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Wednesday 31st July 2013 ~ Changes Imminent

I've been holding back doing a blog update recently because I thought there might be a report of movements in connection with the transfer away from the X1 route of the Geminis. This has not happened yet, but there have been a couple of related events. Firstly, one of the Enviro 400s acquired from Ensignbus , 33423, has gone away to have a tachograph fitted to enable it to work the X1 route and Norwich's Gemini 36180 has had its all over wrap for Vodafone removed, making it a more suitable candidate should it be required for X1 substitutions during the changeover. Thanks to Zak for confirmation of the latter. 
It would seem likely that the use of the Enviro 400 will initially be restricted to an internal King's Lynn diagram, K3-XL09 being the prime candidate.
To bring us up to date, we firstly go back to Saturday 20th July and roadworks in North Lynn caused tailbacks to affect traffic in the bus station area. Eventually the queues spread back to the Southgates roundabout and onto its approach roads and by 13.20 everything had come to a standstill.

 The situation slowly improved and things had returned to normality by 14.30. Sightings at the Southgates in this period were as follows :

13.27 L11 37158 ex Peterborough  -4
13.28 K15 37563 to Peterborough -39
14.01 L12 37572 ex Peterborough -8
14.03 K17 37570 ex Lowestoft -28
14.12 37571 empty Vancouver Avenue to Bus Station for K18 (in picture above)
14.16 K18 37575 ex Lowestoft -11
14.40 K19 37567 ex Lowestoft -5
What a friendly driver ! 37579 departs Walpole Highway on Saturday as the 08.15 ex Lowestoft.
37563 heads westbound at Walpole on K15, running almost 40 minutes late due to congestion en route.
37157 arrives at Wisbech working Saturday's K3-XL09 17.42 Peterborough - King's Lynn

Sunday services normally run fairly well, but the popular 09.50 from Lowestoft is an exception. On 21st, 37573 was the bus on this turn and it passed Bruce at Walpole 15 late at 13.28, returning 17 late at 15.26.
.... and here is 37573 getting away from Yarmouth on Sunday taken from the rather unusual viewpoint of Yarmouth Vauxhall  signalbox. Photo : Richard Adderson.

Monday 22nd passed seemingly without incident and Tuesday 23rd's timekeeping was excellent, with a small blip around 16.00 when K1-XL07 went west 12 late with 37565 and K2-XL08 with 37571 departed Wisbech on time  late passing me at 16.20 heading for Peterborough, but to my surprise reappearing at 16.26 and turning left over Wisbech town bridge to gain the route via Wisbech St. Mary, presumably due to a queue on the normal route. Worst performer on Wednesday 24th was 37158 which was 21 late on K16-XL03 13.49 Wisbech - Peterborough, while L10 10.15 King's Lynn - Peterborough failed to appear and Christine who was waiting at Thorney had to wait for L11 to turn up with 37159. 
32202 earning its keep on an X1 short, photographed by Sam Larke on Wednesday 24th.
37575 arriving in Norwich on L8-XL14 this afternoon (24th). Photo :  Sam Larke

So not too much awry then until Thursday 25th which began badly with 37565 failing at North Burlingham on L10-XL16 with a coolant leak. It was eventually repaired and got to King's Lynn in time to relieve 37578 which had broken down at Tilney on Y9-XL15 with a loss of gears. L10 was cancelled over the western section (for the second day in a row ?)  and 37565 then took the turn eastbound from Lynn at 13.00. 37569 on K17-XL04 left Wisbech westbound at 14.22 (3 late) and then 37579 passed through eastbound on K15-XL02 at 15.04 (14 late). K18 finally appeared past me 38 late at 15.28 Peterborough bound with 37157 and on its tail just 4 minutes behind was K19 (37577) 12 late. Over at Lowestoft Y7-XL13 came in 21 late with 37572, getting away westbound just 12 late.
Friday 26th was actually quite a good day for punctuality with just a few services running notably behind time including K16-XL03 which had 37577 and was 18 x 22 late at Wisbech and K18-XL05 went to Peterborough 24 late on the 14.49 departure. Over at Lowestoft 37573 came in 30 late on Y7-XL13 and left 'not in service'. Some of this delay can be attributed to tree cutting at Mattishall which affected some services badly and which Des encountered on Y13-XL19 08.15 from Lowestoft making the service 14 late at Hockering. The knock on effect was a 17 minute late arrival in Lynn. 37160 made a comeback to traffic today and it is now a lovely quiet bus - yes it has had its noisy fan fixed.
Saturday 27th was considerably better than a week earlier with almost everything running on time, but once again Sunday's black sheep was the 09.50 ex Lowestoft which this week was 12 late westbound through Walpole with 37575.
Nearly up to date then and Monday 29th saw several services running fractionally early, the 09.19, 15.49 & 16.49 departures from Wisbech to Peterborough were noted thus and the 16.35 arrival at the Southgates from Lowestoft (K4-XL10) arrived at 16.32 with 37577.
A collapsed drain on the A47 between Thorney Toll and Guyhirn ruined the timetable on Tuesday, July 30th - the day had begun very well with - very unusually - B7s on K2 (XL08) and K4 (XL10). 37158 was on the former before being swapped at 18.30 for 37563 and K4 came past me at 09.18, nearly 2 minutes early with 37159 on the 08.38 Peterborough - Lowestoft. From around 10.00, the delays began to accumulate though and returning services from Peterborough were typically 20 - 30 minutes late. At the eastern end Malcolm Hicks reports Y6-XL12 arriving 18 late and departing 10 late with 37573, though Y7 and L8 were noted 'right time'.
Repairs to the wretched drain involved the use of temporary lights on Wednesday 31st. Things were already being affected at an early hour with K2-XL08 07.33 from Peterborough running 7 late through Walpole with Karen F and 37576 . K4-XL10 with 37568 passed Bruce at 10.02, 28 late while 37160 came back on K5 past me at 10.21 (31 late). Going westbound, Cheryl had some different scenery going to work when to avoid the delays, her driver took 37566  via Wisbech St. Mary, Murrow and Parson Drove to reach the A47. Westbound services continued to depart Wisbech on time, but by the more orthodox route and the first sign of anything amiss was the reappearance of 37160, this time working L12-XL18 11.12 from King's Lynn. In the end not content with a double trip to Peterborough, 37160 turned up again on K2 15.42 Lynn - Peterborough on which it was running 19 late - Cheryl had intended to catch K1 this afternoon, but this was cancelled over the western section owing to driver displacement and she had to suffer the indignity of watching 37160 depart Thorney for Peterborough and then wait for it to come back. The lady was not amused I can tell you and the 'First' Twitter feed was getting a bashing ! There were lots of bus swaps of course including 37579 which came off Y7 at Lynn at 11.49 to be replaced by 37574 which then became further delayed arriving in Lowestoft 28 late and departing 19 late.
Afternoon eastbound services from Peterborough gradually returned to timetable after the temporary lights were removed and passed me as follows ; K14 37157 @ 14.38 (18 late), K15 37575 @ 15.28 (38 late), K16 37158 @ 15.35 (15 late), K17 37565 @16.08 (18 late), K18 37159 @ 16.28 ( 8 late) and finally K19 with 37570 just 5 late. 
This was far from the end of the story on what turned out to be a disastrous day for the operators. Des reports "37569 K3-XL09 09.37 Southgates to Lowestoft - Late to me (Thorney Drain problem) - Take over into Lynn. Depart Lynn -24 (09.54), -24 (10.28) Swaffham, -32 (11.09) Dereham (Further delayed because Konnect blocking stop with 8 to Toftwood and 11 to Watton. I always pull in front of both parked buses to load. Today I was moved on by police for causing an obstruction and told to drive around Market Place until a stop became vacant!!!!), -33 (11.53) Norwich - Acle straight closed, -51 (12.51) Yarmouth, arrive Low -48 (13.28). Bus departed at 13.39 with 12.55 driver". 
An all too familiar sight on the Acle Straight, photo taken today by Joe Leathers

Coming up in the next few days, we have one of our occasional archive features so watch out for that !

1 comment:

Harnser said...

I saw the white Enviro with X1 on the screen yesterday on North Drive in Yarmouth, during a congested period whilst the Acle straight was closed again and diversions through Caister. I suppose if it was in service it was avioding the jams to get out onto Caister Road. As it has tinted windows, i couldnt see if it was loaded.