Tuesday 28 October 2014

Ipswich Interrupted

Yesterday saw me in Ipswich with the intention of getting pics of as many of the recent transfers from Colchester as possible. It didn't work out that way. After a decent ride in on Volvo B7rle 66985, complete with excellent WiFi I got to Old Cattle Market to be faced with the first interruption to my plans. However, as interruptions go this was unexpected and rather good. Carters recent acquistion 915 was sitting gleaming in her all red paint job. A classic 1997 Volvo Olympian R915 RYO.

Carters 915 Volvo Olympian R915 RYO sits in extremely bright sunshine at OCM Ipswich
 915 started her life as London General NV115 working routes in South London before moving North to Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire with fleet number 16874, although it seems she occasionally crossed the border into Yorkshire too. Here she is in Doncaster in April 2009. Note the roof fleet numbers

Stagecoach 16874 in Doncaster in April 2009  pic by emdjt42
After Stagecoach she moved to Classic Bus North West, based in Blackpool, and saw regular service along the Golden Mile before Carters bought her this year.

So having seen her I wanted to ride her and was not disappointed when she operated the 1220 service 92 to Manningtree via the glorious Constable country which looked just stunning in the Autumn sunshine. A great ride, no rattles to speak of, comfy traditional bus seats and quiet. However, and this is a rarity for me, the sun wasn't shining in the driver's cab. I seldom criticise individual drivers but this guy was an exception. Surly, unfriendly,and decidedly bad tempered. At Manningtree I asked if there was time to take a quick pic. He gave me 10 seconds, and as I dashed out to take it he closed the doors and made as if to drive off leaving me there. He did let me back on but barely had my foot made contact with the platfrom than he was off. I did note we then waited time at Brantham for 2 mins, which was approx 3 mins down the road. Impressed by the bus, Carters, but highly unimpressed by the driver, who is the sort who gives other, decent drivers a bad name.

Anyway having arrived back at Ipswich I thought I'd nip round First's depot to get an update on the various comings and goings. I only intended to be a few mins before getting the pics I originally set out to do, but I sort of got chatting to Barry, and the best part of two hours later came out blinking not quite sure if it was still the same day! But I got the info i needed, and I think I remember most of it but my God you need decent powers of recall at the moment. I reported on the transfers yesterday in the round up, but to add to that I can tell you that ex P&R B7rle 69427 has returned from Rotherham - I saw her but wasn't quick enough to get a pic. B7tl 32653, which has been of the road having an engine rebuild is now back but has gone up to Rotherham for refurb. Coming back this week will be 69423/4, and ex Essex B7rle 66983 will be going up. Still to come from Essex are 66980 and I think 66975, although I'm not 100% on the last one - might be 76, but whichever it is they are both VOR at the moment. When they arrive that will mean 69431/3 will go the other way. 69006 will be the last transfer in, this time from Norwich, but she will not be transferred until on loan B7tl 30888 is returned to Yarmouth, which will see another President going to Norwich. Keeping up? The last vehicle to be repainted at Ipswich will be what was the first to gain leather seating back in the early Summer 69005, together with 69428, which is being held back because the ex Essex B7rle's still in Barbie livery will go first.

Well I say 69428 will be held back. A fraction of her has been done already, as the following pic shows. Here she is sporting a dark grey eye and nothing else. I believe the eye was going to be replaced so this will become a collectors item!

69428 complete with RAF Blue left eye!
 Returning at the back end of last week was the first 05 reg decker to be refurished, 32655. She was still having her vinyls applied this afternoon so a decent pic wasn't easy but here she is.

32655 having her decorations applied. Incidentallyif you have just noticed what i did I have brought it to their attention.
Closest to the camera is Scania L94 65588. Her MOT is due up soon but it is likely she will get a stay of execution, be given an MOT and sent to Essex to help out there. The fate of remaining Scania 65679 isn't clear yet.

So to recap the only members of the fleet at Ipswich pre refurbishment programme still to be done are 69005/428 and deckers 32488/91/4/656.  Phew! Once again my thanks to Barry and the staff for being so darn friendly and accommodating. Barry has also agreed to a future interview for a feature about how the engineering side operates and organises things so buses stay on the road. Something to look forward to.

Now one thing for your attention Ladies and Gentlemen. A vinyl has been applied to VA479, and I would like your views. I would think the idea is that this will be applied to all the eventual heritage liveried buses around the region when they appear. As I understand it opinions are being sought, so anyone wishing to express theirs will be welcomed. I'm sorry it's only a close up. When I go back to Ipswich later in the week to get the pics I meant to take yesterday I'll try and get a wider angled shot so you can make a better judgement, but for now here is the close up.

Seen on the offside of VA479. All opinoins welcomed.

 And finally today in a fanfare of extreme understatement the real time information boards at Old Cattle Market have been switched on. I have seen no hint of formal announcement, but they were up and running today, and not before time either. Enjoy the sun everyone.

The real time destination boards at Old Cattle Market

1 comment:

  1. Pity about the driver, but that old 221? (or did it become something like that later) was my first bus to work when I was training, decades ago. It was the best part of the day, and I've never managed to say that about a commute since. (Some nice stop off points too, but no-one's too interested. Probably a blessing for those of us that are, though!) Poor old Essex, I see it's living down to its reputation as the dumping ground of England. I think the buzz word is dysfunctional.The sign's a bit unimaginative perhaps, how about showing a bit of that heritage; and why do we always say too much: "Proudly" Supporting? Not sure I've seen anyone unproudly supporting?