Saturday 19 April 2014

E400 Excursion

As promised I set out today to sample for the first time Konect's 3 and 6 services to Watton. I also later ended up at Fakenham this afternoon, have been on 4 different E400's today, and found myself having to mentally rewrite this report 4 times!!

My first port of call, after arriving from Halesworth on one of Anglian's Scania Omnicitys (really like them) was Watton. The purpose of my trip to Watton was to see how Konect's E400 have coped with the constant punishment of Norfolk's B roads. After travelling on 611 on the 3 to Watton the words "not well" were in my head. Very rattly, by far the most rattly E400 of Konect's I had been on thus far.

Konectbus 611 SN62 AVO at Watton
Not sure about Watton. First time I've been there and might be the last. Mind you the cafes there seem cheap and good quality so not all dubious! Anyway I waited so I could come back on the 6 and was rewarded with 612. It is amazing that they come from the same batch, and presumably were assembled by the same people. Such a difference. No rattles and a much quieter ride. I prefer the 3 to the 6 though as a route. So the headline now read "none the wiser"!

Konectbus 612 SN62 AVR at Norwich Bus Station
I hadn't decided what to do with the afternoon when I got back to Norwich but that was settled when I saw a Norfolk Green E400 sitting in the layover area. So a trip to Fakenham was called for. Last year I rode this particular E400 to Spalding when it was virtually brand new, and I joked with the driver that we should make the most of it as it would be rattling in 6 months. Well I was wrong. Very wrong. It is IMMACULATE! Quite simply the best journey on an E400 I've had, and certainly the quietest. And unlike the others it's not on a dedicated route so goes all over the place. Loved it! Headline now read "Norfolk Green Magicians"

Norfolk Green 10055 SN13 EBB - a truly nice bus

I was expecting an Optare Tempo or Solo on the way back but no, round the corner came another E400. However this one, 10053 wasn't in the same state of excellence as 10055. Not by any stretch of the imagination the worst I've been on, but certainly not as good as her sister. But then of course she is a year older. I guess today NG 10055 was by far the best, 10053 and Konnect 612 about level and Konect 611 at the bottom.

Norfolk Green E400 10053 SN12 EHO
 So I am now confused. Today has provided no answers at all. I can't judge the Konect vehicles out on the 6 and 3 as I have nothing to compare them with because nothing else runs on those routes. You will always get discrepancies within batches anyway - that has always happened. There has really only been one genuine conclusion from today - Norfolk County Council: some of the roads are in a truly awful condition and need resurfacing urgently.

Apart from that my day riding the E400's has only thrown up three words - inconclusive, inconsistent, and incomprehensible! Oh well it was a nice day out! Happy Easter everyone.

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