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Friday 24th January 2014 ~ Vox Pops and a Mug Shot

33819 rests at King's Lynn Vancouver Avenue garage on Sunday 19th January
In the last blog entry, which was over a week ago and for that I apologise, the opinions of drivers on the new buses was being sought by Steve. I had a chance this week to speak to a couple of X1 drivers about their new steeds and what they thought of them. 
Driver 'A' as we will call him, thinks the public are still very much in love with the new fleet and the compliments continue to be heard on a daily basis. His main gripe was a minor one, that to get his feet warm, the cab heater is effective, but the air rises and makes it unbearably hot, so he then has to have the cab window open in all weathers. He also said the new buses are lighter and therefore more difficult to control on a windy day, notably on the Acle Straight. Apparently a few drivers have experienced problems with the doors losing parts or becoming partially inoperable. 
Driver 'B' had a lot more to say, he concurred with the heating problem and said some buses were from his point of view to be avoided if possible. 
33803 came in for some very harsh criticism and was called something I certainly couldn't write here ! 33816 is also a black sheep it would seem, with a loud turbo. In fact Driver 'B' predicts long term problems with starter motors and turbos on the Enviros. The strain put on components by shutting the engine off at key points like Norwich, Lynn and Peterborough and then letting it all start up again is thought to be a major cause. He also says that some buses have a sort of blind spot where acceleration momentarily stalls and then comes back. Reversing on some buses is an art in itself and he says it is quite common to spend a minute or so waiting for it to engage.
 Oh Dear ! I don't think I should have started this !

Zak Nelson kindly sent this picture of 33423 back at work off Great Yarmouth following its MOT. It was working the 881 contract from East Norfolk Sixth Form College to Carlton Colville. Note the paper route identity as the screens were not programmed.

Anyway, to the latest goings on in A47 land. Loan white liveried Enviro no. 33423 was last used on the Peterborough route on Wednesday 15th and was hastily despatched back to Yarmouth for an MOT. Fortunately on Monday 20th, 33809 at last returned from bodyside repairs at Full Circle workshops. After a safety service , it re-entered traffic on 21st. 
Following on from the comments made by Driver 'B' above, 33805 was stopped on Saturday requiring a new starter motor and this meant it didn't reappear until Wednesday 22nd when it worked K5-XL11. A few other niggly failures have occurred. On Saturday 33824 had to be taken off Y7-XL13 with engine derate and 33815 replaced it, then in the afternoon, 33818 on K2-XL08 suffered an electrical fault and a rejuvenated 33824 took the turn forward.
 33818 misbehaved again on Tuesday 21st when it failed at Yarmouth working L10-XL16 06.50 ex Lowestoft. 33809 back from repairs took over the turn, 33818 had gone into derate and needed a fuel filter - something it would have received later that day anyway, as it was due for servicing. These glitches apart, overall the Enviros seem to be doing a good job.
 From Wednesday to Saturday last week, 33816 did turn K14-XL01 every day and combined with the rest of its work, this meant it covered exactly 3000 miles in seven working days, which is pretty impressive by anyone's standards.
Malcolm has kindly sent me his usual reports from Lowestoft. On Thursday 16th, decker 30900 was getting a run out on the 101 town service, however, next day it was back helping out the Geminis on the X2. 32208 seemed to be on loan to Lowestoft for a while and Michael Bryant saw it on an X2 on Thursday, while Malcolm even reports it on the 101 on Saturday. On Sunday Yarmouth's troublesome 37579 failed in Lowestoft bus station before working the 13.10 to Martham. A visit to Gasworks Road on Monday confirmed that Palatine 34156 has gone*, although 34155 was still in the yard withdrawn. Both 30886 & 30901 had a stint on the 101 on Wednesday 22nd.
* More on the fate of 34156 from Zak here :
Jamie Skinner says a Paragon was still on X1 shorts on Friday 17th and 32202 was entrusted with the 17.25 relief from Norwich to James Paget Hospital on Monday.
Roy on the ENBB ( reports via Ryan that 34108 is now back in service after all - never say die hey ? 33423 he says has now gone off for that long awaited repaint. 
33807 at Queensgate loading to form K16-XL03 14.45 to Lowestoft on Thursday 23rd January. Photo : Richard Thomas.

Punctuality has been very good on most days. Friday 17th saw just one late service, 33814 took the 15.58 Wisbech - Peterborough out 15 late. Tuesday 21st saw delays in the morning on eastbound services from Peterborough, but in the main these were around 10 minutes. Only K5-XL11 09.05 departure was badly delayed, being 22 late passing Bruce at Walpole. 
The worst day for some time was Wednesday 22nd. Again K5 09.05 from Peterborough was late, by 15 minutes into Wisbech. From lunchtime onwards, returning services from Peterborough began to take the route via Wisbech St. Mary to avoid A47 congestion caused by a broken down lorry on Guyhirn Bank. Later Bruce saw K17-XL04 with 33822 taking the Wisbech and then A47 bypasses travelling direct from Peterborough to King's Lynn approx 40 late. K18-XL05 was seen leaving Wisbech Horsefair with 33808 running 29 late with a double load of passengers. Peter texted to say "On 17.50 from Peterborough, queue on A47 so we have turned off near Bretts and gone via Murrow to get to Guyhirn and are now continuing via Wisbech St. Mary, terrible road this". He left Peterborough 5 late and was 25 late into Wisbech.
Thursday saw more diversions via Wisbech St. Mary from lunchtime onwards, 33815 on K14-XL01 was 33 late coming back into Wisbech.
 Friday afternoon again saw some services travelling via Wisbech St. Mary and an accident between the Pullover and Saddlebow roundabouts added to that Friday feeling, but despite this delays were pretty minimal.
33805 arriving at Peterborough rail station with K15-XL02 14.15 to Lowestoft.
 Photo : Richard Thomas.
and finally this week .........

Caroline, one of my nice ladies at work, had the bright idea of giving me a customised X1 mug for Christmas. Here is the mug shot with the real thing passing by in the background !


Barrel Distortion said...

I know what you do all day now. Drink tea/coffee and time the X1s when they go past.

Venturer said...

Regarding the Enviro 400 against other types, Wright Volvos were always considered as the 'Rolls Royce' whereas Dennis were nore the Ford Fiesta.

I personally don't think that is true so much nowadays. The differences between types are not so noticable in my opinion; certainly the latest Scania's are not a patch on earlier models and a lot of that is down to Euro emission regulations which mean that most buses now change gear at really low revs and have leisurely acceleration. A 20 year old Cummins Olympian with a ZF box would beat any of today's offerings in an acceleration trial.

Personally I reckon the Enviros will stand up to the work just fine, and I bet the mpg obtained is at least 1 mile per gallon better than the B9TL's too.