Search This Blog


Thursday 25th February 2010 ~ Preservation and all that

The King's Lynn Rowan Road compound clear out of withdrawn Olympians is now complete with 34923 having left last week. The only remaining oldie is 34876 which is rumoured to be heading for preservation - a good choice really as it has a new reconditioned engine and was only switched off because its MOT had expired. I think Richard would have liked to get it back on the road, but instructions have been received to leave well alone. B10M coaches 20106 and 20109 have now returned from Norwich, 106 has the front radiator grille missing, but 109 looks like it could be a runner and at least this would take 20500 off the Hunstanton schools runs.
On the X1 the Beast was K4, so should be Y7 tomorrow and 37568 on L12 was changed at Lowestoft for 34108. A fairly uneventful day and many thanks as ever to Bruce for watchtower observations after I was hastily sent to Long Sutton to cover a staff shortage.
Rob Brooks was on K16 with 37156 this afternoon "Funny" says Rob, "we were running late again, as always seems the case with B7s". He adds "The immigrant (37562) was back on K17". Yes it did it yesterday too after disgracing itself in Norwich on Tuesday following my glowing comments about it in Sunday's blog.
Cheryl tells me that her and husband Ian saw 107 yesterday on K16. He said "Ah it's a little X1 bus" to which she replied "No it's not it's THE BEAST" !

Wednesday 24th February 2010 ~ Quick Blog

After yesterday's mega blog, today a quickie blog. Disappointed to hear I missed a visit to Wisbech by DS yesterday (see comments), next time just come in and ask and we can have a chinwag and cuppa - not that I expect you will be stranded in downtown Wisbech very often ! In fact not sure Wisbech will get many visitors at all now following tonight's BBC1 documentary.
It would appear that there were zero swaps today which is refreshing. 34108's place was taken by B7 37156 but a full low floor day was thwarted by the dear old beast which performed faultlessly on L11. 34108 was seen , but on the 10.08 ex Lowestoft X2.
Gemini 37564 is absent again and it has now lost its highest mileage crown to King's Lynn's 37575.


Tuesday 23rd February 2010 ~ Right Royale Mess with pictures by Jamie Vendy....

11.35 this morning and all is well as 34108 (aka The BBBB) arrives at Lynn on Y13, complete with the St. Trinians cast. A new ad appeared today for Sky HD and is just visible on the vehicle on the right. 37568 & 37579 have been seen with this.
Moments after this picture of The Beast was taken by Jamie this lunchtime, the awaiting passengers seen on the right were involved in a frenzied fracas as they realised the importance of getting a prime seat on 107. Alright I made that bit up. This was K16 today and the healthy loading was due to K15 being cancelled (see below).

Just after 14.30 this afternoon and 37575 should have been working the 14.05 Peterborough - Lowestoft, instead though it was pinched for a crafty turn to Fairstead - the proof is here :+0

Last weeks use of King's Lynn Geminis on Lowestoft schools contracts has been counteracted this week. 34108 is seen here at about 16.00 on a service to that fine old destination 'Gaywood Park'. Reminds me of the LKDs on the 39B !

I like this photograph very much. It's 37570 on L8 20.09 Peterborough - Lowestoft seen in a sleet storm before departing from Peterborough Rail Station tonight. Well done Mr. V

There were some very odd things happening today, not least of which was the sighting on my way to work of Messrs A. James and J. Vendy observing operations at Wisbech Horsefair roundabout ! Of more concern to passengers was that the 10.15 & 12.45 services from King's Lynn to Peterborough were cancelled and the vehicles concerned, 37568 on L10 and 37575 on K15 retired to the centre of the bus station. It is thought driver shortage was the reason, but this needs confirmation. Bruce was tearing his hair out in the observatory.
K2 07.30 Peterborough - Lowestoft had 37577 removed at Lynn and looks to have been replaced by 20500, John W reports 20118, 20121 & 20500 as having done the early morning schools turns but later Jamie V saw 500 arriving from Lowestoft on K2. 37577 can't have been too poorly as it later relieved 37566 on L12 and went to Lowestoft at 13.32.
Y13 was worked by 34108 for the second day running, but once again it was removed at Lynn at 14.30 (see accompanying pictures). 37575 off K15 was spotted by John W and Jamie V on a fill in turn working a 42 to Fairstead before regaining its X1 duty at 15.32. This is very unusual.
Following my remarks about the reliability of 37562, today it was taken off K17 at Lynn instead of working the 16.32 to Lowestoft, however, this is most likely attributable to an incident at Eye Green which closed the A47 for a time this afternoon. I saw K18 departing Wisbech for Lowestoft 33 late at 16.59 with 37574 due to this delay. Later on 20500 was taken off K2 as this turn terminates at Lowestoft, so the upshot of all this is that K2 had a fresh vehicle from 18.32, Y13 likewise at 14.32 and K17 similar at 16.32. As for what was used, well 37566 was one of these as was 34108 and the other looks to have been B10M 20118 ! My guess and it is just that, is that Y13 got 37566, K17 20118 and K2 34108, but we will see ! The Beast was hard at work all day on K16 incidentally.

Monday February 22nd 2010 ~ Roaming Royale

Michael Bryant reports B7 37156 on the 12.08 & 15.08 X2 departures from Lowestoft today and also 37567 doing a Beccles school turn and then the 18.08 X2 from Norwich. Other X2 news saw the return to traffic of 34114, but 34112 has not been sen for at least a month now.

Back in X1 territory, there was some fun with 34108 today. It worked Y13 but was taken off at Lynn at 14.30 to do the 14.40 service 43 to Wootton Ride and then light to Hunstanton for a schools turn, before taking K18 forward to Lowestoft at 17.02. Thanks to Andy James for drawing my attention to this. K18 had started the day with 37157, but B10M Beast 20107 came back only to be removed for 34108 to take over. Y13 went forward at 14.32 to Lowestoft with Paragon 20500.
The first turn from Yarmouth, Y6 had 37566 removed at Lynn this morning, it is believed it sustained a puncture and whilst this was attended to, 37159 deputised to Peterborough and back. After this 159 was stopped for its MOT.
Punctuality was quite good today and the driver of K15 12.45 from Lynn was getting a move on and was seen 1 minute early at Walsoken. 37562 which had gone over to Lowestoft last night came back today on L11.


Sunday 21st February 2010 ~ 37562 - A Legend ?

The 09.48 Lowestoft - Peterborough is a chuck out from LFT and today 37575 was provided, having had a break on the X2 yesterday. Here it is passing through Walpole Highway with K.A. at the controls and uncharactaristically running over 15 minutes late.
It was getting dark at 17.09 tonight when 37566 came rushing by dead on time as the 13.48 from Lowestoft. Note the large font destination display recently acquired.

Whether Gemini 37562 has had a sheltered life - it almost certainly has had having only done 31 thousand miles since new when it arrived at King's Lynn last November - or whether the maintenance carried out on it by Volvo means it is super efficient, is unclear.
What is beyond doubt, however, is its reliability since its introduction on the X1. If it carries on at the rate it is setting itself at the moment, it could be a record breaker. It is also unique in another respect, in that it is, wherever possible, restricted to one diagram on Mondays to Saturdays, this being K17. Details below :
06.52 King's Lynn - Lowestoft
10.25 Lowestoft - Peterborough
15.05 Peterborough - Lowestoft
20.48 Lowestoft - King's Lynn (arr 23.44) Mon - Fri
19.48 Lowestoft - King's Lynn (arr 22.44) Sats

Sunday is generally a day off for 37562, but today 37563 was unwell at some point on either the 12.35 Lynn - Lowestoft or 19.50 King's Lynn - Peterborough. It was swapped for 562, meaning it will spend a rare night away at Lowestoft.
Services ran late for much of today. Noted behind time were 37575 17 late on the 13.08 Ex Walpole to Peterborough and 37576 10 late on the corresponding eastbound service. Bruce will be pleased to hear that 37568 retained its unenviable reputation for late running by being 21 late at Walton Highway on the 13.05 Peterborough - Lowestoft.


Saturday 20th February 2010 ~ Shopping and Spotting

Cheryl and Carol had a day out shopping in Norwich today. They travelled by car and used the park and ride, as the thought of the prolonged journey on a freezing B9 was not inviting. They did, however, send in reports of sightings by text ! 37567 seen at Necton on L8, 37564 at the Honingham turn on Y10 and 37573 on L11. 37563 was at Norwich bus station when they arrived working K18, indeed Cheryl sent me a nice picture of it on her phone, but my technological inadequacies mean I can't reproduce it here !
Michael Bryant phoned to say that 37575 was having a day out on the X2, but the X1 wasn't entirely B9 worked. In fact three consecutive turns had alternative power, K3 with 37160, K4 with 34108 and K5 with 20500. B7s 37156 & 37157 were also in action.


Friday 18th February 2010 ~ X1 Punishment

20500 departs Queensgate on the 16.05 Peterborough to Lowestoft, running around 15 late. Photo : Jamie Vendy.
Side detail on 20500 photographed by Jamie Vendy this afternoon

Peter travelled from Wisbech to Norwich on 37573 yesterday and says " Two and a half hours freezing my n*ts off while we went round Toftwood etc etc". Undaunted however, today he took 37567 on Y6 to Peterborough en route to Derby and came back this evening on K3 17.40 on which he had 37160. "The seats are c##p but at least it was warm" says Peter ."....and just for further entertainment the driver diverted through Eye village to avoid traffic congestion, but then got pelted by snowballs by the local yobbery". Ah well, you can't have it all I suppose.
Timekeeping was not quite as dire as yesterday, but 37563 on L12 was 25 late at Walpole on the 12.35 from Peterborough. Tonight 37156 had taken its place. Afternoon services seemed to be running about 20 minutes late on average, but K15 12.45 King's Lynn to Peterborough had a very keen driver in charge of 37570 and whilst being 10 late going west, returned only 3 late when seen thrashing through Walton Highway.
There were some swaps today, 37579 and 34108 arrived at Lynn on L10 and Y13 and were replaced by 37577 and 37156, the latter seems to have terminated at Yarmouth in order for it to become L12 - see above.
The X2 went all functional again today, MB seeing 37573 on the 13.38 Lowestoft to Norwich and then 37566 on the 14.38 !
37159 is due for MOT next week and was off the road for repairs today. Jamie V was highly delighted to capture 20500 on film this afternoon when it came in to Peterborough on K19, this was the first Paragon appearance on this turn since 5th.

Thursday February 18th 2010 ~ Tricky Beast

Comparison of fleet number sizes between 37578 and 37565 shows the smaller font now affixed to 578 after slight accident damage repairs.

As expected, 'The Beast' was on Y6 this morning. It was a few minutes behind me in the dense fog we experienced here this morning, however, it took the alternative route via the Wisbech eastern bypass and Churchill Road to arrive at the bus station just in front of me ! Clever move by its driver who was able to depart close to the scheduled time of 08.48. With Geminis spare at Lowestoft, it was predictable that 107 would come off this duty and sure enough 37156 took over. This B7 had been out on the X2 during the morning on the 10.08 ex Lowestoft incidentally and a B9 was on the route too with Michael B reporting an appearance by 37569 on the 12.08.
I was sent to our South Lincs branch this morning and Bruce kindly monitored events for me. Both K4 and K5, the 08.35 and 09.05 from Peterborough were 24 minutes late at Walpole Highway with Geminis 37566 & 37574 and punctuality in the early/mid afternoon was pretty awful too, noted were K14 with 37564 on the 13.35 ex Peterborough 26 late and K15 scooting down the bypass with 37577 about 14 late - no doubt routed this way because 37564 had picked up all its passengers. 37573 was only 8 late going to Peterborough on K16, but this had increased to a 28 minute defecit on its return. Later K1 with 37567 passed Bruce 17 late on its way west.
There was some quite heavy snowfall in the west after dusk and Peterborough was worst affected. X1 delays resulting saw 37574 on K5 arriving at King's Lynn garage minus passengers at 20.35 (around 40 late). 37156 on Y6 was about 20 late arriving, but any through passengers were bowled as 37579 was pinched off Y9 terminator and left for Lowestoft on time at 20.35 !
Other items of note were Paragon 20500 doing K3 for a third consecutive day and Royale 34108 working K18 on which it was 43 late heading for Peterborough this afternoon. K19 with 37572 being a mere 4 minutes behind it and of course with very few passengers.

K15 had a couple of vehicle swaps today, 37577 was taken off it for servicing and 37158 looks to have gone forward at 15.32 to Lowestoft, however, 37565 then replaced this at Lowestoft.
Loan vehicle 37562 has worked K17 every day now since last Friday, 12th (Sunday excepted of course, when it worked Sunday turn K7).


Wednesday February 17th 2010 ~ A Bad Day

There seemed to be delays in all quarters today. The hold ups on Lynn Road in Wisbech are due to temporary traffic lights outside Kwik Fit where apparently part of the road has collapsed. It was lunchtime when things fell apart. From Peterborough, 37567 was just 14 late through Walpole on L11.
Later 37563 went east at 14.09, about 3 late but the next eastbound service seen by Bruce was 37574 on K15 (37569 on K14 disappeared completely) at 15.32, followed closely at 15.42 by 37575 on K16. 26 and 6 late respectively. K16 had started the day with 37156, but this was changed for 575 at Lowestoft.
Y7 should have been 37565, but this evening 34108 arrived at Lynn on this turn. 20107 meanwhile continued to do its Gemini impression on K1 and 20500 was out for a second consecutive day on K3. Today's treat (?) on the X2 was 37578 which did an early morning turn as well as the 10.38 and 13.38 from Lowestoft.

Tuesday February 16th 2010 ~ Timetable Woes

The timetable was a bit of a mess today, at its worst, 20107 was seen running 41 late on L12 12.35 from Peterborough by Bruce at Terrington. The following service, Y13 with 37156 was itself 20 late but not far behind 107. This evening 20107 was just 3 late at Terrington on the 21.05 to Peterborough - surely it must have run out of service to regain this much time, beast though it is. 37156 on the other hand had barely regained any time on Y13 (about 5 minutes in fact).
B7s 37159/160 had gearbox seals renewed today - a consequence of strenuous work perhaps. 37157 was most unusually on L8, the longest diagram and possibly because it was short of fuel was swapped after departing Lynn for Lowestoft at 21.35, presumably at Vancouver Avenue. 37572 was the replacement.
Michael reports 37564 as the latest Gemini on the X2, noted on the 14.08 Lowestoft - Norwich today, a turn which was worked by 20107 yesterday. 37567 on Y6 was swapped at Lowestoft for 37566 which Rob B had the pleasure of tonight with possibly the slowest ever driver on the section from Wisbech to Guyhirn (40mph max).


Monday February 15th 2010 ~ More Wisbech Wobbles

There appeared to be some kind of blockage, presumably roadworks (may be filling in potholes ??) on Lynn Road in Wisbech today and by the time Bruce saw K14 with 37569, services were running via the Elm Road roundabout and the A1101 to avoid the delay.
That said, some services were already running late from the east and 37562 on K17 (what else ?) was 17 late passing Bruce at 14.20. Y13 heading east at the same time was 18 late with 37575.
I saw 37156 at the South Gates running around 20 late on K18 heading into Lynn and by the time I reached Walpole K19 had not been passed and was already 20 late. Earlier in the day Rob Brooks reports 37568 17 late on L11 11.18 Wisbech - Peterborough and Y13 as reported above 18 late. but this time westbound.
Y6 19.10 from Peterborough was 12 late into Lynn tonight to work the 20.35 to Lowestoft with 37576. One of our regular correspondents spotted 20107 lurking spare in Lowestoft bus station this morning, but with X2 on the blinds.

Sunday February 14th 2010 ~ Early Finish

The two evening services I saw heading east through Walpole Highway were running before time. The 20.10 to Lowestoft with 37575 was 2 ahead of schedule and an hour later 37563 was 4 early. Noteworthy today was 37575 clocking up 150,000 miles and overtaking the Lowestoft examples to reach this milestone (or should that be millstone !) first.
Could be fun this coming week with 20123's MOT expiring and 37160 due for MOT treatment also.
We've mentioned early running, but the only late service seen today was the 13.00 Wisbech - Lowestoft with B7 37156, just 5 late, but later this had increased to 9 late on the 19.50 King's Lynn - Peterborough.


Saturday February 13th 2010 ~ Beware The Beast

The sun shines on 37568 on the 11.55 from Lowestoft (K1) seen passing Walpole this afternoon.
Under overcast skies 37157 leaves Walton Highway about 5 minutes late on K16 09.55 Lowestoft to Peterborough. It still carries a 'Paranormal Activity' advert from last November.
Just when I thought a complete week had gone by without our favourite B10M appearing on the X1, tonight I was proved wrong when at just before 20.30 I met 20107 at the South Gates working the 19.10 Peterborough - Lowestoft (Y6). Whether it had been on the turn all day is debatable, but I think Bruce would have noticed if it had worked in the morning.

There were some other unexplained things today too. K1 had 37564 to begin the day but 37568 came back from Lowestoft on this turn. 568 had started the day on K18, so what Lowestoft found to work forward on K18 remains a mystery, possibly 34108 as this seems to be about the only candidate. 37156 should have been involved somewhere - possibly it did the morning part of Y6, but it was not reported by anyone. 37157/9/60 were out on the X1 though.
The X2 was more interesting today, with 34921 continuing its exploits on the 12.38 Lowestoft - Norwich. Once again 37579 was also on this route.

Friday 12th February 2010 ~ Olympian To The Rescue !

Olympian 34921 seen outside Vancouver Avenue in July last year after a repaint there and before it was transferred to Yarmouth garage.

Punctuality seemed to be fairly good today considering it was a Friday. Four B7 Geminis were in action today to ensure a full low floor day again (or so we thought). 37156 was K18, 37157 L11, 37159 K5 and 37160 K3.

Michael Bryant noted 'The Beast' lurking spare in Lowestoft bus station, but it didn't get out on the X1, possibly because of services running to time. The X2 had the dubious honour of 37579 working the 12.38 from Lowestoft. There was one swap on the X1 in the afternoon when K19 had 37578 changed for 37576 at King's Lynn.

So all in all a rather unremarkable day, that was until 37567 expired, believed to have been at Yarmouth on K16. Syd reports that instead of cancelling the service, the last surviving Leyland Olympian 34921 (G121YEV) was provided as replacement to take passengers forward to Gorleston at 18.40 !!


Thursday February 11th 2010 ~ When It All Goes Right

Nick Youngman has taken advantage of some rare winter sunshine to record these pictures for us. Here is 37570 heading for Peterborough on K18 today, seen near West Bilney
37156 seems determined to become the most photographed X1 bus this year ! Nick's photo shows it working Y13 13.05 from Peterborough today near Swaffham.
37572 departs from the Hardwick stop this afternoon while working K15 14.05 Peterborough - Lowestoft with one of our favourite drivers. Photo : N Youngman

37578 is now back in traffic with a much smaller front fleet number. Nick photographed it in action on K19 today on the course of the old railway line near Wendling.
As you probably know if you read this blog regularly, there are now 19 diagrams on the X1 Monday to Saturday. This means that if the 17 Geminis are available (and for this purpose I include 37562 as a direct replacement for 37571), then just two other vehicles have to be found. With 37156-160 in theory being available too, there should seldom be a problem covering the booked turns.
Of course, scheduled maintenance, MOTs and out of course repairs mean that it is quite uncommon to see a day where all seventeen B9s are in service, however, that not inconsiderable achievement was accomplished today. The two other turns which were not B9 worked were Y13 with 37156 and K3 with 37159. This left 37157 at Lowestoft and 37158/160 at Lynn for local work and today was noteworthy in that 37160 started the day on the 44s to North Lynn, a service normally worked by a Dart and one which has some tight clearances. Being an old fool though, I can remember the days of LKDs on the 38 & 38a - anyway I digress.
The Hunstanton school buses today were 20118/121/123. Ironically with 20123 just returning to service this week, it is due an MOT next week. Paragon 20500 which had been at Lowestoft for rail replacement duties returned to King's Lynn today after it sprang a water leak. Royale 34108 was out on the X2 today, but for once 20107 was not noted. 20104/5, both withdrawn at Rowan Road compound were moved within its confines today and within a week, the massed ranks of withdrawn Olympians here has dwindled to just four, the remainder being sent for scrap. The quartet remaining are believed to be blocked in by Christmas fire victim 30902 which is still on jacks.


Wednesday February 10th 2010 ~ Shelter From The Snow

37567 photographed by James Race at Bernard Matthews this afternoon. Its partner from Lowestoft was a Royale on this occasion.
Icy winds today brought some heavy snow showers bringing shortlived traffic congestion to various parts of the A47. This was probably why Bruce's report features a few no shows and much late running. He says : "What a trial of a day it turned out to be :

K1 37579 14 late at 15.48
K2 was 21 late at 16.25 with perpetually late 568
K3 37578 23 late at 16.57
K4 hadn't showed up by 17.20, due 17.04
K5 a White Elephant at 08.23
Y6 avoided me
Y7 37566 near enough on time at 11.07
L8 either ran early or didn't come through Walpole Highway
Y9 37570 on time at 10.04 and 7 late at 12.11
L10 37573 1 early at 12.33
L11 37572 4 late at 13.08
L12 37159 12 late at 11.46 and very late on its return
Y13 Didn't pass my house between 11.34 and 12.35, due 12.04, but only 2 late at 14.06 with 37564
K14 37577 1 late at 12.35
K15 37574 8 late at 13.12
K16 37157 6 late at 13.40 and 7 late at 15.41
K17 37576 22 late at 14.26 and 24 late at 16.28
K18 a total mystery - not seen at 14.34 and not seen between K17 and K19 on the way back
K19 37563 15 late at 15.19 and only 9 late at 17.13

So 5 evaded me and I bet they were the interesting ones".

Well as it happened Bruce observers elsewhere confirm the opposite and it looks like it was a totally low floor day.

Of the missing turns, Jamie R travelled on a freezing 37575 on K5 tonight running 18 late from Peterborough while Y6 behind it with 37577 was 13 late leaving Wisbech on the 20.00 to Lowestoft. K4 was 37569, L8 had 37562 which was swapped at Lynn tonight for 37566 which had come in on the preceding service, Y7.

K18 continued its current trend for B7 operation with 37156, but whether this was cancelled over the western section or ran via the A47 bypass is unclear. It would have been a shame if the latter option was the case as a new bus shelter and seat was installed at the Walton Highway 'Highwayman' stop today for passengers heading to Wisbech and Peterborough !

What was unusual was the fact that heavy delays continued into the late evening with the 20.50 King's Lynn - Peterborough (37159) running 40 late at Walpole and the following final westbound service Y13 being 13 late with 37564 which was revived today after a few days off the road at Yarmouth.

B10M 20107 was again on the X2 today being seen by Sam on the 08.03 from Lowestoft, while 37567 needed servicing and then did one of the BM contracts, see picture above.


Tuesday 9th February 2010 ~ Six of the Best ?

Colin takes 20123 down to the bus station at King's Lynn today to resume its schools work after a six month period out of traffic. Picture courtesey N. Youngman
37563 heading out of Lynn today on L8 bound for Lowestoft. Photo : Nick Youngman

A final shot from Nick today, this nice capture of B7 37156 heading through the South Gates into the town on L12.

There were six different types of vehicle in use on the X1 today. In addition to the usual B7 & B9 Geminis, the following were noted. Paragon 20501 was working K3, but as both this and 20500 were required at Norwich for rail replacement duties, 501 was taken off just after 16.00 and the 16.15 Lynn - Peterborough and return was taken by 20118. Other oddities were Royale 34108 on K18 and Volvo B10 general purpose vehicle 60863 on K16. Elsewhere, Sam saw 20107 still plying its trade on the X2 on what looked like the 09.08 from Norwich, but the talking point in the east was 37562 working a Beccles school turn and then the 17.28 X2 from Norwich. 562 had remained at Lowestoft last night and the last stage of K17 was worked by 37577 off K16.
There was a welcome return to service on King's Lynn schools work for B10M 20123 after a six month absence. See picture above. How long before we see it on an X1 I wonder ?
Gemini 37564 remained out of service at Yarmouth today reported by Grahame and A.N. Other.
37578 returned to King's Lynn from damage repairs at Full Circle today and it is now bearing a small fleet number on the front making it easy to recognise.
Delays resulted in changes being made to turns at Lowestoft today viz : K1 37573 / 37570 ; K2 37568 / 37573 ; K5 37159 / 37568 ; L8 37563 / 37566 ; Y9 37157 / 37563 ; L10 ? / 37157.
Timekeeping was hit and miss today. 37577 was no less than 32 late on K17 15.05 from Peterborough. 37157 was also delayed being 26 late on Y9 this morning.


Monday 8th February 2010 ~ X1 Turkeys

These two photographs are reproduced with the kind permission of James Race and show the Bernard Matthews contract vehicles at the factory this afternoon. Unusually both 37566 and 37156 were used along with Olympians supplied by Yarmouth garage.

Today the main focus of interest was in the East again. 20127 which had been expected to appear out of Yarmouth was replaced by 60863 which did Y13. Meanwhile, Lowestoft produced 'The Beast' which was seen by Sam on what was thought to be the 08.38 X2 from Norwich. Later in the morning 37156 was noted with the 11.38 from Norwich. Surprising then, that L10 was provided with 34108. Later this afternoon there was more fun with X1 buses off route (see James Race's pictures above). Thanks also to Syd for his help here.

Late running was again a feature today with buses tending to lose around 15 minutes during the middle of the day. 37567 was worst offender being 14 late on L11 to Peterborough and 35 late returning. it had however recovered most of this tonight and was only 10 late into King's Lynn.

Paragon 20501 was active today on K3, while there is an unconfirmed report that the other spare Paragon is standing in for a B10M on Hunstanton schools contracts. 20118 & 20121 are the other two coaches rostered.

Sunday 7th February 2010 ~ Ten Out of Ten

There are ten turns on Sundays and today, all these were B9 operated. The B7s were located as follows today : 37156 Lowestoft, 37157 - 160 King's Lynn. 37562/575 were spare at Lynn, while Lowestoft had 37566/8/9 spare. 37564 has not been out since Friday morning and may well be at Yarmouth.

Saturday 6th February 2010 ~ Mini Blog

Thanks to Bruce and FEC staff for providing the basis of a blog today. Only one turn remains uncertain, this is Y7 which was certainly 20107 this morning when seen by Bruce, but which is believed to have changed buses at Lowestoft for 37563. The full tally for the day is :
K1 20127, K2 37576 (thanks to Tony for this one), K3 20501, K4 37577, K5 37160
Y6 37569, Y7 20107 (see above), L8 37573, L9 37579, Y10 37157, L11 37565, L12 37572, Y13 37575
K14 37566, K15 37570, K16 37156, K17 37562, K18 37567, K19 37574.


Friday 5th February 2010 ~ Heated Debate

Rob Brooks writes "Re- the B9 Fridge Factor. I'm not sure these have heating in place, but at the back there's some funny little vents that seem to allways be expelling warm air, and the heat from the engine (if your on a B9 that's been in service all day) make the back of the bus the warmest place, except for the drivers area, of course". The current mild spell with heady temperatures of 6 and 7 degrees is forecast to end on Monday when freezing weather returns.

The imbalance of B9s was evident again today with Lowestoft keeping 37572/9 locally. 572 was seen by Michael B on a turn which is normally a single decker, the 13.08 Lowestoft - Norwich X2. Meanwhile, the two Lowestoft B7s were out on the X1 again with 37156 working Y9 (thanks to EastLondoner for this report) and 37157 being K18.
It was like old times tonight with Paragon 20501 on K19 following me out of Wisbech about 9 late. The driver was certainly taking advantage of the high powered monster and kept with me doing 68 down the dual carriageway to Terrington St. John. Near Walsoken we passed 'Beast' 20107 heading for Peterborough on K4.
There was a surprise this evening when Y7 arrived at King's Lynn with B10M 20127 instead of 37564 which had been on the turn during the morning.
Another subtle change noted today was that 37566 & 37573 have both had their destination font changed to the large variety over the past few days. 37562/3/5/6/7, 37573/4/5/6/8 now have this type and 37564/8/9, 37570/2/7/9 the narrower font.
Bruce reports 37562, as usual on K17 this teatime, but running almost 30 late heading for Lowestoft. Generally though it has been a good week for punctuality.
I'm off on a visit to Batemans brewery tomorrow, so you may have to wait until Sunday for the next update. Sightings as ever are welcomed.

Thursday 4th February 2010 ~ X2 Headlines

20105 in happier times, seen last July passing the observatory.

Once again today, Lowestoft started the day with an embarrassment of elephants. This meant 37563/5/7/9 were used on the X1, while 37579 did the 10.38 X2 to Norwich. This entailed 579 doing a schools turn to Beccles High School, where afternoon pupils have three First double deckers to take them home. They must have been surprised when one of the others turned up with 37566 and this later did the 18.08 Norwich to Lowestoft.
The Beast carried on its good work on the X1 today, working Y7 as expected. Gemini 37578 has retired to Full Circle for bodywork repairs and speaking of retirements, today saw the final use of 20105. It did its Hunstanton schools work and had a last fling out on Service 40 before being taken out of traffic tonight as its MOT has expired. Paragon 20501 was let loose on K19 today and B7s 37156/7/60 were all on X1 duties. 37156 failed to appear on K18 this afternoon says Bruce, so may have been running very late.


Wednesday February 3rd 2010 ~ The Gospel According to Bruce

Now I think Bruce had imbibed a few Bacardi & Cokes tonight, can't say I blame him as it has been quite an exciting week on other counts in the Billingham household, however can I suggest that those in a position of authority who might read this, just have a chuckle like I did !

Here beginneth the lesson:-
In the beginning was the Blog. And the Blog was of great fascination to those in Aberdeen and other far off climes, but not at all popular in Head Office, Norwich, and parts of Yarmouth apparently. So the Blogmeister had his X1s taken away till March. Further punishment was then inflicted on him and he was incarcerated in Long Sutton where the only buses are Green and belong to the tribes of Norfolk.
However the eyes at the Highway were as ever vigilant to note that the good Lord Richard said it shall be low floor today. But first he must rid himself of the Beast, the number of the wicked Beast being 107! And his reward shall be two reliable Paragons for, even now, they are home in the kingdom of Rowan (Road)

Thus it came to pass:-

K1 37572 7 late at 15.41
K2 37579
K3 37159
K4 The BEAST 8 late at 09.42 but 2 late at Guyhirn this evening
K5 37574
Y6 37567
Y7 37564
L8 The perpetually late 568 10 late at 10.44
Y9 37578
L10 37577
L11 37576
L12 37156
Y13 37160
K14 37569
K15 37573
K16 37566 19 late at 13.53 but only 7 late at 15.41
K17 The Mancunian 13 late at 14.17
K18 37157 10 late at 14.44
K19 a B9 that slipped past me on time while I was recording K15!!!

Thus the sinners shall be deemed to be 37563,37565, 37570 and 37575 who were cast out into the wilderness (or Bernard Matthews if closer)

Here endeth the lesson.

Now I think i've just about stopped laughing and can add that for the uninitiated, 'The Mancunian' refers to 37562 while 37575 was the bus which Bruce missed on K19. Of the others 37565 was viewed by Michael B at Lowestoft garage and 37570 was having a service at King's Lynn. 37563 ? Well who knows, it seems to become more elusive. 37156 took its place on L12 today, meanwhile K18 seems now to be booked for a B7 and this returns next day on Y13. Yarmouth have also decreed that K1 should come back next day on Y6, K4 does Y7 and L8 does Y9. Wonder how long this will last ? 34108 was viewed in use on the X2 today and the mileage on Gemini 37564 (the most travelled of the B9s) now stands at nearly 148k.

Tuesday 2nd February 2010 ~ Group Participation.

37577 was pictured by Jamie Vendy heading for Peterborough rail station on K16 09.55 from Lowestoft today
37157 with new 'Lighting Thief' advert seen on Y13 at Peterborough this lunchtime. [ J. Vendy

Reports were coming thick and fast from our regular correspondents today. Bruce did a morning vigil at the observatory in Walpole Highway, Jamie V spent much of the afternoon in Peterborough, Michael B was about in Beccles and Peter, Sam and the man who I'm not allowed to mention were all frantically phoning and texting to provide an accurate report on today's proceedings.
37563 was due for maintenance and instead L10 ran all day with 'The Beast'. 563 did, however, get an outing on the 11.08 Lowestoft - Norwich X2. Sam reports that 37156 also put in an X2 appearance, but it was swapped before continuing with the next stage of the diagram which involved Bernard Matthews Contract no. 3.
B7s out today were 37157 on Y13, 37159 on K3 and 37160 on K18 which ends at Yarmouth. Peter was on board Y6 this morning from Wisbech to Peterborough with 37565 and it ran via the A1101, Elm Road and Weasenham Lane rather than the Bypass. "We were on time from Wisbech, but 12 late into the railway station, so it departed immediately" says P. Jamie V's first sighting was 37157 on Y13 which departed Queensgate 3 early and from Bay 18. Both 37570 (K15) and 37562 (K17) missed the stop off point at Queensgate Bay 10 and proceeded directly to the rail station to keep time. This makes a change from missing the rail station altogether which often gets reported.

Monday 1st February 2010 ~ The Lightning Thief

The man who plasters adverts over the buses had a busy Sunday with various X1 route vehicles appearing today adorned with new hoardings. There are two new offside dropdown ads for yet another Harry Potter sequel, 'The Lightning Thief' seen today worn by 37564 & 37579, plus an ad for BT Winter Offers noted on 37562/7, 37572/3 & 37159. Of these 37572 had somehow evaded the ad fitters for some considerable time as it was still showing a Kenco Coffee ad new on October 6th !
37578 had to have a new window fitted today, but found useful employment this evening when seen on Y6 17.45 Lynn - Peterborough on which it had replaced 37572. An earlier unconfirmed report had cited 37572 on the 13.38 Lowestoft - Norwich X2, but this was erroneous and it is believed to have been 37569. The venerable 20107 was also given a run out on the X2 today, being seen on the 14.08 ex Lowestoft. Another vehicle often used on the X1 is B7 37158 which our man on the spot reports as being used on the King's Lynn Park High School Contract 3 this afternoon.
Back on the X1, non-standard power was supplied for K19 : 20500, K5 : 20501 & K16 34108. B7s represented were 37157 and 37159 which worked K18 & K3.
The Churchill Road dual carrageway in Wisbech reopened to through traffic today and services seemed to run more punctually as a result.


Sunday 31st January 2010 ~ A Day Off

Spot the difference ? Apart from the number, no neither can I ! The Easy Jet advert is on most B9s currently. The weather was too good to ignore, so I attempted some different settings on my camera with mixed results. The top photo of 37576 on the 09.30 Yarmouth - Peterborough was half decent with reg plate almost in focus, which is more than can be said for the lower picture with 37563 working the 12.48 from Lowestoft. Both shots were taken through the car windscreen, so I suppose I should be pleased.

I had a day off from X1 spotting today - well it was my birthday, so a little relaxation was in order ! Yesterday I commented on the unusual use of 20107 when three Geminis were at Lowestoft. This was rectified half way through the turn when 37563 took the Beasts place.

Today was a low floor service, but unusual in that 37562, 37156 & 37157 were all in use. B7s are uncommon on Sundays and 37562 is normally given a day off so that it is in position for Monday's K17. Because of this 37566/8/70 were rested.