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Monday November 19th - Sunday November 25th 2012 ~ The Census !

A fairly typical week on the X1 with nothing ground breaking happening - unless you know different !
Monday 19th was my day off, but Bruce kept a look out and the service seemed to run well. Sidelined buses were 37156 (ABS fault), 37569 (whellhub and panels) and 37564 (safety service and gearbox fault). This meant everything else had to behave and it looks like that's what happened.
Tuesday was one of those dark dismal days which have been prevalent lately. Punctuality was sporadic with some services running up to 10 minutes late and with Y6-XL12 05.50 from Great Yarmouth (37572) seen leaving Wisbech 16 late westbound and 10 late returning, while the afternoon's poor performer was K17-XL04 13.45 King's Lynn - Peterborough which was 16 late with 37579. At Lowestoft K15-XL02 was seen arriving by Malcolm 20 late with 37570 and this then departed 12 late westbound.
 I had to go to Peterborough myself this afternoon, so took the X1 (why would anyone take the car I sometimes wonder). 37575 was my transport on K19-XL06 which ran pretty close to time and I came back on K2-XL08 with 37563 - I had expected 37573 but this had been changed at Lynn to fit in servicing requirements. I timed the journey back out of interest to see how the bus fared in the evening peak. We were dead on time away from Queensgate at 17.19 and left the City via Bourges Boulevard and the northern bypass. This was a good move since I had arrived via the Boongate route where temporary lights were in operation for roadworks and this would have caused a lot of congestion in the peak. Nothing untoward hindered us greatly with just the usual rush hour traffic one would expect at 17.30 and we joined the alternative route at Eye in 11 minutes from the bus station. We did however, totter along between the roundabouts from Eye to Eye Green and this short section took us 3.5 minutes.
 Our arrival at Thorney was in a few seconds under 20 minutes, so the peak time traffic had succeeded in us losing 5 minutes on the schedule. Stops at Thorney School, Thorney Toll and Guyhirn to deposit passengers didn't lose us any more time and we were still 5 down from Guyhirn. An average run down the A47 and through the outskirts of Wisbech saw us arrive in the bus station in 43'17" from Peterborough - the booked time is 37", so a loss of just over 6 minutes on the timetable about which there was nothing whatsoever the driver or the capabilities of the bus could have done to improve. 37156 was back on the road today on K3-XL09 after its recent misdemeanours.
37157 ready to be washed after another filthy day on the A47
There seems to be at least one day each week where the A47 grinds to a halt due to either accidents or roadworks, but on Wednesday morning it was the fault of Norfolk County Council who had acted on someones bright idea to carry out a traffic census on the eastern approaches to Norwich. All manner of chaos resulted with queues of 50 minutes being reported at one stage until the census was abandoned. Naturally the X1 service was embroiled in all this, but the powers that be kept calm and minimum effects were felt at the western end of the route. My observations coupled with those by Bruce, show that the first service delayed was Y9-XL15 with 37158 - this departed from Wisbech heavily loaded running 32 minutes late - the obvious thing for the operators to do was to then run this service as L10-XL16 and this they duly did. The bus which had come in to King's Lynn on L10 was then terminated and kept to work Y9 back eastbound at 12.32 - 'simples' as our friends the meerkats would say. Delays began to accumulate at Lowestoft too, noted by Malcolm Hicks were 37567 leaving 10 late on K15-XL02 then K16-XL03 arriving 18 late with 37573 and this left 15 late to Peterborough on the 09.55. K17 arrived with 37575 'not in service' at 10.27 to work the 10.25 departure. Elsewhere on the route, K4-XL10 08.35 from Peterborough was delayed en route and came into Wisbech 22 late with 37569 and later 37572 on L12-XL18 was 14 late going west. K16-XL03 was 37573 13 late westbound but things then settled down. 37565 on K3-XL09 16.15 from King's Lynn was seen at Walsoken running exactly 30 late followed by K4-XL10 and 37569 which had recouped most of its morning loss, now 7 late. Earlier 37574 on K17-XL04 had come to a halt in Dereham with a water leak and 37575 was sent out to take over. A tacho fault on 37576 saw it make an early morning trip to Volvo at Norwich for rectification.
This evening I travelled from Walpole to King's Lynn on 37569, now back on time. Returning I boarded L10-XL16 -still with 37158 from the morning's swap and departing South Gates spot on time, we then diverted into Vancouver Avenue garage for fuel. This cost us about 4 minutes but our driver seemed intent on doing what he could with 37158 to make up (or at least lose no more) time. It was pleasantly warm on 37158 in contrast to the damp interior of 37569.
Thursday was much better for timekeeping and only two of the 19 turns seen were running appreciably late. L11-XL17 with 37579 was 15 late on the 11.18 Wisbech - Peterborough and later 37564 on the 14.18 (K17-XL04) passed me 19 late. 37159 was removed from Y9-XL15 with a fault this morning and 37565 replaced it, while K16-XL03 had a lunchtime swap at Lynn with 37574 replacing 37575,  but otherwise things ran well.
Roadworks on the King's Lynn bypass saw one carriageway reduced to a single lane on Friday and the Southgates webcam revealed L11-XL17 with 37158 emerging from the South Lynn exit onto the roundabout having taken this route to avoid the delays. It was seen at 13.32, the time that it should have been leaving the bus station for Lowestoft. 20 minutes later, another B7 on a test run from the garage was seen arriving back via this route. 37571 came off K16 at lunchtime for servicing with 37575 replacing it. Most services ran pretty well today, but 37568 on Y13-XL19 which had been 4 late going west was delayed after this and came back into Wisbech 23 late to work the 13.56 Wisbech - Lowestoft. Similarly 37569 on K17-XL04 was 7 late going to Peterborough, but 17 late coming back and 37156 on K18-XL05 had lost the same amount of time too. A47 accidents and dismal conditions resulted in K4 with 37578 being 17 late on the 16.45 Lynn - Peterborough. There didn't appear to be any bus swaps today.
The Saturday service ran very well until late afternoon when a blip saw 37572 on K17-XL04 come into Wisbech 17 late from Peterborough and the 15.48 westbound (K1-XL07) with 37158 was 21 late. Otherwise a commendable effort by all concerned. 37159 has had to go to Volvo at Norwich after suffering engine failure and 37569 & 37571 were the two spare buses today.
37577 about to get an early bath on Sunday evening (see below)
Sunday 25th saw an unfortunate incident befall 37577 when it was working the Sunday XL01 diagram. It was the victim of a vandal attack with a rock hurled through the upper deck rear window near Dereham. Nobody was injured as luck would have it and 37570 and later 37156 took over the turn. 37579 working XL10 was seen arriving at the South Gates at 13.01. This turn is notorious for late running in from Lowestoft. It then works the 12.50 King's Lynn - Peterborough.

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