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Wednesday 28th January 2009 ~ Bruce and his X Ray Specs

No we weren't dreaming, 31602 really was at Lynn station after our visit to the pub !
The sacred King's Lynn 'board' detailing the vehicles allocated to X1 duty today.

Bruce and his dear friend 20105 photographed this evening

My attempts to check the X1 vehicles today were pretty futile. My sightings up to teatime were K1 37579 running 8 late from Wisbech eastbound departing 08.47. Y8 06.02 ex Yarmouth was 37568 and this was on time and stuck all day. There was then a long gap until I saw 37565 arriving at Wisbech 3 late on Y14 12.48 from Peterborough. The next service K15 13.18 ex Peterborough had 37570 and was 4 late at Walpole at 14.23. K3 was Profile 20352 slightly late. Dead on time was the 17.01 Wisbech - Peterborough K4 with 37572. Bruce saw K6 running quite late this morning due to congestion at Eye Green and most unusually this was B7 20351.

Michael says that yesterday 20104 was K19 and 20103 was on the other X2 turn which seems to regularly get a B10, 14.08 Lowestoft - Norwich etc. Today K19 was 20107 and Lynn also turned out 20104 on K18 and 20109 on K20 this morning. 20109 didn't do the afternoon part of K20, but it did arrive at Lynn tonight off an X1. The Hunstanton schools buses today were 20118 (2), 20131 (4) and 20106 (5).
37574 had arrived at Lynn tonight on what we think was Y21, but it was due to go to Volvo King's Lynn for a sender unit. Whilst on this subject, the Volvo facility at Lynn is expected to close down on Friday which will leave Ely as the nearest outlet to King's Lynn. This could adversely affect B9 availability, tonight for example 37563/575 were off the road with adblu faults and 37570/77 are due to have their CCTV repaired tomorrow. In addition 37566 is confirmed as collision damage and is believed to be at RH Bodyworks. This will mean tomorrow could be interesting as B10s if not Scanias will have to cover the shortage. 37563 had begun the day on K5 but was obviously removed at some point and this has become a regular occurrence with this bus recently.
Bruce and myself visited King's Lynn garage tonight and thanks to the staff for supervising our visit. Later after a beer, we were on the way home when Bruce insisted he had seen a Class 31 diesel locomotive as we passed King's Lynn rail station. Thinking he'd lost it, I begrudgingly agreed to go back and check and lo and behold there were 31232 and 31602 just about to depart on a test train !! A bit off topic but definitely worth reporting in this day and age.


Tuesday 27th January 2009 ~ Coastal Profiles

Monday's weather was dismal. This picture of 20353, back in service on K17 09.55 ex Lowestoft was taken at 13.22 as it entered Walton Highway.
37579 waits time at Wisbech before working as the 06.54 Wisbech - Lowestoft (K3) this morning. Photo by Rob Brooks.

20351 entering Wisbech on a Lowestoft bound X1. Photo : Rob Brooks

Two of the three B7s ended up at the eastern end of operations overnight and this morning found 20352 on J10 06.40 from Gorleston, seen leaving Wisbech 4 minutes late, 90 minutes later and 20353 appeared on L13 07.45 from Lowestoft. It was 6 late returning from Peterborough. 20351 was also in action on K17, one of the regular B7 turns, this was marginally early at Walpole Highway at lunchtime.
K3 which usually gets a B7 was 37579, see Rob's picture above for which many thanks mate. This afternoon 579 was seen soon after departure from Wisbech running 2 minutes early. 37575 has a large crack in the upstairs front window and this was K1 today. Other B9s seen today were 37563/4/5/8/9, 37571/2/3/5/7/8/9. Of the absentees, one was K4, while Y9 and K18 were not viewed. Terence saw 20107 in use on a shuttle. Worst timekeeper seen today was K6 16.59 Lynn - Peterborough with 37568 which was 14 late at Walpole tonight.
Rob Horspole has drawn my attention to the reason for the delay to Y9 last Thursday evening. According to the Fenland Citizen website, vandals attacked the bus at Walton Highway. For the full story go to


Monday 26th January 2009 ~ The Travelling Public

An artists impression courtesy of Jamie V of what 131 would look like in Schools livery !

Some of you regular readers of this blog will have experienced travel on an X1 service with one of the new B9s. It is pretty common knowledge by now what I think of them -no heating, inadequate seating spacing, fizz lighting etc - but I must say I actually find them quite aesthetically pleasing from the outside. The livery whilst not being practical, is smart and their ability to keep the schedules following the speed upgrade is now up to coach standard (and that takes a bit of admitting after the hard time this blog gave them in the first ten weeks). Today though two of our regular correspondents, quite by coincidence, travelled on a B9 for the first time and here are their thoughts .

Kieron says "It's official - the X1 deckers suck ! Travelling on the 09.59 from Lynn (J11) I've just arrived at Wisbech and am en route to Peterborough. I'm cold, my back hurts and can't get my legs comfy". Bruce also tried a B9 for the first time taking L13 13.19 from Walpole Highway to Lynn with 37579, he said "On 579 nearly at Lynn and feel seasick , it's like a trawler in a gale. Sitting just behind the staircase upstairs and the legroom is inadequate but clearly better than the other seats". He had a slightly improved journey back on 37564 on K5 but sitting at the front found (as I did) that your knees get bruised and it is easier to sit sideways.

It was a dank foggy morning here in the Fens. On my way to work I passed K1 07.48 ex Peterborough dead on time with 20107 and then espied through the gloom an unidentified B9 in front of me 28 late on K6. Rob Brooks was about too and says, "saw K6 at Cromwell Road roundabout at 09.03", confirming it as about 27 late, but like me failing to identify the bus concerned. Tonight K6 was 10 late at Walpole at 17.27 with 37578. Other sightings by Rob this morning were : "37563 K2 0818 ex Peterborough on time departing, Thorney 3 late, Wisbech arr 0908, dep 0914 (5 late). Awkward passengers!! 20351 K4 0848 ex Peterborough a few down (saw the inbound at Eye at 0840) later seen entering Wisbech on 0939 to Lowestoft a few late. 37571 - Y8 0901 Wisbech - Peterborough left 5 late. 37572, J10 1001 Wisbech - Peterborough arrived 1000 depart 1005 after being boxed in by NG Solos and arrived 1138 on the 1139 back to Lowestoft. 37576 L12 1101 Wisbech - Peterboro departed 1107. 37565 Y9 1108 Wisbech - Lowestoft arrived 1106 departed on time, having been 3 late departing Wisbech on the 09.31 and finally 37579 L13 1131 Wisbech - Peterbro (07.45 ex Lowestoft) left 1 early after having arrived 5 early!!!!!!!
I can report subsequent happenings with Y14 12.01 Wisbech - P'bo being right time with 37568, but then for some reason being 14 late returning. K15 14.09 Wisbech - Lowestoft was on time with 37575. K16 was also a B9 seen slightly late by Bruce, while K17 was a Profile as booked, 20353 in fact which was 4 late after release from repairs. 37570 was K18 .
K4 this evening was 37563 running 28 late at Walsoken, having taken over from the B7 reported earlier. Other evening sightings were 37565 Y9 4 early, 37579 L13 2 early, 37568 Y14 right time.
37571 which Rob saw on Y8 didn't complete this turn and Bruce saw it heading for Lynn bus station at 14.30 with 'not in service' on the front. I think it was probably K20 tonight. The B9 on K20 was seen arriving at Wisbech at 20.58 which is exceptional and probably indicates an early departure from Queensgate (sched 20.28). The record for earliest ever eastbound arrival falls to 20509 a few years back when it arrived at 21.51 on the 21.28 from Queensgate, but is assumed to have turned round short of its destination. The record for a coach is held by 20141 which was seen arriving at 14.59 one Sunday afternoon a couple of years ago.


Sunday 25th January 2009 ~ The Mystery of 37566

Michael rang this evening to report his K19 sightings for the week. Namely Monday 20105, Tuesday not seen, Wednesday 20105, Thursday 20104 and Friday 37563. At least this explained what 563 did on Friday after it arrived at Lowestoft on K16. The X2 which departs at 14.08 from Lowestoft to Norwich was 20351 on Thursday and 20104 (originally on K19) on Friday. His most surprising sighting though was at 16.00 on Tuesday afternoon when the missing 37566 was seen on the Bungay bypass heading towards Diss.
Today the nine diagrams on X1 were all Geminis (37563/4/7/9/71/2/4/5/7). Of these 37564 was almost 5 early into Walpole Highway with the 17.18 from Peterborough and this evening 37567 was 7 late on the 19.59 Lynn - Peterborough. Tonight 37563 failed at Lynn for the 20.59 to Peterborough and 20352 took over the turn on the inward at Vancouver Avenue.
Spare vehicles at Lynn tonight were 20103/06/07/09/18/31, 37570/78 and the three Profiles. 20105 was on MOT preparation at the garage.

Saturday 24th January 2009 ~ Two Black Sheep

37578 with large destination display heads past Walpole on K17 at lunchtime.

The service seemed to run quite well for a Saturday today, but there were two major exceptions. J10 10.48 Peterborough - Lowestoft with 20107 was into Wisbech 25 late at 11.59 and after loading a lot of passengers left around 28 late. Nevertheless it completed the diagram. In the afternoon we had something which at one time was commonplace, a mating pair of elephants ! 37570 departed Wisbech on time at 15.31 on K7, but following it was 37568 on K5 exactly 30 late. Other services ran within 5 minutes of time.

B10s helping out were 20107 (see above) and running dead on time was 20118 on L13 07.45 from Lowestoft. This too did the whole turn. There was only one Profile seen and that was 20352 on K4, the early bath turn.

Only two of the B9 Geminis were absent, these being 37566 (not seen since Monday) and 37567.


Friday 23rd January 2009 ~ Scanias and Schools

Due to the saga of schoolkids and seatbelts, Lynn found themselves short this morning. Unable to use a B10 on K4 07.29 to Peterborough due to three being sidelined for Hunstanton schools and with Profiles 20351/3 not available, Scania 65525 was sent out. It was replaced at some point during the day (possibly at 16.29 by 37563) and tonight came in on a 41 from Hunstanton. K1 06.29 Lynn - Peterborough was 37574 which was 3 early at Walton Highway, however K1 tonight was around 20 late when viewed by Bruce at Walsoken now with 37573. 37574 turned up at Lynn tonight and six of the seven terminating arrivals here between 18.24 & 20.24 were : 37565/569 (Y8)/574/575/579 (J11) and 20103.
Sam reports "Latest rumour is the Royales are going to be X1 spare... will believe it when I see it! 20103 on shuttles at 12 (well was in bus station with X1 Norwich on front). In use on X2 was:34111 34112 60306 20104 (which was on the 14:08 from Low this always used to be the Dart turn when B10Ms were the norm)" . From this then it looks as though 20103 was Y21. K19 out of Lynn this morning was 20104.
There were other B10Ms out today too, most surprising was Y9 being 20118 all day - I had expected it to be swapped at Lynn before doing the 20.42 to Lowestoft. Another stalwart was 20107 on L13 07.45 from Lowestoft and again this did the full turn.
I was amazed to see K16 12.59 Lynn - Peterborough arrive at Wisbech on time with 20351 at lunchtime, but this was explained by the fact it had replaced 37563 at Lynn. The other B7 20353 is back in bits at Lynn depot and alongside it is 20105 on MOT prep.
The B10s on Hunstanton schools today were 20106 (5), 20131 (4) and 20109.
Geminis seen in service were 37563 K16 (off at Lynn at 12.54, see above), 37564 K6, 37567 K5, 37568 Y14. 37569 Y8, 37570 K7, 37571 K20, 37572 K3, 37573 K1b (see above), 37574 K1a then returned to Lynn on unknown turn, 37576 K2, 37577 K18, 37578 K15 and 37579 J11. With 37565/575 also out on unknown turns, this just leaves 37566 unaccounted for.
Bruce says no further work has taken place on the Scottish bound contingent at Lynn since before Christmas. The engineer has in fact been otherwise occupied at Yarmouth. 20505 is ready to go, but 20120/141 are unfit and 20506 needs about another days work on it. 20121 will just need a check over before departure.


Thursday 22nd January 2009 ~ Scania Scandal

In contrast to yesterday, most X1 turns were witnessed at some stage and entertaining this turned out to be . 20103 did K1 06.29 Lynn - Peterborough (6 late with Blondie) and stuck all day being seen 5 late on the 12.25 Lowestoft - Peterborough at Wisbech. 20107 was L13 07.45 Lowestoft - Peterborough on time and also 20118 was out, this did K18 10.25 ex Lowestoft. As if all these B10s weren't enough, Bruce phoned to say that K17 12.59 Lynn - Peterborough was a Scania. I had gone home for lunch expecting it to be a Profile as usual. Sure enough 65526 was seen on the return 14.18 from Peterborough running just a couple of minutes late.
There were plenty of B9s seen too : K2 579, K4 576, K5 568, K6 569, K7 578, Y8 564, Y9 573, J10 571, J11 572, L12 567, Y14 577, K15 574, K16 565. Of these 569 was 25 late from Wisbech this morning on the 08.31 to Peterborough. The late lady driver was 20 mins down at lunchtime with K16, while Blondie had a long day as Jamie R said she was the chauffeur on K5 15.48 ex Peterborough. 577 is back out again after its diesel leak. There was an unidentified B7 Profile on K3 which was a minute early into Wisbech to do the 16.09 to Lowestoft.
Bruce says Y9 19.18 ex Peterborough was 35 late tonight.

Wednesday 21st January 2009 ~ Bus runs late shock !

Well how many people thought we'd have a headline like that one back in December ?
Not a great deal to report today, in fact very little seen and no incoming reports, so I guess all was well.
X1 turns seen were : K1 571, K2 unid B9, K5 unid B9, Y9 565, Y14 568, K15 575, K16 573, K17 20352 and K18 572. Something missing ? Well I left the best bit till last : 20104 on L13.
the late bus referred to was K15 which was 12 late on the 12.31 Wisbech - Peterborough and this evening 17 late on the final westbound to Peterborough.


Tuesday 20th January 2009 ~ Well I Never !

The B9s had a good day again today. The light traffic this evening saw some early running, I think this is partly accounted for because in the early days the speed restriction applied to the new buses meant they had to be driven hard. Now with the 62mph max, things are much easier but they seem to be driven just as hard ! The late runners on the Peterborough road this evening are an example. The 21.59 from Lynn (K15) with 37573 was 1 minute early at Walpole Highway -doesn't initially sound impressive, but the schedule is rarely met by anything - while the corresponding eastbound service L13 21.18 Peterborough - Lynn was 4 early with 37571. This is not to say that the day went without incident as Bruce saw 37564 at around 12.45 heading for Lynn eastbound at Eau Brink with 'not in service' on the front. J11 running late and empty it would appear. The next service (L12) 11.48 ex Peterborough managed to be dead on time with 37575.
Geminis seen in action today wre K1 :569, K4 579, K6 574, K7 578, Y9 570, J10 567, L13 571 and Y14 563. Profiles out were as usual on K3 (unid) and K17 (351). The B10s are still acting as stand ins although the only one seen today was 20104 on K16 again.


Monday 19th January 2009 ~ How It Should Be

Profile 20352 on a regular B7 turn , the 10.55 ex Lowestoft passing Walpole Highway on time today.
A nice clean 37565 in Vancouver Avenue garage at King's Lynn on Sunday 18th January

The title of today's blog refers to the fact that everything seen was either on time or a few minutes early. The considerable improvement in the B9s performance cannot be denied and this evening for the first time since they were introduced, I witnessed a westbound X1 on time at Walton Highway. This might sound an exaggeration, but even in the days of the coaches, services were rarely on time here. The reason for this is that the allowance of 2 minutes between Walpole Highway and Walton Highway is impossible, even in a car. I am reminded of a timetable many years ago on the Liverpool St. - Cambridge railway line which was known as 'The Timetable of Impossibility" ! 37568, ironically the bus which Bruce and I used to refer to as the one which is 'always late', was the vehicle concerned on L13 19.59 from Lynn. Going the other way at this time was 37564 on Y9 19.18 from Peterborough which was 3 minutes early. The day had not begun quite as well though with Y8 06.02 Yarmouth - Peterborough with 37575 being 7 late, as was the corresponding eastbound service at Walpole, K1 with 37567. Other B9s seen today were 37570 on K18, 37566 on Y14 and 37576 on K15. B7 20352 was K3 while 20353 was at last released off maintenance and Kieron got to drive it much to his glee on the 17.50 service 41 from Lynn to Hunstanton.
B10 20104 was seen by Bruce on K16 13.48 Peterborough - Lowestoft replacing what had earlier worked the 06.07 Lynn - Lowestoft. The only other B10 seen today was an unidentified example (I think 20109) which was on K20 20.18 Peterborough - Lowestoft seen entering Wisbech at 21.00 precisely (about 3 early).


Sunday 18th January 2009 ~ No Comment

No matter how hard I tried , I was unable to come up with a title for today's blog. After all what can you say when all services seem to run to time and they are all Geminis ?
Out today were 37563/66/67/70/71/72/73/75/78. Just when I thought we'd accounted for all the B9s with the Cadburys ad, it transpires that 573 has one too. I'm sure it didn't have one midweek but there you go.
20131 mentioned yesterday must have been at Hunstanton when I called in at Lynn as it was at the compound tonight with 40 on the front. 37563/75/78 all came into Lynn last night, one on J10, one on L12 and another on Y14 instead of 37568.
One final note, Bruce reported J11 20.18 ex Peterborough running 7 early last night with a B9 !


Saturday 17th January 2009 ~ Extra Value !

37567 with a Cadburys Creme Egg splattered on the side leaving Lynn on the 14.29 to Peterborough this afternoon.
37566 emerges embarassed from Vancouver Avenue garage today complete with passengers after a teabreak

20103 arrives at Wisbech this lunchtime (photo Rob Brooks)
Latest indications are that the Geminis are to stay. Two high level meetings have taken place in Norwich to discuss the X1 problems and slight route alterations are to be considered. Favourite option is to only serve Queensgate bus station once rather than twice. What will happen with the heating problem remains to be seen.
The B9 Geminis have some rather surprising claims emblazoned on their sides. Firstly we have 'Extra Frequent'. Not quite sure what this refers to, as the timetable hasn't changed and the Gorleston shuttles were introduced a long time before the B9s.
Next we have 'Extra Comfort', a claim which at best is dubious and at worst blatantly untrue. By this I mean it depends on the duration of ones journey, I suppose the great majority of X1 journeys are 30 minutes or under in this respect, so we will give them the benefit of the doubt. Finally we have 'Extra Value'. Now I think I have worked out what this one means. Basically if you are lucky, you get a surprise added bonus of a visit to King's Lynn garage en route to your destination. You perhaps recall that last Saturday evening I found 37571 dropping in for a top up of adblu - bit like popping in for a cup of tea I suppose - and then today it was 37566 with a healthy load of passengers on K18 13.29 Lynn - Peterborough which was being topped up. See the pictorial evidence above. 37566 left the garage at 13.47, about 13 late and at the time it should have been arriving at Walpole Highway. It was 12 late into Wisbech as witnessed by Rob Brooks.
There seemed to have been a B9 casualty today as 37577 was rostered for K1 06.29 Lynn - Peterborough etc. Whether it actually did any of the turn is doubtful as by lunchtime it was in Volvo at King's Lynn having attention to a diesel leak. The replacement on K1 was 37570.
Another out of service vehicle is 20353 which has spent several days over the pits at Lynn and today had back panels missing.
Of the 18 turns today, the following are known : K1 37570, K2 20351, K3 20352, K4 37572, K5 37567, K6 37564, K7 37573, Y8 37578, Y9 37579, J10 ?, J11 37xxx, L12 ?, L13 37565, Y14 37568, K15 37571, K16 20103, K17 37576, K18 37566.
37576 on K17 was 14 late when seen by me approaching Terrington St. John at 13.28. Just in front of it also on the old A47 was Stagecoach trainer B10M P108FRS, an unusual route for this to be taking. Services reverted to time after K18 and K3 with 20352 was on time at 13.59 to Peterborough. Rob B says 20103 on K16 was into Wisbech 11 late at 1307 and departed 13 late at 1314, after loading upwards of 40 people ! Coming back from Peterborough I saw it storming through Tilney All Saints about 10 late. there were other B10s out over here today, but on the Hunstanton route : 20106 & 20109. There was no sign of 20131 which is very unusual - may be it was at Hunstanton or stayed in Lowestoft last night ? Terence saw 20104 and another B10 on shuttles at Gorleston.
The B9s with creme egg ads are 37565/566/567/570/575/576/577, more than I'd originally noted.
Michael Bryant has not seen a single B10 on K19 X2 turn this week. He reports Monday as 37575, Wed as 20351 (am only), Thu 37575 & Fri 37563. In addition 37569 was out on the X2 yesterday afternoon.

Friday 16th January 2009 ~ Farewell 111 !

20111 at King's Lynn last August enjoying a wash and brush up.
Grahame Bessey posted on the EAB Group this morning that our beloved 20111 has left and in fact has arrived at First Hants & Dorset's Portswood (Southampton) depot repainted this week. It only received a repaint in 2007 so this is a little surprising. Its final working on an X1 appears to have been on December 27th when I travelled on it (see blog for that date).

Despite not being back to full health, Bruce paid a visit to King's Lynn today and reports "At Rowan Road at 11.00 were - and I quote from the paper in the windscreens - 20506 (delicensed), 20141(out of fleet),20121 (out of fleet), 20505 (delicensed is crossed out - now out of fleet), 20120 (Crankcase broken - and 'steering wheel loose' chalked on the inside of the screen), 20118 (4 contract). Scrappers were 34923,34946, 34822, 34951,30235,34955 and behind them 34876 hiding from Gerard. 65528 remains broken.
Leaving Rowan I met 20103 on the Saddlebow roundabout at 11.16 on what I assumed was L13 10.59 to Peterborough.
Visiting Vancouver Avenue 20351 was present, masking a mystery vehicle on No1 Servicing bay. I think it was a coach, possibly another B7, but wouldn't swear to it, as I didn't recognise it at all!!!! (Think you'll find it is 20353, been there for a few days now. G)
Going back to Rowan Road later, I met 20131 on Saddlebow Roundabout at 12.55 arriving with what I thought was L12 and going like a train. 20118 had departed Rowan so I retraced my steps to meet 37576 on the Saddlebow Roundabout at 12.58 with the real L12. Which means 20131 was J11, a touch late!
If 20120 really has a broken crankcase, which would explain the continual overheating, it is a new engine job. and there was no sign of the man preparing the B12s for departure for the third week running so no progress on 20506"
Thanks for that Bruce, nice to see 20131 coming to the rescue. Kieron says a B7 (from the above almost certainly 20351) was out on Hunstanton services late this afternoon and was in line to do the 17.05 ex Lynn.
John W says "Just to say that I could not understand your comment re no nearside advert panel on the B9s. Surely there is a panel - no dropdown, admittedly, but many ads are not styled for that, or do I need to change my optician ??? !!"
He's quite right as usual of course, in my ignorance I'd assumed that all adverts now have the dropdown addition, but obviously not. Thanks for correcting me John.
Sam says "Sorry to keep asking this but has 34904 gone to scrap as it seems to have disappeared from Rowan for a long time now?" (has been gone for quite some time Sam, but I know not where)
"In use over here today was:34158, 34112, 34111 and K19 was White Elephant 37563 which was my ride home! A few observations made:* A fair turn of speed - but then again the top speed is a short stretch of 50!* Breaks which are VERY strong - hit a 40 and it dropped anchor!* Stop bell which sounds like an old fashioned clock but the green stop sign which shines through the glass is very modern* Impossible to see out of - I was peering out under the ticket machine to try and see what else was in service - the luggage racks/smash screens and what not make you feel like you're in a cage* It had a cold or a blocked trunk or something it didn't half make a lot of snorting/snuffing/grunting/hissing noises. Oh yes, and the seats are f***ing awful I have a bad back from the short 20 mile journey! I must admit they are OK; they would be excellent if they: 1) sorted the speed 2) put some proper seats in! Norwich also have a new "bus wash" someone had washed over the rear fleet number and numberplate to make them visible! Finally 20126 was on the X1 shuttles"
Grahame reports his first B9 experience today with 37572 on K15, returning on 37568. Apart from the lack of legroom his ride was a comfortable one.
Terence says the driver of 20103 on a service 1 to Martham was getting quite agitated tonight when he couldn't depart due to rampaging fault lights on the dashboard. He also saw 20107 on an X1 arriving between 16.00 & 16.30.
Rob B reports : 20352 on K3 0654 Wis - Lft dep 0657 ; 37568 K1 0701 Wis - Pbo arr 0700 dep 0704 and showed a good turn of speed down the A47, this must be one of the 62mph lot. Unidentified B9 on the 0648 PB - LS on time through Guyhirn. Finally 37572 - AU58ECW is on the 2318 Pbo - KL (K15) departed Pbro railway stn 1 late with me on it !". Well Rob shows that K15 was 37572 all day as that was what Grahame reported earlier.


Thursday January 15th 2009 ~ Bits and Pieces

I should have known I was sickening for something when I discovered that I'd put 2008 as the date in the last two posts (I've corrected it now) and today the bug got me, streaming eyes, nose, cough etc etc. You get the picture. Basically after a 100% attendance record at work last year, I've soon put paid to that in 2009.
Anyway, firstly I meant to mention that Jamie R was on K5 15.48 ex Peterborough on Tuesday with 37569, but passengers weren't allowed to go upstairs, presumably due to passenger illness. The result being that everyone crammed into the downstairs saloon with passengers being 'flung around the bus'.
You may have read in yesterday's blog how Jamie almost got left behind at Walpole last night, well along comes a similar story from Terence which took place on 37579 on L13 also last night. Travelling on the 16.55 ex Lowestoft, says Terence "The driver decided to forget about the Hopton stop diversion and carry straight on to Gorleston. A lady, sitting in one of the front seats actually wanted to get off there and told the driver she wanted to stop there - although, I'm not 100% sure she pressed the stop button (I could be wrong). This was when the bus was leaving the roundabout to hit the dual-carriageway. The driver couldn't turn around on the road - so he decided to put the bus straight into the right-hand lane and push the bus to it's top speed (unlike 37573, this bus actually revvs up to 3,000 revvs) - even through the 40mph part. At the next roundabout, he turned the bus around and, again, floored it. He dropped the people, who wanted Hopton, off and turned around and caned it back again - to keep to the timetable I suppose. Unfortunately, I didn't have a watch so couldn't work out how much time he lost missing Hopton. Other vehicles include - meeting P766 XHS, as the first opposite way service, with all the rest of the X1s being B9TL Geminis". All good fun then !
With me being sidelined today, I had to rely on reports from the rest of you and you certainly came up trumps.
Rob Brooks was out and about today and says"My X1 sightings for today: 20109 on K4 0848 Pbo - Lft depart PB at 0856. We then went to Queensgate, and unloaded and picked up, leaving at 0900. Unidentified B9 on a slghtly late K6 0918 Pbo - Lft. 37574 Y8 0901 Wis - Pbo & 0948 Pbo - Lft roughtly on time (I think). 20106 - N606APU on Y9 0931 Wis - Pbo on time. 37576 -J10 1001 Wis - Pbo arrive 1002 departed 1005, loading a lot of people! 20105 - N605APU K1 1601 Wis-Pbo arrive Wis 1558 departed 1559...late 1531 or an early leaving 1601?!?! 37570 - K3 1609 Wis-Lft arrive 1605 depart OT. 37570 is also complete with the creme egg advert. Plenty of B10s there Rob, including a very rare appearance of 20106 which having been at Lynn last night must mean it had come on Y9 there.
Speaking of rare B10s, Neville sent me a text to say he'd almost had a collision with 20115 in a very congested Acle at 13.10. It was heading for Norwich on an X1 relief (shuttle). Terence also saw 20115 on the shuttles, it was on the 08.20 departure westbound from the James Paget, while he was on K15 which had 37573 for the third consecutive day. He passed 37569 on Y14 at Hopton.
Long time no hear from John W who says :"NO.........I've not emigrated, but most I have seen lately has been thereabouts on time. This morning at around 10.50, 37564 was "in the middle" showing "Not In Service", next door to 20118 showing X1. A familiar noise behind me was 20107 arriving a minute or two early (I suppose) to become the 10.59 west (L13).
Well John at least that solves the mystery of what 20106 replaced on Y9. 37564 has been a very reliable performer recently incidentally.
Thanks to all for your reports.


Wednesday 14th January 2009 ~ Bad Publicity

A letter was published in the 'Eastern Daily Press' today regarding the lack of heating on the Gemini B9s. The author apparently wrote to FEC soon after introduction and has since done his own detective work and discovered that the drivers have no control over the setting of the heating and in fact it has to be set 'by an engineer'. Yes ! But at least they are on time now, even if the windows are filthy and there is no legroom or heating.
Jamie R remarked today on the noted improved acceleration on the Geminis. He nearly became a victim this evening when 37576 on Y14 20.59 Lynn - Peterborough made an unofficial stop in Walpole Highway village to deposit a disabled passenger. Running 8 late due to a ridiculous 10mph convoy system on the Lynn bypass, the driver then accelerated away with some purpose and almost missed Jamie waiting at the official stop, he slammed in the anchors and stopped further up the road ! His enthusiasm continued unabated however and according to Jamie, he got flashed by a speed camera in Thorney.
Rob H spoke to a First representative today who insists that the B9s are going. In April allegedly. Possibly on the 1st I thought to myself.
Well despite all the above, ALL the B9s were noted on the X1 today - yes shocking isn't it ? In all 23 buses worked today comprising the entire B9 fleet, the three B7s and more importantly from an historic point of view, 20103 on L12 07.15 Lowestoft - Peterborough and 11.48 back, 20104 on J11 07.05 Gorleston - Peterborough, 11.18 P'bo - Lowestoft and 15.55 Lowestoft - King's Lynn and replacing 20103 we had 20109 on L12 16.25 ex Lowestoft.
37563 was seen on K17 12.59 Lynn - Peterborough bang on time at Walpole at 13.18, however, it should have done K16 12.29 ex Lynn and this wasn't seen which begs the question was it K16 30 late ? Probably not as 20353 (which was over the pits at VA tonight) was the original vehicle on K17. Any info on the identity of K16 at lunchtime would be welcome. 20351 had an unusual day as it began on K19 (the X2 diagram), tonight though it had been replaced by 37568, I ought to add that I'm not 100% certain what did K19/L12 tonight. What can be said is that the vehicles used were 20109 and 37568, though which did what turn needs clarification. B10s in schools use at Lynn today were 20105/106/131. 20120 has at last joined the queue of vehicles at Rowan Road awaiting transfer to Scotland. Not all the B9s have succumbed to Cadburys adverts and 37563/568/569/571/572/574/578 were all seen today in original condition. The current position advertwise is as follows : 37564 Mamma Mia DVd, 37567/570/575/576/577 Cadbury's Creme Egg and 37579 Sex Drive (pause for us all to cringe) - which is apparently 'rude, crude and hilarious and virgin on the ridiculous' , I think it means the film, not the B9s, but I couldn't be certain. What is certain is that the B9's need a PG certificate - meaning 'Passenger Guidance' in order to not end up with hypothermia and bruised knees.


Tuesday January 13th 2009 ~ Troubled Waters

The day began badly with a water main leak in Peterborough which delayed K1 07.48 from the City by 17 minutes. 37570 was the bus on duty. All three Profiles were out today, 20353 was K3, 20351 came from Yarmouth on the first turn of the day and Jamie R travelled on it from Wisbech. Dave from Swindon made a rare return to East Anglia today and between testing various local beers saw an unidentified B7 on K17, so by elimination - and later confirmation from a gradually recovering Bruce - it was 20352.
More creme egg advertising now adorns 37575 which was K18 today. I hadn't realised until this week that these vehicles can only host adverts on the drivers side, as the passenger side doesn't have the requisite panels.
Apart from the early delay to K1, punctuality was exemplary today. 37576 was early into Wisbech on the 09.39 to Lowestoft (K4) and it was also a good deal cleaner than yesterday. Highlight of the day belongs to 20103 which was on time on K16 09.25 Lowestoft - Peterborough and 13.48 return.
B9s not seen today were 37563/65/67/77/79. Turns not accounted for were K2, J11, K19, K20 & Y21 so apart from K19, the others would be expected to be B9s.


Monday 12th January 2009 ~ The Power Of Advertising

Today was a bizarre sort of day. To begin with 20351 was K1 07.48 Peterborough - Lowestoft and this is the first time K1 has had one of these. Cheryl saw B10 20118 on K6 about 10 late going to Peterborough and again late by the same margin returning. Tonight 118 had somehow got onto K4 and was on time from Wisbech at 17.01. May be it came off K6 at Lynn or alternatively it may have turned round at Yarmouth.

The B9s enjoyed their filthiest day so far with the first appreciable rain for several weeks giving them an added coat of grime. 37579 was shocking when it went by me on Y8 09.48 ex Peterborough. Y9 06.32 from Yarmouth turned up with 20107 which was a surprise considering B10s have been noticeable by their absence recently. The 11.18 ex Peterborough (J11) passed me with what appeared to be 37576 with a new ad on the side which appeared to say 'Here Today Gone Tomorrow !' . So the Geminis are going then ? After picking myself up off the floor, I realised it was not quite what it seemed and turned out to be a new ad for Cadbury Creme Eggs. Well after all Easter is near, it being January 12th and all that. May be it was trying to tell us that the Geminis are only here until Easter ? Anyway its James Bond film ad removed, 576 I think it was. During the day 37567/570/577 also appeared with the same ad. 37569 was right time on the 12.01 Wisbech - Peterboro' (Y14). 37577 was K15 at lunchtime, but tonight this turn was 37571. 37577 also turned up tonight but instead of being K15, it was now on Y9 instead of 20107. The B9 on K2 16.31 Wisbech - Peterborough was bang on time, while K4 17.01 westbound was 37578 10 late. K7 16.18 ex Peterborough was also 10 late with 37567 which Sam had seen earlier on the X2. Other B9s seen today were 37574 on K16 and 37570 on L13.

Going back to the X2 and Sam says "The 10:08 was White Elephant 37567 AU58ECF - while passing 47201 eastbound at Thurton at 09:12 was 20104 showing X2 Norwich - was this the 06:53 from Lowestoft but it didn't get there in time to do the 09:15from Beccles (or have the morning workings changed please?) and 37567 was sent out in its place? 37575 AU58ECZ was also out on the 15:08 from Lowestoft X2 which is the one which goes back onto the X1". All in all an interesting day then !

Sunday 11th January 2009 ~ A Bit of a Yawn

The X1 was completely B9 worked today. Commencing with the 13.59 from Lynn to Peterborough the vehicles in use were 37564, 571, 574, 579, 572, 563, 568, 569 and 578. Errr that's it really. Time for bed.

Saturday 10th January 2009 ~ Elephantine Domination

For the first time I have been aware, King's Lynn sent out all Geminis this morning. The full list was : K1 563, K2 577, K3 578, K4 572, K5 568, K6 567, K7 574, K15 571, K16 566, K17 575 and K18 569. Of the three B7 profiles 20351 was at Rowan Road seemingly spare, 20352 was seen by Keiron on Y9 and 20353 was an arrival from the coast, believed to be J10. Other turns were Y8 : 564 and Y14 565. L12 looked like it was 579. J11 was seen arriving at Lynn tonight with an unidentified B9 (thought to be 573) to complete the picture. So no B10s out on the X1 at all today, though 20106/109/118 were all out on the Hunstanton route. 20103/105 were at Rowan Road and 20120 is still under repair at Vancouver Avenue.
37571 had to pull in to the depot tonight to top up with adblu whilst working the 20.59 Lynn - Peterborough, it left the garage together with its two passengers at about 21.15.


Friday 9th January 2009 ~ Long Distance Sore Bums

Sounds like the sort of headline we could have used when the Scanias were plying forth to and from Lowestoft in recent years doesn't it ? Fair enough, we know that very few passengers who use the X1 actually do the full journey from Peterborough to Lowestoft, but those who do over about 20 miles on a Gemini must notice the pain in the glutus maximus ? I'm sorry but i just don't buy the theory that they are new, shiny AND comfortable. If the return to coaches does take place I'm sure the comfort aspect will improve.
20104 was out at lunchtime for the first time for a while. It was 5 late on K18 10.25 Lowestoft - Peterborough. K1 07.48 Peterborough to Lowestoft was seen with 37579, 3 mins late at Walton Highway, but the return working, the 12.25 from Lowestoft was just a few minutes late this afternoon with 37573. 37579 then came back on K2 12.55 ex Lowestoft and was 10 late returning east tonight. K4 was 37568 tonight instead of a B7.
Sam reports 20103 on K19 and 20107 also out on X2. He had a surprise on his journey home however : " 20352 (15:38 from Norwich) - on which I sat behind the wheelchair contraption - the isle seat seatbelt was jammed so had to sit next to the window - then which a rather large lady pretty much sat on me! And wouldn't keep still - she finally got off at Gillingham - was hoping she would have gone and sat next to her husband when the seat next to him became free at Loddon! Engine noise and speed was ok - it rolled back trying to pull out of Norwich bus station (I remember a B12 doing that once?) one problem was the whole front end of the bus kept rattling - quite what it was I don't have the foggiest! Also when I got off it said on the dash (with a little light saying "Check") "Check light controller at next stop" all the lights seemed to be working however?". Yes I have to admit Sam, my journey on 20351 last week was only marred by the rattling at the front - possibly the ticket machine, but I'm guessing here.


Thursday 8th January 2009 ~ Everyone's Talking About It !

Bingo ! Yes one for the purists - it's trusty 20107 seen arriving at Wisbech bus station on Monday 5th on the 12.18 Peterborough - Lowestoft.

37579 nears Walpole Highway working the 11.18 Sunday Peterborough - Lowestoft on 4th Jan. Objections to the B9s carrying advertising were rejected on revenue grounds, even though this obscures the route branding.

37564 after arrival at Peterborough Rail Station on my jaunt of Friday 2nd January, the white paintwork complete with a layer of A47 winter grime.

Just after Christmas, one of the staff at Lynn proffered the advice that 'They reckon these deckers wont be here long'. Last Friday, a friend with connections in high places in 'First' sent me a text proclaiming triumphantly 'The Deckers Are Going !' This made me think seriously as said friend is not one to spread unfounded rumours, then today another very reliable source confirmed that consideration is being given to exchanging them for another coach fleet. Finally this evening another friend greeted me with 'Have you Heard - They Reckon They're Going ?'. Nothing concrete here of course, but so many independent sources coming up with the same story cannot be ignored. I think I'll have to get the camera out to preserve them for posterity in case it does turn out to be a shortlived phenomenon.
Ironically, this apparent change of heart comes at a time when the B9s are performing better than ever in terms of timekeeping. Recent complaints from the public have focused on their poor heating capability and this is to be reset - probably just in time for Spring !
This morning's contingent sent out from Lynn comprised eight B9s, the three B7s and two B10s. Surprisingly 20103 was one of these, it having been noted on K16 yesterday which finishes at Lowestoft. This means it may have come off the latter at Lynn. Today it did K19, but tonight 20126 looked to have returned on this diagram. 20109 was the other B10 which did K20 to Norwich and return light. Tonight though 109 was wearing a different hat when it departed from Lynn at 21.45 eastbound en route to perform rail replacement work. The three Profiles predictably did K3, K4 and K17 - these were the favourite turns for these when they first arrived, but since then availability has seldom allowed all three diagrams to be B7s.
One of the most annoying aspects of B9 operation which I've hitherto neglected to mention is the regular failure of the rear numberplate lights. This minor ailment has resulted in frequent swaps after dark when the lack of this has become apparent. Tonight 37570 was failed for this very reason whilst working Y9 19.18 Peterborough - Lowestoft. 37578 which had just arrived on an incoming service was summoned from Vancouver Avenue garage, but due to severe congestion here was driven to the bus station via Tennyson Avenue and Gaywood Road. It eventually left about 20 minutes late as the 20.42 to Lowestoft. 37566 seemed to be another numberplate light casualty - it was in the garage with X1 Lowestoft on the front and was driven unwashed on to the pits. 37574 replaced 20109 on K20 this afternoon.
Other B10s at Lynn this evening were 20105 (Schools contract 4), 20106 (Schools contract 2), 20118 (off 41) and 20131. 20120 was still over pit 1 at the garage. It has lost its M&S advert on the passenger side and speaking of adverts, 20126 is now extolling the virtues of Wilkinsons new Gorleston branch on both sides ! The eagle eyed may be wondering why 20109 was sent out for rail replacement work this evening when 20106 in the rail link pool was available. This may be because 20106 failed at Littleport with an air leak late on Tuesday evening.
Today's Gemini sightings : 37563-579 inclusive !!!!! Yes honestly - no wonder poor Bruce is ill ! Hurry up and get better Brucey, we are missing your witty repartee.
Scotland bound 20121/141/505/506 were still all languishing at Rowan Road tonight.

Wednesday 7th January 2009 ~ Just Another Day

Today's title heading is the only one I could think of to describe a very normal sort of day. 37572 returned to traffic yesterday. It was on repairs at Yarmouth overnight and came out today on Y8 06.02 to Peterborough on which it was 12 late departing Wisbech. Tonight it was still on Y8 being seen on time as the 18.48 from Peterborough. In fact timekeeping was excellent today, take K2 08.18 ex P'bo which was 37579, 4 late this morning arriving at Wisbech, but on time tonight as the 16.31 to P'bo (a very rare occurence in recent times). 37566 did J10 06.40 from Gorleston, but tonight was on K20 17.17 Norwich - P'bo. A single B10 was recorded today, this being 20103 on time with K16 13.01 Wisbech - Peterborough. B9s seen today were 37566/569/570/571/572/576-579 inclusive.


Tuesday 6th January 2009 ~ Mainly Geminis

Today was as good a day as we've had since the B9s inception. Non-B9 worked turns seen were K4, K17 and K3 which all had Profiles and much to Bruce's satisfaction 20126 on L12 11.48 ex Peterborough. White Elephants seen in use were 37564/65/66/69/70/71/75-79 inclusive. 37564 was seen on J11 11.18 ex Peterborough, but later did K20 17/17 Norwich - Peterborough, so may be it was swapped to facilitate maintenance. I am hoping blogs will become more regular in a couple of days and I have to thank my brother-in-law Neil for the use of his PC to catch up tonight.

Monday 5th January 2009 ~ Things Settle Down

Some schools returned today, but X1s seemed unaffected by the extra traffic. It is indeed a pleasure to report B9s keeping to the schedules at last. An unfortunate accident involving an 'Anglian' Optare Solo near Acle caused delays on the A47 in the middle of the day, but even this had a minimal effect on X1s at the western end. 20118 was out this morning on K4 07.29 Lynn - Peterboro' and this returned to Lynn where it was replaced by B7 20352. 118 then did another spin to Peterboro' on L12 10.29 ex Lynn - I'm not sure what it replaced, but I'm thinking it was 37568 as this later appeared on K20 17.17 Norwich - Peterborough, HOWEVER, Bruce insists J11 09.59 Lynn - Peterborough was 37568, while I swear I saw it with 37566 ! Something odd was definitely happening at this time as Bruce saw either a B10 (20106 ?) or a B7 on Y14 11.29 Lynn - Peterborough, but this turn came back with 37566 !
There were two other B10s out that were seen, these being 20103 on K2 and 20107 on the daytime part of L13 07.45 ex Lowestoft. Tonight though, L13 was a white elephant. K6 began the day with 37574 off repairs but this evening it had been swapped for 37577. Similarly 37578 off K7 was changed at Lowestoft for 37571. K5 had 37578 tonight, possibly after a Yarmouth termination due to the A47 accident and tonight it was dead on time on the 15.48 ex Peterborough which makes a refreshing change. One of our Yarmouth correspondents reports 20104 in a bad way at the depot, producing smoke and unable to recharge its batteries properly. 20123 remains here awaiting MOT. Todays B9s seen in action were 37564/66/68/69/70/71/73-79 inclusive.

Sunday 4th January 2009 ~ Prolific B7s

Unusual today was the use of all three B7s on turns from Lynn. Geminis out were 37566/573/5/8/9. 37574 was supposed to work the 11.59 Lynn - Peterborough, but it was failed with an adblu fault and after a delay 37564 was supplied instead. This was 27 minutes late into Wisbech. 37572 is still at Rowan Road out of service and also there tonight were 37570, 20505/6, 20103/105/109/118/121/131/141. Of these 20505/6 & 20141 are awaiting transfer to Scotland and 20121 has not worked since before Xmas so is also presumed ready to depart. Tonight 118 had 'X1 Norwich' on the blinds, while 20109/131 were both showing X1 Lowestoft !
At Vancouver Avenue over the pits were 37576, 20106/120, while spare here were 20126 - this one showing X1 Peterborough - and 37571/4.


Saturday 3rd January 2009 ~ The Choice

I think few of us would have predicted that on Saturdays in 2009 with only 18 turns to supply buses for, that B10s would still be going strong.
Today we had 20103 on Y14 12.01 Wisbech - Peterborough and this was followed by 20109 on the 12.31 (K15). The latter was a substitution as this turn had begun the day with 37579, however, this came back from Lowestoft on K5 instead of 37570. 20127 was also a rare performer, it worked K18 this morning from Wisbech to Lowestoft.
Noteworthy was the use of all three B7s, 20351 on Y8, the first turn from Yarmouth and 20352 on K4 (the early bath turn), plus 20353 on K7. Services ran pretty much to time today and Geminis seen were 37564/7/8, 37570/1/5/6/7/9.


Friday January 2nd 2009 ~ New Year Travels

Well a very belated Happy New Year to all our readers ! Having not had access to my PC recently, I'm catching up at work late this afternoon !

Today I had to go to York for beers with friends, so got to test the water again. First sightings were K1 three early with 37569, Y8 on time with 37567 and 37578 on K2. I did Y9 09.31 Wisbech - Peterborough which had Blondie driving 37564 and a good thrashing she gave it too in order to keep time. We left just over 2 minutes late oweing to an Ada losing her bus pass which delayed everyone boarding. Despite a reasonable amount of traffic, we did quite well :-

Wisbech 09.32.29

Weasenham Lane 09.35.15

Guyhirn 09.43.10

Thorney Toll 09.47.02 - 09.47.24

Thorney School 09.52.14 - 09.52.49

Thorney F & S Shop 09.53.51

Eye Green Rbt 09.58.41

P'bo Bus Station arr. 10.07.30

En route we passed 20109 on K4 08.48 ex Pbo and 37573 on K6 09.18 eastbound. I sat upstairs at the back and this is the only area with legroom it would seem. The windows all round were filthy and not likely to be appreciated by inquisitive passengers such as myself. The ride was OK, but I wouldn't have wanted to travel any further in this style of seat. If anyone disagrees, I suggest they try travelling the full length of the route ! What was encouraging was that this journey was accomplished quicker than my journey at the end of November and included two passenger stops. The speed increase is obviously mainly the reason, but commendable nevertheless.
My return trip on K20 20.18 from Peterborough gave me my first dose of B7 travel, with 20351 in fact. This was two minutes late from Queensgate and six late into Wisbech. The B7s progress was hampered by that bane of present day travel, the Tesco lorry, which was followed from Eye to Thorney and after our diversion through the village which included a mystery stop (no passengers in sight), we caught it up again when we rejoined the A47. Finally losing the lorry at Cromwell Road roundabout, the B7 was allowed to stretch its legs briefly into Wisbech. Comfort wise there was no comparison with a B9 of course, the coach giving an excellent ride. On the way we passed L13 near Thorney Toll which was also a B7.


Wednesday 31st December 2008 ~ Buses Run To Time Shock !

It has taken all year, but today the X1 timetable ceased to be a work of fiction and almost everything seen by myself and Bruce was either on time or early. I was at our South Lincolnshire branch, but went via Wisbech and saw K1 07.48 ex Peterborough which was once again 3 minutes early, 37575 the culprit. Y8 the first service from Yarmouth was on time with 37578. Bruce then reports the following : K2 20105, K4 37573, K6 Unid B9, Y8 37578, Y9 37569 (early ), J10 37571, J11 missed, L12 20109, L13 37565, Y14 37570, K15 missed, K16 37564, K17 20351, K18 37574, K3 missed, K5 unid B7.
So 37570 is back on the road then after its gearbox problem, but no sign of 37572.
In conclusion thanks to everyone who has contributed to the blog this year, especially to Bruce for his long vigils and I hope you all have a Happy and Peaceful 2009. Gerard