Wednesday 6 August 2014

Beestons Special

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited up to Beeston's depot on Hadliegh Road. Beestons are pretty unique in that their depot actually lies on a bus route operated by them - Caister Road is the only other one I can think of off hand (IB don't count as that is a free Council bus), so I hopped on one of their glorious Scania Omnidekkas at Ipswich and took the 20 min journey to just the other side of Hintlesham.

Beestons Scania Omnidekka MX04 MYW sits at OCM Ipswich
On arrival I was met by the extremely likeable and friendly Dave Burrows and immediately discovered we were on Kentish Bus at the same time, only different depots! He then gave me a guided tour of the depot, and in particular the ex Menzies Scania bendibuses I had gone to see. At the moment there are 4 of them - YN53 GHA/B/K/V with 2 more due today and another 5 to follow.

Now he had warned me in advance they were photographically inaccessible and so that proved to be the case. However I did get a couple of interior shots of one, and even by Scania hard seat standards these have the hardest, most revolting seats I have ever seen. I was assured they would probably not remain.

Interior of Beestons ex Menzies Scania bendibus YN53 GHB
Yuck! Bring your own cushion!
Despite 11 of them coming Beestons have absolutely no idea what they are going to do with them. However, as they have been Scania maintained from new they are in excellent condition, and the one I looked at had only done 350k miles, which is nothing for a 12yo bus. It seems likely that a couple of them will be prepared for seevice, and then trialed on different routes so a decent assessment of their suitibilty can be made. I think that will determine if they are then kept and used, or sold on. It will be interesting to see how it develops and I have been promised updates as and when they occur.

A varied mix of vehicles at Beestons yard yesterday - just wish they wee parked facing forward. The bendibuses are behind that lot against a fence!
Now privately owned ex IB Leyland Olympian D138 FYM resides at Hadliegh Rd. Ex Arriva Mercedes bendibus in background
My grateful thanks to Dave for giving me his time, and really great to talk about past KB times! I hope to be a fairly regular visitor in the future. I'll leave you with not a bus but a Scamell truck, now believed to be owned by one of Billy Smart's Circuses. not a bus or train but too eye catching to not publish.

If it has more than 4 wheels and looks good then it fits on the blog!


  1. Hiya Steve, just a point regarding depots with services, doesn't First in Norwich run past Vulcan Road depot on the 38, and also past that and in to Lansdowne Road depot on the 31?

    Stagecoach in Peterborough run past their depot in Millfield on their citi1 route every ten minutes.

    Additionally, here in good old Lincolnshire, Delaine in Bourne run past their depot on a few journeys; Stagecoach's Skegness depot is situated on the A158 towards Lincoln, and staff use the 6/6A to alight at a bus stop on the main road, and then walk on to the industrial estate and bus depot - I think it's a couple or three minute walk.
    A little further afield, EYMS' bus depot is situated on Anlaby Road, and has many of the companies routes passing it.

    So the situation with Beestons depot isn't unique at all - indeed, it's far from it.

  2. Hang on I'll just scribble them all down for future reference! Thinking local to me First in Ipswich and Lowestoft don't, Ipswich buses don't except for a council free service which counts but doesn't if you see what I mean, Anglian Bus don't, Konectbus don't, Borderbus don't. Galloways don't, Coach services don't, as far as I know Sanders don't, Ambassador don't. I don't know about Simmonds and to be honest until they get a better fleet First in Norwich don't interest me at all and I couldn't take you to one of their depots if you held a gun to my head!

    I guess it varies from area to area but it would certainly make my life easier if they all did around here. Glad you are on board and reading though, Damon, thanks for commenting, and if you ever want to be a guest poster doing Lincolnshire Specials let me know! I'm hoping to recruit around the country for periodic specials so the blog can appeal to a wider audience.