Last night saw me haring around East Suffolk as another Network Rail test train was in the area. Officially the PLPR in PLPR Test Train stands for Plain Line Pattern Recognition. Unofficially (meaning I've just made it up) it stands for Proper Locos Proper Racket and I wanted to hear as much racket as possible. Two 50 year old 37's were on duty, in far better nick than this particular 50yo, and pleasingly were different to the two that were on duty last month. This time I wanted a closer look so was at Lowestoft to see them come in.
This was the first time I had got close up to a test train and thanks to the outside darkness I was able to see inside one. There only appeared to be two NR staff on board but what they have in front of them looks like a TV production gallery.
|Hi tech stuff on the test train|
|37602 in the Lowestoft moonlight|
|37609 in the limelight, well floodlight anyway|
It was then time to hot wheel it down the A12 to Darsham, and see if my request for a show had been passed on. I think it's safe to say it had. This simply has to be heard over headphones. Both of those magnificent locos at full power. I honestly can't think of a better sound on the railways and they are British, and half a century old. Enjoy.
Moving on and you will have noticed that over the last couple of years I haven't been exactly complimentary about Go Ahead's management of their companies in East Anglia, particularly Anglian. I have always stressed my issues have not been with Anglian themselves, but Go Ahead's running of Anglian. Well it looks as though the disease is spreading. There have been many cancellations on both Hedingham and Chambers this week due to driver shortages. This afternoon the following statement from Hedingham appeared on Spotted Brightlingsea Facebook page in response to passenger complaints over the cancellations, and was published on Essex Buses Yahoo Group. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.
We are sorry that there have been cancellations
and delays on our Route 87 over the past two weeks.
We currently have a shortage of drivers and are
actively recruiting more. We have a vacancy of
six people but, even with our supervisors driving
buses and colleagues working overtime, we don’t
have enough people to run the full timetable service.
We are prioritising the journeys that school
children make and, to give you more certainty
about what services are running each day, we are
publishing a list of cancelled services on Twitter.
Being realistic it is likely to take a few weeks
more for us to recruit drivers and train them but
in the meantime we are working in partnership
with another local company from Monday to cover
some of our work alongside pursuing the option of
bringing in agency drivers as soon as we are able.
Thank you for your patience and understanding
during this difficult time. I’m sorry we’re not
able – even with our drivers working additional
shifts – to keep the full service running.
Gavin Hunter | Managing Director - Go East Anglia "
Finally I went shopping in Diss earlier today, and as luck would have it managed to spot Simonds recently purchased Scania Omnideckka. I'm fairly certain it's the first decker I've seen in Diss Bus Station and is accompanied by two Galloway Solos, one of them being one of the new Solo SR's, and a Simonds E200. Fair to say it was a bit soggy in Diss.
|Simonds Scania Omnidekka BV55 UCY|
That's it for this week, have a good weekend.