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Tuesday 30th April 2013 ~ More Diversions

Since my last report on 22nd April, there seems to have been a particularly large number of A47 incidents/accidents which have involved diverting the X1. A hole appeared in the road in Lowestoft on 20th resulting in a diversion for a few days (thanks to Des and Matthew for the info)

There were also a couple of accidents near Dereham during the period under review and more locally to me, the A47 between Wisbech and Guyhirn has been bedevilled by problems. On Wednesday 24th an overturned lorry began the day :  K4-XL10 08.35 from Peterborough came back through Wisbech on time with 37579, but the next service, K5-XL11 got caught up in the aftermath and 37156 arrived in the town at 10.44, 53 minutes late. Before the situation could return to normal, the same section was snarled up by council tree cutting and so the X1 was diverted via North Brink and Wisbech St.Mary for the rest of the day. This didn't hurt timekeeping too much as at 13.24, 37568 on K15-XL02 passed L12-XL18 eastbound with 37571 in Wisbech Old Market, both only about 4 minutes late.
Monday 29th began with a broken down lorry causing delays at Eau Brink, though this only had a minor effect on punctuality. Mid morning, Y9 - XL15 passed through Wisbech westbound 17 late, but otherwise things ran well. On the afternoon of Tuesday 30th, K18-XL05 with 37160 passed me just one minute late at 14.51 to Peterborough, but it was back at 15.05 having run into an A47 queue at the Cromwell Road roundabout and returned into the town, it was glimpsed again at 15.07 in the Old Market using the North Brink diversion, now 17 minutes late. Coming from Peterborough, K14-XL01 was unaffected with 37576 just 2 minutes late, but K15-XL02 (37567) was delayed by the accident and came in 25 late. The obstruction was soon cleared and K16-XL03 (37158)  also arrived via the normal route just 9 late.
37566 at North Burlingham operating Y6-XL12 09.35 Peterborough - Lowestoft on Friday 26th April.  Photo copyright : Joe at Norwich Bus Page.

Des Speed writes of an eventful shift on Monday 22nd, he was at the helm of 37574 on Y7-XL13 15.42 Yarmouth to King's Lynn, where it is the first evening bus to terminate and be garaged. He says "We were on time until we got to Toftwood Hillcrest Avenue at 17.20, here 37566 on Y6-XL12 which should have been 30 minutes ahead of us was waiting accompanied by a paramedic and a pregnant lady passenger. The other passengers transferred into my bus and several of them needed to travel beyond Lynn. As we carried on, it dawned on me that the driver sitting at Toftwood would then take L8-XL14 18.50 King's Lynn to Peterborough and clearly this was not going to happen. With all my through passengers only requiring Wisbech and stops before, I took advantage of a planned long break at Lynn and took them all through to Wisbech returning to Lynn by 19.00 for my 45 minute break. This would mean I would only be 5 late away from Southgates with the 19.40 back eastbound, however, the best laid plans ?
37579 arrived on the 19.40, but we had to go into Vancouver Avenue garage to have part of the offside advert removed as it had worked loose and was flapping about. That done we set off again, only to pull in to the first layby on the A47 as the remainder of the advert had started to detach itself. Decided I would have to return to Lynn, so turned at the North Runcton turn and headed back. Eventually got away from Lynn at 20.04, 24 minutes late. Final arrival in Lowestoft was 4 minutes late at 22.37". What a day for Des then and just to add that 37567 operated Y6-XL12 beyond King's Lynn to avoid a gap in the service.

37156 departs from its Walton Highway stop on Tuesday 30th April working the 16.15 King's Lynn to Peterborough.

New bus update : The official delivery date is still awaited, but the order for a revised specification has now been made. The original plans for the displaced vehicles are as advertised on the Norwich Bus Page, but are now subject to change following the delay in arrival of the new buses.
Meanwhile, 21 ex Jersey Caetano bodied slimline Darts have been repainted, retrimmed and had assualt screens and Hanover blinds fitted along with additional heating installed. These are due to arrive in the next fortnight for final transfers to be applied, with 11 destined for Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, of the remainder 4 are going to Clacton and 6 to the Midlands. These will no doubt see off some of the older Darts which have served the company well and which have regularly worked X1 shorts and the X2 as well as the odd run to Peterborough in the past :
43466 deputising for a coach seen near Walton Highway on April 3rd 2007.

Vehicle News :  37565 was out every day in April and is now up to 30 days continuous service. 37569 & 37572 went briefly to Volvo for axle modifications last week and 37574 is on MOT this week, expected OK on May 2nd. 37573 suffered ramp failure in Gorleston on Friday morning, but the switch was repaired by Yarmouth fitters. This bus still features an outdated advert for 'The Hobbit' which has been in situ since December 9th, due to a problem with the hoarding fixture.

On the Road. I had a trip to Peterborough on Saturday afternoon. 37160 was my outward vehicle on K1-XL07 with Steve, still making a lot of noise from its screaming fan, but a 7 minute late departure from Walpole saw us arrive at Peterborough rail station at exactly 16.35, 6 minutes late which is the time of departure for Lowestoft. This turn is a B9 in the week, but more often than not, a B7 on Saturdays.
 Coming back on the 19.19 from Queensgate on Y6-XL12 with 37564 driven by Gareth showed what can be done with a clear road throughout. Departure was on time to the second and we took the route via the passport office and Boongate out of the city taking 10"20' to the Eye Green roundabout. With just a 15 second delay by traffic lights in Thorney village, we were still unable to keep the harsh 15 minute timing to the nearby stop where we arrived after 16 minutes & 11 seconds from Queensgate.
The next section to Thorney Toll took 6 minutes 12 seconds and we passed non-stop. The Guyhirn stop was observed in 10 minutes dead from Thorney, whereas the timetable allows 11 minutes, so at this stage we were just half a minute over the booked time from Queensgate.
The final section to Wisbech is booked to be covered in eleven minutes from Guyhirn, which is optimistic to say the least, especially as it now involves negotiating three sets of traffic lights. We were stopped at all three junctions and this lost us another 74 seconds, so our final arrival in Wisbech was in 39 minutes 37 seconds, getting on for 3 minutes over the schedule of 37 minutes. The surprising thing here is that the B9 was being driven as smartly as possible to keep to time and yet this was still not achieved - it is small wonder that the B7's frequently lose time.
 Four minutes are allowed at Wisbech for loading and this meant we were away again back on time at 20.00. Our arrival at Walton Road at 20.04 (also on time) came as a surprise to a couple of joining passengers who had to partake in the time honoured sport of 'running for the bus'. I was back at Walpole on time for my lift home and this was once again a good advert for the X1, however, in my opinion, it might be a good thing to increase the schedule between Wisbech and Peterborough by a couple of minutes to make the timetable more credible.

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