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Thursday October 20th 2016 ~ More Variety

Last night (Wednesday) loan Geminis 36180 and 36172 are seen here at King's Lynn after finishing their duties.
Today they were both due for safety services and as King's Lynn no longer stock a comprehensive range of parts and materials for Geminis, they were required back at Norwich.
This morning 36180 worked diagram 6013 commencing with the 07.10 Wisbech - Norwich and 36172 went out on diagram 6007 which starts as the 07.23 Dereham - Peterborough. The vehicle for this turn in reality runs light (empty) from King's Lynn garage at 06.30 to Dereham. The 06.45 Norwich - Dereham X1 which arrives at 07.18 is worked by a Norwich bus and passengers for destinations westbound have to change to catch the 07.23.
During the day the opportunity was taken during layover times at Norwich to swap 36180 for 36190 and similarly 36172 was replaced by blue liveried 36169, so tonight we have two new loan buses at King's Lynn seen below accompanied by the other loanee, Enviro 33821.

33815 which was returned to King's Lynn with a replacement engine yesterday was utilised today on diagram 6004 07.04 King's Lynn - Peterborough etc. Meanwhile 33816 has gone back to Cummins for...... a replacement engine, believed to be its third in its short life so far ! 
33813 has now returned from receiving a new back axle, but 33810 has gone the other way for the same treatment. 33814 remains at Full Circle receiving bodywork repairs. 
A close eye is being kept on 33811 which has had gearbox problems - yesterday it lost 30 minutes on its last run in from Norwich and 33805 is also misbehaving in this department. I hope to bring you better news before long, but in the meantime catch one of the loan Geminis if you can, although they are limited to a lower top speed, they do have wi-fi and leather seats.


Saturday 15th October 2016 ~ and then there were more ......

The crisis affecting X1 Enviro availability has worsened since my report on Tuesday. 33821 has arrived to replace broken 33816 which had expired at Wisbech at 12.00 on Tuesday and when 33812 was taken off the road last night with an electrical fault, it meant insufficient vehicles were available at King's Lynn to complete today's run out allocation.
The 08.27 Swaffham - Peterborough and return working were cancelled and Gemini 36172 was hastily appropriated from Norwich to run as the 14.00 to Peterborough see picture below. This means that 33812-816 inclusive were unavailable this morning and 36180 + 33821 continue to deputise. 
33816 is due to leave for repairs on Monday when 33815 is scheduled to return with its second new engine, the last one having lasted a mere 12 months. The gruelling work on the X1 compared to town and city work more usually allocated to Enviros seems to be taking its toll at the moment. 

In some rather bright conditions, 36172 enters Walton Highway as the 14.00 Norwich - Peterborough this afternoon.


Tuesday 11th October 2016 ~ At Last Something Different.

The last post here was on 21st August and the following day, Monday 22nd, all fifteen King's Lynn based Enviro 400s were used on the X1 service. This availability has not occurred again since then.
Passengers board 33817 at Peterborough rail station before it set off on its abortive journey to Norwich (see below)

We had our annual trip to Peterborough Beer Festival on Saturday 27th August, our bus to take us there was 33817 and this performed well, however, on its way back to Norwich its gearbox failed at Wendling meaning a period out of service until 9th September. Before it returned to traffic, 33814 was involved in a collision on 6th September. Shortly after leaving King's Lynn for Peterborough working the 08.35 service, a vehicle careered into the front of the bus near Eau Brink causing considerable damage. 33810 resumed the diagram with the 11.28 Lynn to Norwich.
This left a three day period with no spare bus in the vicinity, but fortunately everything else behaved. 33814 is currently still away at Full Circle having major repairs done.

The end of September saw 33815 taken out of service on 28th requiring a replacement engine and the following day 33806 was diagnosed needing a cylinder head replacement.
As a result Gemini 36170 was summoned from Norwich. On 29th it worked diagram 6002 which in detail is the 06.04 Lynn - Peterborough, 07.30 Peterborough - Norwich and 11.00 return continuing with the 14.15 Peterborough - Norwich and 17.40 Norwich - King's Lynn. This is most unusual as these days normally one of Lowestoft's Enviro 400s comes over on loan to fill the breach. Next day 36170 worked the same diagram until arriving in Norwich at 10.40, whereupon it was swapped for 36180. Since then 36180 has been out daily (except Sundays) deputising for an Enviro.
33806 had its repairs carried out at King's Lynn and was back on the road on 5th October, however, 33813 was then stopped with an axle fault on 7th meaning that as I write, 33813/4/5 are all off the road and the loan Gemini shows no signs of disappearing (or thankfully, breaking down !)

The past few weeks has seen an easing of traffic conditions on the route, with seemingly less congestion in the Peterborough area in the mornings. Another persistent problem until recently has been the late running of the 08.25 Norwich - Peterborough, caused by it being delayed at the Norwich end at peak time. This has meant that the 07.45 ex Norwich, which is usually on time has been leaving Wisbech punctually at 10.14 and then the following 08.25 ex Norwich has seen delays of up to 30 minutes meaning that it has been well after its scheduled 10.54 departure. for example 11.13 on 24th August, 11.16 on September 13 leaving a gap in the service of, in some cases, over an hour.

Here are a few more pictures of our loan Gemini and a couple of alternative ways to get into Peterborough  as well as a two in one moment at Peterborough rail station........

Peter says he'd long hoped for a picture like this ! On 23rd August, 33808 and 33807 arrive at Peterborough rail station simultaneously on the delayed  17.20 & 17.55 services to Norwich and King's Lynn respectively.

Victor M says "For goodness sake - now we are going via Whittlesea !" Well he's never happy of course. Another correspondent remarks that even by using this route, services are usually on time into Peterborough. So there Victor !
Another route into the city used recently was via Eye village.
Spot the odd one out ? 36180 reminding us of how X1 buses used to be. 
36180 arriving in Wisbech working the 10.05 Peterborough - Norwich on Monday 3rd October

Heading back west along Nene Quay 36180 has just left Wisbech on the 15.54 to Peterborough (13.30 ex Norwich)

36180 arrives at Peterborough rail station forming the 16.45 to King's Lynn on Thursday 6th October. Photo by Peter. 

33816 has now joined the queue of vehicles off the road after an injector failed today (11th October), 33821 is due to be used to cover.