Tuesday 3 June 2014

General Round Up

A lot of news today but not worth doing several separate posts so here we go, starting with...


Various blogs have announced details of the split of the X1 at Norwich, and the disruption for through passengers this willl cause, with a 30 min frequency between Norwich and Peterborough, and a reduced 20 min frequncy between Norwich and Yarmouth, although now all journeys will extend to Lowestoft. However what I can reveal is that between Yarmouth and Lowestoft the X1 will observe ALL stops on the route. That will mean that, as now, there is very little difference between the various routes between Lowestoft and Yarmouth, with the X1/1/1A and 7 all taking roughly the same time. It will also mean that vehicles other than E400's will be on the X1 as 7 E400's is nowhere near what a 20 min frequency between Lowestoft and Norwich will need.

Now are you all sitting down? Sure? Not holding a drink? Good. I travelled on an X1 E400 today. It was 33803, the one that has given First a lot of grief since it arrived. Well no more. Apart from an annoying creak by the front nearside top deck window - definitely a creak not a rattle - it was by far the quitest ride I've ever had on one of them. No rattles. I repeat NO RATTLES. Even the driver seemed gobsmacked. I have no idea what First have done to it but if they are doing it to all the fleet no one will be happier than me to shout it from the rooftops. Well done - for the moment 33803 is a great bus.

A gloriously rattle free 33803 leaves Yarmouth for Peterborough today

That's the good news about First. What I saw earlier in Lowestoft today did them no favours whatsoever. First staff were literally pulling customers away from Anglian's stop, thrusting timetables into their hand and "encouraging" them to get on the 99. They sounded like market traders flogging bowls of lemons. Anglian responded this afternoon with a tweet advising customers not to "accept any inferior imitations" to the 61, which I thought was quite restrained. I can't believe for a second senior management at First sanctioned what I saw today, but if they did they should note I heard the word "unprofessional" muttered by many customers while queueing for the X1.


Before that I had the pleasure of meeting Robert Collins, who has contributed to this site in the past, and who I took a pic of last week in the rain at Pakefield driving the 99's. Unbeknown to me it was not the first pic I had taken of Rob as he told me about his claim to fame while driving for Anglian. He was the one and only driver to ever take a gas bus on the 164's in its 6 months of operation, and I just happened to be walking to the church for a funeral when he pulled in at Wickham Market,and very annoyed I was as I couldn't jump on it to go to Sax! Really good to meet you and the perfect opportunity to post that pic I took of you and the gas bus in Wickham Market last year.

Rob driving Anglian's then 607 now 106, the only gas bus to ever visit Wickham Market on the 164
Finally tonight i got my Olympian fix today with 34108 on the 1320 to belton. A great ride, great bus and so pleased they are still going. Also saw 34111 on the 8's.


  1. Craziness: perhaps that's what the local First's new Director of Fun is for then? But seriously if it wasn't so pathetic, it would be a laughing stock.

  2. Thanks for the post Steve, although I have my own opinions on certain issues I must stay impartial. For obvious reasons. But will continue to help with photos and info if I can.

  3. Yes, I must emphasise that I had my chat with Rob before any other events at Lowestoft Bus Station yesterday and I wouldn't expect you to do anything but stay silent over other issues.

  4. smurfuk has taken the words out of my mouth, so I don't have much to add in that respect (to be honest, I probably could add a few bits, but I want to try and remain objective). Good on Anglian though - and with the 61 starting earlier, finishing later, and nicer buses being used on it, well, I for one can't say they're wrong.

    What I will say is this though; considering the "encouragement" with the 99, I don't suppose it comes as a great surprise to anyone that the X1 (East) has gone every 20 minutes throughout. I suspect the 7 E400s will be supplemented by Geminis, or whatever Yarmouth has left at the start of the day.

    Also - observing ALL stops en route. Really? Oh dear, that's not going to be pretty. Additionally, this means that when this all starts there'll be 8 buses an hour between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft - 3 X1s, 3 61s, and 1 each of the 1 and 1A, along with 9 buses an hour running along the traffic calmed Brasenose Avenue - 3 X1s, 2 2s and 4 8s. Hmm.

    One more thing - a positive comment about an X1 E400? Steve - are you ok? Do you need a lie down after that?? Haha :-)

  5. It was a real shock to the system, but a really good shock. I don't want to criticise vehicles everyday. I'd much rather say what a great ride I had, and what good quality the buses are. That journey on 33803 yesterday was the first chance I've had to say that about an X1 E400 for a long time. The fact the driver could hardly believe his luck too spoke volumes.

  6. I agree, I'd rather not be criticising vehicles everyday either, although First (and it is generally First) don't half provide some ammo. 32204 (if my eyes are right) has been spluttering around sounding desperately unhealthy for a while now (particularly this week), yet because Yarmouth are clearly short of buses they can't really pull her off service to see what's wrong.

    On topic though, now you've mentioned it, I must try out 33803 - I keep getting the likes of 33815 which isn't the quietest ride, and while the E400s are nice, I don't think I've had the best example of what they can provide quite yet, if you see what I mean.

  7. Totally agree. If you want a superb example of an E400 look for one of Norfolk Green's 13 reg examples - just what they should be like!

  8. Thanks for the reminder - that's about the only Norfolk Green vehicle type I've not tried yet, so that sounds like a good plan!