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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.


Anonymous said...

"37578 on Y7-XL13 was delayed in Norwich due to congestion from Konekt and National Express vehicles"

I can tell you that I was there, and the x1 was very late getting in anyway, and the National Express was dropping off on Bay 2 blocking the station for further bays, as it had to get suitcases off. Konect bus just arrived and was waiting behind it. Not sure how this is their fault?!

Gerardtcc said...

I can tell you that I am merely reporting what I was told. Here is the full quote :
"Arrived Norwich 16.19, could not get onto Stand 2 (Konnect 8 on 1 and Konnect 6 on 2). We dropped off on a P&R stop, 2 cleared, We went for it only to be beaten by another Konnect bus!!. Loaded on stop 1. Departed at 16.29, 2 National Express parked on stop 3, blocking both Konnect and myself. They finally moved at 16.33 (-8 on departure)"
This means that the X1 arrived a minute early, hardly 'very late' I might give your comments more credence if you didn't hide under the 'anonymous' label, but thanks for your input anyway. G

Des Speed said...

Just to clarify the matter in question. Yes, the X1 was late away caused by congestion from both Konect Bus and National Express.
Konect has procured itself a 'presence' on stands 1 & 2 at Norwich Bus Station, much to it's advantage. Bus services to Dereham leave from stands 1 & 2, yet bus services to Wymondham & Attleborough are split between distanced stands of 2 & 5. Should all bus services to an area leave from just one stand?
Anyway, Konect on 1 & 2, I unloaded on 9. While unloading, 2 became clear. I proceeded to 2 before my 16.25 departure, to find that the 16.30 X6 had pulled onto the bay before his '5 minute' loading window of 16.25. I loaded on bay 1. National Express already had a coach parked on bay 3 and another coach came in, pulled behind the existing coach and to the offside of the Konect X6.
It was some time before the rear National Express coach pulled away. Thus causing congestion to both myself and teh 16.30 X6.