Tuesday 9 September 2014

EATM End Of Season Gala 2014

For the first time this year I was able to get out of my village on a Sunday and so off to Lowestoft for the annual End Of Season Gala at the East Anglia Transport Museum. That's the good news. The bad news is the camera on my new phone decided to pick this day to lose all itrs sharpness so my apologies for the poor quality pictures - I am currently having a monumental struggle with EE to get something sorted.

So after parking up at Lowestoft Station I waited to see what would come round the corner to take me to the museum. I wasn't disappointed when EATM's own Bristol Lodekka FL6G (formerly B) 557 BNG pulled into the station.

Bristol Lodekka FL6G 557 BNG at Lowestoft Station
I couldn't help thinking as we made our way to the museum that this 52 year old vehicle gave a decidedly better ride quality than most new deckers do. The seats were more comfortable, not a rattle to be heard and it was quieter all round.

So we got to the museum and I was immediately greeted by Sam and Kieran from Norwich Buses. Nice to meet you at long last, Kieran and I look forward to many chats in the future. I also spied Des Speed on traffic duty and went up to have a word with him, while noting E400 33423 had pulled up operating the Park and Ride service. Never one to miss an opportunity to take a pic of this magnificent vehicle I did so, then finally, after ten and a half months of blogging, got my first chat with Chris Speed, Business Manager of First Eastern Counties, who was driving the aforementioned mobile work of art! This was good news. Chris now knows I don't come equipped with horns and pointed ears, and I now know Chris is a really likeable, friendly guy who I look forward immensely to getting to know better even if his art appreciation is a little lacking! I spent a really productive and pleasant hour chatting to Chris while doing a couple of circuits on the P&R, discovered some revelations about his opinions on certain things which I'm not going to reproduce here, and no matter what happened for the rest of the day knew that my journey had been worth it. Good to meet you at long last, Chris.

I know, I know, but she just won't look the same in X1 colours. Note the destination screen which did scroll to say "museum" too!
I then met a gentleman who quite simply is a God in the bus world. Syd Eade has encouraged me from the word go with this blog, and is always prepared to supply pics and words of support when asked and finally we got to meet. He was with his simply amazing Leyland PD2, co-owned by Daniel Peart and Richard Alger, and my only regret of the day is that I didn't get to ride on it as other things took up my time. Syd, we are planning a drink at some point in the near future and I can't wait. Darn it that bus looks good inside and out! Syd kindly sent me a pic of their baby operating a dusk journey which looks better than anything I took on the day so it gives me pleasure to publish it here. Those were the days, Syd!

Syd's Leyland PD2 PBJ 2F looking great with lights on
 Another trip round Lowestoft was called for, this time on London Country RT3125. Beautifully restored I would happily ride on these any day, and judging by the looks we got from those who saw us pass by I'm not the only one. Funniest moment of the day was when two ladies made a dash for a bus stop thinking we were in service - shows not all passengers take notice of what colour the bus is!

RT3125 KXW 234 about to load up. Just wow!
I then spent the afternoon in the company of Roy from East Norfolk Bus Blog, who took delight in revealing the recent page views for bhis blog. Roy, I'm not jealous in the slightest, but it is a goal to aspire to! Also with us for a spot of lunch was Colin White, joint editor of  Eastern Transport Collection Society. A pleasure to meet you, Colin. You can learn so much from people like Colin, who have dedicated their lives to public transport, and the younger enthusiasts would do well to get to know the likes of Colin, who can impart much knowledge, tips and wisdom.

After looking round the museum with Roy, including a long chat with the owner of the newly painted Eastern Counties Leyland National featured in Sunday's News Round Up, where we were joined by Chris Speed which sparked a discussion on how all 4 Eastern Counties liveried buses (the National, Greenway, Bristol and VA479) could meet up for a one off photoshoot, it was time to end what had been a very worthwhile and productive day. I was hoping to go back to Lowestoft on Syd's PD2, but that was swapped for a Midland Red dual purpose Leyland Leopard,which brough back more memories than you can shake a stick at. I used to travel on these machines regularly as a boy going home from school courtesy of Maidstone & District, and very nearly bought one myself 20 odd years ago. That fell through but the ride on this old girl was just brilliant. Unfortunanetly my camera had just about given up the ghost when I took the pic, which is so annoying.

My thanks to EATM for putting on such a great event, and to everyone I met during the day, those I already knew and the people I met for a first time it was a pleasure to see you all, and here's to ShowBus in a couple of weeks.

Midland Red Leyland Leopard GOH 357N at Lowestoft Staion


  1. So wish I was there can't help living way to far away in Eastbourne what a good post though.

  2. Thanks Lou - you'll have to nag your Nan to take you there next time you come up. not buses every week but you'll like the old trolleybuses and trams too.

  3. Good luck with EE. How the heck do you get through to their CS, let alone get a phone repaired? As far as I can see their web service is completely mum on the matter, which I always thought was no accident. Fortunately my main phone is with 3 who allow you to do it all on the web, and are quick. The only time I thought I had to use them though, my monkey DiY worked! Proving Androids are for nutters!

    1. "How the heck do you get through to their CS, let alone get a phone repaired?"

      Call 150 and select the "I want to leave" option - you'll get through to someone pretty sharpish that way.Whether they'll actually help you when you get through though, that's a completely different matter.

  4. Another good luck with EE from me - you'll need it, horrid company, the only customer service department I've ever had to use the 'best of three rule' on too (3 calls, 3 different staff, take the best answer). All the bad habits of both Orange and T-Mobile in one homogeneous yellow and green blob, and the ~2 year (so far) 'upgrading' of their email system? Please. Smurf is right about their web service - if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it's probably a duck, shall we say.

    Like smurf I'm also on Three - considering the horror story I had with Orange when I had a phone go wrong with them (which I shan't scare you with), Three are a breath of fresh air in comparison.

    1. The trouble is I'm less than a month into a two year contract, and it will cost a fortune to get out of it. I was perfectly happy with orange for 7 and a half years,but EE are woefully behind. i think thbis is a case for going to the top, something I'm not afraid of doing. Luckily my very first HTC phone stilll has an adequate camera for static shots, but my ability to take moving images now is greatly reduced. Will be ok for ShowBus though.

      It could be quite a piece of theatre though before I get tings sorted. I'll keep you updated!