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23rd October - 30th October 2012 ~ Positive Signs

Peter writes : "Hi Gerard, I read recently that your friend Victor Meldrew had complained to Peterborough City Council on a number of occasions about the lack of bus information at Peterborough Railway Station following the multi-million pound refurbishment.
At the time I did think "What a moaning old geezer" but it seems like he's had some success. I think a poster in the (still empty) poster case would have sufficed, but the Council and/or East Coast have gone completely overboard and provided a 32" LCD screen exclusively for X1 !
It's not "real time" though, as the 1635 departure disappeared from the screen at 1636 despite the bus not appearing until 1645 (oh dear, I'm beginning to sound like Mr Meldrew!) 


Hmmm , well it had all gone fairly quiet lately, so I had wondered if our old friend (surely not ?) Victor had may be passed on to another planet where all public transport ran like a dream, when along comes another missive :

Dear Mr Fletcher
I was about to write to write to you to tell you how happy I was (there's a change - Ed) that a new information screen has now been provided at Peterborough railway station, when I tried printing the new X1 timetable. Please see my attachments - the first page printed fine, but every page after that was printed in some sort of hieroglyphic code!
 I thought that perhaps it was my printer or computer so I tried it on a different printer and computer but with the same result. Do you realise how much it costs to print 16 colour pages with the price of ink these days?! Please have a word with your friends at First Group and get them to sort out their website.
Victor Meldrew

Oh well you can't please all the people all the time and you can't please Victor at any time ! Now the first reported appearance of one of the new Paragons on an X1 shuttle occurred on the 22nd when Kieran Smith saw 20515 in service along with veteran B10M 20115. Kieran adds " These shuttles arrive in Norwich bus station from the Queens Road end and depart via Surrey Street exit to reach Bracondale".
On Tuesday 23rd, alll went well until L11-XL17 10.45 King's Lynn - Peterborough which appeared 30 minutes late through Wisbech  with 37158. The services either side ran on time, so the reason for the delay to L11 was not clear. K15-XL02 with 37565 had an adblu sensor fault and was replaced by 37576. At Lowestoft 37570 on K16-XL03was seen arriving 15 late this morning by Malcolm, but this had all been regained by the time it passed me at 13.50. On Wednesday 37564 was taken out of traffic for attention to its injector sleeves and with 37579 still awaiting MOT, this left just one spare bus. First change of vehicle was on K5-XL11 when at 10.32 37160 was relieved by 37156. 37570 on L12-XL18 was unable to continue from King's Lynn to Peterborough at 11.15, so 37160 was summoned to do the Peterborough leg and 37570 was fit again to work to Lowestoft at 14.02. 37563 on K14-XL01 was removed at 15.00 and 37160 then continued its day as the 15.02 to Lowestoft. Most services were a few minutes late, but nothing in excess of 10 minutes was recorded. Remarkably 37157 on Y9-XL15 left Wisbech 4 late on the 10.18 to Peterborough, but returned a few seconds early just before 11.50. On Thursday, morning services in the west suffered minor delays. Temporary traffic lights at the entrance to Wisbech Horsefair bus station and also on Nene Quay didn't help matters. By the afternoon things had improved although an accident at North Tuddenham caused tailbacks for westbound services. 37575 on K5-XL11 was halted at Eau Brink at 17.30 with a snapped alternator belt, so 37576 went out to replace it. After completing K5, 37576 then replaced 37571 on Y6-XL12, the 20.35 to Great Yarmouth. 37579 was back on the road after a morning MOT replacing 37565 on  K15-XL02 12.45 King's Lynn - Peterborough etc. At Lowestoft 37159 was seen on Y7-XL13 and L8-XL14 was also, most unusually, a B7 with 37158 and this arrived 17 late.37157 on K18-XL05 departed Lynn 5 late on the 17.02 to Yarmouth and arrived here 14 late due to traffic conditions.

Friday 26th saw 37574 on L8-XL14 in trouble at Peterborough with a water leak. 37565 took the 10.35 to Lowestoft forward, starting at either Wisbech or Lynn. Punctuality was average with a poor spell at lunchtime when K15-XL02 (37566) was 15 late in both directions through Wisbech and Y13-XL19 13.05 ex Peterborough (37567) passed through eastbound 19  late. 37571/8 were undergoing safety services at Vancouver Avenue. 37158 was losing time again, this time on Y9-XL15 - it was 20 late arriving at Lowestoft and 10 late departing westbound. 37157 on Y7-XL13 was also an offender today, 19 late into King's Lynn from Lowestoft at 18.26, not helped by an 8 minute delay waiting to exit Hockering back onto the A47.  Three Enviro 200 single deckers with Lowestoft branding entered service here today on locals. Noted were 45117/8/9.
On to Saturday and I had a journey to the Midlands to watch Aston Villa v. Norwich. I passed K4-XL10 in both directions with 37578, as well as a few others. Services ran reasonably and the only swap was on K18-XL05 which exchanged 37156 for 37159 this afternoon. 37567 & 37159 required replacement windscreens. 
Kieran Smith has kindly provided us with some pictures taken today :
37158 at Norwich on K1-XL07. This diagram is only allocated a B7 on Saturdays when it terminates at Lowestoft. [K.Smith]
37572, still with 'Savages' advert heads for Peterborough on K14-XL01 08.55 from Lowestoft [K. Smith]
Remember these ? Well 60814 was one of the vehicles in use on X1 shuttles today. Many thanks to Kieran for the photographs. 
On Sunday 37579 once again had water problems and 37571 replaced it. The half term week began with lighter traffic and 37565 on Y6-XL12 09.35 from Peterborough came into Wisbech at 10.18 (2 minutes early) which is possibly a record. A trio of B7s mid morning saw 37157/9/8 appearing on Y9-XL15, L10-XL16 & L11-XL17. Y9 was 21 late going east, while L10 was just 3 late and L11 14 late westbound. These were the worst delays I noted but Des adds "An RTA at Guyhirn caused problems and the Acle Straight was closed by a similar incident from 14.00 - 22.00, I was supposed to drive 37159 on L10-XL16, but this was 30 late, so instead when 37158 came in empty to Vancouver Avenue at 13.55 having been on L11-XL17, I took this instead going light to Norwich arriving at 15.05. Here Y9-XL15 was just departing, so after consultation with Lynn control I went light via the A146 to Lowestoft to form Y9's return working at 15.55. 37157 meanwhile was seen in Gorleston by now running a whopping 95 late !"
To bring us up to date, Tuesday October 30th was an A47 day with broken down vehicles at Guyhirn and Blofield causing delays. 37158 on K5-XL11 09.05 Peterborough - Lowestoft came into Wisbech 17 late and was 24 late from Lynn eastbound  Y6-XL12 may have travelled via Wisbech St. Mary as it was not noted on the usual route. There was quite a business this morning when 37159 failed en route on K16-XL03 - it is believed to have had a faulty drivers seatbelt. 37157 and 37565 were despatched from King's Lynn and 37159 was seen in a layby near the Mattishal turn by Nick Youngman. 37565 eventually took over K16 and was seen by Malcolm departing Lowestoft 17 late on the 09.55 to Peterborough. 37159's ailment was sufficiently trivial to enable it to resume working K16 at 13.15 from King's Lynn. 37565 was later seen on K3-XL09 having relieved 37567. Malcolm also reports Y7-XL13 with 37576 arriving at Lowestoft 22 late, having been only 6 late when seen at Wisbech. X2s were also delayed today typified by Palatine 34156 arriving 22 late on the 13.10 from Norwich. The following service was only 5 late, remarkably with another veteran, 34155. Another smart new arrival 44928 was seen on town services today.

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