Sunday 22 March 2015

Weekly News Round Up 22/3/15

Greetings one and all, and to those returning from Norwich Running Day I hope you all enjoyed it. Here is what has been going on this week.


  • Konect win Norwich Park & Ride routes
  • Steam train crushes low loader
  • Another bus fire in South London
  • Last Scania leaves Ipswich - again
  • MMC ride and review
  • Another Ipswich refurb revealed
  • Galloways Jubilee coach caught on camera

I broke the news on Twitter on Friday that I had been informed by someone within Go-Ahead that Konect had been awarded all the Norwich Park and Ride routes to commence in September, as well as running Norwich Bus Station for the next 5 years. I was also told this would require 22 new vehicles. Some of these will apparently be stabled at Beccles. The stipulations of the P&R are that at no time during the contract can vehicles be more than 6 years old. This means that if new vehicles are not brought in they will have to be changed during the 5 years of the contract. However, after keeping quiet for over a month now I can reveal how this will affect other Konect services. There will be 5 new E400's for the flagship 8 route between Tuckswood and Norwich Riverside. The current E400's on the 8 will cascade onto the 2, which is soon to undergo improvements. This will release the Optare Tempos currently in use on the 2 to operate City Routes, currently operated by ex Anglian Versas, some of which will return to Anglian to replace the Streetlites, whose lease expires in July. One of the consequences I'm particularly looking forward to is the bendibuses currently operating the Costessy Park and Ride will enter regular service. I assume the other E400's already operating P&R will also enter regular service, probably freeing up the ex London Geminis to go elsewhere in the East Anglia group. Congratulations to Konect - I know it was a competitive bidding process.

I am grateful to Nicky Pursey for alerting me to an article in the Telegraph online reporting on a pretty spectacuar incident that happened in Swanage on Thursday. A 65 tonne steam locomotice was being transported from Swanage Heritage Centre to the West Somerset Railway in Taunton, when the low loader simply snapped under the weight. A 40ft gouge in the road ensued and I imagine a few heads were scratched. You can read the full article by clicking here.

Now look what you've gone and done!!     pic by Telegrapgh Online
It seems if you are a bus the last place you want to work is South London. I remember reporting a few months ago on a couple of bus fires in the Croydon area. Now another bus has been destroyed on the 172 route near Honor Oak Park. This one beats the lot, and I'm not even sure what type of bus it is. The BBC tweeted the pic below and the full report contains a really spectacular video. You can take a look by clicking here

The burnt out shell of the ex something!
 I reported last week, again the first to do so that the final Scania operating in Ipswich, 65579,  was to go to First Devon and Cornwall as buses were urgently needed following the insolvency of Western Greyhound. Despite the report being denied and challenged by others, early on Thursday 65579 did indeed transfer to the West Country. My sources aren't perfect, and events can suddenly change, but if I post something you can normally rely on it being true. Anyway with 65579 gone and 65588 conspicuous by her absence on the roads at Great Yarmouth, right now for the first time in decades First in Norfolk and Suffolk have no Scanias in the working fleet. I also mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had heard rumours of a very surprising fleet movement in the next few weeks. I understand this is now a step closer and I should be able to reveal details in the coming days.

65579 in Ipswich a coupe of weeks ago
On Friday I rode and reviewed the new Alexander Dennis E400 MMC (majot model change). It's fair to say that although aesthetically it looks really good, unfortunately once the wheels start going round and round the bumps are felt and the rattles have not improved on the previoous model despite AD;s assurances they were tackling the problem. You can read the review by clicking on the link below in the week's posts section.

The new Enviro400 MMC demonstrator in Bury on Friday.     pic (c) DW
Hants & Dorset Trim who are quite clever at polishing turds making aging vehicles look as good as new again have done it again, this time with the first X reg Ipswich Buses Dart to be refurbished, repainted, and converted to DDA compliant. Hants and Dorset kindly posted this pic on Twitter which rather understandably has been used by many already! IB93 is the first of an initial 4 to be done.

IB 93 X93 LBJ looking rather good in new livery.  pic Hants & Dorset trim
Speaking of Hants and Dorset I was alerted to a pic on Flickr of one of the ex Metrobus Scanias heading to Anglian. No one seems to know exactly when they are coming as they were due in January. I was told in around 3 weeks 2 weeks ago, and as that will be the 1st week in April, and the start of the new financial year read into that what you will. Seems strange they have been down there for so long ready to come up when Anglian are so short of vehicles. Anyway here is YN55 PZC looking pretty good. The others are confirmed as YN55 PZF/R and there will be only 3, not 4 as reported elsewhere.The pic is by Mike, whose Flickr page you can access by clicking here.

Ex Metrobus Scania Omnidekka YN55 PZC waiting to go to Beccles.    pic (c) Mike
My regular Galloway's newshound, David Green. told me some weeks ago that Galloway were getting a brand new Mercedes benz tri-axle Tourismo to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Contrary to other reports this is not a new permanent livery, but a one off special livery to commemorate 50 years of operation. Bryan was in the right place yesterday to get a superb pic

Galloway's Jubiilee liveried Mercedes Tourismo tri-axle BP15 XPJ

Finally here is definitely the first published pic from Norwich Running Day - Ipswich's Eastern Counties liveried VA479 in Castle Meadow, Norwich less than 30 mins before this post was published.

VA479, driven by Freddie the Frog sorry Chris Speed at Castle Meadow.

Posts This Week

Just Another Manic Monday 

I spend the day finding a place to catch a Class 56 hauled ballast train for the Mid Norfolk Railway.

Cambridge Awayday Part One

Bryan and I go to Cambridge to ride the Busway. Notable is that I am gushing in my praise for some E400's!

Moor Business Park MOT Special

A special post on the new MOT facilities at Truck & Plant Engineering in Beccles, and their first customer - BorderBus's E300

Cambridge Awayday Part Two

A look at the non Busway vehicles operating in Cambridge.

 MMC Hammered

I ride and review the new Alexander Dennis Enviro300 MMC

Ipswich Loco Fest

A very entertaining half hour at Ipswich with a plethora of different locos, including close ups of a Class 70 and a top and tail Class 37 test train.

That's it for this week. No quiz as no one responded to last week's quiz. If anyone wants it to continue let me know. Sorry to rail enthusiasts at the lack of rail news this week, but I do have a special Class 365 post lined up for one day this week. Stay safe everyone.


  1. viewfromthesouth23 March 2015 at 17:32

    The Abellio bonfire was a euro 3 Dennis Trident, well known for self-combusting!

  2. Cheers buddy - knew someone would fill in that gap.