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Saturday 29th January 2011 ~ Buses on time, Blog on time.

37565 seems to be advertising a cure for those who struggle to get comfortable on the B9 seats
Heavens ! A blog entry actually appears on the right day, whatever next ? As I had a lot of non - X1 connected things to do today, I restricted myself to a quick trip to view L12 11.15 King's Lynn to Peterborough which was 37565. Going the other way at this time was 37563 on L8 10.35 from Peterborough. Both services were a few minutes late, but nothing untoward.

Here's a little video of 37563 today !

K17 was back to normal today with 37571, seen on time by Cheryl and K18 had the delights of Beast 20107.
37578 was back today on K1 after repairs to a hose, failure of which saw it replaced yesterday. As seems customary at the moment, all the B7s congregated at Lynn this evening. 37156 was on Y10, 37157 on L11 and 37158 on K5. Yesterday Bruce reported 37159 sounding like an injector was on the way out, could be coincidence, but today it was rested at Vancouver Avenue. 37160 is now undergoing MOT prep here.

Last Saturday's EDP carried an article regarding the rumours of the X1 avoiding Hockering from March. Here is the notice in the bus shelter in the village. I notice that Mr. Pilbeam stopped short of saying the X1 would continue to call there, merely that they had no intentions of withdrawing bus services to the stop !

Friday 28th January 2011 ~ K19 : A Blond(i)e Moment

What a lovely day for a trip to Peterborough. This driver looks happy taking 37565 on K16, seen near Walsoken this afternoon.
 Just when you think everything is going well and the Geminis are back in full command, they prove otherwise.
37567 had to be stopped for servicing today and so The Beast re-emerged on L11. 37566 appeared on L12 but didn't last the day being changed for 37568 on the 17.48 out of Lowestoft - an unusual time for a swap to occur, suggesting that 566 was poorly, however, see below. 568 meanwhile had again been used on the X2, this time Michael saw it working the 14.08 to Norwich.
Des adds "Spotted 37567 operating with a Lowestoft driver on Service 881 relief at 08.10 and 37566 going into Norwich on service X2 at 18.49 - Yet 20107 is still put into service!". Maybe the servicing on 567 took place after its trip this morning then and perhaps 566 was OK after all, but one wonders why the swap with 568 took place. I expect 566 is also due for servicing, but the Lowestoft servicing schedule is a mystery only known to themselves, unlike the Lynn one which is strictly adhered to.

This afternoon K19 had a spot of bother at Wisbech, 37578 having sustained a water leak. It was seen by Bruce 'not in service' in the bus station at 15.40 with its lady driver awaiting assistance. This soon arrived in the shape of freshly serviced 37571, explained by the fact that there was nothing else available. Timekeeping was Ok for a Friday, with the only delay of note this afternoon being 37576 on K17 which was 14 late. Ooh nearly forgot, K15 had probs too with a ticket machine farce on 37573, as a result it didn't run at 12.45 from Lynn to Peterborough and that explains the heavy load on K16 with Des (for it was he !). 37573 went empty to Peterborough to form the 14.05 eastbound.

Thursday 27th January 2011 ~ Sent to Coventry

I had to attend my Dear Uncle's funeral in Coventry today which meant my X1 sightings were minimal. For a change I was a passenger rather than driver and when we approached the Cromwell Road roundabout to head for Guyhirn, I thought to myself, (fortunately not out loud) "it's 09.55 so we shouldn't pass any X1s before Guyhirn". Well just as well I didn't say anything wasn't it ? On the bank we firstly passed 37565 - a Lowestoft bus being a give away that this was K4 running 41 late, rather than a slightly delayed K5. Indeed K5 with 37575 was passed a bit further towards Guyhirn running about 13 late. At this point I phoned Bruce who said that K2 had been only 3 late with 37568, but K3 was 37571 47 late . More importantly, he added "I can now go and get some breakfast" ! After this things settled down and Y6 with 37567 was on time in both directions. The reason for the delay, allegedly, was repairing potholes.
A series of coincidences affected K14 today. 20126 was in charge, but on arrival at Lowestoft it had a water leak, so after a visit to Gasworks Road, it was sent empty to Yarmouth, where, as fate would have it, 37160 was spare. This then went empty to Lynn, did a trip to Peterborough and back and was then exchanged for 37566 on which repairs had been completed. This was quite convenient as 37160 is having a chassis wash in the morning prior to prep for its MOT. All this was made possible by the return to service of 37569 which was used on Y13 and which still sounds like a tractor.
K2 which had 37568 this morning saw a change of vehicle (37574 the most likely candidate, or at a long shot 20107). 568 was then seen on the 12.38 X2 from Lowestoft.
Somehow after the morning's ructions, 37565 on K4 ended up on K5 and 37575 reversed roles. Thanks to Bruce and Des for their help today.


Wednesday 26th January 2011 ~ An Adventure with 37565

Today was quite an ordinary X1 day - always good news for the operators, but not much good for making blog headlines. 37565 was the odd one out so to speak today. It worked Y7 which is due off Peterborough eastbound at 10.05. I didn't see it arrive at Wisbech, but Bruce confirmed it at Walpole Highway about 'on time'. What happened next is where the mystery comes in. At 11.30 it appeared on the Southgates webcam heading down Nar Ouse Way towards Peterborough. We know it was 565 as this is the only B9 retaining the Nescafe advert (you see you have to be a bit of an X1 detective to notice these obscure things).
At 11.30 it should have been arriving at King's Lynn bus station, so if you know what happened , please put me and Bruce out of our mysery !
20126 was again designated to help with operations and it worked L11 all day.

Tuesday 25th January 2011 ~ Prolific Pedalcars

Today there was a proliferation (hang on I'll have to check if I've spelt that right) of B7s and all at once too. K3 which is quite often a B7 was 37158 seen heading eastbound into Wisbech  11 late at 09.01, then K4 also produced one which is pretty remarkable as the last time this happened was on October 11th. 37159 was on time and worked the turn until 19.27 this evening when 37565 which had come into Lynn on Y9 was given a sharp turn around departing on K4 at 19.35 to Lowestoft.
K5 is also a pretty regular B7 turn and this had freshly serviced 37160. Not to be outdone, a fourth consecutive B7 working was the first return from the coast, Y6 having 37156 9 late. Now this only leaves 37157 which was earning its keep all day on the X2.
The rest of the service was B9 monotony with the exception of K14. This turn began with 'The Beast' but this was taken off at Lowestoft at 08.40 and the return 08.55 to Peterborough was given 20126 instead.

Can't understand the blur on this pic as 20126 was travelling very sedately along the B198 at Walsoken today at 12.40 when this shot was taken.
Timekeeping was pretty good, but K17 with 37571 was 12 late on the 15.56 Wisbech to Lowestoft.
37566 was again under repair at Lynn, apparently it has had 'new rockers' which meant nothing to a non-techy like me, but which Bruce reckons is bad news. Two other B9s were absent today, 37569 under repair at Yarmouth and 37578 having attention at King's Lynn.


Monday 24th January 2011 ~ It Does Work Sometimes

Sometimes, just occasionally,  particularly at this time of the year, it actually works ! The timetable of the X1 that is. I've already mentioned some noteworthy timekeeping in recent days, but today it all went like clockwork. Starting with the delays though and K4 08.35 from Peterborough was by far the black sheep. 37573 was the bus concerned and it was just over 7 minutes behind schedule arriving at Wisbech for its 09.26 departure to Lowestoft. I say arriving (it is due at 09.21) so it probably left only a couple of minutes late. Otherwise, punctuality was excellent.
Seen from X1 blog HQ were Y7 with 37571 -2, L8 37565 right time, Y9 37572 right time, L10 37568  1 early (!!!), L12 37579 -2, Y13 20107 right time, K14 37577 -1, K17 37576 3 early !, K18 37156 right time, K19 37575 right time, K1 37567 right time, K2 37570 right time and finally K3 37159 -1.
Coming back from Peterborough, 37576 was on time and K16 with 37564 made its earliest ever appearance past me, on time at 15.20.
20107 worked Y13 despite 37157 being on hand at Lowestoft for the 14.38 X2 from Lowestoft to Beccles. In addition, 20126 was also on X2 duties being seen by Michael Bryant on the 14.40 Norwich to Lowestoft.
Our man at Yarmouth says "37569 - standing very poorly in a pool of oil - powered steering pipe ruptured at rear. Pipe cannot be repaired, eg straight section, as it is complicated moulded shape. Volvo original part required". Meanwhile at Lynn, the man in the know says 37566 will be out of action for a few days whilst repairs are effected. Thank goodness there are a few coaches left to hold the fort !


Sunday 23rd January 2011 ~ Are You Sitting Comfortably ?

Overcast skies were the order of the day today. 37575 does its best to make an impression of speed on the 10.50 King's Lynn - Peterborough. It was removed at Lynn on the way back with a defective driver's seat adjuster. 37570 came out to replace it.
K3 15.50 from Lynn westbound was for some reason 13 late at Walpole Highway with 37578, but an hour later services were back running on time.
Yarmouth sent out their three serviceable B9s today (37567/75/79), leaving the Beast to have a well earned rest before it returns to action on Monday.

Saturday 22nd January 2011 ~ The Secret Life of 126

Saturday began where Friday left off, with all services running nicely to time. Maximum lateness on Peterborough bound services from Wisbech was 5 minutes, this being the case with 37575 on L12 and 37568 on K16, otherwise services ran on time or fractionally early. 20107 was used on K18 which will see it at Yarmouth tonight. Grahame Bessey has kindly sent some more of his excellent photographs, taken at Norwich today :

King's Lynn B9s are a relative rarity on the X2, but here is 37576 about to work the 14.04 Norwich to Lowestoft this afternoon.

The Beast departing on the 13.25 to Peterborough (K18)

37573 with a very shy driver on K17 12.55 Norwich to Peterborough.
Grahame says "I travelled up on the 08.57 from Acle aboard 37575 complete with shouting yobbo upstairs who was on the phone all the way to Norwich, using as much choice language as possible and having no clue he was actually in public whilst doing so!

Homeward I boarded 37156 which I found a tad more comfy than the B9 offering earlier in the day, I missed a Beast trip but maybe next time if its still around ? 20126 was blinded for the X1 at Caister Road around 3.00pm so not sure if it was about to venture out ?"
Hmmm well funny you should say Grahame. Dale says he saw 126 on an X1 this evening and it turns out that it replaced 37569 on Y6 which had developed an oil leak. Y6 is off Yarmouth for Peterborough at 15.12, so it ties in with Grahame's sighting. It was a bad day for the Lowestoft B9s with 37566 being sidelined at King's Lynn with an unspecified fault.


Friday 21st January 2011 ~ Clock Watching

Friday is always notorious for delays and today was quite incredible as there simply didn't seem to be any ! Here is my log of services seen passing X1 blog HQ heading for Peterborough today. They are due past me at 20 & 50 minutes past the hour.
Y7 37567 09.18.45
L8 37156  09.49.45
Y9 37566 10.21
L10 37568 10.50
L11 37159 11.20
L12 20107 11.52.45
Y13 37572 12.21.30
K14 37157 12.52
K15 37573 13.28
K17 37571 14.21.30
K18 37578 14.50.45
K19 37574 15.24
K2 37576 16.20.15
K3 37577 16.54.30
With the exception of K15, everything as can be seen, was virtually running to timetable. Buses absent today were 37563, seen by Michael B on the 13.38 X2 from Lowestoft, 37565 Lowestoft servicing, 37579 King's Lynn VA repairs and 37160 King's Lynn town services.
37156 made a reappearance today after a weeks absence and sounded a bit ropey. The Beast did L12 as it had done on Monday and Wednesday this week.
On the shuttles Des had a mixed day, 34114 was due to operate the short X1, 09.00 Gorleston JPH to Norwich, but had alternator problems on the first part of its operation.  34114 returned to the depot and it was replaced by 34186, so only operated at 09.27 from Yarmouth to Norwich & 10.10 Norwich  to Yarmouth.

Later 20126 was used on the Norwich to Gorleston with no working demisters or interior heating, so it was  very cold and had a very misted up windscreen. If I hadn't have agreed to drive it, then the service would not have operated!


Thursday 20th January 2011 ~ Diversions and changes

We briefly mentioned the forthcoming changes to the route on Tuesday and today Stephen contacted me about just that. He says "Left Lowestoft this morning on 37575 at 08.15 (Y13), there was an accident on the A47 between Acle and Norwich, so we diverted via South Walsham, Panxworth and Thorpe End. We still left Surrey Street only ten down, it appeared that we had overtaken the service in front of us as well.
On returning I noticed at Surrey Street that 37158 came in with SNIS on the front and promptly left empty, we carried on towards Lowestoft and met 37571 near the Colmans factory coming into Norwich also with SNIS I assumed he took over that service.
A guy on the bus told me that after March 27th when I go from Lowestoft to Lynn I will need to change at Dereham, true or false? He seemed to be well informed as after that date he told me that there will be no X1 drivers on Great Yarmouth, and that they are to be transferred to Lowestoft at £46 less per week. You can imagine they're not happy".
Interesting Stephen, it sounds like your man was an employee then. The diversion explains a lot - at this end things had been running well until 37575 which was 18 late from Wisbech, but only 11 late coming back from Peterborough.
37158 worked K18 which is due off Norwich westbound at 12.25, 37571 started on K17 (the 11.55) but ended up on K19 due off Norwich at 12.55. 37573 did a swap with 571 and went from being K19 to K17.
Des adds " I worked with 34111 - 09.00 Gorleston JPH to Norwich, was on time till diverted from route at Beighton, via Panxworth, Blofield Heath and Blofied. A47 closed RTA. Arrived Norwich at 10.20 for 10.10 departure to Yarmouth. No diversion on return journey. Saw Y13 with 37575 westbound, on time at Magdalen Square. K15 37576 eastbound 15 late at James Paget Hospital at 09.00. However, a bit of a mystery next, an extra bus appeared???
At 10.28 on Norwich Southern bypass I sighted 20107 destination X1 Peterborough, approx 1 minute behind was 37157 westbound, then at 10.35 was 37576 westbound. Now, I know that 37576 was within a few minutes of being on time and was the 10.12 ex Yarmouth. I was the 09.27 ex Yarmouth, so either of 20107 or 37157 should have been the 09.42 ex Yarmouth!".
Well we can piece together an explanation Des, L12 08.35 from Yarmouth with 37157 seems to have been stuck in the congestion caused by the accident, Y13 was 37575 and K14 20107. This meant 37579 was inserted at Lynn to work to Peterborough on L12 while 37157 laid over in the bus station until its return departure to Lowestoft at 14.02.
Another reaction to this was 20107 running late on K14 and this terminated at Lynn. 107 then went empty to Wisbech at 13.40 to take up the return leg of K14 at 14.26 from Wisbech to Lowestoft. Even K16 with 37159 was delayed and this went light from Lynn to Peterborough to form the 14.35 to Lowestoft.
The perils of running a bus service involving the A47 hey ?

Wednesday 19th January 2011 ~ Soldiering On

The Beast continues to soldier on, being the favourite replacement vehicle at Lowestoft. Today it came out on L12 again, while 37563 did the 12.08 X2 from Lowestoft and the other possibility, 37156, was clearly not deemed fit.
37577 on K15 was taken off at lunchtime for a destination screen replacement and 37578, with injector problem cured took over. 37571 which had overnighted at Lowestoft, came out on L11 but also came off at Lynn, for 37158 forward. 158 was then noted departing Wisbech 2 minutes early ! This may be because drivers are so used to B7s running late. Both 37157 and 37159 managed to be 7 minutes late on K14 and Y9, but the driver of 37160 did well to be only 3 late on K16 14.35 from Peterborough which is a notorious late runner. Overall timekeeping was good, with 37572 11 minutes late tonight on K2 being the worst seen all day.
The advertising man was at large again tonight and had to make an extra trip to Lynn to track down buses he'd missed on Sunday/Monday. Nevertheless 37563/4, 37570, 37156 & 37160 all still carry ads from last year and missed out on the new campaigns for milk and McCains oven chips.

Tuesday 18th January 2011 ~ What Next ?

The decison has now been made regarding the future of the X1 and it seems certain that from March, the route will indeed be split. More news as we get it - I try and avoid rumours where possible The late night loadings in the west are very poor and it seems likely that at least one of the late services from Peterborough will be cut. Already there is no 22.10 from Peterborough on Sundays.
Back to today then and 20107 was despatched back to Lowestoft on K14. 37563 off Y7 did a quick change at King's Lynn tonight onto Y6 20.35 to Lowestoft, leaving 37570 off Y6 to retire to the garage.
Another swap today involved 37576 on K1 which gave way to 37569 which had been unable to start the turn and is still very noisy with the fan fault. The most unusual working of the day though was the use of 37571 on K2 which finishes up at Lowestoft, 571 is still treated with kid gloves by King's Lynn and is almost invariably used on K17. Today this ran with 37579. Three consecutive services from Lowestoft were B7 worked with 37160/158/157 on L10, L11 and L12 respectively. 37160 was 6 late westbound but slightly early coming back which is pretty certain to mean that it missed the rail station.
Punctuality was fair today, but several services ran around 5 late and K19 with 37575 was 10 late to Peterborough this afternoon.


Monday January 17th 2011 ~ A Day of Leisure

Should we apologise for yet another beastly picture ? Of course not. Rob Brooks captured the machine at Wisbech this lunchtime about to depart at 13.26 to Lowestoft.
 I was off work today, so Bruce kept a log of sightings and I had more help from Rob Brooks. There was no 20115 to entertain us and a bit of manouevreing saw 37568 revived to work Y7 and 37575 sent from Yarmouth to Lowestoft to cover L10, presumably 20115 went light in the other direction ?
Lowestoft remained short however and with 37156 thankfully off the road, The Beast was sent out on L12 instead. At least it stands more chance of completing its turn than the much newer pedalcar !
37159, still half shorn of its advert worked K18, but was replaced this afternoon by freshly serviced 37570. The man who does arrived this evening and fitted 37159 and several other Geminis with a nice new advert for milk. Surely they shouldn't need to advertise milk - or are we not drinking enough tea these days ?
A maintenance swap occurred at Lowestoft with 37569 doing the second leg of Y9 in place of 37564.

37576 on the Horsefair roundabout at Wisbech with K15 13.18 to Peterborough today. Photo : Rob Brooks.

Sunday 16th January 2011 ~ Oh Gulliver !

One of our favourite ladies brings 37579 out of Walpole Highway this morning as the 09.08 to Peterborough.
 Well it was ten B9 Geminis on the X1 today, so exactly as it should be. What is more, similarly to yesterday, everything seen was near enough on time.
37159 which did K3 yesterday got in a bit of a flap and lost half its T board advertising the film 'Gullivers Travels', parts of which decided to go on unadvertised travels of their own ! It looked a bit of a mess in Vancouver Avenue this evening, but it shouldn't have to wait too long for a replacement, as 37576 (below) appeared today with new advert for McCains, so maybe Gulliver and the Little Fockers have (not before time) had their chips.
Lowestoft only provide one bus on Sundays and today it was 37576 working the 09.48 to Peterborough, seen here at Walpole Highway. It later worked the 18.48 ex Lowestoft as booked.

Saturday 15th January 2011 ~ Surprise Surprise

What I wanted today was a nice easy day to sit at the PC typing an article for a magazine devoted to one of my other hobbies. It all looked so good when a friend emailed me a full list of the vehicles in use today, another low floor day - and come to think of it, that meant I'd be able to report on the first ever entirely low floor week in the history of the X1 !
That was until I had a frantic phone call from Bruce at 12.45. He had been out shovelling manure in the field when instead of 37568 sailing by on K14 12.15 from King's Lynn to Peterborough, a B10M coach without Excel branding passed by. Now clearly this was not 20107 as that still proudly proclaims Excel on the side, so Bruce had come to the logical conclusion that it must be the elusive 20115 !
With this being a distinct possibility, I drove up to Walpole Highway at just before 14.30 and Bruce and myself then walked up to the A47 flyover to get pictures. What a mistake that turned out to be - we'd conveniently forgotten that there was a gale blowing, added to which, we had just about reached the flyover when I glimpsed the B10M heading rapidly towards us. This was a bit unexpected, as it had been 10 minutes late westbound. A dash to the end of the bridge and such was the strength of the wind, it was impossible to hold the camera still and we both ended up with very blurry pictures of , yes 20115 !

In small resolution, so that it looks reasonably in focus, here is 20115 !
Well that was certainly the highlight of the day (and week in fact). 37568 wasn't the only B9 having an off day. L12 12.35 Peterborough - Lowestoft was on time with 37578, but on arrival at Lynn it was taken out of traffic with a failed injector and the only bus available to replace it was 37158 which had been on local work.

 As you can see from these pictures it was a thoroughly dull day over here in  the west. These two pictures were taken near Walton Highway and show 37574 on L9 11.05 from Peterborough and below B7 37157 with Y13 08.15 from Lowestoft.


Friday 14th January 2011 ~ Over To Bruce

After two days of us both chasing non-existent K16s, your editor retired for the day to the safe confines of the BBC Archives - doubtlessly to investigate further the vagaries of Test Card F and provide more amusement for Paul Merton, Ian Hislop and myself.
And so the sub Editor (Laid back) came out of semi-retirement to provide a more lighter human side to observing the X1 and its endless procession of White Elephants and their little B7 cousins.(you mean pedal cars Ed.)I was on duty a bit late but 37576 saved the day by being a little late on K1 at 08.07, passing 37573 on K5 Peterboro bound. 08.34 produced 37574 on K2 and 37579 on Y6, both on time.
K3 had 37570 but with no sign of Y7, I set off down the fields with the Alsatian. I had barely gone ten paces when a B9 slipped by on Y7 and was still down the fields when L8 and K4, both B9s, passed each other on time. An inconvenient phone call ensured I missed K5 and Y9 and an appointment with 3 sausage sandwiches took priority over Y6 and L10 - or so I thought.
Worried that I had failed your editor miserably by missing K4,Y7,L8,Y9,and L10, I set off for my little wood yard in Lynn Road,Walsoken at 10.40, determined to see L11at least. I was just getting out of the car when 37568 (what else?) waddled by on L10 over 10 minutes late - 'no change there then', in Angus Deayton's words.
Once home with the logs, I caught Y7 on time with 37565, followed by 37160 8 late on L11. L8 was almost on time with 37567 and L12 was only 3 late with 37566.
As it was Tesco day, a shave and shower was imperative (you mean it isn't normally ? Ed.) and 37577 was seen from the shower 6 late on Y13 (but could the passengers see you in the shower Bruce ?) . Patiently waiting for Y9, due 12.04, I was about to leave for Tesco when Father-in-law rang at 12.25 - very fortuitously as it turned out. At 12.36, 37159 staggered over the flyover, 32 minutes late, on Y9 and followed 2 minutes later by 37568 on L10!
Deliberately driving down the bus route to reach Kings Lynn, I met K14, 14 late with 37579 (!!!) making a second trip to Peterborough. Two complete laps of the Pullover roundabout ensured I finally identified 37572 on K15 for good measure.
My route to Tesco (very involved) involves using Nar Ouse Way and cruising past the garage, then making a U-turn and a second pass of the garage. In the garage was a nice clean 37158 (spare?) and a very dirty 37156 (the favourite vehicle of one certain Yarmouth driver) facing No2 pit. On my return, a Fount of All Knowledge was spotted on the forecourt, with a mobile seemingly attached to each ear. As he had spotted me as I spotted him, I pulled over to wish him a Happy New Year - or was it a Miserable B10M-less New Year? It seems 37579 had succumbed to a fault on Y6 and had been replaced, but it was mended in time to replace the hapless 37156 on K14. 37563 passed us by on K16 and 37568 set forth from South Gates on L10. I mentioned it had been following 37159 closely at Walpole Highway so neither of us were surprised when 37159 this time followed 37568 across the South Gates roundabout in convoy. The Fount (Count surely ? Ed) visibly groaned internally and shook his head. To make him feel better, I offered to reinstate 20118 free of charge, given the correct spanners!
I managed to miss K17 (37571?) and K19 in both directions due to incompetence and K4 as well due to potato peeling. However I was out in the dark awaiting Y6 at 20.10 and its new steed which proved to be 37578. So that leaves 37564/9/71/75 for K4/17/19 to my way of thinking.
Furthermore Scania 65529, out of service for many months, was over No3 pit being worked on but 2 hours later, along with 65532, was back at Rowan Road (the obvious way home) keeping the withdrawn B10Ms company.
Well Bruce, I know someone else who can explain a bit more about Y9's delay. Des says :
37565 - Y7 06.10 Yarmouth - Peterborough,  (me off at Lynn)- on time throughout
37159 - Y9 09.45 King's Lynn to Peterborough  departed 21 late at 10.06, 20 late at Terrington (10.20), roadworks at Wisbech,  33 late from Wisbech (10.51), 35 late at Guyhirn (11.05), 34 late at Thorney(11.04), 34 late into Peterborough rail station at 11.35. Returning on the 11.05 we set out 30 late at 11.35, 36 late from Queensgate at 11.40, then 30 late throughout to arrive King's Lynn 31 late at 12.55.
As we have said before, the chances of catching up any time with a 50mph resticted B7 are limited. To complete today's log, Bruce's guesses for the turns he missed were spot on. 37579 only worked K14 from Lynn to Peterborough and back where a revived 37156 took over.

Thursday 13th January 2011 ~ Make Do & Mend

The service continues in all low floor mode at the moment, though it is a matter of having something spare in the event of a failure which may be their undoing !
37156 leaving Wisbech 10 late on Y13 13.56 to Lowestoft yesterday, it was in the wars again today.
  Today 37156 was ill again, it did K14 on which it was seen heading to Lowestoft 18 late by one of our correspondents, but later came off at Lynn at 12.10 and a repaired 37569 worked forward in very noisy fashion with its faulty fan. Punctuality was very hit and miss, with the temporary lights on Lynn Road in Wisbech adding to earlier problems on the Acle straight.
L8 with 37577 due off Wisbech to Peterborough at 09.48, departed 21 late, Y9 which was 37158 was seen returning from Peterborough just 4 late, L10 was 37570 noted 14 x 8 late westbound and returning, L11 with 37157 was 16 x 8 late which represents a good recovery for a B7. Things then returned relatively to normal, but mid afternoon K16 failed to appear (it should have been 37160) and instead K17 ran 18 x 23 late with 37574 meaning an 80 minute gap in the service after K15 with 573 which had been only 4 late. Geminis on maintenance today were 37566 at Lowestoft and 37571 at Lynn.
Another picture of Y13, today with 37572. It is approaching Walton Road  at Walsoken where vandals have smashed the glass in both bus shelters this week. I'd throw away the keys myself !


Wednesday 12th January 2011 ~ Contingency Plans

It's always interesting to see what the powers that be do when the half hourly service goes to pot. That was what happened today mid morning and due to a late start for me, the first Peterborough bound service I saw was L8, which unusually for the second day running had a B7, 37158 in fact and this was arriving in Wisbech 17 late. Y9 suffered a worse fate and 37573 was 34 late past Bruce and 38 late from Wisbech, the added delay being caused by temporary lights on Lynn Road. Because of the heavy delay to Y9, 37567 on L10 was turned round at Wisbech, it arrived just after 11.30 and then departed at 11.56 as Y9 back to the coast. 37573 then became L10 which it was already running in the times of.
Westbound services then left Wisbech like this, L11 with 37574 14 late, L12 37159 20 late and Y13, the 12.18 departure,  37156 16 late.
There was another B9 failure today with 37570 on K16 being stopped at Wisbech with an ABS fault. It was driven back to Vancouver Avenue for attention and is believed to have resumed K16 at 16.02 to Lowestoft. This did mean a gap in the service though and there was nothing eastbound between K15 with 37578 at 15.02 and K17 with 37571 at 16.01, these times were passing the blog hq, so both were about 11 late.
37579 was back on the route today working K19 and Michael Bryant reports The Beast (20107) on the 12.08 Lowestoft  to Norwich X2, along with 37157 on the 007 Beccles schools contract.


Tuesday 11th January 2011 ~ 569 In The Wars

An accident at Honingham caused some disruption this morning with 37568 on Y9 caught in the aftermath. It was 28 late from Wisbech on the 10.18 westbound with 37569 on L10 only 5 minutes behind it. 569 appeared to be making loud noises which sounded suspiciously like a faulty fan. L11 with 37160 also lost time and was 22 late from Wisbech. Neither 37568 or 37160 returned through Wisbech and I guess they took the bypass to regain some of the lost time.
Andy James reports K14 changing buses at Lynn this afternoon, with 37564 incoming swapped for 37159 on the 15.02 to Lowestoft. Earlier 37159 had been on K5, but this went forward from Lynn eastbound at 10.32 with 37563 which had been off the road since it failed last Thursday.
Tonight 37564 looked OK at King's Lynn and 37579 which last worked on 5th had also been made fit for service. Just as well really, because this evening L10 failed at Narborough with 37569 producing disco lights and lots of oil and coolant in the wrong places. Fitters had to attend and the 19.50 to Peterborough used 37568 which had come in on Y9.
Des was out and about today taking a trip as passenger on the 99 to Southwold which ceases daytime operation on Saturday. Interestingly he saw 37568 on Y9 by now only running 9 late at Hopton (see above) and here are some pictures he kindly took of other notable workings :
Proof, as if it were needed that B9s do work on the X2. Here is 37567 at Lowestoft bus station today.

You can always spot 37567 as its rear route indicator doesn't work. 37565 is alongside on K1 11.55 to Peterborough

The Beast on local work, leaving Lowestoft for Kessingland today.

Monday 10th January 2011 ~ 37578 - What again ?

The week got off to a good start with an all low floor service today. Mid morning L11 11.18 Wisbech - Peterborough failed to appear and it was noted returning on the 11.50 Peterborough - Lowestoft running just 4 late with 37565, so I guess it ran via the Wisbech bypass on the outward after an unexpected delay.
After this hiccup, everything ran smoothly again for a while.
Of note were some very smart turn rounds at Peterborough, 37564 was 7 late from Wisbech on the 10.18, but on time coming back and even pedalcar 37156 on Y6 managed to convert a six minute defecit into just 2 minutes on the 09.50 ex Peterborough.
The first signs of anything amiss came when 37569 on K14 which had gone over to Peterborough spot on time, was 13 late coming back. Apparently an accident had partly closed the A47 near the Cromwell Road roundabout and the road wasn't fully  open again until approx 18.30. K15 with 37576 was not seen by me, so I'm guessing it went from Guyhirn to Wisbech via Wisbech St. Mary. By the time K19 15.18 Wisbech to Peterborough passed by me at 15.26, things had obviously worsened as 7minutes later it was back heading back into town, having turned round to avoid the blockage, It was then seen at 15.35 departing via Chapel Road to take the Wisbech St. Mary route. Bruce saw 578 returning at Walsoken about 45 late. 37567 on K2 was seen at Queensgate by Tony Irle at 17.20, so roughly on time and there don't appear to have been any swaps due to the delays.

Sunday 9th January 2011 ~ Lights Out

The service was worked by ten B9 Geminis today. One of these was 37571 which today, as so often happens on a Sunday, escaped from its normal work and was sent out on the diagram which terminates at Lowestoft off the 10.10 from Peterborough and then goes light to Yarmouth.
Only other thing of note today was that 37572 on the 18.50 King's Lynn to Peterborough had a headlight out and somewhere around Thorney this would have passed 37577 on the 19.10 Peterborough - Lowestoft which was in likewise condition.


Saturday January 8th 2011 ~ On The X1 !

It was our beer jaunt to Stamford today. This saw me in the Wisbech Wetherspoons at the strange hour of 08.25 to meet the others for breakfast. For those who need to know such things, they don't serve beer until 9am. We then trotted along to Wisbech Horsefair to await the arrival of L8 which duly appeared with 37574.
A swift journey was only interrupted by our driver having to effect an emergency stop on Guyhirn bank after the van in front of us decided to cross the road into a layby with zero notice. Thankfully the brakes on 574 were excellent and we continued without further ado. Something I've not noticed on other Geminis was the swaying at top speed which was certainly remarked upon by most of my friends. Bruce has mentioned this before and I now see what he means.
On arrival at Peterborough rail station we adjourned to buy tickets to Stamford, which thanks to engineering work, was a replacement coach service. Just before we departed at 11.05, we saw Mr. Speed no less, arrive with 37564 on L9. There being no alternative, he then blocked us in momentarily while he stopped for passengers.
Our return trip saw us into Peterborough for the 20.10 back to Wisbech which just happened to be diagram L8 again and true to form was 37574. Our driver couldn't park in the usual place due to the rail replacement coaches and very enterprisingly reversed into the short stay car park to enable us all to board. I gave him an X1 blog calendar for his trouble and we had a friendly chat.
The return journey was swift and uneventful and again today's trips were a good advert for the service.
Whilst all this was going on, 37563/566 & 37579 were the only non runners in an all low floor day.


Friday January 7th 2011 ~ The Beast Vanquished

20107 was sent out on K2 this morning, so it was not surprising that upon arrival at Lowestoft at 12.10 it  was changed for 37569 which was spare. Earlier Lowestoft had sent out 37157 on L8, 37565 on L10, 37567 on L11 and 37570 on L12 and even after using 37569, still had 37156 spare.
Temporary lights on the A47 at Thorney Toll affected afternoon services from Peterborough. Noted were Y13 with 37571 11 late, K14 with 37574 13 late, K15 with 37575 18 late and 37566 on K16 19 late. In the other direction, timekeeping was good although K18 with 37159 was 7 late.
37563 was kept in at Lynn today with its air problem and 37579 continues to receive attention here. Des reports a series of minor delays today, but he did manage to convert a 12 minute departure from Swaffham into an on time at Norwich with 37574 on K14.


Thursday 6th January 2011 ~ Swaffham Swap

As I mentioned in the review of 2010, the Lowestoft Gemini B9s run lower mileages than those based at King's Lynn, although there appears to be no obvious reason for this. Today 37564 was K1, 37566 L10, 37568 L11 and 37569 K2. The other three were less productive though, 37563 was out on L8 but expired at Swaffham at around 12.30 with loss of air. Now I'm not sure exactly what the consequences of this were, but all the signs point to 37571 on K17 being turned round at Swaffham to replace 37563. Whether 37563 then went empty to Lynn or conveyed any passengers off K17 is not known. 37160 took K17 forward from Lynn on time. Meanwhile 37565 worked the Beccles 007 school contract which then works an evening X2 and 37565 was seen by Michael B on the 10.38 X2 from Lowestoft. All the Lynn B9s were in action, save 37579.
Because of 37160s involvement, all the five B7s were in use on the X1 today and 'The Beast' 20107 worked Y9, see the pictures below.
The timetable was largely adhered to today, but K4 had a mishap this morning. Peter says " I foolishly went for the 07.39 from Walsoken and it turned up 20 late with 37572, don't fancy my chances of making the 08.52 train from Peterborough to Leicester ". I asked him why the service had been delayed : "Overheard the driver explaining to another passenger why, but lost interest - I think it was because the original driver rostered had not turned up. Got to Peterborough in time to see my train leaving, so it's an hour's wait now for the next one". Later he caught 37577 on K5 18.40 from Peterborough, by which time beers in Derby were having an effect "Oh for the glory days of the X1, warm coaches, comfortable seats, smooth ride and dimmed lights". Yes, why do the lights on Geminis resemble interrogation lights that would make Hitler proud ? As for the seats, well let's not go there !

Having seen 'The Beast' head west, I positioned myself for a picture on its return and lo and behold, Mr Speed was at the controls. The black car appeared at the last moment to ruin the moment , its occupants making a swift visit to the Polish off licence.
........and here she is at Peterborough before departure for Lowestoft at 11.14, Photo By DS


Wednesday January 5th 2011 ~ Good Morning !

Peter says "37573 on time on the 08.10 Wisbech to Peterborough (K5), the lady driver greeted me with a genial 'Good Morning' and a smile. After last year's X1 trip to Norwich, I decided to travel in the warm this time - well actually in the cold as far as Peterborough, then in the warm on the train. This also has another advantage as I don't have to worry on the way home after X pints of Adnams !".
I was rather red faced later when Peter asked me about the return 17.40 from Peterborough (K3) which I'd said (from memory) would be 37573. I should have said 37579, but in any case I'd have been wrong because : "Really Gerard, it's 37574 and I'm sure it's the same lady driver as earlier, This is another one with no heat upstairs". Don't suppose it matters after all that beer keeping you glowing Peter :+)
Incidentally, 37579 was removed because of a fault which I think may be to do with the drivers seat.

The 'Beast' was working off King's Lynn today on K1, which finishes at Yarmouth. 37160 on the other hand looked poorly in Vancouver Avenue and Volvo B7TL 30887 did its Lynn local duty this morning. All services seen were within 7 minutes of time today and the majority dead on. 37563 & 37567 were off for attention at Lowestoft today.
Des says "The latest petrol pricewatch from me is 128.9 @ Tesco Lynn, 126.9 @ Sains Norwich. Can't give you Tesco Lowestoft, I'm not going past there this week.

X1 Blog Calendar

For those of you who missed out on an X1 blog calendar, here's one you can print off yourself. Alternatively if you prefer one displaying individual months, here is January :

Thanks very much to the X1 blog graphic designer in Gorleston for the calendar artwork.


Tuesday January 4th 2011 ~ Picture This !

The title of today's blog refers to the dull weather which continued today. I would have liked to have provided a New Year picture of 'The Beast' for you, but the lighting for photos made it almost impossible.
So there, I've already said it, today's main news involved the return of 20107 on the X1. It worked L10, so was clearly not a last minute choice as L11 and L12 which depart after this were both Geminis. 37567 was kept in for attention and so was 37565, but the latter was called upon to work the 11.25 Lowestoft - Peterborough (K19) after 37579 was taken off. 579 later returned home to Lynn on Y9 replacing 37563.
I had half expected 20107 to be replaced by 37567 for the second leg of L10, but this didn't happen and instead she worked the full turn which finishes as the 21.10 Peterborough - King's Lynn.
One other swap to report today was K4 which started most unusually with 37571. The Thorney crash victim is almost always used on K17, or alternatively one of the other Lynn internal diagrams. It was no surprise therefore, when I saw K4 at teatime that it had been swapped for freshly serviced 37572. This will then allow 37571 to resume its regular turn tomorrow.
Punctuality was excellent today without exception, so well done to all those involved.

Scottish Paragon Update

20502 looking in very similar condition to when it left King's Lynn
 Chris from Scotland has kindly sent us an update on the Paragon coaches 20502 - 20509 formerly on the X1. Here is his report :
I thought that you and perhaps your readers may be interested to hear that history has to a point repeated itself for the Paragons. As I informed you previously they were acquired by First Glasgow primarily for operation on the X11 "Lanarkshire Express" between Glasgow and Newmains/Cleland, however, over the last couple of months they have steadilly been replaced (more or less) completely on the X11 by Volvo Wright Eclipse Double Deckers. This has resulted in the Paragons being reallocated from Overtown to Blantyre Depot.

Reliveried for the X11, 20506 seen in Glasgow. My thanks to the provider of these pictures ( I know it was Jamie or Rob, who both kindly sent me pix of the Paragons in Glasgow, but I'm now not sure which !)
 As such, the Paragons have been displaced to our own X1 which runs between Glasgow and Hamilton, but  due to a lower service frequency on the X1, the Paragons have been used on fill in turns or other duties that are typically operated by a Dart type bus. In addition, in the last 2 months the coaches have been being cycled through storeage at Blantyre depot due to a lower requirement for the full fleet in daily service. A sad state of affairs indeed.
Some of your readers may also be interested to know that the "Night Flyer" service which First Glasgow operated between Glasgow and London Victoria will be transferring to First's "Greyhound UK" operation from next Monday evening and will be operated by a batch of 3x Ex First Cymru Plaxton Panthers displaced from National Express duties... 23205, 23206 and 23207 (23207 was unveiled to the press in early December carrying its new livery).
Thanks very much to Chris for this update.


Monday January 3rd 2011 ~ A Traveller Writes

Yesterday was very quiet on the buses, but today there were definitely increased loadings on the hourly service. Robert M was one of those who travelled by X1 yesterday and he says "I took the 12:50 from King's Lynn to Wisbech (37577), we left bang on time from the station and made record time to Wisbech in about half an hour. In my experience this trip usually takes about 40 minutes. The driver was friendly and accommodating of the gentleman in front of me who only had a 20 pound note with which to pay his fare.
On my return journey I took the 18:00 bus back from Wisbech (37566). This bus was similarly punctual, arriving at least 5 minutes before the departure time and leaving spot on time at 18:00. This was also a fairly quick journey, and again the driver was friendly. Overall I'm quite impressed with today's service. The only real downside is a lack of leg room on most of the buses in the fleet, which is a common problem I generally face on public transport, even though I'm not even over 6 feet tall".
Ah it's all about 'bums on seats' today isn't it Robert ? A far cry from days of old, still good to hear of your positive experience.
Again today the service was B9 worked with a solitary B7 exception. This was 37159 which wasn't too much of a problem as it only worked the 08.50 Lynn to Peterborough and 10.10 back to Lowestoft, upon which it went light to Yarmouth as booked in the Sunday timetable which was in force today.
Two turns suffered delay today, 37569 on the 12.48 from Lowestoft was 15 late out of King's Lynn and the 09.48 from Lowestoft was almost 20 late arriving at Lynn, but some smart driving saw the defecit reduced to just 5 minutes when it passed Walpole Highway on the 14.10 from Peterborough.

37578 brightens the gloom at Walpole Highway as it passes on the 09.30 from Great Yarmouth this lunchtime.

The 11.10 from Peterborough heads for Lowestoft with 37573 advertising the incredible properties of Nescafe Green !!


Sunday 2nd January 2011 ~ Back On The Road

A gentle start to the New Year, although I did notice that yesterday morning at 10.30 am prospective passengers were waiting at Walton Highway and Walpole Highway for services which were not running.

37564 working the 09.30 Yarmouth - Peterborough service near Walpole today

The B9s in service today were 37563/4/6/9 and 37571/4/7/8/9. The middle turn from Yarmouth was 37157. A rather unusual advertising campaign was seen on 37577 advertising Nescafe coffee under the banner 'Bursting with Antioxidants'. On the other side is now a new advert for Easy Jet, all previous campaigns for the airline having been removed some time ago. These ads were fitted at Lowestoft on New Year's Eve. Maximum delay noted today was a mere 6 minutes by 37157.


Review of 2010

2010 was quite an interesting year on the X1 with the remaining coaches gradually being squeezed out of the service. This was only really achieved in December though, so the rest of the year was rather eventful.
Gemini 37574 took the prize for the most active bus, it was out on 326 days during which it did 127,700 miles. All the King's Lynn B9 Geminis (except 37571 which only returned to the fleet in September) were out for in excess of 300 days, the lowest being 306 days for 37576. This bus ended the year on a high however, when it broke the record for the number of successive days worked by a B9, running on 92 successive days from 24th September until Christmas Eve.
The Lowestoft B9s all ran lower mileages, 37566 managed 296 days and at the other end of the scale, 37564 only managed 260.
The situation was reversed with the B7 Geminis though and the two Lowestoft examples were more common on the X1 than their King's Lynn contemporaries. 37156 was noted on the X1 and X2 on 276 days and 37157 on 263. The Lynn buses in order of appearance were 37160 (217), 37159 (174) and 37158 (145).
The 'Beast' better known as 20107 topped the appearance chart for coaches. It was out on 184 days, despite extensive welding having to be carried out in order for it to pass another MOT and then having an unfortunate contretemps with an Anglian bus in Lowestoft bus station on July 27th, which saw it sidelined for a further three weeks. Seven other B10M coaches worked on the X1 during the year, King's Lynn based 20118 was used on 16 occasions, peaking at 8 days during April. Its last X1 run was on 25th June when it had a run to Peterborough and back. Its MOT expired on July 18th and with bodywork repairs unauthorised it joined the ranks of withdrawn vehicles at Rowan Road.
Barbie liveried 20127 continued its charmed life receiving an MOT at Yarmouth in June. What turned out to be a final fling on the X1 came to an abrupt end though on August 4th when terminal engine problems saw it withdrawn and sent to the Rowan Road funeral parlour. 20109 which had been absent from the route for sometime saw a renaissance in the Summer and worked on 17 days in June, often on one of the long diagrams over 400 miles. It bowed out on July 3rd and less than a week later it had gone to Yarmouth for conversion as a driver trainer. Few would have predicted the fate of 20121 which acted as cover while the Gemini fleet were undergoing modifications in October and November. It had worked on three occasions in June before it too was converted for driver training. It was totally unexpected therefore to return to the mainstream fleet. It worked on 44 days and behaved impeccably. Its emergency use came to an end on December 1st when it suffered a rear end shunt by a car in Wisbech and it was retired to Rowan Road, though whether it will work again remains to be seen.
Yarmouth's 20126 suffered a series of engine related problems throughout the year but still managed to amass 38 days on the route. That just leaves the two rarest performers, 20115 which made its first appearance on the route for 14 months on October 9th. On that occasion chronic traffic congestion saw it only work from Lowestoft to Lynn and back, but it subsequently received an Mot before reappearing on 1st and 2nd November when it worked the route throughout. Even 115's escapades were common though compared to 20123 ! Requiring a new engine, this only saw limited use on Hunstanton schools work because of its tendency to overheat. It was a big surprise therefore when it was turned out to work the 08.45 Lynn to Peterborough on 15th June replacing an ailing 37570. This was the Indian Summer for the B10Ms with 20109/121/123 all being seen at Wisbech bus station within an hour on this date. 20123 joined the withdrawn vehicles at the beginning of July, but may see further use as it has since gone to Yarmouth where it may after all get its new engine.
The venerable B10Ms were not the only coaches used on the route in 2010 and for the first six months of the year, Paragon B12s 20500 & 20501 once again found themselves back at King's Lynn. Now decked out in white after use on the X22 Colchester to Stansted Airport service, they became a useful spare resource for the X1 when not engaged on their real duties for rail replacement. Both coaches notched up 11 days each in January and 20501 worked on 16 days in May. In total between them they saw 63 days in use on the X1.
All these substitutions were of course, adding to the difficulties in providing an all low floor service and the same problem occurred when the tacho fitted Royale 34108 was used. It saw use on 103 days, though the frequency of its X1 work was reduced in the Summer when it moved from being on Lowestoft's allocation to Yarmouth. Ten appearances in September and eleven in November contrasted with none at all in October and December.
37562, the Gemini on loan from Volvo remained standing in for the absent 37571 until August 7th, when a swap at Worcester saw Paragon coach 20514 brought in while 571 which had returned from Wrights at Ballymena had modifications carried out. The coach worked for 20 days on the X1 before being returned on 2nd September - the same day 571 returned to traffic.
Yarmouth's emergency cover tacho fitted Volvo single decker bus, 60863 saw use on 12 days in Jan, Feb and June, while there was a solitary appearance of a King's Lynn Scania way back in January when 65531 worked in the snow of 7th from Lynn to Peterborough and back.
Well I think that just about covers everything, but there is probably something I've missed. It remains for me now to wish you a happy and healthy 2011 and I once again reiterate my thanks to all of you who have made the blog possible.