Search This Blog


Friday 24th January 2014 ~ Vox Pops and a Mug Shot

33819 rests at King's Lynn Vancouver Avenue garage on Sunday 19th January
In the last blog entry, which was over a week ago and for that I apologise, the opinions of drivers on the new buses was being sought by Steve. I had a chance this week to speak to a couple of X1 drivers about their new steeds and what they thought of them. 
Driver 'A' as we will call him, thinks the public are still very much in love with the new fleet and the compliments continue to be heard on a daily basis. His main gripe was a minor one, that to get his feet warm, the cab heater is effective, but the air rises and makes it unbearably hot, so he then has to have the cab window open in all weathers. He also said the new buses are lighter and therefore more difficult to control on a windy day, notably on the Acle Straight. Apparently a few drivers have experienced problems with the doors losing parts or becoming partially inoperable. 
Driver 'B' had a lot more to say, he concurred with the heating problem and said some buses were from his point of view to be avoided if possible. 
33803 came in for some very harsh criticism and was called something I certainly couldn't write here ! 33816 is also a black sheep it would seem, with a loud turbo. In fact Driver 'B' predicts long term problems with starter motors and turbos on the Enviros. The strain put on components by shutting the engine off at key points like Norwich, Lynn and Peterborough and then letting it all start up again is thought to be a major cause. He also says that some buses have a sort of blind spot where acceleration momentarily stalls and then comes back. Reversing on some buses is an art in itself and he says it is quite common to spend a minute or so waiting for it to engage.
 Oh Dear ! I don't think I should have started this !

Zak Nelson kindly sent this picture of 33423 back at work off Great Yarmouth following its MOT. It was working the 881 contract from East Norfolk Sixth Form College to Carlton Colville. Note the paper route identity as the screens were not programmed.

Anyway, to the latest goings on in A47 land. Loan white liveried Enviro no. 33423 was last used on the Peterborough route on Wednesday 15th and was hastily despatched back to Yarmouth for an MOT. Fortunately on Monday 20th, 33809 at last returned from bodyside repairs at Full Circle workshops. After a safety service , it re-entered traffic on 21st. 
Following on from the comments made by Driver 'B' above, 33805 was stopped on Saturday requiring a new starter motor and this meant it didn't reappear until Wednesday 22nd when it worked K5-XL11. A few other niggly failures have occurred. On Saturday 33824 had to be taken off Y7-XL13 with engine derate and 33815 replaced it, then in the afternoon, 33818 on K2-XL08 suffered an electrical fault and a rejuvenated 33824 took the turn forward.
 33818 misbehaved again on Tuesday 21st when it failed at Yarmouth working L10-XL16 06.50 ex Lowestoft. 33809 back from repairs took over the turn, 33818 had gone into derate and needed a fuel filter - something it would have received later that day anyway, as it was due for servicing. These glitches apart, overall the Enviros seem to be doing a good job.
 From Wednesday to Saturday last week, 33816 did turn K14-XL01 every day and combined with the rest of its work, this meant it covered exactly 3000 miles in seven working days, which is pretty impressive by anyone's standards.
Malcolm has kindly sent me his usual reports from Lowestoft. On Thursday 16th, decker 30900 was getting a run out on the 101 town service, however, next day it was back helping out the Geminis on the X2. 32208 seemed to be on loan to Lowestoft for a while and Michael Bryant saw it on an X2 on Thursday, while Malcolm even reports it on the 101 on Saturday. On Sunday Yarmouth's troublesome 37579 failed in Lowestoft bus station before working the 13.10 to Martham. A visit to Gasworks Road on Monday confirmed that Palatine 34156 has gone*, although 34155 was still in the yard withdrawn. Both 30886 & 30901 had a stint on the 101 on Wednesday 22nd.
* More on the fate of 34156 from Zak here :
Jamie Skinner says a Paragon was still on X1 shorts on Friday 17th and 32202 was entrusted with the 17.25 relief from Norwich to James Paget Hospital on Monday.
Roy on the ENBB ( reports via Ryan that 34108 is now back in service after all - never say die hey ? 33423 he says has now gone off for that long awaited repaint. 
33807 at Queensgate loading to form K16-XL03 14.45 to Lowestoft on Thursday 23rd January. Photo : Richard Thomas.

Punctuality has been very good on most days. Friday 17th saw just one late service, 33814 took the 15.58 Wisbech - Peterborough out 15 late. Tuesday 21st saw delays in the morning on eastbound services from Peterborough, but in the main these were around 10 minutes. Only K5-XL11 09.05 departure was badly delayed, being 22 late passing Bruce at Walpole. 
The worst day for some time was Wednesday 22nd. Again K5 09.05 from Peterborough was late, by 15 minutes into Wisbech. From lunchtime onwards, returning services from Peterborough began to take the route via Wisbech St. Mary to avoid A47 congestion caused by a broken down lorry on Guyhirn Bank. Later Bruce saw K17-XL04 with 33822 taking the Wisbech and then A47 bypasses travelling direct from Peterborough to King's Lynn approx 40 late. K18-XL05 was seen leaving Wisbech Horsefair with 33808 running 29 late with a double load of passengers. Peter texted to say "On 17.50 from Peterborough, queue on A47 so we have turned off near Bretts and gone via Murrow to get to Guyhirn and are now continuing via Wisbech St. Mary, terrible road this". He left Peterborough 5 late and was 25 late into Wisbech.
Thursday saw more diversions via Wisbech St. Mary from lunchtime onwards, 33815 on K14-XL01 was 33 late coming back into Wisbech.
 Friday afternoon again saw some services travelling via Wisbech St. Mary and an accident between the Pullover and Saddlebow roundabouts added to that Friday feeling, but despite this delays were pretty minimal.
33805 arriving at Peterborough rail station with K15-XL02 14.15 to Lowestoft.
 Photo : Richard Thomas.
and finally this week .........

Caroline, one of my nice ladies at work, had the bright idea of giving me a customised X1 mug for Christmas. Here is the mug shot with the real thing passing by in the background !


Wednesday 15th January 2014 ~ Mind the Doors Please !

33804 bang on schedule at Walpole Highway on Friday with the 09.00 ex Lowestoft.
By and large another uneventful week, but a few items to report. Last Thursday (9th) 33812 working Y11 07.15 from Lowestoft was delayed because of an accident near Acle and it left Wisbech for its destination still 21 minutes late. The following 07.45 ex Lowestoft was unaffected and ran on time with 33817, however, later, 33817 was in trouble in Gorleston when one side of the entrance doors became detached from its mounting. The bus was able to continue to Lowestoft for fitters attention and eventually got back to King's Lynn. 
33808 leaving Walton Highway and passing a remarkable crop of sugar beet (I've posted this for my friend Mark who always bellows about East Anglia's favourite crop). This was the 09.00 from Lowestoft on Thursday which was running 16 minutes late due to an earlier A47 delay.
33423 continues to be a useful standby and was turned out for K3-XL09 on Friday, Tuesday and today (Wednesday). Its MOT call up is imminent though and it remains to be seen whether 36180 or one of the former X1 Geminis will be loaned to King's Lynn when it goes. 33809 is still at  Full Circle for bodywork repairs and 33810 has been out of traffic for a new destination screen glass, it then worked K3 on Monday but was off the road again on Tuesday and today with an engine derate problem. 33805 & 33808 have both worked every day since the New Year services commenced.
Incidents of vandalism are thankfully rare, but on Tuesday evening K6 14.30 from Lowestoft had just left King's Lynn when a missile was thrown at a downstairs window on Nar OuseWay. 33817 was turned round and replaced at the garage by 33820.
Punctuality has been very good indeed. On Monday 33815 was noted arriving in Wisbech on K14-XL01 to form the 12.58 departure to Peterborough about 4 minutes early. Des adds "These new Enviros are great for making up lost time, cruising along at 60 mph with ease". 
This week  Roy reports an X1 diversion in Gorleston while the High Street is closed again for work on a water main, see picture below :
33806 passes Gorleston parish church on a diversion via Church Road (see above). Photo copyright : East Norfolk Bus Blog.
Thanks also to Roy for spotting a disabled 20515 being rescued at Great Yarmouth Market Gates after expiring while working an X1 short on Friday. Amongst services delayed by the rescue operation were the 15.17 departure to Peterborough. 
Photo copyright : East Norfolk Bus Blog
Our old Geminis are having mixed fortunes it would appear. On Sunday 37579 was noted arriving at Yarmouth depot on tow after failing with its engine cutting out and being unable to restart. Volvo are apparently trying to fix the problem. Meanwhile Malcolm reports Monday as being the first day he had seen the X2 entirely Gemini operated. Seen in use were 37563 - 37571 inclusive, in other words, all of the Lowestoft fleet. 
Steve says "You may be interested to read a recent post on my blog, which compares the Excel and Konect E400's. I'm afraid it's not to favourable towards the X1's, and I'd welcome your views. I'd also be interested to know what the drivers think of the E400's, and if they can see them lasting the distance ?"
Well we've seen what one of them thinks above, for Steve's critical report, have a look at :

There are also some interesting comments from Zak !


Wednesday January 8th 2014 ~ New Year Greetings

A little belated but here is the first blog of 2014. I haven't mentioned the loan Enviro from Yarmouth, 33423, for a while. In the event it has remained at King's Lynn much longer than anticipated, however, it is due to depart for Yarmouth in the next few days as it is due MOT there on 16th.
Two of the new Enviros have now sustained passenger side rear damage due to the limited clearances in Dereham Market Place. 33809 finally left Lynn for Full Circle on Monday and it looks like 33820 will be next. 33803/4/5/17/23/24 have all worked every day since 2nd, but 33810 had to have an adblue fault sorted on 2nd & 3rd and 33819 had an extended period off the road from 3rd to 6th and was due to have a wi-fi fault fixed. 33818 was due to be attended to by ADL staff today.
Less busy roads have meant the service has run pretty much to time every day so far. Early afternoon on Friday 3rd saw a few delays in and out of Lowestoft, 33821 was 17 late leaving on K4-XL10, K5-XL11 with 33812 then arrived and left on time before 33813 on K6-XL12 arrived 10 late, 33822 on Y7-XL13 was then 16 late and L8 came in 12 late with 33824. On Tuesday 7th 33813 was 18 late on L10 - XL16 06.50 Lowestoft - Peterborough but this was an isolated incident it would appear.
Malcolm noted the last of the Gemini repaints, 37571 in service on the X2 today. Grahame Bessey reports from Yarmouth that 34109 is now the last remaining W-CWX Volvo Olympian in traffic. The others (34108/10/11/12/13) are all listed in the reserve pool. Meanwhile 34186/7 remain in use on schools and contract work.