorry not a skip lorry as originally quoted.

02/11/2011

Tuesday November 1st 2011 ~ Halloween Nightmare

Shortly after 5am this morning, a car ran out of control and collided with a lorry in a lay-by on the A47 at North Burlingham. Unfortunately, there was a fatality and this resulted in the road being closed for seven hours.
Naturally this meant the X1 became embroiled in queues, diversions and all round chaos. Today was the first occasion where the lack of spare buses became a major player in what ran and what didn't.
As we have mentioned lately, Lowestoft currently has no spare X1 vehicle, so this morning when the time came for the 08.55 Peterborough departure, the incoming service not having arrived, there was nothing to replace it. The depots overnight incumbents, 37568, 37566, 37157 and 37563 had already departed on L8, L10, L11 & L12 respectively.
 Stephen Gowler on 'East Anglia Buses' Yahoo Group says " I left Lowestoft on the 09.25 (K15) this morning, full to the rafters as the 08.55 (K14) never showed. We arrived in Great Yarmouth 8 minutes down, and as we were due to leave, the driver announced that he wouldn't be going to Acle. We headed back to Gorleston then set off for St. Olaves and Haddiscoe, then to the McDonalds roundabout at Gillingham and into Norwich along the X2 route. We met 37575 between Gorleston and St. Olaves and another Gemini near Thurton, so this must have been the official diversion".
K14 had set out from Lynn with 37567, so on arrival at Lowestoft it then assumed the mantle of K15, as Stephen says, departing at 09.25. So what of the original K15. Well 37576 which was working the turn had a slight argument with a skip lorry on the diversion, smashing a trio of upstairs windows. It was seen in Lowestoft bus station by Malcolm Hicks who says "It departed empty at 10.20 'not in service' with a blonde lady at the wheel". Meanwhile K16 which was due to depart at 09.55 had not arrived and eventually 37570 turned up just in time to depart back westbound as K18 at 10.55. As for K17, this had set out with 37565, but it is thought that late running meant it went back to Lynn empty to regain time.
When K18 arrived at Lowestoft (37577), it became K19 and this pattern continued with K19 (37575) becoming K1. Not sure where the original K1 got to though as 37572 later became L11 !
Back at the western end, K5 with 37564 was taken off at Lynn at 10.30 with 37156 which had just returned from Volvo working forward eastbound. Surprisingly, 37158 was then sent to Volvo to undergo the operation with its brake discs. With the dire shortage of buses, I would have expected this work to be put 'on hold'.
Repercussions of the accident further east did not immediately become apparent and Y6, the first through working from Yarmouth was almost on time from Wisbech with 37573. Later Y9 also departed near time (37571 just 3 late), but L10 got lost in the delays and eventually appeared wedged to the seams with 37566, passing my window at 11.39, about 49 late. Possibly because of this, L11 did not run over the western section and 37157 which had been on it terminated at Lynn. L11 resumed as the 13.02 to Lowestoft with 37572, or at least that's what we think :+O
Services to Peterborough from Wisbech then became very fragmented. The 11.48 (L12) was bang on time with 37563, the 12.18 (Y13) was 10 late, K14 eventually appeared 25 late with 37157 - this had restarted the turn at Lynn after it had failed to run from Lowestoft (see earlier in this tome).
Tony Irle says "37157 departed Peterborough rail station at 14.05 to Lowestoft and 37565 also seen at the station at 14.09". Well this is explained as follows : K15 did not run, but it did come back as the 14.05 from Peterborough with 37565 - this means it is feasable (especially today) that 37565 worked Lowestoft to Peterborough empty !
K16 with 37567 was only about 5 minutes adrift - but that's because 567 had started on K14, then became K15 and by now had dropped to K16 !  K17 did not run and it looks as if this turn (the 10.25 Lowestoft - Peterborough) was cancelled in its entirety - well there's not much you can do when you run out of buses is there ?
 K18 was still 37570, but 19 late which meant nothing left Wisbech westbound between 13.48 and 15.07. K19 & K1 were within about 12 minutes of their booked time, but after K1 departed at 16.00, there was a 55 minute lapse until the late running K2 appeared with a well loaded 37574 running 37 late. K3 should have been next, but on arrival at Lynn 37159 was turned round to form K17 16.32 to Lowestoft, this left nothing for K3 so the 16.15 to Peterborough & 17.40 return were cancelled, cue Peter Risebrow who says " Got to Peterborough rail station forecourt at 18.11 to see an X1 disappearing - no problem I thought, I'll nip over to the bus station and catch it. No such luck, so I joined the passengers waiting for the 18.20. 37569 (K4) arrived at 18.40 and left at 18.45. To add insult to injury, as I got off at Walsoken, 37156 came along on K5 right time ! I'm still trying to work out what the X1 Peter saw at 18.11 was, but there you are. Cheryl Cleary reports "There was a man in'First' gear sitting behind me on Y6 this morning, turned out he was monitoring our driver" - probably a Drive Green inspection I would think. She continues " Tonight I was waiting as usual for K2 at Thorney, it eventually appeared at 18.11 with 37574, about 39 late. The driver explained about the smashed windows on 576 earlier which had left them short and apologised for the delay".
One positive out of today was that L10 and 37566 managed to regain all its lost time by this evening and with one of our most capable drivers, even managed to be spot on time into Wisbech at 21.55 from Peterborough. Something which is rarely witnessed. Finally thanks must go to my colleague and fellow X1 nutter, Bruce Billingham, for his help in trying to work out what exactly happened today. Come to think of it, he's probably still looking out for the missing K3 - it's OK Bruce you can go to bed now !

01/11/2011

Monday October 31st 2011 ~ No Slack

The week began with zero spare buses ! 37579 was on MOT prep, 37575 awaiting a visit from the Volvo technician for attention to its compressor trouble and 37156 at Volvo Norwich having a brake disc modification - this being the reason for the B7s visiting their premises, not a maximum speed change as I'd hoped.
Many services ran the best part of 10 minutes late today. Y7 with 37160 was 8 late from Wisbech at 09.26 on the 09.18 to Peterborough, but almost amazingly returned just 2 late. L10 was delayed en route and 37573 on the 11.35 from Peterborough was 21 late at Wisbech. At King's Lynn it was changed for a revitalised 37575. Subsequent service ran late, but as usual it was K16 which suffered worst, 37157 was 9 late westbound and 15 late returning. 37573 was soon back in action taking K18 to Lowestoft from Lynn at 17.02 replacing 37159.
37569 was in trouble for the second successive evening, tonight it failed at wisbech at 17.30 with a water leak on K4. a temporary repair saw it limp on , but it was replaced for the 19.35 Lynn to Lowestoft by 37160 which had come in on Y7.
Over on the X2, missing 32211 was back in service today with 66126 working the 13.38 ex Lowestoft. Malcolm reports K15 with 37576 arriving in Lowestoft 13 late and then departing 6 late on the 09.25 to Peterborough. Bruce's favourite 34108 was earning its keep on the 09.40 Nrwich to Yarmouth X1 shuttle.

Sunday October 30th 2011 ~ X2 Review

Not much of note on the X1 today, thanks to Bruce for his observations. 37569 was changed at Lynn this afternoon with a burst pipe and 37576 took its place on the 16.35 to Lowestoft.
Nice to hear from Syd again regarding my recent query on the X2......."A bit late as the request was last week, but I may be able to shed a little light on the missing B7s on X2.
   32211 had been having major engine work (and also visited Volvo during the course of work ) Its last sighting on X2 was 9th October. 32213 has problems with its retarder so was sidelined at Gasworks Road, the last time it was noted on X2 was 16 August when it was on the 2220 departure from Norwich, although she was seen on 29th September operating the 1110 service 1 from Lowestoft to Martham. 32214 is a bit of a mystery as I dont seem to have any details of X2 workings to hand, although it was reported to be overheating in service, which may restrict it to contracts etc. Hope this helps fill some gaps".
Well things are obviously a bit desperate at Lowestoft still with 20126 appearing on Friday aand Yarmouth's 34112 on Thursday.

Saturday October 29th 2011 ~ A Postscript

How could I forget ? When doing Friday's blog, I forgot the highlight of the day over at Lowestoft. Malcolm reported coach 20126 out again, this time on the X2. It was seen arriving on the 14.10 from Norwich, returning on the 15.48. 66126 was seen broken down in the bus station.
Moving on to today, 37575 was sent out on K4 this morning, but by the time it had worked to Peterborough and back, it was unwell with compressor trouble. 37564 took over for the 10.02 Lynn to Lowestoft, despite it being taken off L8 yesterday to enable it to be serviced on Monday. 37579 was also at Lynn spare, but as this is due an MOT next week, so 37564 was preferred.
Punctuality was very good today over in the west, but Malcolm reports 37576 on L8 being 17 late into Lowestoft on L8 before departing westbound just 3 late.

30/10/2011

Friday October 28th 2011 ~........ and Two Come Along at Once

If you were around in the early days of the Geminis on the X1, you may recall that seeing them in pairs was a regular sight. Not so now of course and I can't recall the last time I saw this until today.......read on.
37575 was returned from a week at the Volvo workshops today. It was given a routine service at King's Lynn and should be back on the road tomorrow. Going the other way was 37156 and all the B7s are expected to visit Volvo in the next few weeks, but why I know not. Could they be having a go at upping the top speed again ?
37156 was out today, it worked L11 before being replaced at Lynn by 37577 for the 10.45 to Peterborough. By this time westobound services from Wisbech were losing time : L11 8 late, L12 with 37563 12 late and Y13 well down with 572 17 late.
In the afternoon, K14 passed me bound for Lowestoft just 4 late, K15 went to Peterborough 12 late and was late by the same margin coming back. K16 was - very surprisingly for a Friday, just 6 late for the 15.26 to Lowestoft with 37159. K17 had 37568 15 late westbound and 22 late coming back east. There was then a sevice gap before 37157 appeared on K18 exactly 30 late. I had seen it passing the Southgates 25 late, but the congestion into Wisbech had lost it another 5 minutes. Only 8 minutes behind was 37571 on K19. So you've probably guessed what happened next, K18 & K19 returned in convoy both passing me at 16.56, 36 & 6 late respectively.
This evening L10 was in trouble with 37566, it was unable to proceed from Lynn on the 19.50 to Peterborough. Surprisingly though, it wasn't replaced so the service was cancelled. Mr Robinson was due to catch it at 21.15 from Peterborough, so I drove over to pick him up. A lonely figure waiting at Thorney Toll for L10 was still there when I returned from Peterborough and L12 with 37563 was passed on time at Guyhirn. I am told that a B9 was sent to Wisbech to work the 22.00 back to Lynn.
Not good though for a Friday night. Earlier L8 had 37564 removed and replaced by 37160 off Y7. 564 is due for servicing on Monday.

28/10/2011

Thursday October 27th 2011 ~ B7 Convoy

37573 at Yarmouth Market Gates this afternoon with K4 14.12 to Peterborough. Photo courtesy of Richard Kirk.
By some strange quirk of fate, three consecutively numbered B7s came out today with 37157 on Y9, 37158 on L10 and 37159 on L11. All were running fairly near to time, but a B7 was back on K18 with 37160 passing Wisbech westbound 16 late this afternoon. Someone with a sense of humour was rostering today, as Y13 had 37565, K14 37566 & K15 37567, so another trio followed each other !
The two spare buses today were 37568 & 37574, both stopped for routine servicing at Lynn. The shortage of power at Lowestoft resulted in 34112 on loan from Yarmouth working on the X2.
Terence reports that an accident at about 16.00 on Magdalen Way, Gorleston involving two vehicles resulted in X1 services being diverted via Trinity Avenue and St. Anne's Crescent. The road reopened around 17.00.

Wednesday October 26th 2011 ~ Busy Bee Sevens

I can never quite believe the decision made a few years ago when the order for dedicated B9 Geminis for the X1 was cut from 20 to 17. Had the original plan been kept, then surely appearances of B7s on the X1 would have been much less common ? The speed handicap of 49mph may seem trivial, but the figures show that services which regularly get B7s are always the ones more inclined to run late.
Here in the west, the service you definitely wouldn't want to trust to get you to Peterborough to catch a train, is K16, the 09.55 from Lowestoft and guess what ? Yes, it's the diagram which is most often a B7 !
 K14 is probably the second best bet, but the use of a B7 on K18 seems to have ceased on a regular basis this month. From Lowestoft & Yarmouth, the use of B7s is fairly indiscriminate, but the shorter turns seem favourite. In particular L11 and also Y7 and Y9. Refuelling on the longer turns is a daily occurrence and one wonders what the bemused passengers think of spending 5 minutes of their journey spent in Vancouver Avenue refuelling. Shame it could have been so much better. Mind you in the winter, give me a B7 any day, at least they are warm and I'm sure the seats are more comfortable and better spaced.
Today K1 had 37157 throughout the day which is extremely rare on a weekday. The only time this happened before was with 37158 on 13th October 2009. Everything ran pretty well to time today until L11 which was 37160, 15 late from Wisbech westbound and 10 late returning. K14 was also a B7 casualty, it was 14 late on the 13.35 from Peterborough with 37158.
Swaps were in evidence again today, but on a lesser scale. Y13 with 37579 came off at Lynn and 37567 off servicing did the 11.45 to Peterborough. L10 had 37565 removed for 37579 on the 13.02 to Lowestoft. K18 with 37563 was then given 37565 for the 14.15 to Peterborough and finally K2 had 37578 taken off for 37563 on the 15.45 westbound.
On the X2, Malcolm noted Dart 43465 working the 13.38 to Norwich. Thanks also to Brian for his observations today.

Tuesday October 25th 2011 ~ The Seven Year Itch

Exactly seven years ago today, I started to write down the vehicles used on the X1, transferring them into a MS Works chart each day. All seems a very long while ago now - all coaches then of course. Over the years the service has used up to 21 vehicles, though back in 2004 the figure was 18. Today the service uses 19 Monday to Saturday and 10 on Sundays.
There were wholesale swaps at King's Lynn this afternoon to fit in servicing requirements and to facilitate repairs on some ailing buses. The changes began at 12.30 with Y9 when 37576 was replaced by 37566 from the garage. At 13.00 L10 saw 37577 changed for 37572, the latter again fresh from the garage. With both spare buses now used, the changes proceeded as follows :
14.00 K18 37569 in, 37576 out.
14.30 K19 37564 in, 37577 out. 
15.00 K1 37571 in, 37569 out.
15.30 K2 37570 in, 37564 out
16.00 K16 37159 in, 37571 out
In the case of 37569, 37564 & 37571, they all laid over for an hour before continuing on the route. At least one bus had an oil leak.
Despite all the swaps, timekeeping was fair with the latest service through Wisbech being L12 and 37578 nine minutes late. This evening 37578 had lost a lot more time after an RTA in Bracondale and was noted at Dereham running 53 late (sched departure is 20.44).
There were no Geminis out on the X2 again - not possible with Lowestoft not having one spare of course. Michael Bryant reports that of the Presidents, 32207/08/10/12 are the only X2 regulars at the moment, with 32214 having been absent for about 2 weeks, 32211 the same for about 2 months, whereas 32213 has been missing from Michael's sightings for about six months now. Any news on these absentees would be welcome.
There was fun in the East tonight. Des drove 37579 into Lowestoft on K4 whereupon it is due to go light to Yarmouth garage. On arrival at Lowestoft at 22.30, Dart 43453 on the last Lowestoft - Martham service 1 was in trouble, a non-starter with Lowestoft fitters in attendance. In the end Des waited with the Dart and 37579 worked the 1 to Martham. Once started and on his way with 43453, he saw the last southbound service 1 also in trouble at Hopton with 34186. This service continued with the Dart and Des then found himself with his second broken down bus of the night, awaiting fitters from Yarmouth. 34186 had air in the fuel system and once rectified Des drove it back to Yarmouth garage.

27/10/2011

Monday October 24th 2011 ~ Juggling

It appears that the malady affecting 37575 is sufficiently bad to warrant it being absent for most of this week. Lucky then that no Geminis were booked to have MOTs this week. I am told that the mysterious move of 37578 from Lowestoft to Lynn on Friday was authorised to get it back to Lynn for maintenance. A Lynn driver travelled over to Lowestoft to collect it. As I suspected, this leaves Lowestoft with no spare tacho fitted vehicles for the X1 - could be interesting ?
A rare failure in service occurred today when 37573 on K17 was halted at Narborough with a water leak whilst working Y9 12.32 King's Lynn to Lowestoft. Fortunately 37566 which had earlier worked K4 07.05 from Peterborough as far as Lynn was freshly serviced and this was sent to Narborough to relieve 37573.
There were other swaps today too. 37563 took K4 forward at 10.02 from Lynn to Lowestoft and then shortly afterwards, K5 also changed buses, 37159 in for 37570 out. Y6 with 37572 had this removed at 17.40 and a revived 37573 worked forward to Peterborough at 17.45, however, Des takes up the story.
 "I took Y6 forward from the Southgates into Lynn at 20.23, we left on time, but the curse of  37573 at Narborough struck again and upon leaving the village, the dashboard stop light and accompanying warning claxon was sounding. All other dashboard readings were fine and the temperatures were all normal, so I proceeded to Swaffham where I checked the water level. The header tank was empty and I assume it was an airlock somewhere in the coolant system causing the warnings, it having used the reserve supply in the header tank. A click on the computer control stalk cleared the dashboard and noise. Trouble was it had to be cleared every 20 seconds or so for the remaining three hours of journey time !".
Many thanks to Bruce for supplying a full list of sightings today - I was at home having a new carpet fitted, also to Malcolm for his help as always.

Sunday October 23rd 2011 ~ Mishaps

The usual quiet sort of Sunday, but a few items of note. A burst water main near the Tinkers Drove turn in Wisbech meant 3 way temporary lights were in situ for much of the day. This delayed many services by up to 15 minutes. 37565 on Y8 was removed this evening and swapped for 37158 after the former's drivers seatbelt jammed. In the east, Malcolm saw 37160 being used on the X2 - it arrived in Lowestoft on the 09.50 from Norwich and then did the 11.20 return.
Here are some more recent advertising campaigns currently in use :

24/10/2011

Saturday 22nd October 2011 ~ Hanging On

With 37575 at Volvo and no spare X1 vehicle at Lowestoft, things seem to be hanging by a thread at the moment. Today all the other buses in the pool were in use at some stage.
L11 looks to have had 37159 changed for 37576 at some point during the day at Lynn, while L12 was also swapped, 37570 which had started the turn and was needed for servicing on Monday was changed for 37578.
37570 heads away from Walpole on L12 11.15 King's Lynn to Peterborough (L12) today. Its rear overall advert is much the worse for wear now as can be seen here.

Further to recent correspondence regarding long distance services and the suitability of the buses provided, Tony Powell says "The Milton Keynes to Peterborough X4 is due to be provided with new Scania /E400s shortly. These will be to Stagecoach Gold Standard and will have leather coach type seats. Hopefully the same type as on the X5 Cambridge - Oxford coaches in which case I will be well pleased. With the full journey on the X1 taking 4 hours 30 minutes (with basic bus seating) and the X4 just an hour less, it does make me wonder how many passengers ever do the entire journey on either service".

A fair compliment of passengers here on 37579, but doubtful if any are doing the full Peterborough - Lowestoft journey ? 37579 is negotiating Wisbech Horsefair roundabout to work K14 14.26 to Lowestoft this afternoon.