Wednesday 18 February 2015

Essex Ecstacy Part Two

This won't make much sense if you haven't read Part One, so if you need to catch up click here

So after a quite stunning journey from Tollesbury to Colchester on Hedingham's route 91 I arrived in Colchester and immediately saw old friend after old friend. Those of you in Norfolk bowled over by 65588 need to get to Colchester as many FEC Scanias are still very much in service there. Here is 65566 which I believe used to ply its trade in Norwich.

First Essex 65566 Scania Floline S566 TPW in Colchester
Of course there were plenty of ex Ipswich vehicles there - some that no tears were shed when they left but others that were. Here's one that Ipswich would certainly welcome back.

A rather naked 69430 still with no Essex vinyls.
However there are other operators than First in Colchester, and something I hadn't realised is that Stephensons have taken over the previously Beestons operated 247 between Colchester and Dedham. Not only that but yestrday they were using an AD E200 demonstrator on the route.

AD E200 demonstrator YX14 RXB on loan to Stephenson's on the 247 to Dedham
Now my apologies to those Network Colchester fans as let's face it you haven't got a very inspiring fleet. I'm rather ashamed to say I didn't get a single pic so you have my word in the next few weeks I'll get back down there and do a Network Colchester special.  So back to First and there seems to be a new design for Essex involving a lime green stripe added to the livery, like the Volvo 7900's that operate the 100 Chelmsford - Lakeside service. Here is Volvo B7rle 66809 modelling the new livery. If anyone in Essex can tell me the green stripe signifies anything I'll be grateful, as the driver had no idea at all. Incidentally it was the nicest request I've ever had from a driver not to show his face, which is something I try to avoid as much as I can anyway - but well played mate - others would have been far less courteous. I hope this pic meets your requirements.

First Essex 66809 showing off the added green stripe.
There will be those among you who know there are other ex FEC vehicles in Colchester, namely the B7tl's that used to operate the 25 in Norwich. I decided to catch one of these to Colchester Station, so boarded 32478 for the short journey on the 62 to the other side of town. Except I THOUGHT it said North Station on the destination screen when I boarded it. When we didn't go down the hill I was expecting I thought the route must have changed. When we went past Hythe Station I got a little cooncerned. When we entered the Unversiity campus I started to panic as I had a train to catch, then another train to connect with my prebooked minibus and if I didn't make it I was up the proverbial creek. I checked with the driver that he had had North Station up when I boarded which he denied - well he would wouldn't he! Actually since no one else was on that bus wanting North Station I grudgingly accept he might have been right and my eyes had let me down yet again! So having found out I didn't stand an earthly of getting back to North Station I was cursing my fate when suddenly it dawned on me that the bus continued to Wivenhoe Station, and there was an outside chance that I could get a train back to Colchester and still make my connection.

32480 AU53 HJX on the 62 to Wivenhoe
 So I jumped back on the bus, and, as I knew would happen, as we approached Wivenhoe Station so a train pulled in. Luck was on my side, however,  as the bus stop was less than 10 yards from the train and I leapt on as the door closing bleep was sounding. Made my connection with plenty to spare, so yes I was a twit for getting on the wrong bus but thanks to experience managed to turn that into an "alternative route". Ok luck then! All in all a really good day and I must get to Essex more often.

Ex Ipswich Scania 65690 now repainted into Olympia livery and based at Clacton


  1. I'm sure sure what the green stripe is for, I was under the impression it was specifically for the hybrid buses, not forgetting the 4 Enviro 350H working out of Chelmsford!

    1. I understand it's something to do with CRT, but unfortunately I don't have the first idea what CRT is.

    2. Continuously Regenerating Trap, in other words an exhaust after treatment system that improves the emissions on a bus, in this case turning a Euro 3 bus into a Euro 5 one for less expenditure (in theory).

    3. Many thanks for that - I have learned something!