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Sunday August 31st 2014 ~ Old Timers

33805 passing through Walpole Highway this evening (Sunday 30th) spot on time forming the 19.00 service to Peterborough. 
A quiet period since the last posting, although vehicle shortages at Great Yarmouth have been responsible for some older buses appearing on the Norwich to Lowestoft section of the X1.
Problems with the Enviro 400s have included 33807 requiring a new gearbox which was fitted at Great Yarmouth. 33807 was out of service between 2nd & 23rd August and also in trouble is 33822 which requires major attention. It was last reported by Malcolm in service on 15th August.
The bus rally season has its climax on September 21st with Showbus once again being held at Duxford. King's Lynn depot will be taking an Enviro 400 (rumoured to be 33813) to the event and elsewhere it is reported that 33423 will also be in attendance - plans to paint this and two of the X1 Geminis in the blue livery which adorns the Enviros have drawn negative feedback from some enthusiasts. On the positive side, this will mean spare blue liveried vehicles will be available to serve the western part of the route when required without the Great Yarmouth branding, which does look a little odd in Peterborough - especially if the bus is only travelling as far as Norwich !

I had a couple of X1 days out recently and on Friday 22nd visited Peterborough. The diversion which was due to finish at the end of the month, but which now seems destined to be extended, via Weasenham Lane adds about 3 minutes to the average X1 journey. My return on the 14.45 eastbound was not without incident. Traffic congestion was in evidence immediately after rejoining the A47 at Thorney bypass roundabout. We crawled through to Guyhirn and then took the diversion via Wisbech St. Mary to avoid a broken down car on Guyhirn Bank which was causing huge tailbacks. This was my first time through here on a bus since the 1970s ! We met a westbound service on Barton Road also using the alternative route. As is often the case on a Friday, the timetable became fiction, and Jamie who was on the service following ours actually arrived here over an hour behind us. Two buses had apparently arrived at Peterborough simultaneously and one went direct to King's Lynn to regain some time.

Friday 29th also saw the service disrupted when a car and a motorcycle were in collision near the Pullover Roundabout at around 11.15. Bus diagrams went out of the window and the late running 13.15 King's Lynn - Peterborough with 33803 was terminated at Wisbech. It then ran empty to Thorney to form the return working. Buses were swapped randomly and 33814 which had worked the 14.15 Peterborough - Norwich was turned round at King's Lynn to form the 15.45 back to Peterborough. Delays were considerable with 33810 on the 11.35 Lynn - Peterborough passing Bruce at Walpole Highway 41 late. The previous service came back from Peterborough 48 late with 33806 departing Wisbech  at 14.13.
Saturday 30th also seems to have suffered, though I am not certain why. The 15.15 King's Lynn - Peterborough ran around 35 late and the bus following it, 33808 was noted at Walpole Highway heading back east at 18.48, 29 late.

Malcolm reports some interesting observations from Lowestoft. Friday 15th witnessed 34109 on the 11.00 1a to Martham, while 44513  did the 13.55 X2 to Norwich and 44512 followed it, albeit 16 late on the 14.35 service. Next day saw old timers 34111 on the 11.00 and 34186 the  11.30 departures to Martham. Gemini 37564 did an odd move, it arrived on the 10.25 Yarmouth - Lowestoft X1 and then resumed its usual work on the 11.15 X2 to Norwich. On 18th 42358 put in an appearance on the X2 working the 14.55 Lowestoft - Norwich and the following day it was the turn of 44513 on the 13.55 and 34186 on the 11.00 to Martham. The variety continued on 20th with 66126 turned out for the 11.00 to Martham and next day it did the 10.00 instead. 33823 did the 09.45 Yarmouth - Lowestoft X1 on 21st but the return working at 10.40 was cancelled with the Enviro being declared out of service. On Saturday 23rd 37574 failed in Lowestoft bus station and the 11.00 X1 to Yarmouth was cancelled as a result, this was while 37572 busied itself on the 101 town service. On 24th, the aforementioned 33423 took interested parties to the Old Buckenham bus rally with Des Speed at the helm, where by all accounts, a good time was had by all.
34111 in frontline service once more on 27th August. Photo : Steve W.
The nadir of  X1 availability was felt on Wednesday 27th when 34114 was pressed into service together with sister 34111 which managed around 10 hours on the route east of Norwich. So to 28th when another surprise turned up at Lowestoft, this time 60814 worked the 11.00 X1 to Yarmouth.

Currently 33816 is undergoing modification to the hydraulic oil cooler fault, while 33807 seems to have settled back into service after sounding rather noisy on its first day back on the road.

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