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Wednesday 9th March 2011 ~ All Hands On Deck

You never know with the X1 - you simply never know. What looks to be down as a straightforward sort of day can change in a matter of minutes. This morning, for example, with 37566 & 37570 predicted for the first two westbound turns from Great Yarmouth, everything seemed fine, however, the message then came through that 37566 was required at Lowestoft for servicing. Normally, 566 would have done the first part of Y6 before being changed at Lowestoft, but urgency seemed to be the order of the day and instead 20115 was substituted on Y6 while Des reports 37566 departing Yarmouth garage at 09.21 with '8a Caister' on the destination screen !
I was chatting away to Bruce at 08.35 expecting to see the usual Gemini appear , but instead 20115 came looming up in the mirror. As a matter of respect, I jumped out of the car and took this picture :
The rather unfortunately positioned roadworks board was indicating some temporary lights installed just beyond Bruce's farm. These were in operation for a couple of hours while stolen manhole covers were replaced - TGBs no doubt ?
Richard A says "Saw you out with your camera this morning, I was passenger on 20115 as it went past you on the way into Peterborough", he continues "Just to confirm, bus 34110 WAS the last Volvo Olympian built (certainly for uk and maybe world market). There was an article about it in a BUSES Focus magazine some time back". Thanks to all of you who responded on this one. Sam was first off the mark. Check out the comments for a more detailed explanation.
Anyway, back to this morning and having seen Y6 we continued chatting and were discussing the non-appearance of K2. This is due off Walpole at 08.31 and it was now 10 minutes after this with no sign of it. I carried on to work at this point and still didn't pass it, nor was it in the Horsefair.
Marcus comes to our aid here and says "37572, operating the 0744 P’boro- Lowestoft, was parked up in a lay-by between Eye and Thorney with a broken windscreen. Driver was waiting to transfer passengers to the following journey".  Ah, so all is explained. I then saw K3 - most unusually with 37571 - at the Clarkson Memorial / Town Bridge traffic lights, running 9 late with a double compliment of passengers.
As if all this wasn't enough, 37570 on Y7 was turned round at Lynn to work back east as K2 to Lowestoft vice 37572 at 09.02. This left no vehicle for Y7 08.45 to Peterborough. 37578 should have been available, but this suffered vandalism while working K19 last night with a rock smashing one of the lower deck nearside windows in the Norwich area. 578 dropped its one remaining passenger at Little Fransham and then proceeded empty to King's Lynn.
Back to Y7 then and with 37577 still undergoing repairs, the cupboard was bare as Jim Murray would have said. This meant Scania 65532 was borrowed to fill the breach and to prove it, here is a picture taken by Bruce. It was on time going west, but 15 late returning for some reason.

At this point, King's Lynn garage main man Richard Tucker would probably have been glad he had chosen this week to be on holiday - and to think I thought he never took any time off !
Some pretty swift movements then took place to get 37572's windscreen fixed, so that it was back at Lynn nicely in time to relieve 65532 on Y7, the Gemini working forward at 11.32 to Lowestoft. All things considered, 'First' should be congratulated for the smooth way they reacted to this unexpected situation.
More temporary lights on Lynn Road in Wisbech were adding up to 10 minutes to the schedules today. That was until 37159 on K16 passed through 16 late on the 13.48 Wisbech to Peterborough. It had made up 3 minutes of this loss on its return.
I had a text this evening announcing '37574 at Clarkson Memorial lights at 17.05 heading into town'. This was K19 running 15 late, but the surprising thing was that this text was sent by my boss, Martin ! Whatever next ?
Well prior to this, K18 had been noticeable by its absence. It must have been in excess of 11 late from Wisbech on the 14.48 Peterborough, but at least it worked through unscathed unlike yesterday's escapade on K16. The late running meant it came back light as shown in this picture taken by Rob Brooks near Eye Green.

The day finished with one of those good news / bad news scenarios. 37577 was at last fixed and should be back on the road tomorrow, but at the same time 37578 has had a brake fault spotted during a scheduled service and may have to visit Volvo for repairs.
Des points out that the X1 shuttles continue to provide a variety of bus types, some never seen on the mainstream X1. Here are a couple of today's performers - one of which is especially for Bruce !

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