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Wednesday April 23rd 2014 ~ Now You See It, Now You Don't.

In all the years I have written this blog, I am now finding it more difficult than ever to know what to write, such is the reliability of the Enviro 400s. It is difficult to compare this honeymoon period with that of the 375xx series of Geminis when they were new, due to the fact that only 17 of them were supplied and the coaches made up the balance of vehicles until the five B7 Geminis were transferred from Norwich.
As always there are plenty of stories which are classified as "unbloggable" (if that's a word ?), but I try to keep the blog accurate without being too controversial.
Let's firstly look at what has happened since my last blog a week ago. I reported the return of 33809 from bodywork repairs and it duly re-entered traffic after a safety service on Wednesday 16th when it recommenced work on K4-XL10. Today (23rd) 33810 has arrived at  'Full Circle' in similar fashion, again for bodywork repairs. With 33813 undergoing MOT work and 33816 out of traffic with engine derate and an exhaust problem, this has meant the appearance once again after Easter of 33423 which worked its old favourite diagram , K3 (XL09) on Tuesday and Wednesday. Roy from East Norfolk Bus Blog kindly sent this picture taken on Tuesday  while 33423 was working the 13.00 Lowestoft - Peterborough :
Photo copyright : East Norfolk Bus Blog
33820 which had been out of traffic, again with an exhaust issue, returned to traffic on Saturday and with the lighter vehicle requirements over Easter (Good Friday, Easter Sunday & Easter Monday all being Sunday service), most of the Enviros managed at least one day off over the holiday. Lone exception was 33811 which has been out daily since 31st March.
Peter writes "Hey G, did you know that 'First' are going to use one of the X1 Enviros as an exhibit at the Sacrewell Farm bus rally coming up in July ?" . Well no, I didn't actually, so thanks for keeping me and our readers informed. Peter adds that it is hoped to used the Enviro as a shuttle bus at some point during the day too. Whilst on the subject of events in the Peterborough area, the Fenland Vintage Vehicle event on May 17th should be using the two Stagecoach FLFs on a Thorney to Whittlesey shuttle service, so a good excuse to use the X1 to get over there if you are planning to go.
Richard Adderson has been in touch and says "Thought I'd send you a couple of pictures taken back on April 9th, as I don't recall seeing many Swaffham pictures on the blog (you're right there Richard !). This is 33820 which was running about 15 minutes late on the 13.05 from Peterborough (Y13-XL19).
33820 at Swaffham . Copyright : Richard Adderson
Well I liked the picture so much Richard, I've used it as a new masthead for the blog - that picture with the sugar beet was getting a bit out of season. Richard continues "The second picture taken earlier at King's Lynn depicts 33823 when it had its destination blind fault working K19-XL06 14.43 King's Lynn - Peterborough. 33820 shouldn't have been there at the same time, but because of its late running got in the picture too :
Photo copyright : Richard Adderson
"The main reason I have sent you the above picture" continues Richard, "is to appeal to your knowledge as a prolific bus photographer. You'll see that the destination on the Norfolk Green bus on the left has not registered on the picture and this seems to happen whenever I snap a bus with this type of display and indeed on dmus too. Is there anything I can do to avoid this and do you know the cause, or is it just a quirk of my camera ?".
Well I think I was once told that the dot matrix system is a continual flashing display - so if in the fraction of a second you take the picture, the display is blank, it comes out as such. The system flashes at such a rapid rate as to be invisible to the human eye - now am I correct here or have I dreamed the whole thing ? Do let me know if you have the answer.
Andy Gibbs sent a nice email to say he really enjoys the blog and that he plans to travel up from London later in the year to traverse the entire X1 route. In his capacity as safety manager for Transport for London, he is used to frequent services, though probably not of over 100 miles. Let me know when you are this way Andy.
Back to recent events now and the holiday weekend was marred by an accident at Middleton on the Thursday before Easter. This closed the A47 for several hours and delays of up to 50 minutes accumulated. Good Friday's heavy traffic also caused delays to some services.
Roadworks in Station Square at Lowestoft have also been the cause of disruption. Malcolm's log for Tuesday shows many delays and this evening congestion affected the 17.05 & 17.50 departures westbound from Lowestoft. The latter left over 30 minutes late and ran light to Acle before taking on passengers again. It caught up the 17.05 at Easton and passengers were transferred to the 17.50 with the 17.05 then running light to King's Lynn.
Wisbech remains congested at peak times due to the closure of town bridge. Peter says "On Thursday 17th, was following the 16.15 from Peterborough which diverted down Weasenham Lane to avoid the queues on the normal route. Commendable attempt by the driver, but then unfortunately, a lorry had broken down at the Churchill Road junction meaning that 33818 became delayed there instead !

Finally building work at Peterborough railway station means the exit for the X1 is now (temporarily) very tight. Unfortunately today 33822 working K14-XL01 13.45 departure to Lowestoft collided with a protruding scaffolding pole and broke a window, 33821 replaced it at King's Lynn.

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