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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Ipswich Special Part One - 69005

I went to Ipswich today hoping to get a pic of the newly refurbished 69005. What I wasn't expecting was to come home with more news and developments than you can shake a stick at, so this is going to take two posts to get it all in.

I went straight to Ipswich depot to see Barry Spurling, Engineering Manager, who as usual was extremely accommodating, informative and is a pleasure to talk to.  The first thing I noticed was 69005 was nowhere to be seen. That was because she was already out on the road. There will be more about my chat with Barry in the next post, with some jaw dropping news that has me really excited about the future of First in Ipswich, but for now I'll concentrate on 69005.

After leaving Barry, who had told me she was on the 88/89 Stowmarket route, I went back to Old Cattle Market, where the supervisor informed me I only had 10 mins to wait before she came in. Sure enough in 10 mins there she was and I was able to take pics outside and in.

First Ipswich 69005 AU05 DME  approaches Old Cattle Market. Note ads in place already
69005 showing off her what could be temporary new paint job
This is where I give the first piece of news I wasn't expecting. What you can see above is probably a temporary livery. Ipswich is to get its own livery, branding and name. Barry mentioned a prospective name but I'm not going to publish it as I'm sure it won't be the final choice. I hope not anyway! But he really emphasised that 69005 is really a prototype to show off the leather seats, and by the end of the summer will in all likelihood go back up to Rotherham to be repainted into the new Ipswich livery.

The seats on 69005 have the same leather as the X1 E400's although the original seats have been retained and recovered. I sat on a couple and they were comfy enough. I do think black leather might be better though for buses that are going to do more town work and have more feet put on them, stains etc. But heck it still looks good.

Interior of refurbished Volvo B7 69005 AU05 DME
New leather seating looking good
This is just the start of a new attitude and ambition for Ipswich. I'll be posting part two later tonight and believe me it is worth waiting for as I am truly excited about the future of First in Ipswich. The planned investment and development shows real commitment to the area and I can't wait to see it take shape.

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