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Week Ending Sunday 26th February 2012 ~ It's All Happening

A little bit more to report this week, with the X1 fleet getting back up to full strength .............

Monday 20th February 2012

Yet another road closure in Wisbech occurred today, with temporary lights opposite St. Augustines Church causing delays to the X1. There seem to be regular problems here due to collapsing sewers on the busy Lynn Road.
Spare bus today was 37159 and L11 did a maintenance swap with 37157 being replaced by 37566 at 10.45 in King's Lynn. 37572 had problems early on with an oil pressure switch fault. Fitters were sent to Wisbech to sort it out and eventually it was able to continue on K3. It was still running 18 late when it passed Bruce eastbound at 09.23.
An interesting working in Lowestoft seen by Malcolm was 32210 arriving on the 13.40 X2 service from Norwich and then working the 15.10 Service no. 1 to Martham. 32211 which had come in from Martham then worked the 15.03 X2 to Norwich. Whether this is a regular occurrence or merely for operational convenience today is not known.

Here is the official X1 route map as shown in the latest timetable

Tuesday February 21st

The delays in Wisbech were severe today. Jamie took L11 with 37578 from Walpole Highway westbound and was diverted just before the Locomotive pub via Lerowe Road, Kirkgate Street and Norwich Road to gain Churchill Road. This involves negotiating numerous speed humps, but which seemed preferable to being stuck on the usual route. 
Early on buses were running on average 10 late eastbound past Bruce, but Y9 with 37577 was 23 late going to Peterborough and 24 late returning. Des says, "37577 was 30 late into Yarmouth at 15.25, then 25 late arriving at Lowestoft before departing westbound again at 16.08 (13 late)". 
36180 remains in use and today did its favourite turn again, K15. 37566 had a nox fault while working K1, so it was replaced by freshly serviced 37567 for the 15.15 to Peterborough. 37567 had already been used earlier when it did the first stage of K5 to Peterborough before being replaced by 37157 for the 10.32 to Lowestoft. 37576 arrived back at King's Lynn following accident damage repairs today.
32210 & 32211 did an identical move to yesterday involving the X2 and Service 1 reports Malcolm.

Wednesday February 22nd

Services from the east are due to pass the King's Lynn Southgates inbound at 02 and 32 minutes past the hour. A survey today saw the following
Y9 37563 09.38 -6
L10 37160 10.05 -2
L11 37158 10.44 -12
L12 37565 11.04 -2
Y13 37574 11.37 -5
K14 37578 12.01 +1
K15 37569 12.34 -2
K16 37571 13.07 -5
K17 37579 13.32 RT
K18 37157 14.02 RT
K19 37577 14.32 RT
K1 37564 15.03 -1
K2 37575 15.33 -1

All in all, not a bad day for punctuality and the Wisbech Lynn Road lights were removed too. Two eastbound changes of vehicle occurred with Y9 12.32 to Lowestoft leaving with 37566 having replaced 37563 for some reason then a similar thing happened at 14.32 with Y13 changing 37574 for 37573, though this was a scheduled maintenance swap. . For the record, the services not listed above had : K3 36180, K4 37572, K5 37568, Y6 37567 and L8 37570. 37576 did not re-enter service today as it required a safety service before use.

Thursday 23rd February

Today was quite Spring like with the temperatures in the high teens. 37573 is seen passing Walton Highway on K17 13.45 King's Lynn to Peterborough.
Signs of change today. 36180 was washed and cleaned before departing for Norwich empty at 10.10, its loan spell having finished. It has to be said that it was sent back in much cleaner condition than when it arrived !
37576 returned to traffic working K4, while 37568 had some compressor work carried out at Vancouver Avenue and 37577 was also spare here for servicing. Everything on the X1 seemed to behave with no known swaps for a change. There were some morning delays, but by this afternoon things had settled down. K3 with 37569 was seen passing the Southgates inbound at 09.31 (about 12 late) but thanks to a smart turn round, was back out again on the 09.32 ex bus station to Lowestoft at 09.43 (only 6 late). Malcolm saw 32652 arriving in Lowestoft 18 late on the 08.40 X2 from Norwich and it then departed 15 late on the 10.08 return. 

Friday 24th February
King's Lynn garage boss Richard Tucker kindly sent in this picture of the 'new' 37156 for us. Yes I did manage to download it from my mobile this time !
No doubt about the big news today. 37156 returned to King's Lynn this afternoon following completion of its accident repairs sustained last November. It has been completely repainted in Excel livery like the B9s, so is looking very smart. It will  not be back in service for about a further week though, as it needs to undergo an MOT.

The return of 37156 brings the X1 fleet back to full strength. Today there was a single bus swap when 37573 was unable to restart at Wisbech at 09.00 on K3 and it was changed for 37579 for the 09.32 Lynn to Lowestoft. Timekeeping was pretty good considering today was a Friday.
37157 on K18 this afternoon being chased by the Norfolk Green 46 at Walpole Highway.

Saturday 25th February

Well well well. You only have to mention the words X1 fleet back to full strength and what happens ? Yes a coach comes out ! Not that the operators can be too unhappy I would have thought, after all running 124 turns this week and only one not being a Gemini must be considered a success.
L12 was the turn covered by 20115 today after 37567 was unable to perform. This is quite a convenient turn when a coach has to be used as the Saturday diagram for L12 covers 07.55 Lowestoft - Peterborough, 12.35 return and then the 17.25 Lowestoft - Yarmouth. This was the first time a coach has penetrated west of King's Lynn on an X1 since December 6th.
20115 on L12 today, Bruce looks like he is taking a photo of the back of 37570 which is going the other way on L8 !
There were other incidents today too when 37568 on K14 was taken out of service after it lost a mirror. It was seen arriving at the Southgates at 12.31 (29 late) 'not in service', but quick emergency repairs saw it continue on the delayed 12.15 to Peterborough which was back through the Southgates at 12.42 (20 late) and noted passing Bruce at 12.57 (23 late).
This evening Jamie says L10 (37574) was almost forced off the road at the Boongate exit to the A1139 while working the 21.10 ex Peterborough. The bus was able to continue after the scare.

Sunday February 26th

Another all B9 worked Sunday with no incidents reported. Many of the B9s retain the nearside adverts for 'Celebrity Big Brother' which have been in situ since the New Year and the remainder have no adverts revealing the route branding. Here are some recent offside campaigns :
37574 about to lose its ad for the movie 'This Means War' in favour of one for Milk.

.... and here is 37566 with the new milk advert

Finally 37570 photographed this evening with another movie advert 'Safehouse'.


Week Ending Sunday 19th February 2012 ~ The Big Blog

Well not such a big blog really ! There has been little of note to report, so this report is quite brief. Continuing resurfacing work both inside and outside King's Lynn garage has led to some unorthodox overnight parking of vehicles. The work is expected to last another week. It has been a desperate week for drivers at Lynn, with holidays, illness and paternity leave meaning that supervisors have had to stand in when required. The week passed with both 37576 and 37156 still out of traffic at Full Circle receiving accident repairs.

Monday 13th February

On the X2 route, Malcolm saw 32651 & 32656 in service while the standby Palatines 34155/7/8 were all at Gasworks Road garage. Only change on the X1 was 36180 being swapped for 37564 at lunchtime.

Tuesday 14th February

Chaos in Great Yarmouth today after Haven Bridge was closed from 12.50 to 16.45 after a lorry fatally hit a pedestrian and a four vehicle pile up on Breydon Bridge at 14.30 added to the congestion. Malcolm reports Y7 with 37157 running 58 minutes late and L8 with 37572 49 late, while the X2 saw 34155 arrive in Lowestoft followed a couple of minutes later by 32562, so clearly some disruption there too. Over here in the west, 37574 on K2 15.45 westbound from Lynn was 24 late at Walpole Highway. K4 and K5 swapped vehicles, beginning the day with 36180 and 37159 and tonight 37563 replaced 37577 on Y6. 37158 spent the day undergoing bodywork repairs after Saturday's minor accident.
Des says "Temporary lights have sprung up in many places this week including a single lane at East Winch caused by a water main burst last week and where there has been a distinct lack of interest since. There are also temporary lights at Tilney and another four way set at Terrington which can take an age to change".

Wednesday 15th February

The same set of vehicles on the X1 as yesterday, with 37565 on Y13 being changed for 37568 and K4 and K15 also being involved in swaps. The X2 had Presidents 32211 on the 12.08 ex Lowestoft and 32210 on the 14.38 departure. 37577 on K4 was on time from Lynn at 10.02 but 9 late departing Lowestoft on the 13.25 to Peterborough seen by Jenny. It was later changed for 37578.

Thursday 16th February

Late running was once again a theme. Des writes "36180 on K15 09.25 Lowestoft - Peterborough, on time till queueing from East Winch church to Middleton. Openreach were laying cables with timed lights. What was normally a 3 minute journey took 24 minutes. I was 19 late into Lynn and 13 late outward to Peterborough. 37160 on K18 14.15 Lynn - Peterborough was the first westbound service to run on time following removal of the Middleton lights".
Bruce reported a series of delayed buses from Peterborough : L11 with 37570 12 late, L12 37569 7 late, Y13 37574 20 late and K14 with 37566 28 late. At the Lowestoft end Malcolm saw Y6 with 37579 15 x 5 late and 37157 arriving 17 late on Y7. Y9 changed 37578 for 37565 at lunchtime.

Friday 17th February

A quieter day with all buses sticking to their turns for a change. 37159 and 37578 were the two spare buses at King's Lynn. The service degenerated this afternoon, Lance was heading east by car and became stuck in  almost 1.5 miles of queueing traffic into Thorney Toll delaying him by 20 minutes and all because someone had parked a self-drive van diagonally blocking one lane of the road. Bruce noted eastbound services as follows : Y13 with 37573 33 late, K14 37564 34 late, K15 36180 20 late, K16 37574 16 late, K17 37570 22 late then a long gap until K18 with 37575 went past at 17.16, 41 minutes late. Later I saw 37563 on Nar Ouse Way working Y6 17.45 Lynn to Peterborough at 18.08, so about 13 late.
X2s seen by Malcolm today included 32211 on the 12.08 and 34156 on the 12.38 departures to Norwich, while arriving in Lowestoft was 32654 on the 11.40 from the city.

Saturday 18th February

Not much of note today. I saw K14 13.35 ex Peterborough 10 late at Walpole with 37572, but K18 coming the other way was at least 20 late so I missed it (37158 apparently).
Peterborough bus station has resumed normal working at last, but Yarmouth's Haven Bridge is now closed at weekends which is unusual.

Sunday 19th February

37563/4/7/8, 37571/2/4/7/8/9 were the ten vehicles involved today with no reported incidents. Thanks to Cheryl, Bruce, Malcolm and Des amongst others for keeping me informed this week.


Wednesday February 8th - Sunday February 12th 2012 ~ Maps Maps Maps !

Another summary of events. My Mum has been in hospital for a month, was released on Friday and I'm now a full time carer until she recovers. Bruce has been great at documenting goings on as usual.

Wednesday February 8th.

As I have frequently mentioned, breakdowns are extremely rare on the X1, so to get two on the same day was very bad fortune. 37569 working K16 was in trouble in Norwich at 08.00 with a burst hose and fitters had to attend. It was Ok to do the return 09.55 ex Lowestoft, but I suspect this started at Norwich. 37569 made a visit into Vancouver Avenue just after departure on the 13.15 King's Lynn to Peterborough just to check that all was now satisfactory. 37575 was the other B9 which was ailing. It managed to reach the Pullover Roundabout beyond the Ouse bridge, but could then proceed at no more than 15mph while on K14 12.15 King's Lynn - Peterborough. The service is believed to have then been cancelled as it was not seen in either direction  by Bruce and then 575 went briefly to V.A. before being despatched to Volvo at Norwich for examination. This was quite a lightning visit and it was back at King's Lynn by 20.00 having in the process become embroiled in some A47 chaos. An accident at Honingham saw the road closed from just before 17.00 bringing long tailbacks and diversions via less than satisfactory roads.

37574 was free off servicing to take K14 15.02 King's Lynn to Lowestoft. Just as well, as this then left nothing spare at all, 37576 being at Full Circle and 37159 stopped for MOT work.
At least the X2 appeared to be functioning normally with Malcolm viewing 32651 departing 12 late on the 14.38 to Norwich and he also saw 32654/5 in action.
Des writes, "The A47 was shut following an accident between Honingham and the Easton roundabout from around 16.50 until 20.30. I must have been very lucky to miss the congestion as with 37579 on Y7 14.55 ex Lowestoft. We were at Easton at 16.43 and Hockering at 16.49. When exiting Hockering village westbound, the bus has to find a path across the A47 while traffic is very busy in both directions. This manouevre can take from eight to ten minutes at times, so I thought it was odd that there was nothing coming westbound out of Norwich on this occasion and also that not a single vehicle overtook me between Hockering and Dereham. Some services were caught up in the queues, but soon as Lynn control were aware, following buses took a diversion via the Watton road. Further east the Service 1 journeys from Yarmouth to Lowestoft were covered by local drivers and some Lynn drivers had their meal breaks in Yarmouth. Incidentally taking 37563 on K4 19.35 Lynn to Lowestoft this evening, I found that it has not been altered to carry the amended destination 'X1 Great Yarmouth for 1 Gorleston' and similar".

Thursday February 9th

No less than nine X1 vehicles were involved in changes of diagram today. This was mainly to fit in servicing requirements and included K17 having 37577 taken off at 13.45 and its replacement being 37159 fresh off a morning MOT. Des says "Driving 37574 on L11 16.55 ex Lowestoft, we were on time until queueing traffic at the Norwich Southern Bypass following an RTA on the A147 Martineau Lane, traffic being single filed along the A146 Barrett Road. I pulled off the bypass, but rejoined the A47 when I saw the queue and proceeded into the City by the A140. I arrived 5 minutes late to find 37564 on L10 just finished loading and departing via the uphill exit where a queue of buses were already waiting at the lights. I left via the bottom exit and St. Stephens Street, noting 37564 leaving the bus station as I entered Newmarket Road. I waited at Easton to tell the driver that we would swap buses and passengers bound for Lynn and beyond. he then took 37574 light to Lynn and I took 37564 via the correct route.
 On arrival at Lynn I discovered two Eastern European ladies upstairs who wanted to travel to Wisbech - they spoke little English and therefore had to wait for L12 20.50 departure. This was 15 late into Lynn. My return run was not without incident, 37563 on L8 21.35 Lynn to Lowestoft was on time until a diversion in Yarmouth where Haven bridge was closed, making us 5 late".

Richard thinks that 37156 may be back towards the end of next week if all goes according to plan. It would seem that 36180 will then return to its normal duties in Norwich, although the accident damage to 37576 may possibly see the visitors stay extended.
A further fall of snow this evening left roads in the west hazardous for a time. The second phase of alterations at Peterborough bus station began today with X1 services now departing from Ackland Street Coach Park (next to The Brewery Tap) until 18.00 and from Queensgate Bay 4 therafter. Inward services will be dropping off at Bay 10.
Today's EDP carried an article marking the agreement between First and the newspaper to give money donated for the EDPs on board the X1 to good causes. Rosemary Parry and Richard Tucker from King's Lynn were seen alongside 37577 :
Cutting courtesy of EDP.

Friday February 10th

Two maintenance swaps today involved successive lunchtime departures from King's Lynn to Peterborough. K16 in at 13.07 with 37568 for 37571 forward westbound at 13.15 and then K17 half an hour later with 37569 being replaced by 37567.  Timekeeping was fair for a Friday. Malcolm saw turns 6,7,17 & 18 all roughly on time. Des was involved in an incident while driving 37158 on L11. he says "I had completed my reverse out of Lowestoft  Bay 5 at 16.55, the handbrake was on and I was about to put into forward gear when the Anglian Bus on bay 7 started reversing and reversed into the offside, just behind the front wheel. Particulars were exchanged and I photographed the scene and the damage with my company disposable camera. The damage not being severe, I continued the journey running 10 late throughout".

Saturday February 11th
Why do they do that ? Probably today because the motorist didn't want to freeze ! 37569 comes across a badly parked car at Terrington St John this afternoon while working K1 15.15 Lynn to Peterborough in temperatures of minus 7 '
Excessively low temperatures overnight resulted in the mercury reading -13.6 at Walpole at 06.00 this morning. Even by afternoon, services were battling through still with a very low daytime figure of minus 7'.
37157 which had been about the best X1 bus for warming its passengers, was ironically off the road first thing with .... a heating problem ! Nevertheless K5 which went to Peterborough with 37568 was swapped at 10.32 for a repaired 37157.  Another bus which just worked Lynn - Peterborough and back was 37579 on K1 with 37569 working forward at 0832 to Lowestoft. I was very impressed that services ran almost faultlessly on such a freezing day.

Sunday February 12th
The wintry scene at Gasworks Road, Lowestoft captured for us by Richard Alger today.

37567 makes its get away from Lowestoft on time at 09.48. All washers were (not surprisingly) completely frozen up today. Photo : R. Alger
Unusually Yarmouth despatched 37160 on Y7 this morning, this is the first westbound service at 07.30 from the resort. Not sure why 37565 wasn't used as expected, but with very low overnight temperatures in the region of minus 10' this time, may be the good heating on 37160 was considered preferable. This evening 37160 was seen on Nar Ouse Way running 20 late as the 19.50 King's Lynn to Peterborough, it having had to visit Vancouver Avenue for a fuel top up.


Saturday February 4th - Tuesday February 7th 2012 ~ Colder & Colder

Saturday 4th February

Wintry weather has so far not been an issue this year, but this evening it began snowing at the west end of the route around 18.30. Conditions rapidly worsened as the snow fell and by 23.00 driving was very difficult. Y6 19.10 Peterborough - Lowestoft with 37577 was seen battling against the blizzard at Tilney this evening running about 13 minutes late. K15 had 37574 which was in trouble again with its recurring Adblue problem and arrangements were already in hand at 20.00 for the 21.50 King's Lynn to Peterborough to be 37572 in its place. Servicing and repairs to 37571 continued at King's Lynn today and 37159 was stopped for its MOT prep. It is confirmed that 37576 has joined the other accident victim 37156 at the Full Circle workshops. 36180 was used on K17 today.

Sunday 5th February

The region woke up this morning to up to 6 inches of snowfall. Drifting had occurred in places and the routes through Toftwood and Narborough were particularly difficult to negotiate. Nevertheless, the X1 seemed to continue in almost normal fashion with all services seen being pretty close to time. We do have some pictures from today from Des and myself :
Brrrrrrrr........ 37573 awaits departure from Caister Road garage

Just to prove it really was cold !

As Des puts it "Two old ladies I saw in Lowestoft".
37573 at the Southgates changeover stop.
Piles of snow at Walpole being passed by 37577 on the 09.48 from Lowestoft, running within a couple of minutes of time.
37573 returns eastbound through Walpole Highway just 8 minutes late. 

Monday 6th February

Surprisingly temperatures remained slightly above freezing overnight, so a slight thaw of lying snow continued today. At some point 37564 & 37157 swapped turns on L10 & L11 today, this meant 37157 ending up on L10 and it had to be refuelled to cover the additional mileage. In the morning, Bruce didn't see 37157 in either direction, so whether it worked through to Peterborough is debatable. The afternoon saw King's Lynn a driver short to take Y13 14.32 to Lowestoft. Instead, 37158 was garaged and a Yarmouth driver sent out to Swaffham with 20115 to resume the turn there at 15.04 to Lowestoft. Thanks to Julian for the sighting. The coach returned on Y13 as far as Norwich, but the service was cancelled here and 37564 was used to work the 21.50 King's Lynn to Peterborough, leaving the Norwich to Lynn section as 'lost mileage'. 37571 was used on a test run this morning and 37574 on K5 was still having adblue problems. 37578 on L12 11.15 Lynn to Peterborough also required a visit to Vancouver Avenue before proceeding westbound. Malcolm reports 36180 leaving Lowestoft 10 late on Y7 this afternoon.

Tuesday 7th February

The cold snap intensified this evening and by 20.00 the temperature was already minus 5'c, however this was shortlived and through the night it stabilised at around freezing point. At least everything behaved on the X1 with the only spare bus, 37574 having its problems diagnosed, a nox sender fault being the technical term. Many services ran around 10 minutes late this morning including L8 which unusually had B7 37160. 37578 was seen 8 late on K2 07.35 ex Peterborough with a bold new advert proclaiming 'This Means War' - a new film and nothing to do with Konectbus !


Tuesday 31st January - Friday February 3rd 2012 ~ Well Run

An accident, a coach and a few Gemini problems. It's been a reasonably eventful week, but those in charge coped admirably.

Tuesday January 31st

37577 was kept off the road with its interlock switch needing attention. It was out this evening though after 37574 came limping through the Southgates about 10 minutes late on Y6 19.10 from Peterborough. 574 had an adblue fault so it retired to the garage. 37563 and 37159 had safety services and were then spare. Timekeeping was good today.

Wednesday February 1st

After yesterday's problem, 37574 was investigated at King's Lynn today. 37575 joined it off the road as this one has had been cutting out intermittantly. K17 was in trouble today when 37576 was in a collision involving a lorry in Great Yarmouth. The bus was taken out of traffic and K17 continued with coach 20126 as the 10.25 from Lowestoft, believed to have started at Yarmouth. At King's Lynn it was hastily removed and replaced by 37563. The coach then went back light to the Norfolk Showground at Costessey where it swapped drivers with 37576 which was then driven back to Lynn for examination.
Two Presidents were noted on the X2 by Malcolm, 32210 was working the 13.40 from Norwich and earlier 32211 was on the 09.40 from the city.

Thursday February 2nd

There was no sign of 37576 at Lynn today, so I am assuming it may have gone away for repairs to its accident damage. Remedial work to 37575 continued and amongst other work, it had its tank flushed out. 37565 had a service and some outstanding repair work completed today. Fortunately all the other Geminis behaved and punctuality was good.

Friday February 3rd

The work on 37575 appeared to have been completed this evening, but still no sign of 37576. K17 changed 37571 for 37565 at some point today. 36180 did K15 every day this week apart from Wednesday when it did K5 after servicing. 40 copies of the EDP are being issued to morning buses apart from 36180 which does not have the necessary holder fitted.