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Thursday 10th - Wednesday 16th January 2013 ~ Winter Arrives

Certainly been eventful since the last blog hasn't it ? Not that that seemed likely if we go back to Thursday 10th, when all was relatively calm. Punctuality in fact was quite exceptional, 37570 on Y6-XL12 09.35 from Peterborough was 15 late through Wisbech and the same out of King's Lynn, but all other services were behaving. Even 37160 on Y7-XL13 managed to be on time into Wisbech despite very foggy conditions, though I suspect 37570 on the late Y6 had picked up most of its intended passengers. Congestion on the A141 at rings End looks to have tailed back onto the A47 this afternoon and one or two buses went via Wisbech St. Mary.
Friday 11th was almost a repeat of Thursday with good timekeeping and a few services travelling via Wisbech St. Mary. 37563 on K14-XL01 13.35 from Peterborough was 16 late having travelled via the normal route, but again other services did well. 37579 was stopped today with a wheel bearing needing attention. Saturday 12th saw 37579 still being worked on and 37565 joined it in the garage with a data link fault. This evening 37160 was stopped on arrival for the start of its MOT preparation. Bruce kept me up to date with proceedings.
A surprise on Sunday 13th was 37156 on XL06 10.10 Peterborough - Lowestoft instead of a B9. This turn then works Service 1 and finishes at Yarmouth.

So to Monday 14th and the start of an eventful week. With snow forecast for the afternoon, the omens were not good, however, amounts were smaller than expected. At Walpole it fell for two hours from around 14.10, but the rest of the day was dry except for some light rain at about 22.00.
Wyn battling his way through a blizzard at Walpole Highway with 37563 this afternoon - commendably only 7 minutes late considering the conditions.
37572 has now completed half a million miles, not too many of them in conditions like this though, This was Gareth guiding 572 through Walpole at the height of this afternoon's blizzard
L11-XL17 ran sufficiently late in the morning to terminate at Wisbech and restart from there eastbound with 37159 at 12.56. Generally, services ran up to 15 minutes late, although the final service into King's Lynn, K19-XL06 from Lowestoft was seen arriving slightly early at 00.36 with 37572.

The fun and games began on Tuesday 15th. Morning services to Peterborough were running behind time and noted through Wisbech were the 09.18 (Y7-XL13) with 37577 7 late, but full as it transpired that 37576 on Y6 had been running so late it went empty from Lynn to Peterborough - not a good start and very unusual for a peak time service Next was  L8-XL14 with 37566 running 19 late - amazingly this made up a lot of time and came back only 7 late. Westbound again, Y9-XL15 was 24 late with 37157 and L10-XL16 14 late with 37567. L11-XL17 came through 13 late with 37573, but then services ran to time until K15-XL02. This turned out to be the last service to get through Norwich before a huge snowstorm which paralysed the whole city. Snow showers had been forecast, but nothing on the scale which materialised.
Norwich this afternoon with 36173 amongst the stranded buses on Ketts Hill. Photo from a brave Dave Hodkinson !
Sister 36178 has become a media star following attempts by passengers to push her up Rose lane in the city :

Dave Hodkinson's picture shows the chronic ice which led to a 19.00 shutdown of 'First' services in Norwich tonight.
 Eventually, because of the chronically icy conditions,  the X1 was suspended between Great Yarmouth and Dereham with a shuttle service operating at either end. 37574 which had operated L12 ran through from Lowestoft to Peterborough and then worked the 12.35 back as far as King's Lynn. On arrival here it was turned round to become K17 13.45 back to Peterborough on which it was a creditable 12 late at Wisbech. Later 37574 was seen making a third run of the day from Lynn to Peterborough with K4-XL10 16.45 departure. Spare vehicles were at a premium with 37569 o/s awaiting injector sleeves and 37160 on MOT. All diagrams went out of the window and I popped over to the King's Lynn control room at shortly before 21.00 to see how things were going. 37566 departed Lynn at 20.50 with passengers for Dereham, while earlier a B9 was seen leaving Wisbech at 20.10 to Peterborough, only 12 minutes ahead of the next service which didn't run. As a result this bus formed the 21.10 from Peterborough rather than a delayed 20.10. 37571 was seen arriving at Lynn from Dereham at 21.35 in the path of Y13-XL19. The last service to Peterborough passed Bruce at 22.35 (due 22.11). Over at Yarmouth 37567/72/78/79 were garaged ready for Wednesday morning when 37577 arrived as well, so one bus was diverted to Lowestoft to correct the numbers.
Wednesday morning conditions were OK in the west, but still very dicey in Norwich. By the time services left Lynn for Peterborough, they were around 30 minutes late, but passengers probably didn't notice, unaware that they were catching a late bus rather than the one they had bargained for. Cheryl was not impressed with the Twitter feed from 'First' and phoned me for updates which were relayed by a combination of Bruce and viewing the Southgates webcam. The first service from Yarmouth did get through today with 37567 viewed departing South Gates at 08.39 (about 18 late), then passing Bruce at Walpole at 08.55. Malcolm later reported 37567 being 13 late into Lowestoft but departing just 5 late, so almost back on schedule. There were several unexplained swaps during the day which Bruce reported diligently as ever. K15-XL02 looks to have done a sprint to Peterborough before coming back in service, noted passing Bruce at 15.28 (23 late). Malcolm reports L8-XL14 arriving in Lowestoft this afternoon with 37570 35 late.
More snow forecast for Friday, so watch this space !

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