Thursday 6 November 2014

The Only Way Is THROUGH Essex

It is if you're travelling from East Suffolk to Kent by bus anyway. I don't get to Essex often enough but the problem is not getting there but getting home in one day. So a visit to the parental units in Kent gave me the opportunity to get a passing view of the Essex scene. It is just as quick to go from Ipswich to Colchester via Manningtree as opposed to direct (should that really be the case?) and so in the pouring rain I got off Carters comfortable Trident and waited in anticipation for one of First Essex's finest to convey me to Colchester.

And so of course, it had to be, why didn't I just know it would be bum numbing Scania 65672 that only transferred from Ipswich a few days ago. Couldn't be one of the ex P&R Volvos could it!! Having said that all it needs is decent seats and it would be a half decent bus as for a 51 reg it was remarkably non rattly.

Now back with First Essex Scania 65672 in Osbourne St Colchester
Also seen within a couple of minutes was a vehicle soon to go the other way. Volvo B7rle 66976 is still adorned in the over all Co-op ad previously worn by 69009 in Ipswich and 66957 at Norwich.

66979 serving out her Essex days
Then my luck changed. The 71 between Colchester and Chelmsford is normally operated by Scania Omnicitis and I was fortunate enough to get one that has just come out of the paintshop. I think you'll agree that 65031 looks rather smart in the new livery.

Scania Omniciti 65031 on the 71 to Chelmsford
Everyone is getting leather seating these days but these Omniciti's have had leather from the start and they are without doubt the most comfortable leather seats going. A very nice and comfortable ride to Chelmsford ensued.

The really comfortable leather on 65631
I then had to get to Lakeside on one of those ghastly Volvo 7900 hybrids. Well two to be precise as I broke the journey at Basildon. I need to get down to Basildon for a proper feature as thereafter some interesting vehicles down there but there was no time for any pics as my break was only 15 nmins and I had to eat in that time. So down to Lakeside to connect with the X80 Ensignbus to Bluewater, and at last I managed to get on one of their ex Kent Top Travel Canterbury P&R Volvo B9tl Olympus beauties! Not that impressed with the hard seating, but the view from the front top deck of these things is incredible.

Ensignbus Volvo B9tl Olympus PO58 NPK at Lakeside
And if you have a decent view from the top deck it means that photo opportunities like this happen when crossing the QE2 bridge between Essex and Kent.

Looking towards London from the apex of QE2 bridge
So I had arrived in Kent. Two more buses to go which were an Arriva 04 red Volvo B7tl ALX400 and a not very nice 03 reg mini Dart operated by Nu-Venture of Aylesford but it was pitch black by then.

However I had made the journey using 9 different buses with 7 different operators. Total delay - zero. In fact I arrived an hour early as the delays I had accounted for just didn't happen I find that highly impressive and a big thumbs up and thank you to all the operators concerned. I might add that had I had to pay a single for every journey it would have cost me £34.15, which is still considerablty cheaper than a standard single train ticket bought on the day.

Today I'm travelling from Kent to Newcastle for the proncely sum of £1, and post will hopefully follow tomorrow. To finish this one it seems somoen has already got their 64 reg Streetlites, and it must be said they do look pretty nice. The next few weeks testing out and reviewing the First ones at Norwich and Yarmouth will be interesting.

One of Arriva's new Streetlites GN64 DXO at Bluewater

1 comment:

  1. Hi Steve. Very interesting journey. Just one minor correction, 65031 was actually repainted in January. It is unique without a magenta band and since repaint has not received fleet names of any kind. I don't agree with you about the seats though, I find them very slippery and keep sliding down! Regards, Adam