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Holiday Report ~ April 22nd - 28th 2011

What an incredible lot you are ~  I've been away for an entire week and during that time, my correspondents have collectively managed to successfully report sightings for all but two of 116 X1 diagrams !!!
Now that's dedication for you and a massive thanks to all who have contributed in any way. I suppose the first question which arises is the matter of those two missing duties. Well, it is hardly a cause for great concern. We are harking back to Easter Monday here when we do not know exactly what worked the 08.30 and 09.30 departures westbound from Great Yarmouth. What I have ascertained is that 37568 and 37569 were the Geminis involved, it is just that we don't know which one did which turn.
Let's take a quick look then at what has been going on in my absence :

Good Friday 22nd April 2011

My outward journey to the Welsh Borders with my brother-in-law driving was not very well timed, our short trip on the A47 didn't clash with any eastbound X1s. That being said, we saw two !
 Firstly 37567 was working the diagram which on arrival at Lowestoft works the Martham local service. This we definitely should not have seen, but instead we met it on Guyhirn bank running around 25 late in slow moving traffic. The reason for this soon became apparent when we passed a broken down car nearer Guyhirn. Behind this, traffic was queued to Thorney Toll and by good fortune 37572 was passed near Eye Green running well to time on the following service. Needless to say this then lost a lot of time and it was 46 late from Norwich. For a while, delays of around 30 minutes became the norm.

Delayed 37567 was well loaded in Norwich this afternoon. DS
 37569 on the next departure from Peterborough at 12.10 was badly affected and was seen by Des departing Yarmouth 65 minutes late with 'not in service' shown on the front. 37157 was supplied by Lowestoft to continue this duty which forms the 16.48 service back to Peterborough in the Sunday timetable, which was in force today.
Earlier 37157 had been noted by Malcolm on the 10.20 X2 from Lowestoft to Norwich and Des also saw it at Norwich on the 14.50 back to Lowestoft. 37158 was another B7 used on X1 duty today, it did the turn commencing as the 09.30 Yarmouth - Peterborough.

Saturday 23rd April 2011

Timekeeping was average today with lunchtime services around Wisbech running up to 20 minutes late. Bruce reports Y13 as 13 late through Walpole Highway on the 12.03 to Peterborough and 20 late coming back as the 14.06 to Lowestoft. K14 following was 20 late heading west.
Y13 was actually the days star turn with coach 20126. This had been borrowed after 20115 which was scheduled to work Y13, expired first thing filling Caister Road garage with smoke and leaking oil profusely. It will be a shame if this proves to be the end of 115, but it does have a transplanted engine from an older Volvo, so may be it should be expected. Other departures from the usual Saturday service involved Y10 which had the normally mega reliable 37574 taken off at Lynn ailing and 37159 replaced it. L11 also saw a vehicle swap with 37156 removed at Lowestoft in favour of white liveried B10M 20102.
Sam reports 37160 on the 11.38 X2 from Lowestoft and the use of a Gemini on the Saturday X2 seems to be happening quite regularly now. Sam enquires about the unusual front on 37160 and asks 'how long has it not had a silver front panel ?'. A few months I think, is the answer. Check out the previous blog pictures for a more precise solution Sam.

Easter Sunday 24th April 2011

The 13.48 Lowestoft - Peterborough (Sunday diagram no. K4)  pauses at Gorleston Magdalen square with 37568. DS

The day seems to have run without any major problems, although punctuality may have been suspect. I say this because the early 06.35 Lynn to Lowestoft (classified as K1 on Sundays) utilised 37579, but later 37576 had taken over on the 10.48 from Lowestoft. Later Y9 looks to have had 37564 swapped at Lowestoft for 37565 and another change involved 37157 on Y7 which was taken off at Lynn and replaced by coach 20102 - this is believed to be because it would be required at Ipswich for schools work in the coming week. Confirmation of this theory would be welcomed. Malcolm reports 37156 lurking spare in Lowestoft bus station, so possibly in between X2 work ? The two pleasing shots of 37575 were taken at Corton church at 15.25 by Des, when it was working on the Martham service this afternoon.

Easter Monday 25th April 2011

37573 on Magdalen Way in Gorleston while working the 09.48 from Lowestoft today. Photo : Des Speed

A B9 worked service apart from 37157, although a little birdie tells me that 20126 may have had an evening run to Peterborough replacing 3756something. Thanks again to Bruce and Malcolm for todays sightings.

37564 at Magdalen Square running as the 10.48 from Lowestoft today. DS

The passing of the elephants ! 37573 meets 37576 in Gorleston at 12.14 today.

Tuesday 26th April 2011

K2 started the day with 37569, but Paul reports having this on the 17.30 Beccles to Lowestoft X2 and Bruce saw K2 this afternoon with 20126 running 8 late. Earlier 20126 had gone east from Lynn on K14, the 05.37 departure to Lowestoft, but here 37156 replaced it.  Thanks to Cheryl for her sightings today, 37566 on Y6, 37575 on L8, 37578 on Y9 10 late, 37157 on K16 and 37158 on K18 6 late, all viewed at Wisbech town bridge.
Bruce says afternoon workings were a little late in some cases and both 37156 and 37158 were ten late past him. Strangest working of the day was Lowestoft's 37565 on K17.

Wednesday 27th April 2011

Alarm bells ringing loudly this morning after a quiet spell, firstly K3 06.45 Lynn to Peterborough passing through Walpole with Scania 65540 and later 65527 appearing on L8 09.15 westbound from Lynn, in both cases confirmed by Bruce and Marcus. What appears to have happened is that 37565 may not have returned to Lynn on K17 yesterday as today it was on L12. It could have come on at Lynn of course, but in that case what it replaced is a mystery. Certainly whatever came in on K17 last night was not available, hence the Scania appearing on K3. 65540 came off at Lynn and 37566 removed from L8 returned to Lowestoft as K3. This is why another Scania had to be found for L8, though why they just didn't continue using 65540 is unknown. L8 forward from Lynn at 12.02 is also an unknown quantity - most likely explanation is that 37569 which was L8 this evening, had worked across on L12 (this arrives at Lynn at 11.07), was then changed for a revived 37565 and promptly worked back east at 12.02. 37157 and 37568 seem to have been kept at Lowestoft for again, reasons unknown and 20126 was provided instead on L11.
Bruce was vigilant all day but in the afternoon K19 didn't appear to run (it was allocated 37572). 37571 had lost 17 minutes on K17 when it passed him going to Peterborough and later eastbound K18 with 37159 and K1 with 37570 were both 10 late, though all other services ran to time.

Dart 43437 waits at Great Yarmouth Market Gates at 08.50 this morning with a shuttle to Norwich. DS

Former X1 regular, 20109 is now a driver trainer at Yarmouth, seen here in the depths of Caister Road garage. DS

Thursday 28th April 2011

After lunch, traffic congestion ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend contrived to spoil X1 punctuality - the nadir as far as Bruce was concerned was reached with 37573 on K19 16.56 Wisbech to Lowestoft passing 32 late, things ran well in the morning apart from an isolated delay to Y7 with 37576 running 16 late. Cheryl viewed 37570 on Y6 and 37159 on Y9 both slightly late. By afternoon 37156 was 11 x 15 late on K16 (no surprises there then), 37563 on Y13 returned east 10 late and 37568 on K4 was also 10 late at teatime. Embarrassingly K14 with 20126 had lost 26 minutes by the time it passed Bruce eastbound (due 14.35).

Des drove Y13 into Lowestoft from Yarmouth this morning with 37569 and then departed to Peterborough with a replacement, 37563, Rachel was on board and also saw the swap. It looks as though 37564 on L8 was changed at the coast for 37157.

Finally in this round up, a  milestone was passed today. At around 21.20 this evening, somewhere in the vicinity of Easton, 37575 working K15 became the first X1 Gemini to pass the 300,000 mile mark ! Quite a feat I'm sure you'll agree.


X1 Holiday

The next blog will be on about Friday 29th April, as I am now away on holiday. Please send all contributions, no matter how trivial, to the usual address. Thanks Gerard

Thursday 21st April 2011 ~ Bad Thursday

I always refer to the day before 'Good Friday' as 'Bad Thursday' simply because the traffic is usually chaotic with the hoards heading for the coast. I expect they do this to 'miss all the traffic' !
A three vehicle pile up near the Saddlebow roundabout at around 11.20 meant that after an hour had elapsed, traffic was pretty much stationery from Lynn all the way to Guyhirn. this had a pretty bad effect on the X1 of course. I was at Long Sutton so had to rely on Bruce's reports, but services were soon running 30 late. The obstacle was cleared by around 14.30, but by this time the damage was done. 37563 on L8 was a good example of how things went. It was seen by Bruce on Cromwell Road heading into Wisbech at 11.35 (17 late), then emerging from the South Lynn direction onto the South Gates roundabout at 12.27 (38 late) and then leaving Lynn for Lowestoft through the South Gates at 13.07 (60 late). Des takes up the story " I was on 37159 - Y9 11.05 Peterborough to Lowestoft and we left on time before encountering slow A47 traffic, we were 4 late at Thorney (11.33), eventually we arrived back at Lynn 46 late  (13.08) - RTA on A47 between Pullover and Saddlebow. I travelled via South Lynn, but the queue was back to Coopers Roller Bearings factory. Once again I had 37565 as steed, but this time on L12  14.02 King's Lynn to Lowestoft on which I left 9 late (14.11). 37574 (L11 13.32 departure) was at Lynn at same time. I organised Norwich passengers and beyond on to him and he went straight to Norwich. I operated full service. Arrive Yarm 4 late (16.39). Finally L8 did not last with 37563, instead 37564 did the second part of Y7 and then 37569 off Y7 graduauted to L8, 563 was then seen at 17.07 heading light for Yarmouth garage with Lowestoft driver - Oil seal problems.
Today 20115 was K1, seen by Bruce 30 late at 16.03, but later at  17.33  by me just 1 late insinuating that it terminated at Wisbech at 15.45. 20102 was also out on K14 and was one of several services running about 30 minutes in arrears at lunchtime.
Today wasn't a completely bad day though, I will just say 5-1, 5-1, 5-1 come on you yellows !

Wednesday 20th April 2011 ~ Carry On Coaching

The Geminis seemed to have an attack of stagefright today with Lowestoft producing 20115 on L10 and 20102 on L11. This rather unfortunately meant a 90 minute gap in the low floor service. A scan of the whereabouts of the absent Geminis reveals 37567 seen at Lowestoft depot at 12.30 by Michael B and later, Des saw it on the 17.10 X2 from Norwich. 37575 was off for servicing at Lynn and at Lowestoft 37157 was viewed working the 07.08 and 10.38 X2 departures. L12 left Lowestoft with 37566, but this only got as far as Yarmouth before 37576 took over.
Timekeeping was patchy today, L8 returned through Wisbech from Peterborough 8 late with 37569 at 11.28 and Y9 which had been 10 late on the 10.18 Wisbech to Peterborough lost further time and was 14 late heading back east. Des writes " I had 37158 on Y9 - 06.45 Gorleston JPH to Peterborough, which I took to Lynn. We were on time till congestion into Lynn where we arrived 6 late at 09.43". He continues "20102 on the 10.45 Lynn to Peterborough (L11) departing 5 late, because it was late in. We were 14 late into Peterborough rail station at 12.13. On the 12.05 return we departed 8 late and had cut this to 4 minutes by the time Queensgate was left. We were 4 late from bus station (12.19), 6 late into Lynn (13.29)". I nipped out to record 20102 passing Wisbech town bridge as seen here, Mr. Speed looking very comfortable at the controls.

Des the says "My duty continued with 37565 on the 15.02 King's Lynn to Lowestoft (K14), we departed  10 late. but were on time by our 16.55 departure from Norwich".
The loadings on the X1 west of King's Lynn are often the subject of debate, so here for reference are a couple of photos taken from X1 blog hq today....

37158 with scarcely a seat available seen on Y9 10.18 Wisbech to Peterborough

20115 with a fairly healthy loading on L10 10.48 Wisbech to Peterborough today. She was 22 late at Yarmouth tonight, but only 2 late into Wisbech at 20.24


Tuesday 19th April 2011 ~ From Our Reporting Team

John Wilson tells me he has decided to retire from bus observations when the Norfolk Green takeover of former Eastern Counties King's Lynn area services takes place. He adds though,  "Morning Gerard -As my pencil does not hang up until 12th June, I have pondered on your point re Lowestoft B7 use at Lynn.
You may be correct re Sunday use, but if a Bank Holiday Monday counts with you as a Sunday, I will mention that 37157 was seen plodding to Hunst'on on May Day Monday 3 May 2010". Thanks for that John, it was something I'd completely forgotten.
Michael F was also in touch and writes "Hi Gerard, I can confirm 20102 out on the X1 this morning... seen arriving at Norwich bus station at 10:20 on the 08:55 ex Lowestoft bound for Peterborough - What a beautiful sight !" Indeed it was Michael and here she is at Walsoken on the aforementioned 08.55 (K14) complete with a white card in the window proclaiming 'PETRBORO' !

Earlier in the day Cheryl had decided to take an X1 trip from Wisbech to King's Lynn, she took K2 at 08.21 and Bruce and myself were witness to her passing with 37567 as shown here.....

37567 on K2 this morning with a beaming Cheryl on the lower deck
The missing 37159 reappeared today and it is thought to have worked L11 to King's Lynn where it was removed for servicing. 37572 worked L11 forward. 37160 which had spent yesterday on the X2 (it worked the 11.38 and 14.38 off Lowestoft according to Michael Bryant) was today back on the X1 working L8. It came of this turn at 18.43 and the 18.50 Lynn to Peterborough left with 37576 which had come in on Y7.
Laine from Lowestoft sent in a report of an interesting 20 minutes or so at the bus station this afternoon :  "No less than three B9TLs turned up at Lowestoft at around 14:30. 37566 had arrived 'not in service' and was parked up in the southbound 101 bus stop layby. This was quickly followed by 37569, which formed the 14:25 X1 (Y6), leaving about 15 minutes late. Behind this came 37576, which promptly formed Y7,  the next X1 working to King's Lynn, however, just before this, an empty 20115 turned up with X1 on the blinds. Despite this, it was parked in the bay for the X2 and then worked the 14:38 X2 to Norwich, replacing a ill-sounding 32213".
37563 which was due at Lowestoft for servicing, instead had a day off at Yarmouth and I suspect they may have carried out the necessary servicing on behalf of its home depot. The only other Gemini not in use was , as Laine said, 37566. Michael B occasionally sees former X1 regular Royale 34108 and yesterday afternoon it was employed on a Bernard Matthews contract.


Monday April 18th 2011 ~ First Time For Everything (post No. 1001)

Just when you think the X1 can't throw up any more surprises, this happens :
B10M coach 20102 pauses at Wisbech Horsefair bus station this evening while working the 16.25 Lowestoft to Peterborough, it departed on time at 20.22

Gosh I can't believe I've now written over a thousand blog entries. Confirmation that I'm mad I guess. For some reason it had completely slipped my mind that Jim had tipped us off that 20102 might appear on the X1 this week. I was advising a customer that their specs were ready when it flashed by on, of all things, Y9 this morning with a full load. I'm sure my message about the specs didn't make any sense, as I realised what I'd just witnessed. It's a strange world where B10Ms are being withdrawn rapidly and then one makes its debut on the X1. For the record all of the N6xx APU series have now worked on the service except 20108 and 20110. Most have now been scrapped or sold on to private companies and only 20115 still appears on our route. One must never say never though and Ryan informs me that 20109 is still in use as Yarmouth driver trainer, so it could conceivably make a comeback like 20121 did last Winter.
Today 20102 appeared to be standing in for 37569, but an A47 altercation saw the service thrown into chaos from mid morning. This time a collision between a lorry and a motorbike was the cause, as is so often the case, on the stretch between Wisbech and Guyhirn. The usual diversion via Wisbech St. Mary was used and 20102 was the first bus to use it eastbound. Prior to this Y7 with 37571 had headed for Lowestoft 18 late and next came 37563 on L8 which was 25 late. One interesting working was Y13 with 37568 which left Wisbech by the normal route, reached Cromwell Road roundabout and then returned into town taking the sharp left hand bend over Wisbech Town Bridge to reach Old Market and then the alternative route. 568 was 5 late from the Horsefair at 12.25 and was then seen in Old Market at 12.40. It was the first service to come back via the usual route by which time it was 27 late. Next service eastbound was K14 with coach 20115 - Yes astonishing isn't it ? Two B10Ms in one day ! This was a mere 5 late but K15 with 37573 had managed to lose 17 minutes.
K16 appeared 5 late westbound with 37571, but hang on, that had already done Y7 ! Similarly K4 had passed through Wisbech at 09.20 to Lowestoft with 37572 and this too was back sooner than expected at 10.50 on L10. Not sure why these turns were swapped, but K16 had started with 37570 and L10 we think with 37575. The latter then did Y7 while 37576 took K4 at 10.02 from Lynn to Lowestoft.
The A47 accident caused more disruption and by this evening 37572 had advanced a turn from L10 to Y9 (left) and 20102 (right) had done the opposite, now being L10 which meant it worked through to Peterborough again at 19.50 from Lynn.  A final twist to the day saw 37160 working all day on the X2 !

Sunday April 17th 2011 ~ Cheeky

Today Malcolm noted King's Lynn B7 Gemini 37160 in use on the 11.38 Lowestoft to Norwich X2. This seemed a bit cheeky as I can't imagine Lynn using a Lowestoft B7 on the Sunday Hunstanton service, but may be they should try it !
37566 heads for Lowestoft on the 10.05 from Peterborough near Walpole Highway today. This is the turn which then works the 1 service to Martham.

37571 working the 13.48 from Lowestoft near Walpole flyover today.
 The X1 was entirely B9 worked as booked. King's Lynn garage was host to two coaches in the shape of 20352 and 20115.

Saturday April 16th 2011 ~ Premiere Action

37575 heads east near Faulkner's Tunnel on the 10.35 Peterborough to Lowestoft today. Should have cleaned my car windscreen - the grey area on the bumper is an enlarged squashed insect !
 The last coach working on the X1 was 20126 on March 17th, so almost a month had elapsed before thsi afternoon's surprise appearance of B10M 20115 which arrived at King's Lynn this evening on L9. This turn had begun the day with 37159, but this disappeared, I know not where for the coach to appear. Jim Lomg says that 20102 was due to arrive at Lowestoft today to stand in for unavailable Geminis over the half term. It normally works a schools diagram off Ipswich garage.

37576 awaits a slot for cleaning at King's Lynn tonight. It had come in as the 18.40 from Peterborough.
 Didn't see much of the daytime workings today, but Y13 had 37573 replaced by 37157 at some point and the latter was seen passing the South Gates at 14.49, around 12 late heading for the coast. A record was broken this afternoon when K1 with 37578 arrived at the same location before the hour at 14.58, hitherto the earliest I had seen an incoming X1 from the coast here was at a minute past the hour. K1 is due off Swaffham at 14.37, so must have had a very clear run. All the Geminis appeared in use today apart from 37160 which was spare at Lowestoft.
B10M coach 20115 is washed at King's Lynn this evening.


Friday April 15th 2011 ~ Silenced

With 37575 back on the road on K2 today, the opportunity was taken to repair the fan thermostat on 37572. this should mean it will return to its normal quiet state and this will leave 37156 as the only purveyor of excessive noise.  Earlier in the week 37157 again sounded as if it was unhealthy, but it has not been noticed since.
Friday timekeeping was pretty much Ok today, again services returning east from Peterborough were the ones which lost time, mainly to the tune of around 10 minutes, although 37569 on K14 was 13 late going to Peterborough on the 12.48 ex Wisbech and 23 late coming back. In contrast, K17 14.18 to Peterborough left a minute early with 37576.
Coach 20115 was noted in Lowestoft bus station by Malcolm today, but apparently its door was playing up, so it is not thought to have appeared on the X1. Not sure if we've mentioned it before, but one of our Yarmouth correspondents confirms 20123 has departed for the breakers and 20129 is likely to follow.
Ex Stansted coach 20352 has arrived today and looks a bit different to when we last saw it here.

Thursday April 14th 2011 ~ The Wind Of Change

At a meeting in King's Lynn tonight, it was announced that First Eastern are to relinquish the local town services and Hunstanton routes to Norfolk Green as from a date to be announced in June. The only unaffected service will be the X1 which will continue to have a maintenance base at King's Lynn. 22 buses will be transferred away, presumably meaning the need for Saddlebow compound will cease. This also explains why it has recently been cleared of withdrawn vehicles. As I mentioned earlier this week, evening services in the town had already gone over to NG operation from Monday last. All the First local drivers are being re-employed by NG and this will leave 42 Excel drivers I believe. It is likely that there will be a reduced requirement for maintenance and cleaning staff and some redundancies are expected. There is a possibility that some Norwich buses may be repaired at King's Lynn when resources are stretched.

On the X1 today, L12 & Y13 swapped buses at some point. 37571 and 37569 being the vehicles. K4 began with 37565, but came back from Lowestoft with 37159 which had earlier worked the 09.38 Lowestoft to Norwich X2. 37575 was successfully repaired at King's Lynn today.
Malcolm saw 37566 on  L8 and 42451 worked  the 1538 X2 service to Norwich. 37156 arrived 14 minutes late on Y9 & departed 6 minutes late to Kings Lynn. 37567 arrived on time on L10 diagram.
At Wisbech, services were seen departing on time westbound, but most were around 5 late returning from Peterborough. Heaviest delay was to 37576 on K17 which was 11 late on its booked arrival time for the 15.56 to Lowestoft.
While 37577 is away for repairs, B7 Profile coach 20352 is scheduled to be arriving at King's Lynn on loan. The other two Essex Profiles 20351/3 have already left for Scotland I am told.


Wednesday April 13th 2011 ~ Getting Your Money's Worth

What an extraordinarily good buy the B9 Geminis were - I'm sure I've started a blog entry with that sentence before. Love 'em or hate 'em, their reliability figures must be the envy of many a bus company. Despite yesterday's 'bad day', the casualty rate for the B9s is quite amazing. In the next week or so, at least one will pass the 300,000 miles mark since the fleet were introduced in October 2008. Both 37574 and 37575 are rapidly nearing that figure with 37572 not far away either. Today 37575 was rostered for K14, but by lunchtime, this turn was running with 37571. It looks like the Volvo technician had 571 this morning and then worked on 575 this afternoon, however, the latter needed a part ordering, so it will probably not be back on the road for a couple of days yet.
Shortly after 7am this morning, there was a fatal accident between Guyhirn and Wisbech. This closed the A47 until around 15.00 this afternoon, with services using the diversion via Wisbech St. Mary. K1 and K2 were caught up in the congestion, but by this afternoon were both running near to time. K5 also suffered and 37573 was already 10 late heading for Peterborough, it is due past Bruce at 08.04. It was seen returning no less than 40 late with 37567 on Y6 just a couple of minutes behind it.
Following on from Tuesday's misfortunes, 37157 on Y13 was involved in a slight collision in Peterborough at lunchtime and was unable to continue on the 13.05 to Lowestoft. This service restarted at King's Lynn at 14.32 with the only bus available, Scania 65525 ! In an effort to get this out of the circuit as soon as possible, it somehow managed to drop a couple of turns - may be it turned around at Yarmouth ? Anyway, it came back to Lynn on the 16.55 service (L11). So two Scanias in two days giving a bit of variety and thanks to one of our top men for tipping me off on 65525 being used.
Thanks are also very much due to Bruce for monitoring the service today while I was at Long Sutton. there was an unexpected swap on L8 with 37159 being replaced at Lowestoft by 37156. Malcolm writes " Today saw 37579 on K19, 37569 on K1, while 37156 was spare in the bus station this afternoon. 37567 was on Y6 and Dart 42446 worked the 1438 X2 service to Norwich with 37578 arriving on Y7". I think the intention had been to give 37156 a safety service, though whether this happened is debatable. It actually worked the first short leg of Y13 from Yarmouth to Lowestoft this morning and 37157 replaced it on arrival. As Malcolm says it was spare this afternoon before being used on L8 westbound at 15.25.
Tonight 37564 came into King's Lynn on L12 as booked, but then went to Vancouver Avenue as there was no driver available to take it to Peterborough at 20.50.


Tuesday April 12th 2011 ~ Tales Of The Unexpected

Well bless me if it aint 65540 ? It had just arrived at King's Lynn on the 19.10 from Peterborough this evening, but didn't in the end work the 20.35 to Lowestoft, see story below.
 Bruce uttered the immortal words this morning : "It's become really boring". This was the cue for assorted Geminis to expire with their wheels in the air !
K19 was ailing as early as 08.45 when 37570 was failed at Swaffham with a faulty oil pressure switch. 37572 which had just been serviced was hastily despatched to take over. A period of stability then occurred but with services returning from Peterborough losing time viz : Y9 with 37568 9 minutes late, L10 with 37579 11 late and L11 with 37159 6 late. Meanwhile a chain of events began with 37575 suffering adblue problems on L8. To get it back to Lynn it was switched to Y7 14.55 from Lowestoft which is the first service to terminate there and this then left Y7s original vehicle, 37564,  spare at Lowestoft. L8 then continued with 37158 which  had come in on the late running K5 (see below).
 The first eastbound service from Lynn, K14 began with 37563 but so that it could receive maintenance it was taken off at Lowestoft with the 08.55 to Peterborough getting 37565 from the depot. Next 37158 was in trouble at Dereham where it lost a wing mirror and fitters had to attend causing a lengthy delay. As a result the return leg of K5 , the 13.55 ex Lowestoft saw 37563 swiftly return from the depot to deputise. 
When I went home for lunch I viewed K15 running 8 late on the 12.45 from Lynn to Peterborough and on my way back to Wisbech found myself being tailed by 37157 on K16 running 15 late. K17 with the expected 37571 was just 2 late, but then things fell apart with no sign of K18, then a fully loaded K19 appearing with 37572 4 minutes late. I was then very surprised to see 37156 on K18 just 2 minutes behind K19 with 'not in service' on the blinds, this was departing Wisbech at 15.25, 35 minutes late. It returned - still empty at 16.22, by now just 2 late having, it would appear, turned round at Thorney.
As if all this wasn't enough, ill passengers added to the chaos with Y13 14.32 Lynn to Lowestoft reaching (sorry about that !) Swaffham with 37160, but eventually going forward with a rejuvenated 37570 while 37160 returned to Lynn for cleaning.
However, this was just a prelude to a hectic evening which saw 37571 on K17  unable to proceed beyond Lynn on the 16.32 to Lowestoft because of a intercooler pipe fracture and freshly cleaned 37160  quickly being sent to replace it. Surely there can't be any more incidents I hear you ask ? Well, next 37569 was in trouble on Y6 at Swaffham at around a quarter past five with a water leak. By this time King's Lynn had run out of suitable options, so Scania 65540 was despatched as replacement on the 17.45 to Peterborough. Bruce alerted me to this with a phone call to say 'A Scania's just gone over the flyover !'.

All this, after what seems like weeks without a Gemini failure. 65540 was bang on time into Lynn this evening and 37159 was taken out of the middle at the bus station - it had just come in on L11 - to work forward at 20.35 to Lowestoft. There was a further delay though because 37159 needed refuelling and at this time Vancouver Avenue was quite congested. Certainly a day which the operators couldn't have expected and one on which they improvised admirably I feel.
Norfolk Green have taken over evening King's Lynn town services this week and now most town buses are retired by 20.30.


Monday 11th April 2011 ~ Fading Blog ?

Well what a poor old excuse for a blog this is becoming ? It's only the photographs that are keeping it going. An all low floor bore. Today 37570 was esconced in Vancouver Avenue for servicing, but all the other Geminis were out bar the accident damaged 37577. 37563 was swapped at Lowestoft for freshly serviced 37564 on K4, but this evening 37563 was used again on K15 after the incoming 37579 was unavailable - possibly a late arrival.
There was an unusual imbalance of buses today with King's Lynn having insufficient home allocated B9s to work K19 and instead 37567 was used. This was the first time K19 had started out with a Lowestoft bus since 22nd December last year.
Timekeeping was commendable today, maximum delay noted was just 8 minutes.

Sunday 10th April 2011 ~ All Is Calm, All Is Bright

A lovely sunny warm day with an X1 service running smoothly. 37565/6/9 & 37572/3/4/5/8/9 worked the service today along with 37160.
Here are a couple of pictures kindly sent by Grahame :
37569 photographed at King's Lynn bus station before departing as the 15.35 to Lowestoft today.

Here's 37575 doing the Sunday turn on the 1, rather than X1, seen at Caister Road, Great Yarmouth while working the 16.36 from Martham.

....and here is 575 seen again on service 1, this time the 15.10 ex Lowestoft photographed by Des at Corton.


Saturday 9th April 2011 ~ More Of The Same

Another successful Gemini day, although there was a hiccup this afternoon when no driver was available for the 14.15 King's Lynn to Peterborough. 37157 was sent to the centre of Lynn bus station while passengers hung around for K19 with 37579, still showing Eterborough on the front. This was 6 late at Wisbech. Des reports on petrol prices : 130.9 - Tesco Low, 129.9 - Sains Nor, 131.9 - Sains Easton and 133.9 - Tesco Lynn.

Friday 8th April 2011 ~ Coaches -24

It is now 24 days since a coach appeared on the X1. The low floor service continues unabated. Today when 37160 was for some reason unable to work forward to Peterborough at 10.15, 37571 was used for a fill in with 37160 returning to the diagram at 13.02. 37569 had a day off for servicing at Lowestoft.
Timekeeping was Ok for a Friday, By 16.00, 37564 was 8 late westbound on K1 and 37574 14 late on K17. The latter was the latest service of the day.
Next week the VOSA notices are scheduled to appear for a revised X1 service from June.


Thursday 7th April 2011 ~ A Well Oiled Machine

Despite the absence of 37577, a full low floor operation was once again possible today with 37566 spare at Lowestoft and 37575 at King's Lynn, I say spare, certainly the latter was having a safety service and this may have been the case with 566 also.
From Lowestoft, Malcolm says "Sorry to hear about 577s accident, but glad nobody was badly hurt. Here today, Rachel had 37159 on Y13 this morning. I saw 37568 work Y7, 34157 arrived on the 13.38 X2 from Norwich, 37579 arrived at 15.18 on L8 while 37564 was on L10. I had Dart 43441 on the 17.25 X1 service to Great Yarmouth. This evening  37563 arrived on L12 and 37159 was still on Y13. We had 37574 on K17 on our journey home and on arrival back at Lowestoft, 37578 was in the bus station and it is due to work K15".
At this end, Bruce says K15 with 37578 was 2 minutes early passing him westbound at 13.02 and the service before this, K14 with 37160 was seen by me departing Wisbech 2 minutes early. Some of this can be attributed to the very light traffic today.

Wednesday 6th April 2011 ~ Noisy Buses

Today L8 was unusually supplied with 37158 and it sounded quite noisy when passing me, though it was spot on time as the 09.48 Wisbech to Peterborough. Y9 with 37570 was not seen in either direction, so may have missed the Peterborough leg. L10 had 37157 taken off at Lynn, believed to be so that it could have a wheel retorqued, it was replaced by 37160. L11 was deafening with 37572 and L12 also very noisy with 37156. I am told that this is caused when the fan thermostat fails and sticks. The upshot is that the bus can continue in service as it is below the point where the bus overheats (does that make sense ? , I'm not sure, but you know I am not a techy).
Punctual buses were the order of the day and, of course, all low floor. 37567 was off for servicing at Lowestoft and this afternoon it did the 007 schools contract. Earlier in the week on Monday, 37566 did the 006 school run.

Tuesday April 5th 2011 ~ The Beast : the End

Peter couldn't resist finding out what had become of 20107 and (unlikely though it seems to us), was told by the scrap company that it had already been disposed of. Obviously, 'First' must have explained that it was imperative that it was dismantled immediately to prevent any attempts to preserve it ! Ah well, never mind - I certainly couldn't have afforded it anyway and Bruce already has two buses in his care.
No coaches to be seen this way today and the only change was the overnight appearance of a new AXA car insurance ads on the rears of a dozen or so X1 buses. 37158 has lost its T side ad, presumably because it became loose. With only 21 buses for 19 turns now, things may get a bit tight. 37159 was off at Lynn for servicing today and at Lowestoft the spare bus, 37573 was used on the second leg of K18 after 37157 was taken off for maintenance.

Under overcast sky 37571 heads along South Brink into Wisbech this afternoon, on K17 of course.
 An accident at Rings End caused tailbacks today and K3 08.05 from Peterborough came through Walsoken 30 late with 37160 followed 6 minutes later by Blondie on K4 with 37565. Overall though timekeeping today was pretty good. Peter had travelled on K4 to Peterborough and was full of praise for his chauffeur and how she had made up time after the delay at Rings End.

Had my camera on the incorrect setting when the 15.48 Wisbech to (P)Eterborough came along with 37579 this afternoon.


Monday 4th April 2011 ~ A Double Blow

In an almost indecent haste to dispose of the old girl, 'First' at Lowestoft despatched 'The Beast' off for scrap to 'Erith Commercials' today. Thanks to Richard and Syd for the gen. Incredible to think that a month ago to the day she finished her X1 duties on Y6, one of the longest turns there is. I will be adding obituaries for the recently departed coaches as time permits.
37566 remained at Lowestoft again today, while 37563 on Y13 was taken off the duty at King's Lynn and replaced by 37158. There couldn't have been much wrong with 563 as it replaced 37574 on K16 15.32 to Lowestoft, presumably to get it back home for investigation.
This afternoon at around 15.50, 37577 working K4 westbound was involved in an accident near Scarning, shortly after rejoining the A47 from Toftwood. The bus ran into the back of an artic and sustained considerable damage. The driver escaped with minor grazing and all the passengers seemed to be OK too. Initial estimates put the damage in the £100k bracket and 577 is expected to be off the road for three months if repairs are authorised. It is hoped that the on board CCTV system may give some clues as to the cause of the accident. The A47 was closed for a time as a result. The bus is believed to have gone stright to 'Full Circle' pending examination. K4 was worked forward from Lynn by 37578. Another of the Lynn based B9s, 37579 has developed a faulty destination display, whereby the first letter is missing ( a similar thing happened to 37565 a couple of years back).


Thursday 31st March - Sunday 3rd April 2011 ~ In Brief

The low floor monotony continued in my absence. Nineteen Geminis in service and three spare. On Thursday, just before I left, 37574 was on Vancouver Avenue forecourt having been serviced and now spare. 37160 spent the day on King's Lynn local services and 37565 was off at Lowestoft for scheduled servicing. Of more interest at King's Lynn was Scania 65529 at last receiving its MOT after months off the road. Malcolm had a day out to King's Lynn and went exploring old railway remnants, he says L11 had 37159 swapped for 37160 at lunchtime and 159 was then used on a local service 42.
Friday saw an almost carbon copy of the previous day with Malcolm viewing 37566 'not in service' at Lowestoft after servicing and at Lynn 37577 was the spare off servicing with 37159 relegated to locals.
The pattern continued on Saturday with 37566 still out of X1 use at Lowestoft, 37579 and 37158 spare at Lynn. Thanks to Rachel for her sightings which completed the X1 chart for the day and of course to Bruce for managing to see most turns over the period.

The X1 shuttles provide some welcome relief from the endless Geminis. Syd photographed old timer Olympian 34333 at Norwich on Thursday when it worked the 09.00 Gorleston JPH to Norwich and 10.10 return.
Now what has this Volvo B10M coach registered P66BUS got to do with the X1 ? Well David Oakley who took the picture and kindly sent it explains "This coach currently registered P66BUS with Irvine's of Law (and works commuter services between Lanark and Glasgow ) is in fact former X1 vehicle R842DVF (20142) which departed north to First Glasgow' when the Geminis arrived"