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Thursday October 2nd 2014 ~ The First Year

33806 departs King's Lynn as the 09.31 to Norwich on Tuesday 30th September - the anniversary of the first Enviro 400 workings.
September 30th marked the anniversary of the entry into service of the first Enviro 400s. For the record, 33803-11 inclusive entered service on 30/9/13, but it was 21st October by the time the last of the fleet, 33824, entered traffic. The last two Gemini workings west of Norwich in the old era were 37574/7 which last  worked in their white Excel livery on Saturday 19th October 2013.
Overall it has been a highly successful year for the new buses with widespread acclaim from both the public and bus industry. Despite the switch away  from Volvo, it has to be said that operating problems with the Alexander Dennis fleet have been only what one would expect with a completely new fleet. Failures in traffic have been extremely rare, but when occurring have usually been because of the brake retarder malfunctioning requiring a system reset or the oil cooler problem which has on a few occasions resulted in vehicles having to be rescued. Almost all have now undergone remedial work.
All 22 of the fleet were returned to AD for modifications when new and in addition, depot mods have included a ramp structure modification and also another to the stairs. Problems with the air conditioning system have emerged but these have not been on every vehicle and have been dealt with promptly.

33817 negotiates Portland Street in King's Lynn on the 09.35 King's Lynn - Peterborough on Tuesday.

With few days off the road, it is not surprising that the mileages accumulated by the fleet have easily matched those achieved by the Geminis. Mileages of the King's Lynn based buses at start of duties on 30/9/13 taken from hub meters or * odometers were as follows :
33803 092416*
33804 102932
33805 106598*
33806 107033
33807 101694
33808 110404
33809 095163
33810 105070
33811 113432
33812 114308*
33813 100277
33814 102743
33815 108414
33816 103440
33817 106445

From this it can be seen that 33803 never did quite recover from its bad start and overall it appears to have missed more days in traffic than the others. Some drivers tell me they wouldn't mind if it was rested every day ! Going back to the mileage, the hub meter on 33812 has failed to work since it reached just over 98,000 miles but all the others are in order, although some buses now have a discrepancy of around 1,000 miles between the odometer and hub meter. 33812/17 are believed to have been involved in a slight accident within depot confines today so may not be out for a little while. This may mean reinforcements may need to be called upon. I hope to be able to give current mileages for the Lowestoft Enviros later this month to coincide with their entry into service just under a year ago.
Speaking of Lowestoft buses, 33824 made a rare foray over to King's Lynn on Tuesday as it was due an MOT and a window could not be found at Great Yarmouth. The bus returned eastbound on Wednesday 'not in service'.
Tomorrow (Friday) the newly repainted Gemini 37578 is due to arrive at King's Lynn for the relative vinyls to be applied before it resumes X1 duties from Great Yarmouth.
Finally a correspondent informs me that 33821 failed in Norwich bus station yesterday with a loss of air and it had to be towed into Lowestoft for repairs. More news as we have it !
Taken from my westbound X1, 33805 heads towards the Ouse Bridge on the 15.15 Peterborough - Norwich on Tuesday.

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