|37565 arrives in Lowestoft on the 08.35 from King's Lynn on Sunday 19th May. Photo copyright : Grahame Bessey.|
To begin with I must say sorry to Michael Bryant who kindly phoned me with the fleet numbers of the new buses a few weeks ago (when the new 'First' handbook was released) and which I failed to mention after writing them on a scrap of paper. Jason says "Hey Gerard, those guys at Norwich Bus Page have beaten you to it, what's going on ?". How embarrassing ! Speaking of NBP, the site is run by a group of young guys who are very keen and who make regular updates. Read all about them here :
Oh and those new numbers, well the Enviro 400s are going to be 33803 - 33824 inclusive. So let's have a look now at some of the features which First South East & Midlands have ordered for the new fleet. The external livery will be in three colours, but the internal scheme will be the corporate one. Interior handrails and poles will be in gold finish and the fleet will carry an updated CCTV system and GPS, while passengers will be able to access wi-fi. Drivers will have air conditioning and passenger communication throughout the buses will be possible through 12 speakers. Seating will be to Esteban Civic V3 specifications in leather. Externally the buses will be fitted with front axle wheel embellishers and offside and nearside advertisement frames. The heating system will be blown air with hopper type opening windows and the buses will have a 500 mile range fuel tank.
First are still optimistic that delivery will commence as previously reported in the late August/September window, but there is a possibility that the additional specifications required may mean a delay until the last week of September /October. My thanks go to my source at First for confirming these details.
Now I mentioned earlier that I had forgotten to include a few things of late and while checking emails, came across one from January when Jim Long wrote to say "I don't get many chances to comment on the X1 living in Ipswich, but Beestons of Hadleigh now have the loanee Volvo FJ08FYN aka 37562. I spotted her bombing along the A1071 towards Ipswich on the old Eastern Counties 205. This is an hourly service these days,usually operated by Scania Deckers, so a pleasant change to see a Gemini in this area, the first I think".
Well better late than never, here is Jim's picture of the former X1 regular :
Since my last report, things have run fairly smoothly. 37573 returned from bodywork repairs at Full Circle and has at last had its 'Hobbit' ad removed and replaced. It was back in traffic on tuesday and now 37566 has gone to Full Circle, again for attention to its bodywork. 37578 at last returned to service on Wednesday, but it was in trouble on Friday with a coolant leak bringing it to a halt at Swaffham while working the Y13-XL19 08.15 Lowestoft - Peterborough. Fitters attended and made a quick repair. Elsewhere, the use of the designated fleet on the X2 hasn't seen the Palatines completely ousted yet. Malcolm reports 34156 operating the 15.08 Lowestoft - Norwich on Monday and next day it was viewed on the 12.40 from Norwich. 34155 was out on Wednesday working the 14.48 to Norwich and on Thursday 34156 was back in action on the 09.48 ex Norwich.
37156 arrived in Lowestoft on Tuesday morning on the 09.05 X1 from Peterborough, but hadn't left as planned on the 13.55 return by the time the following service (Y6-XL12) had arrived.
Wednesday 15th saw roadworks between Wisbech and Guyhirn and almost all daytime servicestook the diversion via North Brink and Wisbech St. Mary. This diversion was also in use briefly on Thursday after an accident blocked the road outside Wisbech Tesco. A few lunchtime services took the diversion westbound, but K15-XL02 with 37579 was not seen in either direction on the usual route. Thursday also saw a higher than average number of bus swaps, K5-XL11 began with 37566, then 37157 worked forward from Lynn to Lowestoft at 10.32 and finally 37574 took over for the 17.15 King's Lynn - Peterborough. There was much evening disruption to the bus service after a car and lorry were involved in a fatal crash near Dereham in the late afternoon.
Friday saw nearly all the X2 services running late and these included 34155 on the 15.28 to Norwich which departed 20 minutes in arrears. On the X1 , 37160 arrived 13 late into Lowestoft on Y9-XL15.
The weekend seemed to pass without incident which is always good to report.
|37157 sharing a coke with Laura !|