The first major news of the year was Anglian's Operations Manager, Philip Eden, leaving the company. The post created some controversy (see here) but since then Alastair Strong has been installed as the new Operations Manager and Mr Eden is now working for Lynx in Kings Lynn.
The same week First Ipswich launched their new "Fresh Start" bus cleaning programme, and my word it has made a difference. The brainchild of friend and all round nice bloke Paulo van Krieken I was one of a select few invited to see the programme in action (see here). It has proved so successful the programme has been introduced in Norwich, although to be fair they haven't got the fleet yet for it to have the visual impact it has at Ipswich, and is expected to be extended to Yarmouth and Lowestoft in the near future.
|69426 getting the Fresh Start treatment at First Ipswich depot in January|
On the same day I presented STEVE Awards to First Ipswich, Chris Speed and Ipswich Buses. This resulted in the blog getting mentioned in Route One magazine, the first blog ever to do so.
Finally on a memorable day I rode and reviewed quite simply the best Demonstrator I've ever been on. Ipswich Buses had a Mercedes Citaro on loan for a week, and it made a great change to be impressed by a new bus (see here).
|The cavernous interior on the Mercedes Citaro demonstrator|
Speaking of Kings Lynn a couple of days later I was in Maidstone catching up with some vehicles that were regular sightings at Kings Lynn. Four of Norfolk Green's Irisbus Agorolines were bought by Nu-Venture of Aylesford and I was lucky enough to get a ride and inside information on them, as well as pics of all 4 of them (see here).
|Former Norfolk Green Agoroline 39898 GX07 BAU now with Nu-Venture in Kent|
Returning to February and Abelio Greater Anglia proudly launched the first of their refurbished Mk III coaches on the Norwich - London Intercity services. I was at Norwich to get pictures of the new coach on the first day out (see here).
|The rather grey interior of the first AGA refurbished coach 12013|
|A line up of Ollies at Hedingham's Tollesbury depot|
|Ex Anglian 427 in Beestons' workshop|
|The transformed Scania|
|One of the CIG driving coaches on the low loader at Beccles|
Over in Yarmouth and the programme to convert the ALX400 Volvos to DDA compliant saw the first example return in the shape of 32061, sporting new destination screens and a repaint into corporate livery. The same day saw BorderBus reveal their new acquisition for the enhanced 146 (see here).
|32061 looking transformed in March|
Over at Anglian the first refurbished ex Metrobus Omnidekka arrived and was reviewed (see here), and they also announced some major changes to their network commencing in May (see here). Ipswich buses are also making some changes to their routes in the East of Ipswich, also to commence in May.
And that's just about it for the first quarter of 2015. One last thing to mention. It has been widely reported that the open top service in Norwich was being operated by an on loan Olympian advertising Colchester Zoo. Thanks to Cameron Robinson I can bring you a pic of the usual ex Kentish Bus Olympian G520 VBB back in Norwich on Friday.
|The regular bus for the Norwich open top tour is back.|