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Saturday 30th October 2010 ~ Open All Hours

At last today, Nene Quay in Wisbech reopened to eastbound traffic following strengthening of the flood defences near Town Bridge. Cheryl says it was a topic of conversation in the pub last night and warns that I shouldn't get too excited, as the plan is that the same section of road will be closed once again for further work commencing in January. Apparently councillors are unhappy with the structure which resembles a miniature 'Berlin Wall' (well we all know what happened to that !) and as a token gesture it has been agreed that the wall will be painted with fake brickwork to minimise the eyesore.
To today then and at last a chance for me to monitor services in both directions. A better day could not have been wished for and services ran nicely to time throughout. 20121 remained spare at Lynn, but L12 turned up with 20107. This should mean it runs light to Yarmouth with possible use tomorrow and on Monday. This was all the more surprising as 37563 & 37564 were both at Lowestoft. Surely one of them will oust 'The Beast' ?
K1 had a change of vehicle at King's Lynn at 15.15 with 37568 being deemed unfit to continue owing to defective CCTV and freshly serviced 37579 came up from Lynn garage to take over.
Since midweek two new advertising campaigns have been evident on the fleet, the movies 'Skyline' and 'Let Me In' being the latest additions.

37576 heading east on K2 07.35 Peterborough to Lowestoft this morning
  37571 is still running without an offside advert because the necessary fitting stud is still missing, but it continues to regularly work K17, today being no exception.

Remembering the X6 ~ Archive Feature

Following on from recent blog entries, we remember the X6 King's Lynn to Spalding service, Introduced almost 5 years ago, it lasted a mere 8 months, finishing in January 2007. Here are some photos of the short lived experiment.

The troops line up, a trio of newly arrived Scanias line up at Rowan Road on the eve of the new X6 timetable.

Grahame Bessey photographed 65574 in King's Lynn bus station on 6/11/06 before it left for Spalding.

In the last week of the X6, on January 22nd 2007. 65577 passes the 'Anchor' pub at Sutton Bridge. This hostelry was eventually to follow the X6 into the history books.

65580 at King's Lynn with a Spalding service on 6/11/06. Photo by Grahame.

Motoring down the A17 near Clenchwarton,  65574 is seen on 22nd January 2007.


Friday 29th October 2010 ~ Angie Stranded !

Angie sent me a text this afternoon, demanding to know why she and Mick had been standing for almost an hour at Queensgate awaiting the 13.05 X1 back to Wisbech (Y13). Now I confess, this came as a bit of a surprise, as in fact up to this point, the service had run very well. 37569 on Y13 was the first service to be delayed and was viewed via webcam approaching the Southgates roundabout at 11.49 (about 16 late). Whether it went any further than Lynn seems unlikely, as Bruce who was working outside his bungalow didn't see it go by either. It looks pretty much as if K14 was then considerably late with 37564, so may be that was what conveyed Angie back home ? I will enquire of her. I did see K15 with 37578 and it was just 7 late from Wisbech and the rest of the afternoon was exceptionally punctual for a Friday.
Earlier, services were also running fairly well to time, although K5 which had 20121 was 18 late passing Bruce where it had been due at 10.05 eastbound.
The warranty modifications to the B9s are continuing and 37567 was (when I last saw the details) the only one not to have had any of the dozen or so mods required carried out. Because of this, it was taken off L10 today for this purpose (37160 was its replacement), however, it was pretty soon back in service and appears to have taken Y13 (see above) at 14.32 from Lynn to Lowestoft. 37569 which had started on this turn then replaced 37156 on K16. This was the second day in a row that 156 had been removed from an X1, so it could be playing up. It was 19 late returning from Peterborough according to Bruce.
A final swap occurred this evening with 37579 being taken off L8 for servicing and 37570 off the previous terminating turn , Y7, going forward.


Thursday 28th October 2010 ~ Lincolnshire Outpost

I was sent to help out with work at our Long Sutton branch today. This is now a 'First' free zone of course, following the abortive attempt to encroach on Norfolk Green (& Cavalier as it was then ) territory a few years back with the short lived X6 from King's Lynn to Spalding. A couple of X1 coaches did see use on this - I think 20140 in its final days put in an appearance, as did some of Lynn's old Olympians. A more recent innovation is the service 55 to Terrington St. Clement via West Lynn which is normally Dart worked, but which has on an odd occasion seen a B10M before they were ousted from King's Lynn locals.
Turning back the clock once again today was 20121 ( I still can't quite believe this is being used after its transfer to Scotland and then rejection seeing it back with First Eastern - it was at that time quite unreliable), which did,  ironically in view of what I've just written, the first trip on K3 from Lynn to Peterborough and back before being removed due to poor acceleration. A quick sort out at Vancouver Avenue then saw it returned to X1 duty when 37156 neeed replacing on the 13.32 to Lowestoft (L11). The B7 was rectified and then saw some action on King's Lynn local duties, as 37159 was off the road with a broken door glass today.
Servicing requirements saw 37568 removed from K16 at Lowestoft and the second half of this turn was 20107. 37579 was needed at Lynn, also for servicing and 37566 replaced it on Y7 11.32 to Lowestoft, however, before the maintenance could be carried out, 37579 was summoned to take over K2 and it ended up at Lowestoft instead tonight. 37567 at Lowestoft and 37577 at Lynn were both out of action for servicing today.
Many thanks to Bruce for his devotion to duty in recording X1 passings in my absence today.

20101 - A Postscript & That Book !

Syd has enlightened me about the reason for 101s infrequent X1 appearances, referred to in our recent look back at 2006. I will let him explain :
"It suffered constant 'Low Oil Pressure' in the engine, often in the red on the gauge and causing bells to ring when it was stationary. Despite this, the engine just continued to run, but wasnt suitable for any long distance at high speed which is why it was not allowed onto X1s in its final months".

I expect you remember me giving a plug a while ago for James' new book, well Syd says "A bit off the X1 topic, but probably of interest to you, is that James Race was contacted by the East Anglian Daily Times about his you think they found out about it from your blog? They asked him a few questions over the phone and sent a chap to take a photo or two, so we expected a column or so about it. They really surprised us with no less than a three page spread ! I have sent the PDF files in case you missed it. The main point we were impressed about is the article did not poke fun or derison at the hobby, quite a refreshing change from the media".

Wednesday 27th October 2010 ~ X2 Invader

Michael Bryant tells me that a King's Lynn based 3757X series Gemini had not appeared on the X2 since March as far as he knows, so today provided a surprise. 37570 did the first part of K1 but was changed at Lowestoft for 37157 on the 11.55 back to Peterborough. 570 was then seen firstly by Michael on the 14.08 X2 to Norwich and then by Andy at its destination. Syd then says "A driver error caused 37570 to be used on Y13 1848 X1 Ex Lowestoft after work on the X2. The previous driver had left it in the bus station at Lowestoft and the X1 driver took it by mistake. He should have taken 37576 which then spent the rest of the evening unloved in Lowestoft Bus Stn until James saw it and got it collected by Lowestoft Engineers at 2315! ( still with X1 Peterborough on the screen )". Y13 had been worked by 37156 earlier and it would seem that 37576 off K14 which finishes at Lowestoft, was chosen originally to work back to Lynn instead.

Lowestoft's 37566 was removed from L12 early this afternoon and 37574 off a safety service took its turn, the 14.02 Lynn to Lowestoft. This may have been because at 14.00 37566 was noted arriving at Wisbech 39 minutes late on L12 ! The Thorney Toll temporary lights must be back I assume ? 37577 on K15 lost 25 minutes between arriving at King's Lynn at 12.37 and its scheduled departure back to Lowestoft from here at 15.32. Y7 was used as a servicing swap turn today with 37567 off at Lowestoft for 37569.

20126 was a bit poorly this morning with an air leak. Marc says "Caught 20126 on K4 from P'boro at 0844 to Thorney this morning. On approach to Thorney there was an audible alarm sounding from the cab (think it was for the battery). My journey back from Thorney at 0910 was on 37564 (Y6). The fault with 126 was not too serious as it completed the day on K4 and 20121 was also momentarily in the wars with a faulty demister, but it too worked K3 all day. This of course meant that two consecutive duties, K3 and K4 ended up with coaches today.
Gemini 37575 continues to amass the largest mileage total for any of the B9s, tonight being reported as having accomplished 241,673 miles on arrival at Lynn on L10 at 19.40. For some reason this service didn't go to Peterborough at 19.50 and it looks like it was cancelled.
James has investigated the matter of diagram numbers for me and Syd says "We have looked into your KL71xx numbers, they are not bus line numbers but driver duty numbers. For example 37158 started today as KL7106 then becomes KL7101, but a Yarmouth starter today using 37567 was GY2502 until handing over at Kings Lynn and became KL7110. As a direct result of this enquiry, Lowestoft have now decided to use the XL01-19 numbers on its depot run-out sheets with immediate effect to resolve the confusion at this end at least. I hope that clears things up for you". Thanks very much for sorting that out chaps.


Tuesday 26th October 2010 ~ Digging Up The Road AGAIN

There really seems to be no reason why Nene Quay continues to be closed now - I suspect it is simply because the advertised date for it reopening is 1st November. More roadworks at Thorney Toll have added time to X1 schedules this week and today was not impressive. Services east of King's Lynn faired well, but it was a different story west of Wisbech. Bruce reports services returning from Peterborough as follows : L11 37158 20 late, L12 37576 22 late and Y13 37568 6 late.
Heard from Syd today who says "20107 has been off for safety service and James managed a shot of it this evening which we thought you would be interested in. It will not be out yet as it needs brake re-lining.

The Beast tamed  ! Photo Copyright James Race.
 On the subject of the car numbers on X1 you mentioned, I may be able to clarify. The XL numbers are those on the 'Car Chart' or 'Bus Graph' ( take your pick, it is now the latter but was the former for centuries ) which is for the entire company. This is used for total mileages/ bus usage etc by Head Office and Engineers. The KL numbers are probably the local run-out car line numbers which show what a bus at the depot should do for the day. These can vary from day to day and each depot uses a slightly different system, but are linked to the duty roster and so a driver can look ahead and see what bus he can expect to take over. As each depot is the centre of its own Universe and has no interest in what happens elsewhere these can clash...hence the seperate company wide numbers used by Head Office. You may be interested to know that the XL codes are not in general daily use, but your blog codes do get referred to as it makes more sense! To add to the confusion the Kings Lynn duties are also KLxxxx so you may have got the KL7101 from the drivers duty..... I will find out for you ". Very interesting Syd - the codes I use have remained pretty much the same since I started following X1 proceedings a couple of moths after renumbering from X94.
Des was on the road today and reports "37156 - (Y9) 06:45 Gorleston - Peterborough  - On time, slight delay at Toftwood, road to single lane for surfacing work and auto lights were out. Oncoming traffic had right of way. After a break I took up L11, another B7 37158 on the 10.45 King's Lynn - Peterborough, what a disaster!
 I'll run throught the times -Lynn 3 late @ 10:48, Wisbech 4 late @ 11:22, roadworks at thorney toll - auto lights again, Thorney 20 late @ 12:00, arrive Queensgate bay 10 - speak to 2 passengers for rail station and ask if OK to board bus stations passengers and then onto rail station. That was OK with them. so returning with 37158 as the 12:05 ex Peterborough :  bay 17 8 late @ 12:22, Rail station 21 late @ 12:26, Thorney 15 late @ 12:44, roadworks at Thorney Toll GONE!!!, Guyhirn 16 late @ 12:56, Wisbech 20 late @ 13:16, K Lynn arrive 20 late @13:44. After a further break I was away again with 37575 - (K14) 15:02 Lynn to Lowestoft as far as Yarmouth. I departed K Lynn 8 late @15:10 gaining time back until Dereham 2 late @ 16:09. On time to depart Norwich @ 16:55 and on time into Yarmouth.
B10M coach  activity today was 20121 on K3 - I really must do this trip before 121 is retired - and 20126 which was on L8 this morning, but by this evening had become Y9 ending at Lynn. Conversely this morning's Y9 37156 seems to have become L8 this evening. One or two other anomalies occurred today. K19 was (I think) 37577, but 37572 was given a run out at 14.45 from Lynn to Peterborough and back before 577 once again worked forward. Y7 was 37569 to Lowestoft and freshly MOT'd 37565 back to Lynn.


Monday October 25th 2010 ~ Doing The Shuffle

Last night 37570 was positioned over the inspection pits at King's Lynn as it was due a service, however, a quick count up of vehicles this morning saw it pressed into service on K15. This it did to Lowestoft and back before it was replaced by 37578 which had meanwhile been fitted with a new windscreen. 37570 was then serviced before being called upon again later when it replaced 37567 on the 17.45 to Peterborough and 19.10 thence to Lowestoft.
With a shiny new windscreen 37578 heads past Walpole on K15, running around 20 late at lunchtime because of the closure of London Road in Lynn.

Another swap tonight involved L10 which had 37564 taken off and 37571 off Y9 then did the final leg at 19.50 to Peterborough and back. Why 37564/7 were unable to complete their turns is not known.
After a quiet start to the day, things went awry at lunchtime when a two vehicle collision shut London Road in King's Lynn with X1 services being diverted via Tennyson Avenue. L11 was one of the worst affected services, due off Lynn for Lowestoft at 13.32, it passed the South Gates Roundabout at 14.03.

Andy James captured 37563 queueing out of Lynn near Dodman's Bridge on Gaywood Road during today's unscheduled diversion.
Michael Bryant saw 20107 at Gasworks Road depot today undergoing servicing and 37156 was out early being seen on the 09.40 Norwich to Lowestoft X2. Later, 37156 resumed X1 duties replacing 37566 for the 13.25 to Peterborough (K4).
20121 continued its good work on K3 and 20126 worked K14 ending up at Lowestoft tonight. Thanks very much to Andy James, Bruce and Cheryl for sightings today.
Des says "37577 - Y9 09:45 King's Lynn > Peterborough - 'ticking' all the way, something in front n/s tyre. At Thorney, from garden centre to guest house on A47, very thick mud on the road, I and a few other drivers lost traction  just after the garden centre before the A47 roundabout. As I was making good time and the traffic was light, I thought I would route into Peterborough via A1139 to check up on roadworks at the A15 roundabout. Still far from finished, so as the Christmas shoppers start coming out, it may be holdups on the Boulevard!!! Continuing with 37577 on the 11.05 from Peterborough,  5 late at Wisbech due to Weasenham Lane diversion, 6 late at Lynn. 37575 L12  14:02 Lynn to Low (me off at Yar) - 3 late leaving Lynn, on time by Swaffham. Roadworks in Toftwood, I was lucky and sailed straight through. 37563 in front (XL17) left Norwich as I arrived". XL17 = L11 in my speak. There seem to be a couple of different designations for each turn on the official front. My K14 for example is known at KL7101 and XL01, but confusingly K15 is KL7104 and XL02.

Sunday October 24th 2010 ~ Sunday Coaching

Most Sundays the X1 is a totally B9 worked experience. On occasion, a B7 will infiltrate and - these days - on very rare occasions, a coach will appear. With Great Yarmouth having to supply three X1 vehicles on Sunday, I had expected 37575/6/9 to appear, but for some reason, 37579 was unavailable and 20126 worked instead on the 09.30 Yarmouth - Peterborough, 13.10 Peterborough - Lowestoft and 17.48 Lowestoft - King's Lynn. A double A47 riot this evening resulted in 37576 on the 16.48 Lowestoft - Peterborough losing 16 minutes by Terrington. A two vehicle accident at East Winch and a car on fire at Middleton were responsible.
In addition to 37578 with its broken windscreen, King's Lynn also have 37572 with a large crack in same. 578 should be back tomorrow, but 572 may have to wait until Tuesday.


Saturday 23rd October 2010 ~ One Good Turn Deserves Another

Against a stormy sky and shortly before a heavy shower, 20126 is seen at Walpole Highway at just after 14.35 today.
 Yesterday we related how L10 with 'The Beast' (20107) made up time and this was all the more surprising, as it was expected to be taken off at Lowestoft for servicing. As it completed the turn, it ended up overnight at King's Lynn. It was sent out this morning on K18, but, was removed at Lowestoft for its belated service and the 10.55 to Peterborough then departed with 20126 which had been especially sent over from Yarmouth. Michael Bryant espied 37563 over the pits at Gasworks Road yesterday, but this was clearly still unfit for service, hence 126 being sent for, there being no other tacho fitted vehicles available.
K5 with 37578 hit a bird on route this morning which completely smashed the drivers windscreen and 37158 replaced it. This created a shortage on Lynn locals, so 20121 was provided and was used instead of the B7. For a Saturday, timekeeping was quite good today. The turns originating at the coast today were Y6 37564, Y7 37571 (this ended up at Yarmouth last night due to Friday's disruption), L8 37573, L9 37567, Y10 37569 (thanks to Cheryl for reporting this one), L11 37160, L12 37579 and Y13 37157.
For you motorists, Des says "On Thursday I omitted to state that petrol in Lowestoft had increased by 1p so:-TESCO PETROL PRICE WATCH, Hardwick = 117.9 per litre - Lowestoft = 114.9 per litre".
Shocking discrimination for us over here in the Fens !

Friday 22nd October 2010 ~ Roadworks again

Two sets of temporary traffic lights sent the X1 service into turmoil today. Situated at East Winch, east of King's Lynn and at Thorney Toll, both were on auto-operation rather than manual, so delays began to build up from quite early on. The Wisbech flood defence strengthening roadworks look like they are almost over with just some paving to be relaid on Nene Quay. The 'expected ok' date has always been 31/10, but the road could have been reopened sooner had staff been employed earlier this week, when for a couple of days nothing was touched.
So to today's service then and K2 with 37579 started the day on time, as was the corresponding westbound service at Walpole Y6 with 37573. K3 had 20121, but plans to remove this at 16.10 were dashed as there were no spare vehicles. 121 being due for a service tonight. Y7 with 37577 was 5 late from Wisbech at 09.23, but 37569 on L8 was on time, leaving via Churchill Road - thanks to Peter for the obs. Y9 with 37156 was on time via Nene Quay, but 20107 on L10 was another service seen by Peter which used the Churchill Road diversion.
The delays began to bite returning from Peterborough and Bruce reports 'the Beast' passing him at 13.11, 37 late and L11 with 37566 at 13.39, 34 late. L12 and 37574 was similarly 38 late. By this time, action was taken and 37576 having had its service completed ahead of schedule was inserted into the timetable as the 14.02 to Lowestoft (L12). From then on the original L12 (which at this stage had just left Wisbech) became Y13. The rest of the afternoon was equally confusing. By this evening, L10 with 20107 had made up all but 5 minutes of its defecit and by 22.00 was on time. 37564 was seen at Walsoken 44 late on K1 16.35 from Peterborough followed 90 seconds behind by 37579 on K2. 
Rob Brooks says "20107 1256 Wisbech - Lowestoft d1303, 37568 1246 Wisbech - Peterborough a1302 d1306, 37567 1416 Wisbech - Peterborough a1413 d1416. Is it unusual for a Lowestoft vehicle to do the 1417 to PB, forgive me if im wrong, but isn't that one of KLs internal ones that 37562 lived on?". Well this is just how the public would have seen the X1 at this time. In fact,  20107 was the 12.26 running 37 late,  37567 was the 13.48 running 28 late. K17 (the old 562 turn) was at this point 37578.


Thursday 21st October 2010 ~ Sorting Things Out

After the events of yesterday, I had a lot of sorting out to do today, however, Bruce & Co came to my rescue and provided a detailed sightings log. Punctuality was good today, but there was quite a bit of swapping buses. 60863 which was at Lynn was provided for K16, but in a sensible move, it was removed at Yarmouth and replaced by 'The Beast'. This was spare there following the return to service of 37572 which worked Y13.
 37568 which spent yesterday at Lynn for modifications was back on the road this afternoon when it was seen on K19, a turn which had begun the day with 37578 and which was removed for servicing.
This evening was quite eventful, with 37567 needing fitters attention on L10 in the Dereham area. With nothing having arrived by 20.30 (it is due to depart at 19.50 to Peterborough), it was arranged to take 37579 off Y6 20.27 arrival from P'bo and turn it round to form a late L10. Y6 then went forward to Lowestoft at 20.35 with 37563 which had come in on Y9. The reason for this complication was to enable 579 to end up at Lynn and 563 at Lowestoft. 37567 did make it to Lynn and was noted 'not in service' on Hardwick Road at 20.45 heading for the garage. One other side effect was that 37564 on L12 20.50 to Peterborough was terminated at Lynn, it being assumed that any westbound passemgers had caught 37579 when it left at 20.37 on L10. In addition to all this, 37570 on Y7 arrived at Lynn with a hole in the front windscreen and Draytons were attending it by 20.30. L8 had a vehicle swap too, with 37566 this morning which was taken off for servicing this afternoon and replaced by 37156. The latter had earlier worked the 10.38 Lowestoft - Norwich X2 and was reported by Michael B. He also says that 34108 was engaged on a Bernard Matthews contract this afternoon. Back on the X1, 20121 was on its usual turn and this meant it was at Lynn at the same time as 20107 - Des kindly took a picture of Lynn driver Jim who was ready to take 121 this afternoon. The punters look a little confused !
20121 with 20107 behind and just visible one of those Gemini things ! DS
Des says, 37565 is due for MOT at Beccles on Tuesday and is currently at Yarmouth on prep. He also makes mention of additional delays today caused by automated temporary lights at West Bilney and Thorney Toll.


Wednesday October 20th 2010 ~ The Curse of 60863 strikes again !

As regular readers of the blog will know, periodically those in control at Yarmouth send out tacho fitted 60863 on the X1 , rather than a B10M coach or 34108. This normally happens if one of the B9s has a short term problem and when, this morning, 37572 was off the road with a flashing ABS warning light, the option to use the Volvo B10RLE was chosen. It had already seen spells of service in January, February and June this year, so was not entirely unexpected, particularly with the current unreliability of 20126 and the reluctance to use 20115. As is usual, Y13 was the turn chosen and presumably a refuelling arrangement was made at some point, as in the past it has run out of fuel twice on this turn. Despite its large capacity engine, it has a dreadful reputation for timekeeping and today was no exception. 2 late from Wisbech westbound at lunchtime, it was 12 late coming back and late tonight it went directly into Vancouver Avenue from Peterborough at 00.36 (still approx 12 late).
Peter had a trip out today and as luck would have it, managed to use K4 and 37579 twice. He sent a series of texts to amuse me as follows " 37579 10 late on 07.40 to P'bo today and it's flipping cold standing at the bus stop this morning ! Gerard, Doreen is right, you need to get a grip or nobody will use your service !".  A few minutes later he continues " Not sure if there's something wrong with the bus or the driver - we are dawdling along as if on some sort of go slow and we are at least 10 late, we need Blondie". He then says
" Bu**er that was close, luckily the driver went direct to the rail station, so I caught my train with 2 minutes to spare". Driver lethargy seems to have been to blame, as 579 was driven with more gusto on the 18.05 ex Peterborough says Peter. By way of an explanation, new X1 drivers tend to be over cautious due to the 'Drive Green' system which penalises them, not only for exuberant driving, but also for such ridiculous habits as not braking for a corner, even though the vehicle may be under full control. Another example of political correctness gone mad and before you say it, yes I know it allegedly saves fuel.
B10M survivors out today were 20107 on K1, which had done very well this evening to pass the Southgates roundabout at 17.53 heading in to King's Lynn on a turn which is frequently delayed. 20121 was the other example which graced K3 as usual.
After Volvo modifications yesterday, 37563 was let loose on K18 and another Lowestoft B9, 37568 was undergoing similar treatment today.
Unorthodox duties for the sidelined 37572 at Yarmouth today involved work on services 5, 6 and 7. Over at Lowestoft 37156 re-emerged and worked the 10.38 X2 to Norwich. 37565 meanwhile added to the dearth of B9s by appearing on the ramp at Yarmouth (possibly an MOT ?).
So with timekeeping pretty good with the exception of 37157 on K16 which somehow lost the best part of 25 minutes, this leads me to the other incident today.
I had to take my Mum (she's 80 bless her) to the Warfarin clinic at Wisbech hospital today - it is something we do on a monthly basis and, thankfully up to now, without incident. Today, though, was different. Not long after leaving home, we were sailing steadily along the X1 route - we passed Bruce's observation post and then went up the flyover which crosses the A47. Once over the top, we noticed a van coming off the A47 slip road which had no intention of giving way. The result was it collided full on with the front nearside wing of my car - a fraction of a second later and it would have ploughed into the passenger door, behind which was my dear Mum.
Mercifully both of us unhurt, I managed to force the passenger door open and get my Mum out. Diesel was leaking from a fractured pipe and just at this moment, quite by coincidence, Bruce came up the slip road in his Volvo and saw what had happened. He whisked my Mum off to his bungalow where he left her with the cat and a copy of the Daily Express and then returned to supervise until the police arrived. Without going into too much detail, I will just say that I ended up directing 37575 on K15 past the accident site as my vehicle was unable to move, this was because the engine and gearbox had been damaged severely in the impact. Several X1s went to and fro while I was waiting with the police for my car to be recovered, including a very noisy and indeed very late 37157 on K16. The highlight of the whole incident was when one of the policeman attending looked at me and Bruce and said "You're the bus blokes aren't you ?". Oh Dear - Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me ! But no, it transpired that doing an X1 blog is far from illegal (take note RP & Co) and in fact it has even been viewed at the police station !
Anyway, all this business leads me to today's photo which shows my poor little Corsa on the back of the Tears recovery truck being watched by some bemused X1 passengers enjoying (?) the delights of 60863. Every cloud has a silver lining don't they say ?

It was a beautiful day today. The blue car is standing where the van emerged hitting my car.


Tuesday October 19th 2010 ~ 97303 + 97301

Err Wot ? Ah 97303 + 97301 which - apparently were Class 37s in a former life were spotted at King's Lynn station this morning by an eagle eyed X1 driver. So I suppose it does count for the blog then, being as they were seen from an X1, and not any old X1 either, The Beast no less which was entertaining all and sundry on Y9 06.45 Gorleston to Peterborough. I could have sworn the driver made a cheery wave toward the X1 blog hq too when leaving Wisbech. Being on Y9 meant it was in King's Lynn bus station at the same time as 20121 which was heading east and back on K3 today.
Timekeeping was commendable today. K2 was somehow 10 late this morning when passing Walton Highway en route to Lowestoft with 37574, but by this evening it was a minute early. 37573 on K16 took the Town Bridge and Freedom Bridge route returning east through Wisbech at just before 15.30.
Bruce enjoyed a trip 'in luxury' as he puts it, from Walpole Highway to Lynn with 20107 at lunchtime and saw 37158 & 37160 on local town work, while 37563 was kept in at Vancouver Avenue for modifications it would seem. Michael Bryant saw 37565 on the 14.38 Lowestoft to Beccles X2 this afternoon. Des reports delays in Yarmouth at teatime : "North Quay is closed Northbound, being resurfaced, all traffic (Yarmouth Races!!) goes via Northgate Street and through Yarmouth town centre.". He adds "With 37579 on L12 14.20 Lynn to Lowestoft today, an onboard passenger rang the bell to alight at Newmarket Road Interchange. I stopped and one passenger boarded and asked if I went to St Stephens. I said bus station. He offered me a fare. I keyed stage 24 to stage 24, fare came up as 0.00 and would not issue a ticket. The passenger rode for the fare on the machine. Dereham and Wisbech have internal fares. Keying in the fare stage of 18 to 18 or 4 to 4 will come up with a cross town fare. Someone must have forgotten to load the wayfarer with an internal Norwich fare".

A glimpse of 'The Beast' and Des taken from the X1 blog HQ this morning and just look at the number of passengers enjoying the experience !

20107 rests briefly at Queensgate before heading back east.

Just a Reminder .......

...... of how it used to be not that very long ago ! Pictures by kind permission of Grahame Bessey.

Here is 20106 which was a very late addition to the X1 fleet. It is seen ready to work from Norwich to Cambridge on the short lived X4 service. 20106 now languishes in the condemned corner at Rowan Road, King's Lynn. It last worked on 2nd January 2010

Now who (apart from possibly disabled people) wouldn't relish a journey to the very pleasant seaside resort of Sheringham in B10M 20109 ? This was still possible when Grahame took this picture of her in April 2006. Subsequently 109 received a repaint, losing in the process, the Excel branding on the front. King's Lynn also fitted her with a new front registration plate to replace the rusting one shown here and until transfer to the driver training squad, was an X1 regular. She last worked in service on the X1 on July 3rd  2010.

Here's my favourite B12 Paragon, 20505 departing Norwich for Lowestoft in April 2006. The comfort provided by these fine coaches is now sadly lacking from the route

and finally ....It took me ages to get a picture of 20101 on the X1, although in the early days of the service it did occasionally appear. Grahame snapped it on its regular haunt, the X2 in 2006. It was rarely used on the X1 in its latter days, although for the life of me I can't remember why. Maybe someone reading this can recall the reason. 20101 broke down on 13/8/07 and never worked again. After much cannibalisation for spares, it left Lowestoft for the scrapyard on 30th March 2009.

Monday 18th October 2010 ~ Traffic Traumas

Traffic into King's Lynn was pretty abysmal this morning and although the bulk of it had thinned out by 10.30, the damage to the X1 service had already been done. As so often happens, the first through service from the coast, Y6, was little affected and this ran near to time with 37572. After this though, things began to worsen . Y7 with 37578 was 15 late passing Bruce at Walpole, but this had been cut to just 9 mins when it passed me at Wisbech. L8 was 37574 and this was 31 late at Walpole having been well late arriving at Lynn from the East. Next was Y9 and 37573 seen arriving at the South Gates at 09.53 (about 20 late) and this was passing Bruce at 10.37, 34 late. L10 had 37563 16 late into Lynn and this then worked forward in the times of L11 at 10.45 to Peterborough. Ironically, L11 itself was on time with 'The Beast', but the powers that be saw it removed to the centre of Lynn bus station and it then returned east as L8 at 12.02, leaving 37574 to become Y9, 37573 L10 and 37563 L11. This then meant that L12 with 37567 could continue throughout with the timetable back to normal.
Repairs to 20121 saw it work K5 today for a change. Illegally parked cars on Nene Quay caused problems for L10 20.22 Wisbech to Peterborough tonight, but some careful driving meant 37573 got through in one piece.
37577 was undergoing modifications today and was given a test run about 16.00 after attention to its gearbox and ecu.


Wednesday 13th - Sunday 17th October 2010 ~ The Highlights

It is heartening to know that several people seem to have actually missed reading the blog since my last entry, so it's time now to catch up with things. I'll try and be brief so as not to make it too hard work to read.
Wednesday : DS says  "At Lowestoft this afternoon and  37569 arrived 'Not In Service' at 17:18, driver left the vehicle to cash in and then took the Lowestoft day cleaner to the garage at 17:25". 569 had been having a service today and its place was taken on the X1 by yesterday's serviced vehicle, 37157.
On the coach front 20121was impeccably behaved again on K3, it was viewed by Marcus who says "Passed 20121 on K3 in Thorney again today. Only difference was the destination - X1 Lowestoft via Beccles !!!". Unfortunately 20126 suffered another setback today. Des continues "Poor old 20126 expired outside East Norfolk Six Form College at 16:10 (Just about to leave on service 878 to Ber Apton etc.). It looked to me as if one of the fuel tank straps was hanging loose.She was suspension towed from site at 18:35". Warranty work kept 37572/8 off the road at Lynn.
Thursday : 37567/8 both needed servicing at Lowestoft today, so 20107 was called upon to work L11. K2 had 37158 changed for 37572 at some point. 37567 was noted by Des on the 17.10 X2 from Norwich to Lowestoft, but it is thought to have worked the last leg of K17 instead of 37574. Cheryl sent in a raft of observations which were very useful and timekeeping was very good. She missed K16 which she thinks took the Churchill Road route from Wisbech hence her not seeing it.
Friday : A normal start gave way to the usual kind of Friday timekeeping with, for example, 37569 starting the day on Y6 and by the evening it was on L8 having lost an hour somewhere during the day. 'The Beast' was sent home to Lowestoft on K2. Cheryl once again helped out and saw 37156 14 late on Y9 10.18 Wisbech to Peterborough and later L11, L12, K19 and K1 all running slightly late. 20121 had a rare day off as it was required at Norwich for a private hire job.
Saturday : Poor punctuality seems to have hit the service again. Peter says "K15 was 50 late from Peterborough this afternoon" and adds, "Doreen said she went for the 1118 from Wisbech to Peterborough but caught the 1048 (Y10) running 15 late (didn't get the number). At Thorney the lady driver said she was having a problem with the gearbox so kicked everyone off and onto the next service. 'You need to tell Gerard that nobody will use the X1 unless they soon sort it out - why are they so unreliable on Saturdays?' says Doreen".
Oh dear, now I'm being held personally responsible, even though I was at some remote spot in the Yorkshire Dales at the time. I don't know which bus was involved, but by the end of the day 37566 was working the turn and I think 37564 may  have been the culprit.  What we do know for sure, is that K16 changed vehicles. Michael Bryant viewed 37156 heading east at Norwich, but this was swapped at Lowestoft for 20107, later viewed by Bruce and Rob H. K3 had 37577 on Friday and Saturday instead of 20121 which was away.
Sunday : 37158 was standing in for a B9 today, it formed the 20.42 arrival at Lynn tonight and retired to the garage as booked. 20121 returned to Lynn from Norwich with a panel missing which Tim at the garage was none too pleased about.

37569 has at long last received a replacement for its Easy Jet advert. In fact, almost all the Geminis are now carrying the 'Burke & Hare' ad. 569 still has the narrow font route.displays

37570 also has the narrow font display in common with 37564/9/77/9. It is seen passing Walpole Highway this afternoon.


Tuesday 12th October 2010 ~ Last One For A While

A great picture from last Thursday evening, 37156 was captured by James Race being fuelled at Lowestoft depot after working the 21.15 to Southwold and back.

On the same evening James photographed 37565 undergoing a safety service at Lowestoft.
Michael Bryant spotted 'The Beast' today, it was lurking not far from Lowestoft bus station, presumably spare. 37157 was seen on the 007 Beccles schools contract and Des says "Spotted 37157 on X2's today 08:06 just leaving Lowestoft bus station, 09:45 on Nor ring road at County Hall & on X2 - 17.10 Norwich to Lowestoft. All this while X1 passengers had to once again struggle onto 20121!!!! Shame on you First!!!".
Oh Dear, I do hope he won't get into trouble for saying that ! He knows I prefer a B10M any day, but as he would point out, I'm not disabled or elderly (well not far off the latter tis true).
There was a bit of a riot this morning, when the A47 was shut at Guyhirn roundabout because of an accident between there and Thorney. Bruce saw 37564 on Y6 at Rings End and Ian passed 37568 on Y9 at Coates, both having travelled via Whittlesey. This meant many services were delayed in departing from Lynn back to Lowestoft and Y6 left at 11.25, Y7 (37160) at 12.09, L8 (37579) at 12.28 and Y9 at 12.39. these were 23, 37, 26 and 7 minutes late respectively.
20121 did K3 as usual, but it was late into Lynn for the 16.15 Peterborough, being spied at the Southgates at 16.21. A B9 departed Vancouver Avenue for the bus station at 16.17, so it may have replaced the B10M. 37570 was back in action on K4 today and there were further swaps to facilitate servicing and Volvo work. K5 began with 37577 which came off at 10.30 for 37572 off a service to go forward at 10.32 from Lynn to Lowestoft. K17 had 37573 removed at 13.45 for 37578 to work forward to Peterborough.
Tonight 37573 was after many months having its torn Easyjet advert replaced by one for the new movie 'Burke & Hare' and this should also oust most of those for 'Piranha'.
Thanks to James for today's pictures and the book he recently produced, together with Syd Eade is reviewed in 'Bus & Coach Preservation' magazine on sale now. The book has had healthy sales, so congrats from all of us.
Now the next blog will be on Sunday when I try to make head or tail of what has gone on over the next few days, as I am away until Saturday evening. Your sightings will be valued, especially on Friday when my regular buddy, Bruce is having an awayday with another blog regular. This is a good opportunity to thank all our regular contributors, please keep up the good work.

Monday 11th October 2010 ~ Set Your Watch

Set your watch by the X1 - surely not ? It all seemed to work marvellously today, so relief for Rosie & Co after Saturday's collapse. Timekeeping westbound from Wisbech today was nothing short of exemplary. The 09.18, 09.48, 10.48. 11.18 & 11.48 departures to Peterborough were all either on time or slightly early. I can't vouch for the 10.18 (Y9) as this went via Weasenham Lane with 37156 which had been resuscitated at Yarmouth.
 20121 is still doing a grand job helping out and this alone prevented an all low-floor day, she was seen entering Walsoken at 16.38 dead on time. At King's Lynn garage 37570 was kept in as expected, but 37578 was also off the road with a compressor problem. Once modifications and warranty work has been completed on the Lynn B9s, work will start on the Lowestoft examples which are also going to be worked on at Lynn. Today's most unusual event was the use of Lowestoft's 37569 on K15, a Lynn internal job, due to the non availability of 37570/8. 37570 should be back on Tuesday with 37577 being removed for attention.
Des writes : "Not much to report, I've been on a local shift that operated with 34111 - X1 - 08:52 Yarmouth to Norwich & 09.40 return. Then I managed to procure 20115 for the 16:37 Broadland Business Park to Norwich and 17:10 X1 Norwich to Gorleston. En route to Norwich at Burlingham at 16:10 spotted 37565 (Yarm driver) on time followed one car behind by 37575 (Lynn driver) 'Sorry, not in service' - No passengers! I reckon the Lynn driver didn't know the way to Low via A146!".
Well we have had quite a few new Lynn drivers of late Des, so probably so. 37575 was on L11 and 37565 on L12, so obviously 575 had been delayed somewhere. They had both been on time earlier, see above.

Sunday 10th October 2010 ~ Normality

37573 passing Bruce's bungalow this afternoon in bright sunshine - who needs Easy Jet ?
After yesterday, today could only be described as uneventful. The ten diagrams were all B9 Geminis with 37571 making a swift return home on the 09.48 / 18.48 from Lowestoft. A sobering thought there, the full round trip and restart only takes nine hours ! 37570 came into Lynn tonight and will be off the road tomorrow for servicing and modifications.


Saturday 9th October 2010 ~ Meltdown

Traffic queuing into Lynn this morning. 37564 can just be seen arriving from Peterborough. DS
The law of averages states that a long distance route like the X1 will sometimes come unstuck with several incidents on the same day. Today was that day !
An accident blocking the A47 at Hockering around 08.00 combined with temporary traffic lights on London Road in King's Lynn brought the service to its knees. At one stage, the Peterborough service from Lynn had reduced to hourly. It's impossible to detail all the events, but here is a snapshot. west of Lynn, things seemed to be going Ok first thing. Y6 05.52 Yarmouth - Peterborough was on time from Lynn with 37157 and this managed to get back to the South Gates roundabout from Peterborough at 11.09, approx 20 late. Next westbound service, Y7 06.22 from Yarmouth had the fated 37568 and after getting past the Hockering obstacle, this passed the South Gates inbound at 09.17, 43 minutes late and went by me at Wisbech 52 late. By this time then 82 minutes had passed between P'bo bound services from Wisbech and 568 was filled to capacity.  L8 with 37578 hit the peak of the traffic delays at Lynn and was past the Southgates roundabout at 09.37, but not reappearing until 10.21 heading to Peterborough, around an hour late. By the time it passed Bruce on the 10.35 from Peterborough it was running a huge 78 minutes late. Next going west was L9 with 37158 and this was about 39 late into Lynn and 61 late by Walpole Highway. 158 was later seen leaving Wisbech at 13.02, now 66 late and was finally seen heading Lowestoft bound past Southgates at 14.11, so by now running in the times of L12.
Des takes up the story of Y10 which he was driving : "37569 - 07:15 Gorleston to Peterboro' - Great till I got to Norwich and a Lynn driver informed that the A47 was closed at Hockering. I thought and decided that, there's time to spare on a Saturday, traffic is light, we'll go and see what's happening.
No problems getting into Hockering. I spoke to 2 people waiting for an eastbound bus and told them to board and I would get them to Dereham to catch a bus to Norwich. Then no exit from Hockering westbound - Accident was just over the brow of the hill on a straight piece of single track road between the end of the bypass and the turn off to Hockering church. An artic and a car were involved.
My own diversion took me back to the Mattishall roundabout and over the A47 at Eckling Grange. (2 passengers there. previous buses had gone via Yaxham and missed Eckling Grange.) See below for my route.

I was 12 late at Dereham (09:19) - I was at Lynn Cemetery at 10:07 and on good time to hand over for the 10:15 King's Lynn to Peterborough BUT there was traffic - I arrived at Lynn at 10:29 and the bus in front (37158 due 09:45) was still loading. I transfered my onward passengers to 37158 and put 37569 into the centre of the bus station. Lynn control were pleased, they had a spare bus!
I was told to take 37569 back to Low on the L9 11:32 Lynn to Lowestoft. I left on time and outbound traffic meant I was 12 late at East Winch. I was back on time by Yarmouth at 14:00 for my relief driver.
I spent the rest of the day on service 8".

So Y10 as we have seen was terminated at Lynn, next service was L11 with 37579, 17  x 25 late at Southgates. This one is believed to have terminated at Wisbech and returned to Lynn immediately. L12 with 37567 was through Walpole Highway at 12.25 (booked 11.33) and went through to Peterborough.

Des tells us about Y13 : "37156 - this should have operated 07:30 Yarm to Low, then 08:25 Low to P'bo - a water pump problem and a cracked destination screen kept it at Yarmouth. - B10M 20115 was dispatched as a replacement". This got Bruce quite excited as 115 is a very rare coach on the X1, my own records show that the last time it was used west of King's Lynn was on 24th August 2009 ! Unfortunately though, circumstances conspired against it today and it was seen emerging from Nar Ouse Way at 11.58, the driver having opted to use the Lynn bypass instead of queuing for ages on Hardwick Road. Lynn was as far as it got and it then returned east later, believed to have been still on Y13 in which case doing the 14.32 from Lynn. Instead of coming back to Lynn on the 17.48 from Lowestoft, 37567 (off L12) replaced it. This then left 20115 to return in the path of L12 light to Yarmouth. By mid afternoon, the traffic in Lynn had eased, but there was still fallout with Lowestoft services seen leaving Lynn at 16.05 and 16.17.
 By the end of the day, many buses had ended up in a different location to that expected and one of these was 37571 which ended up spending its first night away from Lynn since its return to service. It berthed overnight at Lowestoft.


Friday 8th October 2010 ~ Red Friday

The maintenance schedule for X1 buses works on a two weekly rota. It is widely accepted in public transport - and indeed is probably a statutory requirement I daresay - that vehicles receive a mandatory check of all things important every 14 days. In bus terms these are known as 'safety services' which is a contemporary phrase for 'examination'. Because of the two weekly cycle, I have found it easier to designate each alternate week as either a red or blue one. So it is that on a red Friday (like today), 'The Beast' is due for a service, along with B9s 37566, 37571 and 37578. The Lowestoft maintenance seems to take an unplanned format, whereas at Lynn buses due for a service are seen to by the early shift of fitters and almost always (if no incurable fault found) dispatched on K5 which is the last turn to be supplied by Lynn. This of course means that the freshly serviced bus has a clear road off the pits with the other buses having already left.
20107 was at Lynn overnight and was sent out on K1 (a Yarmouth terminator) and the opportunity was taken to take it out of service at Lowestoft at lunchtime. The Beast is shown here at Lowestoft today awaiting a driver to take it to Gasworks Road

The replacement for 20107 was B7 37156 which has been having an extended holiday from the X1. This was last used on the service on September 30th and is widely regarded as a bit of a struggler acceleration and speedwise - its fair to say that it would give 20118 a good contest !
So 37156 took K1 and was 20 late by the time Wisbech was reached, however, in the interests of fairness it must be pointed out that 20121 (on K3 of course) was 23 late arriving here. Overall though an average 15 minute delay on Friday is quite acceptable and the other reprobate seen was 37575 on K17 passing the South Gates cameras at 18.00 on K19 eastbound, around 23 late.
37566 was off at Lowestoft for servicing today and the chap from Wrights had a good poke and prod at 37573 at Lynn today.
Our man at the controls says "37570 - Y6 05:50 Yarm to P'bo - On time throughout - 2 hoodies boarded at Norwich with return CHILD tickets from yesterday. Company policy is simple, every passenger has to have a valid ticket. Of course, they had no money!!! They soon found £10 for 2 adult singles back to Lynn though.
20121 - K3 09:35 Lynn to Low - It takes time to fill out the tachograph disc! - Left 5 late from Lynn. Time made up by Dereham. I just knew that I would have a few passengers with luggage etc. 7 large cases and 2 baby buggies later, I arrived at Lowestoft. just 4 late (12:44). Pic below...

After leaving Norwich and while entering the single track road beyond the Blofield bypass, I followed at tractor and trailer full of spuds. At North Burlingham a VOSA vehicle pulled out in front of the tractor and drove at 20 mph displaying 'Follow me - Vehicle inspection'. When the road opened into a dual carriageway, I overtook the tractor, only to be waved past by the VOSA vehicle!!! RELIEF!!!! You see 20121 is an ex driver training bus. It has 3 mirrors on the drivers O/S. 2 for the driver and one for the instructor. It has no dividing screen between driver and passenger (I wonder whether removal of a health and safety item is allowed ??) and a very loud buzz when the indicators are used!!". We are also proud to present courtesy of DS our ....(fanfare)....
Hardwick = 117.9 per litre - Lowestoft = 113.9 per litre !
Regional variations hey ?


Thursday 7th October 2010 ~ Wisbech Diversions

Most X1 services now depart westbound from Wisbech via Nene Quay as timetabled, although the flood defence work which has caused the closure of this route eastbound seems to be running miles behind schedule. The target date for completion of the work and consequent reopening of the road for eastbound traffic was originally October 31st, but from the work completed so far, it looks like it may be next Summer by the time it is complete !
This afternoon was very unusual because firstly Suzanne spotted 37571 in the Old Market having traversed Town Bridge on K15 and therefore heading for Freedom Bridge to reach the Horsefair and 90 minutes later Peter saw 37160 doing the same route on K18.
20121 was predictably K3, but it was replaced for the 16.15 to Peterborough by 37575 off repairs / servicing.
The Beast came out on Y9 and ended up at Lynn garage this evening parked incidentally, next to 20121. 37564 returned to the route today on L8 replacing 37565 which was required for servicing, but 37156 was still being used on the X2 with Michael noting it on the 10.38 Lowestoft - Norwich.


Wednesday 6th October 2010 ~ Calm Restored

37571 at Walton Road, Walsoken at lunchtime. JB was the chauffeur and unusually for him, it was running 10 minutes late.
After yesterdays disastrous morning, normality resumed today. It seems a long while since we had a total low floor day and one suspects that by the close of the year we may just have reached double figures on this count. 20121 continued its charmed life with use on K3 and 20107 - what an amazing vehicle it is ! - was used on L8. This is normally a B9 duty, but such is the reliability of 107 currently, it repeated its feat of September 27th and worked the duty throughout.
The rest of the service was worked by the usual combination of B9 Geminis assisted by the B7s. Not at work on the route today were 37564, which instead worked the 10.38 X2 from Lowestoft and 37575 which was stopped at Lynn for modifications. B7 37157 which is extremely noisy at the moment did K14 and 37160 off a service worked K5. This left 37158/9 in use locally at Lynn and over at lowestoft Michael B reports 37156 again in use on the X2, this time working the 10.38 to Norwich and meaning that two consecutive turns on this route were Geminis. Strange then that 'The Beast' was used in preference on L8.
Punctuality was good today, but there was a blip in the middle of the day when 37573 on K17 ran exactly 30 minutes late from Lynn in the times of K18 to Peterborough. The real K18 was 37579 and this didn't work the western section.


Tuesday October 5th 2010 ~ Bus Lane Needed

Someone told me recently that it is rumoured that part of London Road in King's Lynn is to be made into a bus lane. This would certainly have been handy today, as the Millfleet junction roadworks seem to have over-ran causing chaos in this morning's peak right through until lunchtime.
Y6 - the first one from Yarmouth - is normally a good timekeeper, so 37563 departing Wisbech 11 late this morning was indicative of problems. Next along past Bruce was Y7 with 37565 which was 21 late and 27 late coming back, but it was after this that the balloon went up so to speak. L8 with 37578 was already 37 late coming into King's Lynn from Lowestoft and then took 24 minutes between appearances at the South Gates. It was 44 late past Bruce and 41 late from Wisbech. It later returned through Walpole 37 late. Y9 had 37157 and this was 47 late past Bruce, 44 late from Wisbech and on its return at Walpole managed to be 58 late ! As a result of all this chaos, it was decided to terminate L10 at Lynn and the 10.15 to Peterborough didn't run. 37574 which was the bus on L10 was actually only 24 late arriving. Next was 37566 on L11 and this was 16 late into Lynn, 17 late at Walpole westbound which had reduced to just 1 minute late eastbound. At this point, 566 was just 3 minutes behind 37157 when there should have been an hour separating them !
Making an effort to patch things up, Lynn decided to send 37574 to Lowestoft at 12.49, but it is not known whether it ran in service. It later appeared on the afternoon part of L8, this being the 15.25 from Lowestoft. 37157 left Lynn eastbound at 13.30, still with 37566 3 minutes behind it. These were now running as L10 and L11. After this the timetable pretty much righted itself.
Earlier on eastbound services were also heavily delayed. Worst affected was 20121 on K3 which took 28 minutes to get from the South Gates to the bus station and back. By this afternoon though, 20121 was once again on time.
Volvo modifications, which chiefly involve the fuel gauges on the B9s being reset - they have up to now often shown empty when there is still a quarter of a tank left - saw more swapping today. 37573 on K4 was taken off at Lynn and the 10.02 to Lowestoft left with a B7, believed to be 37159. 37576 on K15 was taken off at 12.37 with a refreshed 573 working forward. Attention complete to 576, this then relieved the B7 on K4 at 16.45.
While all this was going on, 20107 worked K14 and 37568 enjoyed a day off at Lynn because its cameras were inoperative. There was no sign of 37564 or 37156 on the X1 or X2 today and Michael B says that 34156 was the only exception to Presidents on the X2 today.

Monday 4th October 2010 ~ Why The Beast ?

Something odd was happening today. 20107 was sent out by Lowestoft on L10 and yet 37156 was later seen on the 14.38 Lowestoft to Beccles X2 and 37564 worked the 13.08 Lowestoft to Norwich. I suppose it is possible that these two are restricted to local working for some reason.
The Beast was joined by 20121 back on its regular turn, K3. Modifications by Volvo to 37572 saw this one receive attention during the morning after which it took the 12.32 Lynn to Lowestoft (Y9) which had come in with 37573 and this was then sent to Vancouver Avenue for more warranty work.
Last night 37573 was used on the 19.10 from Peterborough but had a headlight out by Walpole Highway. It made a quick visit to Lynn garage complete with passengers before re-emerging with a new bulb and continuing into Lynn. Timekeeping today was good, but roadworks in King's Lynn at the Millfleet junction did cause some evening hold ups.
Tonight K19 with 37576 went directly to Lynn depot instead of the bus station, there being no passengers to deposit at the bus station at 00.35 !


Sunday 3rd October 2010 ~ Tyred

A very quiet day today. Just one unusual event, that being a puncture suffered by 37576 at Walton Highway at teatime. It was on the 16.10 ex Peterborough and after a wheel change retired to Lynn garage with, I believe, 37159 working as replacement.
Considering the huge number of miles worked by the B9s, punctures are incredibly rare.
A postscript to Friday now and news reaches us that 20126 failed on its X1 short with a loss of gears on the Acle straight. She had to be towed back to Yarmouth for attention.


Saturday October 2nd 2010 ~ Unanswered Questions

I was otherwise occupied with visitors for much of today, but with some webcam help, did manage to establish that timekeeping was pretty good throughout the day.
King's Lynn were able to produce Geminis for all eleven turns today, so 20121 was (initially at least) rested. I didn't see Y6 or Y7 but they should have been some combination of 37567 and 20107. Whichever one did Y7 was given another job on arrival at Lynn at 18.15. 37565 on K1 18.02 to Lowestoft had ticket machine problems, so this was replaced, I suspect by 'The Beast'.
There was another evening swap when 37158 (I believe) on L8 was not fit to work the 18.50 Lynn to Peterborough, so 20121 was wheeled out to work it instead. This was in turn replaced for the 21.35 Lynn to Lowestoft by a Gemini (either 37574 or 37575) . 37572 remained off the road at Lynn today.

Friday 1st October 2010 ~ Predictability

Thorney crash victim 37571 now seems to have settled down to working K17 and it has done the turn every day this week. Unfortunately, its wheel hub meter which gave roughly its correct mileage, has stopped working properly and with a different speedo in the cab, there is no easy way to check its amassed mileage. In fact the cab odometer reads 31,000 more than it should do ! Lynn seem to use these cab odometers for reference, whereas Lowestoft still pay heed to the wheel meters. 37568 has been fitted with a new one of these today, its actual mileage is 212,800 but of course the hub restarts at zero.

20121 continued its useful work on K3 today and my man at Yarmouth tells me that it may well be on loan until December, during which time 20128 is being used as the Yarmouth driver trainer. 20107 was used on K1 today and 37157 worked Y6 which is normally a B9 duty.

Des has kindly sent in a report for today and says "37564 - L10 15:35 Yarmouth to Lowestoft (delayed outside East Norfolk 6th Form College which is usual am and pm, it really is chaotic!), arrived Low 16:16 (6 late). Lowestoft town driver was waiting to take to garage and return with replacement, Sorry don't know what it was. (Twas 37568 Des, G )I have a snack break at Lowestoft and then take -
37566 - L11 16:55 Low to K/L - On time throughout. Weather was atrocious, Heavy rain and side winds.
Seen en route : 20115 on Nor to Gorl - 17:10 dep (Destination blind Gorleston). 20126 on Nor to Gorl - 17:40 dep (Destination blind Gt Yarmouth! - This bus is driven by the same driver every day. He operates from Gorleston Sixth Form to Bergh Apton & Alpington, light to Norwich. He always puts Gt Yarmouth on the destination, though 20126 is capable of showing Gorleston. I think that he deters passengers from boarding to Gorleston and can cut short the journey to finish early!).
20107 - K1 19:05 in Toftwood - Should arrive Great Yarmouth at 20:20 and garaged.
37569 - L8 21:35 K/L to Low (then light to Yarm) needed fuel and adblue (wet roads again!). It took me 10 mins to get fuel at K/L garage. Lost time made up by 22:37 Dereham. Then on time throughout".

Michael Bryant reports two consecutive X2s from Lowestoft with Geminis today, the 12.08 departure had 37156 and the 12.38 37568 which later took over L10.
37572 was at Lynn having its tacho calibrated today and strangely 37579, MOTd yesterday also failed to appear.


Thursday 30th September 2010 ~ A Bit Of Everything

20121 was standing in on K3 again today, with 20107 appearing on L12 - odd as it had finished at Yarmouth last night. 37567 replaced 34108 and there was more news from Lowestoft. Syd says : "Hi Gerard, Lowestoft Bus Stn this evening had nothing but 'White Elephants' in it! 37566 had arrived on the 1640 X2 from Norwich, due in 1802, 37569 was waiting to depart on the 1815 Ser 99 to Southwold and 37578 was on the stand for the 1848 X1 departure. With nothing else in the Bus Station it looked quite a sight". 37566 was also reported back in service by Michael Bryant who saw it on the 12.08 X2 to Norwich.
37576 was required for warranty work today and I'm not sure whether it was taken off L8 last night or Y7 this morning. 37563 was on Y7 by the time it reached Wisbech, passing me 4 late at 09.24. Des says "With 37563 on the 14:55 Lowestoft to K/L departed on time, lost 6-7 minutes on exiting Norwich, got that down to 2 mins down at Narborough, but heavy traffic into Lynn - London Road reduced to one lane at Millfleet with temp traffic lights so I arrived K/L 13 late. Observed 37570, K1 18:02 G/Y depart 19 late at 18:21 and 37575 on the K2 18:35 to Low departed at 19:12".
An A47 incident saw 20121 arrive into Lynn 30 late on K3 this evening and 37574 similarly delayed on K4 was 21 late from Lynn, but on time from Yarmouth. Well done Des.
37567 on L11 is thought to have run empty from Lynn to Peterborough this morning - not seen at Walpole Highway or Wisbech - Tony saw it at Queensgate ready to depart on the 12.10 to Lowestoft.

Wednesday 29th September 2010 ~ Get Those L Plates Off !

As we suspected yesterday, 20121 had indeed come over to Lynn for X1 use. With its L plates removed, blinds and ticket machine fitted, it was used today on K3. This was the turn which a few weeks ago was regularly covered by Paragon loanee 20514. The turn finishes with the 17.40 Peterborough - King's Lynn.
Marcus emailed to say he had seen it this morning and followed it from Eye to Thorney and Tony Irle says it was seeen at Queensgate on the 17.40 tonight.
Des has drawn my attention to an interesting webcam for King's Lynn commuters - it is also quite useful for X1 bloggers too !

37564 returned to service after MOT today. Yarmouth sent it out in Y13 and I saw it at 14.06 crossing Wisbech Town Bridge eastbound, probably with the same driver who used this route yesterday. It was removed at Lynn and replaced by 37156 which had been unavailable first thing because of a starter fault. K4 with 37572 did not go to Peterborough at 16.45 for some reason and 572 retired to the depot. The diagram resumed as the 19.35 to Lowestoft with 37564, but this didn't leave until 19.57.
There was an imbalance of vehicles today with three non - low floor services starting at Lynn. 121 on K3, K1 with 'The Beast' and 34108 on K14. 37159 was back on the X1 on K18 and 37160 was rested from long distance work. Over at Yarmouth, the release of 37564 left 37578 spare. Lowestoft had 37567 for servicing and still no sign of 37566.
After several days of very good punctuality, today was awful ! L11 with 37568 (what else) was 31 late from Wisbech on the 11.18 to Peterborough and the 11.48 (L12) with 37575 was 24 late. K14 with 34108 was 14 late and the next westbound service seen was 37159 on K18 which was 20 late. Tonight L8 18.50 from Lynn to Peterborough was 13 late with 37576, but refreshingly 568 had regained all its lost time on L11.