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Tuesday 28th September 2010 ~ Well I Never

I'm sure I must have used that headline before, but never mind. Des travelled from Yarmouth to Lynn by X1 this morning en route to a day out on the South Coast. He says "Just the four of us on 37576 working the 05.50 Yarmouth - Peterborough (Y6).
1- The lady who boards at Yarmouth and works in Chapelfields and always runs from bus in Norwich (she starts at 06:30!) ~ Monthly pass.
2- The Lady who boards in Acle, to Norwich ~ Annual pass.
3 - Me, going to K/L for the 08:59 train to London ~ Staff travel pass.
4 - The driver, going to K/L ~ Staff travel pass.
Four other passengers boarded in Norwich and incidentally from Sun 26/09/10, X1 now stops at The Showground, an old X94 stop, and Eaton Road in Norwich. We've just passed Eaton Road and the bus shelters now say 'Newmarket Road Interchange' in large letters. A quick Google of 'Eaton Road Interchange' reveals all? For Gerard's records we pass :
K14 37567 - On time, exiting Hockering.

K15 37574 - On time, Dereham market
K16 37568 - 07:15, entering Hillcrest Ave Dereham.
K17 37571 ~ 07:30, Swaff Mac D's roundabout
K18 37578 ~ 07:48, West Bilney church.
K19 37570 ~ On time exiting K/L bus station.
K1 37565 ~ On time.

Thanks to Des for that and he actually made the move pf perfect balance by using the 20.35 Lynn to Lowestoft later on which is Y6, still with 37576 !
I notice that the X1 timetable has completely disappeared from the First website at the moment. Radio Norfolk made a great fuss about the new timetables in operation in Norwich yesterday - mainly caused by the public's inability to understand the words 'new' and 'timetable' by all accounts. The Eastern Daily Press on the other hand made no mention of the confusion - well not in the Fenland edition anyway. Still it would be good if the X1 service could be reinstated to the website I would have thought ?
Back to today and L8 10.35 from Peterborough with 37573 took the signposted diversion around the Wisbech roadworks today traversing Town Bridge and Freedom Bridge. It was another good day for punctuality with only 37570 on the peaktime K19 being seen out of path departing Wisbech 14 late eastbound at 17.10.
Bruce had to go to Lynn hospital this afternoon and enjoyed (?) 37158 on L11 and 37572 on K5, but, he was very excited on departing Lynn at 17.15 when viewing outside Vancouver Avenue B10M coach 20121 which had been sent over from Yarmouth - apparently for X1 use tomorrow. I think this could have something to do with some Lynn elephants requiring Tacho and fuel gauge adjustments. So just when we thought 121 had done its last X1, turns out we could be wrong.

There goes that cold coach again ! The Beast leaves Wisbech on the 13.56 to Lowestoft today.
 Royale 34108 was parked in Vancouver Avenue this evening after arrival on Y9 which it worked all day, it was alongside 20121 which already has X1 on the numerical blinds, although it needs a destination roll fitting. 20107 was due to join them in the early hours if it continues working Y13.

Monday September 27th 2010 ~ Aqueous Urea Solution 32.5% !

Today's blog title refers to the composition of that strange mixture known as Adblue (or Adblu). Not only do buses now have to have enough fuel, but also sufficient Adblu to reduce exhaust emissions. 37563 was today oddly used on K3 and with 37576/7 on K1 and K2 this would suggest a problem with 563. As luck would have it, our spy in the cab reports : "Urea and rainwater just don't mix !!!! Whenever there is a lot of surface water, the Adblue system plays up.

37563 had only operated from Lynn to P'boro to Norwich (where this snap was taken) and the Adblue tank apparently already needed filling! (It didn't really, the sensor gets wet and falsely reports). On this occasion I didn't have engine derate, but on many other occasions I have".
 I suppose the elephants are getting rather old now aren't they ! I mean 209 thousand miles is a lot in less than two years. I did ask a chap when the Adblue system was installed exactly what it was, to which he replied "It's P*ss isn't it ?". Now he was almost right as Urea is indeed found in urine, although in this case it is artificially produced - thank goodness.
37563 was later seen on K3 16.48 Wisbech to Peterborough none the worse for its error message running just 6 late and this was again on a day where punctuality was commendable.
37157 and 37566 were both off the route today and very unusually 'The Beast' was turned out on L8 - normally a solid B9 turn. This diagram finishes at Great Yarmouth and so does K4 which today was 20126. 37579 was at last released back onto the X1 operating Y13 as far as Lynn where it was promptly removed for MOT preparation. Its replacement was 37160.

In my haste to produce yesterday's blog I omitted to extend my sincere thanks to Andy James for arranging our journey to Showbus with Norfolk Green. It was much appreciated.
Now here's a strange picture for you, sent in by Grahame. What exactly was 32212 doing at Mildenhall and how did it get that destination display ? I think it just might have been specially arranged by the photographer ! Nice one chaps.


Sunday September 26th 2010 ~ Not The X1 Blog

Is it me or are NG drivers getting younger these days ? 
A Showbus blog actually for a change. Thanks to our friends at Norfolk Green, Bruce & myself were invited to join them on their bus to Duxford. In torrential rain we met up with Alex at Millfleet this morning and dead on time at 08.20 we set off for the show. Thanks to Colin and Alex for driving and we enjoyed a very comfortable journey on one of the ex Park and Ride vehicles, no. 121. It was nice to meet up with many of the X1 blog regulars at Showbus and despite the weather which did relent for 90 minutes or so to enable some photographs to be taken before closing in once more. Congrats to the Yarmouth brigade who I'm told won 'best in show' in the 'First' category for 32212.
The scene at Yarmouth depot this morning with various Elephants in hiding and dear old 20115. DS
Well I did say we'd been getting a lot of visitors to the blog, so here's something to frighten them away. Yes, Des insisted on taking this picture of Bruce and myself. So now you know who to avoid at bus events !

While we were all away getting a soaking at Duxford, the X1 was worked by B9s 37563/7/8/9, 37572/3/4/5/6/7. Rob H had previously mentioned to me that he now passes a B9 'not in service' heading west from Lynn at 08.35 and this is the bus which works the 09.00 Wisbech to Lowestoft. The 06.50 Lynn to Peterborough and back to Wisbech having been curtailed some time ago, but not previously reported on the blog. Tut tut. 37568 was the bus on this turn today says Rob and he also spotted 37159 earning its keep on the Hunstanton route.

34108 on Saturday afternoon before the rains came !


Saturday 25th September 2010 ~ So That's What They Mean By 'Disabled Access' ?

Inside Yarmouth garage today 37579 and 37564 having a day off. DS
Nothing too untoward on the timing front today, but a strange tale from Des involving B7 37160. He says "A driver, the one who in season dresses as Father Christmas, told me of his experience this morning.
The 06:22 Yarmouth to P'boro (Y7) loaded a passenger that had a 4 wheeled walking aid, the type with a seat built into the frame. En-route to Acle the advertising boards on the off side began to become loose and flap about. When Father Christmas got to Acle, he asked if he could use the passengers walking aid. he then wheeled it outside and stood on the seat section to be able to reach the advertising and remove most of it !"
Yes Des, I did see 160 tonight with a small section of its BT advert remaining and thought something must have happened today.
Surprisingly maybe, 20126 was in use today on L9, while 34108 went the other way on K18. By my calculations, they must have encountered each other at Dereham at 08.35, at around Fransham at 13.20 and finally again at Dereham at 18.10. I suspect there were many more cameras than usual in Dereham today, but these were probably being pointed at the mega Class 37 fest at the Mid Norfolk Railway.
The out and back turn L12 was not seen by me today, but with 37563 & 37566 at Lowestoft, it would seem unilkely that 20107 was used.
Look forward to seeing some of you at Showbus tomorrow and any X1 sightings will be very helpful.

Friday 24th September 2010 ~ Good Friday ?

Des photographed 37579 off the beaten track again, this time at Carlton Colville.
We haven't mentioned punctuality for a while and that is probably because this week it has been very good. Today was exceptional for a Friday it would appear with typical afternoon delays being limited to just a couple of minutes.
Des says 20107 was used on the first bit of Y13 from Yarmouth to Lowestoft, but it then required a safety service, so 34108 was used on the remainder of the turn. It was the exception to todays good timing being 14 late from Wisbech on the 13.56 to Lowestoft. Des continues "37579 was just used on an AM X1 short and the afternoon 6B/881/X1 routine". Seems an odd state of affairs that Lowestoft were down to using 34108 while a B9 was spare at Yarmouth ! 20126 meanwhile worked K14. This is a fairly short diagram which starts as the 05.37 Lynn to Lowestoft before doing the 08.55 Lowestoft to Peterborough and 13.35 return. 37566 was the only spare B9 at Lowestoft, but this was being serviced, so 126 worked the whole turn.
37570 was once again swapped this evening, being taken off K4 at Lynn and being replaced by 37578.

Thursday 23rd September 2010 ~ Mailbox

Window reglazed, Des managed to procure 37579 for the 6B, 881 schools jaunt &X1 shuttle.
He adds "I managed to get  6B on the destination caption as seen here"

..... but 881 just comes up as 'Bad Display' on the destination selector, hence the 'Contract' and paper number seen here. I did, however, manage to get in such a position that I could get the Belton Bus stop flag into the photo.

 Lots of you were in touch today for varying reasons. John Wilson writes "Hi Gerard, I feel bound to report that 37568 was seen (and heard) entering Lynn Bus Station at 08.33 this morning against a timetabled arrival time of 08.37. Should this be put forward to the Guiness Book of Records ?". Well there you go, after the report of it running 4 minutes early a couple of weeks back and of course numerous reports of it running behind time, we now find ourselves with a new challenge - can anyone lay claim to seeing 568 running exactly to time. I know you will be on the case !!
Rob Brooks says " Following on from Sundays blog and the business with the Norfolk Green 46 overtaking the X1" (yes I hadn't forgotten it was 568 Rob). "Myself and Mum tend to use the 46 as opposed to the X1 when we go to Lynn from Wisbech. Both of us can travel for £7.80 return (Duo return) where as on X1 it would cost us £12 for that. (£6 each rtn)". Hmm yes, Bruce has commented previously that the X1 can work out a bit pricey if you are not travelling alone. Mind you, I think you have to consider that 'First' do offer a half hourly service throughout the working week which would be beyond the scope of most other service providers.
Briefly diversifying here, 'First' have also come in for much criticism this week over new timetables in Norwich which have not been made public in advance, according to the local media - except they have ! It would seem that all the necessary detail is on the 'First' website, but not in a sufficiently big font to alert the masses. Oh well, I know a good opticians !
Back to today on the X1 now and it was quite a notable day in many respects. The low floor service went out of the window with 20107 on K1, 20126 on Y13 and 34108 on K14. 20126 was completely unexpected as yesterday, Yarmouth had the luxury of a spare Gemini. Turns out though that 37579 which arrived last night was discovered to have a broken window this morning, hence 126 standing in. 579 was soon fixed of course and Des who kindly supplied the info took a couple of pictures for us.
In total, five Geminis were unavailable today and these are as follows : 37564 Yarmouth for MOT ; 37576 King's Lynn safety service and adblu attention ; 37579 Yarmouth, broken window ; 37156 Lowestoft : assumed safety service although 156 is unique in not seemingly having a fixed day for its fortnightly services (unless you now differently that is ) and finally 37159 and here we can reveal the reason for its recent absence from X1 work, it has a malfunctioning tachograph which should be rectified shortly.
Y9 was again the turn involved in another swap for servicing purposes. 37563 having been released after attention took the 15.55 back to Peterborough, enabling the incoming vehicle, 37569 to be taken to Lowestoft depot for servicing. This is the way servicing commitments should be incorporated into the timetable of course, but in practice this often leads to the appearance of one of the substitutes.


Wednesday 22nd September 2010 ~ Fuelling Manouvres

37573 on local work at Great Yarmouth today. Photo from Des.

The intention to use 20107 on a school contract from Great Yarmouth was abandoned this afternoon when instead it took the 15.55 Lowestoft - Peterborough.
Yarmouth seemed to be at the hub of X1 events today. This morning, they somehow ended up with a spare Gemini. 37564 being the extra bus and this was used on Y9. It may have been sent to Yarmouth for MOT, but ended up in use and this gave 37573 the opportunity to have a day off the X1. Des says "37573 operated as follows :  07:00 Yarm depot, light to 07:40 Carlton Colville, Rectory Rd. Service 881 to East Norfolk 6th form. Light to G/Y 08.52 X1 to Norwich (09.40) to Yarmouth light (arr 10.15)  to depot arrive 10.20". Tonight 37573 ended up at Lowestoft.
Later this evening, Des and Syd both report that the Yarmouth fuel pump became defective, with buses having to go to Lowestoft for refuelling. Syd says "I dont have the fleet numbers involved, but to avoid you getting confused  two Elephants were simply swopped for re-fueled ones so if you get apparantly conflicting reports about where buses finished tonight, that is the reason behind it. I expect 37565 was involved as it was on the afternoon Bernard Mathews contract, then taken off the diagram and replaced with 34157 at 1745hrs, so should have been at Gasworks Road". So today not only was 37573 on Yarmouth locals and 37565 likewise at Lowestoft, also 37159 continued in local use at King's Lynn - its last X1 use was as long ago as 11th September.
On the nostalgia front, 34108 came out on L11 07.15 from Lowestoft and continued all day. 37564 however, did not and was eventually taken out of traffic after doing the first leg of Y9 with 20107 being provided as replacement. There were two other swaps involving B9s. 37570 on K1 was changed at Lynn at18.00 for 37575 which had been under the supervision of Volvo engineers today. Y13 with 37563 was changed at Lowestoft for 37565.


Tuesday 21st September 2010 ~ Moody Elephants

37566 passes Boskoop Farm on K2  07.35 Peterborough - Lowestoft this morning.
Gemini 37575 which had an unscheduled day off yesterday was able to do Y13 today, but it was taken off at King's Lynn at 14.30 pending repairs by Volvo. Earlier 37577 which had undergone similar attention yesterday, was put out on K5. Whether this was considered a test run is not known, but 37156 replaced it at 10.30. 577 was then OK to relieve Y13 and 575 later.
Royale 34108 did K14, but because 37575 was initially available, 20107 was given the day off. thorney accident victim 37571 continues to work internal King's Lynn turns - today it was K15 - and has not yet spent a night away from Lynn since it returned to service.
This afternoon, 37158 on K18 passed through Wisbech 14 late but otherwise punctuality was fair.


Monday 20th September 2010 ~ Bring On The Subs

Following the collapse of 37576 on Saturday afternoon, the Beast ended up at Lynn and after resting in Vancouver Avenue during Sunday, was today wheeled out to work K1. 576 meanwhile was in use on K19, noted arriving at Wisbech at 17.06, Lowestoft bound. It is actually due in at 16.51, but K19s pathing means it scarcely runs to time. It is in Lynn around 15.00 clashing with schools traffic, in Peterborough at 16.00 and then has to face the Wisbech traffic at 17.00.
37577 was off the road today, being hit with hammers by the man from Volvo in Vancouver Avenue. Another B9 which was unable to appear was (unusually) 37575 which had been expected to work out of Yarmouth, but its place was taken by Royale 34108 on Y9. Punctuality, K19 apart, was good today and this evening 37573 on Y6 19.05 from Peterborough was 4 minutes early at Walton Highway.
Des says "How many passengers obey this notice when travelling ? Not many that's for sure.

Sunday 19th September 2010 ~ Handing It To The Opposition

37572 at Walpole Highway this lunchtime working the 09.48 from Lowestoft
You have to hand it to Norfolk Green. They have begun to work the 46 route on a Sunday between King's Lynn and March. The timetable is a bit strange, with departures from Wisbech to Lynn at 09.45, 11.45, 14.15 and 16.45 and the route is unlikely to attract X1 travellers, taking in as it does West Walton Church and Wiggenhall St. Germans with a journey time of 41 minutes as opposed to the X1 at 28. Nevertheless, it does call at Walpole Highway and Terrington St. John, so in the event of an X1 catastrophe, it is an alternatiive.
This afternoon saw such an event when the 13.10 X1 from Peterborough was 19 late at Walpole Highway and the Norfolk Green service arrived first, successfully poaching the X1 passengers who had been patiently waiting for about 30 minutes. The demon 37568 was of course the bus concerned, however, it did Des a favour on his journey back from Newport Gwent, as the late running meant a convenient connection off his train at Lynn. The NG46 departures from Lynn don't pose much of a threat as they leave at 10.00, 12.30, 15.00 and 17.25, whereas the X1 departs at ten to the hour.  The X1 was entirely B9 worked today.

The 13.45 March to King's Lynn with Norfolk Green Optare Solo no. 605, followed by............ 

The 13.10 Peterborough - Lowestoft with 37568 running 19 late this afternoon.


Saturday 18th September 2010 ~ The Perils of Running A Long Distance Bus Service

It may be obvious to the likes of you reading this blog, that a long distance bus service may occasionally run on time, but in fact is unlikely to do so unless its route is blessed without accidents and the like. Try then, telling this to the passengers who purely see the bus concerned as a local service,  merely to get them to the nearest town for general shopping purposes. The likelihood is that they probably think that - despite Lowestoft or Peterborough being shown on the front - their bus is connecting their two nearest points, for example, King's Lynn to Swaffham or Norwich to Yarmouth. The fact that a pile up on the Acle straight can have a follow up reaction where people in Guyhirn end up with a long wait for a bus to Peterborough is one of the perils I refer to in today's title.
Today I had fellow bus enthusiast Peter Barclay from Sunderland as guest and with cameras at the ready we decided firstly to visit King's Lynn. En route at Tilney All Saints, we passed 37157 running 27 minutes late on L11 07.15 from Lowestoft, so obviously all was not well. Some of this can be explained by the roadworks over the Ouse Bridge which would have compacted any delay already encountered.

At Lynn bus station we found 37577 which had received patching up repairs at Vancouver Avenue, about to work to Peterborough at 11.45 substituting for L12, the 11.15 departure which was yet to arrive.
 20107 which was L12 arrived at 11.47, approx 37 late and this then retired to the middle of the bus station. Y13 was next and things were still well behind time, 37156 departing westbound at 12.18 (33 late). I daresay passengers turning up for K14 due to depart at 12.15 would have just thought boarding Y13, that their service was marginally late leaving !
K14 itself was 37565 and this was 25 late from Lynn and by the time it reached Guyhirn, was 40 late. Returning it passed Bruce 32 late at 15.07. K15 with 37574 was seen arriving at Lynn only 5 minutes down with 37574, but due to the fact that 565 on K14 had only just left, 574 then joined 20107 in the centre of the bus station whilst arrangements for re-employing them were made.
Things eased westbound, K16 with 37569 actually running near to time, but then K17 was in trouble with 37576 being deemed unfit to continue to Peterborough at 13.45. Whatever plans had been made were then discarded and K17 departed Lynn for Peterborough with 'The Beast' which passed Bruce 13 late. After this westbound services ran pretty much to timetable and the focus was on the coastbound services from Lynn.

L11 was already well late with 37157, so 37574 off K15 worked L11 to Lowestoft at 13.32. With 20107 off L12 having been pinched, this meant 37157 took L12 forward at 14.02. 37577 which was inserted onto L12 at 11.45 then became Y13 as expected and with 37565 on K14 continuing, this left K15 to be taken by 37156 which had been 48 late at Walpole on Y13. Naturally all this meant their were further changes to balance buses. 37156 (now on K15) was left at Lowestoft and 37565 off late running K14 came back to Lynn. 20107 stuck on K17 and ended up at Lynn. K19 with 37571 required a replacement this afternoon , but nothing was left at Lynn, so 571 completed her turn. Got that ?? No I thought not. It just goes to show that X1 route controllers should be on bloody good pay ! Considering the odds stacked against them today they did very well I think.
After all that writing, it's time for a pictorial look at the day ....

Here she is, 20107 arrives at Lynn 33 late this morning.

20107 finds itself usurped by a delicate 37577

and now 37577 is delayed.... by a queue out of Lynn bus station !

37156 looks pretty busy as it prepares to pick up more patrons waiting for the 12.15 ex Lynn.

The Beast departs from Queensgate, Peterborough on K17 this afternoon

37568 - not late for once - on a B7 turn, K18 arriving at Queensgate.

The stranger : 37571 departs from Peterborough Rail Station fractionally early this afternoon on K19

Today's last picture is the classic Peterborough Rail Station fot. 37563 with 'Miss Sixty' advert awaits its 16.35 departure time.


Days Gone By : No. 1 - A London Puddlejumper by Syd Eade

I thought you may like to see this photo, I dont have the date but perhaps you may re-call the day. Chaos was reigning on the A47 so this little gem was desptched light from Lowestoft to pick up a missing journey from Norwich back to Lowestoft at teatime. The Southern bypass then shut due to a fatal accident and most of Norwich came to a stand-still. So the bus ran back via Cromer Road, Old Catton, Sprowston, Salhouse and South Walsham to Acle, then picked up the normal route (taking over an hour longer) but got in to Gt Yarmouth BEFORE buses that left 90 minutes earlier and ran via the City Centre. Happy days.

Photo of 45419 in Winter 2005/6. Copyright Syd Eade.

Friday 17th September 2010 ~ A Local Arrangement

I was down at the BBC today, but a full days report was provided by Paul in Gorleston. Bruce did the same too and corrolation between the two reveals no discrepancies. For the record, 20107 was used on K14 and it was almost a full house for the B9 Geminis with only 37566 not being seen. Paul says "Didn't see 37574 for the second day running". In fact though, it did reappear from repairs today and took over K17 from 37577 at 16.30 after the latter was having problems again. 577 is due to be repaired by Volvo staff on Monday parts permitting.
Rob Brooks sent a morning report as follows : "37156 K18 0651 Wisbech - Lowestoft d 0658, 37158 K3 0718 Wisbech - Peterborough a0713 d0718, 37576 K19 0721 Wisbech - Lowestoft, 37572 K1 0700 Peterborough - Lowestoft, and 37567 K2 0730 Peterborough - Lowestoft.

Syd reports "37565 was the Lowestoft spare today and on arrival at Lowestoft from Bernard Mathews was 'borrowed' by the driver of Y13 who didnt want to take the slower 37160 on the 1848 departure from Lowestoft. 37160 prompty departed on the 1810 Ser 1 to Martham as result. This swop is unusual as it appears to have been decided by the staff on the ground and not officially sanctioned. No Controller is on duty at Lowestoft at this time of the evening and 37565 was intended to carry on with the booked diagram on the 1803 X2 as mentioned yesterday".
Tonight 37565 was seen on Y13 departing Lynn via the normal route, but then having to make a detour up to Hardwick Roundabout and back because of the Saddlebow slip road once again being closed. This weekend, X1s westbound will again need to take either this manouevre or divert through South Lynn.
Further afield Peter, who is on a three week USA holiday says "Re Tuesday's blog - glad the word is spreading... I think it's due to all your new American readers!! Left another four iPads spreading the gospel according to Gerard in Las Vegas Apple store today. Some of the locals look really puzzled when they see it......". Good Heavens Peter !

Thursday 16th September 2010 ~ Turkey Travel

Syd writes, "Hi Gerard, an interesting, although possibly short term, situation has come about as a result of the Anglian competion on the Lowestoft-Beccles route. FEC withdrew the schools journeys ( with a sigh of relief ) at once and the bus now spare is used elsewhere. Lowestoft buses now work the 1508 X2 Ex Norwich to Beccles only, previously a Norwich duty, which then goes light to Bernard Mathews to work a Contract to Lowestoft at 1628, followed by 1803 X2 to Beccles, light to Lowestoft for a layover prior to the 23.15 99 to Southwold and light to Bernard Mathews yet again for the 0040 Contract back to Lowestoft. Why am I telling you this? Well the diagram that has been amended is the one the White Elephants are normally used on when one is spare, and 37575 was performing the duty today in its entirety, probably unlikely to last, but in the meantime, Bernies workers are having a touch of class".
What makes the above more surprising in todays case, is that L10 was worked by 20107, suggesting that there may have been a problem early on with 37575.
Over at Great Yarmouth, our regular correspondent tells me that former X1 coach and now Driver Trainer 20128 is having its MOT as is possible X1 substitute 20115. Driver trainers 20109 & 20121 are still present. At King's Lynn the visits of 20107 provide the only sightings of a working B10M. Rowan Road, for the record contains 20104/5/6/18/23/27/31. Of these 20105/18 were simply switched off when their bodywork became beyond repair and 20123 is in good nick, other than needing a new engine. The others are in varying states of decay. Terence says that Olympian 34333, H132FLX still sees occasional X1 use on the shuttles and yesterday worked the 09.00 Gorleston JPH to Norwich.
On the X1 today, Paul reports the following : K17 37571, K14 37566, K4 37563, K5 37577, Y9 37156 & L10 20107. Bruce was on duty at this end as I was working at Long Sutton, his log shows the remaining services as : K1 37564, K2 37570, K3 37158, Y6 37565, Y7 37578, L8 37568, L11 37567 22 late, L12 37572, Y13 37157, K15 37576, K16 37573, K18 37160 and K19 37579.

Wednesday 15th September 2010 ~ Late Blog

Sorry for the late appearance of this and subsequent entries. Today, a broken down lorry near Wisbech caused delays to morning services with Bruce noting the following services affected from Peterborough: K3 37577 14 late, K4 37578 15 late, K5 37573 5 late, Y6 37575 19 late, Y7 37564 26 late and L8 37157 13 late. Meanwhile 37158 on Y9 departed Wisbech on the 10.18 to Peterborough unusually travelling via Freedom Bridge, the Old Market and Town Bridge.
 L10 was provided with 37563 making its first appearance since 4th September. Traffic conditions had eased by early afternoon when 37566 on Y13 was 2 late to Peterborough and 2 early coming back. K15 with 37579 was 15 late from Lynn at 12.45, possibly due to the driver's break being delayed because of the earlier strife. Today's service was entirely low floor. 37568 was stopped at Lowestoft for servicing amd 37574 had a deserved day off for some bodywork attention at Lynn. 37159 was on Lynn locals and 20107 was rested at Lowestoft. 

37576 was seen in action on K19 today with a taped up rear light and some slight body damage, see picture left.


Tuesday September 14th 2010 ~ More Visitors !

It is not often that I mention the basics of running a blog like this. Firstly of course, you need to find a provider who will carry this sort of trivia - this is quite easy and I must say that Google Blogger is excellent. Then, assuming you wish to know how many people are reading your ramblings, you need to install a visit counter - like the site meter I use at the bottom of the page.
You can re-design your blog at will and Blogger offer a variety of styles which you can switch to quite easily. Probably the most difficult aspect though, is the chore / pleasure (depending what sort of day you've had !) of keeping up daily entries. I quite often go through periods of updating a day behind. The advantage of this with a blog of this type, is that you can account for late changes which would otherwise mean a lot of corrections the following day. I'm pleased to say that August was the most successful month yet for the X1 blog and we had more visitors than ever (about 1400 in fact). Some of you will be quick to point out that in fact this only equates to around 45 people each day, but that would assume that every one of those visits every day, which - even though I do my best to entertain, and believe me, that is sometimes very difficult - is very unlikely.
Anyway enough of blogchat. Today followed the pattern of recent days, with little of note to relate. Timekeeping seemed again to be very good and light traffic would seem to be a governing factor, the schools having returned now.
 In the days of the B12 Paragons, we quite often mentioned buses which had been out for long stretches of consecutive days. Lately, this has not happened for several reasons, but Gemini 37574 has quietly gone about its business each day since departing from Lowestoft on Monday August 2nd and hasn't missed a day, Sundays included. Tonight though things were looking bleak as it had been sidelined at King's Lynn garage after starting the day on K15, only to have 37577 take over the turn because 574 had a broken driver's seat ! This has been an issue before as blog regulars will know and not one which has, in the past, been readily remedied. Tonight 574 was parked in Vancouver Avenue minus its front panel, indicating that may be it has other problems. For the record it had done 43 consecutive days in traffic.
37157 was used on K14, the first eastbound departure from King's Lynn today and it is thought to have had a new tyre fitted. When this happens, a check has to be made at the end of the first journey to ensure that the wheelnuts are still secure, so today 157 was replaced by 20107 for the second part of K14 departing Lowestoft at 08.55. Thanks to our man in the driving seat for the gen on this.
As briefly referred to in Monday's blog, 37564 is back and today was used on K4. Although it is based at Lowestoft, because it failed at Thorney last month, it was delivered back to King's Lynn and this is normal practise. In previous instances, where a Lynn bus has expired at Lowestoft and needed to visit Volvo for attention, it has been released to where it came from.


Monday September 13th 2010 ~ Right On Time

A most remarkable day for punctuality today, with everything seen by me being on time, or even marginally early. The black mark according to Bruce goes to 37158 on the 12.05 ex Peterborough (L11) which was 9 late heading to Lowestoft, but to be fair it was stuck behind a digger. The driver seemed familiar says Bruce. Speaking of drivers, 37575 on  K15 12.45 Lynn to Peterborough had two. One in the driving seat and another co-piloting which is very unusual.
37564 arrived back at King's Lynn tonight, for long the highest mileage B9, its spell out of service plus problems with its ABS earlier this year mean at 208,600 miles it is now lagging behind the frontrunners such as 37575 (226k), and 37572 and 37579 (both 222k). 37567/8/73 have new offside ads for Kellogs Squares.
A complete low floor service was achieved with 37159 being spare for Lynn locals and 37563/4 not being in use.

Sunday 12th September 2010 ~ Bombs Again

After last weeks bomb scare at King's Lynn, today the calm at Wisbech was broken by someone taking what they thought was an unexploded bomb into the police station !! This meant the area, including the Horsefair roundabout, was sealed off for a time during the afternoon.
This was the scene near Walpole Highway at about 14.20 with the driver of 37569 on the 13.10 from Peterborough stopping to warn his colleague driving 37577 on the 10.48 from Lowestoft of the chaos ahead ! I just happened to be in the area after enjoying an excellent Sunday lunch at the King of Hearts in West Walton and it made a bit of a mockery of my previous futile attempts to get a picture of two elephants passing each other here.
Other than the delays caused by this incident, the rest of the day was fairly normal, but here are a few more pictures for you.

Here's last year's Showbus entrant, 37572 in sunny conditions at Walpole working the 10.10 from Peterborough.

...and here is 37572 on arrival at Lowestoft photographed by Des. Having arrived at 14.30, its X1 duties have finished for the day and it was about to depart light for Great Yarmouth. Alongside is 37578 which having come in at 13.30 will now work the  14.48 back to Peterborough.

...and a final look at 37572 on arrival at Caister Road garage with something considerably older behind. The BT advert on 572 is also affixed to 37565, 37569, 37579 & 37160.   


From Our Graphic Designer ...

Mr. V had the idea that a special anniversary livery ought to be applied to our own 20107 in recognition of 80 years service for 'Eastern Counties'. So how about it Mr. Pilbeam & Co ?

Mr V has also produced this pleasing colour scheme for when Greyhound get involved !

Saturday 11th September 2010 ~ Well Behaved Buses

37571 negotiates the obstacles in Dereham Market Place at lunchtime, later it was taken out of service (see below)
37157 seen on L12 07.55 Lowestoft - Peterborough having just rejoined the A47 after its toddle round Toftwood

Not quite what it seems. 37565 was in a queue of slow moving traffic as it headed east on K4 approaching Draytonhall Lane near Scarning.
37563 has not been seen since last Saturday when it worked L8 which finishes at Lowestoft. As we have said before, it seems prone to relatively lengthy spells off the road. 37564 remained off the road this week following its failure at Thorney on 24th August.
 Fortunately the remaining fleet comprising 37565 - 579 & 37156 - 37160 were well behaved today, giving an all low floor service. One can never account for some things though and 37571 on K17 had to be taken out of service for cleaning this afternoon and I am assuming (hopefully correctly) that a repaired 37577 took over. I say hopefully as there was nothing else ! With 20107 being off at Lowestoft for servicing, the service simply ran out of spares. In theory Yarmouth could always come to the rescue with 20115, 20126 or 34108 I suppose.

X1 Blog Omnibus Edition ~ Wed, Thu & Fri 8th - 10th September 2010

Yes catch up time after a few days away and special thanks to Bruce for keeping the log of events. I think it would be fair to say that this (as far as I am aware) has been the least eventful week of the year so far on the X1. This must be a relief for the operators and probably for the passengers too.

Wednesday : The highlight of the week by far, K16 13.48 Wisbech to Peterborough departed 4 minutes early - most astonishing bit being that it was 37568, renowned for its late running. Punctuality was good until mid afternoon when 37570 on K19 was 11 late and 37574 on K1 16 late. These delays were due to Lynn bus station being closed because of a bomb alert. Some character deposited a suspicious pink bag (which in the event turned out to be full of clothing) on the pavement near the entrance to the bus station. This halted all traffic in and out between 14.00 & 17.00 during which time a controlled explosion was carried out. Buses used the roads around the railway station as picking up and dropping off points I am told. The Beast was out on L10 and managed to avoid the riots.

Thursday : By all accounts it would seem that almost two full days passed without any X1 diagram changing vehicles. Almost, but not quite, read on ....... Thursday's service used the same vehicles as Wednesday except that 37565 replaced 37566 due to servicing needs. 20107 worked K2. Des says tree felling at Corton caused some delays between Lowestoft and Yarmouth.
Rob Brooks reports "37576 K3 0718 Wisbech - Peterborough arrived Wisbech 0711 and departed 0717 ! Also seen : 37579 K19 07.21 Wisbech - Lowestoft, 37569 K1 07.00 Peterborough - Lowestoft and The Beast,  20107 K2 0730 Peterborough - Lowestoft.
 I had a day out in London and returned to catch L12 2210 ex Peterborough, which was 37575 and 30mins late when it turned up at the Railway Station, after I had given up hope and assumed it was cancelled. Driver offered no explanation to the delay, but managed to bring the delay down to just 14 minutes by the time we got to Wisbech". The reason as it turns out Rob, was the failure of 37577 with a broken intercooler pipe and 37575 which had earlier done K5 had to be substituted.

Friday : 37577 remained off the road today and because of this all the B7s were in use. 'The Beast' did the first leg of L10 before being rested and replaced by 37569. Since Tuesday 37571 has suddenly assumed the diagram formerly worked by 37562, K17. Whether this remains a regular thing we will have to see.

On the X1 route today (Friday), but not in service, was Norwich 'Trident' 33239 seen en route to King's Lynn for MOT work. It passed me at West Bilney just after 20107 had passed eastbound.


Tuesday September 7th 2010 ~ As Good As It Gets

A good day for travelling on the X1 it would seem, with no known diagram swaps and only the Beast on K14 preventing an all low floor service. In fact 37565 - 37579 inclusive were in use and it's a while since that happened. 37563 did not emerge from Lowestoft and 37564 is still absent. 37156 was serviced at Lowestoft today and 37158 remained on King's Lynn locals.
L11 with 37567 was 15 late going to Peterborough at lunchtime and 37571 on K17 passed Bruce 14 late, otherwise timekeeping was good. 37576 on K19 16.05 from Peterborough caused a stir by taking the normal route and then traversing Wisbech Town Bridge into Old Market and then via Freedom Bridge which involves a few tight clearances.
Next blog will be on Friday.

Monday 6th September 2010 ~ Saved By The Beast

Something not quite Wright here !! Photo by Des

A thoroughly ordinary day today - well it has to happen occasionally, even on the X1 ! 20107 saved the day and prevented lowfloordom boredom. It did Y13 and was dead on time this evening departing Wisbech at 22.22 on the last turn to Peterborough. It departed via Churchill Road proving that some drivers still use this route.
Y7 had 37156 this morning, swapped at Lowestoft for 37159. 37158 & 37563 were on exams today at Lynn and Lowestoft respectively.


Sunday September 5th 2010 ~ Battery Tests

37578 running late past Tilney All Saints this afternoon.
37577 had a service and battery test last week and now 37158 is also booked for the same tomorrow, so I assume this is an insurance policy in the event of another bad winter. Today was more like Summer with some fine sunshine before rain this evening.
37576 was back on the road and came into King's Lynn on the 20.44 arrival. Last night 37579 was kept at Lowestoft and the final leg of K17 was 37156. This was out today on the turn which goes light to Yarmouth. Timekeeping was poor this afternoon with delays of around 20 minutes affecting the 13.50 & 14.50 from Lynn to Peterborough with 37575/8.
You can hear 37565 coming at the moment as its braking system is popping and whooshing all the time. On the right route today with John driving it is seen passing the observatory this afternoon.


Saturday 4th September 2010 ~ X1 Mystery Tour

This weekend sees the culmination of roadworks on the Ouse bridge at South Lynn with heavy engineering work and a forecast of major delays. As it turns out, these have not materialised and in fact, the X1 ran well for most of the day.
 Suzanne had one of those funny encounters with the public today. An elderly couple came in the shop to have their specs adjusted. The lady told Suzanne how they had come to us even though they now live in Hunstanton ! Apparently they had caught the bus to Lynn and then the X1 forward to Wisbech. They were rather surprised to find that the X1 route had changed and they had the pleasure of travelling to Clenchwarton and Terrington St. Clement and then via Hay Green to regain the normal route at Terrington St. John. Intrigued by this unorthodox route, she enquired of the driver as to why he had taken the bus this way. He replied that he had forgotten the route !
Now this seemed extremely odd to me, but then it dawned on me that because of the roadworks, the slip road from the Saddlebow roundabout down onto the A47 Lynn bypass is closed and most X1s are leaving the South Gates roundabout via South Lynn, over the speed humps to cross the river over what used to be called the Cut Bridge. This then brings you to a T junction where to regain the A47 at Freebridge roundabout you turn left. Our driver turned right, hence the mix up. As to which service was involved, I didn't get to find that out, but it was before 13.30.
 Buses to Peterborough seem to have at last settled on taking the correct (Nene Quay) route out of Wisbech and what I saw this morning was impressive : Y6 08.48 to Peterborough 37577 right time, Y7 37573 right time, L8 37563 one minute late, L9 37158 (for the second Saturday in a row) one late and Y10 37160 right time. L11 didn't appear and as it turned out had 37157 - back in service at last - removed at Lynn to have wheelnuts checked and 37567 replaced it. Whether this left Wisbech via the A1101 or simply didn't run is not known. L12 which on Saturdays is the single return trip was 34108 eleven late and then came 37565 on Y13 which had somehow lost 15 minutes - a good contender for the service which got lost me thinks. K14 was only 7 late with 37574 and K15 which is a Lynn driver was 37575 19 late. Afternoon services were pretty much to time.
37568 was used on K3 today, but there was a logical reason behind this, as 37567/8/71 were all preassigned for remedial work on their 'traffic light' Drive Green systems at Lynn tonight. This is the electronic system which 'First' use to determine whether buses are being driven correctly or not. 567 was being checked as it has had a high number of 'incidents' whereas it is thought that 568s equipment had stopped functioning altogether.

Friday 3rd September 2010 ~ Banished

Yes today was one of those days where I had to change work location to the land of Norfolk Green', well Lincolnshire to be precise. Bruce did a grand job of ticking off the X1 diagrams and for a change, late running seemed to be few and far between. K1 had 20107, 37571 stuck to Lynn internal job K3 and K14 was provided with 20126.
Poor old girl,  but at least it wasn't terminal. Pic by Des
The day wasn't without incident though and Des says "20126 needed police assistance to control traffic and help evacuate passengers across the A47 to a waiting vehicle after it failed while working the 08.55 Lowestoft - Peterborough. It lost all air and would not move across the filter junction into Hockering. Traffic stopped in both directions to enable passengers to alight onto the main A47 and onto another bus that had been allowed to stop adjacent to 20126 in the Norwich bound lane but facing Dereham. 20126 was last seen awaiting recovery to Yarmouth". What a shame, still a loss of air is pretty easy to fix according to Bruce, so hopefully she will be back soon. Whether K14 was revived or there was a gap in the service is not known. This turn finishes with the 13.35 Peterborough - Lowestoft.
37565 at Caister Road, Great Yarmouth before being used on a Gorleston to Norwich working. (Grahame Bessey)
News from our chaps at Yarmouth comes that 37569 passed its MOT yesterday and today worked Y9. By this evening it had swapped turns with 37568 and this came in on Y9 with 569 on L10. Spare at Yarmouth as a result today was 37565 which Grahame informs me was utilised on the X1 shuttles. 37576 which arrived at Yarmouth on Tuesday night late has been off the road because somehow adblu got into its diesel tank, gungeing up all the injectors. Work is ongoing to get it back roadworthy.
37566 was not available for traffic today and is thought to have resided at Vancouver Avenue all day, otherwise it would probably have worked K14 after 20126's mishap. Finally a swap at half eight this evening when B7 37156 on Y6 was changed at Lynn for 37158 which had come in to the bus station on L11 just prior to this.


Stop Press

Blog regulars James Race and Syd Eade have been successful in their first venture into the publishing business. The pair recently produced a book with info on current buses, designed to help with basic information on what can currently found in service. It has now been released and is even stocked by Ian Allan bookshops. It consists of over 40 photos from James' & Syd's cameras, one to a page, with a brief description of the bus in easy to understand terms. It retails at only £4.99 but Tesco has it even cheaper on-line at*10%7C%C2%A35%20and%20under*25%7CRecent%20Releases

 It is a real bargain, but Syd says "It was only done as a hobby.....we dont expect a full time job as Transport Photographers to come from it !"

Thursday September 2nd 2010 ~ 37571 Exorcised

Bruce and myself had a shock this morning when K2 came sailing round the bend at Boskoop Farm with 37571 !!! Alright, this might reasonably have been expected, but what was more extraordinary was the fact that it was being driven by Mr Ray Woodhouse - the driver who was in charge on that fateful day in May last year. I am told that he had specifically requested to drive 571 on its first run back in traffic, so I'm sure you'll all join me in wishing him well, a truly remarkable man.
Any surprise that 571 was used on a Lowestoft terminating turn was soon withdrawn, as on arrival at Lynn at 08.57, it then laid over for 30 minutes before taking K3 (a Lynn terminating diagram) forward in the place of its interim replacement, 20514. It would seem that the coach then made a sharp exit from the area. Meanwhile freshly serviced 37573 took K2 forward at 09.02 to Lowestoft.

Grahame Bessey was in the right place at the right time today and captured 37571 departing from Norwich bus station on K3 (left). Its long period out of traffic has seen it programmed with the large font destination screen. It is currently running without any adverts which will surely be a shortlived phenomenon. Whilst the hub meter on the wheel reads almost 70,000 miles, the driving cab odometer reckons it has completed over 100,000 miles, so it seems very likely that the latter is from another vehicle as might be expected. Certainly 37571 has not done any more than 70k.

There were numerous vehicle changes today and whilst most of these were down to servicing requirements, some were not. 37577 which was removed from K2 yesterday was sent out on K16 today, however, it was failed at King's Lynn at 13.10 and retired to the garage. Resources being stretched again, there was nothing available tacho equipped to replace it, so the service was cancelled over the western section. By the time K16 was due to depart Lynn eastbound at 16.02, 37572 was available off servicing reports Bruce and this then took the service to Lowestoft.
37567 was another B9 with a booked service today and this took K14 from Lynn to Lowestoft and was then replaced by 34108 which had been specially supplied by Yarmouth, such was the shortage of power today.

Once again Grahame was on hand at Norwich to witness 34108 failed (right) and being attended to by the recovery crew. The problem could not have been too serious though, as it was soon repaired and went light to Lynn where K15 had already departed about 12 late, possibly leaving some passengers behind. 34108 then followed via the normal route as far as Walton Highway. Here it then took the B198 to join the A47 Wisbech bypass and went non-stop to Peterborough. I saw it at 13.23 (about 48 late) and chased it up the bypass - it was hammering along in fine fettle -  to confirm identification !
K1 began the day with 37568, but on arrival at Lowestoft, 37567 having had a quick service after coming in on K14, took over the turn. There was one final twist to the day, K4 got through three Geminis today. 37572 was first, working the 07.15 King's Lynn to Peterborough and back, then 37159 took over for the 10.02 to Lowestoft. Finally this evening 37575 off Y9 relieved 37159 and this did K4 19.35 Lynn to Lowestoft.
Y6 had 37158 today and it looks like this did the turn all the way back to Lowestoft tonight. During the various changes today, Lynn managed to carry out safety services on 37572/3/4, but at the price of providing Lowestoft's 37566 on Lynn internal turn K19.
One thing not mentioned thus far, is the Gemini shortage, caused by the absence today of 37564, 37569, 37576 & 37157. Compensating for this we had 20107 deputising on Y13 - last seen leaving Wisbech at 22.22 and still sounding good plus 20126 working L10 all day.

20107 poses in front of 34108 at Great Yarmouth garage early this morning. Thank goodness for the old timers ! Photo by Des


Wednesday September 1st 2010 ~ Noisy Buses

On Saturday last, 20128 - a one time X1 regular - stands awaiting its fate at Great Yarmouth garage.
20109 in training guise at Yarmouth on August 9th. It has since disappeared from here. Alongside is 34921 which has clearly last seen use on an X1. Photos by A.N. Insider
Cheryl travelled on K2 this morning to see Ian who had spent overnight in hospital in King's Lynn and who was I'm pleased to say discharged with 'no fault found'. "37577 was my bus", she says "and despite me frantically waving at Bruce like someone possessed, he failed to notice me on board". Too busy looking at the number probably Cheryl. She continues "Don't be surprised if 577 gets taken off the road soon, as it was making some very strange noises from the back and I think they may be brake related". Ooerr ! Well turns out she was quite right, as it was taken off K2 at 18.27 and 37160 worked forward to Lowestoft.
Bruce says "I'm pleased to report that B12 20514 was still on K3 today, 11 late this morning passing me and absolutely no sign of 37571". Apparently it is having last minute vinyls fitted today Bruce. "I'm also delighted to tell you that The Beast was on K4 all day and 20126 was K14, although I have to reluctantly admit that it was 24 late passing me en route to Lowestoft this afternoon".
The delays were exacerbated at teatime when a broken down lorry caused chaos west of Lynn on the Pullover Road. K2 with 577 was 36 late from Wisbech on the 16.18 to Peterborough. For most of the day though X1s ran to time, indeed K17 14.18 departure was a minute early past me with 37574.
Noisiest bus of the day was 37159 on Y9 which clearly has the fan fault we've mentioned before.
20115 has been smartened up at Yarmouth and is seen here before return to service.

Tuesday August 31st 2010 ~ Not There Yet

The plan to make the X1 a totally low floor service is far from a completed exercise and is unilkely to be so until extra vehicles are provided as back up. This suits the coach fans quite well actually, today B12 20514 remained on loan and worked K3 as usual, being 12 late when seen passing the Walpole Highway observatory this morning en route to Lowestoft. Of late, this has often been the solitary coach in use, but today there was a sense of deja vu when 'The Beast' (20107) made an appearance on L10. It was 8 late past Bruce going to Peterborough and over 13 late when it passed me having filled up with a good compliment of passengers at Wisbech Horsefair. Tonight though it was replaced at Lynn and 37573 off Y9 went forward on the 19.50 to Peterborough. The reason for the Beasts working was the unavailability of 37157 which was due for servicing.
With three of the expected culprits having turned up on this morning's Yarmouth originating turns, viz Y6 37575, Y7 37578 and Y9 37573, it was surely just logical that Y13 should be 37572, but no ! Y13 was in fact B10M 20126 and this worked all day in place of the B9.
Timekeeping,  monitored at Walpole by Bruce, deteriorated during the day and K16 with 37156 was 19 late going west and had lost a further minute returning from Peterborough. K17 with 37563 (yes another Lowestoft B9 deputising for a Lynn bus) was almost on time passing Walpole on the 13.33 to Peterborough, but had lost 16 minutes by the time it came back and K18 which was 37159 managed to do even worse. This was no less than 31 late westbound at 15.05 followed 6 minutes later by 37579 on K19, Unsurprisingly 159 was halted at Wisbech with 579 taking the passengers through to Peterborough so that K18 could at least depart Wisbech on time at 16.26 to Lowestoft. 37565 on K1 was pretty near to time this afternoon, but K2 with the late 37568 certainly was not, being 27 late through Walpole on the 16.03 to Peterborough.
The unavailable B9 count today was 37564/9/71/2.