I'm afraid I am the bearer of bad news. Really depressing news. At the moment First have a jewel in their crown, not just a jewel but a diamond equivilent to the Koh-i-Noor diamond in the Royal crown. It is widely acknowledged by bloggers and enthusiasts more experienced (older) than me that Enviro 400 33423 is the most photogenic bus around, arguably the most photogenic individual bus ever in this area. You can't look at a blog without seeing another pic of it, and I am no exception to that. I have seen people about to board an Anglian gas bus 7 at Yarmouth see 33423 come in behind and run to get on it. It is a head turner in a way I've never seen a bus turn heads before. It brings a smile to my face every single time I see it. It looks staggeringly beautiful with those tinted windows. That makes it unique. It has a unique interior with those brown and mustard leather seats, and really cute LED interior lighting. It is a one off, totally individual and judging by the fact it is always spotless very popular at Yarmouth depot too.
So now the decision has been taken to repaint 33423 into X1 livery. To rob it of its individuality and paint it like 24 others. Correction 26 others as apparently 2 of the former X1 Geminis are getting the same treatment. The question that is screaming out is in the name of all that's holy WHY?????
Right now 33423 is only operating on the Lowestoft - Norwich part of the route, and even with the two Geminis repainted there will still be buses not X1 branded on the route so it can't be so every bus on the route is branded. Is it because it's going to be transferred to Kings Lynn again? Who knows but the way Yarmouth are being robbed of buses at the moment anything is possible. Is it because it gets more attention than the X1 E400's? No idea but whatever the reason to me it is just unfathomable, and this decision has been met with total dismay from everyone I have spoken to. I believe everything possible should be done to try and persuade First to change their minds on this - you just see how many pics get taken of 33423 at ShowBus next month - and why is 33423 going to ShowBus and not one of the X1 E400's? Because 33423 is unique that's why and they know it. Paint another Gemini by all means but not, please not your Crown Jewel. It's the equivilent of painting the Flying Scotsman into Greater Anglia livery!
There is now a Facebook page for everyone to register your opinion on this. Visit it please and give it a like and show First that we care. Click here.
|Cameron Robinson's superb pic of 33423 at Hemsby a few weeks ago|
As you will know if you have seen the news today it has not been a good day on the railways. Overhead power line problems at Huntingdon last night crippled the ECML, and as I type at 1600 today there are still ongoing probs there. Over here once again overunning engineering works at Ipswich has caused utter chaos. Mainline services did not run between Stowmarket and Colchester until 1030, with minimal road replacement. Services between Ipswich and Felixstowe/Woodbridge are suspended for the rest of the day. Ipswich/Cambridge services are starting/terminating at Stowmarket and services from London that normally terminate at Ipswich are terminating at Colchester. Yet again the 1810 from London to Norwich has been cancelled. Incidentally the reason the 1810 is so often a casualty is because the set on that service only does one trip up and one trip back - the 0624 from Norwich and 1810 back. So if there is a unit shortage that is the one to go as it affects the fewest number of services.
But the reason I posted this today is because I saw on the lunchtime news that the member of Parliament for Clacton, the Honourable Douglas Carswell MP (Con) was getting his knickers in a twist saying GA should be stripped of their franchise because of this morning's choas, thus proving his horrifying ignorance of how the railways work. Greater Anglia pay Network Rail to use the tracks, like Megabus would pay whoever maintains the M6 Toll Road to drive on it. To strip GA of their franchise because of overunning engineering works would be like taking away Megabus's operating licence because the road was shut. You cannot run trains on a track that is shut. Simple. Mr Carswell you have the perfect name for someone who is breathtakingly ignorant of public transport, and as a public figure commenting on it you have made a laughing stock of yourself.
I was alerted today via an old friend to an article in today's Guardian about a report by the think tank IPPR about how public transport outside London can be improved, by cities outside London adopting a similar model to TfL, introducing more regulation for bus services. It also gives some interesting figures, for example since deregulation in 1986 bus fares have risen no less than 36% above inflation. It is a fascinating report and well worth the read for those of you who are interested in public transport above and beyond photography or number collecting. The report can be found by clicking here and then downloading the full report by clicking the link on the right hand side of the page.
Norwich Bus Rally
Despite being unable to make Norwich Bus Rally myself I have had reports from those who did make it, and it seems to have been a great day for all concerned. Syd Eade has kindly sent some pics to me, most notably of his own vehicle, Leyland PD2 PBJ 2F and it gives me pleasure to post them on here. Thanks, Syd, and hope to see you at the EATM end of season Gala on 7th Sept
|Looking good - and so's the bus!! From left Richard Alger, Daniel Peart and Syd Eade in front of their baby!|
|Leyland PD2 PBJ 2F looking stunning in the sun. Oh for a time machine to see them in their glory days!|
|Two great looking vehicles, one about to be ruined, showing a destination neither will be seen at!|
It was my pleasure today to speak with Phil Magill who is in charge of contracts and everything to do with buses at Suffolk County Council. I was calling regarding an issue regarding Suffolk Links, and it was only after a bit I realised his importance and he realised was talking to Suffolk's most beligerent blogger! Anyway a really good chat about everything ensued and I asked for an official interview. Although due to the way Council information is released - ie through the publicity department he was unable to grant me an interview, he has kindly offered to do a Q & A email interview so he can clear his answers in advance. We have not put a time on when I send the questions so if anyone has a question you would like me to ask Mr Magill then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of the week and I will add them to my list.