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Seat of Learning !

Both Jason and Ryan have picked me up on my last post , Jason says "Actually Gerard, the idea of leather seats on the Geminis is a nice one, but at the moment it is just the driver's seats which are being replaced - the poor travellers will have to wait a bit longer I'm afraid" - he adds, "They are none too popular at the moment either because adjusting the height can involve quite a bit of winding !".
You see, that's what going on holiday does for you ! I daresay the driver's seats are well worn if the passenger seating is anything to go by.
I'll now point you in the direction of another blog which I find quite amusing and one which has caught the eye of the press recently :


X1 Blog Revived ! - A Quick Look At 13th - 26th August 2012

There you are I told you I hadn't given up blogging, everyone has to have a holiday you know ! Let's get on without delay and look back at the last couple of weeks.
 We start on Monday 13th and by all accounts a normal day with the bulk of services running smoothly until the evening. B7 worked services were the main offenders during the day. 37157 was working L10-XL16 and was 7 late into Lynn, 12 late from Wisbech and 17 late returning from Peterborough as the 11.35 to Lowestoft. 37568 on K14-XL01 ran a little late as did 37156 on K18-XL05 and 37160 on K3-XL09, but it was the evening services which, unusually ran late. L8-XL14 with 37578 passed Walpole 19 late westbound, L10-XL16 was 25 late (maybe a reaction to its earlier delay) and then 22 late back into Wisbech to work the delayed 22.00 to Lynn. By the time the last westbound service ran with 37573 things had returned to normal. Over at Lowestoft, Palatines were still in evidence with 34155 working the 10.38 X2 to Norwich and 34158 on the 10.10 to Martham.
37156 still looking very smart passes Walpole at 12.15 on Y9-XL15 11.05 from Peterborough.
Tuesday 14th saw 37566 sidelined with a data link fault. An accident on The Causeway at Thorney mid morning saw minor delays and then Y9-XL15 with 37156 (above) was delayed by a walking funeral cortege in Thorney but only by 11 minutes. In the afternoon traffic must have been lighter as K17-XL04 with 37565 went west from Wisbech 9 late, but only 4 late coming back and likewise and notably for a B7, 37158 on K18-XL05 was 11 x 4 late, somehow regaining 7 minutes. Peter writes "On 37159 on the 18.40 ex rail station - a very noisy bus and this is one of the slow ones isn't it ?". Poor old B7s, they do their best !

Wednesday saw a 'first' for the year. The two services due past me at 09.20 both breezed through half a minute early, passing each other in the process, 37578 on K4-XL10 and 37574 on Y7-XL13 being the buses. Only L11-XL17 and Y13-XL19 were slightly late today on the western section, but it was a different story at Lowestoft.37159 on K18-XL05 arrived 10 late and left just 4 minutes behind time, then K5-XL11 with 37563 arrived 28 late and left 19 late westbound. Y6-XL12 with 37573 was also seen coming in 16 late and leaving -6 . These latter delays can be attributed to traffic light replacement in Yarmouth which reduced the A47 to one lane and the Filby/Fleggburgh road being closed bringing long queues on the Acle Straight. Somehow 37156 on K3-XL09 and 37578 on K4-XL10 became entwined and ended up on each others turns this evening.
It looks as though we may get leather seats on our Geminis after all as a stock has arrived (left) . It is believed that 37565 may be the first of our buses to receive some. 

On Thursday 16th timekeeping was mainly good, 37568 on L11-XL17 ran late all day being 12 late both ways in the morning and 10 late into Lynn this evening. The B7s had a good day with 37158 on K16-XL03 being a minute early past me at 13.49 and 37159 on Y13-XL19 being 8 late into Lynn but on time returning through Wisbech from Peterborough. 37572 was on time on K4-XL10 departing from Lynn to Lowestoft at 10.02 but was 24 late at the Southgates coming back at 16.55.

For a Friday, 17th began well but after L12-XL18 with 37579 had lost 16 minutes by arrival at Lynn from Lowestoft, things went downhill. It was then 27 late departing on the 13.26 Wisbech - Lowestoft and Y13-XL19 was only a few minutes behind. K14-XL01 due to depart eastbound from here at 14.26 was 25 late and K15-XL02 following 22 late. After this services were soon back on track. Lowestoft arrivals seemed to be back to normal with just Y6-XL12 (37563) arriving 13 late.
37577 in Acle on Saturday 18th working K14-XL01 08.55 Lowestoft - Peterborough. Photo : David Hodkinson
The usual ten minute delays were evident on Saturday 18th due to heavy loadings, strangest sight was 37159 on L11-XL17 arriving at the Southgates from the South Lynn direction 31 late at 13.51, presumably to avoid congestion on the A47 Lynn Bypass. 37567 also lost time on Y6-XL12 11.02 Lynn - Lowestoft, seen leaving 20 late and being 26 late from Yarmouth.

Malcolm sent me a report of Sunday sightings at Lowestoft. Only X1 delayed was 37571 on K6 which then works on Service 1 before garaging at Yarmouth, it came in 13 late. This may have been down to all X1 Geminis being used with new ticket machines from today : above are the old and new varieties.

Whilst away in Yorkshire, Bruce sent in a detailed report for Monday 20th. Services ran a few minutes behind time in general but only K14-XL01 with 37159 was notably late, 18 late westbound and 28 late going back east. 37578 on Y7-XL13 was delayed in Norwich due to congestion from Konekt and National Express vehicles, arrival in Lynn was 13 late. Cheryl says 37571 on Y6-XL12 this morning with a new ticket machine", so confirmation there. Tuesday & Wednesday passed without incident,  On Thursday 23rd 37564 returned to traffic after attention to its back axle. Peter says " I arrived at Pboro station at 1506 today (from St Neots) and rushed over to the bus station to catch up with the 1505 X1 only to find 37564 arriving at 1515 (nearly 20 late) on the 1418 ex Wisbech. The driver dropped off and picked up at stand 17 and then returned me to the rail station en route to Lowestoft. Back on time into Wisbech though". At least this proves that drivers don't ignore the rail station if running late Peter. Earlier L10  with 37159 10.48 Wisbech - Peterborough had departed at 11.04 and later I went to meet a friend off K1 16.35 Peterborough - Yarmouth which arrived 26 late with 37578. Again my friend was waiting off a train  and thought the 16.35 had omitted the rail station, only for it to arrive 25 late. Thursday also saw 37158 depart 32 late from Yarmouth on the 15.00 to Lowestoft (Y9-XL15) , but was only 21 late arriving at its destination. 37160 was another B7 affected by the congestion, working L11-XL17 it was 20 late leaving Lowestoft on the 16.55 departure and this had grown to half an hour by Acle, eventual arrival in Lynn was at 20.26.

So to Friday 24th which being the opening of the August Bank Holiday weekend is notorious for heavy delays. I can recommend the Woolpack at Terrington St. John for lunch after its refit and change of ownership. It also gives a very good view of the buses passing through the village if you sit in what my friends call Gerard's seat ! On arrival we saw L10-XL16 with 37565 passing 19 late and shortly afterwards K14-XL01 went by eastbound with 37573 running 28 minutes late. At least when X1s are this late passengers usually think they are running a couple of minutes early ! The next pair of services to appear were K15-XL02 with 37577 24 late and then L11-XL17 with 37157 27 late. the latter was followed very closely by 37568 almost on time on L12-XL18. The last bus seen was K16-XL03 with 37159 26 late. This was then seen by Bruce heading back to the coast at 16.08, 33 late. With services now running into Friday Standard Time, K14-XL01 left Lynn Southgates for Lowestoft at 15.48 (41 late) and Lynn then inserted 37564 onto K15-XL02 and that followed eastbound at 15.53. The original K15-XL02 with 37577 arrived here at 15.56 (47 late). Peter Barclay had taken this from Peterborough to Wisbech and commented to me that it was only a few minutes late (thinking it was K16-XL03). Sorry Calvin, I had to tell him the truth ! K17-XL04 with 37570 was just 14 late heading east past Bruce, but 37160 on K18-XL05 had been delayed by the general mayhem as well as more than its fair share of tractors and combines, it was 43 late leaving Lynn bus station on the 17.02 to Yarmouth. K4-XL10 16.45 Lynn - Peterborough with 37576 passed me running 28 late. After K19-XL06 eastbound services began to get back to timetable. Later, Peter went back on L10-XL16 with 37156 which had earlier been on Y9-XL15.
37575 departs King's Lynn at 17.56 this evening on K19-XL06 17.32 to Lowestoft
Just 5 minutes later 37567 departs on K1-XL07 which with no passengers terminated at Vancouver Avenue. The driver taking over from Karen  F had only just arrived on K18-XL05 and needed to have a break before taking the bus on to Yarmouth.
Saturday saw a day out for me to the Peterborough Beer Festival. 37573 on L9-XL15 was the chosen service. Due to depart from Wisbech at 10.18 we were 9 late leaving. Our driver, Trevor, made heroic efforts to regain time and just when we thought we were winning we rejoined the A47 west of Thorney to find ourselves in a huge queue following a six vehicle shunt on the eastbound carriageway. Progress was slow with police controlling traffic and the section from Thorney roundabout to Eye Green took us 17 minutes. This also explained by Y7-XL13 going east with 37576 was 15 late at Thorney Toll. Our arrival in Peterborough was around 25 late. Later we returned on L8-XL14 20.10 Peterborough - Lowestoft again with Trevor as chauffeur, this time with 37578. The journey home was very good and punctual and there was a display of lightning to be seen across the Fens. Now I have to confess that most of what else happened on Saturday is unknown to me, due to being otherwise engaged.
So to almost catch up, a look at Sunday 26th and the only unusual thing was 37566 on K5 which for some reason was 32 late arriving in Lowestoft.
Oh and just before I finish this mega blog, here's another contribution from Victor M - yes the miserable old blighter is still about, so I hope he doesn't get on your bus !

Dear Mr Fletcher

While you've been swanning off on holiday again, I have been sorting out one or two X1 problems for you.

I was planning a journey from Wisbech to Crewe (one-way perhaps? - Ed) on Sunday 26th August, back on Monday 27th using the normally excellent National Rail Enquiries Journey Planner website. When I was given a half-hourly return service on the Monday, I thought it was odd as I was sure that the X1 operated an hourly Sunday service on Bank Holiday Monday.

So I checked with the First Group website and as usual I was correct, so I fired off a very polite email to NRES informing them of their mistake. One of their customer service advisors promptly informed me:

"I have checked and we haven’t received any notification about engineering works affecting the journey between Peterborough and Wisbech. We receive updates from the train company operating services on a particular route. The operator for this route is East Coast, I suggest you contact them regarding the same."

Can you imagine my reaction when I received this reply??? (unfortunately, yes, I probably can - Ed). Engineering works on a bus route indeed! And suggesting that it's up to ME to contact another company about incorrect information on THEIR website.

So I fired off a very strongly worded email to ATOC, and received a very polite reply from their Chief Executive, Chris Scoggins, apologising profusely for the original reply I received and thanking me for the information I had provided. They have promised to update their website and as you can guess, I will be keeping my eye on them next time there's a Bank Holiday.... just in case there's any more "engineering works" on the A47 - lol

Now, that reminds me, despite a nice man from Peterborough City Council promising to provide X1 information at Peterborough railway station bus stop (see previous X1 blog) there was nothing at all there when I passed though yesterday. Can't stop - I've another email to send!

Victor Meldrew

Oh Dear, what can you say to that ? Thanks very much to Bruce, Cheryl, Des, Malcolm and Peter R for keeping me informed of things and to all the others who have helped.  Hopefully subsequent blog entries will be a little more frequent. Regards to you all, Gerard.


Update August 23rd 2012

I am sorry about the lack of updates, Dave H says "Have you given up on the X1 blog, it hasn't been updated for ages ?". Simple fact is I've been on holiday Dave, mind you my trusty band of followers have been keeping me informed. There will be a full update very shortly with all the latest including new ticket machines and news on leather seats !


Monday August 6th 2012 - Sunday August 12th 2012 ~ X1 Fans

Once again, the B7 Geminis are working hard, very hard and the fans they are a screaming. 37157/8/9 were all making a racket this week, but at least the B9s are exempt.
37564 was diagnosed with a back axle defect on Monday which ruled it out for the rest of the week. I think only two B9s have had axle problems since they were introduced here, but this is the third time 564 has been affected. Mainly a punctuality report this week :
Monday was a quiet day and timekeeping was good. K3-XL09 with 37157 was seen leaving the Southgates for Lowestoft after a driver change at 09.40 on the 09.32 departure from the bus station. Only minor delay was to Y7-XL13 which lost time and 37577 was a minute late westbound and 9 late returning to Lowestoft.
Tuesday and 37573 on K5-XL11 motored past my window at 09.49, a minute early from Peterborough which is highly unusual. For the second day running Y7-XL13 lost time, 37570 was 13 late past Bruce going east at 11.18.
L8-XL14 was on time, but 37158 on Y9-XL15 was 10 late. K15-XL02 was 11 late in both directions with 37574.
Delays on Wednesday were few, Y7-XL13 was again the first service affected on the western section. 37566 this time was 8 late at Walpole going east and likewise leaving the Southgates for Lowestoft. L11-XL17 with 37160 was 14 late eastbound from Wisbech on the 12.56 departure. K17-XL04 with 37577 came in from Lowestoft to Lynn 10 late followed by K18-XL05 and 37157 18 late. 157 then made up time being 13 late from Wisbech to Peterborough and only 6 late returning which was commendable. Although K19-XL06 with 37570 ran to time, K1-XL07 with 37572 left Wisbech 18 late on the 15.48 to Peterborough. Des was back from his Olympic duties today.
On Thursday, Y7-XL13 made a bad start and was 9 late at Walpole westbound (37158) and L8-XL14 (37563)  was on time with the 09.15 King's Lynn -Peterborough but was 14 late returning. This was as bad as it got though and the remainder of the day ran well. Bumped into Des tonight, he had brought 37571 into Lynn on L11-XL17, his report : departed Yarmouth 14 late then queueing traffic due to Yarmouth Races so 21 late at Acle and 16 late into Lynn.
Friday began with a three vehicle crash near Swaffham before 08.00. Westbound services were caught up in the aftermath. Peter was waiting for Y6-XL12 08.48 Wisbech - Peterborough which failed to run and 37579 was the next bus along on Y7-XL13, this had been sent out from Lynn when the stranded services didn't arrive on time. Next along westbound was 37575 on L8-XL14 which was empty passing Walpole. This had arrived in Lynn on the original Y6-XL12.To get things back on track, Y6-XL12 and Y7-XL13 restarted from Lynn eastbound at 11.02 & 11.32 respectively with 37574 & 37156 and services then dropped down a turn. 37579 became L8-XL14 and Y9-XL15 ran forward with 37575. It was not until the 13.15 departure from Lynn to Peterborough (K16-XL03) with 37567 that the incoming bus ran throughout. there were further swaps throughout the day and traffic was in chaos around King's Lynn at various times. An accident near Hardwick roundabout and Sandringham Flower Show traffic compounded the situation. In the afternoon there was a 69 minute gap in the service before K4-XL10 and 37568 passed Walpole to Peterborough at 17.20, itself 16 late.
Des says 'GFT' today (general Friday time), with 37570 on L11-XL17 and worse than yesterday by some margin, 27 late from Yarmouth, 40 late at Acle and into Lynn at 20.30, 31 late ! Filby Road at Acle was closed due to an accident this afternoon and all traffic was using the A47, hence more congestion.

37575 heads westbound at Walpole Highway on K19 -XL06 on Saturday afternoon.

Not quite sure what happened on Saturday morning, but while waiting at Walpole for the 09.06 to King's Lynn, I saw Y7-XL13 09.03 to Peterborough pass through a minute late with 37571. I later found out that this was Y6-XL12 running 31 late. No other services seemed to be affected, so may be this was an isolated delay.
Sunday saw more late running with services in the middle of the day arriving into Lynn from the coast up to 15 minutes late, due to the closure of Station Road in Dereham and consequent diversions.


Guest Blog : Now It's All Over - Your Olympic Blog

Games - Time Travel - By Des Speed

Ever since seeing the logo, I thought that someone, early on in the planning stages of the Olympics 2012, had mistyped the hyphen in the wrong place. Should it really read Games Time - Travel ?

In February 2010 Firstgroup was the preferred bidder for a wide-ranging spectator contract by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) for the 2012 Games. The contract involved the supply of almost 900 buses. About 500 of those were to be used to ferry spectators between venues across the Olympic sites. On top of this, some 90 buses and coaches were to take spectators from parking areas around the M25 to the venues. First was also charged with contracting some 300 buses from local providers to run express services from around the UK into the Olympic sites.
All Firstgroup staff were invited to apply for various positions within the proposed structure. I applied and was successful in applying to be a driver. I was allocated to work in Weymouth and Portland to drive Park & Ride buses for spectators to the Olympic sailing events. After special training sessions and accreditation by the Olympic Delivery Authority I was ready to ‘Live The Dream’.
FGT staff were accommodated in the Weymouth, Poole & Bournemouth area, with shuttle coaches provided to take staff to and from their accommodation.

First Games Transport (FGT) was the company that would deliver the Olympic Contract.

The Weymouth operation consisted of three park & ride sites, Mount Pleasant, Monkey’s Jump and Kingston Maurward all feeding into the Weymouth Swannery Transport Hub. First buses left the park and ride sites at 08.00 and the last buses left the Swannery Hub at 23.30.

There were three primary routes and seven diversionary routes. Nothing was going to stop FGT getting their passengers to or from the Olympic events. On road route learning, of all seven routes, was backed up by all drivers being issued a very comprehensive information handout.

All sites involved Spectator Assistants loading and unloading buses at numbered platforms.

1 - Swannery Transport Hub - All park & ride buses fed into and from the hub. Express services contracted by FGT also fed into and from the hub. All drivers would take their meal breaks at the hub.

2 - Mount Pleasant Park & Ride and FGT operating depot - Was where the buses were parked for the night. All early morning staff reported to Mount Pleasant to sign on, be allocated a bus and do the safety & security checks required before that bus was taken onto the road in service. At the end of service, all buses were returned to Mount Pleasant.

3 - Monkey’s Jump & 4 - Kingston Maurward - The main park and ride sites. Access was on a temporary track road system.

Weymouth FirstGroup Garage - Played a big part in the FGT framework. They fueled and washed all buses on a daily basis. FGT staff weren’t allowed in the Weymouth Garage. We would drive into the garage and a member of staff would take the bus from us, drive it to the fuel pump and through the wash. All members of Weymouth garage staff were really friendly and interested in what was going on ‘across the road’. One even took my camera and took a shot of a FGT bus being fueled.

Working for FGT was an amazing and satisfying experience. Organisation of the transport was flawless. All staff were friendly and helpful.
The passengers were why we were there and they responded to the transport in a very positive way. Chatting to staff, front seat passengers waving to all oncoming buses and all saying ‘thanks’ at the end of their journey.
No detail was left to chance, even our four legged friends were catered for -


Monday July 30th 2012 - Sunday August 5th 2012 ~ Olympic Duties

A few of our X1 drivers have been released for Olympic duties. Our regular correspondent Des Speed is one of them and he has been involved in the park and ride duties at Weymouth. Well it certainly makes a change from a return to Toftwood ! Why do I always want to call it Torchwood ? I don't know really.
Meanwhile back on the X1 a week of little note has passed,  although Nene Quay /South Brink in Wisbech has reopened at last, hopefully permanently this time.More of which anon.
37579 on Monday's Y13 at Norwich : Photo from Kieran Smith

Monday 30th saw 37578 off the road as work continued in preparation for its MOT. 37158 had an exam in the morning and was then used to replace 37567 on K1-XL07. Both vehicles had been required for examination by the Volvo man who was paying a visit to Lynn.
Tuesday unusually saw 37159 turned out for K2-XL08, however, it only did Lynn - Peterborough and back before being replaced by 37563. Ironically later 37563 was swapped as it required deep cleaning and a service, its replacement ? Yes 37159 again which toddled off to Lowestoft at 18.35.
L11-XL17 had a change of B9 at 13.30 with 37572 giving way to 37564. Punctuality was average today. Michael Bryant reports former X1 vehicle 34108 back in service today on  a Bernard Matthews contract, it had recently been delicensed.
No sooner had dear old 34108 returned to traffic than a dim motorist backed into her at the James Paget Hospital on Wednesday . I am told that the offender had his music system playing so loud, he failed to hear the bus driver sounding the horn !
Wednesday morning saw the surprise reopening of Nene Quay in Wisbech - the work on the flood defences which had over-run had been rescheduled for completion on 31st August, but last week's local paper carried a front page story on the negative effect the closure was having on local businesses and as a consequence, the road reopened a full month earlier than forecast. That said there is still a lane coned off leading on to the Horsefair Roundabout. It was not immediately obvious that the road had reopened and there were no signs to indicate this. It was hardly surprising then that many X1 services continued to use the diversionary route via the A1101 today.
Woohoo ! The X1 is back to normal : 37159 this morning from the office window.
 L8-XL14, normally a solid B9 turn,  was the first service I saw passing my window with 37159. It was later seen emerging from Vancouver Avenue garage at 12.14 having refuelled to enable it to complete this long diagram. Other X1s taking the reopened route were 37574 on L10-XL16 and 37571 on K17-XL04. The timetable was pretty much kept today, although 37576 on K3-XL09 was in trouble on arrival at Lowestoft and 37160 was hastily sent over from Lynn to continue the turn. 37576 was able to continue back to Lynn light for further checks. B10M coach 20102 was employed on a Bernard Matthews contract today, presumably in reaction to the damage sustained by 34108 yesterday.
By Thursday, about 50% of X1 workings were back using the correct route out of Wisbech westbound as news of the reopening began to filter through. A very noisy 37158 was on Y9-XL15 which was 7 late from Wisbech on the popular 10.18 to Peterborough and 10 late returning eastbound. Only other turn notably late was K17-XL04 with 37569, this was 11 late into Lynn from Lowestoft for the 13.45 Peterborough departure, it was then spotted by Bruce passing Walpole 8 late , but was on time coming back from Peterborough, so a good job done there. K4-XL10 had 37576 replaced by 37565 at some point today.
37573 on the 12.55 Lowestoft - Peterborough (K2) in Norwich photographed by Kieran on Friday.
On Friday all 19 turns were noted taking the booked route at Wisbech. Services ran into King's Lynn from Lowestoft up to 10 minutes late. Southgates timings showed some anomalies : 37570 on L11-XL17 arrived from the coast at 10.37 and departed for Peterborough 19 minutes later at 10.56, while Y13-XL19 with 37563 had a lightning turn around, in at 11.39 and out again at 11.51 - a mere 12 minutes. A much more stable pattern was evident with eastbound services to Lowestoft which were seen leaving the Southgates at 09.11, 09.42, 10.14, 10.41, 11.09 and 11.42.
Early afternoon saw some examples of Friday timings though, K14-XL01 13.35 from Peterborough rolled in to Wisbech at 14.42 (22 late) and while 37567 on K15-XL02 was just 2 minutes late heading west, there was then a long gap until K16-XL03 and 37157 went by 24 late at 14.14. As so often happens K17-XL04 following was almost empty and only 5 late (37577). Returning services were K15-XL02 2 late, K16-XL03 24 late and K17-XL04 3 late. The next turn was another B7, 37158 on K18-XL05 and this was 16 late.
37156 enjoyed a third day being pampered in the depths of Vancouver Avenue, which included having all its tyres changed. The other two spare buses were 37571 (scheduled safety service) and 37575 which came out this evening to take L8-XL14 18.50 Lynn - Peterborough forward, it having replaced 37564.
I had a short X1 experience on Saturday. I took Y10-XL16 from Walpole Highway to Wisbech at 10.33 with Mrs O driving 37158 - this bus needs some serious TLC. When the doors opened and closed it sounded like something was about to drop off, if it hadn't already done so and inside the downstairs saloon, the noise from the ailing fan was all consuming. The startled looks from passing pedestrians as we entered Wisbech were a little disconcerting. Despite this 158 completed its day's work without incident.
Coming back after a brief break, I took Y7-XL13 10.56 Wisbech - Lowestoft. I must say firstly that I had seen this service earlier when I had taken Mr Robinson up to Walpole Highway to catch the 09.06 to King's Lynn. Y7 due at 09.03,  took us completely by surprise when it passed through Peterborough bound with 37576 dead on time - unheard of these days as the Southgates driver change adds at least 5 minutes to the schedule.
 576 was back into Wisbech just slightly late but after loading with a full compliment of passengers, departure was 7 minutes behind schedule. Having negotiated our way out of Wisbech where we were held at every set of lights, a brisk get away from Walsoken was soon kerbed when a 15mph tractor pulled out directly in front of us at the Victoria Cafe site. We then became stuck behind the slowest piece of farm machinery imaginable with no chance of overtaking as Saturday traffic streamed past. A layby came and went with no sign of the tractor pulling over and eventually a clever bit of driving saw us get past the obstacle at Walton Highway, but not before we had lost a further couple of minutes. How frustrating it must be to the X1 drivers when this kind of thing happens. Our driver Ian then set off with a purpose before dropping me and a few other punters back at Walpole. At least 37576 was quiet and comfortable where I sat which was upstairs opposite the staircase. This was more than could be said for a rather large lady who made a beeline for the front seat at Wisbech and who then discovered its limitations for legroom !
Once again this afternoon, the only major delay noted was a B7 worked service. 37159 on K18-XL05 was almost 25 late at Terrington with 37572 just 6 minutes behind it on K19-XL06. There were no vehicle swaps today and 37156, 37564 & 37570 were the spare buses at King's Lynn. A big thank you here to Mr A Nonymous (you know who you are !) for his assistance today.
The Sunday service was as usual, entirely B9 worked and services from Lowestoft were on average about 10 minutes late arriving in King's Lynn.
Who thinks up adverts these days ? Now call me an old sceptic, (I've been called worse incidentally) but even being the Internet friendly lot we are these days, is it really worth having an ad with no phone number or exact address ? Obviously these people think so and more to the point expect you to memorise the web address whilst driving your car. All in all a confusing ad which now adorns no less than 15 of the 22 X1 vehicles.


Monday July 23rd 2012 - Sunday July 29th 2012 ~ Sunshine = Delays !

A week of better weather at last, but with more congested roads as a result. Monday began with K1-XL07 failing at  Dereham at 09.30. 37565 had a water leak and 37570 was sent from Lynn off servicing to resume the turn. The first leg to Peterborough of K5-XL11 had 37578, but serviced 37566 then took over. Later Y6-XL12 also swapped buses with 37578 replacing 37572, while K15-XL02 had 37568 replaced by 37576 after its windscreen repair. Norwich bus station reopened today after yesterday's roof repairs when X1 services used stops in St. Stephens instead.
Timekeeping was fair, but at 16.34, two Geminis were seen arriving at the Southgates from the east in convoy, one was K4-XL10 with 37563 and the other either a vehicle off a test run or a very late running K3-XL09 which was 37157.
37158  has been having problems overheating recently. Today it turned up at Lowestoft on L11-XL17 - it actually came in at 16.57 when departure is due at 16.55. Lowestoft engineers attended to try and source the overheating problem, however, on departure it became apparent that the indicators weren't working and further delay ensued while the ecu was reset. Eventual arrival into King's Lynn was 20 late. I viewed this service at Hardwick Tesco and the fan on 37158 was doing overtime and sounding very loud.
All Change ! These buses were having their advertising boards changed when seen at King's Lynn garage on Tuesday evening. Going on instead were new campaigns for BT and the film 'Ted'.

Tuesday was quite chaotic. Services from the east were running sufficiently late by 08.45 for 37563 on Y7-XL13 to be replaced by 37157 westbound from Lynn. Services then stepped up at Lynn, L8-XL14 had 37575 for 37563 (off Y7), Y9-XL15 had 37159 for 37575, L10-XL16 was 37578 for 37159, L11-XL17 37564 for 37578, L12-XL18 37160 for 37564 before Y13-XL19 continued throughout with 37573. 37579 had a faulty indicator stalk and 37160 replaced it on K1-XL07 18.02 King's Lynn - GreatYarmouth. 37565 & 37572 were under repairs/maintenance at Lynn.
Even later in the evening services were still running late, L12-XL18 (37564) had such a huge influx of daytrippers returning home from Great Yarmouth at 18.30, loading took an age and it eventually arrived at King's Lynn Southgates on the inward at 20.53, about 15 late. It had recouped a little time by Walpole where it was 12 minutes behind time. At Lowestoft, Malcolm reports 37157 arriving 11 late on Y7-XL13 - Des adds that this was 6 late into Yarmouth on the return but 'on time' by Easton - and 34155 on the 101 town service. Dart 42451 failed in the bus station "Too much sun I guess ?" surmises Malcolm !
Wednesday : A nice shot of 37568 arriving at Lowestoft on K3-XL09 today (and already displaying Peterborough in preparation for its return working). The  lovely weather is apparent, a rare commodity in 2012 ! Photo : Kieran Smith
On Wednesday, 37567 was in trouble with a broken water pump belt at Norwich at 12.30 whilst working K17-XL04 westbound, King's Lynn fitters attended and although the service didn't go through to Lynn immediately, it was seen arriving at the Southgates about 20 late at 13.51. 37575 was then provided for the 13.45 to Peterborough which was 17 late passing Bruce at Walpole Highway . 37567 later took K2-XL08 over from 37578. Sandringham Flower Show caused heavy traffic  today and there were further swaps. Y6-XL12 with 37571 ended up with 37579, I suspect at 11.02. 37571 was seen arriving at the Southgates from Peterborough at 10.59 so was only a few minutes late, but maybe control foresaw mounting delays. After this the stepping up procedure began for the second consecutive day. Y7-XL13 came in from Peterborough with 37160 and 37571 worked forward, similarly L8-XL14 changed 37566 for 37160 and Y9-XL15 37156 for 37566. L10-XL16 with 37576 went forth with 37156 and L11-XL17 worked throughout with 37569 getting things back on track. In the afternoon 37572 was seen departing Wisbech on K19-XL06 and travelling via Wisbech St. Mary, it also returned by this route, but was only slightly late. Once again heavy loadings saw L12-XL18 late this evening, it was seen entering Wisbech about 10 late for the 21.22 to Peterborough.
37575 was the subject of attention from Volvo engineers on Thursday - may be trying to get rid of those noises I was talking about recently. Punctuality was sporadic today, 37564 on Y6-XL12 the 05.50 Yarmouth - Peterborough was unusually 16 late at Walpole and was later seen departing Lynn on the 11.02 to Lowestoft 25 late. L10-XL16 with 37159 departed Lynn 10 late on the 13.02 eastbound and Y13-XL19 11.45 Lynn - Peterborough was 13 late at Walton Highway. At the eastern end, Malcolm Hicks saw 34155 arriving on the 14.40 X2 from Norwich and reports successive X1s running late, firstly 37568 11 late in on Y7-XL13 and departing 5 late, next was L8-XL14 and 37579 15 x 7 late and finally 37160 came in on Y9-XL16 also arriving 15 late. Most other services ran pretty near to time it would appear. There was another breakdown though and 37565 succumbed at Narborough with a recurrence of its water leak at 12.25 whilst working L8-XL14, it was replaced by 37579.
Friday : 37576 was captured in Acle by Grahame Bessey working the 12.57 to Peterborough (K1-XL07)

After a pretty poor week for timekeeping, Friday was probably not as bad as expected, but that said, the service was in disarray early this afternoon. Y13-XL19 with 37579 arrived in Lynn 23 late from the coast and by the time it passed Bruce heading back from Peterborough its delay had increased to 46 minutes ! K14-XL01 12.15 King's Lynn - Peterborough was 46 late going to Peterborough and 37567 on K15-XL02 was sighted by Rob Brooks running the entire length of the Wisbech bypass with a full load at about 14.00 (42 late). After this an improvement was noted with K16-XL03 (37156) 15 late westbound at Walpole, 37568 on K17-XL04 9 late and K18-XL05 with 37160 12 late. Things got back to time with 37575 on K19-XL06 and this maintained time in both directions. Tonight L10-XL16 with 37564 was 19 late on the 19.50 Lynn - Peterborough. Malcolm saw 37158 on K5-XL11 departing 16 late as the 13.55 to Peterborough. Deckers 30889 & 32655 graced the 101 town service while Palatine 34156 had a romp on the 11.38 X2 !
Saturday : Ted - the advert 1.   K2-XL08 07.35 Peterborough - Lowestoft at Walpole Highway with 37567
Saturday : Ted - the advert 2.   K3-XL09 08.05 Peterborough - Lowestoft arriving at Wisbech with 37158.

Saturday was an improvement all round and with only a single swapped bus, 37578 coming off K19-XL06 to begin its MOT prep and 37579 working forward. Noted by Malcolm were 37574 arriving 16 late into Lowestoft on K4-XL10, cut to an 8 minute defecit on departure, 37157 arriving 8 late on K5-XL11 while 37576 on Y6-XL12 was right time and 37571 on Y7-XL13 10 late. Delays were also evident at the western end. 37573 on L8-XL14 10.35 Peterborough - Lowestoft was slowed by congestion around Wisbech where it was 20 late, it eventually stopped for a driver change (mr Speed off) at the Southgates at 12.22 (approx 33 late). Des then made 37160 work hard on Y10-XL16, he departed King's Lynn 19 late and was only 6 late into Great Yarmouth, which must be a record for a B7.  Sunday services were subject to delays too. 37577 working the 15.50 King's Lynn - Peterborough was 16 late at Walton Highway despite John's best efforts.