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Tuesday 15th April 2014 ~ Normality Resumes

Well I'm now beginning to catch up with things after my holiday. Huge thanks to all who kept me informed of goings on in my absence, you know who you are !
It would be fair to say that in the intervening period between the last posting and this, the most notable event took place today. Having arrived late last week, for a suspension fault to be rectified at King's Lynn, Enviro 33423 saw its first run to Peterborough sporting the First Great Yarmouth colours today. 33813 working the 07.45 Lowestoft - Peterborough (L12-XL18) was required at Vancouver Avenue for attention and 33423 took over briefly for the Peterborough leg, before 33813 resumed its turn.
Here she is with Gareth at the wheel passing near my work premises in Wisbech :

Despite there being plenty of prophets of doom regarding the new fleet, they seem to be coping well with the intensive work schedule given to them and this surely must reflect on the care given to them by Richard Tucker and his engineering team. Various issues have cropped up revolving around issues as diverse as sourcing replacement seats and malfunctioning air cooling systems, but none of these have been sufficiently serious to disrupt the service. The only reason 33423 appeared today was because of servicing commitments combined with the absence of 33809 which had only just returned from bodywork repairs at Full Circle following an incident on 2nd April.
 I had an email from one of my correspondents saying that he had seen less than flattering reports in some bus blogs about the comfort and overall experience of travelling on the X1 Enviros. He says "I trust you more to give a balanced account if they are in trouble. Each time I use them I find no cause for complaint ". Well it would seem that the majority of X1 passengers I have spoken to agree with this, although Victor Meldrew did contact me during my holiday to say he was sitting near a particularly rattly part of 33814 last Thursday, but let's face it, he will moan about anything ! I hasten to add that I base my observations on a sample of the general public, rather than bus enthusiasts. Certainly the loadings on the western part of the route have increased dramatically since the Enviros arrived. Incidentally, several of the fleet have now exceeded the 60,000 mile mark in just 7 months
First themselves have cause to celebrate and Lucy Wright says "The results of a national bus passenger survey published by independent watchdog, Passenger Focus, have revealed that First’s customers in Norfolk have seen an increase in satisfaction.
89% of First’s customers in Norfolk said that they were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘fairly satisfied’ with the service in the county – a 2% increase since 2011. Passenger Focus’ National Bus Survey is considered the bus industry’s definitive gauge of passenger satisfaction. The survey was carried out between 8 September and 1 December 2013. The survey also noted improvements in punctuality, the cleanliness and appearance of the buses and drivers’ attitudes.
Managing Director of First Eastern Counties, David Squire, said: “We are thrilled with our score which reflects the hard work and commitment of all my colleagues. We’ve got excellent teams in place at our depots who are improving our services and helping to encourage more people to travel with First.”
Laurie Egan, Norfolk County Council's Travel Network Manager added; "We work very closely with bus operators in Norfolk and these are encouraging results which show that initiatives like our Quality Bus Partnership is helping them deliver higher quality, more reliable services which their passengers want. A restructure within First took place in 2013 which gave greater autonomy to the local teams, which is helping the company deliver better services for customers and contributing to the improved Passenger Focus score"
Well nothing like blowing your own trumpet is there, but you have to admit it is impressive. Posing for the camera here are some familiar faces, but being contrary, I'm more interested in what that is behind the Gemini !!

It is also good to report that the timetable has been largely adhered to. Main delays can be attributed to congestion in Wisbech while town bridge is closed and sometimes late afternoon services can suffer because of this. The road is due to reopen sometime next month. Sunday afternoon last saw X1 services being diverted via the A17 and Tilney All Saints following the well publicised accident where a child fell from a private operators moving coach near the Shoreboat roundabout. 
Enviro 33821 has now been in traffic every day since March 7th, but 33820 was stopped today with an exhaust problem. 33823 had a problem with its destination screen last week as seen here in these pictures from John Abbott taken in Peterborough last Wednesday.

                                                    Photos copyright : John Abbott

Brian Coombes wrote to me to say he and his colleague Stuart Ling provide a very important service delivering beer across our region and consequently have regular meetings with the X1. Here's Stuart in his van at Thickthorn with an Enviro !

and here's another one taken on a rather inhospitable day in February in Acle .....

Glad you enjoy following the blog guys and once again my apologies for the infrequent updates of late. I hope to get back to more regular entries from now on.
Finally this time, a picture sent in by Des Speed who says "Thought you'd like this one" :
Some of the former X1 stalwarts at Caister Road garage. Photo : Des Speed

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