Tuesday 3 December 2013

Ipswich Exclusive

I was fortunate enough today to be given time for a chat by Barry Spurling, Depot Engineering Manager at First Ipswich. As a result I am able to clear up and clarify a few things. Volvo B7tl 32656 has arrived from Lowestoft and is in service (pic below). Sister 32655 is due tomorrow. There has been speculation regarding the future of 30887, even rumours saying she would go back to Lowestoft for a bit. This is NOT happening, and she will be transferred to Braintree in the next 2 - 3 weeks. The reason she is going is that she is too tall for the Ipswich washer - the reason Ipswich never got any of the ex X1 Geminis.

On the single deck front I can confirm that ex P&R Volvo B7rle's 69421 and 69430 have gone to Colchester as part of the arrangement for 32655/6 going to Ipswich. Scania Hard Seat 65676 has also gone to Clacton, and the next saloon to be withdrawn will be 61533. One of the ex Basildon Scanias currently VOR will be pressed back into service but that is it for the time being. No more transfers in or out are planned in the near future. It is hoped to start repainting the B7tl's next once all the ex P&R B7rle's are complete - only one more to go now. 69432 is now out of it's co-op wrap and it was out on the road today for the first time in new colours. Thanks to Mr Spurling for the tip off and fate for having it standing there about to depart when I returned from the depot! (pic below).

Those who think First are on the verge of pulling out of Ipswich can rest assured that is not the case. Mr Spurling didn't say it in these words, so I am not quoting him, but I get the impression First want a firm foothold on as many of the town routes as they can over the next 4 - 5 years, so that when Ipswich buses are eventually and inevitably sold off by the Borough Council First will be in a strong position. Could be an interesting future.

I would like to thank Mr Spurling for his kindness in giving his time spontaneously today. Not only does he clearly know the business but he is a really nice bloke too and I've known a few grumpy Depot Managers in my time!!

And so to today's pics. Pride of place has to go to 32656 which not 72 hours previously I had photographed in Beccles (see post below) and now here she is having gone up market and been to Felixstowe this morning!

Newly transferred Volvo B7tl 32656 AU05 MVA at Old Cattle Market

Newly repainted Volvo B7rle 69432 AU58 FFV finally out of its Co-op wrap

No less than 5 ex P&R Volvo B7rle's at Old Cattle Market. A rare sight indeed,

AND FINALLY something that made my day complete. Being Tuesday, Fareline's service 121 from Stradbroke was in town, using their rather striking Volvo B10M, but just look at the ticket machine - it's an old Setright. I owned a predecimal Setright when I was around 13 and if anyone knows of another operator that uses them then let me know!!

Fareline Volvo B10M  F94 CBD  at Old Cattle Market

No idea whose carrier bag that is!! Setright ticket machine in cab of Fareline Volvo B10M

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