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21/06/2017

Wednesday 21st June 2017 ~ Ensign Loan

The latest bus to arrive at King's Lynn for demonstration purposes belongs to Ensign (Purfleet). Newly delivered BCI Enterprise LX17DZB arrived on Tuesday for evaluation and it is intended to use it on a week's trial on the X1 commencing next Monday all being well.
Here are some pictures courtesy of First at King's Lynn.






27/04/2017

Thursday April 27th 2017 : Part 2 !

A postscript to today's blog..... the Scania double decker demonstrator had its last day on the X1 route today and it is returning home tomorrow.

Here are three more pictures of the coach that was tested today. I'm sure I have seen the driver somewhere before :)


Photos by kind permission of Julian Patterson

Thursday April 27th 2017 ~ More Testing

An interesting development today was the running of a Scania coach over the western end of the X1 route for clearance purposes and performance evaluation. Coaches are believed to be the preferred option for the route in some quarters, so this is not altogether surprising.
The coach was tested between King's Lynn and Norwich this morning. Particularly pleasing was the section through Dereham Market Place which was thought to be a stumbling block, as the vehicle is some two feet longer than the Enviro 400s currently in use, however, this was navigated with room to spare.
This afternoon the coach ran at 15.15 from King's Lynn to Peterborough following the service route without any problems. The coach was collected at Peterborough and returned north whence it came.
It must have been quite strange to have witnessed the coach on test passing the Scania double deck demonstrator between Wisbech and Guyhirn this afternon. The double decker is now working longer diagrams in its last few weeks on loan, having proved itself on the shorter turns.

Here are some pictures kindly provided by our contact at First showing the coach on test today :




All pictures courtesy of RT / First.

The length of the six wheeler is emphasised by my poor shot of it leaving Wisbech this afternoon :



23/04/2017

Sunday April 23rd 2017 ~ Post Easter

After much nagging from my deprived readers I have at last got round to updating the blog. Someone said "When you titled your last post 'Final Update', I didn't think you actually meant it !!".

Photo copyright : Matthew Holland
Time is perhaps opportune to look at the year so far. MOT's on the Enviro 400s at the western end of the route have been proceeding apace, 33803-807, 33809, 33812-815 have been done so far leaving five King's Lynn vehicles outstanding. This figure includes the accident damaged 33808 which came to grief on February 23rd.
The usual crop of unscheduled repairs have also seen buses out of service, so far these are summarised as follows :

33803 14th - 21st Feb : Powertrain : Gearbox

33804 14th Jan - 2nd Feb : Full Circle : Bodywork repairs
            8th - 14th Feb : Powertrain ; Flexplates modification
           2nd - 12th April : Rear axle replaced at First Norwich

33805 has suffered with an intermittant gear selector fault which has seen it removed from service on several occasions.

33806 4th-11th Jan ; Powertrain : Flexplates modification

33808 Full Circle for assessment since Feb 25th

33809 24th Jan - Feb 8th : Powertrain ; gearbox mod and fuel fault
            9th - 19th March : Cummins : Engine failure (broken valve)

33812 Jan 10th - 23rd : Powertrain : Flexplates modification

33815  18th - 26th March : rear axle fault

33816 21st - 24th Feb : gearbox mod at Powertrain

The Scania demonstrator in Wisbech on March 2nd

The Scania demonstrator has been fairly reliable with just two periods out of traffic, namely 16th - 20th February (starter motor) and 7th - 11th April (electrical fault). It currently is having an issue with its handbrake sorted.

This has at times led to a full vehicle run out being impossible without assistance, meaning that Yarmouth's 33821 which originally arrived on October 12th last year remained on loan to King's Lynn until 23rd February. The failure of 33809 and MOT work then meant it returned for a further fortnight between 13th & 27th March. In addition, the replacement of the back axle on 33804 saw the loan of Norwich green liveried 36171 and this was in service on the X1 from 7th to 13th April.
Gemini 36171 at Walpole Highway while working the 14.45 Peterborough - Norwich on April 10th
I'm delighted to be able to include some photographs from the eastern end of the route thanks to Matthew Holland. The pictures below were all taken on March 17th

33824 working the 10.45 Norwich - Lowestoft


33823 on 11.15 Norwich - Lowestoft


Now restricted to the Eastern end of the route here is 37575 on the 12.00 Lowestoft - Norwich

Malcolm Hicks reports visits of ex Leeds based Geminis on the Eastern X1 fairly frequently, but 33423 is less seen these days. 37274/5 also appear and Matthew Holland photographed 32348 working on March 21st, it is seen below at Lowestoft before working the 15.00 to Norwich


Photos copyright Matthew Holland

23/02/2017

Wednesday February 23rd 2017 ~ Final Update

I can confirm that X1 services resumed at 19.00 this evening after the storm had passed. Sam Larke has advised me that the good company relations between Lynx and First continue and this afternoon Lynx ran a relief service at 16.45 from King's Lynn to Swaffham  with this fine vehicle :

Photo courtesy of Julian Patterson.

Meanwhile 33808 is spending a night in a field guarded by security to prevent material thefts. Having seen the stricken vehicle at close hand I can say it is only by pure luck that casualties weren't more serious and fortunately a very experienced driver was at the helm and was rescued shocked but I believe unharmed. 

Wednesday 23rd February 2017 ~ Storm Doris Update

An update now on the earlier news that the X1 service was suspended following the incident near Walton Highway. Reports vary of the number of injured, although it is believed only three had to visit the QE Hospital at King's Lynn. Storm Doris had of course been forecast, but scarcely a week goes by these days without us being warned of a named storm in the vicinity. Quite often these pass without any notable damage or reactions. Bruce spoke with the driver of 33808 who said the gust took hold of the bus and despite trying to take evasive action and braking, the wind was just too strong and the gust took the bus off the road wiping out a lamp post in the process. The bus will require a major exercise to extricate it from the ploughed field where it landed. Most windows on the passenger side are destroyed as is the top front screen. Here are a few pictures of the damage :



Photos : Bruce Billingham / Gerard Fletcher

A limited X1 service has resumed between Norwich and King's Lynn early this evening as the storm disappears off eastwards. More news as it arrives.

23rd February 2017 ~ Storm Doris

X1 services between Norwich and Peterborough are currently suspended due to high winds from Storm Doris.
33808 working the 12.45 King's Lynn - Peterborough was blown off the road to the west of Walton Highway. Ambulances etc attended and a couple of passengers were taken to hospital. The driver was rescued and is ok thank goodness. More news as we have it.

17/02/2017

Friday 17th February 2017 ~ Update

The Scania demonstrators outings on the X1 have been hit and miss so far, It worked diagram 6010 successfully on Monday and then followed that up with a start on 6003 on Tuesday, however, it was replaced by 33813 in the middle of the turn,
On Wednesday it did diagram 6011 but was halted at Peterborough at 18.30 when the starter motor failed. It has since been sent to Truck East and is awaiting a replacement. 
On the Enviro 400 front, 33803 is currently away for repairs and the MOT programme has restarted.

13/02/2017

Monday 13th February 2017 ~ On Test

Today was the first day in service on the X1 route for the Scania demonstrator, registered YN16CFU. I was able to nip out from work - I have very understanding bosses - to get this picture at 11.00 just after it had departed from Wisbech on the 10.54 service to Peterborough (diagram 6010)



Later it was photographed arriving at King's Lynn to work the 13.11 service to Norwich by Cameron Robinson 

Photo copyright : Cameron Robinson


By mid afternoon the sun was getting low and here is the Scania in Dereham photographed by Sam Larke

Photos copyright : Sam Larke


Sam also captured the newby departing Norwich on the 15.10 to Peterborough.

I hope to do a further update on the success or otherwise of this vehicle later in the week, but many thanks to Cameron and Sam for supplying the pictures.

01/02/2017

Tuesday January 31st 2017 ~ Demonstrations ?

Plans are coming to fruition now over the provision of demonstrator buses as the search begins for what will replace the Enviro 400s when the time comes. Several  options are being considered and the suitability of the various types is to be evaluated. First arrival is this Scania which arrived at King's Lynn today. Initial thoughts are that an increase in the vehicles speed will be necessary before and if it takes up X1 duties, there are also some concerns about headroom upstairs. Photographs kindly supplied by our man on the spot. More news on this as I receive it.