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Saturday October 18th 2014 ~ A Gemini in Blue

33810  approaching Walton Highway on the 14.30 Norwich - Peterborough today.
A few things to report this time. Not least the entry into service of 37578 in its new X1 livery, incorporating the wi-fi vinyls. It was intended to repaint 37579 in similar fashion, but an unfortunate accident with 37573 (details shortly) has meant that this bus is now at Full Circle for repairs and should now be the second Gemini recipient of the new colours. Fortunately my correspondents have been on the trail of 37578 for me and here we have some photographs :
Here is 37578 before the X1 vinyls were applied sitting in King's Lynn garage on Saturday 4th October.

37578 arriving at Norwich Bus Station on the afternoon of 11th October. Photo : Zak Nelson
Earlier on the 11th October, 37578 was photographed at Acle en route to Norwich. Photo : Cameron Robinson
The bus stop at Lowestoft Tesco with 37578 in attendance.  Photo copyright : Cameron Robinson
A final look at 37578 in Norwich and 'Oh Calamity !' as the Archdeacon would say - and if you know what programme that quote comes from, you must be an old fool like me -  they've added  an advert to it ! Photo : Cameron Robinson
... and as if that isn't enough excitement we have another unusual working which Cameron spotted, this being the use of Gemini 32629 on the Norwich - Yarmouth / Lowestoft legs of the X1 last Saturday as seen here :

Photo copyright : Cameron Robinson
Returning now to the mishap with 37573, this occurred at speed, from front on front offside by a driver that fled the scene, but who was later arrested as he needed hospital treatment. The accident at 23.25 on 8th October happened in Lowestoft Road heading into Gorleston, just after Avondale Road. The batteries on 573 were completely obliterated and there was considerable floor movement. Fortunately the bus driver escaped with minor injuries.

The Enviros seem to have been behaving of late and 33812 (below) returned to traffic after collision repairs on Thursday 16th October. 
33812 has returned to traffic and is temporarily without the characteristic X1 vinyls.
Photo copyright : Grahame Bessey.

Last weekend saw the fitting of new ticket machines to the fleet and there were one or two delays on 12th/13th caused by drivers becoming conversant with the new equipment. There was also a problem with the fitting of the new equipment on 33808, but this was remedied on Wednesday 15th. Computer problems on 13th saw some passengers travel free for a while as tickets were unable to be issued. 33804 has been in service this week without a passenger side advert, quite an unusual sight these days.
Resurfacing work on the A47 between Swaffham and Dereham in the coming week may have a negative impact on the timetable.
We mentioned the Enviro mileages recently and in the next blog we will look at the buses now based at Lowestoft. Meanwhile, lets not forget the Yarmouth based Geminis which still work the route and take a look at how they have been accumulating the mileage since they left King's Lynn.
We will take as examples 37576, 37578 & 37579. Here are their mileages when they left King's Lynn and again this week 

37576 03/10/13 560655.  16/10/14 614791
37578 6/10/14 559474.  16/10/14 606496
37579 05/10/14 576132. 14/10/14 626081

So to save you calculating for yourselves, this means the mileages run in the last year - give or take a week have been
37576 54140
37578 47000
37579 49950

Obviously 37576 has been making up some lost ground, but it does mean that the annual mileages have been in effect halved, as previously the Geminis had been averaging 100,00+ each year.
Grahame Bessey has sent me some pictures from a visit to King's Lynn today which I'd like to share with you :
33812 departs King's Lynn for Norwich. Photo copyright : Grahame Bessey
Had to include this one as driver Adrian Freeman is leaving this week after five years driving the X1 - I'm sure he's looking for the camera ! 33813 departs King's Lynn eastbound. Photo copyright : Grahame Bessey.
33807 loads up for the 12.01 departure for Norwich . Note the advert for the film 'Love Rosie'. This is the second campaign for this film, see below
The original ad for the film featured a rather risque pose shown here, so this was withdrawn hastily !!

Thanks to all who continue to contribute - much appreciated. Next time we will catch up with events at Lowestoft of late.


Thursday October 2nd 2014 ~ The First Year

33806 departs King's Lynn as the 09.31 to Norwich on Tuesday 30th September - the anniversary of the first Enviro 400 workings.
September 30th marked the anniversary of the entry into service of the first Enviro 400s. For the record, 33803-11 inclusive entered service on 30/9/13, but it was 21st October by the time the last of the fleet, 33824, entered traffic. The last two Gemini workings west of Norwich in the old era were 37574/7 which last  worked in their white Excel livery on Saturday 19th October 2013.
Overall it has been a highly successful year for the new buses with widespread acclaim from both the public and bus industry. Despite the switch away  from Volvo, it has to be said that operating problems with the Alexander Dennis fleet have been only what one would expect with a completely new fleet. Failures in traffic have been extremely rare, but when occurring have usually been because of the brake retarder malfunctioning requiring a system reset or the oil cooler problem which has on a few occasions resulted in vehicles having to be rescued. Almost all have now undergone remedial work.
All 22 of the fleet were returned to AD for modifications when new and in addition, depot mods have included a ramp structure modification and also another to the stairs. Problems with the air conditioning system have emerged but these have not been on every vehicle and have been dealt with promptly.

33817 negotiates Portland Street in King's Lynn on the 09.35 King's Lynn - Peterborough on Tuesday.

With few days off the road, it is not surprising that the mileages accumulated by the fleet have easily matched those achieved by the Geminis. Mileages of the King's Lynn based buses at start of duties on 30/9/13 taken from hub meters or * odometers were as follows :
33803 092416*
33804 102932
33805 106598*
33806 107033
33807 101694
33808 110404
33809 095163
33810 105070
33811 113432
33812 114308*
33813 100277
33814 102743
33815 108414
33816 103440
33817 106445

From this it can be seen that 33803 never did quite recover from its bad start and overall it appears to have missed more days in traffic than the others. Some drivers tell me they wouldn't mind if it was rested every day ! Going back to the mileage, the hub meter on 33812 has failed to work since it reached just over 98,000 miles but all the others are in order, although some buses now have a discrepancy of around 1,000 miles between the odometer and hub meter. 33812/17 are believed to have been involved in a slight accident within depot confines today so may not be out for a little while. This may mean reinforcements may need to be called upon. I hope to be able to give current mileages for the Lowestoft Enviros later this month to coincide with their entry into service just under a year ago.
Speaking of Lowestoft buses, 33824 made a rare foray over to King's Lynn on Tuesday as it was due an MOT and a window could not be found at Great Yarmouth. The bus returned eastbound on Wednesday 'not in service'.
Tomorrow (Friday) the newly repainted Gemini 37578 is due to arrive at King's Lynn for the relative vinyls to be applied before it resumes X1 duties from Great Yarmouth.
Finally a correspondent informs me that 33821 failed in Norwich bus station yesterday with a loss of air and it had to be towed into Lowestoft for repairs. More news as we have it !
Taken from my westbound X1, 33805 heads towards the Ouse Bridge on the 15.15 Peterborough - Norwich on Tuesday.