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Tuesday November 1st 2011 ~ Halloween Nightmare

Shortly after 5am this morning, a car ran out of control and collided with a lorry in a lay-by on the A47 at North Burlingham. Unfortunately, there was a fatality and this resulted in the road being closed for seven hours.
Naturally this meant the X1 became embroiled in queues, diversions and all round chaos. Today was the first occasion where the lack of spare buses became a major player in what ran and what didn't.
As we have mentioned lately, Lowestoft currently has no spare X1 vehicle, so this morning when the time came for the 08.55 Peterborough departure, the incoming service not having arrived, there was nothing to replace it. The depots overnight incumbents, 37568, 37566, 37157 and 37563 had already departed on L8, L10, L11 & L12 respectively.
 Stephen Gowler on 'East Anglia Buses' Yahoo Group says " I left Lowestoft on the 09.25 (K15) this morning, full to the rafters as the 08.55 (K14) never showed. We arrived in Great Yarmouth 8 minutes down, and as we were due to leave, the driver announced that he wouldn't be going to Acle. We headed back to Gorleston then set off for St. Olaves and Haddiscoe, then to the McDonalds roundabout at Gillingham and into Norwich along the X2 route. We met 37575 between Gorleston and St. Olaves and another Gemini near Thurton, so this must have been the official diversion".
K14 had set out from Lynn with 37567, so on arrival at Lowestoft it then assumed the mantle of K15, as Stephen says, departing at 09.25. So what of the original K15. Well 37576 which was working the turn had a slight argument with a skip lorry on the diversion, smashing a trio of upstairs windows. It was seen in Lowestoft bus station by Malcolm Hicks who says "It departed empty at 10.20 'not in service' with a blonde lady at the wheel". Meanwhile K16 which was due to depart at 09.55 had not arrived and eventually 37570 turned up just in time to depart back westbound as K18 at 10.55. As for K17, this had set out with 37565, but it is thought that late running meant it went back to Lynn empty to regain time.
When K18 arrived at Lowestoft (37577), it became K19 and this pattern continued with K19 (37575) becoming K1. Not sure where the original K1 got to though as 37572 later became L11 !
Back at the western end, K5 with 37564 was taken off at Lynn at 10.30 with 37156 which had just returned from Volvo working forward eastbound. Surprisingly, 37158 was then sent to Volvo to undergo the operation with its brake discs. With the dire shortage of buses, I would have expected this work to be put 'on hold'.
Repercussions of the accident further east did not immediately become apparent and Y6, the first through working from Yarmouth was almost on time from Wisbech with 37573. Later Y9 also departed near time (37571 just 3 late), but L10 got lost in the delays and eventually appeared wedged to the seams with 37566, passing my window at 11.39, about 49 late. Possibly because of this, L11 did not run over the western section and 37157 which had been on it terminated at Lynn. L11 resumed as the 13.02 to Lowestoft with 37572, or at least that's what we think :+O
Services to Peterborough from Wisbech then became very fragmented. The 11.48 (L12) was bang on time with 37563, the 12.18 (Y13) was 10 late, K14 eventually appeared 25 late with 37157 - this had restarted the turn at Lynn after it had failed to run from Lowestoft (see earlier in this tome).
Tony Irle says "37157 departed Peterborough rail station at 14.05 to Lowestoft and 37565 also seen at the station at 14.09". Well this is explained as follows : K15 did not run, but it did come back as the 14.05 from Peterborough with 37565 - this means it is feasable (especially today) that 37565 worked Lowestoft to Peterborough empty !
K16 with 37567 was only about 5 minutes adrift - but that's because 567 had started on K14, then became K15 and by now had dropped to K16 !  K17 did not run and it looks as if this turn (the 10.25 Lowestoft - Peterborough) was cancelled in its entirety - well there's not much you can do when you run out of buses is there ?
 K18 was still 37570, but 19 late which meant nothing left Wisbech westbound between 13.48 and 15.07. K19 & K1 were within about 12 minutes of their booked time, but after K1 departed at 16.00, there was a 55 minute lapse until the late running K2 appeared with a well loaded 37574 running 37 late. K3 should have been next, but on arrival at Lynn 37159 was turned round to form K17 16.32 to Lowestoft, this left nothing for K3 so the 16.15 to Peterborough & 17.40 return were cancelled, cue Peter Risebrow who says " Got to Peterborough rail station forecourt at 18.11 to see an X1 disappearing - no problem I thought, I'll nip over to the bus station and catch it. No such luck, so I joined the passengers waiting for the 18.20. 37569 (K4) arrived at 18.40 and left at 18.45. To add insult to injury, as I got off at Walsoken, 37156 came along on K5 right time ! I'm still trying to work out what the X1 Peter saw at 18.11 was, but there you are. Cheryl Cleary reports "There was a man in'First' gear sitting behind me on Y6 this morning, turned out he was monitoring our driver" - probably a Drive Green inspection I would think. She continues " Tonight I was waiting as usual for K2 at Thorney, it eventually appeared at 18.11 with 37574, about 39 late. The driver explained about the smashed windows on 576 earlier which had left them short and apologised for the delay".
One positive out of today was that L10 and 37566 managed to regain all its lost time by this evening and with one of our most capable drivers, even managed to be spot on time into Wisbech at 21.55 from Peterborough. Something which is rarely witnessed. Finally thanks must go to my colleague and fellow X1 nutter, Bruce Billingham, for his help in trying to work out what exactly happened today. Come to think of it, he's probably still looking out for the missing K3 - it's OK Bruce you can go to bed now !

1 comment:

Des Speed said...

Glad I was "Day off" - An amazing account of the happenings on the X1 - Well done Gerard & Bruce.