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Friday October 28th 2011 ~........ and Two Come Along at Once

If you were around in the early days of the Geminis on the X1, you may recall that seeing them in pairs was a regular sight. Not so now of course and I can't recall the last time I saw this until on.
37575 was returned from a week at the Volvo workshops today. It was given a routine service at King's Lynn and should be back on the road tomorrow. Going the other way was 37156 and all the B7s are expected to visit Volvo in the next few weeks, but why I know not. Could they be having a go at upping the top speed again ?
37156 was out today, it worked L11 before being replaced at Lynn by 37577 for the 10.45 to Peterborough. By this time westobound services from Wisbech were losing time : L11 8 late, L12 with 37563 12 late and Y13 well down with 572 17 late.
In the afternoon, K14 passed me bound for Lowestoft just 4 late, K15 went to Peterborough 12 late and was late by the same margin coming back. K16 was - very surprisingly for a Friday, just 6 late for the 15.26 to Lowestoft with 37159. K17 had 37568 15 late westbound and 22 late coming back east. There was then a sevice gap before 37157 appeared on K18 exactly 30 late. I had seen it passing the Southgates 25 late, but the congestion into Wisbech had lost it another 5 minutes. Only 8 minutes behind was 37571 on K19. So you've probably guessed what happened next, K18 & K19 returned in convoy both passing me at 16.56, 36 & 6 late respectively.
This evening L10 was in trouble with 37566, it was unable to proceed from Lynn on the 19.50 to Peterborough. Surprisingly though, it wasn't replaced so the service was cancelled. Mr Robinson was due to catch it at 21.15 from Peterborough, so I drove over to pick him up. A lonely figure waiting at Thorney Toll for L10 was still there when I returned from Peterborough and L12 with 37563 was passed on time at Guyhirn. I am told that a B9 was sent to Wisbech to work the 22.00 back to Lynn.
Not good though for a Friday night. Earlier L8 had 37564 removed and replaced by 37160 off Y7. 564 is due for servicing on Monday.


Thursday October 27th 2011 ~ B7 Convoy

37573 at Yarmouth Market Gates this afternoon with K4 14.12 to Peterborough. Photo courtesy of Richard Kirk.
By some strange quirk of fate, three consecutively numbered B7s came out today with 37157 on Y9, 37158 on L10 and 37159 on L11. All were running fairly near to time, but a B7 was back on K18 with 37160 passing Wisbech westbound 16 late this afternoon. Someone with a sense of humour was rostering today, as Y13 had 37565, K14 37566 & K15 37567, so another trio followed each other !
The two spare buses today were 37568 & 37574, both stopped for routine servicing at Lynn. The shortage of power at Lowestoft resulted in 34112 on loan from Yarmouth working on the X2.
Terence reports that an accident at about 16.00 on Magdalen Way, Gorleston involving two vehicles resulted in X1 services being diverted via Trinity Avenue and St. Anne's Crescent. The road reopened around 17.00.

Wednesday October 26th 2011 ~ Busy Bee Sevens

I can never quite believe the decision made a few years ago when the order for dedicated B9 Geminis for the X1 was cut from 20 to 17. Had the original plan been kept, then surely appearances of B7s on the X1 would have been much less common ? The speed handicap of 49mph may seem trivial, but the figures show that services which regularly get B7s are always the ones more inclined to run late.
Here in the west, the service you definitely wouldn't want to trust to get you to Peterborough to catch a train, is K16, the 09.55 from Lowestoft and guess what ? Yes, it's the diagram which is most often a B7 !
 K14 is probably the second best bet, but the use of a B7 on K18 seems to have ceased on a regular basis this month. From Lowestoft & Yarmouth, the use of B7s is fairly indiscriminate, but the shorter turns seem favourite. In particular L11 and also Y7 and Y9. Refuelling on the longer turns is a daily occurrence and one wonders what the bemused passengers think of spending 5 minutes of their journey spent in Vancouver Avenue refuelling. Shame it could have been so much better. Mind you in the winter, give me a B7 any day, at least they are warm and I'm sure the seats are more comfortable and better spaced.
Today K1 had 37157 throughout the day which is extremely rare on a weekday. The only time this happened before was with 37158 on 13th October 2009. Everything ran pretty well to time today until L11 which was 37160, 15 late from Wisbech westbound and 10 late returning. K14 was also a B7 casualty, it was 14 late on the 13.35 from Peterborough with 37158.
Swaps were in evidence again today, but on a lesser scale. Y13 with 37579 came off at Lynn and 37567 off servicing did the 11.45 to Peterborough. L10 had 37565 removed for 37579 on the 13.02 to Lowestoft. K18 with 37563 was then given 37565 for the 14.15 to Peterborough and finally K2 had 37578 taken off for 37563 on the 15.45 westbound.
On the X2, Malcolm noted Dart 43465 working the 13.38 to Norwich. Thanks also to Brian for his observations today.

Tuesday October 25th 2011 ~ The Seven Year Itch

Exactly seven years ago today, I started to write down the vehicles used on the X1, transferring them into a MS Works chart each day. All seems a very long while ago now - all coaches then of course. Over the years the service has used up to 21 vehicles, though back in 2004 the figure was 18. Today the service uses 19 Monday to Saturday and 10 on Sundays.
There were wholesale swaps at King's Lynn this afternoon to fit in servicing requirements and to facilitate repairs on some ailing buses. The changes began at 12.30 with Y9 when 37576 was replaced by 37566 from the garage. At 13.00 L10 saw 37577 changed for 37572, the latter again fresh from the garage. With both spare buses now used, the changes proceeded as follows :
14.00 K18 37569 in, 37576 out.
14.30 K19 37564 in, 37577 out. 
15.00 K1 37571 in, 37569 out.
15.30 K2 37570 in, 37564 out
16.00 K16 37159 in, 37571 out
In the case of 37569, 37564 & 37571, they all laid over for an hour before continuing on the route. At least one bus had an oil leak.
Despite all the swaps, timekeeping was fair with the latest service through Wisbech being L12 and 37578 nine minutes late. This evening 37578 had lost a lot more time after an RTA in Bracondale and was noted at Dereham running 53 late (sched departure is 20.44).
There were no Geminis out on the X2 again - not possible with Lowestoft not having one spare of course. Michael Bryant reports that of the Presidents, 32207/08/10/12 are the only X2 regulars at the moment, with 32214 having been absent for about 2 weeks, 32211 the same for about 2 months, whereas 32213 has been missing from Michael's sightings for about six months now. Any news on these absentees would be welcome.
There was fun in the East tonight. Des drove 37579 into Lowestoft on K4 whereupon it is due to go light to Yarmouth garage. On arrival at Lowestoft at 22.30, Dart 43453 on the last Lowestoft - Martham service 1 was in trouble, a non-starter with Lowestoft fitters in attendance. In the end Des waited with the Dart and 37579 worked the 1 to Martham. Once started and on his way with 43453, he saw the last southbound service 1 also in trouble at Hopton with 34186. This service continued with the Dart and Des then found himself with his second broken down bus of the night, awaiting fitters from Yarmouth. 34186 had air in the fuel system and once rectified Des drove it back to Yarmouth garage.


Monday October 24th 2011 ~ Juggling

It appears that the malady affecting 37575 is sufficiently bad to warrant it being absent for most of this week. Lucky then that no Geminis were booked to have MOTs this week. I am told that the mysterious move of 37578 from Lowestoft to Lynn on Friday was authorised to get it back to Lynn for maintenance. A Lynn driver travelled over to Lowestoft to collect it. As I suspected, this leaves Lowestoft with no spare tacho fitted vehicles for the X1 - could be interesting ?
A rare failure in service occurred today when 37573 on K17 was halted at Narborough with a water leak whilst working Y9 12.32 King's Lynn to Lowestoft. Fortunately 37566 which had earlier worked K4 07.05 from Peterborough as far as Lynn was freshly serviced and this was sent to Narborough to relieve 37573.
There were other swaps today too. 37563 took K4 forward at 10.02 from Lynn to Lowestoft and then shortly afterwards, K5 also changed buses, 37159 in for 37570 out. Y6 with 37572 had this removed at 17.40 and a revived 37573 worked forward to Peterborough at 17.45, however, Des takes up the story.
 "I took Y6 forward from the Southgates into Lynn at 20.23, we left on time, but the curse of  37573 at Narborough struck again and upon leaving the village, the dashboard stop light and accompanying warning claxon was sounding. All other dashboard readings were fine and the temperatures were all normal, so I proceeded to Swaffham where I checked the water level. The header tank was empty and I assume it was an airlock somewhere in the coolant system causing the warnings, it having used the reserve supply in the header tank. A click on the computer control stalk cleared the dashboard and noise. Trouble was it had to be cleared every 20 seconds or so for the remaining three hours of journey time !".
Many thanks to Bruce for supplying a full list of sightings today - I was at home having a new carpet fitted, also to Malcolm for his help as always.

Sunday October 23rd 2011 ~ Mishaps

The usual quiet sort of Sunday, but a few items of note. A burst water main near the Tinkers Drove turn in Wisbech meant 3 way temporary lights were in situ for much of the day. This delayed many services by up to 15 minutes. 37565 on Y8 was removed this evening and swapped for 37158 after the former's drivers seatbelt jammed. In the east, Malcolm saw 37160 being used on the X2 - it arrived in Lowestoft on the 09.50 from Norwich and then did the 11.20 return.
Here are some more recent advertising campaigns currently in use :


Saturday 22nd October 2011 ~ Hanging On

With 37575 at Volvo and no spare X1 vehicle at Lowestoft, things seem to be hanging by a thread at the moment. Today all the other buses in the pool were in use at some stage.
L11 looks to have had 37159 changed for 37576 at some point during the day at Lynn, while L12 was also swapped, 37570 which had started the turn and was needed for servicing on Monday was changed for 37578.
37570 heads away from Walpole on L12 11.15 King's Lynn to Peterborough (L12) today. Its rear overall advert is much the worse for wear now as can be seen here.

Further to recent correspondence regarding long distance services and the suitability of the buses provided, Tony Powell says "The Milton Keynes to Peterborough X4 is due to be provided with new Scania /E400s shortly. These will be to Stagecoach Gold Standard and will have leather coach type seats. Hopefully the same type as on the X5 Cambridge - Oxford coaches in which case I will be well pleased. With the full journey on the X1 taking 4 hours 30 minutes (with basic bus seating) and the X4 just an hour less, it does make me wonder how many passengers ever do the entire journey on either service".

A fair compliment of passengers here on 37579, but doubtful if any are doing the full Peterborough - Lowestoft journey ? 37579 is negotiating Wisbech Horsefair roundabout to work K14 14.26 to Lowestoft this afternoon.

Friday 21st October 2011 ~ Jiggery Pokery

Rob Brooks captured 37159 on K16 heading down the old A47 dual carriageway at Fence Bank with Norfolk Green no. 127 in hot pursuit this afternoon

With everything going pretty much to plan these days, it was rather nice to get one of those days where you need a detective to work out what happened.
While timekeeping through Wisbech seemed pretty reasonable for a Friday, further east there seemed to be problems. Y6 had 37579, but this appears to have been replaced for the 11.02 Lynn to Lowestoft by 37578. Not sure why this occurred because 579 was not due for servicing. There couldn't have been much wrong with it as when K15 with 37573 arrived, it was replaced by 579 for the 12.45 to Peterborough. What happened next was extremely odd - basically the 13.45, 14.45 & 15.45 to Peterborough all changed vehicles, while the services on the quarter hour remained unchanged. So K16 had 37159, K18 37574 and K1 37564 throughout, but K17 had 37567 replaced by 37573 (off K15), K19 had 37565 replaced by 37567 (off K17) and K2 had 37568 changed for 37565 (off K19). A bit of a pattern there then, but why Lord only knows.
In a final twist to the day's proceedings, Y6 which had left Lynn with 37578 changed vehicles again for 37158 which had been the Lowestoft spare. So what was really surprising tonight was 37578 being in situ over the pits at Vancouver Avenue when it should logically have become the Lowestoft spare bus !
The upshot of this being that Lowestoft are now left without anything spare for X1 use.


Monday October 17th - Thursday October 20th 2011

As it has been a fairly inocuous week on the X1 once more, here is a quick synopsis of events so far.

Monday 17th : Possibly the most unremarkable day this week. The first appearance of an advert for the film TinTin on 37156/160 & 37570 applied over the weekend at Lowestoft, also rear ads for AXA, these being a second use of the previous campaign. A great day for punctuality with 37574 on K16 being the most delayed service, seven late from Wisbech on the 13.48 to Peterborough. Lowestoft kept 37157 as spare, while 37577 on K2 at the start of the day had changed over to 37566 by teatime. L8 had 37563 taken off at Lynn tonight for servicing and 37571 off Y7 replaced it at 18.50 to Peterborough.
The new road from Dogsthorpe to Spalding finally opened today and a 7.5 ton weight limit put into place at Eye Green, bringing more traffic to the A47. A new bus stop is being built at Peterborough B&Q on Bourges Boulevard.

Tuesday 18th : 20102 appeared at Yarmouth garage today on a run delivering spares. Sad news from Yarmouth too with the last EC Olympian 34333 at last being withdrawn.
A couple of services made good time on the Wisbech to Peterborough section today : 37568 was typically late on L10 10.48 ex Wisbech by 7 minutes going west, but returned bang on time, while K19 with 37565 was 6 late and returned just 2 minutes behind time and this during the afternoon peak.
Only one service was badly delayed and this was (as it nearly always is !) K16. Even with Mr. Speed at the controls 37158 was already 18 late when he departed on the 13.20 Southgates to Peterborough. By Peterborough rail station it was 24 late and then 22 late back into Wisbech. Smart working saw it just 13 lates when Des left it at Southgates at 16.20 having already been into the bus station.
Peter says "37563 on K4 07.48 from Walton Road this morning. we left Wisbech 10 late and were then held up all the way to Peterborough, approaching approx 20 late. Fortunately our driver took the sensible option and went straight to the rail station where I just made the 08.52 train to Birmingham". Good to hear that Peter and 37563 had made up more time by the time it passed me at 09.22, just 2 late. He adds "This evening 37159 on K5 18.40 with Blondie driving - I knew it was her before I saw the bus as she was hooting at all the illegally parked cars ignoring the buses only signs. Mind you the hooter on 37159 was pretty pathetic, sounds like a bee in a tin can ! Nevertheless it was very clean and warm upstairs, better than the cold 37563 this morning".
Malcolm saw Dart 42447 on the 14.38 X2 this afternoon. but 37157 was spare and may have worked too. Sister 37156 was a very unusual choice for K15 today, seen below.

Wednesday 19th :
K19 did a 37576 for 37577 swap for maintenance this afternoon and timekeeping was very good - well until late afternoon that is. 37567 on K1 was 9 late to Peterborough and K2 was 16 late with 37566, K3 was just a minute late with 37160, but then there was another extended gap and 37159 (unusual for K4 to get a B7) was 16 late too. 37573 noted on Y6 today with its new rear ad for AXA - fixed upside down !

Thursday 20th :
37575, normally a reliable steed, was in trouble on K3 today. It was making alarming noises on arrival at Lowestoft and the driver who took it back west at 12.55 reported it to King's Lynn where it was arranged to swap it with 37565. The latter was 8 late at Wisbech and meanwhile 37575 was whisked off to Volvo for investigation.
37565 had earlier worked K15 into Lynn at 12.37 from Lowestoft, but here it was removed for servicing and 37564 fresh off its MOT worked forward.Many services ran up to 8 minutes late today.
37572 was changed for 37160 on Y6 this evening. Malcolm saw the absent 37157 on the 15.48 Lowestoft to Norwich X2 this afternoon.


Sunday 16th October 2011 ~ More Alterations

Just when I thought I'd listed all the recent diagram changes, I realised that I'd forgotten to mention Saturday's K1 which now goes to Lowestoft depot rather than Yarmouth. This compliments L8 which now does the opposite.
Steve from Oulton Broad wrote to me this week and says  :
"Hello,  I wonder if I might add to your lists of wants for the new X1 bus fleet and this is very important. Heating upstairs, presently you can tell the difference if you ride on a B7 during a cold spell, they are like toast, but those B9's well I always ride downstairs when it's cold. I went to Northampton last Saturday using the X1 to Peterborough and then X4 to Northampton, and consequently was able to do a back to back with the Gemini and the Enviro 400. Well in my opinion the Gemini is vastly superior. The Enviro wins on speed, but other than that the comfort of the Gemini is much better, even down to the fact that after 3 years and 300,000 miles they still don't rattle".
I wonder if the speed issue might just apply to the B7s Steve ? These have a 49mph limiter, whereas the B9s can do at least 10 mph faster. A few weeks ago I was told that B9 37566 had also been restricted to work at 49mph following its gearbox modifications at Volvo. I am not sure if this has been rectified yet.
Bob also messaged me to say "Tony (Stonechat) and I set off yesterday morning to meet up at Queensgate to catch the 08.44 X1 to Lynn (K4), but it hadn't arrived by 09.00 and more than a dozen people were waiting for it, so we caught the Stagecoach 37 to Spalding and the NG 505 to Lynn.
 It was odd, because we had walked down to buy our bacon rolls and Tony saw it arrive, but it vanished, our only suggestions being that it broke down at the Station, or the driver forgot to call back at Queensgate on his way back to Lynn". 37572 was the bus in question and I wonder if any of our readers can supply an answer to this one.
Today 37563/5/8/9 & 37572/3/4/7/8/9 were in use on the X1 and 37157 was sighted by Malcolm working the 10.20 Lowestoft - Norwich X2.
This was the second week of Sunday diversions at Swaffham :


Saturday October 15th 2011 ~ Wedding Bells

37159 passes the roadworks atGorleston Church. Photo by Des.
My work colleague Carol got married today, so for much of the time I was 'off route', Bruce kept an eye on things this morning and managed to see everything bar L8 which we reckon must have been 37571. This turn which until recently terminated at Lowestoft garage, is now diverted to finish at Yarmouth on Saturdays.
37575 passed 24 late on L11 12.05 from Peterborough, but 37563 was only 3 late on the 12.35. 37564 was stopped for MOT preparation at Lynn today and 37158 was the spare bus here. At Lowestoft 37157 was on hand.

Friday October 14th 2011 ~ B7 Variation

Being one of the longset diagrams, L8 normally has a B9 allocated, but yesterday 37157 worked it and today 37158. As it was due maintenance on Monday, tonight 37571 off Y7 was used to replace 37158 at Lynn for the 18.50 to Peterborough.
Punctuality was quite good for a Friday. The worst spell here in the west was around teatime when K17 with 37565 which had been 2 late going to Peterborough, returned 17 late and K18 following with 37578 was 12 late. After this things soon got back to normal.
37568 and 37579 were spare at Lynn today and 37157 was at Lowestoft. 37574 had a minor problem with a faulty gear selector this morning and was 15 late departing from Yarmouth on Y13.
The closure of Fullers Hill in Yarmouth is suspended for the weekend and will resume on Monday. Only buses were supposed to be admitted through the Gorleston Church roundabout on a stop/go board system, but all traffic was using this route.


Thursday October 13th 2011 ~ Everything's All White (Well Almost)

A reminder that the X1 Gemini livery doesn't endear itself to winter weather was provided today. Despite lovely sunny conditions in Wisbech this morning, both 37573 on L11 and 37578 on L12 passed through westbound with mud all over the rear wheelarches. No doubt the healthy sugar beet crop is to blame.
Punctuality was very good today with only 37572 on K2 being seen 8 minutes late on the 16.18 Wisbech to Peterborough and earlier 37158 on K14 08.55 ex Lowestoft had also been 8 late departing, not regaining time until Lynn.
Swaps today were maintenance related, K5 had 37568 replaced by 37577 for the 10.32 Lynn to Lowestoft and Y6 had 37569 taken off for the 17.45 Lynn to Peterborough with repaired black sheep 37566 replacing it.

Wednesday October 12th 2011 ~ Overheating

37160 continued to play up today. It was sent out from Lynn on K16 and managed Ok until just after it had departed on the 13.15 King's Lynn to Peterborough. It was diverted into Vancouver Avenue where it was seen with what looked like water pouring from the engine compartment. Eventually it was sorted and left 25 minutes late but its late arrival in Peterborough saw it return light to Lynn, where once again it had to receive fitters attention for overheating. 160 was booked to continue K16 at 16.02 to Lowestoft, however, it didn't leave the garage until 16.16 and was seen passing Southgates roundabout at 16.29, about 22 late.
37566 remained over the pits at Lynn today while its air build up problem continued to be fixed. 37572 was in trouble for the second day running, but not through anything mechanical this time. It was taken off  K4 as it required cleaning after a passenger was unwell. The 19.35 to Lowestoft was taken instead by 37565 which had come into Lynn on Y9.
There was an unusual Lowestoft swap this morning. K17 had 37569, but this was replaced by 37158 for the 10.25 to Peterborough. K18 then came in with 37156 and had this swapped for 37569 leaving 156 as the Lowestoft spare in place of 158.
Timekeeping was average today. 37158 had lost 10 minutes by Wisbech on K17, while in the morning 37570 on Y6 was 8 late from Wisbech westbound, but returned spot on time.
A slight diversion has been instituted in Yarmouth for a few days thus :


Tuesday October 11th 2011 ~ 571 Off the Leash

On January 18th this year, 37571 worked K2. Nothing odd about that surely ? Well yes actually ! With 37571 being favourite for K17, it rarely appears on any of the turns which finish at Lowestoft, however, today it graced K2 again for only the second time this year. So what of K17 ? Well all of a sudden. this seems to be getting any available B9 and since the end of August, 571s grip on this turn seems to have slackened.I'm sure there is some reasoning behind this, but as yet I know not what it is.
After yesterday's delays, today things ran quite well and the heaviest delay noted was a mere 8 minutes.
The problem with 37566 was attended to by the Volvo man today and 37572 was also the subject of his healing hands. 572 actually had a strange day. it began on K5, being taken off at Lynn at 10.30 and then after attention, took over K17 at 13.45. This was not without incident though, as 572 was failed at Swaffham at 17.00 overheating. It was just a belt that needed replacing and after fitters attended , it was able to continue.
37157 took K5 forward and then later was called upon to replace 37567 on L12 as the latter was needed for a safety service. 157 took the 20.50 Lynn to Peterborough instead, mind it's rear destination is still blank as is that of 37568. Meanwhile 37567 which has run for most of its life with no rear route indicator has at last had this fixed at King's Lynn.
37160 was back on the X1 route today, but on arrival at Lynn tonight on L11 still appeared to be having problems overheating and the engine looked to have been throwing oil.
Lowestoft spare bus today was 37159.

Monday October 10th 2011 ~ Manic Monday Morning

37158 seen at Lowestoft this evening arriving on the 12.05 from Peterborough, but already showing its return destination. Photo from Grahame Bessey.
The new week began with chaos at the western end, with a collision between an ambulance and a Royal Mail lorry at around 6am at the Guyhirn Sex Shop junction (sorry, can't recall its proper name - didn't it used to be Guyhirn Little Chef ?). This caused all manner of mayhem and I was texted at some early hour while still in the sack by Mark Chaplin to inform me of impending delays.
Setting out at my usual time, I met 37579 at Walpole Highway heading east only 1 minute late on K2, but of course, stupid me, it was in fact K1 running 31 late ! Things then began to get interesting. Cheryl catches Y6 to get to her new job in Thorney and today 37576 was her bus. Due to congestion it was eleven late from Wisbech and proceeded down to the Cromwell Road roundabout junction with the A47 bypass. Here the driver saw the queueing traffic and did a U turn back into town. Such was the heavy traffic that 576 passed me at 09.01 and came back at 09.20 before being glimpsed in the Old Market at 09.22 heading for Peterborough via Wisbech St. Mary.
 The next two services westbound were alerted to the situation and both went via Wisbech St. Mary, these being Y7 with 37573 and L8 with 37567, the latter being seen about 4 late in the Old Market at 09.56. Judith then phoned to say she'd met two Geminis separated by a single car on Barton Road heading west. This turned out to be 37573 on Y7 followed by the delayed Y6 with 37576 !
Eastbound services meanwhile were all over the place, K1 as we said was 32 late at Walpole and next to appear was K3 with 37157 on its normal route passing me 17 late. 37569 on K2 then got through having travelled via the Wisbech St. Mary route and passed the Old Market at 09.28 (about 74 late). K4 had better luck taking its normal route and with 37575 was only 15 late. After this K5 was relatively unaffected with 37570 just 4 late, but next up, the late running Y6 had done very well to be just 22 late going east. The original intention was that this would go light from Peterborough to Lynn to make up time, but in the end it was 37573 on Y7 which did this, being seen by Jamie R on Wisbech bypass.
This evening 37576 on Y6 was 2 early at Walpole on the 19.10 from Peterborough, so all lost time was eventually regained.
20115 which had been a candidate for use on the X1 today, was probably collected by a Yarmouth driver as it didn't work and was not at Lynn this evening. Coming the other way was 37566 which Dale says expired in Dereham on Friday with an air problem. It was sent to Volvo and was back at Lynn today, but still in a bad way. 37566 regular readers will know, is the bus that was built on a Friday afternoon if you know what I mean.
37565 had its MOT today, but the disgraced 37160 was absent.


Sunday 9th October 2011 ~ A Rare Sight

20115 in Vancouver Avenue this evening amongst the Geminis
After last night's surprise working by 20115, today saw all ten X1 diagrams with B9 Geminis. 37575/9 were still spare at King's Lynn, along with 37156/7/9.

Saturday 8th October 2011 ~ The Phoenix

37158 and 37568 with adverts for 'Alone In The Wild' at King's Lynn on Friday evening.
So nothing of note happens for a whole week and then, a real surprise. This afternoon 37160 on K5 was in trouble in Great Yarmouth, reportedly with a loss of transmission oil and making  some pretty awful noises. The result being that tonight, on what was an absolutely dire evening of torrential rain, 20115 worked to Peterborough on the 14.42 from Yarmouth. Bruce met it near Guyhirn and I saw it just leaving Wisbech, the destination display is so dim, I wasn't sure exactly what it was until I read the reg plate.
This was the first B10M to appear in service through King's Lynn since 20126 on August 10th. The last time 20115 appeared in traffic here on an X1 was five months ago on May 7th.
37575 was spare at Lynn today, with 37565 still stopped for MOT. 37566 was again absent, presumably at Lowestoft.


October 3rd - October 7th 2011 ~ Blogathon

Well such is the paucity of news on the X1 of late, I thought I'd do a week in one go. Here is a snapshot of the week just gone.

Monday : 37563 had its MOT, 37564 was kept at Lynn for maintenance and Lowestoft spare vehicle was 37160, it was seen on the 14.08 X2 by Des. . 37156 & 37575 came out of Lowestoft with new ads for 'Contagion' (offside) and 'The Three Musketeers' (nearside). Y9 with 37571 ran 11 late on the 11.05 from Peterborough, but most other services kept time. 37566 was taken off K4 this evening and 37569 replaced it for the 19.35 Lynn to Lowestoft having come in on Y7. 37567 on Y6 had an oil light warning while working the 11.02 Lynn to Lowestoft, but this was a red herring and after its computer was reset all appeared well.

Tuesday : Most buses ran late today, though not by much. 37160 on L10 was 12 late on the 10.48 Wisbech to Peterborough and 37576 on the 14.18 was 14 late, however, it had regained most of this and was just 4 late returning. 37563 was released to traffic on K4, but its place in the MOT bay has been taken by 37565. 37156 was keeping it company on maintenance at Lynn today and 37579 was spare at Lowestoft.

Wednesday : Y6 was 37566 and Des took this forward on the 20.35 Lynn to Lowestoft. There were heating problems on board, with all demisters etc blowing hot air even though it was switched off. It was also the latest bus seen today at 11 late on the 08.48 Wisbech to Peterborough. 37575 was at Lynn for maintenance today and 37157 was the Lowestoft spare.

Thursday : The quiet week continued. A few services were late this morning, 37569 on Y6 was 10 late westbound, 37156 was 2 late on the 09.18 Wisbech to Peterborough, but had lost 13 minutes by the time it came back. 37579 on L10 westbound was 12 late and then things settled down. An accident near Acle may have caused some of these delays. 37157 remained at Lowestoft and K5 had 37576 swapped for 37160 at Lynn at 10.30.

Friday : Late running didn't appear to be an issue today. Apart from 37565 on MOT prep, all the other Geminis appeared in X1 duties today. 37157 reappeared on L12 and 37566 on K17 was unusually swapped at Lowestoft for 37564. Malcolm saw 37159 on K16, but K17 didn't turn up and then K18 arrived with 37156, so it seems likely that 37566 encountered an incident en route. This afternoon K15 had 37578 (due for an exam) swapped at Lynn for 37160 which had been undergoing an oil change.


Sunday October 2nd 2011 ~ Jet Propelled

A nice shot of 37568 before it worked the 07.30 Yarmouth to Peterborough this morning. Courtesy of Des Speed.
The Indian Summer continued today and hoards of motorists flocked to the Norfolk coastal resorts. By lunchtime, punctuality of the X1 was adversely affected. The 12.45 from Lynn to Peterborough (L10)with 37572 was 19 late, but thanks to some smart work was only 4 late returning. An hour later the 13.45 (K1) with 37577 was 15 late heading west. Thanks to Bruce for the gen.
By tonight, things were quite bad and 37576 was seen on Nar Ouse Way departing King's Lynn for Peterborough at 20.31 (due 19.56) and therefore 35 minutes late. Later the same bus was seen returning into Terrington at 22.18, just 5 late and possibly having beaten the record for an X1 recouping time on this section. It must have been a remarkable bit of driving.


Saturday 1st October 2011 ~ More Sunshine , More Delays

The record October temperature set at nearby March in 1985 was beaten today in Gravesend when it rose to almost 30'c. On the X1 there were some unexplained delays. Services through Wisbech westbound to Peterborough were well behaved, but coming back eastbound things were pretty awful mid morning. Noted heading for Lowestoft were 37579 on K5 running 5 late, 37572 on Y6 14 late, 37578 on Y7 worst affected being 38 late, L8 with 37564 evaded me and 37566 on L9 27 late. Things then improved with Y10 with 37567 being 19 late and 37565 on L11 just 8 late. What caused the delays is not known, but even Friday evening's late services were behind time, 37566 on L8 was 11 late into Wisbech on the 20.40 Peterborough - Lowestoft and the 20.50 Lynn to Peterborough (L12) was 10 late with 37156.
Several turns swapped vehicles today, possibly due to an afternoon road closure at Toftwood. 37564/5/6/7 all changed turns and this involved L8, L9, Y10 & L11.

Friday 30th September 2011 ~ A Successful Summer

Traditionally (in railway terms at least), the last day of September equals the end of the Summer timetable. Looking back at the last few months, the days of B10M coaches regularly standing in for Geminis have become history. Availability of the Geminis has never been so good. Even when a bus has  been sidelined for MOT work, such as 37563 this week, the two remaining 'spare' buses have been just that. Today 37565 was at Lowestoft and 37579 at Lynn.
The timetable often goes pear shaped on Fridays, but today pretty much everything ran 8 - 10 minutes late with all turns seen apart from K16 (see below). 37160 was plying its trade on K3 and was extremely noisy - usually it is the quietest of the B7s, but maybe this weeks temperatures have been a bit too challenging.
Des says "37568 was K16 and I was booked to take it from Lynn Southgates at 13.07 into the bus station then on to Peterborough. In the event 37568 diverted itself into Vancouver Avenue garage inbound at 13.10 due to tits oil level warning light showing. Checked and filled, we departed Lynn 25 minutes late at 13.40, K17 arriving as we departed. Arrival at Peterborough rail station was -31 at 15.00, having travelled in via Perkins and noted traffic queuing on the eastbound carriageway. I loaded passengers for Lynn and beyond and left at 15.02, 27 late non-stop to Lynn. We used Bourges Boulevard, but there were queues at B & Q. I was back at the Southgates (due 15.49) at 16.14, 25 late".
At least this explains why I didn't see K16 eastbound today ! At the eastern end, Malcolm viewed three successive arrivals from Peterborough at Lowestoft. Y7 with 37159 arrived 16 late, 37566 on L8  was on time and finally Y9 with 37573 was 8 late coming in.

Thursday 29th September 2011 ~ Sunshine = Delays

Extremes of weather always seem to have a derogatory effect on X1 timekeeping. Today while many services ran roughly to time, others for reasons unknown were way off course. L8 with 37565 was not seen departing Wisbech to Peterborough at 09.48, I may have missed it, but was marginally early returning from Peterborough. L11 with 37579 managed to be 9 late in each direction as was K14 with 37157. K15 was 10 late with 37571, but then K16 encountered delays making it 27 late on the 14.35 from Peterborough, by which time 37575 on K17 was just 6 minutes behind it. Things then settled down a bit before K3 16.15 King's Lynn to Peterborough also turned up 26 late with 37160 - it had only been 5 late in the morning. Again the following service, K4 was hot on its heels, 37573 on this was 6 late.
The MOT on 37563 has been postponed until Monday, which may be to do with extra work being taken on from Norwich - today Solo 53118 had arrived at Lynn, also for MOT.
Temporary lights at Middleton were being set up today, but were not in operation when Des passed. 37156 was again seen in Norwich on the X2 at 12.45.

Wednesday 28th September 2011 ~ All Going Well

My notes under my X1 observations which usually have something to talk about, said today simply 'Nothing Much Going On'. Oh Dear - all going so well that I will have to look elsewhere then ?
Here's a nice bit of X1 trivia, when the B9 Geminis were new they all had the First logo on the back lower deck window as seen above on 37579.
Now though 37563, 37567, 37573, 37575 & 37578 have lost the branding (see below)

This then prompts the question, has the logo simply worn away or fallen off or have all these buses had their back window replaced since new ? Whatever, replacement glass, particularly for the large front windows on Geminis is very expensive.
Peter wrote to me recently about the new vehicles bought by Stagecoach for the Cambridge to St. Ives (mis) guided busway. It is only a very short distance compared to the X1 route and yet Peter says "
To operate their services, Stagecoach ordered ten Eclipse/B7RLE single decker buses, to be manufactured by Wrightbus and Volvo, and ten Alexander Dennis Enviro400/Scania N230UD double deckers for the guided busway network. All of the new specially-branded vehicles are equipped with leather seats, air chill or air conditioning, real time information, and free Wi-Fi".
Some ideas for future X1 vehicles there then. In Summer you tend to either get the greenhouse effect upstairs on a Gemini or get blown away when the windows are open.
Another subject Peter mentions is the X1 route (or routes) into Peterborough "I know each driver probably has a preferred route,  but it seems to me that about 90% go in via the A47 and Bourges Boulevard and about 50% go out that way, the other 50% using the Boongate route".
Today the only X1 seen appreciably late was L10 with 37158, due westbound from Wisbech at 10.48, it was 11.02 by the time it left. Other services ran near to time. There was a bit of a mystery regarding turns 15 & 16 though. I was told K15 had started the day with 37573 and K16 with 37157, however, at lunchtime K15 had 37157 and K16 37572, which doesn't really make sense as 37157 seems to have jumped from K15 to K16 which should be impossible ! 
Des reports that X1 driver changes are now taking place at the Southgates stop, five minutes after departure from the bus station. In charge of L8 15.25 Lowestoft - Peterborough, he says " I was on time until queueing traffic at Yarmouth - both bridges up and temporary lights on Yarmouth side of Haven Bridge. 12 late in and then my relieving driver had about 50 passengers to load and negotiate the queue. Noted today by the way, 37156 departing Norwich at 12.44 on an X2.