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Thursday 28th July 2011 ~ Profile on the Prowl

Whether it was coincidental or not, I am unsure, but today Lowestoft sent out four Geminis on the X1 and retained 20352 as the spare bus. This was the cue to use it on something unusual of course and Grahame Bessey says "Look what I saw in Lowestoft at 07.45 this morning while on the way to work":
Grahame says "Not sure if it had worked this service, as it left shortly afterwards with 'not in service' on the front "
Syd says "I saw 20352  working the X2 at 1338 and 1648 Ex Lowestoft, the latter with James driving. Back in town on my way home I also watched 66126 depart on the 1725 X1 short to Gt Yarmouth. The reason 20352 had operated the 1338 X2 was to position it for a swop with L11 at 1655, relieving 37159.
B7 32208 had in the meantime broken down and was being towed in, so it was planned to use 37159 on the 1648 X2.   20352 was duly exchanged and the X1 driver screened it up but could not get the doors to work! After a little poking around they still didnt work, so 37159 was reinstated and loaded up. James was the driver for the 1648 X2 and was asked to take 20352 to Gasworks Road for attention and return with a Dart SLF for the X2, which would by now be late departing. James decided to first further investigate the problem himself and discovered the exterior door handle was sticking. On releasing it, the doors worked perfectly and as time was now getting on, a late swop back to X1 wasn't an option, so off it went to Norwich on the X2. It makes a bit more sense when you know the story doesnt it?  It also shows very well the intricate details behind bus operation". Excellent stuff Syd.
...and here she is photographed by James after arrival back at Lowestoft depot.
Well, what excitement in the East, but what of elsewhere ? 37577 didn't return to service today and was kept in for checks at King's Lynn. Keeping it company was 37569 which required a new window fitting. 37576 worked L10 19.50 Lynn to Peterborough tonight, having earlier arrived on K3, the incoming Gemini retiring to the garage. K14 which normally finishes at Lowestoft had 37564 and this was called upon to do the last leg of K15 back to Lynn after 37565 was deemed unfit.
Not sure about punctuality today, as I was not at work. There may also be a delay to subsequent blog entries due to family reasons, but I will keep you all posted.

Wednesday 27th July 2011 ~ Eastern Events

Mid morning once again seemed to be the time when services through Wisbech began to get delayed. L10 ran out of its path for the second consecutive day and was 13 late on the 10.48 Wisbech to Peterborough. It then in common with most other eastbound services lost time and returned 20 late. K16 with 37159 was 11 late to Peterborough, but surprisingly only 2 late coming back. At Lowestoft Y7 with 37158 was 11 late in, but on time departing back westbound, thanks to Malcolm for the info.

37577 is back at King's Lynn having had its repairs completed and it is also believed to have visited Volvo to have the gearbox modification sorted. It did not re-enter traffic today and may need other attention.
20352 had a battery light issue today, so 37575 did K3. Later 37567 was required at Volvo for the gearbox programme and it came off K2 in favour of 20352, meaning it will be at Lowestoft overnight which is highly unusual. Hot runner 37156 was kept in at Lynn today in an attempt to resolve its long running problem.
Syd says "After a busy day on X1s, 37563 off K14 found itself on Lowestoft evening services with a visit to Carlton Colville on service 103.  I believe this is another first for the Elephants - the cause was a failure of the allocated Dart SLF coinciding with the advert men working at Gasworks Road preventing anything else being extricated in a hurry. James managed to get this photo at the Secrets Corner terminus.

Even Harry Potter couldn't have thought this one up ! 37563 'off route' on service 103 tonight.
Photo by kind permission of James Race.


Tuesday 26th July 2011 ~ Priority Moments

A new nearside advertising campaign for O2 Priority Moments manifested itself overnight, 37564/7/8 and 37157 all appeared with this today. Timekeeping was strange, everything ran well until L10 which with 37567 somehow passed through Wisbech westbound 17 late and it was still 16 late returning.
K14 with 37569 was 11 late at lunchtime, but otherwise not too bad a day.
37564 on L8 required servicing today, so it was slipped off at Lynn at midday and replaced by a B7. This may have been 37156 which was fited with a new water pump, but by this evening 37158 had taken over and 37156 was languishing back at Vancouver Avenue with yet another question mark over its constant overheating. Certainly Malcolm says 37156 was seen at Lowestoft on L8, so we know it worked part of the turn.
K3 was 20352, but the return of 37577 is now imminent.


Monday 25th July 2011 ~ On The Ball

With maintenance of the X1 fleet now concentrated at King's Lynn, the service sems to be enjoying a more stable spell. 37158 was stopped at Lynn for servicing today, but the other vehicle due for attention, 37564 was held at Lowestoft and did the 11.08 and 14.38 X2 services to Norwich. This would normally mean that tomorrow 37159 & 37563 would need servicing along with 37564, but thinking ahead, 37563 was stopped a day early and was dealt with today and was still ready in time to operate K4.
There were no swaps today, 20352 was as usual on K3 and 37576 returned from Volvo after very speedy repairs. 37572 was in trouble on K1 this morning needing a new starter to be fitted after being shut down at Lynn prior to working the 08.32 to Lowestoft. It is not known if the service was temporarily cancelled or whether a substitute was found.
Timekeeping showed room for improvement today, with many services being 7 to 8 minutes late in the morning before timings rallied in the afternoon.

Sunday 24th July 2011 ~ Debacle at Acle

Malcolm writes "I went to Lowestoft bus station this afternoon and saw 37573 work K5, 37565 arrived on K6 and this then worked the 15.10 service 1A to Martham as usual".
Des adds "37578 was my bus on the 16.30 Great Yarmouth to Peterborough (Y7), we were on time departing but 4 late at Norwich (16.14). Arrival at Lynn was also 4 late at 18.48.
I returned with K5 which was 37573 at 20.35 from Lynn to Lowestoft and then light to Yarmouth, on time throughout. The 19.48 ex Lowestoft (K1 with 37568) was 30 late west of Easton and the following 20.48 (K2 with 37572) was 7 late at Norwich, all due to an A47 accident in which two cars  had been in a collision on the nearside verge of the  Acle Straight eastbound. They were wrapped in police tape and fuel on the road was being soaked up. Speaking of fuel, latest prices are :-

136.9 Tesco Lynn
132.9 Sainsburys Easton
131.9 Sainsburys Norwich
134.9 Tesco Lowestoft

Well all I can add to that is that there were two B7s out today, 37158 had been requested back at Lynn for examination, so this did the Lowestoft chuck out turn, L10. 37159 was on Y8 and the other buses out today were : K3 37567, K4 37571 and Y9 37570.


Saturday 23rd July 2011 ~ Otherwise Engaged

With other business to deal with today, I was heavily reliant on 'First' contacts to help me out with what happened.
37576 was quickly sent off to Volvo today for attention to its Adblu problem. The expected return of 37577 has yet to materialise, but even with these absentees there was a chance for 37569 to have a well earned day off for deep cleaning and a service at Lynn, with 37158 once again being spare at Lowestoft.
There was only one change to the advertised script when 37563 which had been working L8, had to be swapped tonight at Lynn for unscheduled cleaning. 37566 off Y7 came to the rescue. K3 was yet again worked by Profile 20352.

Taken from 37563 on L8, here is 37565 at the James Paget Hospital on L10 heading eastbound. The reflections are difficult to avoid through the glass. Thanks to Des Speed for this picture.


Friday 22nd July 2011 ~ A Record ?

I think some kind of record may have been established, as it is now 5 weeks since a B10M Volvo coach appeared on the X1, not that there are many that could work ! Only 20115 & 20126 could potentially be used and whilst mentioning B10Ms, 20129 was carted off to Erith Commercials for scrap this week along with various Triaxle Olympians from Great Yarmouth. One of these remains earmarked for a private owner.
20352 it is then that keeps any vague interest going. Today she was working K3 as usual. By all accounts it was a pretty good day for a Friday - several services ran 9 minutes late, but the only one to exceed this at the western end was 37156 (again) which was 8 x 11 late at Wisbech,  going to and from Peterborough on L11. Over at Lowestoft though there were greater delays and Malcolm Hicks reports Y6 with 37563 arriving 16 late, followed by 37570 14 late on Y7. Things improved considerably after this with 37565 on L8 arriving on tiime. Michael Bryant spotted an X2 (the 12.38 I think it was) with 37158 earning its keep.
Tonight 37576 was in trouble with an adblu problem and it was taken off K2 with 37570 off Y7 then working the 18.35 Lynn to Lowestoft.
All proposed alterations to the X1 route, most notably the route being split, have now been shelved and the powers that be are on guard for the arrival in King's Lynn of Konectbus from September.

Thursday 21st July 2011 ~ Secretive Buses

All seemed to be going well from my vantage point at work today with all X1 diagrams being seen, however, something odd happened mid morning - I saw 37564 come back from Peterborough on Y7 at 10.57 (about 7 late - it had been on time going across), but then nothing from Peterborough until 12.54.
L8 and Y9 certainly see  to have taken an alternative route, not sure about L10 as I was elsewhere when that should have passed.
Doreen was waiting for Y9 and took it from Wisbech to Lynn (37566) : "It was that driver who shouted at me a few weeks back - and he shouted at me again !" she says. 37156 was unusual on Y6 today, it was over 10 minutes late on the 09.35 from Peterborough and still raises eyebrows with its noisy fan.
This was the worst delay noted today though and most buses were just a few minutes behind time.
To enable servicing of 37567 and 20352 to take place there were vehicle swaps involving K3 and K4. 37568 had its MOT today and 37158 was kept at Lowestoft.
Malcolm reports seeing President 32202 on the 09.40 X2 ex Norwich, but by this afternoon it was on a Bernard Matthews contract.


Wednesday 20th July 2011 ~ Give That Driver A Bonus !

37568 and friend at King's Lynn for MOT
A remarkable day for punctuality with 20352 returning home on Y9 being six minutes late and K15 with 37569 8 late, apart from these it was all pretty good. Rob Brooks reports a spell of observation at Wisbech as follows :
37159 L11 1256 to Lowestoft  d1257
37569 K15 1318 to Peterborough a1323 d1326
37570 L12 1326 to Lowestoft a1329 d1333
37158 K16 1348 to Peterborough a1348 d1351
37565 Y13 1356 to Lowestoft a1355 d1357
37571 K17 1418 to Peterborough a1418 d1420
There was a hiccup this afternoon though, when the 16.18 Wisbech to Peterborough (K2) failed to run. 37573 following was on time on K3, so I was a bit puzzled.
Peter explains "Firstly can I say what a pleasant fresh smelling vehicle 37573 was today, I travelled with it on the 07.18 Wisbech to Peterborough and it was back to meet me tonight on the 17.40 return with a very polite driver ". Peter continues " Now I said he was very polite, but also very customer friendly too as on arrival at Queensgate he left his seat and announced to all the passengers : 'I'm sorry that the previous bus didn't run, this was because a lady passenger was taken ill and the bus had to be cancelled'. Now that's what I call customer service. In addition we took a diversion via Eye village to avoid queueing traffic".
Cheryl was commisioned to watch out for the missing K2 and says "It was 37576, seen leaving Wisbech on time at 18.00 to Lowestoft". This presumably means it was either cancelled on the outward at Wisbech or it had run empty from Lynn to take up its scheduled duty.
37579 was spare at Lowestoft today, but didn't appear on an X2 as far as we know. A new advert for the latest Harry Potter epic appeared on a few B9s today.

37574 catches some late sunshine as it arrives at Wisbech to work the 20.22 to Peterborough tonight (L10).

Tuesday 19th July 2011 ~ 352 On The Loose

Undoubted highlight today was B7 Profile 20352 being unusually allocated to K18. This turn commences empty from Lynn to Wisbech before working the 06.51 Wisbech to Lowestoft. The turn ends as the 15.35 Peterborough - Great Yarmouth where the bus berths overnight.
37564 was returned from Volvo in time to do K19 this morning and 37572 was sent back to Norwich for attention. 37570 was in trouble on K2 at Necton, but a replacement hose was fitted and it resumed the turn. No delays in excess of 9 minutes were noted and punctuality was quite good.
Another hospital visit tonight saw various X1 sightings en route, I'm getting quite an A47 regular now. My sister is intrigued by the bumpy road warning sign on the Lynn side of East Winch as someone has stuck a fluorescent camel sticker on top of one of the humps. I suppose it is near Middleton where sand is quarried, but you can hardly class it as the desert ! On the way to Norwich we were stuck behind slow moving farm machinery from near the Sporle turn all the way to Fransham and incidents like this much have a derogatory affect on X1 timekeeping.


Monday 18th July 2011 ~ 568 and The Routemaster

With 37568 undergoing MOT preparation work this week, it came as a surprise today when none other than Routemaster JJD480D  turned up at King's Lynn requiring the same treatment. Can't see it getting out on the X1  though !!
With fleet number 39480, RML 2480 dates to 1966 and now seems assured of another year operating with First Eastern at Great Yarmouth.
On the X1 things were fairly stable today with 20352 being on K3 as usual. This evening it became embroiled in a huge traffic jam which brought Wisbech to a temporary standstill after an early afternoon fatal crash on the Wisbech bypass. This caused all traffic to be diverted through the town and tragically claimed the life of Roger Green, a well known character / councillor and one time editor of the 'Wisbech Standard'.
Timekeeping was average today with nothing seemingly exceeding 8 minutes in arrears, K15 with 37572 and K19 with 37566 both being delayed by this margin. The only available spare bus today was 37156 at Lowestoft, so it was fortunate that nothing was needed at Lynn and the day looks to have been completed without any changes to diagram.
 A possible glitch occurred this morning with L10. This should go from Wisbech to Peterborough at 10.48, but, despite a pretty vigilant watch, I didn't see it go westbound. Returning it was just 2 late which may indicate that a Lynn to Peterborough 'not in service' run took place on the outward.


Sunday 17th July 2011 ~ Stoppage Time

37564 is confirmed as being the latest B9 to visit Volvo in Norwich for the gearbox modifications and another B9 off the road with effect is 37568, sidelined for an MOT which should take place on Thursday. Having said that, it was an all B9 worked service today.
Tonight 37578 on K3 was retired at Lowestoft at 21.30 and Gasworks Road sent up 37566 to work the 21.48 back to King's Lynn. Otherwise a bit of a yawn !


Saturday 16th July 2011 ~ The Other X1 Blog

A special day out today with Des Speed. The object : to check out another X1 service operated by 'First'. The day dawned wet and miserable and I had to drive to Lynn for the 06.56 train to London. On the way I passed 37572 (gosh, I actually predicted it would be) on K2 and then as the driving rain got worse, K18 heading empty to Wisbech with 37576 - at least I thought that's what it was, the rain making identification difficult. Surprisingly, the latter had 'X1 Lowestoft' on the blinds, rather than 'not in service' even though it was still heading west !
Meeting Des at Paddington, we headed west on the 09.30 HST to Bristol, passing through what seemed like dusk en route as the rain fell heavily. By the time we reached Bath, things had improved and on arrival at Bristol, the sun began to break through. At Bristol bus station we made for Bay 17, home of the X1 to Weston-Super-Mare. This arrived with a Volvo B7 decker and this gave us a comfortable ride through to Weston (below)

 We passed several other X1s en route with Geminis, some service branded, some not.

After a trip to Wetherspoons for lunch, we strode out onto the pier and the Welsh coastline could be made out quite clearly. Our journey back on a Gemini was very pleasant, although two pints of Cottage Brewery 'Shadow' stout had made me a little sleepy !

 To wake me up, we abandoned our Gemini in favour of a Dart which took us down to Clifton and a short walk to Brunel's suspension bridge with its impressive views. We were back in Bristol in time for the 17.30 back to Paddington and my trip back to Lynn was via the Hertford loop - due to engineering work - and a change of emu at Hitchin.
In my absence, the X1 seemed to have behaved although I am reliably informed that two vehicles had to be changed following passenger illness. L8 and Y9 are believed to have been involved. 20352 was K3 and 37563 arrived back from Volvo enabling 37564 to go the other way. 37156 remained at Lowestoft, so may have found itself on the X2, although there have been no reports to confirm this.


Friday 15th July 2011 ~ X1 Forgotten

I had a day off today and with loads of pressing business, I decided to forget the X1 and get on with completing some of it. Jamie R was the first to report anything, "I've just seen Blondie on 569 he said" at lunchtime, Ah I thought, that must be L12 then and so, when viewed this evening, it proved to be.
Ros & Neil took my brother to hospital again today and managed a small X1 count en route of 37570 on L8 and 37574 on L11. Michael Bryant called this evening and added "37156 on the 11.08 X2". Finally Malcolm emailed to say "I saw 37158 depart from Lowestoft on K16,  37571 worked K17 & 37160 arrived 9 minutes late on K18".
So, with some shopping to do at the supermarket, I ventured out tonight and whilst out did a bit of research on what else happened today. Amazingly (after yesterday), there didn't seem to be any swaps and there was still enough vehicles available to give 37578 a complete day off at Lynn for servicing.
20352 was back on K3 after its late night adventure yesterday.

Thursday July 14th 2011 ~ Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder...

......isn't that what they say ? Try telling that to the hoard of passengers waiting at Wisbech for Y9 10.18 to Peterborough this morning. Noticeable by its absence, passengers had to hang around for the 10.48 with - well I guess 37159 was actually Y9 running 30 minutes late , whatever it was wedged to the seams of course. L10 should have been 37579 but this didn't run west of Lynn and next up was L11 with 37565, 3 late. L12 was delayed and went through 14 late with 37567. Somewhere in the scheme of things 37569 on Y13 swapped turns with K14 (37158).
Y9 restarted from Lynn with  37579 at 12.32 and 37159 remained on L10 being 3 late back from Peterborough. Earlier, 37563 had been required at Volvo, so it came off L8 at Lynn for 37568 forward, The afternoon ran better with 37576 (fresh off Mot and having replaced 37571 at Lynn ) on K17 and unusually K19 running with coach 20352.
K3, the coaches normal duty was 37578, seen 6 late in the morning, but on time this afternoon. 37572 was spare at Lowestoft today, but was not reported on the X2.


Wednesday 13th July 2011 ~ Under Attack

The monopoly of regular interval services between Swaffham and King's Lynn by 'First' is likely to be broken from September when Konectbus extend their operation to work between Dereham /Shipdham and King's Lynn. For more detail, see Andy's bus blog :

There is an irony about this challenge, as I was recently informed that Konectbus supremo, Julian Patterson, was one of the two people who had the original idea for the Excel X94 service when working at Eastern Counties ! I have no idea as to the validity of this comment, but it was one of the original Excel drivers who told me.
Back to the present though and the visit of Volvo loan vehicle 32000 couldn't have been shorter - it went back to Volvo today ! 20126 has not worked on the X1 mainstream for quite some time now, but it was viewed on a shuttle in Norwich today, as was 37572 on the 15.08 ex Lowestoft X2. The appearance of Excel X1 branded B9s on the X2 causes some comment, particularly when B7s are on the X1. Lowestoft produced 37158 on L10 today, 20 late throughWisbech and also 37160 on L11.

It looks as though accident damaged B9 37577 should be returning to King's Lynn next week and this will probably mean 20352 will be leaving. Its reliability has been good this time and its only period out of service was last week after it had been hit by a Norfolk Green bus in Lynn bus station.
Punctuality was pretty good with the exception mentioned above and 37159 on K18 and 37574 on K15 passed outside my work on K18 & K15 both running a few seconds early which is very unusual.
Maintenance saw K14 having 37564 changed for 37563 at Lynn this lunchtime.

Tuesday 12th July 2011 ~ More pictures

37157 passing a rival vehicle on the Acle Straight with K18 10.55 ex Lowestoft
37569 in Norwich, heading down Newmarket Road 'out of service' - probably en route to Lynn to work K14.
Norwich bus station with 37563 on K15 today.

37566 on High Road, Gorleston working K19 today.
Thanks to Des Speeed for these additional photographs.


Tuesday July 12th 2011 ~ Maintaining the Maintenance

Running a bus fleet might sound an easy job, but with something like the X1 it must be a major challenge. At the moment availability is being affected by MOTs, gearbox modifications, regular planned maintenance and issues with individual vehicles. With the loan coach having been off the road for a few days, this afternoon a Volvo loan vehicle arrived at King's Lynn to assist - just as 20352 was pronounced fit and well to continue its duties.
The visitor numbered 32000 is a Volvo B7 with Alexander ALX400 body, V143LGC. It has a centre staircase but is not dual doored and has prominent yellow schools vinyls. The most noticeable thing about the bus though was its awful condition, both internally and externally. A major cleaning programme will have to be instigated if 32000 is to do any work locally !
Today 37576 was used on K14 but was taken off after a trip from Lynn to Lowestoft and back, as it is required for an MOT on Thursday. 37570 was off the road first thing with an adblue fault, but this was remedied and it was able to relieve 37569 on L12. Whatever the matter was with 569, it was quickly sorted and this then replaced 576 on K14.
Malcolm reports "Down at Lowestoft bus station this morning I saw 37157 arrive working K18. 37160 was working on X2 services and it worked the 1108 & 1408 services from Lowestoft. 37566 arrived on K19 this morning and this afternoon 37572 worked Y6 & 37156 Y7.
Timekeeping was a bit hit and miss today, I saw all diagrams apart from K16 & K17 and these were confirmed by Matthew as 37158 and 37571. Y7 with 37156 was 11 late to Peterborough this morning, so it came as a surprise when 37157 on K18 turned up 2 minutes early.
Peter says "37564 on K3 to Peterborough this morning. We went in via Bourges Boulevard and this was at least 5 minutes quicker than my previous two journeys via Frank Perkins Parkway".

Monday July 11th 2011 ~ Perfection - almost !

As today ensued it became apparent that no changes of diagram were occurring and indeed no buses were swapped. Add to this an all low floor Gemini operated service and it must have been a pleasing day for the operators. While several turns were in the region of 7 minutes late, there was nothing in excess of this noted. 37563 had to have a belt replaced at Necton this morning on K17, but was on time this afternoon.
37570 was spare at King's Lynn, undergoing examination and repairs and 37575 was briefly viewed in Lowestoft bus station by Malcolm, but did not appear to be used on the X2. Coach 20352 was undergoing repair at King's Lynn.

Sunday July 10th 2011 ~ The Two Hour Gap

For a long time now there has been a two hour break between buses from Lynn to Peterborough on a Sunday evening, there being a 19.50 departure, but no 20.50. Typical then that when a rare breakdown occurred tonight, it was 37574 on the 19.50, a broken water pump belt causing it to overheat at Thorney. A fitter attended and 574 was soon back on its turn.
37576 on the 14.50 King's Lynn to Peterborough passing Walpole Highway today.

Unusual today was King's Lynn producing B7 37157 on K6, the first B7 off Lynn on a Sunday since Novenber 28th last year. they do occasionally appear on services originating at Yarmouth though and today L10 also used one, 37158 which was required at Lynn for servicing, so may be a special request.
37157 was also seen by Malcolm working the afternoon duty to Martham.
Des Speed says "I'm using up some holiday, but did a turn for a friend today.  37571 was in my charge on the 15.30 Yarmouth to King's Lynn departing on time.  Entering Narborough in hazy sunshine, by Narborough Church, there was lightning and heavy rain. The A47 was saturated with rain water, traffic down to 25 mph. Arrived Lynn 6 late at 17.50. I returned with 37578 at 19.35 from Lynn to Lowestoft and then went light back to Yarmouth, all on time. Incidentally 37578 should be Y6, the first out of Yarmouth on Monday and would have attained half million km's entering Hockering at 06.45 !


Saturday 9th July 2011 ~ Working Saturday

I was at work today and was able to view a fully working X1 service too. I think everything ran roughly to time through Wisbech bar the B7 mentioned below and the only mystery was how 37564 on K3 became K4 and K4s original vehicle, 37567 went on to K3. In theory not possible, but with the X1 who knows ?
37156 was sidelined at King's Lynn today following another overheating episode. I suppose with these B7s being operated to their maximum speed for long periods, they probably are likely to do this. Especially, as is currently the case with 37156/7/8, when the fans appear to get stuck creating that loud racket which you may be familiar with. Today 37157 was 9 late from Wisbech on the 12.18 to Peterborough (Y13), but by the time it came back, the delay had increased to 22 minutes.
Syd says "As you are no doubt aware, it was the Lord Mayors thing in Norwich, and many central area roads closed from 1500hrs causing mayhem. Most City services ran via the Bus Station making it like Central London...buses everywhere.
I arrived at the bus station at 1600 to get a few photos and catch an X1 back to Lowestoft. No sign though of the 1620 to Lowestoft, Y13. The first to appear was 37160 on Y7 departing just 3 minutes down on the 1625 to Kings Lynn. My photo shows her making a right turn out of the bus station for the long detour to get back on route.
After this it went a bit confusing. 37157 (seen below)  arrived showing X1 Norwich at 1635, dropped off passengers and went off light. (That explains a lot Syd, read on)
  37573 was next to appear and left full to the rafters at 1710 to Lowestoft...was this a late running K14?   (Certainly was Syd) Next in was 37570 showing ‘Not In Service’ which was changed to X1 Kings Lynn and it went on the stand at 1715 (that was L9, so where did 37565 on L8 get to I wonder ?). I then left for home via the much more sparsely patronised and only slightly late 1710 X2.
I am sure you can fit my jigsaw of observations together!"

Well this does explain how 37157 still came to be on Y13 tonight Syd - a crafty empty to Lowestoft to form the 17.48 to Peterborough ! On Saturdays, Y13 is the week's quickest turn around as it only comes in to Lowestoft 8 minutes before it departs back westbound. Here's our final picture and yes, it's 37157 again, taken tonight after a torrential storm, the passengers on Y13 are being treated to a diversion into King's Lynn garage for 157 to refuel. The service departed here at 21.03, about 8 minutes late.

Friday July 8th 2011 ~ Mystery Coach

With 20352 out of service awaiting materials today, all the Geminis appeared on the X1 save 37159 which was relegated to Lowestoft schools contract 7 and 37577 still at Full Circle.
On Wednesday I reported 37564 going westbound and then a long gap until the next service and precisely the same happened today, 37564 a minute early on Y9 10.18 Wisbech to Peterborough was followed eventually by L10 with 37567 - wedged of course - at 11.24, 34 late. There had been an accident at Blofield which may account for this. L11 was viewed with 37578 passing the Southgates westbound at 11.12 (22 late) and I think this went directly to Peterborough to make up time.
Many services in the afternoon ran around 10 minutes late - about average for a Friday, but 37573 on K17 was 18 late returning from Peterborough. Y7 was viewed by Malcolm with 37156 arriving 11 late at Lowestoft, but at least it was behaving - or so it would appear.
A maintenance swap on Y13 saw 37579 exchanged for 37569 on the 11.45 King's Lynn to Peterborough and late tonight, 37570 was replaced by 37576 off K2 for K19's last leg from Lowestoft, the final westbound service from the coast.
Tonight a mystery B10M coach was viewed by Rob Brooks in Shoebridges Yard at Wisbech. It was in Excel livery, but identification was not possible. I wonder how it got there ?

Anglia & Thames Valley Bus Forum - a special announcement

Members of Anglia & Thames Valley Bus Forum may be aware that the forum has
been offline for a few days. They are currently experiencing problems with the
hosting company and are waiting for them to perform a restore; but have no
time frame for this. This has been actioned, but they seem in no hurry!
For updates please check the Facebook and Twitter pages

The team apologise for any inconvenience, however it is beyond their control
at present.



Thursday July 7th 2011 ~ Windows Again !

It's been quite a couple of days for smashed windows. Today's casualty was loan coach 20352 which seems to have come to grief early on whilst working K3. It was seen passing my vantage point at 08.52, so just a couple of minutes late, but on arrival at Lynn was taken out of traffic with damage to the front passenger side window and scrolling destination panel. Now with 37573/4/6 all seemingly spare at Lynn, or at least receiving safety services or glass replacement, you could reasonably imagine that one would be fit to do the 09.32 to Lowestoft instead of 20352. Wrong ! Instead 37570 on Y9 was diverted to do K3 back to Lowestoft while the 09.45 to Peterborough was cancelled.
 In circumstances like this, it is always the Peterborough service which suffers and the eastbound one continues with whatever is available.
The reasoning seems to be that by the time the two and a half hours has elapsed to get to Peterborough and back, something will have been resurrected to work forward eastbound ! This was why the Scanias and coaches often did a Peterborough fill in, in days gone by. Today 37573 was ready to work Y9 at 12.32, while 37576 replaced 37157 on L11.
Timekeeping was patchy today too, 37575 on L10 was 12 x 11 late passing me, L12 8 late westbound with 37572 and Y13 11 late to Peterborough. One bit of good news concerned 37156 which after a road test was deemed fit to work K18.

Wednesday July 6th 2011 ~ Problems 2 , Spare Buses 0

By all accounts the new arrangements at King's Lynn seem to be working, despite some initial problems with the Southgates change over of drivers. Today though the lack of spare buses saw gaps in the service on the western section.
Westbound, 37564 on Y7 was a minute before time from Wisbech on Y7 at 09.17, but L8 then failed to appear and the next service to Peterborough was Y9, which was packed and passed me 9 late at 10.29 with 37578. The same thing happened at lunchtime when after 37573 on Y13 12.18 to Peterborough, passengers had an hour wait until the 13.18 (K15) with 37568. What happened to K14 is unclear, but it had started the day with substitute bus 60813 (see yesterday's entry) and I've concoted a theory set out below.
You had to be about early to get a snap of 60813 deputising on K14, Des did just that and captured it at Norwich awaiting departure as the 07.20 to Lowestoft this morning. 37160 replaced it at Yarmouth before it could return west.

Des explains the L8 mystery : "I was a passenger on L8 with 37579 as I was having a day out in London and travelled by train from King's Lynn, all was going well until a stone strike at Swaffham Mc Donalds.

A call at Vancouver Avenue garage for inspection saw the decision made to take 579 out of traffic on arrival at the bus station. This meant the 09.15 to Peterborough didn't run".
 With 37579 receiving attention to the smashed window, the decision was made to sacrifice 37160 on K14 (it having replaced 60813 at Yarmouth) for the 12.15 Peterborough and instead this returned east as the 12.02 to Lowestoft (L8). K14 resumed at 15.02 with a freshly reglazed 37579.
The vehicle shortage was caused by 37571 having work done at Volvo (looks like it was completed this afternoon) and 37156 being out of traffic for investigation into its recent overheating.
20352 did K3 but otherwise another low floor day. Tonight another incident saw 37576 on L12 taken off the road at Lynn with a smashed destination screen glass with 37565 off L11 working the 20.50 to Peterborough 10 late.
Apart from the service gaps, timekeeping today was pretty good, exception being 37568 on K15 which lost time being 1 late westbound , but 14 late returning from Peterborough.


Tuesday 5th July 2011 ~ The Full Schedule

37563 changes driver at King's Lynn South Gates this afternoon. DS
Back to work today and with Bruce sunning himself in Cos for a fortnight, it's up to me to provide a log of events. services seen from work today were :

K4 37564 1 late on 09.18 to Peterborough
K5 37570 6 late
Y6 37576 2 late
Y7 37569 RT / 3 late
L8 37578 RT / 2 late
Y9 37156 5 late / 9 late
L10 37158 2 late / 4  late
L11 37159 2 late / 6 late
L12 37160 6 late to P'bo
Y13 37563 1 late to P'bo
K14 37157 17 late / 16 late
K15 37574 4 late / 3 late
K16  37566 RT from P'bo
K17 37567 7 late / 8 late
K18 37568 RT / RT
K19 37573 8 late to P'bo
K1 37575 RT to P'bo
K2 37565 5 late to P'bo
K3 20352 2 late on 16.48 to Peterborough.

Daytime changes to the above involved K5, Y9, and L10. K5 had 37572 forward from Lynn to Lowestoft at 10.32, Y9 saw 37156 overheating yet again and 37158 ended up on this. L10 which had started with 37158 somehow then became 37570 (the bus taken off K5).
Bruce would be proud of all that I'm sure and yes, 37568 really was on time in both directions !

Des had an eventful day and 37574 which had been the victim of passenger illness on Saturday night was in trouble again : " I had 37574 on the 09.25 ex Lowestoft as far as Lynn, we departed on time, but at Lowetsoft Tesco, a passenger told me that there was a soiled upstairs front seat. The seat pad was wet. I decided that the best course of action was to arrange for Yarmouth garage to bring out a plastic seat cover and then inform King's Lynn to change the pad at 12.45. Making phone calls and telling all boarding passengers not to sit on the soiled front seat takes time. This is a very busy bus as it is the first bus from Lowestoft Tesco to Yarmouth that OAP's can use their Bus Pass on! When I got to Yarmouth there were approx another 40 passengers and no plastic seat cover. Another slow load as all passengers had to be told about the soiled seat. Another call to Yarmouth garage revealed that the person who had brought out the plastic seat cover was waiting outside the X1 stop to Lowestoft !! Soiled seat covered and away from Yarmouth15 late (10.27). Arrive Lynn 9 late (12.46) - this then formed the 12.45 departure to Peterborough 6 late (12.51). 
37568 should have finished at Yarmouth tonight, but here it is ready to work K19 back to Lynn. Photo by Des.

The journey back with 37568 on K18 at 17.02 to Yarmouth passed without incident. I spotted  60813 Norwich side of Acle,  destination Peterborough which was L12 running approx 13 late - 37160 had left Lowestoft at 17.48, developed a broken indicator stem and 60813 was taken to Yarmouth for 18.30 as the replacement. (A debut on the mainstream X1 I reckon).
37568 off K18 was turned around at Yarmouth and taken to replace K19 19.55 Yarmouth to Lowestoft because of Ticket machine problems on 37573. The engineer has no access to spare ticket machines. 37568 worked K19 back to Lynn as a result".
20352 after arrival at Peterborough rail station on K3 this morning. Photo by Peter

Peter says "Blondie and The White Beast, sounds like a new children's book doesn't it ? In fact it was the combination of driver and bus on the 07.13 Wisbech to Peterborough this morning, what more could you ask for ? Well same again on Thursday please when I'm off travelling again". He adds "Only 5 late arrival at P'boro rail station in spite of heavy traffic into the city (I still think it's quicker via Bourges Boulevard though, rather than going via Frank Perkins Parkway!!) - enabling me to catch train to York, then train to Malton, bus to Pickering, NYMR to Whitby, bus to Scarborough, train to York, another to Peterborough then X1 home. Driver on the 20.10 back from Peterborough was extremely good. Very steady round the roundabouts and bends - the most comfortable journey on the top deck for ages and he made light work of overtaking a stubbornly slow moving lorry on the Thorney straight - see picture".


Monday July 4th 2011 ~ Running Repairs

This week looks like being a busy one for the Volvo man. Various B9s are allocated to be repaired including 37570 today and 37157 tomorrow. In addition the programme to carry out gearbox modifications continues. 37575 arrived back at Lynn today with 37571 going the other way to Volvo.

On the road 37579 was in trouble at lunchtime when a broken water pump belt forced it to overheat at Eye. The turn was K15. I'm not sure if it was able to continue on this turn and it is possible that 37575 replaced it. Meanwhile K2 had 37566 removed at Lynn at 15.40 with another B9 - possibly a repaired 37579 ? working forward.
37159 was spare at Lowestoft and worked the 09.40 ex Norwich and 12.08 outward X2 services.
My last day of holiday and it is back to the opticians tomorrow !

Sunday July 3rd 2011 ~ A Busy Schedule

Malcolm says " Sorry for the lack of reports over the last couple of days, my daughter Louise was 21 today and as you can imagine, I have been rather busy as a result". Malcolm still had time for an X1 report though : "37573 was in Lowestoft bus station this morning off K1 and 37579 arrived working K2.
At lunchtime I saw 37567 leaving Norwich working K5 to Lowestoft, while back in Lowestoft 37566 was arriving on Y8".
A rather unusual panorama of Caister Road at first light this morning . {DS}
Thanks for that Malcolm. Des adds "My turn today involved 37563 as the 07.30 (Y7) Yarmouth to Peterborough as far as Lynn then 37567 on the 10.35 Lynn to Lowestoft (K5 09.10 ex Peterborough).
Despite 37563 having been in service since day one of Gemini operation, it has only mustered 292908 miles, whereas 37567 has become the first ex Lowestoft example to pass the 300 mile mark. It has now done 303700 miles.
The other vehicles used on today's X1 were 37568/9, 37572/3/6/9 and B7 37158.
Congratulations to my mate John who has now qualified as an X1 driver, I spotted him on the two westbound services I saw today, the 13.50 & 17.50 from Lynn.


Saturday July 2nd 2011 ~ Absent Friends

I was absent from the X1 route for much of today and so, it would appear, were our merry band of correspondents. I am assuming from this that all went well ! Having said that, my lunchtime sightings were 37566 on L12 3 late and 37157 on K16 which was 23 late.
It looks as though 37568 and 37160 exchanged turns today, 37160 was on L11 tonight instead of Y10.
20352 continued its stint on K3 and that's about it !

Friday 1st July 2011 ~ Volvo Visits

Ominous skies this afternoon at Lowestoft with 37565, 34111 (17.25 X1 to Yarmouth only) and 37574. Photo : Des Speed
One thing that I failed to spot during yesterday's havoc, was that 37575 had disappeared to Volvo for the gearbox modification which seems to be being applied to all the B9s. As I said, 37156 was the bus which returned from Volvo at Norwich after attention to its starter motor.
20352 remains the only exception to a total low floor X1 experience and it did K3 as usuaal today. With the entire fleet now being maintained at King's Lynn, maintenance swaps are virtually a daily occurrence.
Des photographed the swap described below which took place at King's Lynn this lunchtime

Today Des expected to have 37566 on L10 13.02 Lynn - Lowestoft, but 37567 replaced it. The latter had come over on Y6 and been replaced for the 11.02 eastbound by 37156. Later K14 with 37571 was taken off at 3pm for 37566 to work at 15.02 to Lowestoft.37578 was serviced first thing before operating K4 and 37571 was taken off for examination this afternoon.

37565 departs Lowestoft on the 17.10 X2 this evening. Photo : Des Speed


Thursday 30th June 2011 ~ Trials and Tribulations

37568 has another bath - this time at King's Lynn this evening. it started out on L8 today and finished the day on L11 having skipped a few turns
If yesterday's quiet start to the Royal Norfolk Show was a surprise, may be today was a bit more like we expected.
Des reports " I was in charge of 37578 from King's Lynn on the 09.32 to Lowestoft. We were on time until finding queueing traffic between Dereham & Hockering. This table shows our progress from that point ":
Depart -
10.39 Dereham 2 late
11.18 Hockering 31 late (traffic flowed quicker)
11.28 Easton 30 late
11.40 Showground 40 late
12.00 Norwich 40 late
12.37 Yarmouth 37 late
13.16 Arrive Lowestoft 36 late

As 37578 was then supposed to continue as the 12.55 back to King's Lynn, it came as a bit of a surprise when this service passed Bruce and myself only about 5 late with Blondie Karen waving cheerily.
More delays occurred at lunchtime when Cheryl phoned to say that 37159 on Y13 12.18 Wisbech to Peterborough had, by all accounts, been struck by an errant disabled buggy at wisbech Town Bridge traffic lights (see picture below). The police had to attend and the passengers look to have been transferred to K14 which was next along with 37566. The disabled person was not seriously injured and 37159 is believed to have restarted its turn as the 13.56 Wisbech to Lowestoft.

The scene at Wisbech just after 13.00 today with the 12.18 to Peterborough having been overtaken by 37566 on K14, police in attendance. Photo C. Cleary.
Peter texted to say "Something odd going on here, 37574 just departed Peterborough rail station 'not in service' at 15.05 with 37571 on its heels". Bruce reported nothing coming back from Peterborough between 37566 on K14 at 14.35 and K17 with 37571 filled to the gunnells at 16.15 (10 late). Turns out that 37574 was K15 which obviously went to Lynn empty and K16 with 37160 didn't appear at all.
There were wholesale changes to diagrams today and very few turns remained with the same vehicle they started with. Coach 20352 had to have attention to an airbag before working K5, but it ended up coming home on Y7. It had been seen at Lowestoft Tesco by Matthew heading into town at 13.56, so was still working on K5 at that point, but running 25 minutes late.
King's Lynn managed to service 37565/75/76 today by swapping vehicles as required.
Evening services were still experiencing the fallout from the traffic delays. 37563 on L8 was seen leaving Wisbech for Peterborough at 19.37 (15 late), L10 with 37579 was 10 late at Walpole and L12 with 37569 arrived in from Lowestoft at the Southgates crew change stop (below) at 20.54, departing for the bus station at 20.57. It is due to depart from here to Peterborough at 20.50.

37156 was back from Volvo this afternoon and undergoing further repairs at King's Lynn.

Wednesday 29th June 2011 ~ Time For Action

With an increasing number of failures attributable to the B7s, today 37160 returned from repairs at Volvo and 37156 was then sent the other way. Both have had problems with their starter motors.
37157 was the spare bus seen by Malcolm at Lowestoft which brought the number of B7s on the route today down to just two, these being 37158 on K16 and 37159 on K18. Fortunately all the B9s were available except the absent 37577 and standing in was usual was 20352 which did L11 after an overnight at Lowestoft.
There appears to have been only one break of diagram (I nearly said serve there !) and this was K15 with 37568 which returned to Lynn tonight with 37564 off K14.

Des was able to take this picture of 37565 calling at the RN Showground today while working K3 08.05 from Peterborough.
The first day of this year's Royal Norfolk Show seemed to pass without any major delays.
 At Lowestoft,  Malcolm says "42447 worked the 1438 X2 service to Norwich, 37576 worked Y7 & 37575 worked L8. 66168 worked the 1503 X2 service to Norwich departing 8 minutes late.  60808 should have worked the 1510 service to Martham but there was a problem of some sort and it was still in the bus station when I came home".
What's this ? A new Gemini on the X1 - well no actually, but a photograph opportunity that came Grahame Bessey's way today while out in Norwich. The new Gemini 2s are for city work only. 36167 is seen here at Norwich station.

and here is another of Grahame's captures with 36169 at St. Stephens en route to the showground.