Saturday 27 December 2014

Review Of The Year 2014 Part One

Welcome to my review of the year, which so far has involved 318 posts including this one, resulting in some 117.000 page views and no end of verbal diarrhoea from yours truly!

I was looking through the posts for January and everyone was anticipating the withdrawal of the last Yarmouth Olympians, 34109 and 34186. One year on and history is repeating itself with the pending withdrawal from public service of the Yarmouth Olympians, except that over the year 3 more were ressurected - 34108/11/4 with 34186 herself only being saved thanks to the sacrificial donation of a gearbox from her sister 34187, which proved to be the last act of that noble machine. However withdrawal from public service won't necessarily be the end for the Yarmouth Olympians and they will remain in use on Bernard Matthews contract services, and I hope will get the odd running day on special services so us enthusiasts can still sample their far superior ride quality again. So I guess the first pic of the review has to be one of these incredible Olympians who have a desire for life so high they have cheated the scrap yard numerous times now.

34109 in Bradwell
January also saw me compare the E400's of Konect and First which gave a landslide victory to Konect. At the time the X1 E400's were rattling and shaking themselves to bits and it must be said their future didn't look very bright. To read the review which became one of my most popular posts click here. One year on and thanks to a new maintainence regime they are in much better condition and don't rattle nearly as much. It is just a shame that from this January the X1 will become a mockery of itself as instead of proudly boasting the longest bus route in the country it is now basically two separate routes in 6 sections with destination displays unable to show through destinations thanks to ridiculous EU rules.

Speaking of the X1 it was in January that the last ex X1 Gemini returned in First Corporate colours. Anyone remember which one it was? Ok here's a subtle hint!

37571 gleaming at Lowestoft on Jan 8th 2014
It was also in January that I met Roy from East Norfolk Bus Blog for the first time. Roy has become a good friend and a real source of support when my motivation levels have needed topping up. He is the daddy of bloggers and will remain so for a long time to come.

Anglian launched their connected route 7/61/62 from Norwich to Southwold/Halesworth (Beccles) via Yarmouth and Kessingland. Despite being subject to the same daft rules now affecting the X1 this has been a big success and I hope will go from strength to strength with timetable tweaks to allow for unavoidable delays.

Towards the end of January I announced that the blog had achieved 10,000 page views in just over 3 months. Currently I'm getting that in around 3 weeks which shows just how far the blog has come in the course of the year.

Feburary was a month for repaints. Lots of them. Can you guess which vehicle came back repainted? No? Tough luck as I'm not going to show it because if Chris Speed has dominated the papers this year then this particular bus has dominated the blog pages! So instead I'll show what I consider to be the second best repaint of the month - Ipswich Buses hybrid livery applied to Scania Omnidekka 62. Here is Dave Warren's superb pic originally published on 23rd Feb.

Ipswich Buses 62 at Tower Ramparts Feb 2014    pic (c) David Warren
Another highlight of Feburary was the chance to sample a different type of gas bus and compare it to the MAN examples in the Anglian fleet. The Scania E300 demonstrator came to Anglian and it must be said did not meet with universal approval - to read my review click here. This bus achieved fame a few weeks ago when it became the first bus to run on gas produced from food and human waste - I still say the reg says it all!

Scania E300 gas bus demonstrator YT13 YUK at Market Gates on 27th Febvwhile on loan to Anglian
It was also a mixed month on the railways with some wild weather around. The main line to the South West at Dawlish was washed away, resulting in a quite remarkable restoration in a comendably quick time. London Underground introduced their new Circle Line trains, smaller versions of the new Metropolitan Line trains which replaced trains that had basically been around all my living memory!

The old and the new Circle Line trains pass at Edgware Rd Station on 20th Feb
February also saw regular use for the most photographed train of the year - the dubbed "short set" which has been trundling between Norwich and Lowestoft/Yarmouth most of the year due to a shortage of DMU's. Using a pair of 47's that have been changed on a regular basis I got my first sight of it in the company of Roy at Acle, and a few days later caught it from Lowestoft to Norwich on a gloriously sunny day which enabled me to take one of my favourite pics of the year at Reedham Bridge

47818 steams away from Reedham Bridge on 24th Feb
Other noteable events in Feburary include the first immigrant from First Leicester to arrive at Yarmouth. Volvo B7tl 32062 was the first of 8 to arrive allowing some of the Presidents to go to Norwich, B12 coaches 20514/5 to move to other duties and B10B Renowns 60807/8 to be converted for driver training.

It was a pivotal month for some new "old boys" on the block. BorderBus, who are run by the guys who started and built up Anglian Bus was awarded its first service route in the shape of the 521 between Halesworth and Aldeburgh, to start in March. A brand new mini E200 was purchased and their operation of the service has proved very popular.

March wasn't a very eventful month it seems, going through back posts. First announced that the Summer Service 3 would not be Routemaster operated this year, which wasn't the most popular decision of the year. Just about the most exciting thing to happen was the return to Norwich Crown Point of a DMU that was stranded at Lowestoft in the storm surge of December 2013. 153314 was away for 110 days as paddling clearly didn't suit her and I was lucky enough to see her at Norwich on her first day back.

Single car unit 153314 at Norwich on March 26th
Part Two will cover April - June when things get interesting at Ipswich and Summer begins elsewhere.


  1. Great post as always - especially as it mentions me! Thanks for your kind words

  2. No probs, Roy. Meant every word, buddy - you are an inspiration and source of calmness for us all!

  3. A very interesting post. Some good-looking buses, too!