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Monday 30th November 2009 ~ Night Nurse & Strepsils

"Right"said Bruce (rather than Fred !), "If you can drop me by some Night Nurse and Strepsils at lunchtime, I will stay esconced in the warm, full of cold, viewing X1s from the observation tower". Seemed like a good proposal to me and in fact Bruce managed to view all 19 turns. He says "Just about everything was 6 minutes late returning from Peterborough due to the double dose of roadworks either side of Wisbech, but those which fared worse were 37566 14 late on K2 at Walpole Highway at 08.44, 20126 (hurrah) on K4 8 late, 20109 (surprise surprise) on K5 14 late and 37160 on Y6 23 late. Only other casualty was L11 which was 12 late with 37568". Patience is a virtue and commencing with 37576 on the Y7 09.03 to Peterborough, a continuous stream of B9s appeared until 20126 came back on the 17.03 westbound, the 16th and final decker was the loan Volvo on K3 (37562). I had to take John to the bus stop this morning for K3 at 07.03 from Walpole to Peterborough and at first thought it was one of the 37158/9/60 batch, as the destination screen on 37562 has now been correctly programmed.
Thanks to Bruce and Rob Brooks for gen today.

27th - 29th November 2009 ~ Blog Digest

Things have been hectic this weekend, with firstly a rotten cold, then guests at home to cater for, so this blog appears slightly later than usual and in a digest form so that I can catch up......

Friday 27th

A pretty awful day for the X1 with some appalling delays in the afternoon. 34108 was out on L11 and 37562 was also used, but on what I am not sure. 20107 was Y7 which is the early evening arrival at Lynn. My friend John arrived at Peterborough rail station at 16.45 and having just (supposedly) missed K1, waited in the plunging temperatures for K2 at 17.05. This failed to appear and eventually he got away on K3 (the 17.35) with 37159. Quite why K2 didn't visit the station is unclear, but it is unsatisfactory when it was advertised as running normally on the station tele-screens. Andy enlarges on the delays and says " X1 chaos here at King's Lynn, K19 the 17.32 to lowestoft left 55 late with 37570 at 18.27 and this was followed by K1 with 37574 running 25 late". Pretty disappointing effort all round then ?

Saturday 28th

There was no doubting today's highlight, that being the welcome re-appearance of P766XHS (20126) to the route. It quite unexpectedly turned up on Y13. 34108 returned to Lowestoft on K16 and 20107 did K4 which finishes at Yarmouth. All three B7s were out with 37158 on K5, 37159 on K3 and 37160 on Y6, although the latter was changed at King's Lynn tonight and 37578 off L11 terminator took over from 160 on the 20.35 to Lowestoft.
The work on the disabled 'trident' seems to be almost complete at King's Lynn, but the two Gemini B7s remaining at Norwich continue in service there with 37156 doing a particularly unusual turn tonight when it worked the 17.00 service 50 to Sheringham. Michael Bryant has X2 news and says that 34109 has lost its rear allover ad for Pleasurewood Hills and says that 34157 is the only one of this type retaining a full rear ad. 37562 was in King's Lynn garage tonight having run 271 miles since Thursday evening. Today it is believed to have worked locally and it may possibly have done Y6 from Yarmouth this morning and been replaced at Lynn by 37160 (see above)

Sunday 29th

Very little seen today and all services seen were B9 Geminis. Any further detail from readers would be welcome. 37570/7/9 were seen in service.


Thursday 26th November 2009 ~ Off Route

Jamie V caught 37562 having a nap outside Vancouver Avenue this afternoon after a stint on the 42s - and look who is watching, check out the third window pane along. yes it's the Lynn garage mascot !

Legal lettering photographed by Jamie Vendy on 37562.

I was off route again today, so Bruce once again provided me with a comprehensive report. things were very similar to yesterday with 20107 & 34108 both still substituting, this time on K4 and K2. 37159 did K16 today, but it was somehwo delayed and Jamie V saw it heading down the bypass near Walton Highway avoiding the villages. Bruce viewed it on its correct route later when it was 15 late on the 14.35 from Peterborough.
It would seem that the loan vehicle, 37562, is being kept off the X1 until it has had its destination programmed and this is due to take place tomorrow (Friday) at Norwich.
37568 was once again absent today and over on the X2, Darts 40251 and 47203 were out.

Wednesday 25th November 2009 ~ Behaving Buses

Although I didn't keep a close eye on things today, it would appear from Bruce's report that everything behaved (surely not you cry ?). The Mancunian as Bruce has christened 37562 - well you might as well give it a name as it hasn't got a number - did not appear today, but it was in use around King's Lynn locally.
Three Geminis are currently absent : 37568 after its debacle with its driver's seat, 37571 still apparently being reconstructed at Wrights and 37572 at Full Circle having its side damage repaired. Standing in today were 20107 on L10 and 34108 on L11. The three B7s have been let loose this week, K16 had one for the second day running in the shape of 37158, while the vehicle that did this turn yesterday returned today on L8, this being 37160. 37159 did Y13.
B10M 20105 went to A.R.M. at Setch for a chassis clean today as it is booked for an MOT next week. Hopefully it will fare better than 20103/4.


History File : John Wilson reports

N603 APU
Acquired from Thamesway in October 2001 in Greenline livery as fleet number 07. Used briefly in Norwich in Nov 2001, then allocated to Lowestoft where often in use on X99 to Ipswich. Occasionally substituted on X94 (seen through Kings Lynn on 6/3/02).
No destination blind was in place while the vehicle remained in Greenline colours.
Repainted into Barbie coach livery in April 2002 and use after was mainly on recently introduced X71/74 and X95 services. Re-numbered 20103 from March 2004 and re-allocated to Norwich in June 2004. Then back to Lowestoft in Aug 2007 when another repaint applied. Saw regular use on X1 through to 11/11/09 when a blown engine saw 20103 withdrawn from use.

N604 APU
Acquired from Thamesway, appearing in Kings Lynn in red and cream Excel livery on 16/4/1999. As fleet number 46, became the 9th vehicle in use on X94 from Lynn when the service was enhanced in April 1999. Re-allocated to Bury St Edmunds in May 2002. Repainted into Barbie Coach colours October 2003. Renumbered 20104 from March 2004. Re-allocated Bury to Norwich Sept 2004, then to Lowestoft October 2007. In regular use then on X1 to Nov 2009.

P733 NVG
One of a batch of 4 new vehicles at Kings Lynn in Sept 1996 to operate an expanded Norwich-Peterborough service X94. Received fleet number 33 which was not carried on the vehicle for some years. Appeared at Showbus 1996 in the new Excel coach colours with branding applied. Re-allocated to Norwich in May 2002 after arrival of 10 new Paragon coaches at Lynn. Barbie coach repaint Feb 2003. Re-numbered 20123 in March 2004.
Re-allocated Norwich to Lowestoft September 2004. Repainted again in July 2007.
Allocated briefly to Ipswich in Feb 2009, then on to Norwich before arriving back at Lynn in April 2009 on a loan, mainly to support schools contracts, but some appearances made over familiar A47 roads when pressed into X1 duties. Last used on August 18th 2009.

Many thanks to John for providing this potted history of three old stagers.

Tuesday 24th November 2009 ~ B9s On The Mend

37563 is fuelled and washed at King's Lynn tonight after arrival on Y9, while 37562 (FJ08FYN - not EYN as reported yesterday !), running minus fleet numbers has already been put to bed off Y7. The loan vehicle is rumoured to become a permanent transfer, but it has only 31,208 miles on its hub meter so if this is from new it has had a quiet life so far. It has an advert on the drivers side for a movie which came out in January of this year which would also suggest it has spent some time off the road.
Rob Brooks took this picture of B7 37160 working K17 on Monday of this week, it is seen on the diversionary route in Weasenham Lane, Wisbech.

A week ago it was hard to find stuff to fill the blog - now it has gone crazy again ! Stopped at Bruce's at breakfast time and the two regular stand ins virtually passed each other outside, 34108 on Y6 and 20107 on K2. We'd been vigilant hoping to see the loaned 37562, but in the event this did Y7 which brought it in to King's Lynn for an early bath at 18.15, still running with 'First Manchester' on the front, but with a card on the dashboard proclaiming 'X1'.
37567 had a funny day, presumably after servicing it was spotted by Sam on the X2, but later it worked L8 15.25 to Peterborough. This had come in with 37569. Earlier Sam had seen 37574 (which worked K3) shut down in Norwich bus station and with a blank destination, however, it was back at King's Lynn tonight.

Lynn turned out 20109 for K4 this morning, possibly because of some malady affecting 60863, but by this evening it had been replaced by 37566. 109 was 14 late returning from Peterborough this morning. Services then seemed to run to within 10 minutes of time until L11 failed to produce at 11.03 at Walpole Highway. A Bruce vigil followed and he was rewarded with 37576 passing at 11.35/36 followed 7 seconds later by B10M 20118 with a full load ! These returned in reverse at 13.32 and 13.40 respectively. 37570 which 20118 seemed to have replaced at Lynn then came along on Y13 on which 37566 had worked as far as Lynn - yes I know very confusing isn't it ? Even more so because Grahame says 37566 was at Yarmouth for MOT.

In order to get things back on track, there were two further swaps at Lynn this afternoon. 20118 came off L11 (or was it L12 !) and 37565 was taken off K14. The vehicles working forward are thought to have been 37568 with new functioning driver's seat (see yesterday) and 60863. L11 is believed to have gone forward with 60863 as tonight this turn came back to Lynn with 37564 which had failed at Yarmouth on Friday afternoon, so it was simply a case of changing vehicles at Yarmouth. ........and that's all there is to it !
Adding to today's surprises the three B7s were allocated as follows : 37158 K5, 37159 K18 (finishes Yarmouth) and 37160 K16 (finishes Lowestoft).


Monday 23rd November 2009 ~ Next Stop Manchester ????

Well a truly bizarre day today with a bit of everything thrown in for good measure. Gemini 37572 was sent for accident damage repairs and in exchange Volvo 'demonstrator' or loan vehicle, whichever you'd like to call it - 37562 reg FJ08EYN, was provided from Volvo to cover. 37564 failed to appear and it looks as though its breakdown on Friday may be more serious than at first thought.
The day began normally enough with K1 05.40 King's Lynn to Peterborough being allocated 37568, this worked to Peterborough and back to Lynn but was then removed because of a broken driving seat. Old stalwart 20105 was brought out of the Rowan Road retirement home for good buses and worked forward to Lowestoft at 08.32. Later this afternoon, 20105 was taken off and 37562 running bereft of fleet numbers and bearing a confusing 'First Manchester' in the destination box was used to work the 15.15 King's Lynn - Peterborough & 16.35 Peterborough - Great Yarmouth. What the punters thought when this approached can only be imagined. Bruce saw it virtually on the tail of 37574 on K19 leaving Walpole Highway at 17.40 and phoned me as he thought he was having hallucinations. Andy confirmed it departing from Lynn at 18.02, still with the misleading destination. So remember folks it is 37562, not that you will see a fleet number on it apparently ! 37568 was taken out of service and is now awaiting parts from Wrights.
It was a poor day for timekeeping and when Y6 05.50 from Yarmouth passed Walpole Highway one minute before time with 37579, I should have known things would only get worse. Y7 was 11 late going west but lost a lot of time and was seen by Bruce on the A47 bypass heading back east around 34 minutes late. L8 in contrast was only 3 late at this point and it was possible to see two eastbound services at once, one on the old road through the villages (37563 on L8) and 37567 flailing down the bypass. It clearly didn't make up sufficient time despite this effort and the second part of Y7, the 14.55 Lowestoft to Lynn was entrusted to 'The Beast'.
Early evening services were heavily delayed between Wisbech and Peterborough and 37158 on K3 was 37 minutes late arriving at King's Lynn at 19.35. The following service, K4 had 34108 and was 13 minutes late arriving and K5 with 37159 was about ten late terminating.
Instead of providing a coach, Yarmouth turned out 60863 for Y13 this morning, so presumably 20126 & 20127 were unavailable.

Sunday 22nd November 2009 ~ What Service ?

We have reported that delays to the X1 have been commonplace over the last couple of Sundays, but today was even worse. Westbound services during the afternoon were particularly badly affected and the 15.50 King's Lynn - Peterborough didn't run. This is believed to be because of a driver shortage. 37573 resumed the turn with the 18.35 departure to Lowestoft. Other services ran at least 10 and some 20 minutes late to Peterborough.
Several turns swapped vehicles at Lowestoft today, but all today's offerings were B9s. Most B9s are now wearing adverts for the film 'Planet 51' or the mobile phone firm 'LG' on the drivers side, while the 'Paranormal' film ads are prominent on the passenger side. 37576 still has no advert on this side.


Saturday 21st November 2009 ~ The Text Revolution

I can never quite get over the fact that some ten years ago, text messaging would have been unknown and going back a further ten, mobile phones likewise. This morning I had texts from Jamie R, Rob B & Peter all confirming the use of Royale 34108 on Y7, the 06.10 Yarmouth - Peterborough and 10.05 return to Lowestoft. Thanks guys. I was at Long Sutton so saw nothing until teatime. The short out and back turn from Lowestoft was spotted by Bruce with 20107, but it was last night that interesting things happened.
Des reported an ailing Gemini broken down near Yarmouth and this is believed to have been the normally ultra reliable 37564 on Y6. The B7 37158 presumably came to rescue the passengers, but 564 was still in situ at 16.45. There was more trouble to come, when 37572 on K15 was damaged by another vehicle and taken out of service. As K18 this morning was the Yarmouth 'emergency X1' vehicle 60863, I am assuming it was this which took over on K15. 37572 had reached Rowan Road this evening with a nasty scrape down the drivers side. it is assigned to visit 'Full Circle' on Monday. If 37564 & 37572 remain out of traffic for a while, next week could be interesting.
Michael Bryant reports 20107 on the X2 yesterday afternoon, so it is thought that 37566 did the second part of this. Today 37566 was relegated to work on the X2 and it did the 09.38 and 13.08 departures from Lowestoft. Michael also confirms that 20103 is withdrawn at Lowestoft depot and has already lost some panels.


Forthcoming Items ....

In the next week or so, time permitting, I will do a small feature on the buses which departed from the X1 fleet over the last 12 months and where they are now. I'm also hoping to do a tribute to 'The Beast' 20107 soon and thanks to all who have submitted their photographs and information for inclusion. If you have any items that you would like me to include on these subjects, either memories or photographs, please send these to the usual email address :

Many thanks, Gerard


Friday 20th November 2009 ~ Friday Intrigue

An unexpected sight at lunchtime was 20109 heading into Wisbech down the Weasenham Lane diversion on the 12.35 from Peterborough (see below).

After a very settled period on the X1, today brought some relief to the predictability but also left some questions unanswered.

The two regular relief vehicles were on duty again with Royale 34108 on K4 and Premiere 20107 on K2. The mysteries began when L12 (07.45 Lowestoft - Peterborough) looks to have been late into King's Lynn if it actually ran at all. 20109 off schools work was summoned and departed on time at 11.15 to Peterborough (see picture above on its return). B7 37160 took over the turn, presumably at King's Lynn at 14.02 to work back to Lowestoft. 37160 was seen this evening still on L12 20.50 Lynn to Peterborough. The vehicle expected on L12 was 37576 and this, says Sam, was brought empty to Lynn from Lowestoft this morning by a famous Lowestoft driver ! 576 was resident in Vancouver Avenue this evening seemingly OK.

Gemini 37565 on Y9 11.05 Peterborough - Lowestoft was halted at Swaffham at 13.30 with a broken window, so 20106 went to the rescue and took over with 37565 retiring to King's Lynn depot for attention.

Y6 05.50 Yarmouth - Peterborough ran with 37564 this morning, but by tonight this had been replaced by B7 37158. The B7 began the day on K3 06.45 King's Lynn - Peterborough and this then goes to Lowestoft where it arrives at 12.40. It looks as if it then rested at Lowestoft before doing Y6 back to Peterborough at 14.25. What did K3 at 12.55 from Lowestoft westbound then ? I've absolutely no idea !! So any suggestions welcome. Timekeeping was pretty good for a Friday. Thanks to Bruce, Rob B and Sam for info today.


Thursday 19th November 2009 ~ Today's Trivia

37576 with destination screen working, but not visible in the photo, passes Walpole Highway on K16 at 13.40 this afternoon.

What do you mean it's ALL trivial ?? Today's trivia is the fact that 37579 did K14, the first eastbound departure from King's Lynn to Lowestoft at 05.37 for the first time since 17th June. I hope you are all impressed ! B7 37159 returned from Yarmouth on the first turn (Y6) this morning but was taken off at King's Lynn at 08.07 and the service departed to Peterborough at 08.15 with 37577 fresh off an oil change.

Coach 20107 continued its remarkable run - it is even more in demand now following last weeks demise of 20103 & 20104 - and was out for an eighth consecutive day. Andy reported it arriving 15 late on Y7 this evening and it was still sitting in Lynn bus station two hours afterwards. Just for the record 20107 had been on time this morning.

Gemini 37566, which seems to absentee more than its sisters, was off the road for servicing today and 34108 did L11 as a result. L8 was worked by 37565 after it had been serviced yesterday.

Timekeeping was better than of late and the Peterborough congestion only contibuted an eleven minute delay to K3 and K4 this morning, 37160 and 37569 were on these. I followed 37158 early this afternoon and it positively staggered up to the A47 flyover at Walpole on K17.

Wednesday 18th November 2009 ~ B7 On The Bypass !

Bruce kept an eye on things today as I was yet again posted off to South Lincs. I did call in to see him on the way to work though and we witnessed K2 purring by with everyone's favourite stand-in, Royale 34108 and going the other way Y6 with 37572.
The congestion caused by roadworks at Peterborough continues to have a detrimental effect on punctuality during the morning peak and K3, K4 and K5 are the worst affected services. These leave Queensgate at 08.14, 08.44 and 09.14. This morning K3 was seven late at Walpole Highway with 37578, K4 was 24 late with 20107 and K5 was at least 10 late with 37575.
Recent observations suggest that the restricted maximum speed of the B7s is a handicap when services are delayed. They generally run 5 to 10 minutes behind schedule. There were some odd goings on today, the service ran well until K14 had passed Bruce on time with 37566, but then things went decidedly pear shaped. K15 failed to appear at all, but 37563 on K16 was only 3 late. K17 had B7 37158 and was 19 late and just before this appeared, 37160 was sighted heading down the A47 bypass at 14.09 towards Wisbech. This then turned up on K15 which had obviously restarted at Wisbech at 14.26 to head back to Lowestoft. Nevertheless, it was 6 minutes late by the time it passed Walpole eastbound. It is possible that Gemini 37576 did the early part of K15 before retiring for a service, but why K15 was cancelled at Lynn at 12.45 is unknown.
There seemed to have been some role reversal next when K18 which overnights at Yarmouth passed by with 37159 almost on time and then K19 - a solid Lynn B9 turn produced 37564. 37159 was the first B7 to overnight at the coast for over a month and a tight rein seems to be kept on these by King's Lynn.


Tuesday 17th November 2009 ~ Paranormal Activity

This was the scene at Rowan Road compound on Monday afternoon with the withdrawn 20104 in the foreground and sisters 20106/105 looking on. These were both spare as the three Hunstanton schools turns were worked by 20109/118/121.
Well 'Paranormal Activity' seems to have afflicted some of the B9s today in the shape of a new advertisement for the movie due out soon. Various other adverts have appeared and I will enlarge on this later this week. Rather oddly, 37576 has been operating without any passenger side advertisement for a couple of weeks now, reminding us of the old look with X1 route destinations visible.

Today 20107 continued its good work on Y13 and at Lowestoft 37565 was kept in for servicing and 34108 took its place on L12. This was 15 late returning from Peterborough at lunchtime and still 12 late arriving at King's Lynn tonight, however, the A47 was closed at Pentney so it is quite possible that 34108 had taken a diversionary route to avoid the blockage.
Sam says "20115 noted this afternoon on 22s in Norwich and later on X1 shorts. 20127 came in on '17 Norwich' then onto X1 shorts; rear ad for NHS says in large font "Feeling ill?" Looking at it I think it is!". Oh Sam you are so hard hearted ! I'm just wondering what everyone thought of you wearing a pair of X1 shorts, whatever they are lol .

Monday 16th November 2009 ~ 18/19 The Dominance Grows

37566 sweeps past Bruce's observatory at Walpole Highway this lunchtime. It was working K16 09.55 Lowestoft - Peterborough. This turn starts the day at King's Lynn at 06.22 and finishes at Lowestoft on arrival with the 14.35 from Peterborough.

Yes 18 consecutive turns were low floor double deckers today. Only K1 with 20107 relieved the tedium and this had a minor spot of bother this morning, when a fitter had to be summoned to Narborough to fix an errant windscreen wiper. Undeterred, the Beast was back later on and ended up at Yarmouth tonight.
It is confirmed that 37159 has returned from Volvo without modification to its maximum speed. Despite the best efforts of Volvo engineers, the necessary work was not possible and a 50mph max remains. I had thought that this work had already been carried out and it may explain why K3 with 37159 was 23 late going to Lowestoft this morning, 37564 following on K4 was on time and 37160 on K5 was then 17 late. Services settled a bit after this, but L11 with 37574 was 18 late through Walpole (due 13.06).
The Dennis Trident under repair at King's Lynn is destined to return to Norwich on completion and the plan at the moment is to then send either 37156 or 37157 to Lowestoft for X1 use. There is still no further news on 20500/1, but the three Profiles are now at work in Essex on the Clacton to Stansted link.
It is surely just a matter of time now before we get a day where all 19 workings get either B9 or B7 Geminis ?


Sunday 15th November 2009 ~ Beast to the rescue

The usual crop of B9s were in evidence today, but there was a couple of unexpected twists. Royale 34108 made a rare Sunday appearance working Y4 07.30 from Great Yarmouth. this turn finishes with the 20.10 Peterborough - Lowestoft which it also worked. 37565/576 were on the other two Yarmouth turns. 20107 was a surprise on the 09.48 from Lowestoft, it did L12 yesterday and this normally goes empty to Yarmouth. there is though a possibility that 107 came on at Yarmouth replacing a defctive B9, as it was in excess of 20 late going west at Wisbech. By this evening it had regained all the lost time and made a rather sad sight heading off on the 21.50 King's Lynn - Peterborough with an unlit destination screen.
Timekeeping from the coast was poor today. Rob Brooks reported 37568 arriving at Peterborough 12 late for the 16.10 to Lowestoft and 37577 on the 17.10 was around 15 late arriving. Rob says 568 sounds noisier than the other B9s - could be because it is the second highest mileage one. The king of the B9s, 37564 has now done over 126,000 miles. In contrast, the B7 mileages are currently : 37158 136,500 ; 37159 121,400 and 37160 135,000.
Regarding 20104, it remains dumped at Rowan Road parked in front of 20123 which may yet be re-examined to see if it can be returned to service.

Saturday 14th November 2009 ~ R.I.P. 103 AND 104

In driving rain and blustery conditions, 37575 passes Walpole on the 12.05 Peterborough - Lowestoft (L11) today.

If you take a look at the blog for 4th November, you'll see a picture of 20103/4 resting in Vancouver Avenue. Little did I think that within a fortnight both would have been withdrawn ! 103 as reported previously expired on Wednesday with a blown engine, while 104 was examined at King's Lynn on Tuesday, its problem was an air bag gone affecting the suspension. Turns out that the chassis on 104 was so badly rotted that it wasn't worth repairing. So quite sad news, however, 20107 was still in action today working L12, the out and back turn from Lowestoft.

The B9s continue to have a settled spell. 37563 had a day off for servicing at Lowestoft and 37570 was taken off Y7 at Lynn with 37158 working forward at 08.45 to Peterborough.

B7s 37159 & 37160 were out on two of the old Profile turns, K5 and K3. Finally 34108 was used on K1 which finishes at Great Yarmouth.


Friday 13th November 2009 ~ An Elephantine Effort

An all low floor service almost came to fruition this morning, spoiled in the nicest possible way by 20107 on K2. Commencing with the 08.48 from Wisbech to Peterborough (Y6 with 37569) every service was B9 worked until 107 took the 16.18 westbound. 37159 then took K3, 37570 K4 and 37160 K5. The day finished with two more replacements though. 37159 was unable to continue on K3 at some point and 20106 turned up on the 16.15 Lynn - Peterborough, while 34108 made a welcome return on Y9 tonight having replaced 37564 at Lowestoft, the latter requiring a service.
Bruce reports some strange goings on this morning : L8 which is due to pass Walpole Highway westbound at 09.33 didn't appear, although it did go past his vantage point on the return trip 9 minutes late at 11.45 with 37568. In contrast, L10 due through at 10.33 went by three minutes early with 37567 trying to break some records. By this evening there were some delays as expected and 20106 on K3 was 20 late from Wisbech going west and 37570 following on K4 was 26 late passing the B198 roadworks.

Thursday 12th November 2009 ~ Examinations and an Extermination.

You may have noticed that every other Thursday we get plenty of diagram swaps and this is because six of the Lynn B9s are due safety checks over a two day period each fortnight. This is usually executed in quite an organised fashion. Today for example, 37572 had its service completed before doing K5, 37579 was kept in during the morning for the same reason and at lunchtime, 579 replaced 37577 on Y13 so that it could also be attended to. 37570 came off L10 during the morning for servicing and B7 37160 took over the turn. The other two B7s were also out on K3 (37158) and K17 (37159).
20104 remains out of service at Rowan Road and Sam informs me that 20103 arrived at Lowestoft last night with a blown engine and has been withdrawn !! This will be a sad loss to the X1 and 103 has been a solid performer since it arrived on the route in August 2007. Yarmouth are believed to be loaning 20126 to Lowestoft to cover for the loss of 103.
Only one B10M coach managed to work today and that was 'the Beast', 20107 on L12. A correction to events on Tuesday now and 37573 suffered a puncture at Swaffham during the afternoon and this was why 20106 worked.


Wednesday 11th November 2009 ~ A Joint Effort

Today was a joint effort observation wise between Bruce this morning and me this evening. Tomorrow Bruce is otherwise engaged - all part of running a busy farm, so possibly a truncated version of events tomorrow. Anyone with obs tomorrow, your info will be gratefully received as always.
Both 37158 and 37160 were in use on the X1 today on K17 and K3 respectively. Tonight they were joined at King's Lynn by the long awaited arrival back of 37159. 14th October was the last occasion that all three B7s were out on the route. 20104 appears to be repaired now and looks set to return to service tomorrow. 20107 was seen by Michael B on the 11.08 Lowestoft - Norwich X2, while 34108 was in charge of Y6 which ends at Lowestoft.
At some point during the day it looks like 37566 was removed from K4 at King's Lynn for repairs to a water leak and it is possible that a B10M filled in on a trip to Peterborough and back in its place.

Tuesday 10th November 2009 : One Year Later : Part 3

A year ago today, Geminis 37570/2/4/7 were all set to work on the X1 for the first time and some semblance of a service operated by the new vehicles was taking shape. One year later and it must be very satisfying to the people who decided that B9 Geminis were the answer for the X1 that all but four services were covered by the new regime.
In the twelve months under review, the mileages accumulated by the vehicles above are as follows : 37570, 112,200. 37572 116,400. 37574 111,400 and 37577 107,500. All four of these vehicles have also experienced extended periods out of traffic during the year, otherwise these figures would have been even higher. These figures are taken from the hub meters fitted which it would seem, in some cases, were not fitted until after about 1,500 miles had already been run. It is doubtful whether there are vehicles of this type (which are clearly more suited to urban work) attaining higher annual mileages anywhere in the UK. One thing I am frequently challenged about is the lack of prominence given in the blog to the huge mileages amassed by the B10M coaches used on the X1. One can only guess at what actual mileages these venerable vehicles have attained, but I hope to feature an article on this before long.
King's Lynn rostered 37573 on K1 this morning and 37567 on K4, but something went amiss and Bruce reports K1 seen this afternoon with 20106 and K4 was 13 late returning from Peterborough this morning with 37573. By this evening 573 was in King's Lynn garage so it looks like 567 took over at some point ! Tonight 20106 was taken off K1 at Lynn at 18.00 and this turn looks to have continued coastbound with 20107 which had come in on Y7, the first Lynn terminator. Royale 34108 was available for punters today and did K18, while the previous service, K17, had 37160.
As expected 37568 was serviced today and its place on L10 was taken by 20127. With 37564/7/9 all due for the same treatment in the next few days, it remains to be seen if we see more replacements drafted in. King's Lynn also has a large servicing requirement this week with 37570/2/3/4/7/9 all due for inspections. 37573 was presumably dealt with today

Monday 9th November 2009 ~ No News Is Good News ?

The X1 continues to take a diversion near Wisbech due to the improvement of the flood defences on South Brink. Here 37575 heads down Weasenham Lane with the 15.22 departure from Wisbech on Sunday afternoon.

Not sure about the wisdom of that header actually ! The colder weather once again saw 16 B9s working today and without incident too. Excellent for those in charge, but it doesn't make for a very interesting blog lol. 20107 was today's sole B10M involved on the X1, the 'beast' did K4, but Michael B did see 20127 working off Lowestoft on the 12.08 X2 to Norwich. Bruce's Big Beautiful Bus (aka BBBB), 34108 was in action on Y13 after a day off yesterday. B7 37160 was the other stand in and this did K17.

By far the most exciting thing to happen today was the arrival of an email from Peter R about the B198 roadworks. Peter contacted NCC and the official reply is copied here :

"Thank you for your interest in the works being carried out on the B198 at Walsoken. The works are for the installation of a roundabout at the junction of the Walpole Highway Rd to provide a safer environment and reducing accidents at this location. Works are due to be completed prior to the christmas closedown. The works are being carried out by the Councils in-house workforce at a cost of approximately £100,000".

So a roundabout it is then and a big sigh of relief from us locals. This was the junction where 20142 came to grief a couple of years back and is one of Norfolk's major accident blackspots. Thanks to Peter for taking the trouble to find out what was going on.


Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th November 2009 ~ They Did It !

Grouping two days together is quite unusual for this blog, but such was the lack of incident this weekend, it seemed the best option.

Saturday : With all sixteen Geminis available in service, this just left three turns uncovered. These were : K3 37160, L9 20107 and K18 34108. The only odd thing here is that the Royale was sent on a turn that finishes at Yarmouth rather than Lowestoft. 20104 remained at Rowan Road awaiting attention, while possibly in connection with this, 20118 remains at the eastern end to balance things out.

Sunday : Today's service was provided by 37563-6, 37568, 37572, 37574-579. Services generally ran a few minutes late due to the roadworks and diversion around Wisbech. Gemini 37574 has totted up 36,100 miles since July 27th - surely a record ? It had a rare day off today.


Friday November 6th 2009 ~ Was Today Really a Friday ?

Today has to be one of the most successful Friday's in 2009 for the X1 operators. Sixteen B9 Geminis out for the second day running and the remaining three turns were K2 : 20127, L11 34108 and K17 37160. Bruce phoned me to say he was amazed by the excellent timekeeping too. Y13 is notorious for Friday delays, but today was on time in both directions with a certain blonde haired lady at the helm of 37575. It wasn't until late afternoon that delays really became apparent, although K14 13.35 from Peterborough was 14 late with 37563. 37576 on K3 was seen trying to get out of Wisbech Horsefair at 17.08 (20 late) and K4 following was about 15 late with 37568. This evening I saw L12 with 37567 passing Walpole 1 early at 21.07 and the corresponding eastbound service with 37570 conveyed Mr. Robinson and was just 2 minutes down. Next week a large proportion of the B9s will require safety services, so whether the current trend will continue remains to be seen.


Thursday November 5th 2009 ~ Sweet Sixteen

Gemini 37574 is still about the most reliable B9. it worked K15 today and is seen near Walsoken at lunchtime.
Thanks to Jamie Vendy for sending this picture of Royale 34108 at Queensgate today on K16 14.35 to Gorleston James Paget Hospital. The destination shown is thus a little inaccurate, but near enough I suppose. Note the rather uninspiring advert warning about the dangers of excessive salt consumption !

Jamie also captured this nice view of a rather tidy 37160 at Queensgate on K17 15.05 to Lowestoft

All sixteen regular Gemini B9s were out on the X1 at some stage today, which is a pretty rare phenomenon these days. 37573 spent most of the day at King's Lynn garage being attended to by Volvo staff and was declared fit to work the 16.45 X1 to Peterborough on which it replaced B10M coach 20106 which was on the turn. There are two corrections to report from yesterday. Firstly 20118 worked throughout on the 09.35 Peterborough - Lowestoft and remained there. Surprisingly it didn't return today either. 37564 which I said had jumped turns from K18 to K19 hadn't. K18 was merely running very late.

Oddities today were 34108 on K16, 37160 on K17 and B10Ms 20107 & 20127 which worked the first and second parts of Y7 respectively. Sam says "Saw 20127 leaving for Lynn on Y7, 20126 was on 878 contracts once again. 20107 did the 15:38 Low - Nor X2". Ah so that's where it got to Sam. Michael Bryant reports 20127 on the 10.08 X2 from Lowestoft and 20103 on the 12.08, so that's three coaches on this service today which is quite an unusual event these days. Just a thought but I suppose 20127 could have replaced 20118 en route yesterday which would explain where it came from. One coach not working today was 20104 which has been at Rowan Road since yesterday with a partial suspension failure.


Wednesday 4th November 2009 ~ What A Morning !

Apologies for yet another B10M photo. This is 104 and 103 at Vancouver Avenue on Sunday evening.
Things began quite normally this morning - thanks to Bruce for the observations as I was away again - K1 had 37569, K2 37572 and K3 37576 the latter two services just 4 minutes late, but going west it was a different story. Y6 failed to appear and Y7 with 20106 was 2 minutes early. Westbound services then ran approximately 10 minutes late for the remainder of the morning. After seeing 37576 on K3 heading for Lowestoft, K4 was next but was 26 minutes late with 20105 which is normally employed on schools services. Even more of a surprise then when 37575 which was due on K5 never arrived and the next eastbound sighting was another school bus, 20118 running as Y6 just 2 minutes late. 20107 had actually come over from Yarmouth on Y6 but was unable to continue and 20118 must have done a Walpole bypass move to save time. On arrival at Lynn, I think 20104 relieved 20118 at 11.02 but this afternoon Y6 came back west with 37566, the fourth vehicle on this turn today.

K4 changed vehicles at King's Lynn at 10.02 with 20105 coming off so that it could do its afternoon schools turn and a revived 20107 working forward. What exactly did the three Hunstanton schools turns this morning is a mystery, but 20121 did one of them and probably 20118 did one before dashing out on Y6 to Peterborough.

Amongst other things of note today were the reappearance of Royale 34108 on L12 (20103 had been expected) and 37564 on K18 came back on K19, so 37578 on K19 either stayed at Lowestoft or itself became K18 as sometimes happens due to late running where one diagram overtakes another. There was confirmation today of fuel problems with 37573 and this kept it out of action today. 37158 was out on the 43s at Lynn while 37160 did K17.

Tuesday November 3rd 2009 ~ Invisible Buses

There appears to have been some sort of incident between Wisbech and Peterborough this morning which caused a fair amount of disruption to punctuality. Bruce reports 37565 on K2 a fraction early for the 08.31 Walpole Highway to Lowestoft. The next eastbound service after this is due at 09.06. This turned up 22 late with 37575, things then got worse with K4 due at 09.36 running 33 minutes late and K5 & Y6 10.06 & 10.36 not appearing at all ! Both 37160 & 37569 (for twas they) must have done a runner down the bypass to make up time. Normality resumed with 20104 on the 11.06 (Y7) which was on time. By lunchtime, services were within around 5 minutes of the timetable, but L11 with an unidentified B9 was 14 late. Somehow the vehicles on Y6 and L11 were swapped today and 37569 and 37566 had changed places by this evening. Quite how this took place is a mystery. One other B10M graced the X1 and this was the Beast, 20107, on K1. Sam reported 20103 getting a rare day off from X1 duties and it was seen departing Norwich on the 10.08 to Lowestoft via Beccles. B7 37159 is still receiving attention at Volvo and with 37158 being kept back for local duties at King's Lynn, 37160 was the sole B7 on the X1 today.

Monday 2nd November 2009 ~ Premieres Hanging In There

The B10M coaches are still providing a useful service to X1 passengers and the contrast between these and the Geminis must be bewildering to regulars. The diversion because of the flood defence roadworks at Wisbech is in fact via Weasenham Lane to join the A1101 and not the Wisbech bypass, so a rare opportunity has arisen to travel on this stretch by public transport. Delays seem to be slight which is all the more surprising because the B198 junction at Walton Highway still has three way temporary lights. Whether a roundabout is being constructed here or traffic lights installed is still unknown. Perhaps that nice Mr Elworthy at the 'Wisbech Standard' can do some investigative journalism for us to establish exactly what they are doing. Speaking of his esteemed organ, last Friday's issue featured an item on the demonstration by Wisbech cab drivers against the proposal to move the taxi rank away from the bus station. Amongst the photographs on the front page was one of 37563 awaiting departure to Lowestoft which I take it John included for our benefit !
Timekeeping was not too bad today K14 with 37566 was 19 late returning from Peterborough on the 13.35 to Lowestoft and was viewed by Bruce who once again came to my aid on the sightings front. Both K1 (37569) and K5 (37160) were eleven minutes late going east this morning. Coaches out today were 20103 on K2, 20104 on K4 and 20107 on Y13, plus a bonus trip by 20109 on the 14.45 King's Lynn - Peterborough after 37573 had to be removed from the duty. Reports indicate that 573 was fit to relieve 20109 for the 17.33 to Lowestoft.Finally 37564 on L11 was changed at Lowestoft for 37565


Sunday 1st November 2009 ~ What Can You Say ?

All Geminis today !! Not much else to report really, so to enlarge on this, here is the whereabouts of the 16 available B9s today ;

37563 Lowestoft spare

37564 Lowestoft spare

37565 Lowestoft spare

37566 K8 08.35 King's Lynn - Lowestoft etc (ends KL 23.44)

37567 K3 08.50 King's Lynn - Peterborough (ends LFT 23.30, goes empty to YAR)

37568 Y9 09.30 Gt. Yarmouth - Peterborough to King's Lynn (arr 11.44) Broken window

37569 K6b 09.48 Lowestoft - Peterborough etc (ends KL 00.28)

37570 K2 07.50 King's Lynn - Peterborough etc (ends LFT 22.30, goes empty to YAR)

37572 K7 07.37 King's Lynn - Lowestoft etc (ends KL 22.44)

37573 Y5 08.30 Gt. Yarmouth - Peterborough etc (ends KL 22.28)

37574 K6a 06.35 King's Lynn - Lowestoft only, goes empty to YAR.

37575 King's Lynn Vancouver Avenue spare

37576 K1 06.50 King's Lynn - Peterborough etc (ends KL 00.44)

37577 Y4 07.30 Gt Yarmouth - Peterborough etc (ends LFT 00.30)

37578 Y9 09.30 Gt. Yarmouth - Peterborough from King's Lynn etc (ends KL 23.28)

37579 Lowestoft spare


Saturday 31st October 2009 ~ Do The Shuffle

In time honoured fashion, the end of October has seen some vehicle reallocations. These don't seem to directly affect the X1 service, but the arrival of 20500/1 is still awaited. It is believed that they will be King's Lynn allocated and primarily used for Rail replacement contracts. The fact that they are to retain their white livery also suggests that use on the X1 will not be out of the question. Locally King's Lynn is losing its miniature Darts in exchange for the troublesome longer length ones in the 434xx series.
There seemed to be a number of changes to duties today. Dealing with them chronologically, K1 began the day with 20104 but finished with 37577. The swap is thought to have occurred at Lynn at 08.30. K4 started with 'Beast' 20107 but by the time it arrived at Norwich this turn was 20104, again indicating a Lynn changeover, this time at 10.00. half an hour later a further change took place, K5 arriving with 37158 and most unusually going forward with 20107. This turn finishes at Lynn at 20.00 but 20107 was conspicuous by its absence there at 20.30. What was seen at 20.30 was Y6 arriving with 37570 flashing up fault indicators and this was replaced by 37563 which had come in at 20.00 on L11. The problem with 570 it seems was a faulty bank of lights and low fuel. Late running in the middle of the day saw Y13 13.05 from Peterborough 25 minutes late at Walpole with 20103.