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Saturday 28th September 2013 ~ End of a Timetable and an Era !

On 23rd October 2008, the first of a new fleet of Volvo/Wright Gemini double deckers hit the road and the saga of the'white elephants' had begun - this nickname proved to be quite inaccurate. but really suited them. On that first day (a Thursday), 37563/567/568 & 571 were the buses used, but it was some time before all 17 were in operation, the last ones being 37575/6 on November 12th 2008. In less than a year they had been joined by the five B7s to virtually eliminate coach operation on the X1.
Today was the last Saturday of a full Gemini service - I say full, of course 33423 was still plying its trade on K3-XL09 and what a reliable bus this has been. Along with the B7 Geminis which are scheduled to go to Norwich on Sunday , it is due to return home - possibly on Monday after its valuable work. This will mean that all the other buses working will have large fuel tanks, bringing to an end  the refuelling which has had to occasionally take place,
33803 & 33804 are undergoing final inspections at Vancouver Avenue and 33810 -813 were also passed fit today. The remainder will follow tomorrow when the depot will be specially staffed and other contractors will be present to finish off final jobs, before Monday's partial launch of the Enviros.
 As I said earlier, nine should be in traffic with others following when they become available. All the B7s bar 37158 ended up at King's Lynn tonight and it is likely that 158 will be swapped at Lowestoft to enable it to come back to Lynn on either XL06 or XL08 (K19 or K2) late tonight.
The service ran well today with some minor delays at lunchtime. I was out with the camera and here are some of the results :
We start with 37567 bowling through Walton Highway and with a friendly wave from Calvin. "I'd have done my hair especially if I'd known you were out with the camera"  he said. I then pointed out that he hasn't got any hair ! 567 was working L9- XL15 due through here at 12.02 and running 15 minutes late at this point.

Next port of call was one of my favourite locations near Walpole Highway and on what was a rather nice Autumn day, 37566 makes a pleasant sight working Y13-XL19 the 11.42 King's Lynn - Peterborough. With a healthy load it was running 19 late but made up time as we will see.

K16-XL03 is a pretty solid B7 turn which ends at Lowestoft, but with all five of the type required to overnight at Lynn for onward transit, today B9 37579 was called upon to work it. 579 is seen here near Terrington St. John.

 Secreted in a King's Lynn industrial estate we see a sextet of new Enviros holding a conference before their introduction to service on the X1 from Monday.

The time is 13.53 and King's Lynn driver Wayne Savory is leaving 37578 for colleague Frank Martin to take forward to Peterborough. This is the South Gates bus stop adjacent to King's Lynn First HQ. Wayne recently won a First award for having the best Drive Green rating in the Eastern area.

It's 37566 again, this time back at Lynn and Driver Elcombe has managed to regain almost all of the 19 minutes lost time we mentioned earlier. 566 is about to load to work the 14.30 to Lowestoft.

Almost a carbon copy of the previous picture, this is 37571 with a long queue of passengers waiting to board XL06-K19 14.42 to Peterborough. 571 is the lowest mileage B9 Gemini in the X1 fleet after being rebuilt following the accident near Thorney it suffered in 2009 for which the driver was not at fault.

K14 13.38 Peterborough - Lowestoft passes King's Lynn railway station with 37570. This was the only one of the B9s to receive an overall advert on the rear which was removed in March 2013.

37158 in its smart new colours prepares to work the 15.12 King's Lynn - Peterborough (K1-XL07), This was the final day of B7 Gemini working on the route.

The sun is setting and Driver Gary Saban running to time brings 37563, the first numerically of the B9s, towards Walpole at Fence Bank on Y6-XL12 17.42 King's Lynn - Peterborough.

33423 with 37160 and 37156 in King's Lynn garage this evening, their X1 work completed.

 37159 (left) was the last of the B7s to receive the corporate livery and only worked on the X1 in this condition on Friday and Saturday, to the right is 37157 which may be staying a little longer at Lynn while outstanding repairs are completed. The advert on 37159 was applied tonight, but the Enviros escaped having them as the necessary studs are not being fitted until tomorrow.

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