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Saturday 30th January 2010 ~ The Wind of Change

The scene at Rowan Road today with 20106 (withdrawn), 20123 (pending repair), 20105 (to be withdrawn this coming week) and 20118 (still in service).

All observations were made during the morning and the following were noted :

K1 37576; K2 37577; K3 37575; K4 37565; K5 37573
Y6 37566; Y7 34108; L8 37569; L9 37579; Y10 37572; L11 20107; L12 37570; Y13 37159
K14 37568; K15 37578; K16 37157; K17 37562; K18 37156 & K19 37574
Somewhat surprising was the use of 20107 when 37563, 37564 & 37567 were all at Lowestoft. Neither of the B12 Paragons were used today on the X1.
This coming week promises some change when on Thursday 20105 is to be delicensed because of an expired MOT. On Monday morning 20106 and 20109 are due to be towed to Rowntree Way, Norwich for attention. 20106 is now withdrawn - it had last worked at the end of December and 20109 is to have its engine repaired. Once it is returned to traffic, 20123 is also due to be repaired for return to traffic. With the exception of 20102 which was last reported back at Clacton, this leaves 20107 as the oldest B10M remaining in service.

Friday 29th January 2010 ~ Peter & The Roundabouts !

37573 calls at Thorney while working the 14.05 from Peterborough this afternoon

Well I couldn't resist another 'Peter &....' headline. Today he took 37575 on L11 11.18 Wisbech - Peterborough and says "We left by a rather unorthodox route, out of the bus station and onto the Horsefair roundabout, over Freedom Bridge onto the next roundabout which we circumnavigated to cross Freedom Bridge again, onto the Horsefair roundabout all the way round, back over the bridge for a third time and then took the left turn for the route via Wisbech St. Mary ! I don't think the driver was sure of where to turn off. The most surprising thing though was that the heating was working !". There's hope yet then.
It was a fairly interesting day with some drivers taking the normal route into Wisbech then diverting via Weasenham Lane, Elm Road and Church Terrace - quite tight in places. 37569 on K14 certainly took this route.
K17 had Lowestoft Gemini 37568 today which was very unusual, it is normally 37562 or in other cases a Lynn B9. 562 was K4 first thing but only operated it from King's Lynn to Peterborough and back where it was removed for a schheduled service.Its replacement was Royale 34108. Whilst on the subject of 37562, it is proving ultra relaible and since its entry into X1 service on 23rd November it has run 18,300 miles.
Paragon 20500 did K3 today and K19 had 20501 which worked until 17.30 when 37577 off repairs took over, it being seen by Bruce leaving the bus station with 501 behind en route to the garage. A correction to yesterday here as 37577 did Y6 until it expired at East Winch at about 17.30. It had a turbo pipe repair and oil check carried out today. Another Gemini back in action is 37572 which worked L8 today. 37567 did the first trip to Peterborough and back on Y13 but was surprisingly swapped for 37157 to do the second leg. 37576 was out of service at Lynn today for CCTV checks.
Despite all the activity, there was still room for guests on the X2 with 37579 doing the 06.53 and 11.38 from Lowestoft and 20107 the 10.08 and 13.08 departures. 37156 was sent out on L10, but it is not known why this was used instead of 37579.


Thursday 28th January 2010 ~ Bad Luck Michael !

On Saturday last, I recounted how Michael B had been unlucky not to get a picture of a Paragon at Lowestoft. Well today, he had a few minutes to spare and popped down to view K5 which forms the 13.55 to Peterborough. This had started the day with 20501, but (obviously to annoy Michael), King's Lynn again swapped it, this time for 37159. Michael adds "What is even more frustrating, is the only B7 I require a photo of is 37158". I wouldn't bother buying any lottery tickets this week if I were you Michael !
Amongst his other sightings today were 'The Beast', once again performing on the X2, this time on the 10.08 and 13.08 from Lowestoft and later at Norwich 37563 was seen King's Lynn bound on Y7 on time at 16.25, while the balancing eastbound service, Y13, was 37566. This was notable, because it had begun the day on K14 and logic dictates that it had overtaken Y13 somewhere. 37156 had been expected on Y13, so it will be of interest to see where that turns up next.
Paragon 20500 was on K19 today, while the lack of any suitable low floor bus meant that 34108 was once again on the loose working L11. A B9 swap this morning involved 37577 on Y6 which was taken off for an oil check and repairs and replaced by freshly serviced 37575.
B10M 20105 has probably worked its last X1 duty as its MOT expires on 4th February and it is due to be withdrawn, still never say never as they say. That is over a week away !

Wednesday 27th January 2010 ~ Peter & The Pub

".... and another thing", adds Peter, "Did you know the X1 now has a new stop ? - outside the Rose Tavern on the North Brink at Wisbech, at least that's where we dropped off a passenger with 37569 last night, I had to look in case it was you Gerard". Well no, not me this time Peter, but a commendable choice of pub I must say. Peter also says that by the time he got to Wisbech from Peterborough, he was frozen. Now there's a surprise ! I wonder if anyone in authority with 'First' will act upon these continual complaints ? I am of course assuming that some of them, at least, read this blog and I think we know the answer to that.
An entirely low floor service today was thwarted by Royale 34108 which did K16. Meanwhile 37575 returned to traffic on L11, so a quick repair by the Volvo chaps there. This meant that 20107 was given a rare day off, however, it wasn't rested and Michael Bryant reports it working for most of the day on the X2. It was seen on the 06.53 & 11.38 departures from Lowestoft.
The powers that be decided that instead of the two B12 Paragons, today K3 and K5 would have 37159 and 37158. K18 was also a B7 with 37156 doing the honours and seen departing Wisbech just one late at 13.57 eastbound.


Tuesday 26th January 2010 ~ Peter and the Potholes

Peter travelled on K16 with 37570 this lunchtime from Wisbech to Peterborough. The driver took the route via Wisbech St. Mary which in common with most roads in this vicinity, has been damaged by potholes caused by the recent bad weather. "It was a very bouncy trip" recounts Peter.
Bruce and myself had a pleasant surprise this morning when 20107 came motoring off the Walpole flyover on K2, it was about 5 late. 37568 on the corresponding westbound service maintained its dubious reputation for lateness and was about 15 late on the 05.50 from Yarmouth (Y6). Tonight 568 was taken off Y6 at Lynn and the 20.35 to Lowestoft left with 37564 which had just come in on L11.
34108 seems to be having problems again and it is believed to have come off Y7 at Lynn this morning. Bruce reports Y7 passing him with 20500. It looks like the Paragon remained on the diagram for the rest of the day. For the second consecutive Sunday, 20501 was again utilised on rail replacement duties between Peterborough and Ely this last weekend. Finally just to confirm - as if you hadn't already guessed - that 37562 worked K17 again yesterday and today.


Monday 25th January 2010 - Pick a Route - Any Route

Just when we thought the roads situation around Wisbech couldn't get any worse, it promptly did. See the comment from Des yesterday too.
Today, traffic lights on the Wisbech bypass saw many services divert at Guyhirn and travel via Wisbech St. Mary. 37570 back in traffic was seen arriving this way on Y13 at 13.58 - about 7 late heading east and Peter noted 37569 on K14 near Wisbech Grammar School on the same route about 10 late. The driver on Y6 05.50 from Yarmouth this morning was very keen, he was on time at Walpole Highway with 37573 and then departed Wisbech 3 minutes earlier than advertised taking the long way round via the B198 and the Wisbech bypass. Said driver was also seen on K15 12.45 ex Lynn, one minute early heading in to Wisbech, this time with 37574, but he couldn't maintain his haste on his next westbound duty, K4 was almost 15 late with 34108 when seen at Walton Highway.
Tonight I was playing crib at the Rose and only one service took the Wisbech St. Mary route past the pub between 20.30 & 22.30, this being 37566 on L10 21.05 from Peterborough. The absence of 37575 this weekend is down to a failed injector and 37572 has also gone to Volvo for Camshaft attention.
Neither of the Paragons appeared today (sorry Doreen - I know you love them) and instead 37159 did L11 and 37156 K18. L12 was 20107 which was 1 late going west this morning, but 18 late returning from Peterborough because of the Wisbech fiasco.
Rob Brooks says " Travelled on K5 18.40 from Peterborough tonight knowing it might be a Paragon - instead it was Gemini 37576 which was very cold downstairs and like an icebox upstairs !"
Yes the heating situation is shocking Rob, I still shudder when I recall a trip last Winter where I froze on a B9.
Thanks to Bruce, Rob B, Cheryl, Ian, Suzanne and Peter for sightings today.


Sunday 24th January 2010 ~ Something In The Air Tonight ?

Here's a rare old line up at Vancouver Avenue this evening, yes it's the X1 standby team with 34108, 37562 and 37156 ready for action !

A pretty average Sunday, punctuality was surprisingly not great considering the light traffic, but the Wisbech diversion can add a few minutes.
B9s on the route today were : 37564/7/8/9 & 37572/3/4/7/8. Something had to give though as 20127 & 34108 both ended up at Yarmouth last night. The 'Royale' was chosen to work the first turn off Yarmouth at 07.30. All was going well until the driver who took it forward to Peterborough from Lynn this evening at 18.50 reported a loss of air at Lynn railway station. Now this is by no means unheard of with 34108 and as usual, after the incident, it was found to be in perfect health. So an early bath for 34108 and instead 37159 was sent out in its place. 37572 on the 15.10 Peterborough - Lowestoft was reported to have lost an injector on arrival, so it looks like one of 37563/5/6 will have to replace it. 37575 is also a candidate if it has not gone to Volvo after all. Possible cover for a shortage at Lowestoft tomorrow looks like being 37157 or 20107.

Saturday 23rd January 2010 ~ From the 'Other End'

Grahame was out with his camera this afternoon. This is 37573 at Gorleston JPH on Y6 which was running about 22 late and the return working left Lowestoft before 573 arrived with ........
'The Beast', 20107 at Gorleston JPH this afternoon on Y6 14.45 to Peterborough, 37566 behind is 25 late heading for Lowestoft. Thanks to Grahame Bessey for this splendid illustration !

Here's 37566 at the James Paget Hospital, Gorleston on Y7 10.05 from Peterborough. Late running saw it replaced at Lowestoft. Photo : Grahame Bessey

Michael Bryant contacted me this morning. He was having a photographic session at Lowestoft and was hoping that he could get the two Paragons on film. As they had been in action most of the week, this seemed a reasonable assumption and sure enough 20500 passed me on the way to work on K2 - the turn which terminates at Lowestoft in the week, but comes back to Lynn on a Saturday night to balance the 'out and back' L12. Imagine Michael's surprise then when having been tipped off about it, 37577 turned up instead ! Yes, King's Lynn had been up to their tricks and replaced 20500 with freshly serviced 577.
Whilst at Lowestoft, Michael reports the following :
K16 37565
K17 37579
K18 37568
K19 37572
K1 20127
K2 37577
K3 37159
K4 34108
K5 37574
Y6 37573 / 20107.

All wasn't straightforward though. 20127 arrived on K1 and went to the garage just as 20107 arrived in the bus station. It looked as though 'the beast' was a straight replacement, but the 11.55 departure time for K1 came and went and still no activity. Eventually 20127 returned from the depot and departed 20 late ! In contrast, Michael says that 34108 on K4 arrived at Lowestoft 10 minutes early. The reason for the arrival of 20107 soon became apparent though as Y6 failed to arrive in time to form the 14.25 and 107 was used instead. 37573 on Y6 didn't arrive until after 107 had left and then worked Y7 instead of 37566 which stayed at Lowestoft.
37157 was working on the 99 to Kessingland, while 37156 was used on L11. Grahame was out taking pictures today too, see above.

37562 was about the poorest timekeeper today. It did Y13 and was 14 late through Walpole when seen by Bruce. An accident on the A47 between Eye and Thorney caused a major delay to K19 16.05 from Peterborough. 37572 arrived at Wisbech 40 late and was followed in to the bus station at 17.31 by 20127 which was now only 10 late (see report above).
B9s not in action today were 37570 (last reported u/s at Yarmouth) and 37575 which should have been at Lowestoft, but its absence suggests it may have gone to Volvo for the adblu check.

Friday 22nd January 2010 ~ All Is Explained.

Following my call in yesterday's blog for a detective to explain how Thursday's events had happened, both Andy James and one of our First correspondents answered my plea and I can now pass this on.
On Wednesday evening 37568 was taken off Y6 at Lynn and this was worked forward to Lowestoft at 20.35 by 37563 which had just arrived on L11. 37568 then did K14 on Thursday.
B7 37157 on Thursday's L12 was taken off this just before 13.30 and 37564 with new screen worked forward. Andy says 37157 then did work on the Hunstanton route before relieving 37160 on K4 at 16.45, with 160 taking its place on the 40s.
37570 which did L8 on Wednesday is now sidelined at Yarmouth with a recurrence of its old ABS problem, plus an Adblu issue. Ironically this is one of the vehicles which is supposed to have had this sorted !

So to today at last and an interesting day with a few delays around Wisbech due to the diversions currently in operation. 37565 arrived back at Lynn tonight following collision damage repairs at Full Circle this week. Confirmation also that 37577 is back after Adblu checks at Volvo, today it did K15.
20500 on K3 and 20501 on K19 were not unexpected today, but 20127 on L10 tonight certainly was. Royale 34108 was also back on the circuit today having replaced 37156 on Y7 at Lowestoft and thus forming the first terminating arrival at Lynn from Lowestoft this evening. There was time today for 20107 to be serviced at Lowestoft.
Michael Bryant was surprised to see K18 at Lowestoft with 37562 today - a change from its usual K17 diagram and also meaning it will overnight at Yarmouth. Another B9 heading for a Yarmouth overnight was 37576 on L8, but this had a headlight out when seen at Walpole.


Thuesday 21st January 2010 ~ Detective Required !

Entertainment was once again provided today by the variety of routes being employed by drivers to negotiate Wisbech. The A1101 Churchill Road is completely blocked between the Fire Station and Norwich Road lights coming northbound from the A47 bypass, while a single lane remains open heading south, so Peterborough bound services were unaffected.
Gemini 37563 was unavailable first thing, something that seems to be afflicting this bus quite regularly at the moment, so 37160 began the day in its place on K4. It looks as though 563 took over eventually though, as 37160 was at Rowan Road tonight.
L12 07.45 from Lowestoft had 37157 this morning as 37568 was stopped for servicing, however, this evening L12 was seen arriving at Lynn with 37564. Nothing odd about that you might think, but 37564 was stopped at Lynn last night for a new destination screen to be fitted (as reported in yesterday's blog) and was only completed this morning, SO what happened to 37157 and how did 564 come to be on the turn ? There was no sign of 37157 at Lynn tonight, but 37158 had been released off its MOT and 37159 and 37160 (see above) were both at Rowan Road.
Y13 today was not seen, but reported as revived 37577 - absent since Saturday. Another Gemini was keeping a low profile too, with 37570 not being noted.
Beast 20107 was expected on Y7 this morning, but instead worked one of the long turns, Y6 which ends up at Lowestoft and which covers approx 465 miles. Both Paragons were out again too with 20500 on flagship duty K19. All things considered timekeeping was fair and as usual the worst offenders were K3 and K4 out of Peterborough this morning which Bruce noted 23 and 24 late with 20501 and 37160 respectively. Many thanks to Bruce for keeping up observations whilst I was off route again today.

Wednesday 20th January 2010 ~ Where's My Map ?

The X1 service disruption around Wisbech continued today. Drivers seem to be taking whichever available route is less congested in order to try and maintain the timetable. Elsewhere further problems were caused today by a fatal accident between Narborough and the Hardwick Roundabout on the A47, resulting in the road being closed between about 09.00 & 17.00. Diversions were set up via Gayton which added to delays.

All things considered then, services fared quite well. here's a breakdown off what was seen :

K1 : 37566
K2 : 37569 7 late AM
K3 20500, 14 late ex Peterborough on the 08.05 ex Peterborough but 30 late this evening on the 17.35 back to Lynn
K4 20107 9 late AM, 5 late on the 19.35 Lynn - Lowestoft
K5 37573
Y6 37568 5 late AM, 5 late PM
Y7 37578 14 late on 10.05 ex Peterborough
L8 37570 3 late AM
Y9 37576 9 late AM
L10 37572 right time AM
L11 not seen AM, 37563 pm
L12 20118 5 late at Walpole on 11.15 Lynn - Peterborough
Y13 37160
K14 37574, 15 late on 13.35 P'bo - Lowestoft
K15 37567 on A47 bypass at Walpole at 13.30 (about 25 late) going west
K16 37579 7 late on 14.35 ex P'bo
K17 37562 7 late on 13.45 K Lynn - P'bo
K18 37575 4 late PM
K19 20501 17 late PM

The list of buses despatched from King's Lynn this morning revealed some changes were made. K14 began with 37567, K15 with 37579 and K16 with 37563. It would seem that services ran as planned until L10 but thereafter things went awry. L11 was most likely 37564 which terminated at Lynn. L12 was 37160 which because of delays became Y13 from Lynn and 20118 was inserted as L12 for a quick run to P'bo and back (second day running) , 37574 on Y13 then became K14 and 37567 off K14 became K15. K16 saw 37563 come off at Lynn and return immediately eastbound on L11, while K16 ran forward with K15s original vehicle 37579. L12 restarted at 14.02 to Lowestoft with 37564. This meant buses continued as normal with 37562 on K17. Quite a complex scenario. Later 37564 had a broken destination screen on L12. 37156 was retained for use on Lynn locals today.


Tuesday January 19th 2010 ~ Diversion to the Diversion !

What a strange day - at one point, Wisbech was almost cut off ! The current diversionary route was amended again today when Churchill Road was closed, apparently according to Ian because of a gas leak. This meant westbound services took the normal route into the bus station, but then retraced their steps to the new B198 roundabout and then onto the Wisbech bypass, which was then travelled in its entirety to regain the route at Cromwell Road roundabout at the western extremity of the bypass.
Eastbound services from Peterborough were severely delayed by this additional version and on my way to work, expecting to see K2 passing me as usual, I was puzzled to find it behind me from the B198 roundabout belatedly heading into Wisbech. It arrived exactly 30 late, but by this afternoon was only 5 down. Worst affected service was K4 which was 56 late going to Lowestoft on the 09.26 from Wisbech with 37578. By some miracle, it was only 5 late this evening on the same turn. I assume from this that it turned round short of Lowestoft - can anyone confirm this ? K5 with 37575 which followed 38 late was changed at Lowestoft for 37567 and then several step down swaps took place. B10M 20107 began on Y7 but then graduated to Y9. Some sort of misfortune befell L11 which had 20118 running in its place from King's Lynn to Peterborough and back, seen at Walton Road, Lowestoft bound but still heading into Wisbech at 13.05 ! This would have meant it was about 15 late departing the Horsefair. L12 was not viewed, but this evening was 37156. K16 also had a B7 in the shape of 37160. 37158 meanwhile is stopped for an MOT.
K19, one of the premier Lynn B9 diagrams had the much more pleasant experience of 20500 today.
This evening Jamie R reported a very unusual and possibly unprecedented diversion, when X1s travelling from Peterborough were running from Weasenham Lane via Ramnoth Road past the Isle College to get to Norwich Road and back onto Churchill Road in Wisbech. He came in on K5 with 37567 about 12 late.

Monday 18th January 2010 ~ Just Another Day

The title of today's blog is dedicated to Paul McCartney, who when he couldn't come up with a more inspired title, wrote a song for 'Wings' with the above title !
Not that today was boring, in fact there was quite a variety of buses on the X1. Starting with coaches then and 20107 did K4, 9 late this morning and 3 late this evening and 20500 did K3. The other non- low floor service was K16 with Royale 34108. 37160 came back from Yarmouth as expected on Y9.
Absent B9s were 37565 at Full Circle and 37577 at (not yet confirmed) Volvo, Norwich. Timekeeping was pretty good today, 37570 on K5 this morning being the worst culprit when seen by Brucey 18 late.


Sunday 17th January 2010 ~ Stocktaking

Rob managed to catch 37156 on Friday whilst on the Wisbech diversion on Elm High Road. It was running a few minutes behind time to work the 13.56 to Lowestoft (Y13).
20501 stands at Peterborough rail station whilst working K3 on Saturday 16th. Photo : Robert Brooks

The X1 was an all B9 affair today, but this left King's Lynn garage with all the oddments. Viewed this evening in Vancouver Avenue were 20107, 20500, 37562 and 34108 with 37570 on pit 3 for an exam. For those of you thinking 'well where was 20501 ?' , I can add that it was viewed by Rob B on Peterborough - Ely rail replacement work.

Our correspondent at Yarmouth says that 37157 has been there since Friday, apparently it will return to Lowestoft when 60863 finally arrives back. 37160 also spent Sunday at Yarmouth.


Saturday 16th January 2010 : In The Lap Of Luxury

Jamie Robinson came over to Wisbech tonight on K5 and comments "Lovely to travel on 20500, the subdued lighting, heating that works and general ambience made the journey a pleasure rather than a chore". Not only that, but he had a choice of Paragons. Had he travelled an our earlier he could have chosen 20501 on K3. I should explain here that K3 and K5 are internal King's Lynn diagrams which finish there at 18.58 and 19.58 respectively. For the record, the other three turns which begin and end at Lynn are K15, K17 and K19. Of these K17 seems the preserve of 37562. It returned to its regular duty today incidentally, while 15 & 19 are solid King's Lynn B9 duties.
B7 37160 was unusually used on K1 today, a turn which finishes at Yarmouth. This is only the second time this month a Lynn B7 has been rostered for a coastal overnight, the other occasion was when 37159 did K2 on 6th.
Predictably 20107 came back to Lynn on Y7 today and certainly on weekdays now, K4 seems to work Y7 next day almost without exception. Another high floor vehicle which spent overnight at Yarmouth was 34108 and this worked Y10 today. B7 37156 returned to Lowestoft on K16, while L11 saw the return of B9 37568 after a weeks absence. Michael Bryant noted 60863 on locals in Lowestoft today and also 37577 heading up the A146 towards Norwich at 11.00 'not in service'. It would seem likely that it is visiting Volvo in Norwich for adblu attention. This has already been completed on 37570/9 and I expect this would also explain some of the brief absences by the Lowestoft B9s.


Friday 15th January 2010 ~ Reports from our Correspondents

Giving an idea of how murky the weather conditions were today, Andy James photographed 563 at Lynn before departure as the 10.02 to Lowestoft (that's AM not PM in case you were wondering !).
Andy says "I have included a picture of a Konectbus Leather seated Tempo on the str8 which is in competition with the X1, all the str8's I saw today had good loadings and seem popular".

The Beast departs Dereham for Lowestoft today. Photo : A James

Following yesterday's exploits of 37565 on the X2, today it returned to normal haunts on the X1 working L12. Unfortunately though it was involved in an accident with a lorry in Wisbech at lunchtime and it was later interned in King's Lynn garage for inspection. A call to the cavalry then and what else but 20501 should come to the rescue working the 14.02 Lynn to Lowestoft etc. Sister 20500 has had a couple of days off from Excel working while problems with a fuel pump gasket and its rear suspension have been sorted. As a result of this, B7 37160 was given a run out on K3 today, while 37562 was due for an exam, so instead of its regular duty, K17, it did K5 after servicing.
Last night B7 37157 failed to complete Y7 and instead B10M 20107 came back. Today 'The Beast' was on K4 , five late this morning and three late this evening. 37562 was possibly the most delayed bus of the day, it was 22 late past Bruce at Walpole at 10.27 going eastbound.
Y9 didn't appear to run over the western section this morning for some reason and Bruce reports a double load of passengers on L10 with 37573.
Andy James was out and about today and says " I had a trip out to Swaffham, Dereham, Norwich and Fakenham today, here are my X1 sightings"
Y9 0645 JPH-PBO 37570 seen OT at Swaffham (0907)
L10 0650 LOW-PBO 37573 seen OT at Swaffham (0937)
K1 0832 KLN-LOW 37563
K4 0835 PBO-LOW 20107 seen OT at Dereham (1107) 0902 KLN-LOW 37578
Y7 1005 PBO-LOW 37572 seen OT at Norwich (1320)
K1 1155 LOW-PBO 37563 seen OT at Norwich 1325

Well thanks for those Andy and for a Friday, amazing that everything was running on time.

Rob Brooks reports "An hours vigil at the top of Elm Low Road on the Wisbech diversionary route. Saw 37579 K16 1348 Wisbech - Peterborough at Weasenham Lane 1402
37158 Y13 1358 Wisbech - Lowestoft at Weasenham Lane 1407
37567 K14 1428 Wisbech - Lowestoft at Weasenham Lane 1431
37576 K17 1418 Wisbech - Peterborough at Weasenhame Lane 1436

Slight delays this afternoon then it would appear, but nothing untoward. 34108 did K18 today and late this evening, 37578 on K2 was appropriated to do the last part of K19 back to King's Lynn instead of 37577.


Thursday 14th January 2010 ~ X2 Bingo

Looks like all the snow has gone from Norwich bus station. Sam kindly sent this photo of 37565 during its rather foggy X2 wanderings today.

Royale 34108 leaves Peterborough rail station on the 11.05 to Lowestoft (Y9) today. Picture courtesy of Jamie Vendy

There was lots of excitement for our correspondents in the east of the region today when the X2 saw a Geminisation !! Quite unexpectedly, 37565 servicing completed worked the 08.03 Lowestoft - Norwich with Sam on board and to his surprise he then encountered Lynn's 37575 on the 09.08 from Norwich (07.08 ex Lowestoft). This event seems to have been brought about by excess B9s being present at Lowestoft. Michael Bryant adds that the two Elephants were out all day and Sam says they were due to complete their respective turns.

Elsewhere things were still unpredictable. Paragon 20501 did K3 for a second consecutive day - "Ahhhh luxury", says Rob Brooks, "just like the good old days". Part of the price to pay for the Geminis on the X2 though, was the use of 60863 on K16 and B7s 37156 on K18 and 37157 on Y7. Add to this 34108 on Y9 and the situation is not quite as straightforward. Grahame reports 37568 at Yarmouth with part of the front missing - it hasn't worked since Saturday and presumably will replace 60863 once repaired.

Wednesday 13th January 2010 ~ B7 Conundrum

Not sure exactly what is happening with the B7 Geminis, but Andy reports 37158-160 inclusive on King's Lynn locals today while 37156/7 were doing the X1, L11 and K4 to be precise. I'm sure the heating issue and general vehicle shortage at Lynn is to blame. 20501 was K3 today but 20500 was spared X1 use with its place being taken by the loaned 34108. Just when I thought it had gone, the bad penny, 60863 reappeared on L10. In fact I got stuck behind it this evening on L10 19.50 Lynn - Peterborough. Leaving the Pullover roundabout I could see it heading a stream of traffic, there being about five cars between me and it. We tottered along the A47 for a couple of miles at 50mph and on the next bend I looked and couldn't believe my eyes - there was no sign of 60863 whatsoever ! Next thing I could just make out its brake lights in the distance for Tilney roundabout, it having stormed along leaving the cars in its wake, that's what a 10 litre engine does for you !!

Once darkness had descended tonight the sleet which had been falling since mid afternoon turned readily to snow. On a trip to my GP's surgery I passed 37579 on K2 17.10 from Peterborough covered in snow and running 17 late. Bruce saw the complete timetable for me today - I was at Long Sutton again of which the only highlight was seeing (and hearing) Carnell's remaining Lynx on the Boston service negotiating the Market Place.

Bruce saw 37575 on K5 this morning, but for some reason - either late running or an ailment - it was replaced at Lowestoft by 37564. No sign of 20107 since last Thursday now and with 20106 now temporarily off the road, Hunstanton schools pupils are relying on 20105/18/21 to further their education.

Tuesday 12th January 2010 ~ X1 Blog Gone Missing !

The scene on Monday evening at King's Lynn with Gemini 37564 arriving as the 19.59 arrival from Lowestoft (L11) and overtaking the 19.58 arrival from Peterborough (K5) with 20501. Please don't enlarge this pic because it is very blurred !!

Yes, I know and apologies all round ! I'm going to blame Bruce because he has a photo of Paragon 20501 I've been waiting for.

Now then Tuesday, what happened ? Well firstly those lovely Paragons and today 20500 graced K3 with 20501 doing a solid Gemini turn, K19. It would seem that they are definitely being used in preference to the B7 Geminis which have a poor reputation for heating - very noticeable lately of course - and keeping time. That thorn in the side, 60863 was still about today. Lynn despatched it on K16 and with a bit of manipulation it was removed at Lowestoft and popped on to the X2. K15, the preceding service started with 37570 and on arrival at Lowestoft 570 was replaced by 37569. This then meant 37570 could replace 60863. I can only put this down to late running as obviously it would have been much quicker to just knock out 60863 with 37569.

Trident 32854 turned up at King's Lynn on Monday - rumours that it replaced a failed X1, however, I'd heard it arrived to assist on town work as there is a shortage of buses at the moment. Nevertheless, fuelling it turned out to be a nightmare, presumably due to a fuel theft device and this evening it was sent back and 34108 arrived as replacement.

On the Gemini front, 37567 was on L11 today having received a new hub meter - the previous one having been damaged I would think. According to the cab speedo, it has now done 142k miles. Something odd happened this evening. 37570 was heading east on K16 14.35 from Peterborough and 37565 going in the opposite direction on Y13 18.48 ex Lowestoft. The pair seem to have swapped turns at Gorleston JPH at just after 19.00 to enable 565 to get back to Lowestoft for servicing.


Monday 11th January 2010 ~ It Was Only A Matter Of Time...

Well who would have thought it ? Exactly 14 months to the day since the last appearance of a B12 Paragon coach on the X1, this morning a text came through from Rob Brooks stating "20501 09.56 Wisbech to Lowestoft".
20501 was used on K5 all day, possibly because 37159 was temporarily unavailable, but this wasn't the only surprise as Y13 which was expected to be 37568 turned up at Wisbech with Volvo B10BLE/Wright B41F, 60863. Now the last twice it has been out on Y13 it has run out of fuel late on, so today it was refuelled at Lynn just after departure on the 14.32 to Lowestoft.
Lowestoft supplied 37564 today in place of coach 20127 and they weren't short of power as B7 37156 was seen by Michael M on the 15.08 X2 to Norwich.
Further work on South Brink at Wisbech for strengthening flood defences meant that from today for a further two months, services are being diverted via the A1101 and then Weasenham Lane to regain the normal route near Wisbech Tesco on Cromwell Road. This, unfortunately for me, means my sightings will now be extremely limited for the aforementioned period and thanks to Rob & Bruce for filling in the gaps today.

Sunday 10th January 2010 ~ X1 and Friend

Steve Kirk photographed 37570 at Peterborough rail station this afternoon prior to it working the 13.10 to Lowestoft, but wait, what is that behind ? Why it's Paragon 20501 on a rail replacement duty ! Check out Steve's other pictures at

A fairly sedate day on the X1, but the Alexander bodied Royale 34108 put in one of its occasional appearances working the 08.30 Yarmouth - Peterborough and 12.10 return to Lowestoft. It was replaced here by 37569 which did the next stage of the duty, the 16.48 Lowestoft - Peterborough.

B9s out and about were 37563/7/9, 37570/2/4/5/6/8/9.

Saturday 9th January 2010 ~ Blizzards and Thaws

The weather played a few tricks today, overnight quite a blanket of snow fell west of King's Lynn and at 11.30 there were blizzard conditions momentarily. By this afternoon though, with the wind dropping and temperature rising to 2'c a steady thaw had set in. I didn't venture out until 14.30 when I saw 37566 on K14 and Royale 34108 heading for Peterborough on K18. Both were within about 5 minutes of time. Last night's disarray saw 20127 and 34108 both overnight at King's Lynn with 37563 and 37160 working the last two services to Lowestoft.
It is rare for a bus to have a regular daily diagram, but an attempt is being made to do this with loan vehicle 37562. It has worked, or at least started out working K17 on six out of the last seven occasions. This turn does the following services :
06.52 King's Lynn - Lowestoft
10.25 Lowestoft - Peterborough
15.05 Peterborough - Lowestoft
20.48 Lowestoft - King's Lynn

37562 was employed on this turn again today. B10M 20127 worked K16 which finishes as the 14.35 Peterborough - Lowestoft.


Friday 8th January 2010 ~ A Pat On The Back

Conditions early and late in the day have been very poor this week and this evening Yarmouth and Lowestoft local services were abandoned because roads had not been gritted. In this connection, I think we all owe a debt of gratitude to those who keep buses running and this is summed up nicely by Stuart Montgomery who writes this evening :
"Hello! In such conditions, unprecedented for years and years I'd like to say how absolutely superb our drivers of public service vehicles across the land are in negotiating such difficult situations day and night right now. It must create for greater stress at times, especially with dithering pedestrians and those drivers who just stop and park anywhere they think they'll get away with. I think our drivers, assistants and transport organisers are terrific I really do. Well done all".
Delays today were inevitable with some heavy snow showers on the route reducing the speed of vehicles. Sam advises that the 'First' website announced an hourly service west of King's Lynn yesterday. Today they were a bit more optimistic, saying the service was back to half hourly, but with delays of up to 30 minutes !
The pattern followed previous days and first service seen by me was as usual K2 07.35 from Peterborough which had 37570 running 12 minutes late. Next eastbound service was K3 with 37159, 25 late. I missed K4 but then the delays began to bite with 37160 on K5 passing me 32 late. Going towards Peterborough, Y6 and Y7 were within five minutes of each other with 37567 37 late and 37576 12 late. 576 passed me at 09.32 and there was then a gap of 57 minutes before 37563 turned up at Wisbech on L8 running 35 late. It was still 32 late when heading back to Lowestoft.
Y9 was seen by Bruce at Tilney at 10.20 with a certain lady driver (bl****e) and 20127 ! This bypassed Wisbech on the way back to make up time and then much to everyones surprise L10 12.26 Wisbech to Lowestoft arrived at 12.24 with 37572 enabling an on time departure. There was no bus seen for L11 and L12 looked as if it terminated at Wisbech, regaining its path as the 13.26 to Lowestoft with 37565. Of course with things in disarray it is quite possible that 37565 was L11 and the bus in the times of Y13 was in fact a late running L12 this being 37562 which departed Wisbech for Peterborough at 12.30 (so 42 late if L12 and 12 late if Y13 !).
The displacement caused by drivers arriving late into King's Lynn then being unable to resume their next duty until they had completed their break meant the service then ran when possible.

K14 : 37566 seen arriving at Wisbech eastbound at 15.08, so 48 late.

K15 : 37575 departed Wisbech for Peterborough at 14.28, 70 late

K16 : 37569 departed Wisbech westbound at 14.48 - on time for K18, but 60 late in reality.

K17 : 37573 departed Wisbech westbound at 15.52 - 4 late for K1, 94 late for K17 and after a gap of 64 minutes since the previous service.

K18 with 37157, K19 with 37577, K1 with 37579 and K2 with 37566 should have been next, but I was otherwise engaged. It is reasonable to assume that two, if not three of these failed to run west of Lynn.
On my way home I passed 37159 which should have been K3, now on K4 about 20 late.
At the Lowestoft end, late arrivals meant the old habit of missing a turn (or turns) unfolded. 37568 on K4 switched to K5, 37160 on K5 dropped down to L8, 37567 on Y6 also jumped to Y9 while somehow 37576 on Y7 managed to stick on its turn. The late running 37563 on L8 jumped to L12. 20127 went from Y9 to L10 and likewise 37572 from L10 to L11.

This evening was very interesting and although the roads were better than last night, the X1 went into emergency mode. L10 with 20127 missed its 19.50 departure to Peterborough and went empty to Wisbech to work L8 21.00 Wisbech to Lowestoft. L11 which terminates at Lynn on the 16.55 from Lowestoft then sat in the bus station for a while before being pressed into further action and departed Lynn at 20.37 to Wisbech in lieu of the 19.50 to Peterborough. It then worked the 22.00 Wisbech to Lynn (L10).
37563 on L12 arrived at Lynn at 20.42 but instead of working the 20.50 to Peterborough retired to the centre and the latter never ran. Meanwhile, Y6 19.05 from Peterborough arrived 49 late with Royale 34108 and this looked set to depart for Lowestoft at 21.22 (47 late). Just when I thought it was all over I passed 20127 and 37160 on the Pullover Road in convoy, both with X1 Lowestoft on the front at 21.24. It remains to be seen which of these will do the 21.35 to Lowestoft and also a mystery is why 20127 went empty to Wisbech and then travelled back to Lynn as a relief to 37160 !! Finally on the days observations, Y13 21.50 King's Lynn - Peterborough does not appear to have run which if the case, will mean the last departure from Peterborough tonight was 37160 at around 20.15.
20501 looked smart on Vancouver Avenue forecourt this evening having had its X22 vinyls removed.

Thursday 7th January 2010 ~ You Simply Never Know

After a couple of low floor days, today was more like old times, though some of this was down to disruption caused by snow and ice. Todays sightings cobbled together by Bruce and myself saw the following :
K2 37566 8 late on 07.30 ex Peterborough seen at Walpole Highway. It did not complete the turn this evening as it was in Vancouver Avenue at 20.00 when it should have been heading for Lowestoft.

K5 37572 32 late at Walpole on the 09.05 from Peterborough

Y6 37577 22 late at Walpole on the 05.50 from Yarmouth, then 27 late from Wisbech. It was then 33 late into Wisbech on the 09.35 from Peterborough.

Y7 Unknown vehicle into Lynn on the 06.10 from Yarmouth. The turn then departed to Peterborough with Scania 65531 which was 28 late from Wisbech and 24 late coming back. This was the first Lynn Scania appearance for quite sometime.

L8 not seen westbound but passed Bruce 30 late on the 10.35 ex Peterborough with 'The Beast' 20107 !

Y9 37573 32 late through Walpole on the 06.45 from Gorleston and late by the same margin into Wisbech on the 11.05 ex Peterborough

L10 37159 30 late at Walpole on the 07.05 from Gorleston and 20 late into Wisbech on the return, though strangely it omitted to call at the bus station and very swiftly did the stretch from Wisbech Town Bridge to Bruce's observatory in 9 minutes - probably because all the passengers were on 37573 just in front.

L11 37157 Due to late running took the A47 bypass from Tilney to the end of the Wisbech bypass and then returned on the booked route being only 3 late at Walpole

L12 Not seen in either direction

Y13 37564 2 minutes late westbound, right time eastbound.

At this point it looked like everything had righted itself, but things then got very confusing

K14 37563 49 late at Walpole westbound, 39 late into Wisbech eastbound

K15 37578 A whopping 85 late at Walpole westbound and 76 late returning from Peterborough on the 14.05.

So by now things were completely awry. At 15.18 37562 was seen passing my vantage point at Wisbech town bridge with 37579 20 seconds behind it. 562 it turned out was originally K17 but had now decided to become K16 ! It went directly from Lynn to Peterborough empty and was now on time as K16. 37579 behind it was K19 and this seems to have gone empty from Lynn with the intention of going to Peterborough, but realising that this would make the turn very late, the driver got to the end of the Wisbech bypass and then followed 562 in to the town. 579 then waited and departed at 15.56 as K17. The original vehicle on K16 (37575) and K18 with 37567 did not appear at all. K1 with 37569 due off Wisbech for Peterborough at 15.48 was almost 30 late. Some sort of normality resumed after this and K3 with 37160 was 12 late to Peterborough and 37576 on K4 just 3 late.
Because of the morning late running. K5 came back from Lowestoft with 37568 and Y6 then had 37572 (off K5). 37577 stepped up to Y7 and L8 was once again the beast, 20107 and was just 5 late into Wisbech to do the 21.00 to Lowestoft. L10 19.50 Lynn - Peterborough was 17 late and Y13 21.50 was unusually 19 late.
Conditions this evening were extremely icy and even the A47 had not been gritted here in the west by 20.30


Wednesday 6th January 2010 ~ A Bumpy Ride

B7 37158 has not been on the X1 this year yet and this is party because it has spent a couple of days in King's Lynn garage receiving attention to a bump it sustained on Tuesday at Ingoldisthorpe, caused I daresay by the icy conditions. Lynn actually sent out the other four B7s on the X1 today. I was in Long Sutton all day so had to rely on others for observations. Bruce says : 37563 was parked Sorry out of service on the verge in Cromwell Road, facing into Wisbech at 14.00 this afternoon - no passengers and looking very sorry for itself. But 37577 had just passed it, going the same way on Y13.
37579 had been returned to King's Lynn tonight and should be on the road again tomorrow, while 37574 is due for outstanding attention tomorrow. Snow today was worst in the morning rush hour around Wisbech. K2 was 15 late from Peterborough. Later Cheryl saw it, still on K2 but 25 late leaving Wisbech for Peterborough and 20 late coming back.


Tuesday January 5th 2010 : Creme Egg Shocker

A week earlier than last year, the Cadburys Creme Egg 2010 advertising campaign manifested itself on 37156, 37564 & 37569 today, proudly proclaiming 'Creme Egg Season is Here !'. This sort of thing on 12th night is guaranteed to get peoples backs up I would have thought.
The day began with heavy snow in the west, but this had cleared by about 10.30. 37576 on K4 08.40 from Peterborough was the badly affected and was 33 late into Wisbech. By this evening it was only 5 late however. Punctuality was hit and miss today, but generally delays were 10 minutes or less. Exceptions noted were Y6 09.35 from Peterborough with 37569 which was 15 late and K1 15.48 Wisbech - Peterborough with 37565 which was 28 late departing. Somewhere today it looks as though K18 overtook K19 and the original vehicle allocation of 37159 and 37577 became reversed with the B7 on K19.
John W was in touch and says : "Hi Gerard - and a good new year to you. Nice to see "Air Coach" 20500 sailing up Railway Road this pm. I assumed off to Hunst'on, but as I met her coming in at Gaywood 20 mins later, must have done a 42 or 43. Display read "SPECIAL" so gave little away. Other coaches about 20105/18/21....(about what I do not know)". 20500/1 were at Rowan Road tonight with 20501 having 'contract' in the destination box.
Sam says "After being subject to 40185 on the X2 this morning and seeing 40187 on X2 Out of service, things turned up for the better (slightly) 34108 working the 2nd turn of the day and THE BEAST working the 6:53/9:15/10:08 X2s. 40185 got stuck in an icy bus stop and 60306 was victim to ice also on what appeared to be the 9:08 from Norwich !"
37579 has gone from King's Lynn, presumably to Volvo for attention to its Adblu fault. Another low (yawn) floor day on the X1.


Monday 4th January 2010 ~ The Paragons Return

News from Sam and Andy today of the return to King's Lynn of 20500/1. The former had problems en route with frozen sensors and these have now been sorted. EABG reports 20102 as being back in Essex supporting the three Profiles, which are clearly still unreliable.
On the X1 it was a totally low floor day with 37156/7/9/60 making up the numbers. Once again 37579 did not appear and 37563 was taken off K18 at Lowestoft and replaced with 37156.
A new advertising campaign for Easy Jet was prominent and noticed on six different vehicles. The 19.50 King's Lynn - Peterborough and 21.05 return did not appear to run tonight, 37568 was on the turn, but a driver shortage is thought to have been responsible.


Sunday 3rd January 2010 ~ Wintry Apparitions

37569 leaves Walpole Highway today on the 12.08 to Peterborough.

The White Elephants look really funny in the snow, they glide along almost unnoticed. Today very few people travelling and very light traffic meant that although conditions were far from ideal, all services seen were B9s within 5 minutes of time. More snow is forecast from Tuesday including some 'heavy falls' towards the end of the week, so who knows, the B9s might disappear altogether !

Saturday January 2nd 2010 ~ Happy New Year !

As usual there were no services on New Year's Day, so today a full service resumed. In an almost shameless haste to get it off the route, 20107 was taken off K16 at Lowestoft on arrival with the 06.22 from King's Lynn. Its place was taken by something big and white (either 37565 or less likely, 37568). Michael Bryant reports that 20107 was then used on staff shuttles along with B7 37156. Tonight the latter was on L8, so may be 37565 and 37568 were both out today ?
34108 was having a change of scenery and was on the 99 to Kessingland.
At King's Lynn 37579 continues to be unavailable with an adblu problem, so a B7 deputised. All five were on the X1 today except 37158.
37562 was seen in a blizzard at Walton Highway this afternoon on K17 and has at last had its fleet number affixed to the front.