Tuesday 25 November 2014

Before It Was Old

It can be said that this area has some pretty good looking buses - in an asthetic way obviously - the photogenic E400 33423, X1 Gemini 37578, even the gas buses have a presence about them. but it can also be said that there are some particularly uninspiring vehicles too, and in my opinion top of the pile, or should that be bottom is Ambassador Travel's Scania L94 Wright Floline S350 SET. It is regularly to be seen on the Great Yarmouth Asda shuttle from Market Gates, and today I rode it the short distance to the superstore.

Ambassador Travel Scania Floline S350 SET at Market Gates on Asda shuttle
It is fair to say she has seen better days. The seats were comfortable enough, and it was nice and warm inside but to be honest not much else can be said in a positive way. So I was wondering while I was on her just what her history was and where she had been before. So a quick Google Image search came up with the following, including quite a surprise.

S350 SET started life in Ireland in 1998 registered 98-D-76402 and turned into quite a traveller. Getting an accurate chronology is proving quite difficult as I'm finding new things about her all the time. But she wasn't in Ireland for long as by 1999 Go North East had acquired her and she was working the X66 from Gateshead to the Metro Centre (must be said in Geordie accent) and looking rather smarter than she does now.

S350 SET looking smart in gateshead in 1999

But alas her stay at Gateshead was equally short lived because in 2000 she turned up somewhere qiute familiar still in the same livery.

S350 SET on loan to Ipswich Buses on the 13 in 2000
The next picture is a bit of a mystery - I have no date and the route 6 from Lincoln to Skegness is now operated by Stagecoach. Subsequent research suggests it was operated by a company called Roadcar. I'm assuming it's next chronologically as the livery is the same minus a couple of vinyls. However the blinds have changed colour.

S350 SET somewhere - might be Lincoln, might not - your guess is as good as mine!
Now the mist thickens even more. According to a short article Roy from East Norfolk Bus Blog did on her last year our Scania heroine had spells at  Dunn-Line of Nottingham and Centrebus, amongst others. One of those others was back across the water in Ireland, when on 7th Auguest 2006 she found herself at Bus Eireann in Waterford as temporary cover reverting to her original registration and the fleet number SW1. There are no pictorial records of her at Centrebus, or sadly back in Ireland to be found but certainly there is one at  Dunn-Line which was taken in 2003. Interestingly she now has the solid panel at the front.

S350 SET on Dunn-Line's route 34 to Tuxford in 2003
 And so by a very roundabout way this much travelled Scanioa ended up at Ambassador in 2008. To begin with she looked very smart, so it's a bit of a shame that her condition has been allowed to decline so much. If anyone can fill in some gaps that would be good. Just to repeat all images were found in the public domain on Google Images with the exception of the top pic which I took myself today.

Colin Humphrey's pic of S350 SET operating the 731 from Rackheath to Great Yarmouth in 2009


  1. It moved so freqently in the same livery as it was a demonstrator. I don't know whether I'm reading it wrong or you've missed the point of this, so apologies in advance if it's me getting confused again

  2. Also as for Roadcar they were the predessecors to Stagecoach Lincolnshire!