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Wednesday May 30th - Saturday June 2nd 2012 ~ A Bank Holiday Beckons

The usual deterioration in timekeeping occurred as the Bank Holiday getaway got nearer, Wednesday 30th was still reasonable though and apart from K16 being 15 late into King's Lynn from the coast with 37157, everything else seemed fairly punctual. At 20.00 Churchill Road in Wisbech was closed to southbound traffic, so L10 with 37566 departed at 20.22 via Freedom Bridge and Wisbech St. Mary. Further to Malcolm's sighting of 20109, Ryan says he is being trained on the coach in order that he can attend any breakdowns - he is employed at Yarmouth garage and has been training between Lowestoft and Norwich. Palatine 34156 was out on the X2 being seen by Malcolm Hicks on the 15.03 departure to Norwich. Roadworks on St. Stephens roundabout in Norwich with reduced access to one lane as well as emergency roadworks on Chapelfield Road caused some delays this morning. Work to repair a water main was due to be carried out here overnight.

On Thursday (31st) Peter reported Y6 08.15 King's Lynn - Peterborough running 15 late from Wisbech with 37564. He had to dash over to the station for his train as the forecourt here is still in disarray and the reopening to X1 services has now been delayed until June 7th. In the afternoon K2 was delayed and was seen by Bruce with 37573 running along the eastern section of the Wisbech bypass instead of through Walsoken. At this point it was nearly 30 late, but some smart working saw it later leave the Southgates for Lowestoft at 18.45, only about 5 late. Des encountered delays today. In charge of 37159 on the 14.20 Southgates to Peterborough (K18), departure was at 14.34 and queuing in and out of Wisbech saw a 28 minute late arrival into Peterborough. The return trip departed Peterborough Queensgate at 16.00 instead of 15.44 and further delays around Wisbech saw a Southgates handover on the inward at 17.21 (about 32 late). His  journey back east was on K1 18.02 to Yarmouth which was 5 late departing and on time by Dereham.
Friday 1st June saw the exodus to the coast and the consequent detrimental effect on timekeeping as we expected. It was after lunch when this hit hard. Bruce saw K18 14.15 ex King's Lynn to Peterborough slip by with 37157 19 late and going east, 37565 on K14 13.44 from Peterborough was 26 late through Walpole. K19 with 37570 was only 5 late however, but late afternoon saw more delays. Y6 17.45 King's Lynn to Peterborough was seen 25 late at Terrington St. John and I met K5 18.44 from Peterborough with 37579 at Tilney flyover running exactly 30 late which was all the more unusual as the driver Malcolm Wallace is normally renowned for smart timekeeping. Y6 was not far behind having made up ground and now only 7 late. All this was because of delays on the A47 and I think these services ran via Wisbech St. Mary. K4 16.45 King's Lynn to Peterborough and 18.14 return failed to run - presumably due to a driver shortage - and 37568 spent a couple of hours or so in Vancouver Avenue instead before resuming the turn at 19.35 to Lowestoft.
37158 was out of action with a CCTV problem and 37572 has not worked since Monday and is having a major service and wheels changed - it is of course, the highest mileage of our B9s.
Saturday 2nd June marked the start of the Jubilee holiday and was the last day of a full X1 service until Wednesday. Once again acute congestion on the A47 resulted in some afternoon services running via Wisbech St. Mary and I met K16 13.15 King's Lynn to Peterborough coming into Wisbech 24 late with the luckless 37579. Y13 had 37568 removed in favour of 37574 at some point today. This swap may have contributed to delays as at 16.35 37571 on K14 was seen at the Newmarket Road roundabout with the ring road in Norwich with 37574 on Y13 behind showing 'not in service' but with passengers on board. Cheryl was having a camping weekend at Foulsham, but had to pop into Dereham for more beer vouchers and reported 37564 on K2 roughly on time just before 3pm.
An old friend of the blog, Jamie Vendy was back in touch today, he says "Paid a visit down to the coast yesterday via East Coast from Doncaster and East Midland Trains from Peterborough.
The X1's coming into Norwich from Peterborough were very full and virtually unloading all their passengers at Norwich then refilling with a full compliment of passengers for Yarmouth. Obviously 78 passengers disembarking and then boarding takes a considerable time and being 10 late on arrival, the delay had extended to 15 minutes upon departure. This was 37569 by the way on the 11.50 departure (K4). Despite the traffic we did make up some time by the time we arrived at Yarmouth. Here I saw 37156 in its freshened up Excel livery and I think the other B7s ought to get this treatment too. Next I took the 14.00 to Lowestoft with Des Speed driving - this service was already 30 minutes late but the journey was very pleasant and smooth. In my opinion, the B7s give a smoother, more comfortable ride that the B9s and I also think they are a better looking design". Well thanks Jamie for that, good to hear from you again and here are a couple of those pictures :
37156 on K3 12.55 Lowestoft - Peterborough today. [Jamie Vendy]
You see good X1 drivers even smile when they are running late ! 37157 on Y7 14.55 Lowestoft - Peterborough soon after departure today [J Vendy]
Des says "Yes 30 late from Yarmouth on the 14.00 departure from Yarmouth to Lowestoft (Y7), but cut to 24 late arriving at our destination. I then left 12 late on the 14.55 to Lynn (above) and with traffic and loadings was disappointed to be still 6 late arriving.".

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