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Wednesday July 16th 2014 ~ Heatwave sets in

After flooding last week, we are now starting a heatwave it would appear. It will be interesting to see if the Enviro 400s cope well with the high temperatures. 30'c is forecast on Friday with the warm weather continuing well into next week.
Since the last 'road report' little has changed and the Enviro's continue to exceed expectations in terms of reliability. Public perception of the new vehicles remains excellent and only the daily grind of negotiating the increasingly choked and inadequate A47 causes the service to disintegrate at times.
Looking back over recent weeks, Thursday 3rd saw 33803 in trouble during the afternoon at Yarmouth, it was unable to achieve more than 15mph due to a gearing fault. The bus was rescued by King's Lynn engineers and K4-XL10 which it was working was seen later in the day with 33820 instead. The same day saw delays westbound through Wisbech, 33811 on the 10.48 Peterborough departure left 13 late and Y11-XL17 following was 15 late. L12-Xl18 came through on time but K14-XL01 due off at 12.58 was 33805 20 late. The service then returned to normal until about 17.00,  when the delays which are still occurring daily because of the queues leading up to the King's Lynn Bypass from Middleton, up Constitution Hill to Hardwick affected services.
Friday 3rd was one of those nightmare days with a combination of an accident in Dereham Market Place, an Acle Straight collision and delays of up to 40 minutes at King's Lynn causing mayhem. My observations showed the morning unaffected, but L12-XL18 was seen arriving in Wisbech at 12.10, about 25 minutes late and during the afternoon, Peterborough bound services were seen at 14.53 (33815 on K16-XL03) running 53 late, next was XL04-K17 at 15.01 with 33810 31 late and this was followed by XL05-K18 at 15.13, 13 late with 33809. 33824 then appeared on K19-XL06 at 15.43, again just 13 late.
After the Sacrewell  Farm Rally on 6th, I was on holiday for a week, though mainly locally. On Monday 7th I needed to go to the bank in Wisbech, so it being a fine day, I decided to hang around to get a picture of the 12.25 departure to Lowestoft. This was in vain as it turned out as the previous 11.55 service was seen leaving at 12.04, before I had my camera in position and the 12.18 to Peterborough passed me 6 late with 33808. After this there was nothing. I finally gave up at 13.10 and minutes later glimpsed an eastbound X1 approaching the town at 13.14. I realised there must have been some sort of A47 debacle and so it proved to be with an accident at East Winch causing delays and diversions via Stradsett & the A10. Tuesday 8th brought delays due to flooding at Trowse and things weren't a great deal better, although somewhat drier on 9th when I was surprised to find myself following 33808 on the 17.50 King's Lynn - Peterborough running into Walpole Highway at 18.38, 27 minutes late after negotiating the Lynn roadworks. 33810 going the other way on the 17.15 ex Peterborough did better being just 12 minutes late. The 10th brought further flooding with the A47 affected at the Ringland turn , west of Easton during the evening peak. One of my occasional lunchtime visits to the Woolpack at Terrington on Friday 11th showed the service coping quite well all things considered. Three consecutive eastbound services commencing with L10 12.39 to Lowestoft were on time, but westbound it was a different story. K14-XL01 09.00 from Lowestoft passed through with 33824 15 late and K15-XL02 lost more time with 33818 passing at 13.32, 23 late. Mid afternoon I saw K18-XL05 at Walton Highway heading for Peterborough 32 late (33809) and then just down the road at Walpole I met 33808 on K19-XL06 just 9 late. By the evening peak, things had worsened considerably and the 18.20 ex Peterborough was reported leaving Peterborough 58 minutes late ! A day to forget by all accounts.
33807 was another bus which had gear problems on Saturday 12th and it was replaced on K6-XL12 by 33805 at some point. Bruce was monitoring the service for me as I was away and he says
"The day started badly with 33803 being 12 late on K1! Normality resumed with K2 - 816, K3 - 823, K4 - 820, K5 - 805, K6 - 807, Y7 - 809, L8 - 814, Y9 - 815, L10 - 817, Y11 - 810, L12 - 808 and Y13 - 819 (4 early on return from Peterborough). A vigil found K14 21 late with 824 and K15 10 late with 821  both going to Peterborough.
A further vigil commenced at 13.35 to wave to the Yarmouth man on K16 but which eventually produced 812 at 14.19 but on K17 - I think ! ?  Whatever, it was the next bus after 821 at 13.21. Something may have gone to Wisbech at 14.39 but this conflicted with my personal needs break ! At 15.03 813 was on an assumed K18 running 22 late. 
A plan to see K19 then commenced but produced 818 (????) going to Lynn at 15.28, then  821 (again!!!!!) going to Wisbech at 16.09 on either K19 or K1 -  but it had not been  seen coming back on K15 which it operated earlier.  K2 only 5 late with 816 went by at 16.16 and then 806(where did that come from?) going to Lynn on an assumed K16, in which case it was 30 late.
 At this your correspondent's head exploded. A  final vigil at 17.10  till 17.55 produced neither K19 or K1 coming back east, just K3 toddling by to Peterborough 8 late. If you can make any sense of this, you are welcome".
Well the morning seemed ok Bruce, but what happened in the afternoon is a mystery - let's blame the A47, it usually works.
By comparison, this week so far seems quite well behaved. Just one blip noted on Monday lunchtime when K14-XL01 was cancelled at Wisbech, 33818 then running empty  'not in service' to Peterborough 30 minutes late, passengers transferring to K15-XL02 (33808) which was on time just behind it.
Fleetwise, 33803 is currently undergoing body repairs at Full Circle and 33811 is the latest bus to have an MOT. One or two of the fleet have now passed the 90,000 mile mark, so I would expect at least one to have exceeded the 100k mark by the time we reach the 1st anniversary of the new buses on September 30th.

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