Wednesday 22 October 2014

Anniversary Post: Interview With Philip Eden Part Two

In Part One of my interview with Philip Eden, Operations Manager at Anglian Bus, which can be read by clicking here, I reported on the changes made to the company since Mr Eden arrived some 18 months ago now, and the respomses to specific points made in my recent email. In this second and final part I'll reveal a bit about the future, and current fleet developments.

As mentioned in part one Anglian Bus is now in a period of consolidation after major changes to the operation, and downsizing of the fleet. Apart from a few tinkerings to timetables to aid punctuality there are no major plans for development or expansion in the near future. Indeed Mr Eden took the opportunity to quash a long standing rumour. The name"Go-Ahead East" has been banded around for a few months now, particularly with regard to the X1 corridor. However Mr Eden insisted it was complete twaddle and like a most rumours it was simply that - a rumour. He pointed out that many Go-Ahead companies retained their own identity, such as Brighton & Hove and Metrobus, Chambers and Hedingham, and it would be totally against current policy to merge Anglian and Konect, albeit that they are sister companies. He also confirmed, much to my disappointment that there will be no further gas buses, despite them being 30% more efficient on fuel. A major reason for this is that they have no sell on value, and to be fair that is a valid point as few companies have the infrastructure to accommodate gas buses. How likely is it that one of them will go into private preservation, for example.

Something you don't normally get to see - the gas tank of a gas bus!
Another rumour that had been circulating was the arrival of some Volvo Geminis next year. A good rumour that one because originally that had been the plan. However no more. Instead early next year, probably around February time will be three Scania Omnicity Deckers from Metrobus. As yet no further details are available, ie how old/which part of Metrobus etc. However they will be converted to single door and refurbished like the Konect Geminis were, although it's not known yet who will be carrying out the work. Something I neglected to ask is which livery they would be painted into - the "old" swirly livery or the "new" one as adorned by 229, so if anyone from Anglian is reading this can you let me know please, as well as if you have any plans for WiFi, which is something else I forgot!

The five year lease on the Streetlites runs out in July 2015, and I got the distinct impression that it will not be renewed. However it shoud be remembered that those Streetlites were virtually prototypes, and were the first of their kind in this country, so I guess it was inevitible there would be issues. No idea what might replace them yet.

After the meeting with Mr Eden had concluded Dave Jordan took me to the place many have made a pilgramage to - the graveyard at the bottom of the depot.  I was given the privilage of taking pics too.

A sad sight, but inevitible in the end.
 However it is not all bad news from the graveyard. A lot of these vehicles have become donors and keep other vehicles going. For example in Part One I posted a pic of Optare Excel 229. She is only on the road thanks to 216 giving up many of her components, as seen below.

Optare Excel 216, giving her parts so 229 may live on!
But for me the most impressive news came next. I'm sure most of you remember the Solo that caught fire in spectacular style earlier in the year. 958 AO57EXA combusted quite spectacularly in Filby in May and I got a close up view yesterday which made it all the more remarkable to me that no one got hurt, as the damage is extreme to say the least. However despite that parts of 958 still live on.

There was a pic of the rear of fire hit Solo 958 here, but since Anglian have requested its removal here are some cute puppies!
 It was recently reported that Solo 959 AU08GLY had re-entered service after a long period off the road. Well I am delighted to reveal that 959 now carries the engine of 958, and probably other bits too!  I think that's quite something to be honest, so well done to all concerned. There don't appear to be any pics of her yet complete with new fleet names so here is a classic I found on Flickr which as she was on the 81's yesterday seemed appropriate. Reproduced under CCL you can access John Carter's Flickr page by clicking here.

Solo 958 (then 358) with Scania 416 at Yarmouth.  Pic John Carter
 As a foot note after being driven back to Beccles by Dave Jordan I promptly left my camera on Scania 451, which I had to myself between Beccles and Yarmouth. I realised fairly soon what I'd done and reported it to Anglian stating route, time and vehicle. I'm pleased to say I got a call this morning saying they've got it and I'll be reunited with my camera tomorrow. Cheers guys - top service.

My thanks go to Philip Eden and Dave Jordan for their time and hospitality in making my visit so productive and enjoyable, for the transport to and from the depot, and for the invitation to contact them for clarification as and when required.


  1. When you say OmniCity deckers, is this a confirmed 100% accurate fact, or could they be OmniDekka's?

    It seems Metrobus have several of both types

  2. I know as I have travelled on both!! I also just KNEW you would ask that question. Knowing you would ask that I did ask for clarification, and this was how the convo went - Me; "Are they Omnidekkas or Omniciti...." Before I could finish Dave Jordan said "I think they're Omni Citi Deckers - is that what they're called?" So yes - 100% guaranteed they are Omni City Deckers. Unless they turn out to be Omnidekkas.

    Personally I'll be surprised if they are not Omnidekkas as I cant see Metrobus wanting to lose any of their newer ones, but if they are my God they'll need some work done on them as the ones I've been on down there take rattling to a new level. I'll try and keep tabs on the situation. All I know is the vehicles concerned are coming out ofservice in November, so some homework might be to see if any TfL contracts are up in that month/