Pride of place today was going to be the arrival of ALX400 in the new livery, and a photo opportunity probably never to be repeated, but no. That can wait because pride of place today goes to the First Ipswich staff who have excelled themselves today in a way that made me proud to be using them.
It started with 65589 from Saxmundham, which a few tears ago I'd have been really happy with, but now not so much. Fortunately a chap from Leiston who is into transport I haven't seen for ages was on board and we nattered the whole journey which made it seem a lot quicker. However, as we were approaching Ipswich a young girl in a buggy was travel sick on the bus. I have seen drivers in the past create a right song and dance over something like that, take buses out of service transferring passengers and the like. Not Lushi Lavdosh, who has been a driver at Ipswich for 10 years now. He stopped the bus, somehow cleared the mess up, made sure the girl was ok, gave her a tube of Smarties for when she got off the bus (checking with Mum first) so she instantly forgot she had been sick, arranged for the bus to be cleaned at Ipswich and we carried on. Outstanding professionalism and empathy, and a credit not just to First but the industry as a whole. So pleased I was on that bus to witness it. A pleasure to meet you, Lushi (really hope I've spelled that right) and hope to board your bus again soon.
So I wandered down to the depot in hope more than expectation as I had heard some days ago that 32490 was due back this week. So you can imagine the grin on my face when I got there and 32487 was standing on the forecourt gleaming in the sun. It appears not even the depot were expecting her so a surprise all round. However, I have to say that I think the new front suits the deckers more than anything else. Judge for yourselves.
|Volvo B7tl 3287 AU53 HKE in her new colours|
|A shot from the rear - just look at those wheels - superb!|
|A nice welcome for passengers|
While I was there I noticed B7rle's 69532/3 together in the depot. I thought there might be some significance to that and so it proved when I was informed that they are off to Colchester tonight. In return 66985 arrived last night and 66986 will follow if it passes an inspection today. Another decker comes back from Rotherham tomorrow - probably 32490 but could easily be 32486 as they were expecting 32490 last night and look what arrived instead!
|69532 stands behind her sister 69533 about to be prepared for transfer to Colchester|
|Scania 65690 stands forlornly waiting to be picked up for scrapping|
And so to the grand finale. I wandered back round to Old Cattle Market and 32487 was already there, waiting to replace 32655 on the 66's which doesn't have guide wheels. It was standing next to B7rle 69009, which made a great photo, and you were meant to see it here. However parked up opposite was E200 44519 and it was a shame I couldn't get the three together. So I hung around with intent hoping the E200 would be the first to be used and hey presto it was! To typify the outstanding attitude of First staff today the driver agreed to momentarily reverse her next to the other two and so I was able to take the pic below, the true new face of First Ipswich. A few weeks ago another enthusiast had probs at Old Cattle Market and I posted condemning that. It gives me so much joy to report the exact opposite today. The staff at First Ipswich have truly excelled themselves today, and both I, and those others involved are extremely grateful.
|The New Look - Volvo B7rle 69009, B7tl 32487 and E400 44519 posing at Old Cattle Market|