Sunday 15 March 2015

Weekly News Round Up 15/3/15

Happy Mothering Sunday to all the mums reading this - and I know there are a few! I'll wait for some of the men to dash to the garage to get the flowers as they have just realised they've forgotten to get something.................ok back? Ok another substantial round up today so settle in and here we go.


  • AnglianBus lead the country in Customer Satisfaction
  • New E200 for BorderBus
  • Major changes coming up for services
  • First repainted GY ALX400 returns
  • Saloon merry-go-round
  • Good press for the area
It has been a good week for AnglianBus. Well mainly.  An incident earlier in the week has meant one of the Scania deckers is off the road for sometime, and a series of breakdowns as well as the E200 demonstrator going back has meant some services have unfortunately been cancelled this week due to a lack of spare vehicles. I understand that the new Scania deckers from Metrobus should be here in two weeks time. However on a more positive note Alastair Strong has been confirmed as Anglian's new Operations Manager, succeeding Phillip Eden. SB&TP would like to wish him all the best in his new role, and hope that Anglian can build on the current foundations and go from strength to strength.

They certainly deserve to after their quite remarkable achievement this week, when in the latest Passenger Focus survey results for 2014 they topped the UK for Passenger Satisfaction. Hardly surprising they got the STEVE award for Friendliest Driver then is it! And it is the drivers who should take the majority of the credit for this. Whilst there has been an element of internal turmoil the drivers have just got out there and done their job. I hope the company recognises this fact. There was nothing in the survey Anglian fell down on, and in some areas left the rest of the country standing in their wake, especially in the length of time for journey category. However it should be mentioned that all of our companies that took part in the survey did well - KonectBus came joint second, Ipswich Buses joint third, and First in Norfolk and Suffolk were only beaten by First York. Indeed, rather bizarrely First Suffolk came joint top in the country for Value For Money. One thing I did notice, however, is that on comfort of the seats First Suffolk scored considerably higher than First Norfolk. That'll be the Presidents and B7l's then!

One factor that I believe made a massive difference for Anglian doing so well is the fact that none of their vehicles are fitted with assault screens.  This makes it far easier to strike up a raport with the passengers. On Boro'line we had the same policy, and we had far less incidents than our London Central colleagues, who had assault screens. A lot of Anglian drivers I have spoken to have mentioned that they far prefer driving without them, and I'm convinced it makes a difference.

Anyway to see the full survey, which is highly recommended as it does cover a lot of areas from punctuality to drivers appearance click here and download the full survey.

On the subject of Anglian I'm sure I read somewhere that the only vehicle left with old Anglian logos is 03 reg Scania 462, which has been conspicuous by its absence recently. On Wednesday I realised that this may not be the case, and got a pic in Beccles on Thursday.

Anglian 459 Scania Omnicity YN05 HFJ displaying the old logo that was clearly covered by an ad when the rest of the bus was done.
Staying with Anglian and they are one of four companies making major changes to their services in the coming weeks. Sanders are making changes on March 29th, BorderBus on March 30th, and Anglian and Konect are making extensive changes to their services from May 3rd. This will include more Angian services passing to Konect, and the creation of three new Konect services, including a Yarmouth - Wroxham service.

Onto First, and star of the show this week was Yarmouth Volvo B7 32061, which came back from Rotherham looking rather smart in her new Corporate livery. Now DDA compliant, she also sports some new destination screens.

32061 positively gleaming in Yarmouth on Thursday
You may have heard that down in Cornwall Western Greyhound have sadly gone bust. This has meant that First have taken over routes at short notice. Assuming Western Greyhound vehicles cannot be used as they are company assets it has meant First down there are in need of extra buses. I have heard whispers from my sources in Ipswich that the last Scania in service there, 65579 may well be making the long journey down the A30 to lend assistance on Monday or Tuesday. This is not a good time for Ipswich to lose a bus, with a few long term absentees awating parts right now, so I understand that a saloon from Yarmouth will be coming down to fill the gap. Apparently not in Barbie livery, this can only mean one of the Yorkshire Renowns returning to Ipswich. Watch this space and I'll update as soon as I get news. Of course, as with anything that hasn't actually happened yet this could all change at the last minute!

BorderBus have got a new bus in E200 MX12 DYU, formally belonging to Ace Travel in Merseyside and apparently was the Fab 4 service bus. I have yet to find out if it will get a BB registration like the rest of the 146 fleet.

BorderBus's new acquisition at Beccles on Thursday
There was a very interesting article in Route One magazine on Wednesday. The feature article was an interview with David Squire, Managing Director of First Eastern Counties. A lot of the focus is on Ipswich as a trailblazing depot, particularly with the Fresh Start cleaning programme, and the refurbishment of the fleet. You can read the article by clicking here. A bit of self indulgance now and SB&TP became the first blog ever (certainly in Chris Speed's memory) to get a mention in Route One magazine. That was certainly a feather for the cap, and just when I didn't think it could get any better I received an email from Andrew Pursey of Borderbus telling me the article had also appeared in the latest ALBUM newsletter. I confess I had never heard of ALBUM, but it is the Association of Local Bus Company Managers, and is for those managers not from the big boys such as First, Stagecoach, Arriva and Go-Ahead. I'm really pleased and honoured to be mentioned in that circle, and thanks to Andrew for letting me know.

On the rail front I mentioned  3 weeks ago that two Class 47's, 47810 and 813 had gone back to Crewe to an uncertain future. Well clearly that was not as uncertain as everyone thought, as this week 47810 returned to become part of the short set, and yesterday 47813 returned to Norwich too. Clearly not ready to finish their days just yet!

47810 on the Short Set in Lowestoft last February

This Week's Posts

Time to round up the posts from this week, with links for easy access.

The Train Going Through Beccles  Last Sunday the steam train Mayflower came through the area and travelled up the East Suffolk Line (up is actually South in railway terms as the "Up" line is always towards London) and Nicky and Jamie Pursey were in the right place to get some cracking pics of her.

An Ipswich Special  I met up wiith Dave on Tuesday for what turned out to be an extremely non-eventful afternoon in Ipswich. The post is more entertaining than the afternoon was though!

All The Best Laid Plans  Everything that could go wrong did go wrong on Wednesday, incuding Norwich coming to a complete standstill due to roadworks. Some great pics of the jams from Norwich Castle.

New Bus For BorderBus and 32061 On The Road  Exactly as it says on the tin with lots more pics of those two buses.

Big Changes On The Way  An analysis of the forthcoming changes to services operated by Sanders, Anglian and Konect.

9 Out Of 10 Passengers A look at the latest Passenger Survey results, and I question the attitude of being happy with a 90% Customer Satisfaction rate.

Quiz Time

Well done to Quintin Plane and Harry Stanley, who correctly identified Chilham, Chartham, and Canterbury West as the 3 consecutive stations in Kent starting with the same letter.

This week's question comes from Joe Wilson and I am going to use him as referee as I am expecting some vigourous debate! The question is this - how many buses can you think of in Norfolk and Suffolk that are unique to their fleet. This does not include allover ads, or unique in a batch - for example although 32061 is the only ALX400 in corporate livery at GY, it is not unique at the depot as other vehicles also have that livery. I'm going to rule out vinyls too, or we will have millions of suggestions involving misspelt coolant lettering or something! Answers by email or Twitter DM.

That's about it for this Round Up. Highlights this week include a Blog outing to Cambridge on Tuesday when the three of us are going to descend on the Busway. Could be fun! Have a good week everyone.


  1. There is actually a few scania with the old Anglian logo on the back. Other than that interesting read as usual

    1. Which are they - I assume they are covered with ads.

    2. Not sure but I know another 05 plate and one of the newer scania either 07 or 11 plate ones has it like that too

    3. Not up there again till Friday but will keep an eye out.

  2. the 07 reg ones dont saw one of them earlier on the 7

  3. There are several buses with the old logo hidden behind the ads on the boot lids. 712 is the last Anglian bus with the old logo on her front and both sides

  4. Hi Steve. If you go on google images and type in YN55PZC you will find a pic of one of the new deckers coming to Anglian in Anglian livery