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Tuesday 30th December 2008 ~ Premiere Travel

They were quite a large company at one time I recall, Premier Travel. I'm sure most of you will know far more about them than me. No, what I'm talking about is B10M Premiere travel. This morning with a nip in the air we saw four old coaches within 90 minutes through Wisbech. The first was the most surprising being 20131 on Y8 06.02 from Yarmouth. Whether it came on as a replacement at Lynn, I know not, but it is no longer a regular on the X1. Half an hour later 20107 came along on K4 08.48 from Peterborough, then a further half hour elapsed and 20105 went storming by on J10 06.40 from Gorleston. Finally just after half ten, 20118 went through on J11 07.05 Gorleston - Peterborough. In addition, Michael and Sam saw 20126 at Beccles on K19 and 20103/9 were also out on X2s.
Meanwhile back on the X1, a succession of Geminis came through . Earlier K1 07.48 ex Peterborough had been 3 early through Walton Highway with 37578 and running to time was K2 08.18 eastbound which was 37569. K6 09.18 Peterborough - Lowestoft was right time with 37571. The procession of B9s began mid morning with 37568 on L12 07.15 from Lowestoft and after this came 37564/577/575/565. The monotony was broken by 20351 on K17 and at least one of the other B7s is back on the road as K3 had an unidentified one too. the maximum lateness on all these services was 8 minutes, so a good day up to this point. K5 had an unidentified B9 which was 20 late on the 15.01 Wisbech - Peterborough and over 30 late coming back. K2 with 37569 lost a lot of time, while 20107 on K4 was dead on time leaving Wisbech at 17.01. As a consequence Peter reported both 37569 and 20107 at Peterborough rail station simultaneously at 17.50, in fact he says the coach arrived before the B9 so a spot of overtaking must have occurred somewhere. K6 with 37571 was 18 late on the 17.31 Wisbech - Peterborough but services had got back to timetable by this evening.


Monday 29th December 2008 ~ Is That a Scania Gromit ?

The Wisbech public take a closer look at 20126 arriving on Y14 today !

Anyone interested in the history of transport in this country will probably agree with me when I say that it is often the case during periods of cold weather, that the new fails to function and the old is called upon to assist. Eastbound departures from Wisbech this morning were interesting. My observations commenced with K1 07.48 ex Peterborough which was seen 1 minute early at Walsoken with the late lady driver sporting a new blonde hairstyle and in charge of 20105. Rob Brooks was a passenger on K2 08.18 ex P'bo which was also on time with 37576 and actually stood for 2 minutes waiting time at Thorney, a very rare occurrence on the X1. The surprise came next however, with Scania/Wright 65540 again dead on time on K4 08.48 ex P'bo. How far it got is unclear, but it seems as though it may have gone all the way to Lowestoft and back to Lynn before being removed, more of which anon. K6 09.18 Peterborough - Lowestoft had 37579 which was 4 late into Wisbech. Coming from the coast, Y8 06.02 from Yarmouth was on time with 37565, Y9 06.32 ex Yarmouth was 3 late with 37564 (but on time from Wisbech at 20.09 and by the time it passed Walpole was 2 early), J10 06.40 from Gorleston was right time with 37571, J11 07.05 ex Gorleston 2 late with 37578, L12 07.15 from Lowestoft 9 late with 20107 but 19 late returning, 37574 on L13 07.45 ex Lowestoft was also 9 late going west. There was another surprise on the Y14 08.25 ex Lowestoft, the turn which begins with the 07.32 Yarmouth - Lowestoft when it turned up with 20126 running 12 late. The lateness had increased to 18 minutes on the 12.48 ex Peterborough, but it would appear that it came off this turn at Lynn as it was later noted on K4 16.29 Lynn - Peterborough in place of 65540. Y14 tonight was 37563 which is believed to have replaced whatever went forward from Lynn instead of 20126.

Other westbound X1's noted by Bruce and myself were 37566 7 late on K15, 37569 17 late on K17 and 20109 19 late on K18. Later in the afternoon, K5 15.48 ex Peterborough was an unidentified B9 running 13 late, which is appreciably better than the delays it was suffering pre-Christmas.

Tonight I followed L13 19.59 King's Lynn - Peterborough with 20107 on time from Walpole to Wisbech where it was boarded by Rob B who reports the driver ringing through for a replacement due to lack of heating. The next turn it does is the 23.00 Lynn - Hunstanton. Rob also saw K20 20.18 from Peterborough which was 37577.

Going back to Saturday now and Pat travelled outward to Peterborough on J11 10.31 ex Wisbech with 20103 and says the reason for its heavy delay was because the driver entered P'bo via Dogsthorpe instead of Eye and then got caught in the queue of traffic going into Queensgate car park. She returned on K5 15.48 to Great Yarmouth with 20351. Once again she commented on how comfortable the coach travel was as opposed to the Gemini experience.

Sunday 28th December 2008 ~ Gemini Gremlins

Problems with the B9s seem to be mounting up. Today 37572 was still out of traffic with its CCTV not working and it had been joined at Rowan road by 37570 which has a gearbox problem. The serviceable B7 contingent is now down to one with 20352 still at Volvo (Ely) and 20353 stopped at Lynn with its screen unserviceable. Out on the road today were Geminis 37563/5/7/8/9, 37571/7. The other two turns were 20351 (19.59 Lynn - Peterborough) and 20105 which did the 20.59 westbound. B10Ms at Lynn tonight were 20103/9/21/31 plus out of use 20120/141. 20121 doesn't appear to have worked since before Christmas as it still has a Hunstanton schools contract number on the blinds. What happened to 20111 today is unknown - may be it was out at Hunstanton this evening ?


Saturday 27th December 2008 ~ Shop Till You Drop

The Gemini contingent at Lynn over Christmas was 37564/5/6/7, 37572/4/5/6/9. The remaining 8 were presumably at Yarmouth and Lowestoft.
I was about early today and after defrosting the car saw 37571 on Y8 09.01 Wisbech - Peterborough - later this evening I saw it arriving at Lynn on the same turn. K2 09.09 Wisbech - Lowestoft (08.18 ex Pbo) pulled in to the bus station with 37579. Next service I saw was J10 10.48 ex Peterborough with 37577 roughly on time. Bruce had sent me a text to tell me that J11 and L13 were both B10Ms, now this suited me fine as my plan was to do J11 12.09 Wisbech to Lynn and later this evening L13 19.59 Lynn - Wisbech.
Waiting at Wisbech bus station from 11.55 until 12.42 was hardly what I had in mind, particularly as my train left Lynn at 12.56 ! Nevertheless, due to some unprecedented delay J11 with 20103 was 33 late from Wisbech. It had only been 5 late going west, but little blame can be attached to 103 as this was moving along nicely although it must be said with very little heating being provided. A fellow passenger informed me that 'sometimes they miss Wisbech out and go down the bypass' - had he been reading the blog I wonder ? Anyway on a related matter, I can reveal that there has at last been an instruction from head office to drivers to stop using the alternative A1101 route out to gain access to and from Wisbech - so the old lady waiting at Weasenham Lane stop triumphed in the end then !
Meanwhile during my wait at Wisbech 37568 arrived and departed slightly late on Y14 12.01 to Peterborough and once on board 20103 we passed 37565, 37567 and 37576 on K15/16/17 respectively. The latter was about 10 late and passed us sitting in a lengthy queue on Nar Ouse Way caused by the World and his wife descending on King's Lynn to use their Christmas vouchers etc. We eventually rolled into Lynn at about 13.30 (48 late) and 103 went forward as a late running L12 13.12 to Lowestoft. What happened to the real L12 is unknown, but as Bruce saw 20111 heading east past him at 13.20, it is fairly safe to assume this was L12 running 32 late. As I walked to King's Lynn station to catch the 13.56 train, 20104 arrived on K18 13.29 Lynn - Peterborough.
On my return after several pints of real ale in Cambridge, I arrived at Lynn bus station at 19.50 to find 20103 in the middle (L12), 20109 arrived on a 41A and 20111 waiting to work the 19.59 to Peterborough (L13) which pleased me. The only negative thing to say about 111 was that it had a badly screeching fanbelt which only seemed to correct itself once 50mph was reached. We left at 19.59 with some heat this time and despite a clear road and a capable driver, we were 1 late at Terrington St. John, on time at Walpole and about 1 early into Wisbech. How on earth drivers are supposed to maintain the timetable in times of heavy traffic is a mystery, the answer to which is only known by FEC. At Walpole Highway we passed another B10 (20105 ??) on Y9 heading for Lowestoft, bringing the total B10M count for the day to four.


Wednesday 24th December 2008 ~ Seventeen Apparitions

Mamma Mia ! It's 37564 on the 07.48 Peterboro' - Lowestoft this morning
Bruce always refers to the B9 Geminis as 'ghostly apparitions' when they pass his house, as at night they illuminate his lounge with the horrible fizz lights on the top deck. This phenomenon has been temporarily halted as Bruce in festive mood has got his own back with a house festooned with Christmas lights which move marginally faster than the B9s.

My survey I'd planned came to fruition today and for the first time I managed to track down all seventeen B9s in the same day. More startling was punctuality - most shoppers seemed to have burnt themselves out and traffic was light. Only one service was noted late and that was Y14 12.01 Wisbech - Peterborough which was 20 late and 19 late coming back. The following K15 12.31 was not seen by me, so it either took the Churchill Road out of Wisbech or went direct to Peterborough down the bypass to make up lost time. Either way it was on time departing on the 14.09 Wisbech - Lowestoft. There were two examples of early running today : K17 12.59 Lynn - Peterborough left Wisbech 5 early with 37565 and tonight K20 20.18 ex Peterborough with Profile 20351 was 10 early at Tilney St. Lawrence (guess the driver was ready for Xmas).

Seen today were :

37563 Y9 (terminated KL 20.37)

37564 K1a/K4b

37565 K17

37566 J11

37567 Y21

37568 K5

37569 Y8

37570 K4a

37571 K7 (term Lft)

37572 Rowan Road CCTV fault

37573 K16

37574 L13

37575 K15

37576 K6 to 19.37

37577 K3 (term Lft)

37578 K18

37579 Y14

What came back from Lowestoft on K1 is unknown but presumably a B10.

The other workings today were

20103 K2

20104 K19b

20105 K19a

20107 L12, K6 19.42 ?

20109 J10

20351 K20 (Term KL)

20353 was serviced today at Lynn and not used on X1. 20352 is out of traffic at Volvo, Ely for repairs. Other B10s at Lynn were 20118/121/131 with 20120 still under repair at the garage.

Only leaves me now to wish you a very Happy Christmas and thank all of you who have contributed or followed the blog since July. G

Tuesday 23rd December 2008 ~ Peter's Profile Performance

My plans for a survey today went out of the window, when it emerged that a few services are still taking the alternative route out of Wisbech. The timetable also collapsed for a while which complicated matters.
The day began with 37579 on K1 07.48 Peterborough - Lowestoft, this one has now had its Mamma Mia ad removed and replaced with a tasteless one advertising Sex Drive. 37576 was K4 and 37567 K6. Going west 37566 was Y8, the first departure from Yarmouth, but Y9 the second at 06.32 surprisingly turned up with Profile 20351. J11 07.05 from Gorleston was seen by Jamie R with 20105, but it was then that the timetable fell apart with L12 11.48 ex Peterborough being 30 late at Wisbech with 20103. The following service (L13) was no less than 39 late with 37577 and not far behind that was Y14 running 16 late with 37575. K16 13.01 Wisbech - Peterborough was only 8 late leaving via Churchill Road, but this had increased to a loss of 22 minutes when Bruce saw it returning.
We were all left a bit baffled then, when K17 12.59 Lynn - Peterborough turned up with 20105. This should have been half way to Lowestoft on J11 of course. Other Geminis seen were an unidentified example on K3 (normally a B7 turn) which was 12 late westbound and 14 late returning and K5 15.01 Wisbech - Peterborough had 37568 which was 14 late. It passed 20105 outside my office similarly 14 late !
This evening Peter sent a text to say he was enjoying his first trip with a Profile. This was 20353 on K20, the 20.18 Peterborough - Lowestoft which earlier had been 19 late passing Bruce westbound, it was then 10 late arriving at Peterborough station and 3 late away. Despite a 20 minute long phone conversation en route during which the driver enlightened Peter about internal politics at Lynn, he was on time into Wisbech at 22.05. Peter was impressed by the additional legroom on the B7.


Monday 22nd December 2008 ~ How much longer ?

I have touched on this subject before, but I'm wondering just how much longer the Volvo B10M Premieres will and indeed can continue to stand in with such regularity on the X1 service. The official route allocation is the 17 B9 Geminis plus the 3 ex Devon & Cornwall B7s giving 20 buses for 21 turns. Given then that presumably K19, the turn which spends most of the day on the X2 is still being rostered for a B10, why is it that so many B10s seem to be out on mainstream X1 turns ? Today we hear that 20104 was on K18. 20105 was seen by Rob B and myself on K2 and 20111 was again seen by Rob working Y8 this evening, all of which one would expect to be B9s. I would like to do a survey either on 23rd or 24th to see exactly which of the B9s/B7s are not in service. Any help would be appreciated, but I am returning to work tomorrow so should see several turns myself.
37564 was seen at 14.16 entering Walton Highway heading for Lowestoft right time on K15 with the late lady driver - I am assuming it wasn't Y14 29 late here. This may have been the case as K3 was almost 30 late into Wisbech for the 14.31 to Peterborough with 20353. Tonight K2 with 20105 was 10 late heading east at Walpole Highway while Jamie R's service, the 18.17 to Peterborough (Y9) arrived 18 late with 37570. Y14 21.31 Wisbech to Peterboro' left 2 minutes early tonight with a B9 and the 22.31 (K15) was on time with 37564 (so we will be kind and guess it was on time this afternoon).
Rob says "20351 on K17 1331 Wisbech - Peterborough departed at 1357, 20111 on 1801 Wisbech - Peterborough departed at 1813, with me on board and a few others and can report its got a nasty squeal from the engine". Oh dear doesn't sound good then. Terence was at Yarmouth at 14.30 and reports 37575 heading west, so either K4 or possibly K6 and heading east on J10 37579. He also saw 20126 on a shuttle at teatime. Bruce saw 37563 and 37573, but on what he didn't specify being rather bored by the new regime.


Sunday 21st December 2008 ~ Blog Resumed

20105 and 20104 sharing the shortest day of the year at Rowan Road this afternoon

Sorry for the lack of a blog over the past few days, my Mother who lives with me has been confined to bed with one of these dreadful bugs which seem so prevalent these days. I think she is over the worst thank goodness.

A quick look at what you've reported - having been stuck at home, I haven't seen anything myself until today.

THURSDAY : Michael reported K19, the X2 turn with Gemini 37576, both at lunchtime and in the evening. 20107 also on X2s. 20104 on K16 13.48 ex Peterborough.

FRIDAY : Bruce reported 20111 heading for Lynn 23 minutes late on L12 11.48 ex P'bo. 20121, 20106 and of course 20141 were at Rowan Road along with 20505 which is now ready for departure.

SATURDAY : Kieron said that there were coaches on four X1 turns today. 20107 was the star being 27 late on L13 at lunch and only 2 late tonight.

SUNDAY : Today I escaped from the house for a while as my sister came round and she looked after Mum. All in all saw all but two of the X1 turns - there are only nine on Sundays - all were Geminis. 37566 was showing a good turn of speed doing 60 solid down the A47 to Lynn - had wondered if it would exceed this, but a dawdling car got in its way. At Rowan Road there was a fine line up of B10Ms, these being 20103/4/5/7/9/11/21/31/41. Noticeable by their absence were B9s with only 37571 present and I couldn't see any in Vancouver Avenue either. No profiles seen either, but they may have been locked up in the garage.


Wednesday 17th December 2008 ~ Guess the Route

There was an old woman who waited for a bus
the route it was taking she just could not suss
it went off the route up the A eleven 01
the poor woman at Tescos thought the bus must have gone
She waited in case it was just running late
- by the time it came she'd forgotten the date
The reason you see for her poor frozen plight
was a misguided Lynn driver with an elephant white !

You see it must be a bit frustrating if you are waiting for an X1 at the Weasenham Lane stop, you could in fact be there for hours before one turns up. As regular readers will know, in order to provide the good citizens of Wisbech (what do you mean, are there any ?) with that great necessity of life in a recession, otherwise known as a Lidl supermarket, temporary traffic lights were installed on Cromwell Road a few weeks ago causing all manner of mayhem and delays. At the beginning of last week, some more permanent lights which phased correctly were put in to avoid delays over the Christmas period and since then traffic has been running smoothly. With the lights being slap bang in the middle of the X1 route, major delays occurred and an unadvertised diversionary route was set up, whereby on leaving Wisbech bus station, westbound X1s took the A1101 Ely road as far as the A47 B & Q roundabout where they took the Wisbech western bypass to rejoin the advertised route at the next roundabout. The same applied in reverse for eastbound services. This left the poor passengers waiting at the aforementioned bus stop without any service.
One might reasonably have expected the x1 to resume its normal route following last weeks improvement and in some cases this has happened, however, some drivers are insisting on taking the alternative route, so whether you get a bus at Weasenham Lane is very hit and miss. Tonight Bruce encountered 37576 near B & Q on the wrong route on K18 14.48 from Peterboro' whilst the white elephant on K2 16.31 Wisbech - Peterborough took the correct route. Jason told me last week that there was a rumour going around at Lynn that the Weasenham Lane stop was to be permanently axed with all buses taking the A1101. Some drivers seem to have taken it upon themselves to implement this change without telling anyone !
One item from yesterday I failed to record was K1 starting the day with 37565 and later on the 15.29 Lynn - Peterborough appearing with an unidentified B10 - a bit too dark for Bruce to see the number. There were some B10s to spot today, again thanks to Bruce for spotting 20111 on J10 from Gorleston (this left Wisbech at 10.01 via the A1101) and another unidentified example on L13. As I left Wisbech tonight I was surprised to see dear old 20131 heading in to town 15 late to work the 17.01 to Peterborough (K4).
John was in touch today and says 'Only got out briefly pm today, but very productive.
Around Gaywood Clock at around 3pm were 20106 and 34155 on 41, the latter inbound with full and very clear display on the front. 37573 came along for the Park School duty, all washed (down as distinct from washed up). 65529 was past on 42 with its front display now working properly. All that in a few minutes. Later I had to pass VA where 34157 was present. Are these loans ??' One would imagine so John, but I will have to enquire. I wonder if the occasion will arise when one gets out on the X1 instead of a B10 ?

Tuesday 16th December 2008 ~ Late again !

Late again - the blog that is, not the buses ! Well most of the buses - at 13.10 I had to venture into Wisbech town centre and on the way passed 37566 on K16 13.01 to Peterborough which had just departed spot on time. What is noteworthy is that this vehicle had started the day on K16 at Lynn at 06.07 and had managed to keep time, something almost unknown on a weekday since the B9s began. Whilst in the bus station 37571 arrived at 13.10 with 'not in service' on the front and deposited passengers before departing for Lynn empty via the A47 bypass. It was on L12, the 12.39 Wisbech to Lowestoft and barely had it departed when 37575 came in on L13. Other Gemini worked services ran pretty near to time and 37572 did well on K4, again having worked all day and only a couple late on the 17.01 Wisbech to Peterborough.
A number of B10s were sent out by Lynn today, 20104 on K19 which completed the turn, 20103 on K18 06.57 KL - Lowestoft and 20118 on K2 06.59 KL - Peterborough. A Gemini out of action was 37570 which failed at Lynn at 11.00 on Monday morning and was today believed to be in Lynn Volvo for adblu related repairs.
The B7 Profiles have now largely reverted to their usual turns, today 20351 was on K17 and 20353 on K3. There was no sign of 20352 though and it wasn't at Lynn this evening.
20141 was apparently en route to Scotland from Norwich when it was stopped at Lynn on Monday with its suspension fault. Another recent absentee, 20106 had returned home tonight - this usually happens when it requires servicing - and had worked on the Hunstanton route along with 20109. Yet another B10 20121 was on Schools contract 5, while 20131 has been having vandalised seats repaired after use on Hunstanton Smithdon schools. Volvo Olympian 34155 arrived today and should be on Hunstanton services from tomorrow.
The incident with 37575 speeding yesterday is being looked into, as it has not been upgraded to work over 56mph and indeed the tyres on Geminis are only rated to perform at speeds of up to 62mph.


Monday 15th December 2008 ~ Good News At Last

There was good news for X1 punters today at last. Firstly major delays seemed to be minimal, services through Wisbech seemed to have reverted to the usual route for the most part and this evening I followed 37575 down the old A47 doing just under 65mph, so obviously its speed limiter has been reset. 575 did Y9 today and was noted as follows : 1 minute late on 09.31 Wisbech - P'bo, 6 minutes late on 10.18 ex P'bo, 8 late on 17.59 Lynn - P'boro and finally 3 early at Walpole Highway on 19.18 Peterborough - Lowestoft. This is heartening news indeed, but it will take some time to modify the entire fleet if this is not just an isolated incident. 37574 was 6 late from Wisbech on the 12.31 to P'boro (K15) and despite an allowed extra layover at Lowestoft was still late (11 mins) on the 22.31 Wisbech - Peterborough tonight, so it is doubtful if the speed adjustment has been applied to this one. 37565 managed to make up time on L13, being 13 late going west before lunch and on time tonight on the 19.59 Lynn - Peterborough. Other Gemini sightings today were Y8 : 37577, J10 : 37579 - the worst timekeeper being 23 late on the 10.48 ex P'boro; L12 37578, Y14 37572, K16 37563 and K6 37569. Tonight 37573 was `10 late on the 17.18 Peterborough - Gorleston.
Old stagers in use today were 20109 on K1 07.48 ex Peterboro, seen leaving Wisbech five minutes late. It must have been swapped, as John saw it take over K4 10.12 Lynn - Lowestoft from 20121 which had arrived from the west. 20107 was also seen by john this morning, but this afternoon was sent out on K20. Peter sent a text to say he'd been expecting his first ride on a Gemini on the 20.18 Peterborough - Lowestoft when 107 turned up and gave an exhilarating journey to Wisbech.
J11 09.59 Lynn - Lowestoft was not seen by Bruce or myself today, so whether it ran is debatable.
FEC Managing director, Peter Iddon resigned today to 'spend more time with his family' ! A readers letter in the EDP was scathing about a rail replacement vehicle used on December 6th, it was described as an 'R reg coach with no heat, no suspension, draughty emergency doors and faulty seatbelts as well as stapled moquette on the seatbacks. Step forward 20141 !


Sunday 14th December 2008 ~ Catch Up Time

Been rather busy this weekend, but here is a brief report on recent events :


Things went pear shaped from about 09.30 at Lynn according to Jason and there were plenty of B10s out, some just filling in on trips to Peterborough and back, while others were out for much of the day. Known workings are 20103 on X2, 20104 K18, 20105 Hunstanton number 4 contract (failed at Smithdon High School with fuel leak), 20107 K1 07.48 P'bo - Lft, K6 13.55 Lft - P'bo and 18.18 return, 20109 K20a (Lynn - Nor & return), Hunstanton services, 20111 K19a (start of X2 turn) then returned on X1 to P'bo and back as far as Lynn, 20118 Hunstanton services, Vancouver Avenue repairs, 20121 Hunstanton services, 20127 X1 shuttles (thanks Grahame and Sam) and 20131 did an X1 Lynn - P'bo and return.
The buses sent out from Lynn this morning in addition to the coaches above were : K2 37570, K3 20351, K4 37577, K5 37564, K6 37568, K15 37575, K16 37565 and K17 20353, Other sightings were Y14 12.48 ex P'bo 37571 running 15 late, 37578 on L12 11.48 ex P'bo just 6 late. Tonight 37572 was seen arriving at Rowan Road at 19.40 while 37576 arrived on Y21. Terence saw K7 with 37579 running 40 late at Gorleston at lunchtime. 20117 was at Rowan Road having had its final mileage as an FEC vehicle, mileage reading was 359342 incidentally.

Some important movements today including the departure of 20117, 20502 & 20503 to Scotland. 20141 arrived back at King's Lynn from Norwich with an air leak and suspension fault after rail replacement work. Other out of service vehicles today were 20120 which is officially described as 'audit repairs' involving gearbox oil temperature investigation. 20352 awaiting an oil cooler at Rowan Road and 20105 with a hydraulic pump leak. Various B10s were once again out on Hunstanton services including 20109/11/18/21. The morning departures from Lynn were all B9 Geminis apart from B7s 20351/3. John remarks that the driver changes at lynn seem to take longer with the B9s than with the coaches, perhaps due to the new technology ?

Noted at Rowan Road tonight were 37569/71/73 with 20505/6 (the last two remaining Paragons) and 20118/31/41/352. At Vancouver Avenue were 37570, 20107/09/11 and 20351/3.
There was a very keen driver on the X1 this afternoon/evening. On the 15.19 eastbound from Walpole Highway he was 3 early with an unidentified B9. On the 18.18 ex P'bo with 37577 he arrived at Wisbech at 19.01 departing at 19.02 (3 x 7 early !) and Bruce reported the 23.19 back to Lynn passing him at 23.12 (7 early). In contrast 37572 was 12 late arriving Wisbech on the 19.31 to Peterborough.


Thursday 11th December 2008 ~ What number was that ?

Today began well with K1 07.48 ex Peterborough less than five late leaving Wisbech with 37565. Bruce reported a B10M on the 08.59 Lynn - Peterborough, but this wasn't positively identified until this evening when I passed 20103 on the 19.18 Peterborough - Lowestoft.
Bruce paid a visit to Rowan Road today where 20502/3 are now ready for departure and 20505 was expected to arrive today from Yarmouth Volvo. 20117 is also ready now, but still appears to be in use on Hunstanton schools work. It would appear that 20114 went north earlier than anticipated because of a brake fault on 20508, which duly went eventually with 20119. 20352 was another coach at Rowan Road today.
At lunchtime I saw 20105 about 15 late on L13 12.18 ex Peterborough and this now seems to be the favourite turn to get a B10M - possibly because of its evening trip to Hunstanton. 37578 was seen on K16 about 9 late and Y14 12.48 ex P'bo was 31 late arriving at Wisbech with 37575. In days gone by when this turn ran very late, the coaches had made up all the lost time by the evening, but tonight 575 was still 17 late going to Peterborough on the 20.59 ex Lynn.
Another late running award went to the 15.48 Peterborough - Yarmouth (K5) which with 37566 was seen departing Wisbech 29 late at 17.08. Coming westbound were K4 24 late with 37571 and K6 just ten late with a Gemini whose number I've manged to forget completely ! Tonight 37573 was seen on K20 20.18 Peterborough - Lowestoft on time. Terence reports 37579 at Gorleston this morning on what was probably K15 and he also saw an unidentified B7 Profile at about 17.15 in the same area. Even though the traffic lights on Cromwell Road in Wisbech are now phasing correctly, very few drivers are running to the booked route and almost all X1s are still using Churchill Road (A1101).
After my rant yesterday Jim writes "Just one small point I feel, (no criticism intended here)when the B10M's were on the x94/794 they were only 9.6litres, yet when the Tigers were on there they were 11.1 litres and they couldn't keep to time I recall. The difference was their ratios I was told, yet the Tigers 26/27 were used by York/Essex on their fast service.
The Geminis are, if i may correct 9.4litre just for the record, and there is very little difference in their weights if you notice. I know I'm harping on about this but it's that 62mph they are not using, 6mph handicap can make a lot of difference to time keeping also,at least the driver can work accordingly then. Lowestoft ought to give those Royale's/Palatines a go they will do 60 or should do,no bother. Keep the good work up on the blog it's brill.." Flattery will get you everywhere Jim ! Thanks for the interesting points that you make, I wonder if we will see the Royales get an outing occasionally - are they tacho fitted does anyone know ? How about the incoming Tridents too, are they just intended for town routes ?

Wednesday 10th December 2008 ~ Contrasts

It must be strange being a regular X1 passenger. Where else in this country would you find a cross country express service operated 90% by 'state of the art' 58 reg double deckers and the other 10% by N reg coaches ? Why the FEC order originally quoted in official publicity as being 20 vehicles was subsequently reduced to 17 and the seats in the new vehicles downgraded from the leather type promised are matters for conjecture. At this point I ought to add that I'm fully aware that any service which spends nearly 15 minutes negotiating narrow lanes and then a suburban housing estate (Toftwood) can hardly be described as 'express', but there you are. Whether the 'Geminis' can be regarded as 'state of the art' is also dubious, it is a reflection on the times we live in that seats are grouped so closely together that a comfortable journey is almost impossible, yet at the same time passengers are monitored by 16 security cameras ! I still find it incredible that there were no timing trials with the new buses. It was simply assumed that they would keep the current timings despite the fact that the mainstay of the service was 12 litre coaches and their replacements just 9 litre deckers used elsewhere on town services.
Today, my first encounter was as usual with K1 07.48 ex Peterborough which was 10 late at Wisbech with 20104. Later on a B10 passed Bruce westbound at 16.37 on K2 and it would seem likely that this was 104 having stepped down a turn at Lowestoft. At lunchtime we had a nostalgic moment when at 13.12, K16 arrived at Wisbech bus station from Lowestoft with 20111 (and the miserable driver incidentally), just as 20109 departed on L13 13.09 to Lowestoft. I didn't see a great deal today, but everything else I witnessed was Geminis.
Michael Bryant reports that K19 was once again a Lowestoft decker ( in fact a Royale) at lunch time swapped this evening for Gemini 37574. On the x1 B9s reported were 37565 (K6), 37572 (Y8), 37571 (Y9), 37568 (L12), 37573 (K15), 37566 (K17), 37564 (K18), and 37570 (K7). Thanks to Bruce and Terence for most of this.


Tuesday 9th December 2008 ~ The Elephants Came In Two by Two

Well first the good news for us fans of the old and reliable. 20107 did L13 today, that's the 07.45 ex Lowestoft and 12.18 ex Peterborough. It also appears to have come back tonight as booked. Hopes were raised at lunchtime when 34825 was seen on the lunchtime part of K19 at Beccles, but 20104 had taken over this evening. Michael confirms that the last part of K19 last night was 37568. John says 20109/117 were on the Hunstanton routes this morning and 20118 then joined them off a schools turn. On schools also was 20121. Tonight 20118 had another run out on the X1 when it was noted entering Wisbech 15 late on K6 16.59 ex Lynn instead of 37573. Sam saw 20103 on the X2 today, but it wasn't smoking this time thank goodness.

Timekeeping during the morning was better than yesterday, but John says services arriving at Lynn from Peterborough were on average 25 late. Congestion coming into Lynn must have been bad as K1 07.48 ex Peterborough passed me with 37571 just 5 late leaving Wisbech, but was 25 late arriving at Lynn, similarly the previous service (K7) was seen by Bruce 5 late with 37568 but was 28 late into Lynn.
Tonight the 16.31 departure from Wisbech to Peterborough (K2) arrived at 17.06 with 37576 and was followed about 7 minutes later by 37565 on K4. In the opposite direction things were worse. Jamie R arrived at Peterboro' bus station for K7 16.28 to Lowestoft and it duly appeared about 5 late with 37568 (having made up time since this morning apparently). He thought it odd that there was only himself and another passenger to board, but what he didn't know was that he'd just missed K5 with 37579 running 30 late ! At Wisbech, 37579 arrived via the A1101 at 17.23 (49 late) and 37568 was 4 minutes behind but arrived via the normal route. The chances of 568 overtaking well loaded 579 before Lynn seemed very high. Rob H noted three X1s running eastbound in quick succession tonight, so may be K1 was not far behind either.
The temporary lights at Wisbech may be going soon and are to be replaced by permanent traffic lights at the Lidl supermarket junction !


Monday 8th December 2008 ~ Confusion Abounds

You might think with Bruce, John, Terence and myself on the case today that we would have a concise list of X1 workings. Yes reports flew in from far and wide and yet the full picture is still not known as during the morning their seems to have been a major delay west of Lynn which threw the booked diagrams into chaos.
The trouble seems to have started early on, so let's look firstly at the eastbound services. K15 05.42 Lynn - Lowestoft was 37570 and this stuck to the turn all day and actually seemed least affected by the days events. It was 4 late at lunchtime and dead on time out of Wisbech on the final westbound service at 22.31 tonight. K16 was 37574 and this had lost 18 minutes by lunchtime. K17 had 20353 which was only 7 late at Walpole Highway at 13.27 going west and K18 following was 10 down with stalwart 20107. K3 had also only lost a little time with 20351 and K5 which does the 05.24 Lynn - Peterborough etc was 21 late passing Bruce on the 11.25 from Lowestoft. K7 kept fairly good time with 37578 and was only 15 late departing from Wisbech on the 15.31 to Peterborough.
K1 07.48 Peterborough - Lowestoft with 37572 was the first service delayed by the unknown incident. it was only 7 late from Wisbech (08.39 sched) but had somehow lost 40 minutes when John saw it leaving Lynn at 09.53. The following service, K2 , had 20111 as power and was only 6 late passing Bruce at Walpole on the 08.18 ex P'bo, but had dropped 17 minutes on arrival at Lynn. Interestingly, Terence saw these two services in Gorleston later and by that time the B10 had overtaken 37572 although both were together !
Things then get complicated and the next eastbound turn (K4) which was 37576 was 17 late at Walpole but then got caught in the major delay and arrived at Lynn at 11.06, 59 minutes late !! The following K6 which itself was 16 late passing Bruce with 37569 somehow made a diversion and actually overtook K4 arriving at Lynn shortly before it and duly departing to Lowestoft at 11.04 (22 late). 37576 on K4 had made up time by this evening and was only 10 late at Wisbech for the 17.01 to Peterborough. 37569 also stuck to its turn and was about 10 late this evening on the 18.18 ex Peterborough.
The first westbound turn originating on the coast is Y8 06.02 Yarmouth - Peterborough and this was slightly late and again took the alternative route out of Wisbech owing to the over-running roadworks on Cromwell Road. The new Lidl supermarket (opposite Tesco) was due to open today, but despite threats from Tesco to sue over loss of trade, the temporary traffic lights which have caused chaos for the last few weeks remained in situ today. 37579 was the bus on Y8 and this took the diversion in both directions and avoided other delays and managed to depart Lynn for Lowestoft at 11.14, just 2 minutes late. Tonight however, it had lost time and was seen on the 18.48 Peterborough - Lynn at Tilney All Saints at 20.14 running approx 20 late. Y9 with 37564 fared better this morning being only 4 late returning from Peterboro' on the 10.18 to Lowestoft.
What happened next is a bit of a mystery, J10 appears to have been 37577 seen by Bruce running about 10 late on the 10.48 ex P'bo, but when John arrived at Lynn bus station at 09.55 he saw 37565 departing for Peterborough and naturally assumed this was J10 westbound running 26 late. 565 was next reported by Bruce at Walpole en route to Peterborough at 10.42, so it lost 28 minutes on this stretch due to the unknown incident. Bruce of course assumed this was J11 !! Complicated or what ? The obvious answer would seem to be that J11 due off Lynn at 09.59 had an eager driver and left 4 early at 09.55, but then we find that John witnessed 37573 leaving for Peterborough on time for J11 at 09.59 ! Somehow we seem to have gained a bus !
The huge delay affected 37573 also and this didn't pass Walpole Highway until 10.53, having lost 35 minutes. Now I don't expect those of you unfamiliar with the X1 timetable to understand a word of this, but I'm explaining things chiefly for the benefit of those who kindly submitted their observations.
37573's driver decided to stick to the booked route negotiating the Wisbech roadworks in both directions and as a result I saw it arriving at Wisbech bus station at 13.08 on its way back east. So as we simply don't know what turn it was on, all we can say is that if it was J11 it was by now 64 minutes late and if it was L12, just 34 mins in arrears. How far it worked is unclear, but 37573 was at Rowan Road tonight and I suspect the service may well have been terminated at Lynn and passengers transferred to L13 which was only 13 minutes behind - see below.
The equilibrium (and try spelling that at this time of night), seems to have been settled by there being no 10.29 westbound from Lynn and instead at 11.02, 37567 arrived at Lynn to do the 10.59 to Peterborough (L13). The obstruction which had hindered preceding services appears to have been cleared as this was about 6 late from Lynn, 9 late at Walpole outward and 13 late at the same location returning east.
Services now resumed some semblance of normality with Y14 08.25 ex Lowestoft which had 37575 as far as Lynn where it was removed for servicing and replaced by 37571 off K20. 571 then proceeded to astonish all and sundry by being 10 late going to Peterborough and returning on time !! My bet is that it failed to go to P'bo rail station, but may be I'm just a cynic. 37575 continued on K20 after its booked maintenance.
There was one final twist in this saga of B9 supremacy. 37568 had a service at Lowestoft today but Syd says before this it worked the 09.11 service 99 from Southwold ! Anyway it was back at King's Lynn tonight as were 37565/67/77 , so I'm guessing that one of these must have replaced smokey 20103 on K19, the X2 turn. Finally (really they cried ?) what of the only Gemini not featured so far today, 37566 ? Well this turned up on L13 16.55 from Lowestoft tonight while 37567 which had been on this turn came in 30 mins earlier on L12. So all the B9s accounted for today then, I think I need a stiff drink after that lot.
On a sadder note 20500/01 left for First Essex today, while 37574 needs a new drivers seat, 37563 has intermittant CCTV and random bodywork leaks, 37577 also has leaks, 37565 has tacho issues and leaks and 37571 has a failed ad blu sensor. Oh well, that's progress for you.


Monday 7th December 2008 ~ Beautiful Sunday

65525, 37571, 37574 and 34921 line up at Rowan Road today

20103 leaves Lynn this afternoon on the 14.42 to Lowestoft

Certainly a beautiful day for enjoying the winter sunshine after a harsh frost. I'm afraid it wasn't a remarkable day on the X1 though. B9 Geminis did seven of the turns, one was not seen and the other was 20103 which I saw departing King's Lynn on the 14.42 to Lowestoft emitting clouds of unhealthy smoke when standing at the traffic lights at the exit of the bus station. I think the Geminis with the destination display in larger font are only 37575/6/8/9. Not sure why 37577 appears to have missed out.
Elsewhere EABG report that 20114 and an unidentified Paragon were seen on the M62 near Oldham on Friday evening, while 20119 along with 20504/7/9 are already in Glasgow apparently. Interesting that 20119 didn't come to Lynn for preparation before going north.

Saturday 6th September 2008 ~ A Big Mistake ?

20104 at Lynn depot this afternoon
Saw Richard today and as the man in charge of the B9 maintenance you would expect him to know pretty accurately how things are fareing. " They are a disaster mate, they should have gone for new coaches" was his verdict. Problems with leaking bodywork we've already mentioned, but the situation regarding Adblu failures has become acute. Almost every night B9s are being admitted to King's Lynn Volvo for Adblu problems. Take Thursday when 37565 failed at Necton (on K7 ?) and had to be driven back to Lynn, it was immediately taken in to Volvo for remedial work.

The Profiles are not having a good time either. Today 20353 was under repair at Vancouver Avenue having attention to its front bodywork again, while 20352 on K3 failed at Lowestoft and had to be driven back empty and exchanged for 20104 which had come in to Lynn on Friday night on K19. This meant Lowestoft had to provide a vehicle for the 10.55 to Peterborough (K3) and this was 20111 off an X2. The service in front of it (K18) was 22 late going west at Terrington with 37566 and according to the Facebook & EAB groups, this lost more time and eventually passengers were transferred on to 20111 at Dereham on the return 14.48 from Peterborough. 20117 was at Lynn compound today having done Hunstanton schools yesterday afternoon and also there were 20500/01 which are due to go to Essex on Monday. 20107/109/118 were all on Hunstanton diagrams today.

Friday 5th September 2008 ~ More Departures

20508/9 were both at Rowan Road last night but had left for Scotland by the time Bruce had visited this lunchtime. Bruce reports that 20500/1 are now ready to go to Essex, while 20502/3 need working on and 20506 resembles a shell inside with odd bits of seats still left but scarcely a good one. This has become the donor vehicle to get the others fit for despatch. Still no sign of 20505 last reported at Yarmouth Volvo.
Ryans says 20126/7 have been out on Yarmouth locals while 20123 is still at Caister Road depot out of service as is 20124 at Lowestoft. Sam got quite excited this morning when he espied 20115 at Trowse with about six HV clad chaps on board heading out of town. Perhaps for rail replacement at last ? He also travelled with 20111 on the X2 and this was having acceleration problems despite the drivers best efforts.
37564 followed me about today. Firstly it did K1 07.48 ex Peterborough, then at 17.20 it was seen on K4 13.25 ex Lowestoft entering Wisbech. I also saw it returning from Peterborough 33 late at Walpole Highway ! Only seven minutes behind it was 20118 on K6 18.18 Peterborough - Lowestoft. K1's return duty, the 12.25 ex Lowestoft was seen by Bruce on the Wisbech western bypass with 37579 running about 20 late. He also saw an unidentified B7 profile on K3 at around 16.20 in the Wisbech roadworks queue. Terence says a B7 was at Magdalen Square at 20.40, so I guess this was the same one. There was a B10 seen today, it passed Bruce 9 late on J10 09.29 Lynn - Peterborough, but was not identified.


Thursday 4th December 2008 ~ It's Not Fair

"It's not fair" said Michael the taximan tonight when I told him that the B9s can't keep time. "Why ?" I asked, "Well" he replied "There are so many sets of roadworks (spelt correctly Cheryl, please note) at the moment that nothing could keep the timetable going". He may be right and I look forward to the day when we get a good day. Tonight there was more chaos after a serious accident in the dip between Honingham and Hockering. The A47 was closed for in excess of 3 hours and diversions were set up.
B10s out today were 20104 which did all of K19, 20103 which similarly did K20 and tonight 20118 was sent out to Peterborough and back on L13 19.59 ex Lynn. 20109 had also come in to Lynn on an X1 tonight on one of the early arrivals. The B10s on Hunstanton schools runs were 20121 , 20131 and presumably 20118.
Elsewhere the B9 saga continued. 37576 was my first sighting today on K1 07.48 ex P'bo 20 late at Wisbech. 37577 began the day on K2 but was obviously removed as when I visited tonight, it had just arrived at Rowan Road from Volvo (K Lynn) after attention to Adblu problems. 37565 was also there for same and two others had allegedly been into Yarmouth Volvo for similar attention.
Delays because of the Wisbech roadworks resulted in Y9 10.18 ex P'bo with 37570 being 26 late, while J11 from Gorleston did its increasingly popular manouevre by missing the villages west of Lynn due to it being 30 late. Once again viewed on the A47 bypass by Bruce, the bus is believed to have been 37578. L13 10.59 Lynn - Peterboro' had a bad day with 37564 running 26 late going west and 32 late returning. The following Y14 travelled on its booked route through the roadworks, rather than taking the A1101 out of Wisbech which accounted for it being 34 late with 37571. Tonight the latter looked to have come in to Lynn on Y21 and due to severe congestion at Vancouver Avenue was parked in the HGV park off the South Gates roundabout. 20109 had been left abandoned in the road outside the garage by its incoming driver.
At lunchtime I visited Wisbech bus station at 13.08 just as 37568 arrived from Lynn with 'not in service' on the front and 37573 was filling up with passengers for Peterborough. 573 was actually K15 running 36 late and 568 originally on K16 must have gone empty to Peterboro' to take over K15 leaving 573 to drop down to K16. Jamie R was at Peterborough for the 13.58 to Wisbech (K16) which was 573 and this left Queensgate bus station and then went to the rail station where 20351 on K17 was already in attendance (on time !). Bruce witnessed a pairing at Walpole Highway this afternoon when at 16.20 he saw 20352 just 2 minutes late on K3 heading east followed 20 seconds later by 37563 on K18 which was 32 late. The reason for the transposition of K18 and K3 was because the Profile took the Wisbech western bypass to the B & Q roundabout then the A1101 to reach the Horsefair while the Gemini stuck with its correct route and thus lost more time. K5 this afternoon was a B10 believed to have been 20107 and glimpsed by Bruce on the A47 flyover, this turn had started the day with 37566.
At Rowan Road tonight there had been no further Paragon movements and 20114 was sandwiched between two B12s probably indicating that its operating days here are likewise over. At Vancouver Avenue 20120 had been moved over the pits and also in this position was 20105.
20351/2 were on their old favourite turns K17 and K3 today, while 20353 which has an odd front panel following its mishap the other night came in on Y8 18.48 from Peterborough.
On the Hunstanton route, 30235 had a collision with a loose tree branch this morning knocking a front window out and badly damaging the roof. It was the first decker to traverse the route today and was en route to Hunstanton empty. It is not expected to see further service and indeed the whole route is supposedly to be low floor by the end of the month.


Wednesday December 3rd 2008 ~ A Service of Sorts

The traffic congestion at Wisbech became even worse during this morning's peak and I suspect an accident or two contributed to the appalling delays suffered by the X1 services at this time. Bruce saw K6 07.59 Lynn - Peterborough on time with 37565, although K7 which passes him at the same time going east failed to appear.
Surveying from around 10.40 at Walpole Highway, the first X1 seen by Bruce was a B9 Gemini flailing westbound down the A47 dual carriageway avoiding the villages to make up time, this turned out to be J11 (we think !) about 30 late. Next came 37576 on Y8 09.48 ex Peterborough 13 minutes late at 11.01 followed by K6 returning with 37565, now 43 late and having been overtaken by 576.
Then 37575 on L12 10.29 Lynn - Peterborough appeared 18 late, I passed this coming in to Wisbech whilst behind me was Y9 10.18 ex Peterboro' with 37578 almost on time. After waving at Bruce, I then met 37568 on L13 at Walpole Highway just 4 late. Whilst sitting waiting for my Mum at Terrington surgery, another unidentified B9 passed by westbound on Y14, while Bruce made a visit to B & Q.
Observations resumed with J11 12.09 Wisbech - Lowestoft which was 37567 dead on time, K15 11.59 ex Lynn had lost time though and was 17 late while 37572 and the following K16 fared worse being 24 late with 37569. 575 returned on L12 by now 25 late, but strangely, despite keeping his eyes fixed on both the old and new A47 routes, Bruce never saw L13 or Y14 returning east ! His next eastbound observation was K15 with 572 just 7 late.
37566 was K17 12.59 ex Lynn which was only 6 late going west, but then there was another big gap in the Peterborough bound service with 20352 and 37570 both appearing in convoy on K18 & K3 at 14.23, 35 & 5 late respectively. By 15.05 when Bruce finished his vigil, K16 and K5 had both failed to appear suggesting that the former may have bypassed the villages again.
At teatime K4 was 33 late at Walpole with 37577, but later services had at last caught up time with L13 still with 37568 being spot on time at Walpole at 20.17 heading west where it passed Y9 on time with 37565. A late observation tonight was 37572 (still on K15) being on time at Walpole.
So a plethora of white elephants and no B10s seen today, however, Sam says 20103 was on K19 X2 turn, although it was 35 late this evening.


Tuesday December 2nd 2008 ~ Bypass Operation

More unscheduled appearances on the A47 bypass today, more of which shortly. K1 07.48 ex Peterborough had not arrived at Wisbech by 09.00 (sched departure is 08.39), earlier however, Bruce had seen K6 07.59 King's Lynn to Peterborough with 37568 and K7 07.13 P'bo - Lowestoft with 37576 both on time. Cheryl saw K6 returning east and it was at Wisbech bus station alongside 37564 on J10 from Gorleston. Y9 was 37563 seen by Bruce. What happened next is unclear, but there must have been an almighty hold up somewhere as travelling west from Wisbech, Rob B passed 20105 before Guyhirn on J11 about 40 late, 20352 at Thorney at 12.45 on L12 about 30 late and then 20107 on L13 approaching Thorney just 5 late.
Bruce describes what happened next : "Coming back from Wisbech on the bypass at 13.06, I noted a Plaxton body in front of me. Instead of going home, I followed it up the dual carriage way and caught up with 20352 flogging along at 60+ with passengers on X1 - Lowestoft at Terrington West junction. At Terrington East a B10M was seen on the flyover, i.e. the proper route on the old road. Drove to the end of the dual carriageway with 20352 200 yards behind me and 201xx running parallel one field away. Retraced my steps on old road from the roundabout to meet at 13.09 20105, X1 - Lowestoft,which would have rejoined the A47 a few seconds behind 20352, having previously been in front! Bad enough, you may say, until I arrived in Walpole Highway to be met at 13.22 by 20107, X1 - Lowestoft, going like a train!"

Normality of sorts was restored by 37571 10 late on the K17 12.59 ex - Lynn while 37572 went by to Lynn at 14.13 (Y14 running 25 late), followed by 37570 at 14.20 to Lynn (K15 just 2 late).
"We only tell it as we see it!" says Bruce. Well I can add 37575 on K16 13.01 Wisbech - P'bo about 10 late and Rob Brooks enlarges on earlier services seeing 20107 on L13 1131 Wisbach - P'bo running approx 10 late down Elm Road (off its normal route). The later delay to 37572 on Y14 can be attributed to it departing Wisbech westbound 10 late and after the roadwords at Tesco this had increased to 27 mins late out of them!! 37564 on J10 11.39 Wisbech - Lowestoft arrived here at 12.10 (36 late).

This afternoon, almost all services took the Churchill & Elm Road route out of Wisbech to avoid the delays. On my way home 37566 was encountered near Walton Highway on K4 running 33 late while Bruce saw another B9 taking the bypass avoiding Walpole, Terrington and Tilney at 18.30 heading east - presumably a late running K1, in which case it was approx 41 late. Last thing tonight at 22.18 K15 was 5 late at Walpole with 37570 and L13 had 20352 on time.

Monday December 1st 2008 ~ Party Time

My work Christmas 'do' today, so saw very little. Yes I know it's early for a Xmas meal, but as my boss was retiring, they combined the two things.
37564 was on K1 07.48 ex P'bo this morning and it does as I suspected have the Mamma Mia ad on the drivers side. At lunchtime I saw 20104 on L12 11.48 ex Peterborough running slightly late and going in the opposite direction was K15 11.59 Lynn to Peterborough with 37571 which was 19 late. Jamie R did K16 which was about 15 late heading west with 20352. Saw 17.01 Wisbech - Peterborough (K4) from a distance about 15 late with one of the Mamma Mia Geminis (probably 37570 see below). Final sighting was L13 19.59 Lynn - Peterborough which was about 5 late with 37569.

Rob Brooks was about this morning and reported the following : 20111 K2 0828 PB - LS depart PB 0834. 37570 K4 0858 PB - LS depart PB 0910, and went via Wisbech Bypass & Churchill Road to the Horsefair. 37578 was on K6 0928 PB - LS, but was only approaching Eye on the inward at 0921. 37563 was to be Y8 the 0958 PB - LS, but as of 0934, was passing Guyhirn, about 23 late. 20103 was on the Y9 0931 Wisbech - Peterboro and appeared to be on time ! (Unless everythings over 30mins late - no it really was on time Rob ). Un/id B7 heading into Wisbech via Churchill Road 1200. Assume a late running 1139 to Lowestoft (J10) ?(actually possibly J11 on time, see Bruce's note below)

Bruce had more pressing matters to attend to and says "Due to having my head and an angle grinder inside the wood burning stove (following it setting the chimney alight on Saturday night)I can only lay claim to 20104 on L12. Another B10 went to Lynn between 11.00 and 12.00 but can't remember when and there was a B7 on J11. Saw 20352 this afternoon between 15.00 and 16.00 but again can't remember exactly when" (K16 which was well late).
I have since established that Bruce's stove was NOT alight when he had his head inside it !


Sunday 30th November 2008 ~ Mamma Mia

A day of unrelenting rain throughout. The X1s seen by me were all Geminis except the 20.59 Lynn - Peterborough which was seen with B7 20352 at Walpole Highway 2 minutes early. B7 20353 which was out yesterday was at Rowan Road tonight with its bottom front panel (inc reg plate) missing, so whether it completed K4 yesterday is unclear.
The advertising chaps have visited Lynn and adorned 37570 & 37579 with large billboards promoting the new 'Mamma Mia' dvd in conjunction with Asda, both on the drivers side. I suspect 37564 may also have been fitted with them. Olympian 34933 certainly has. 37574/7 at Rowan Road escaped though. Serviceable B10s at the latter location this evening were 20105/7/11/31.


Saturday 29th November 2008 ~ A Right Knees Up

Thanks to a change of arrangements, I had my first trip on a B9 Gemini this morning in order to get to Peterborough station for our NENTA York trip. I was the only passenger to venture upstairs on the 07.31 Wisbech - Peterborough K2 which departed a minute late with 37577. I decided to make a timing sheet and we were blessed with a clear road all the way. We only stopped to let single cars go when leaving the Horsefair and similarly at the Eye Green roundabout, so a better trip for this purpose would be almost impossible to imagine. We even went sailing through the Wisbech Tesco roadworks on green ! The driver seemed to have 577 at full throttle for most of the journey and the timings were :
Weasenham Lane 2'53" (booked 2'00")
Guyhirn Bus Stop 11'05" (booked 10'00")
Thorney Toll Bus Stop 15'21" (booked 15'00")
Thorney Bypass Rbt 1 17'41"
Thorney Fish & Chip Shop 21'05" (booked 22'00")
Thorney Bypass Rbt 2 22'30"
Eye Green Rbt 26'29"
Boongate Rbt 31'35"
Queensagte Arr 35'19" (booked 37'00")

Bearing in mind the ideal conditions on this occasion, it shows that prospects for making up time in the event of late running are almost zero. The driver said he preferred driving the B9s to the B10s as they were easier to manouevre in tight situations because they are shorter in length. My only gripe was the appalling lack of legroom. I was sitting upstairs at the front to enjoy the view (actually peering through the mist !) and found the only way to be comfortable was to sit sideways and effectively take up 2 seats. Sitting normally was very awkward and my knees were pressing firmly against the front of the bus and I am of average build, anyone taller or indeed chunkier than me would have great difficulty. For a long journey this would be unbearable. I was reminded of a journey to Norwich on VR391 (DAH391K) in around 1974 and came to the conclusion that things haven't changed much. The journey on the VR was perishing and the journey on the Gemini only marginally less so.
Other buses seen by me today were 37563 about 5 down leaving Wisbech on K3 07.09 to Lowestoft and later in the evening 37575 on K15 21.31 Wisbech - Peterborough. According to the board, Lynn despatched the following this morning :
K15 37570, K18 37565, K16 37574, K1 37568, K17 37572, K3 37563, K2 37577, K5 37576, K4 20353, K7 37571 and K6 37578.
I did glimpse 20353 arriving at Peterboro' station on K4, but whether it completed its turn is uncertain (see Sunday blog)
Bruce had a day of sighting services in my absence, but as he puts it 'had a poor day' , he reports
"To Peterborough

Y9 was a B10M near enough to time at 09.20
L12 was 6 late at 10.54 with 37579
Y14 was 24 late at 12.12 with a B10M
K15 was 23 late at 12.41 with a B9 bus
K16 was 17 late at 13.05 with a B9 bus
K17 was 2 late at 13.20 with a B9 bus
K18 was 18 late at 14.06 with a B9 bus
K3 was 15 late at 14.33 with a B9 bus

From Peterborough

Y8 was 8 late at 10.56 with 37573
Y9 was 3 late at 11.21 with a B10M believed to be 111 but going too fast to read the fleet number from the side.
J11 was 32 late at 12.50 with an unidentified B10M - I couldn't get down my ladder quick enough.
L12 was 29 late at 13.17 with 37579

And then it all went wrong!.

Because I was expecting a B10M, I didn't take my eyes off the road. The next bus to pass was 37575 at 14.28 (a 71 minute gap), followed by 37570 at 14.58. (But with Devon General TUO74J empty at 14.53 in between!)

Now I was out down the yard, washing the horse trailer and my bus roofs. The road was never out of my sight. Buses from Lynn crept up behind me but I reasoned I could catch them on the way back - fat chance! Where L13 and Y14 went, God (and KingsLynn) only knows - and J10 for that matter. I know I was still shivering 2 hours later, after I ceased observations at 14.58 !

I feel I have failed but the service from Peterborough went out of the window and my observations with it.

I just reiterate the point made to Gerard - 6 months ago, a late coach was the exception - now it is the rule.

P.S, Both the 20.18 (Y9) and the 21.18 (K20) to Lynn were B10Ms on Friday night.

Going to Gravesend tomorrow - Arriva territory - sensible people"

Yes Bruce, buses taking the A47 bypass were a rarity too in the old days, but of course, commonplace now. Well done for persevering anyway.

Friday 28th November 2008 ~ The Barbies versus the Barbars

Not a lot noted today by us here in the west. The weather was damp and dismal and fog took a while to lift. Undoubted highlight of the day was 20131 getting a trip to Peterborough on the X1 when it worked the 11.59 Lynn - P'bo and return (K15) before being taken off for further schools work. Its last X1 appearance had been on October 16th.
The other barbie liveried coach, 20127 was also in use today and was about 20 late leaving Wisbech on K1 07.48 ex Peterborough. It was then stepped down a turn at either Lowestoft or Lynn and ended up on K2 15.59 Lynn - Peterborough on which it passed Bruce 24 late. K16 09.25 Lowestoft - P'bo had 20121 which had been turned out by Lynn early on and it did the complete turn.
37572 was 33 late on K18 14.48 ex Peterborough this afternoon. Bruce paid a visit to Rowan Road, where a man was being subcontracted to insure that the Paragons are fit for further service before departure from FEC. 20508/9 are now ready to go and work has been ongoing on 20501 this week. 20114 remains o/s at Rowan Road along with 20120 at Vancouver Avenue.


Thursday 27th November 2008 ~ Still Showing !

Passed Gemini 37576 on K1 this morning on the way to work, it still has its advert on the drivers side. The driver stopped for a chat with 37568 on Y8 outside Bruce's abode, both services were running about 10 late. For most of the day, X1s took the alternative route westbound from Wisbech via the A1101 Churchill Road to join the bypass at Elme Hall. This rather inconveniently meant that I saw very few services. Bruce saw 20351 on J10 10.48 Peterboro' - Lft which was 24 late. L12 11.48 P-L was 20 late with 37575, but this had worked forward from Lynn at 10.29 as it had started the day on K20. Y14 08.25 from Lowestoft turned up with 20109 just 4 late but this was later taken off to do Hunstanton Schools turn 5 and this evening Y14 was 37579. At about 13.52 I was following 20121 on the 13.29 Lynn - Peterborough (K18) when we passed 20109 at Faulkners Tunnel, quite a nostalgic moment. K19 (the X2 turn) began with 20117, but this was swapped during the day and either 20103 or 20107 came in on it tonight (they were both at Rowan Road having arrived on X1s). No more B12 Paragons have departed, but 20508 is having MOT and 20501 is at Vancouver Avenue. 20500/2/3/6/8/9 were all at Rowan Road tonight along with 20114. The schools turns this afternoon were 20105/9/18 which were also all present as were 20351/2 as well as Geminis 37572/3. 65527 was present with slight collision damage. The garage contained 37563 & 37575 as well as 20120/501.
37577 on K5 15.48 ex Peterborough was 33 late through Walpole Highway tonight and the following K7 with 37574 was 22 minutes behind time. K20 17.17 Norwich - Peterborough was 20111 tonight and I can confirm that this turn still does a schools diagram from Gaywood Park to Gayton and East Winch before running light to Norwich each afternoon.
Advance apologies now as the next blog will probably be on Sunday. I am travelling to Norwich (by the X1 !!!) tomorrow night and I'm in York on Saturday.


Wednesday 26th November 2008 ~ Work and More Work

Yes been very busy at work the past few days so no opportunity for me to take up my viewing post whilst sorting out files.
My sightings for the day are as follows : 37576 on K1 07.48 ex Peterborough once again delayed by the badly phased traffic lights outside Wisbech Tescos, it was still in the bus station at 08.51 (departure due at 08.39). A Gemini which looked like 37571 leaving Wisbech 5 late on J10 10.01 to Peterborough, 37565 only one late on L13 11,31 Wisbech - P'bo (07.45 ex Lowestoft) - this was seen on X1 shuttles by Terence yesterday , 37564 on K17 13.31 Wisbech - Peterboro about 5 late and this was followed shortly after by Y14 going east as the 13.39 Wisbech - Lowestoft about 15 late with 37567. At 17.27 there was an unidentified Profile in Wisbech bus station (either on 17.01 to P'bo or 17.09 to Lft). 37568 was approaching the town at 17.35 on K6 17.31 to P'bo. My last sightings of the day were again both Geminis with 37578 on the 20.09 Wisbech - Lowestoft (Y9), just a few minutes behind schedule and finally - quite literally 37577 on the 22.31 Wisbech - P'bo (K15) running 10 late. Until recently this service has always been a very good timekeeper.
The rest of you were luckier with your sightings and Bruce saw 20109 just 5 late on J11 07.05 Gorleston - P'bo and 20127 along next on L12 07.15 from Lowestoft. Sam also saw 20109 on time at Norwich heading east and also seen on X1s were 37566 on K2 with King's Lynn on the front instead of Peterborough and 37575 (not 571) on what appeared to be J10 was just ahead of 20109.
20142 was seen in Norwich on service 13 ! Sam and Michael also update us on the X2. 20107 was on an early X2 on Monday but then went onto K19 and on Tuesday 20103 did K19, today it was 20121 and 103 and 107 were again on X2s. All the Royales have now appeared except 34109. It wasn't all good news with the latter as Sam says "34111 came off 007 contract onto X2 stinking to high heaven of curry - I've had to wash all my clothes from today. Saloon lights also kept going on and off one side at a time then alternating - was 15 late leaving Norwich and got overtaken by 34110 at Beccles".
Bruce had a Gemini moment this morning : "37573 went by to Lynn at 10.16 - not bad time keeping. Until 37578 went by to Lynn at 10.26 on K6 - 8 late! I reckon 37573 was 28 late on K4".

Tuesday 25th November 2008 ~ Bingo

Yes the advert referred to on 20104/127 is for Tombola/Bingo, so I don't know where I got a mobile phone company from. 20107 was out today on K16 13.01 Wisbech - Peterborough and like 20104 has had its Just Jobs Suffolk ad replaced by the aforementioned Bingo ad. Only other report of a Premiere today was 20111 on Y14 12.01 Wisbech - P'bo seen by Bruce. In total I only saw four X1s today, so there may well have been others out. The first westbound departure from Yarmouth (Y8) with 37565 was 15 late this morning due to an accident at East Winch.
Thanks to Andrew for confirming that Geminis are being used on Lynn schools turns as required.


Monday November 24th 2008 ~ Geminis Off Route

After yesterday's snow, today was a sunny winters day and 20104 made a fine sight storming over the A47 flyover near Walpole on L12 this lunchtime, dead on time too !

There are a few turns which take the B9 Geminis off the Lowestoft - Peterborough route which are of interest. There are two maintenance turns at Lynn, these being K6 which does the 07.59 to Peterborough, but beforehand is diagrammed to do a service 43 to North Wootton and back. Recently this turn has been a poor timekeeper and today for example 37565 was 30 late at Wisbech, unheard of in the old days. Y8 following with 37579 was 13 late. K20 turn as previously mentioned in this blog does a Lynn - Norwich commuter turn, then returns light to Lynn for maintenance before heading east empty again at about 15.45 to do the 19.19 Norwich - Peterborough. This turn also used to cover the West Winch schools turn at about 15.00, although it is unclear whether it still does this, but John W reports seeing 37576 at 14.35 in Lynn bus station today with 'contract' on the front. By 15.00 it had left, so it may have been used on schools after all. 20131 was also present to start with, but had also gone by 3pm. L13 turn finishes its X1 duties at Lynn at 22.37, but is then required to work the 23.00 service to Hunstanton. This is quite often a B10M as initially drivers expressed reservations about tree clearances in the Heacham area.

The vehicle on K19 turn is used on the X2 in the day, but this is normally a B10M, however, the evening part has been seen with Geminis. Y21 involves work on the Gorleston - Norwich X1 shuttles (not exactly off route, but worth mentioning) before working the 17.25 Lowestoft - Lynn.

No less than 5 B10Ms were noted west of Lynn today, these being 20117 on K2 08.18 Peterboro' - Lowestoft running on time, 20127 on J11 07.05 from Gorleston which was 10 late but only 5 late returning east, 20104 on time on L12 07.15 ex Lowestoft & 11.48 ex P'bo, 20111 on Y14 08.25 ex Lowestoft on which it must have come on at Lynn and 24 late past Bruce, presumably delayed by the late running incoming vehicle, plus finally 20109 on K18 10.25 ex Lowestoft almost on time. Sam saw 20103 running light on the X2 route, so this was believed to have done K19 while 20107 was also in service on the X2.

20109 only bore its 'Architects of Fashion' ad very briefly and is now devoid of such embellishments, meanwhile 20127 has two new side ads for Market Gates shopping centre (Gt Yarmouth) and another which I think is for a mobile phone network. The latter ad is also now on 20104 (see picture above) replacing the 'Just Jobs Suffolk' one which had been in situ for some time. Sam saw 20142 in Norwich today - it has not been back to Lynn since it began its rail replacement stint.

This afternoon 37570 was noted by Rob Brooks on the Wisbech bypass heading for P'bo on K3, perhaps why Bruce didn't note it passing ? Meanwhile another B9 off route was 37571 on K5 15.01 Wisbech to P'bo which left via the A1101 Churchill Road to join the A47 bypass, thus avoiding the Cromwell Road traffic lights. The contractors here are under severe pressure to complete the work here by the first week of December.

A final glimmer of hope was experienced this evening when Gemini 37577 passed through Walpole one minute before time on the 19.18 Peterborough - Lowestoft (Y9).

Sunday 23rd November 2008 ~ Snow and Roadworks

The old A47 at Walpole just after 10am today with not a white elephant in sight. Norfolk County Council's claim that a full gritting programme was achieved seems suspect ! (Photo by Brucey)

The provision of a new roundabout on the A47 at Honingham combined with wintry condieions for a time this morning was always going to make today's timetable a bit dodgy.

Bruce was on the ball though and noted 37579 passing his house at Walpole Highway 4 minutes early, no less, on the return of the first trip to Peterborough. Later 37579 came back an hour later than scheduled. Typically unimpressive it was 18 late going west and 19 late at Wisbech on the return 18.18 P'bo - Lowestoft. Before lunch delays of up to 45 minutes were noted, but in the afternoon these had reduced to about 20 mins on average. The 15.59 Lynn - P'bo did not appear so it may have been a cancellation. Later this evening, 37569 on the 18.59 Lynn - P'bo was halted at Wisbech, although only about 20 late and it then waited until 21.09 when it went back to Lowestoft. Quite why it failed to go through to its destination is unclear. 37570 on the next westbound service was noted refuelling at Vancouver Avenue, complete with passenger compliment at 20.23, shortly before it continued westbound approx 25 late.

After yesterday's late running 37563 made it back to Lynn on one of the after midnight arrivals and was at Rowan Road today. 37565 was spare at Lynn garage today while 37575 was over the pits alongside 20508/9. It would seem that today's service was entirely Gemini worked. There were six B10Ms at Rowan Road tonight, so prospects for appearances tomorrow would seem good. 20109 had 'X1 Lowestoft' on the front, so must have been taken off at some stage and 20118 off Y9 last night was also present.

Jim wrote today and on the subject of the B9s speed handicap wrote : "With reference to the new X1 Decker's always being late, I understand they were set at 50mph and now to 56mph, but my gut feeling still is being coach seated and seat belted they are the same as a double deck coach and can be set to 100kph which is 62mph. Now the B10m's are 9.6 litre and 12067kgs with a height of 3.2mtrs and they I understand can keep to time, while the B9's are 9.4 litres and are 12710kgs, OK so they are 700k's heavier, but it's that ole height thing against the wind that probably hampers these Gemies and at 56mph they are going to be late. I did work for a company that did tacho & speed limiters on all new /old vehicles and the 56mph is usually for lorries,even a little Enviro200 is set at 62mph so it may be worth Fec checking this out again, as the white elephants don't want to end up as a real white elephant as they say..
I would love to confirm this speed thing with my ole work mates,but,sadly the company were taken over,and then went out of business, due to the credit crunch last month. ". Interesting stuff Jim amd thanks for getting in touch. Seems odd that if they can be set to a 62mph max they haven't acted swiftly, but then may be we shouldn't be surprised. Imagine how things would be now if the 50mph setting was still in situ ! To begin with, I rather resented the gleaming Geminis, even though they were decked out with hard bus type seats, but now I'm beginning to feel a bit sorry for them as they are clearly NOT designed with long distance work in mind.


Saturday 22nd November 2008 ~ Disintegration !

Well day after day seems to go by and we have got into the habit of making excuses for the White Elephants. Roadworks at Wisbech and Dereham, A47 accidents, driver unfamiliarity, tacho issues etc etc. The fact remains though that they are simply not up to the job.
Jamie V was on 37563 with three drivers this afternoon and they all echoed what I've just said.
This morning began very well with 37575 exactly on time at Walton Highway on K1 07.48 P-L and indeed the following turn, K2 was actually 2 early passing me with 37574. Similarly Rob B saw K6 07.59 Lynn - Peterborough departing Wisbech 1 early (37577) and this was only 2 minutes late returning. 37564 on 08.48 P-L and 37579 on Y9 06.32 ex Yarmouth were both just 3 late, but then the service gradually deteriorated to the point whereby at 17.00 it was gridlocked at Honingham (this was forecast as a new roundabout was being installed) and King's Lynn were despatching buses to Peterborough as drivers and vehicles became available.

The eastbound afternoon services through Wisbech went as follows : L12 12.39 to Lowestoft 37571 exactly 30 late, L13 13.09 37568 -13, Y14 13.39 37578 -24, K15 14.09 37563 -28, K16 14.39 37572 -25, K17 15.09 37566 -37 ! and K18 15.39 37565 -13.
The 14.29 (K3) and 14.59 (K5) to Peterborough were not seen by me, but may have taken an alternative route out of Wisbech to avoid the roadworks. Next westbound service seen was 20117 at 15.42 and Jamie V had seen this departing Lynn, so presumably it was K7. Darkness then descended and a Fanta was seen heading east at 16.49 (K3 or K5 ??), however, despite me travelling home from work and expecting to catch it up, I never saw it again and came to the conclusion that it must have used the A47 bypass to get to Lynn. On the way home I passed 20121 on K4 16.29 Lynn - Peterborough running 15 late.
Jamie V was meanwhile esconced on 37563 on K15. It was already 30 late from King's Lynn before encountering the gridlock at Honingham and it eventually got through to Norwich at about 17.45, 82 minutes late ! An earlier snowfall in Norwich had also caused some delays, but the snow only appeared to be east of Hockering.
I retired from viewing when I got home, but will leave the final note to Rob Brooks who says : "20118 on Y9 1918 PB - LS depart Peterborough 1949. Currently on it thawing out!!!".
Isn't this mobile phone/email thingy wonderful ? An email straight from 118 !


Friday 21st November 2008 ~ Brainwashed

Today was strange for a number of reasons. To begin with I didn't see any X1s until a westbound B9 was glimpsed at 12.32 - take your pick, it was either K15, 2 minutes early passing me, or Y14, 28 late. John W saw an interesting swap at Lynn early on when 37574 arrived on Y9 06.32 from Yarmouth, only to be sent to the middle and replaced by 20105 off schools for the 08.59 departure to Peterborough. The next two westbound (J10 & J11) were 37568/9 and due to the formers late running were both in Lynn bus station together (sound familiar ?).
Bruce popped over to Lynn today too and saw 20352 arriving on K17 12.54 arrival from Lowestoft, but this was taken off and 37572 off K16 then ran in its place to Peterborough. This had begun the day on K16. As so often happens when services run late on X1, the process of laying over at Lynn was adopted today. Basically this involves the bus which began the day on K15, then going on to K16 and so on. The business with inserting 20105 at 08.59 seems to have started the ball rolling.
One might reasonably have expected 20352 to then become K18 (the 13.29 Lynn - P'bo) but for some reason this didn't happen and 20127 which had come in on K18 went through as allocated to Peterborough. Rob B reports it leaving the city 43 minutes late on the 14.48 to Gorleston and this had increased to 55 mins after passing through the roadworks at Wisbech !
The next westbound service involves a funny story which I hope you'll forgive me for including.
As some of you may know, I work at an opticians in Wisbech and over the last 4 years the staff have become quite used to me dashing out to photograph the occasional bus etc and some have become quite expert X1 spotters ! Imagine the scene this afternoon at about 14.50 when a nice lady from the Anglia Community Eye Service (ACES) paid us a visit. I quite literally chanced upon the following conversation between some of our staff and said visitor :
ACES Lady : I've just seen one of your buses at the traffic lights, it was 109 ! Do you think I got the right number ?
Suzanne : Oh yes, 109 is a regular one
Carol : Oh you know about the buses do you ? You should have seen the look my boyfriend gave me the first time he heard me say "Ooh there's 509", he knew I was mad then
Yvonne : I don't know which number you look at
Cheryl : Well there were one hundreds and five hundreds, but the five hundreds have finished now.
ACES Lady : I've seen some of the new ones as well, the double deckers
Cheryl : Oh the white elephants ? Oh yes, we're not interested in those.
Suzanne : Gerard, this lady has just seen 109
Me : Oh hello, which way was it going ?
ACES Lady : To Peterborough about 5 minutes ago.

Now I gather this must sound rather far fetched, but believe me it was quite surreal. I just stood there not believing what I was hearing. Not only did I not know the lady from ACES, I certainly wouldn't have put her down as a bus spotter. Turns out she is a friend of Suzanne's who'd told her about the bus thing !
Anyway the important thing for us was that she'd stumbled upon K3 10.55 from Lowestoft with 20109 which I otherwise would not have known about. 37567 which was on K3 stepped down to K5.
So what about the mating season ? Well today's contribution again involved K2 & K4 (see yesterday). At 17.07, 37575 was seen leaving Wisbech bus station for Peterborough 35 late on K2 being tailed not by another B9 but by 20105 on K4 making its second outing of the day to Peterborough.
Had a phone call from a very excited Judith tonight who'd seen three eastbound X1s in close succession when travelling from Lynn to Wisbech tonight, these were K1 with 37578 (thanks to Ian for the identification), K2 with 575 taking the A47 Tilney bypass in an attempt to make up time and of course 20105 on K4.
37566 has returned to service following accident damage and had an exam at Lynn on Wednesday. Today it worked K2 06.59 Lynn - P'bo before later getting swapped for 575.
Tonight 20103 came in to Lynn on what is thought to be L12 16.25 from Lowestoft, while 20121 did all of K19 diagram. L13 had 37571 at lunchtime, but 37577 came back from Lowestoft and was seen arriving at Lynn about 20 late at 20.14. It then went to the garage and 20121 looks to have done L13 forward to Peterborough.
Sam says "Saw 37564 around 15:45 with X1 Lowestoft (nothing unusual I hear you say) but it was coming through Trowse past County Hall and up Bracondale towards the City Centre (ie west bound) ideas?" Well it came in on Y21 tonight Sam which is the turn which comes off X1 Gorleston shuttles. Isn't there a service at about 15.52 from Norwich to Lowestoft which then does Y21 ? I will have to check the timetable.
Sam also saw 20107 on the X2 but with X20 on the blinds and there were appearances by 20117 and the aforementioned 20103 too, of which Sam says "it was changing gear like someone had put a manual transmission in it!"
The biggest news of the day I've kept until last and this involves the visit by Bruce today to Rowan Road. He explains : "Went to Rowan at 12.00 - 20500/1/2/3/4/6/7 present along with 20109/111/14/118/131/353. 20506 was under repair. At Vancouver Avenue garage, only 20120 and 65526 in an otherwise empty garage but 37579 leaving for uptown 'Sorry Not in service!' "(It was K20 Bruce).
After his visit to Tesco he says "Back at Rowan at 14.00 20507 gone and something else missing? Leaving Rowan at 14.09, met 20109 arriving with 6+ drivers on board (surely not all going to take it to Pbo ?? G). Got home to view video footage I'd taken and realised 20504 had disappeared as well as 20507 while I was shopping".
Well all very intriguing, so I went to investigate tonight. 20504/7 are indeed the first two B12s to leave for Scotland. The two absentees 20508/9 were both over the pits at Vancouver Avenue tonight. 508 had been to ARM at Setch for a chassis wash, but where 509 was when Bruce visited is not known. 20111/118/131 were the Hunstanton schools turns this afternoon. 20114/353 are both still at Rowan Road pending repairs.


Thursday 20th November 2008 ~ The Mating Game

There were more ridiculous events today involving the Gemini B9s. We have mentioned before about them being unable to recover lost time in anything other than perfect traffic conditions and today's sightings confirm this. Firstly as I left work I encountered 37574 arriving at Wisbech at 17.09 heading west with a twin 3756something attached, again not a car between them. These must have been K2 running 42 late and K4 a mere 12 late. Then this evening, by which time under the coach regime things would have been back to timetable, a similar occurrence was witnessed at Walsoken with 37576 on Y8 to King's Lynn being followed by 37568 on Y9 to Lowestoft running 35 and 5 late respectively. What impression this makes on the travelling public is open to debate, it must be a bit galling to have waited in excess of 30 minutes for your bus, to find two arriving at once.
Other white elephant displays today included 37573 on J11 11.18 Peterborough - Lowestoft running 23 late and at teatime K5 15.48 Peterborough to Yarmouth was yet again 28 late at Wisbech with 37563. I was surprised to see K18 10.25 Lowestoft to Peterborough with 37571 on time this afternoon. 37572 on L13 07.45 ex Lowestoft is believed to have taken the A47 bypass to Wisbech after which it was 13 minutes late.
B10s seen in service today were 20127 which Bruce saw running 2 late on J10 10.48 ex Peterboro' and 20121 on L12 07.15 ex Lowestoft and the 11.48 return on which latter service it was 3 early arriving at Wisbech.
John says "There is a warning of serious hold-ups on A 47 from Thursday 8 pm through to early Monday when the new roundabout at Honingham is joined up to the A47. Things should be normal with the new twister operative by Monday, but all are advised to steer clear of the area during the stated work period. 20131 (and 34921) on 41 today. 20109 on Bus station middle showing X1". John continues with an interesting observation......"Did you know this week marks the 3rd anniversary of the low floor decker on X1 ? -Do I mean 3 weeks........... No - 3 YEARS ! On 18/11/2005 a blue P&R B7TL 32481 (AU53 HJY) was seen by me leaving KL
for Peterborough at 11.29. Looked very nice too !" Yes I remember it well John, I was gutted when Judith phoned me about an hour after it had left Wisbech on Y14 heading back east on a beautiful sunny afternoon, asking me if we had a new fleet of buses ! Missed my photo opportunity.


Wednesday 19th November 2008 ~ Hit and Miss

The performance of the B9s seems to be very hit and miss. Today for example some services were excessively late, whilst others ran almost to time. Now despite intentions to the contrary, I will be reporting sightings of the white apparitions, simply because you all keep sending me reports !!

Noted this morning by our variety of correspondents were K1 07.48 Peterborough - Lowestoft (regular reports will be shared on this, as it's the bus I pass on the way to work !) with 37567 running 14 late out of Wisbech due to the roadworks on the approach. K6 with 37570 made up a little time having been seen 13 late going to Peterborough on the 07.59 westbound from Lynn (Cheryl). Y9 06.32 from Yarmouth was on time with an unidentified white elephant, but 37568 on J11 07.05 ex Gorleston was 20 late (Bruce) and this had increased to 32 minutes returning east. 37565 with the 'late lady driver' belied its chauffeur being only 3 late through Walpole en route back to Lowestoft on Y14 12.48 ex P'bo. Rob B saw it leaving Peterborough rail station 4 late so she had done quite well. Rob also saw the following K15 13.18 ex Peterborough with 37575 (for the second day in a row) departing 10 late. The next service, K16, was seen by me at Walpole (due 12.47) at 13.15 with 37573 so well down and with 20351 on K17 about 5 minutes behind. Afternoon Geminis seen were 37574 only 5 late westbound and 7 late returning on K3 10.55 ex Lowestoft and 15.18 return. 37578 scrutinised by Bruce at Lynn bus station before a belated departure as the 14.29 to Peterborough (K5) and with an obvious oil leak judging by the rear. I ended up following this home from work as it was 28 minutes late departing Wisbech and indeed the oil leakage was quite noticeable on the white bodywork. Sam saw 37576/7 at teatime in Norwich heading west and Michael confirmed Sam's sighting of a Gemini on the afternoon part of K19, it was 37569.

Enough white elephant talk, what of our old friends the B10Ms ? Well 20121 was seen by Bruce on L12 07.15 ex Lowestoft and was about 8 late returning at lunchtime. This evening on my way to a pool match I encountered 20111 on time heading for Lowestoft on Y9 19.18 ex Peterborough. Others seen today were 20103 on K19 this morning, yesterday it did the full turn, but today Sam says alarm bells were ringing throughout his journey with it, so little surprise that it was knocked out by a Gemini (see above). Today was a bonus day for B10s on the X2, 20104/07/11/17 were all seen by Michael and between him and Sam they saw all but one of the Volvo Royale Olympians on the route. John and Bruce both saw 20105 in Vancouver Avenue today, but it was fit for school work this afternoon when it was joined by 20127. John also saw 20509 and 34950 in the garage, the latter ex Lowestoft. Rob H saw 20104 in King's Lynn at around 17.45 so it obviously came west after a stint on the X2 like 20111.

Couldn't resist a bit of clowning about tonight...................

From tonight's Eastern Evening news

Local bus company 'First Eastern Counties' have today announced that their new fleet of double decker buses plying the X1 route between Lowestoft, Yarmouth, Norwich and King's Lynn are to be officially recognised as 'White Elephants'. Spokesperson Gussy Alamein said "At first we thought it was a bit of a joke, but the enthusiasts nickname has caught on big time with our staff and management, so we thought we'd acknowledge the new double deckers popularity by placing a motif of a white elephant on the back of each new bus"


Tuesday 18th November 2008 ~ His Own Personal Coach !

Sightings between us mustered only one B10 coach today, that being 20117 on L13 10.59 King's Lynn - Peterborough which was 8 late going west and on its return was Jamie R's own personal coach as he was the only passenger when it arrived at Wisbech. Despite the ongoing roadworks it was only 10 late as was 20351 which it met at Walpole on K17.
An accident near Acle closed the A47 for a while at lunchtime and K5 14.29 King's Lynn - Peterborough passed Bruce with Scania 65527, either because of the delay or maybe if it was a B10 this was required for schools. B7 20352 was seen at Wisbech 23 late on the 15.18 ex Peterborough this afternoon.
B9s seen today were 37578 12 late on K1 07.48 ex Pbo, 37576 10 late on J10 10.48 ex Pbo, 37575 only 3 late on K15 21.59 Lynn - P'bo, 37573 running 24 late on L13 19.59 Lynn - Pbo, but only 5 late returning, 37567 5 late on Y14 20.59 Lynn - Pbo, 37563 15 late on Y9 19.18 ex Pbo and finally 37572 which John saw arriving at Lynn this morning on Y8 at 08.18, as he says 6 early, but normal time when a coach !
John now reminds us of how things were just 11 years ago hereabouts :

November yesteryear………..Nov 1997
We might think this Peterboro-Lowestoft service has run forever -but a look back 11 years to November 1997 finds the then X94 service running Norwich - Kings Lynn -Peterborough only. At that time the Kings Lynn depot provided all the buses and all crews for the service.
Summer 1997 had seen a 5th B10 coach arrive to expand the X94, then virtually an hourly service in the daytime period. In November, Eastern Counties (not yet FEC !) were named as runners-up in the Bus Industry awards for marketing initiative for the X94 service. On 29th October, a 6th coach arrived in the shape of N619 APU. The former Thamesway Citysaver, having plodded along the Southend to London route since new, became ECOC fleet number 40, and was needed to meet further X94 timetable improvements which filled some last gaps to create the hourly service (Mons-Sats).
All did not run smoothly in the first week of the improved service, for on 6th November, a green Norwich Park and Ride liveried Leyland National Greenway arrived in Lynn as a substitute for a failed B10. The Greenway ( 667 - YFY 5M), was taken off service at Lynn, and replaced by Leyland Tiger 27 (F614 XWY). At that time the former East Anglian Hotel on Blackfriars Road/Portland Street was surrounded by scaffolding, and if cars were parked towards the end of Portland Street, that could make for a difficult turn for big buses. 27 managed to impale on the scaffolding, and could not be removed for several hours until the authorities had assessed the safety of the scaffolding. This caused major congestion in the Lynn one-way system, it also took out of service the first-line X94 replacement coach at a time when at least 2 of the 6 B10s were out of action. This caused the debut on X94 of Tiger 25 (CSV 524) from the Rosemary Coaches schools unit, while VR 229 (DEX 229T) was seen plodding through to Norwich.
Things can only get better ????


Monday 17th November 2008 ~ A New Dawn

20119 (N619APU) defies the odds and passes Walton Highway on K18 10.25 Lowestoft - Peterborough today

Well today is the last day of the X1 charts I have kept for over 4 years. All things have to end somewhere and although I intend to keep the blog for observations, my nightly visits to King's Lynn will henceforth become weekly. I've made a lot of friends there, so will keep in touch with them.

So to today then and it all seems rather odd now without the B12s and a brand new fleet supplemented by the dear old B10s. The B9 count reached a new high today with 16/17 noted in service, leaving just 37566 absent. The roadworks at Wisbech once again inflicted major delays on services and tonight 37567 on K1 16.48 Peterborough - Lowestoft was seen entering Wisbech on the A1101 Churchill Road 26 mins late in order to avoid the queues on Cromwell Road. Earlier in the day the average lateness was 20 minutes and 37577 was noted in service on L13 after a few days absence. Sam later saw this in Norwich bus station out of service and it appears to have changed here for 37578 which turned up this evening late on L13 19.59 Lynn - P'bo , being seen 16 late entering Lynn and then 24 late past Bruce at Walpole Highway. The X2 turn (K19) had 20126 to begin the day, but this replaced 20107 on K5 at Lowestoft and K19 continued with a Volvo Royale Olympian. Tonight though K19 was 37577 (see above). Sam and Michael both saw 20121 enjoying an outing on the X2 today. Meanwhile resuscitated 20119 was out on K18 and from the Lowestoft end 20117 came out on K16 in place of 37565. 20103 was due to do Y21 tonight, while KL schools turns were 20131/104/105.

20114 was being repaired in VA tonight , while 20118 and 20351/3 were at Rowan Road.

Plenty of emails from you all today, Sam says "Well I did make a joke to someone about all 17 lining up together to get into a bus station... well today I had 5! At around 15.30 in Norwich bus station 37577/8 appeared to be going east, though 37577 was dead, while another unidentified, was departing for Lowestoft. Peterborough bound were 37572 and 37565, whilst a ghostly apparition again unidentified was K19" (I think this was 37577 Sam). Nevertheless as Sam says this was a veritable 'Herd of White Elephants' !

John says "Today I arrived at Lynn Bus Station at 09.35. The 0929 to Pbo (J10) , 37564, was on the stand with through pax locked in and no driver. 20 or so prospective pax were waiting to board. I joined them and like them wished the "realtime" (?) displays would give info re delays. At 09.38 a couple of drivers turned up and we boarded, leaving at 09.45. There was talk on the bus that driver had been late in, and our delay was him finishing his break. I rode to Wisbech and seats were OK by me. Returned on 09.48 ex Pbo (37573) which was a bit over 20 late. Full load (no-one pays). 573 then left Lynn at 11.40, so 28 late.
Found it near impossible to identify buses encountered en-route - worse than on a coach !" Please keep your observations/experiences flowing in, we all enjoy reading about them. B10 sightings from now on will probably form the backbone of this blog, though surely their days are numbered ?