Search This Blog


Monday May 30th 2016 : Whatever Happened to...... ?

A week ago last Friday. as I came home from work and passed a sorry looking 33803 sitting with its hazard lights on in the bus stop at Walton Highway, I thought to myself "I wonder whatever happened to the X1 blog ?" It then reminded me that I am responsible for writing it and yet it has still taken me a further week or more to do something about it ! A dull Bank Holiday Monday seemed a good time to do a long overdue catch up, so here goes.... 

Firstly to the East and it is some weeks ago now that Roy Northcott contacted me with news of an X1 diversion. He says "You may be aware that the Eastern part of the X1 service is being diverted in Gorleston whilst Church Lane is being resurfaced. A slight delay has occurred which will see it closed another day and hopefully reopening tomorrow (7th April)

I ventured out yesterday and got a few photos with some X1 workings amongst them and attach them for your interest

33822 in Gorleston, thought to be on the 14.00 from Lowestoft (running very late) or the 14.42 from JPH which was booked via Middleton Road. Photo RN/East Norfolk Bus Blog

37274 on diversion in Gorleston working the 13.15 ex Norwich. RN/East Norfolk Bus Blog

37568 still doing welll on the 13.45 Norwich - Yarmouth & Lowestoft X1 on diversion in Gorleston. Photo RN/East Norfolk Bus Blog
Finally all hasn't gone well on the diversions as I understand that one of First's StreetLites was involved in an accident last night on Shrublands Way

A report on the diverts is up on the blog at

Thanks to Roy for that and more from him later. No sooner had I published the last blog on 4th April than the 21.40 Peterborough - King's Lynn broke down at Tilney with 33815 ailing. A bus was sent to collect the few passengers. Jamie says "I knew it wouldn't be too long but as Christine was waiting at South Gates for me, I phoned her to collect me and got home marginally quicker". 33815 was viewed by Louise being towed into Vancouver Avenue at 01.30 by a recovery vehicle, it being another victim of the gearbox problem.  Louise herself having been 'repaired' at A & E !
 The 4th was also marred by a fatal accident at Scarning involving an artic and a motorcycle which saw the A47 closed at this point from 09.30 - 18.00. 
Tuesday 5th passed relatively without incident which was just as well as there were no spare vehicles at the western end at all. This despite 33818 still being on loan from Lowestoft. Traffic was pretty much brought to a stand between Eye and Guyhirn for a while at lunchtime and the 10.35 ex Peterborough was 23 late into Wisbech with 33806. Later the 12.05 was seen arriving 45 minutes late with 33817 before punctuality improved.

 33809's MOT was brought forward to Wednesday 6th and it was soon back on the road. This left 33808 with the gearbox drive plates issue, it finally returned on 13th April and 33815 remained dumped on the forecourt at Vancouver Avenue until despatched to ZF on 13th. Here it was dealt with very quickly and was back on the road on Saturday 16th. 
Saturday 16th was the last day of the old timetable and consequently the final time a late service ran to and from Peterborough. Here is the last 22.05 King's Lynn - Peterborough passing Eau Brink.....

33818 was finally sent back to Lowestoft on 13th April which coincided with the completion of 33816's MOT. For three days the fleet was then at full strength but then 33807 was stopped for MOT and on 19th 33809 was taken off the road with a rear axle problem. This entailed a visit to Powertrain and a 17 day layoff, it finally returning to  traffic on 6th May. 
 Traffic into Wisbech was pretty chronic on the evening of Thursday 21st which provided an unusual X1 experience for our old friend Victor Meldrew.....

He says "What in Heavens name is going on, we've just done a loop in Nestles access road and are now heading back to Weasenham Lane". Oh Dear !! Nice reflections Victor !

On Saturday 23rd April 33814 failed with a serious engine fault - its duty being taken over by 33810. 33814 was the subject of much investigation and eventually ended up at Cummins, not returning to traffic until May 16th. All this meant help was required and this arrived on April 24th in the shape of 33823 and this is still on loan as I write (May 30th). 
Not content with his unusual diversion seen above, Victor reports getting some more unusual route mileage on the X1 on April 26th : "This time we have turned left at the new A16 roundabout and are going into Peterborough via Welland Road St. Pauls Road and Lincoln Road !"

33815 didn't do a lot of work after having its gearbox repaired, firstly it was required for MOT and then on Saturday 30th April broke down at Peterborough with a failed injector. 33812 was sent to Wisbech to take up the diagram restarting as the 16.05 to Norwich. Later that evening, 33804 on the 20.30 from Peterborough had a window smashed by a pedestrian at Peterborough railway station. Some passengers gave chase and the delinquent was apprehended and handed over to the British Transport Police. Commendable stuff, but inconvenient and not nice for a lady who was showered with glass, fortunately without serious injury. 33810 was sent to the rescue.

Some hard work by the King's Lynn engineering staff made sure a full compliment of vehicles was available for the run out on Tuesday May 3rd after the Bank Holiday. There was once again no spare bus though and when 33811 suffered a puncture while working diagram 6013 at King's Lynn bus station. The vehicle had to retire to the garage for a tyre change before chasing its diagram as the 14.41 King's Lynn - Norwich. 
Wednesday May 4th saw more disruption due to a collapsed manhole near Swaffham. An example of late running was diagram 6009  with 33805 which was due off Wisbech at 10.14 to Peterborough, but which departed at 10.54. In addition many afternoon services were diverted via Wisbech St. Mary. 
Having had an injector replaced, 33815 was back in action on Friday 6th May, however, just as 33809 came back from attention to its gearbox, 33807 suffered the same complaint, coming off turn 6007 on Saturday May 7th and being replaced by 33823. With 33817 stopped for MOT, almost a week went by with no spare buses. 
Sunday May 8th provided a change. Cheryl sent me a text to say X1s were passing her house between Thorney and Whittlesey. They were indeed X1 buses, 33806/12/13 to be precise and they were on hire as rail replacement between Peterborough and Ely. The route from Whittlesey to Thorney does quite often see X1 services though when other roads are blocked locally.

Yet another collapsed manhole caused problems on Thursday 12th, this time at Middleton, Bruce monitored proceedings and worst affected service appeared to be the 13.15 from Peterborough, diagram 6013 with 33811 which arrived at Walpole Highway at 14.35. Most buses were running 15-20 minutes late throughout the afternoon.
Having had its original MOT date postponed due to the bus shortage, 33808 was finally dealt with on Thursday 19th and was immediately returned to service.  On this date it took over diagram 6007 from 33810 which was then sent away to have its gearbox looked at. It returned from Powertrain on 25th. 
So to Friday 20th May and where I first started this blog entry, 33803's engine went into meltdown while working the 15.15 from Peterborough and it finally expired at Walton Highway. 33815 took over the turn and 33803 is currently at Cummins being assessed. 

On 23rd, 33806 on diagram 6010 15.10 Norwich - Peterborough was halted at Dereham with an electrical fault. It returned to work on 27th May. A broken down car on Guyhin bank saw most services diverted again via Wisbech St. Mary on the afternoon of Wednesday 25th, although 33809 managed to use the normal route on the 14.24 ex Wisbech and 15.15 ex Peterborough, losing 18 minutes in the process. 33810 returned from Powertrain on 25th and 33813 immediately went west in its place to have its gearbox examined. 
Thursday 26th saw 33805 expire in Norwich with the oil cooler fault and 33814 was sent to Dereham to restart the service at 19.21. 33817 was also needing attention to its oil cooler on this date and it was taken off diagram 6008 and replaced by 33807. All the more surprising then after this catalogue of woes that the Friday before the Bank Holiday seems to have passed without a hitch and all services seemed to be running within 5 minutes of time - a situation almost unheard of on a BHF. 

Now then, well talk about things turning full circle ? Zak Nelson reports "Hi Gerard, Hope all is well!  I've attached a photograph of ex-X1 coach 20501 AO02RBY which is now based in Great Yarmouth alongside sister 20500 AO02RBX. The interesting thing about this picture however is that it's been reunited with the X1! It's seen here working this afternoon at County Hall roundabout.

I've also attached a photo of 33821 which has had the X1 part of the vinyl removed. It is believed but not confirmed that is to be replaced with new vinyls for the Eastern side of the route to include the new X11 Norwich to Belton service.

Many thanks for those Zak - do you think we can get some western side vinyls for 33823 ? !!

Whatever next ? Well sadder news from Great Yarmouth. Former X1 relief bus 34108 is now being cannibalised for spares at Great Yarmouth, pictures courtesy of Des Speed :

Well while we are on the subject of X1 buses past - another one which amassed a huge mileage on the route was Premiere coach 20122 which is still in service as a driver trainer and is pictured undergoing MOT work at Yarmouth in this photograph from Roger Bellward

She's still in proper livery too ! 

Now let's hear a bit more from Roy Northcott, who says " Buses are being diverted from Gorleston High Street for five days for subsidence investigation works on High Road

37578 (AU58EDJ) arrived at Gorleston Church at 14:32 so I am assuming its the 14:00 from Lowestoft Bus Station. 

This one shows 37577 (LK58EDF) on a southbound Bernard Mathews contract working - unusual to say the least! Both pictures taken on May 25th.

Many many thanks to Roy and all who have contributed to this rather lengthy and overdue blog entry. I will try and make the next one a bit sooner !

No comments: