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Monday 11th - Sunday 17th February 2013 ~ They Are On Order !!

We have a  possible X1 blog 'exclusive' to start today's entry. It is now official that part of Thursday's huge order for 464 new buses announced by First Bus includes 22 new vehicles for the X1 service. They are Alexander Dennis Enviro 400s fitted with 6 cylinder Cummins engines and delivery could commence as soon as May this year. Blog readers have made it known that upgraded features they would like to see are leather effect seating and wi-fi and in response to customer satisfaction surveys these refinements are amongst several which will be fitted to the new fleet. Check out the full spec available on these buses here :

So time would appear to be running out now for the trusty fleet of Volvo/Wright Geminis which have served us so well over the last five years. We begin our review of recent events on Monday 11th February, a day on which X1 timekeeping was very good and possibly the most notable happening was the appearance on the X2 of 32656 repainted in its new X2 branded livery. 37159 was off the road for MOT prep, but the remaining B7s were all at work and according to Richard Tucker, the chief engineer at King's Lynn, these vehicles give him less headaches than the B9s. All the B9s featured today except 37577 which needed new brake discs. Y6-XL12 swapped 37563 (due a service) at 17.45 for 37578 and earlier 37578 had come off K19-XL06 to be replaced by 37571 which was fresh from attention to an adblue fault. Shrove Tuesday was uneventful with 37564 stopped for servicing and an alternator fault and 37573 coming off L10-XL16 with an axle problem to be replaced by 37563.
Wednesday 13th was another excellent day for punctuality and the visit by 37571 to Vancouver Avenue whilst working the 19.50 King's Lynn to Peterborough was the only talking point. Late tonight 37565 was unable to work the last leg of K15-XL02 and instead 37574 off K16-XL03 substituted.
 Just when you thought this was going to be a good week, Thursday saw a five vehicle accident near Drayton Hall Lane, close to the start of the Dereham bypass around midday. This caused big queues in both directions on the A47, although the X1 seemed to escape relatively unscathed. Westbound from Wisbech, Y13-XL19 passed through on time with 37567, but K14-XL01 was heavily delayed, due off Wisbech at 12.48, 37156 appeared departing for Peterborough 28 late 'not in service' with passengers decanted at the Horsefair to wait for 37578 which was close behind on K15-XL02, 37156 then miraculously appeared just 2 late on the 13.35 ex Peterborough which by deduction must have started at Thorney. After this K16/17/18 all appeared roughly on time, although K17-XL04 had 37575 off King's Lynn garage rather than 37571 which had begun the turn, K19-XL06 though departed Wisbech for Peterborough 19 late and K1-XL07 following had lost 8 minutes before K2-XL08 came through on time with 37574/2/9 respectively. At the Lowestoft end Y7-XL13 failed to arrive due to the disruption. K3-XL09, K5-XL11 and L8-XL14 all swapped buses today and in the case of K5, 37160 came off for 37159 fresh off MOT to work forward.
Sprowston Manor Hotel was the venue for an evening honouring long standing employees of 'First' in the region this evening. Here, X1 boss Rosemary Parry, who manages the Excel drivers at all three depots, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and King's Lynn is seen here with First Bus MD Giles Fearnley.
Des Speed has accumulated 37 years service at Great Yarmouth and was one of five X1 drivers attending, along with King's Lynn engineers Colin Dack and Tim Rix. Giles Fearnley appears to have acquired an X1 Blog calendar !

Friday 15th saw just one blip in the timetable. L8-XL14 09.48 Wisbech - Peterborough departed 6 late with 37579, but there was then a prolonged wait before Y9-XL15 and L10-XL16 arrived within 5 minutes of each other with 37157 & 37158. Passengers were concentrated on 37158 and 37157 went empty to Peterborough returning 12 late. One other delay concerned 37571 on K4-XL10 which overheated in Gorleston at 14.20. Fitters attended with a replacement belt and 37571 continued on its way, being seen 20 late at Tilney heading for Peterborough. Michael B reports coach 20515 relegated to a Bernard Matthews contract working this afternoon. 37573 which last worked on Monday remained at Vancouver Avenue with its axle fault. On the X2 Dart 43489 was an unusual sight on the 10.38 Lowestoft to Norwich and also seen by Malcolm was 37157 on Y9-XL15 arriving 16 late this afternoon (see above).
Timekeeping on Saturday was quite good, the poorest point coming in the early afternoon when the 13.48 Wisbech - Peterborough (K16-XL03) departed 11 late and the corresponding eastbound 13.56 to Lowestoft (Y13-XL19) came in from Peterborough 13 late with 37579. At around 17.30, 37158 working K1-XL07 lost all its air in Wisbech and 37157 had to come to the rescue and work through to Great Yarmouth. This was the only swap of the day though. 37159 was enjoying more time off at King's Lynn for some rear panels to be patched up. Ideally Lowestoft should receive just one B7 on a Saturday evening in order to avoid a refuelling manouevre on Monday, L11-XL17 being the only weekday Lowestoft starter which is suitable for a B7. Today though 37160 went through on K16-XL03 and with 37157 ending up on K1, two B7s will now have to be sent out on Monday.
Finally to Sunday and a glorious sunny day for a change. Bruce noted most services within five minutes of time. The service was entirely B9 worked, but at some point XL01 turn had 37568 replaced by 37579.

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