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Wednesday December 5th - Wednesday December 12th ~ While I Was Away....

Having returned from Belgium, it seems ages since the last blog, but time passes so quickly at this time of year.
Let's go to Wednesday December 5th to start. K4 (XL10) had a funny day, usually a B9 it started the day with 37159 but this got swapped at King's Lynn at 10.02 for 37156. Finally this evening 37576 off K3 (XL09) took the service forward to Great Yarmouth at 19.35. Morning timekeeping was all over the place due to delays between Wisbech and Peterborough. Lowestoft bound services noted were K3 (XL09) 12 late, K4 (XL10) 21 late and K5 (XL11) 10 late before services returned to timetable. Westbound services were OK until L10 (XL16) which turned up 29 late with 37564 following the temporary closure of Dereham Market Place, not surprisingly 37578 on L11 (XL17) following was just 9 late and by the time it returned it was on time. Later 37564 had recouped some time and was 14 late from Southgates to Lowestoft.
Y13 (XL19) was also in trouble with 37570 (left) having to make a visit to Roundtree Way depot in Norwich for cleaning after passenger illness. The driver (DS) then took the bus light to King's Lynn but heavy traffic prevented any great progress and eventually it departed the garage at 12.02 for Peterborough. the remainder of the day was thankfully uneventful.
Thursday 6th was quieter and it looks like only Y6 (XL12)  swapped vehicles, 37576 off for servicing and its replacement is believed to have been 37160. Y9 (XL15) was late departing Lowestoft tonight - due off at 15.55, it was still on the stand when 37571 left on L10 (XL16) at 16.25. The reason was an ABS sensor fault on 37158. Other X1s viewed at Lowestoft by Malcolm earlier in the day saw 37568 on K17 (XL04) arriving 14 late, K18 (XL05) with 37156 arrived 22 late and went out 19 late. Mid afternoon services were on time though.
On to Friday 7th and one of those strange changes which leaves one wondering why. K2 (XL08) with 37563 was later 37577 and Y6 (XL12) the opposite. I suspect the swap occurred due to late running, but who knows ? 37571 on K15 (XL02) encountered heavy settling snow on the 09.25 ex Lowestoft, it was 4 late from Yarmouth and 9 late at Acle. The snow then turned to rain and departure from Norwich was on time. Later Des reports K1 (XL07) with 37574 being on time eastbound from the Southgates driver change at 18.07, but around 35 passengers joined at Norwich and slow loading resulted in an 11 minute late arrival in Yarmouth.

There were several vehicle swaps on Saturday including 37574 again which started out on Y6 (XL12) and finished up on L8 (XL14). Sunday was the day when 37574 played up though - it has been a little unreliable of late. This time Des was driving it on XL09 07.08 James Paget Hospital to Peterborough when a 'check transmission' warning activated and speed was reduced to 45mph and even less on any gradient. A replacement in the form of 37159 was ready to work forward from King's Lynn to Peterborough at 11.50.This was not the only B7 out however and for the first time since August Bank Holiday Monday 2011, King's Lynn let a B7 loose on the Sunday service. The omens were not good though and whilst working the 10.10 Peterborough - Lowestoft it attempted to overtake a Range Rover doing 30mph (well even a B7 can do 49mph !) on the dual carriageway section between Walpole Highway and Terrington . The driver of the 4x4 then took leave of his senses and deliberately veered into the path of 157 causing an impact and forcing the driver onto the hard shoulder. Eventually thanks to the bus drivers cool head, the bus was able to rejoin the main carriageway. It is refreshing that some upstairs passengers came down to check that the driver was OK having witnessed the irresponsible actions of the other driver. The central reservation still bears the scars where the X1 was forced off the road. Fortunately the bus was able to continue despite the superficial panel damage.

Slow motorists are nothing new in the Fens. Here 34825 on its last ever run on the X1 takes on a car on the old A47 between Walpole Highway and Terrington. January 6th 2005.

 Meanwhile I had a pleasant journey back from Peterborough rail station with 37564, only marred by a vociferous professional drinker  with a mobile phone - thankfully he eventually ran out of credit, but not before he had regailed us with tales of his bawdy exploits. In view of the fact that everyone must know how to text, can we consider banning the use of mobiles on board for calls ? This sort of behaviour doesn't encourage travellers to repeat the experience.

The new week started on 10th then with 37574 off the road with a gearbox problem, 37578 with an engine fault and 37569 with an adblu fault. This meant servicing commitments had to be juggled and 37570 was done first thing to enable it to operate K5 (XL11), while 37566 had to work K3 (XL09) and then be positioned for its maintenance. Fortunately, everything else was on best behaviour. L10 (XL16) was viewed heading for King's Lynn at 22.20 with 37156 in darkness, so presumably minus any passengers. On the X2, 32654 returned to service in the new First livery.

I was back at work on Tuesday when I saw all 19 turns and most ran to time - once again L11 (XL17) was late with 37159 14 down departing Wisbech  for Peterborough and K16 (XL03) 13.48 to Peterborough with 37573 was also 14 late. 37578 was tried out on K2 (XL08) but didn't complete the turn and 37577 off Y7 (XL13) worked back to Lowestoft at 18.35. I took a friend to catch the 08.03 from Walpole Highway to Peterborough this morning (K5 - XL11) and 37572 arrived bang on time but with its destination display having reverted to the standard style instead. One of those incidents which you always expect to happen, but which in fact very rarely does, occurred this morning when Cheryl texted to say that Y6 (XL12) 08.48 Wisbech - Peterborough and K3 (XL09) 08.56 Wisbech - Lowestoft both arrived in the bus station proclaiming Peterborough on the front. This was soon rectified and 37156 was seen departing correctly displaying Lowestoft. One item of note today was noisy 37160 performing on Y9 (XL15) - it was 6 late goimg west but came back slightly early - definitely a red letter day. 37157 however, was seen arriving Lowestoft 15 late on Y7 (XL13).
37159 is now back after attention to its engine. It is seen here getting a wash at King's Lynn on Tuesday evening after arrival on L11-XL17. Photo taken by kind permission of First.
Finally then to Wednesday 12th and a nice day with any delays reported all being less than 10 minutes in the west. No swaps reported either. It was quite exciting for X2 passengers today though, when the usual suspects were partially ousted by 66126, 34114 and 34155. Thanks to Michael Bryant for the gen.

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