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Friday 31st December 2010 ~ New Year's Eve Rollcall

The year ends with an all low floor service and any delays restricted to less than ten minutes - can't be bad if you are involved in the operation. Here is the full list as at 15.30 this afternoon :
K1 37564, K2 37577, K3 37160, K4 37567, K5 37159, Y6 37563, Y7 37575, L8 37574, Y9 37158, L10 37570, L11 37569, L12 37156, Y13 37566, K14 37576, K15 37573, K16 37565, K17 37571, K18 37157 and finally K19 37579.

37566 calls at Walton Road in Walsoken while en route westbound on Y13 today
 What I can't quite understand is why servicing on 37563, 37565 and 37566 has not taken place this week - at least not from my observations. Maybe Lowestoft fitters will be working overtime this weekend !

Thursday December 30th 2010 ~ Cameo Appearance

37564 on Y13 08.15 Lowestoft - Peterborough today, seen passing Wisbech Roadways. Behind me are the remains of the former Victoria Cafe which is in the process of demolition after several months being an eyesore
Just when it looked like this week would see a succession of Geminis looming out of the fog to convey the punters, this afternoon 'The Beast' made what can currently be described as a rare foray to Peterborough.
K2 had started the day with 37569 and with no scheduled reason for it to be stopped, it came as a surprise when 20107 worked back on the 12.25 from Lowestoft. Late running would seem to be the most plausible reason and speaking of which, 107 was an embarrassing 16 late when I espied it through the fog leaving Wisbech. It was likely to see further delay too as an accident on the A47 at Eye Green was causing tailbacks at this time. Of the other 18 turns, only one was seen running notably late which was K15 with 37573. This was seen passing the South Gates bound for Lowestoft at 16.02, the same time that the following service (K16 with 37570) was due to be departing the bus station.
37571/8 were at Lynn today for servicing and this hitherto almost unknown luxury of actually having buses spare in the case of emergencies is now becoming more commonplace. Michael Bryant saw 37156 on the 11.08 Lowestoft to Norwich X2 today which would be why it didn't replace 37569 and the Beast had to be used.

Having arrived in King's Lynn from Lowestoft at 19.59 this evening, 37158 had been washed and cleaned, but was then called upon to work L8 21.35 back to the coast after a minor fault prevented 37579 from doing so.

Wednesday 29th December 2010 ~ Winterlude

Persistent fog was a hazard today. 37573 is in the thick of it at Walsoken on K15 this lunchtime
There has been much talk of what to call the awkward little bit between Christmas and New Year, Winterlude and Middlemas were a couple being bandied about, oh and the latest I've heard is 'Twixmas'.  Anway, I digress, today marked the return of the full X1 timetable and with lighter traffic the service ran pretty much on time.
The Geminis were out in force again with 37575 & 37576 getting a day off - yes you did read that bit right, 37576 had a day off !! If you discount Christmas Day & Boxing Day when there were no services, it has been on the X1 every day since 24th September. That's 94 days in total. Whatever one thinks of the Geminis, their overall availability, particularly in the Winter is excellent. Over this period 576 ran an amazing 35,326 miles.
Sam spotted B7 37157 on the X2 today with its rear ad for Calor Heaters flapping in the breeze, while Peter reported a very smooth journey with 37577 on the 15.18 Wisbech to Peterborough. His lady driver was spot on time.


Tuesday December 28th 2010 ~ Saturday Service

The Saturday service adopted today is very similar to the weekday timetable. Main exceptions are L12 which just runs Lowestoft to Peterborough and back before going light to Yarmouth (this turn was 37570 today), while K2 which terminates at Lowestoft in the week, comes back to King's Lynn to balance things.

37572 heads for Lowestoft this morning on L8.
 Another Saturday arrangement is that Y9 becomes L9 (starting at Lowestoft), while L10 does the opposite and becomes Y10.
One change yesterday was 37579 being swapped at Lynn for 37566, but today everything seemed to stick. All the B7s were operating apart from 37160 and 37564/575 were rested too. Tonight the 19.50 King's Lynn to Peterborough (Y10) with 37565 was stopped at Vancouver Avenue for a headlight bulb change, which in fact required a quick rewiring, so departure was at 20.10, about 15 late. The fog had closed in this evening after a thoroughly dank day.

It really was dismal weather today. 37576 forges through the rain soon after leaving Walpole Highway on the 11.33 Peterborough service.


Monday December 27th 2010 ~ Sales Rush

As in previous years, there was peaktime traffic today, but at the wrong times ! The vouchers mob heading for either Norwich or Peterborough mid morning and returning mid afternoon. I thought most of the sales had started before Christmas this year ?
 Des says "I began with 37573 as the 08.30 Great Yarmouth to Peterborough, we ran nicely to time throughout. I then worked the 10.10 from Peterborough forward from Lynn at 11.35 as far as Norwich. We were seven late departing, 10 late at Swaffham, 9 late at Dereham and 12 late into Norwich. I once again stopped at Newmarket Road interchange and charged a family, 2 adults & 2 children, the fare on the ticket machine into the City! Otherwise I would have to charge from Easton, £7.00 singles or £11.00 for a Norwich 2+2 family ticket!! My next bus had already lost time due to heavy traffic and our due departure at 14.15 from Norwich was exactly 30 late at 14.45. I made up 4 minutes with 37576 to arrive 26 late into Lowestoft which was 8 minutes after I should have set out on the 15.48 return. We departed 10 late and this was down to 5 by Yarmouth". 576 was just a couple of minutes down by the time I passed it near Wisbech this evening.  Earlier I'd seen 37569 at Terrington running 24 late on the 14.50 from Lynn to Peterborough. Des also gives us a petrol price update : Petrol prices - 124.9 @ Lynn Tesco, 120.9 @ Easton Sainsburys and 121.9 @ Lowestoft Tesco.
All turns were B9 Gemini operated today and at Vancouver Avenue were 37156 and 37157 awaiting Tuesday work plus 37158, 37159 & 37160 over the three maintenance bays all awaiting safety services.


A Blast from the Past

Going back to the days prior to the 794, X94 and X1. the King's Lynn to Norwich service buses ran as 34, 34a and 34b depending on the route. Syd Eade who supplied this nostalgic image says "I thought you may like this shot of LFS114 on which I had just travelled from Kings Lynn to Norwich in January 1973.  It was a Sunday so was a 34B which I recall means it diverted via Yaxham and Mattishall between Dereham and Norwich, it was while ago after all.  Anyway just a line to wish you and the blog a very happy Christmas and best wishes for 2011".
Thanks very much Syd and just to add that LFS114 was a bus I travelled on many times between 1969 and 1974.


Friday 24th December 2010 ~ Happy Christmas

It is only just after 3pm, so this is a bit of a premature blog for Christmas Eve. So far, everything appears to be roughly on time with light traffic and indeed light passenger loadings.
This is as always, a good opportunity to thank you all for your valued help throughout the year. If it wasn't for you, there definitely wouldn't be an X1 blog. I have to particularly mention Bruce for his diligence, particularly when I am absent or, as has been the case over the past 12 months or so, diversions which means I don't get to view the service. Des must also get a special mention for his excellent X1 blog Advent Calendar and his regular reporting. I know, however, that there are many more of you who contribute regularly and rest assured that your contributions are always received gratefully.
I hope you all have a peaceful Christmas and for those of you who work for 'First' ,enjoy the break from it all. Hope to hear from you all again soon.  Regards, Gerard

Thursday 23rd December 2010 ~ The Ghost of Christmas Past (on the X2)

Well it is good to know that the old girl is still about ! Des saw 20107 at Norwich today on the X2 - a rare sight indeed, but may be about to become more common. He adds, "Spotted 37567 today while I was driving light to Norwich @ 16:19 approaching Acle eastbound on A47 'Not in Service'. Strange, as yesterday at the same time I spotted another Excel branded vehicle in the same spot, also not in service. Maybe a new driver in the Lynn depot that doesn't know their way to Lowestoft via A146 ?". Yes odd that isn't it. Yesterday 37157 was L12 but was later Y13, so I guess that was the one, then today 37567 did the same diagram swap.
He continues "Today had  34114 which is a bit of a favourite of mine. It's really cold to drive, the heating barely blowing lukewarm, but it will move along at 60 mph and it displays the biggest letters that I've seen on any of our buses!!!"
After yesterday, today punctuality was a bit better - well until lunchtime when yet again things seemed to unravel west of Wisbech. L12 was back in the town departing to Lowestoft at 14.03 (due 13.26), so 37 late and next was Y13 with 37567 and K14 with 37157, both a uniform 29 late. Later things had improved with 37156 running 18 late on K16. In between K15 had gone through with 37576. By this evening everything was back to time.

37576 in yesterday's snow on its 90th successive day in traffic.

Wednesday 22nd December 2010 ~ Let It Snow

A session of heavy snow in Wisbech between 12.05 and 13.30 today gave some tricky conditions on the X1 route during the afternoon. Up until this point all services had run fairly punctually, but Y13 with 37160 passed the South Gates webcam at 11.42 (approx 10 late) inbound and 12.00 (still 10 late) going out, before encountering the snow and it passed X1 HQ at 12.43, 23 late. Peterborough bound services then left Wisbech as follows : K14 37576 54 late and K15 37579 38 late. Returning from the City,  Lowestoft bound services were L10 37565 8 late, L11 37574 29 late and L12 37157 36 late.
I had to make a trip to collect a friend from King's Lynn hospital this afternoon. The first X1 I saw was 37576 returning empty 'out of service' down the Terrington bypass at 15.35, so in other words about 55 late for K14, matching the delay when seen on the outward. Coming back 37572 on K16 was seen 36 late and K17 with 37571 was 25 down.
Earlier L11 had arrived at Lynn with 37156 (at least that would seem to fit the scenario as all other buses were accounted for) and 37574 worked forward. 37156 then took over K18 from 37158, freeing the Lynn B7 for locals. 37156 was back again later having done the last leg of K17 instead of 37571 which then ran in the path of K18 and ended up at Yarmouth. 37160s heavy delay on Y13 meant it was replaced at Lowestoft by 37576 for the last trip back to Lynn.
37568 off K4 did the 13.38 X2 to Norwich and 37567 took the X1 instead. This was a scheduled maintenance swap.
Des was shuttling again and says "34333 - 07:45 James Paget Hospital > Norwich,  09:10 Norwich > Gt. Yarmouth (gosh that's an oldie Des). 34114 - 16:40 Norwich > James Paget Hospital. You'll be interested to know that I saw 20107 - After it's valiant efforts on the X1, it was plying the 1/1A routes today".


Tuesday 21st December 2010 ~ You've All Done Very Well !

Thank you Mr. Grace. An absolutely splendid troop of Geminis out today. The absentees were 37575 having some bodywork attenrion, 37157 on exam at Lowestoft and 37158 on Lynn locals. Even timekeeping was good for the time of year, although there was a blip during the early afternoon when 37579 on K15 was 18 late going to Peterborough, but reduced to 13 coming back. K16 which had only been slightly late going west came back 27 late with 37159, but this added delay also occurred with 37571 on K17 which was 10 late westbound and 17 late returning. Most remarkable was 37160 which was 15 late on K18, but which came back 8 late, so I think we are fairly safe in assuming that the rail station was omitted.
Later on Tony Irle reports 37573 on K3 departing Peterborough Queensgate at 18.05 (30 late) and 37577 arriving on K4 at 18.07 en route to the rail station (about 13 late).
Working on the shuttles, Des says "34187 - 09:00 James Paget Hospital > Norwich and  09:50 Norwich > Gt. Yarmouth. (This bus has a destination blind that is patched from old/broken blinds. I could not display Gt Yarmouth, so had to display Town Centre.)"


Monday December 20th 2010 ~ Optical Disillusion

It was our work Christmas party today and my old boss decided to take advantage of the X1 from Thorney to Wisbech in order to be able to enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two. He turned up at the bus stop to discover a senior citizen who'd already been waiting half an hour and after a further such period, he retraced his steps and got his wife to drive him instead. I know there were accidents on the Acle Straight and later on at Hockering today, so there was disruption. 37574 on Y9 10.18 Wisbech to Peterborough was bang on time, but it was after this that the big gap appeared.
From what I can gather it was an all low floor affair once again today.

37574 emerges from the mist at Wisbech this morning.

Sunday December 19th 2010 ~ Another Sunday with 576

King's Lynn produced 37567, 37572/4/6/7/8 for the X1 today with 37563, 37570/1/3 spare. Yarmouth sent out 37158 on the turn which terminates at Lynn at 20.42. The lack of a 20.50 to Peterborough on Sunday nights continues to inconvenience a few punters who can't read timetables.
An unscheduled swap took place today with 37566 going light from Yarmouth to Lowestoft for repair and 37156 going the other way.

Saturday 18th December 2010 ~ Utilising Resources To The Full

37158 heads east on L12 at lunchtime when temperatures were still about 4 degrees below freezing
 Availability of the Geminis continues to improve, though 37575 was sidelined today with some bodywork damage. It is believed to have been taken off Y7 and this then had 37160 I think.
The timetable stood up well today with only one hiccup, this being K15 which was 27 late into Lynn and after loading was spotted by Bruce at Walpole having lost another minute. It terminated at Wisbech as K16 with 37569 was tright behind it.
With all the Geminis behaving, 37571 looks to have had a day off at Lynn and at the other extremity of the route, 37157 was working the 09.08 Lowestoft to Norwich X2.


Friday December 17th 2010 ~ Chaos as Expected

Ah, apologies to all concerned, but this picture taken today confirms that 20121 IS still at King's Lynn despite me recently stating the contrary was the case. It had been craftily shifted into a different position, hence my oversight.
Chaos, caused mainly by some snow and very icy conditions in the East. Over here, we wondered what it was all about. The 'First' website advised that at one point the X2 was suspended due to an accident on the route and X1s were not calling at Gunton Tesco due to the icy approaches.
Every, yes every X1 diagram changed vehicle at some point during the day and some several times ! Highlight for us coach fans was the use of 20126 on K15 09.25 from Lowestoft. I have a feeling this may have replaced something at Yarmouth. King's Lynn disposed of it very quickly and it didn't make it through to Peterborough. It went back on L10 to Lowestoft and was then swapped for 37564.
Apart from 37573 which was cleared off repairs tonight, all the B9s featured in proceedings. 37160 was stopped for windscreen replacement during the day, but this had been on local work and was in fact the only B7 not on X1 duty.
Late running resulted in some big gaps in the service. 37158 which took K15 from Lynn at 12.45, was back through Terrington at 15.28 (19 late) but nothing else had followed it eastbound by 16.20. Earlier during a brief visit to King's Lynn, I saw 37571 leaving to Lowestoft at 14.58 (Y13 running 26 late) followed by Y13s original bus 37157 which departed empty to Lowestoft on time for K14 at 15.02. In from the coast came 37156 arriving at 15.00, with 37565 7 minutes behind. In the event 37156 did go through to Peterborough as K1 and 565 was turned round to go back east.
The service never recovered from the daytime events and tonight 37574 on L12 was terminated at Lynn due to a driver reporting sick, meaning that the 20.50 to Peterborough didn't run. Passengers were then forced to wait in the freezing conditions for Y13, the 21.50, which (still with 37571) departed at 22.09.
Sam reports 37566 on the X2 in the morning, but by this evening it had come into Lynn on a terminating X1.

The time is 15.46 this afternoon, but can you spot 37156 heading for Peterborough. The location was near Walton Highway and it demonstrates the lack of snow here in West Norfolk.

37567 in a delightful setting at Gorleston church showing the snow nearer the Coast. Thanks to Des for this.

Thursday December 16th 2010 ~ A Better Day for Peter

Peter says "Risked K5 again today and my luck was in, it was on time with Blondie and 37576. Coming home it was a case of deja vu with another B7, this time 37159 on K4 18.10 ex Peterborough. Go on, ask me if it had any heating ? No it was bleedin' freezing - did they only fit heaters to the even numbered vehicles in this batch ?". Sounds like 37158 is the favoured one then, we await travellers reports on 37156 & 37160.
In fact 37159 shouldn't have been on K4, but a morning swap saw 37570 taken off this turn. 570 wasn't out of service for long though and it was noted back through Wisbech again at 12.50, this time on time with K14. The reason here was the removal of 37156 (may be it was cold ?) and this ended up on King's Lynn locals - not the first time this has happened. There seemed to be a spot of overtaking between K16 and K17 today. K17 had 37571 as usual, but it ended up on K16 while 37577 off K16 jumped a turn onto K17.
The Beast was used onK1, but 37563 being OK again took over at Lowestoft.
Timekeeping here in the west was pretty good today, but a blip affected 37565 on L12 which was 6 late going to Peterborough and 25 late coming back. On arrival at Lynn, it slipped a turn to Y13 and 37574 on the original Y13 which had only been 6 minutes behind, then did L12, presumably running light towards Norwich to regain time.
Des was driving 37577 on K17 this afternoon and encountered heavy snow showers between Wisbech and Lynn, he was 6 late from Wisbech but 13 late arriving at Lynn due to slow traffic in the poor conditions. He adds "My last pre Christmas X1 turn involved K1 18.02 King's Lynn to Great Yarmouth this evening with 37563. The weather again played a part and I was 8 late leaving at 18:10, 5 late at Swaffham (18:39), on time at East Dereham (19:07), 5 late into Norwich (19:50 - Heavy snow/hail falling between Dereham/Norwich slowed traffic on A47), 10 late arriving Yarmouth (20:30 - Heavy snow/hail, Acle straight traffic running at 30-35 mph).

37563 on arrival at a very cold Great Yarmouth tonight and another headlight failure.


Wednesday December 15th 2010 ~ The House of Cards

Just when everything appeared to be on course for a successful week, today things began to deteriorate. Peter says "At Walton Road for K5 08.09 to Peterborough, no sign and bloody cold too. After a long wait the 08.39 (Y6) arrives with 37157. Apparently the driver tells me that three of his colleagues reported sick today hence K5 being cancelled, just my luck. 157 is thankfully only 4 late, but having welcomed the initial warmth after standing outside in the cold for 40 minutes, it soon becomes clear that this bus has no functioning heaters ! At least my train to York was cancelled too, so I didn't miss my connection". Oh Dear Peter, what a business - and what about the journey back ?
He says " Looks like a day of staggering B7s for me, it's 37158 on K5 18.40 from Peterborough - still at least it is running now AND it is warm too. My driver tonight said he'd have covered the turn this morning if he'd known they were short".
There were other incidents today, firstly K2 07.35 Peterborough - Lowestoft had 37573 failed at Fransham with loss of power. 37579 was available to take over, possibly because it should have been the cancelled K5 ? Over here in the west, timekeeping was Ok until mid morning. The driver of 37156 on L10 accomplished a minor miracle, he was 8 late from Wisbech on the 10.48, but only 3 late on the 11.35 from Peterborough on the way back. Call me cynical. but sounds like the rail station got missed ? Apologies in advance if this was not the case. On average afternoon services were 10 late, but 37569 on K1 was 21 minutes in arrears on the 15.48 Wisbech to Peterborough with K2 following, now with 37579 being 15 late.
Just when I thought a complete week of low floor boredom was on the cards, 37563 was stopped for a safety service after doing the first half of Y9 and so dear friends the 15.55 Lowestoft to King's Lynn ran with - yes you've guessed it - THE BEAST !!
Des had a pretty poor day by his standards and was only on time once all shift. 37578 on K15 was 15 late from Yarmouth on the 10.12 and with congestion at Dereham and the tree cutting team at East Winch, there was little opportunity to regain lost time. 37571 on K17 had a problem with a failed headlight bulb - this is a common occurence on 571 and it must be an electrical fault which causes it to blow so regularly ? - a visit to Vancouver Avenue failed to provide a solution and with no replacement vehicle available, 571 went forward to Peterborough. Finally 37569 on K1 18.02 Lynn to Lowestoft had adblu problems causing engine derate. Despite this, a 22minute late departure from Lynn was cut to 10 minutes by Great Yarmouth.
 Fuel news : Des says "Petrol on the increase:-122.9 at Lynn and 120.9 at Low (Although I didn't pass this enroute, I drove there just to find out and report back) Sainsbury at Easton has increased to 117.9.

Tuesday December 14th 2010 ~ Clinging On to that Record

37576 continues to cling on (just) to its record breaking sequence of continuous days in service. Today it had a bit of a rest at last when it worked K3, but just from King's Lynn to Peterborough and back before it was replaced by 37159. Presumably this was to attend to the cause of the oil leak it suffered yesterday. Anyway, this now means it has worked every day for a massive 82 days.
37160 on K5 was doing well this morning and was into Wisbech a minute early on the 09.05 from Peterborough - an almost unheard of occurence on a turn which is usually a few minutes behind time. Once again all the B9s were in service, but tonight 37579 came off L8 for 37563 to work back to Lowestoft (this had done Y7).
Commendably for this time of year, all daytime services through Wisbech were within 10 minutes of time and an all low floor service was provided yet again. Des reports tree cutting near Swaffham McDonalds roundabout causing slight delays today, with temporary lights in operation.

Monday 13th December 2010 ~ Where Is The Blog ?

Ah, well you see, I had to wait this long to think of something to write about today. Nice to see all the B9s in service and all sticking to their turns, mind you it was a close run thing as 37576 suffered an oil leak at Dereham just before 7am and had to be fixed before rejoining its original turn. It was 12 late when viewed on the 12.45 Lynn to Peterborough, but the delay had increased to 17 minutes when coming back from Peterborough on the 14.05. Most services ran to within 10 minutes of time again, but just exceeding this at 12 minutes was 37568 on K2 15.45 Lynn to Peterborough.
L12 didn't appear to run over the western section this morning with 37565 and Bruce confirmed this with a lunchtime vigil which ended when Y13 went by 4 late on Y13.
Such was the low floor dominance today, that 37156 was even allowed a run out on the X2, Michael viewing it on the 14.08 ex Lowestoft. 37157/8 were the two B7s on the X1 today.


Sunday 12th December 2010 ~ The Normality Continues

With traces of a harsh frost in the foreground, 37566 leaves Walpole Highway as the 08.30 Yarmouth - Peterborough this morning
 It is not uncommon for the Sunday X1 to be totally B9 worked, as it was today. Only hiccup seemed to be the 08.50 King's Lynn to Peterborough running about 15 late first thing with 37574, otherwise it was an uneventful day. It is reported from Great Yarmouth that 20501 has now returned to First Essex after another short stay here. This time it managed to avoid X1 use altogether. Going back to yesterday and Doreen confirms that the driver of 37568 did well to make up some time on her trip to Peterborough. 37576 was in use again today, that's 80 days on the trot now !


Saturday 11th December 2010 ~ It's Late, It's Late, It Must be 568 etc etc

I had a rather strange shift at work today, from 11.00 until 14.30. On my way into Wisbech, I espied Doreen waiting at Walton Road stop for Y10, which I'd naively assumed had already gone. Doreen had wiped a very neat circular window in the condensation so that she could see the bus approaching ! Now, she always blames me if the X1 runs late and so it was, with a rather sinking feeling, that I carried on to work. Y7 passed me by dead on time heading for Lowestoft, but Y10 finally turned up 17 late with 37568 - I think that means I will get told off !
Whoever was driving 568 meant business though and it was only 7 late coming back from Peterborough. Doreen was rather unfortunate because the next eight buses to Peterborough ran virtually on time. After a day off under maintenance at King's Lynn yesterday, 37567 was back on the road on K1 today and yes, at last, today was a totally low floor day. Other than on Sundays, the last time this happened was on November 6th and prior to that 15th September.
Speaking of records, I'm beginning to wonder if today was an historic occasion on another front. All 17 B9s were in use on full X1 turns, with no swaps. I doubt this has ever happened before. The two exceptions to B9s were 37156 on K16 and noisy 37159 on Y13.

Friday December 10th 2010 ~ Foiled By The Beast

It really did look as though the low floor service had once again become a reality today, but 37563 was taken off K14 at Lowestoft and the 08.55 return to Peterborough was 20107. I wonder how many people when the X1 started, would have predicted that 107 would be the last regular coach on the service ? You'd probably have been laughed at, as it still had branding for the X2 route at the time and was therefore fairly uncommon on the X1.

The Beast in September 2006, still with Excel logo on the front and X2 route destinations in the side windows.
 With temperatures now well above freezing, my two services which I regularly see on the way to work in the morning, K2 07.35 from Peterborough, due through Walpole Highway at 08.31 and Y6 05.50 from Great Yarmouth, due at 08.33 set a new record this morning. They were both a minute early (37572 & 37570) ! The driver on Y6 is a bit of a stickler for good timekeeping and whilst everything else was losing time, he also managed to bring K15 13.18 Wisbech to Peterborough out dead on time with 37578.
Worst services for delays today were Y13 13.05 from Peterborough which was the ever present 37576 running 14 late, K14 with the Beast which was 17 late from Wisbech westbound, K16 with 37157 was seen on the 14.35 from Peterborough entering Wisbech 25 late, which was a minute sooner than it had appeared on the same turn last Friday !
On the operational front, 37566 on Y7 was 6 late into Wisbech on the 10.05 from Peterborough and Des took it out of Yarmouth on the 15.25 Lowestoft to King's Lynn still 7 late departing after a late arrival. Des says "It was very congested from Norwich bus station to the A47 and I was 20 late at Easton (17:03), then difficulty rejoining the A47 after Hockering made us 25 late at Dereham (17:30), 21 late at Swaffham (17:58) and 21 late arriving Lynn (18:28).". Never mind Des, at least you made up some time with it being a B9 rather than a B7.

Thursday December 9th 2010 ~ Thawing Thursday

37158 outside King's Lynn Vancouver Avenue garage tonight.
December is quite often an uneventful time on the X1 if past years are anything to go by. 20121 has now left King's Lynn after ably standing in for absent Geminis, although it was sad that its last outing involved a car bumping it in the boot.
The low floor service which 'First' find so desirable is now closer to being a daily acheivement, although it has yet to become a regular occurrence. 20107 was the exception today and it was used on K16 which ends up at Lowestoft. Timings were within about 10 minutes of schedule today although K15 was 37573 23 late at Walton Highway on the 13.05 to Peterborough. Earlier in the morning 37567 was unable to continue beyond Lynn on Y9 (whether for scheduled modifications or otherwise is unclear) and the 09.45 to Peterborough left with 37160 as replacement and this finished the turn. L11 failed to run west of Lynn this morning with 37157 and instead L12 with 37579 doubled up after a gap in the service. Later on Des drove 37157 and it was 5 late departing from Lowestoft at 17.00 and with the Yarmouth bypass closed and all traffic using Southtown Road, 157 was 20 late from Market Gates. With 157 having the lower maximum speed of 50mph, there was no chance to make up time and the service was 17 late into Lynn.


Another History Lesson

It is a little while since we looked at the Norwich to Peterborough route in years gone by. I can recall as far back as 1969 when the service comprised the 336 from King's Lynn to Wisbech and Peterborough. This was operated chiefly by Peterborough and Wisbech depots and west of Wisbech ran via Wisbech St. Mary. Up until around 1972 there was a morning and afternoon 336 relief which ran via Glebe Estate at Tilney All Saints. East of Lynn the service in those days was the 34/a/b which ran via various routes to Norwich. I recall a very wet Saturday when en route to Norwich on a Bristol FLF we ran via Sporle and I think Dunham was served too.
Anyway I'm leading up to more recent times and Syd Eade kindly sent me some pictures of vehicles used on the 794 (as it was then) and associated services, prior to the arrival of the B10M coaches.

MCL932P was an Alexander bodied Leyland Leopard, seen here in December 1983 at Norwich bus station. It was one of seven new to Eastern Counties in May 1976, fleet numbers were LL748 - 754.

Syd says "I brought the last FLF ever to operate in Kings Lynn in Sept 1986 up on the Coastliner service 780, I actually have a photo taken before the return journey commenced. I even got a run round on the 42 with it during the 3 hour layover !" ...and here's the proof with FLF470 surrounded by bread vans.
In July 1994, Syd photographed Plaxton bodied Dennis Javelin H612RAH, new in November 1990 and a forerunner of the B10Ms, at King's Lynn bound for Peterborough. In September 1996, the first Volvo B10M to operate the route, P731NVG (better known as 20121) arrived.


Wednesday 8th December 2010 ~ The Freeze Relents

Although the route has only suffered minor delays due to the prolonged spell of freezing temperatures, in comparison with other parts of the country, it came as some relief today when the temperature rose to -1. It seemed positively mild !
Most delayed service seen today was the 08.35 from Peterborough which was 19 late into Wisbech with 37574. Going the other way, 20107 was 16 late on Y9 reduced to 12 late returning. 37576 had a shortened 76th day in traffic (574's record is well beaten now) with it coming off Y13 at Lynn at 11.35 to be replaced by 37573. The loss of 20121 is seeing increased use of the Lynn B7s (37158 - 37160) on K3 and K5.
Early afternoon saw some very shortlived temporary lights working near Thorney Toll and the service most delayed was K15 with 37577. K1 had 37579 swapped for 37567 at Lowestoft.

Tuesday 7th December 2010 ~ As It Happens

Minor delays are now becoming commonplace due to the increasing pre-Christmas traffic. Seen Peterborough bound leaving Wisbech today were :

Y6 08.48 37574 9 late
Y7 09.18 37567 3 late
L8 09.48 37576 3 late
Y9 10.18 37569 right time
L10 10.48 37575 18 late
L11 11.18 37157 4 late
L12 11.48 37565 right time
Y13 12.18 37564 1 late

Afternoon services ran within 10 minutes of time apart from K18 with 20107 which was 12 late. 37573 was at Lynn all day for servicing while 37565 on L12 was changed for 37568 at Lowestoft.
Even temperatures of a staggering minus 8 failed to significantly affect early morning services. Another meeting regarding the future of the X1 took place today !


Monday 6th December 2010 ~ Gullivers Travels

A bout of new advertising has appeared on some of the X1 fleet, applied at Lowestoft on Saturday and no doubt to include other locations shortly. 37565 appeared on Y6 this morning with offside advert for 'Little Fockers' (yes honestly) and on the nearside 'The Expendables'. This follows the fitting last week of a rear ad for the new Bennetts store in King's Lynn. The latter ad has possibly the most minute small print of any ad I've ever seen. You'd need to be sniffing the exhaust of 37565 in order to read it :

37563 & 37572 have new offsides for 'Gullivers Travels' and nearsides for 'Fred The Movie'. 37579 also has a combination of the new campaigns.
L11 ran today with 20107, with 37156/7 sidelined at Lowestoft. Michael B saw 37157 in the vicinity. Timekeeping was pretty good today, with delays of no more than 10 minutes being noted. This was quite remarkable considering the temperature at Walpole was still minus 5 at 08.30 this morning and it remained below freezing all day.
All this cold weather resulted in a very rare sight on the Southgates webcam, briefly at around 15.30 when Santa appeared, obviously delivering a new load of Gemini parts to Richard !

Sunday 5th December 2010 ~ Sunday Diversion

Former X1 Paragon 20501 and B10M 20115 outside Yarmouth Caister Road this morning, before working extra Bernard Matthews contracts. 
An accident on the single carriageway A47 between the Pullover roundabout and Tilney this morning caused diversions for some X1s while the road was closed. Delays were kept to a minimum, but the B9 which runs light to Wisbech at breakfast time was seen by Bruce passing through Walpole Highway, rather than on the A47 bypass.
The service was completely B9 worked today and ... yes ...... 37576 was out again !

Saturday 4th December 2010 ~ Booze Cruise

My annual trip on the NENTA York excursion with a Class 47 was ditched today in favour of a drinks meet in Cambridge. Bruce kindly picked me up and deposited me at Walpole Highway at 11.50 in order for me to travel to Lynn on L9. This turned up with 37564 about 5 late. I went upstairs to join a fair number of passengers who were enjoying the meagre heating, which was probably heat generated by the number of bodies rather than anything 564 could muster. The driver made an excellent job of negotiating the Lynn traffic by utilising the right lane on London Road and therefore losing less time than would otherwise have been the case. Bruce memoaned the fact that had I chosen to travel on L9 as had I opted for on L11, I would have been able to enjoy the delights of 'The Beast'.
Being 'out of the picture' or probably more accurately 'out of my tree' for much of the day, I can only add further comment by what was viewed from the road outside Lynn garage at 22.30. This is because. my FCC train at 20.40 from Cambridge was cancelled due to a driver shortage and I had to wait for the 21.40, meaning that I missed the last westbound X1. Fortunately, Jamie R picked me up from Lynn station. There was no sign of 20107 at Lynn and it transpires that 37569 replaced the B10M for the second leg of L11.

Here is 37564 before departure on L9 12.32 Lynn to Lowestoft

Shortly afterwards,  David Bell who boarded 37574 on K15 at  Swaffham took this to show the amount of passengers boarding the 12.45 X1  from Lynn to Peterborough. Traffic was so heavy that it took 25 minutes to get from Hardwick into Lynn.
An interesting ploy by Konektbus appears to involve drivers touting for passengers at Dereham Market Place Barclays just ahead of a following X1. Often heard is "Next bus to Norwich leaving now." with the driver pointing to the STR8. This combined with timetables and STR8 posters on the said bus stop means that many of Dereham to Norwich passengers now do catch the STR8.


XI Advent Calendar

A reminder that you can join in the festive fun at :


Friday December 3rd 2010 ~ Pre Christmas Pandemonium

One of our regular drivers at the helm of 37572 on the 14.15 King's Lynn to Peterborough (K18) this afternoon.
 Judging by the amount of traffic today, it appears that most people woke this morning to realise December is here and that Friday would be a far better day for shopping than Saturday !
Bruce kept an eye on the X1 for me during the morning and was pleased to report 20107 plying forth on L10. It was due for servicing today though, so when it went back to Lowestoft it was changed for 37566 which itself had seen servicing completed this morning. L8 was late into Lynn this morning and 37159 stood in for 37578 on the Lynn - Peterborough leg.
37576 scraped through yet another day in its record breaking run by working Y6. It came off at 20.25 though and 37565 off L11 worked back to Lowestoft.
Des tells us about his day "Was due to work a town shift in Yarmouth, but because of the snow on the east coast, I was asked to take an Excel shift from Yarmouth onwards. I caught 37575 in Gorleston and relieved that driver at Yarmouth.
37575 - K15 10.12 Yarmouth - Peterborough as far as Lynn, departing 15 late, then ran 2 late at Norwich, 9 late at Dereham (11.44), 7 late at Swaffham and six late into Lynn at 12.43. After a break I transferred to 37570 on K17. I departed on time, but was 6 late into Wisbech because of traffic lights on Lynn Road, (there was no need for these lights, the work was finished and the lights pushed to the side of the kerb but still operating!). Arrived Peterborough rail station at departure time (15:05). Returning I departed 6 late and was the same margin late at Wisbech where the aforementioned lights had gone from Lynn road, but traffic queued to Walsoken turn, 9 late into Lynn at 16:33.
Next should have been 37569 - K1 18:02 King's Lynn - Yarmouth, this did not operate, it arrived into Lynn at 18.31 and was given to the Lowestoft driver to operate the 18.35 (K2).
37577 - Should have been K2 18:35 King's Lynn to Lowestoft which arrived at 18:52. There were just 2 ongoing passengers, one for Toftwood and the other for Yarmouth. My drivers card was in, 'Not in Service' displayed and at 18:54 I was on my way. Light to drop off at Toftwood, then into Norwich for the 19:45 to Yarnouth. This departed 19 late (20:04) and arrived 18 late at Yarmouth (20:38).
Attached pic shows Lynn road traffic lights on red, but a clear road through".
Rob Brooks says 37574 on K19 delayed 30+ minutes by police arresting someone in a car on Lynn Road by the park (incidentally exactly where shown right !). Was into Wisbech at 15.50. I was also in the area Rob and saw K16 14.35 from Peterborough with 37157 arriving in Wisbech 27 late due to heavy traffic. 37569 on K1 was around 18 late at this time.
Our mole at Great Yarmouth tells me that 20115 is now fit for traffic again and 20123 is still awaiting engine repairs & gearbox, so must be doubtful for a renaissance.


Thursday December 2nd 2010 ~ A Funny day for 568

No fresh daytime snowfall meant punctuality improved today with only marginal late running caused by heavy traffic. 37568 had a strange day. It worked L10 and was 11 late through Wisbech on the 10.48 to Peterborough. It must have been driven well though, as it returned fractionally early, passing me at 12.19 and due into the Horsefair at 12.21. What happened next is something which rarely occurs today, 568 - still on L10 - was passed by me after a late evening snowstorm at Terrington St. John running in 7 minutes early ! 37572 on the last westbound service (Y13) passed it here.
Gemini 37569 which has been absent for repairs at Volvo for a fortnight, was let out again today. It worked K15 09.25 from Lowestoft after 37578 had been late on the incoming service. 578 then became K16 and 37566 which had arrived on same retired to the depot for a service.
20121 endured the indignity of  a rear end shunt by a car in Wisbech last night and was not out today, it travelled up to Rowan Road at lunchtime (seen by Bruce). The Beast (20107) however, continued its good run by working K14.
Gemini 37567 on K1 was stopped at Lynn this afternoon requiring a new compressor, so 37576 which had been receiving attention at Vancouver Avenue, was once again called upon to work. Another failure this evening was 37157 on Y6 which was taken off because its heaters weren't working (essential today I would have said). 37563 off L11 replaced it.
Des says "Tesco petrol on the increase:-
117.9 Low, 120.9 Lynn, 113.9 Sainsbury at Easton". A sure sign that panic buying is on the way then !


The X1 - What is in the future ?

Rumours are rife about the future of the X1 following last weeks meeting. I'm pooling information received from a handful of staff and it would seem that the most likely scenario is that from January - or March if it can't be implemented earlier - the X1 will be split into a number of different routes. The reason for this decision is all down to stats. The punctuality figures submitted to 'First' HQ for Lowestoft, Yarmouth, Norwich and King's Lynn are below the required standard and this is purely down to the X1. Splitting the route should avoid such events as an accident at Thorney affecting punctuality in Yarmouth.
The favoured option is to run separate services along the following routes :
Peterborough - Swaffham / Hunstanton (alternate on the half hour)
King's Lynn - Norwich
Lowestoft - Norwich
Norwich - Dereham / Toftwood

So there we have it. Biggest question of course is, will this mean the end of the X1 blog ???? Time will tell, but it would seem rude not to report the early days of the new timetables .....wouldn't it ?

Now here's something you might like. Our graphic designer has been at work again and proudly presents, the X1 Advent Calendar. Here's the link..........

Wednesday 1st December 2010 ~ 37576 Record Breaker !

The record for the number of consecutive days in traffic worked by an Excel B9 was broken today. Today marked the 69th day in use for 37576, a sequence which began on Friday 24th September. A number of factors have to coincide in order to make a run like this possible. The fortnightly servicings have to be completed on schedule to enable the bus to work on that day for example, but there also has to be an element of good fortune attached, so that the bus has to work on consecutive Sundays when there is a reduced vehicle requirement. All this, plus the essential fact that major components must remain reliable to allow a continuous spell in service.
576 has not been without its problems of late and (I am told) only just made it into traffic today. Tomorrow it is due for servicing, so although it was used on K4 this morning - a turn which ends at Yarmouth - it was removed at 16.45 and replaced by 37570. After this though, something went wrong, as on my way to my pool match tonight, I passed 576 running 8 late on Y6. It must have been a last minute decision to send it to Peterborough and back, possibly due to Y6 running late into Lynn. After its scheduled service tomorrow, it also has work to be carried out by Volvo fitters, so its record breaking run looks set to end very soon.
37576 was in the news itself today as it managed to be 23 late on K4 returning from Peterborough this morning, which was marginally better than 37565s performance on the same turn yesterday. 37160 on K5 was the worst culprit today being 28 late on K5 and not far behind was Y6 with 37568 which was just 3 late.
20121 was back to its usual turn with K3 and just when it looked like it would get a rest, 20107 was out on L11.
B7 37157 was again breaking records for B7s today. It was 12 late entering King's Lynn on Y9 this morning, reduced to 11 late from Wisbech and only 4 late returning. One suspects (may be unkindly) that it skipped its visit to the rail station.


Tuesday 30th November 2010 ~ Momentary Respite

There was no further snowfall in the west today, but as you will see from Grahame's picture below, this was not the case nearer the coast. Observing the route from my window today, there was a case of deja vu at 14.25 when 37579 passed Peterborough bound on K17. This was because earlier it had gone the other way on K5 ! K5 was taken over at 10.32 by 20121. The unanswered question here is whether 121 had spent overnight at Yarmouth, or simply wasn't ready to work K5 at the booked time.
K17 began the day with 37563 which was taken off at Lowestoft for servicing. The jigsaw is completed (I think) by 37160 working back from Lowestoft to Lynn where 579 came on.
Timekeeping was to say the least, variable today. Morning peak services out of Peterborough ran as follows : 37566 on K2 2 late, 37572 on K3 19 late, 37565 on K4 (the 08.35) 27 late, 37579 on K5 11 late. This was probably more to do with the Christmas shopping traffic than anything weather related. Services from Lowestoft ran fairly punctually apart from Y9 with 37575 which ran 20 late out of Wisbech westbound.
20107 completed K15 yesterday and today was on the Lowestoft terminating K14. During the day a set of three way temporary lights were commissioned outside the Premier foods factory on Lynn Road in Wisbech. Even though they were phasing very well, delays did occur and on the way home from work, I found 37568 on K1 on my bumper running 15 late as the 16.35 from Peterborough.
Here is the picture I mentioned earlier from Grahame of 37564 on L8 shivering in the snow at Market Gates, for which my thanks are due.