Monday 6 April 2015

37562 - A Very Complicated History

Thanks to DDA it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a vehicle that has a really interesting past to write about - I mean just think how many buses in the region are ex London, just as frightening how many of them are Presidents! On Saturday I published a history of a 50 year old locomotive (see here) but there really aren't that many 50yo buses around still in normal service these days. So to find a vehicle with an interesting enough past was always going to be difficult. Until Cameron came up with First Eastern Counties Volvo B9tl 37562. Of course! I knew that everyone's favourite Gemini was much travelled so research time it was, and thanks once again to Flickr posters, most of whom you will know, I have got a pictorial history, although an exact timeline still eludes me.

There is some dispute as to where FJ08 FYN started life, but it would appear she was loaned to First Manchester by Volvo and given the fleet number 87445. The photo below shows her with that fleet number in Manchester in July 2008.  The pic is by Pimlico Badger whose Flickr page you can access here.

The on loan 87445 on the 17 to Rochdale in July 2008        pic by Pimlico Badger
It wasn't long before First decided they liked her and renumbered her 37562. Here she is in York St, Manchester on the 32 to Wigan, in September 2008 displaying her new fleet number. The pic is by James Frisby whose Flickr page you can access here.

37562 on the 32 to Wigan Sept 2008      Pic by James Frisby
 However opinions differ as to if this was her first area. It is also claimed she started life at First Somerset and Avon. However the first records I can find of her there are from 2010. Before that she left Manchester and could be found hammering up and down the A47 on the X1 between Lowestoft and Peterborough. At this point I am once agan grateful to Grahame Bessey for filling in some gaps. 37562 was sent to Kings Lynn as cover for 37571 which had suffered major damage in an RTA. As happened in those days some X1 diagrams finished at Great Yarmouth, and it seems there were times she was used on local routes too.  Here she is on the 1A to JPH in December 2009. In fact according to Grahame December 10th 2009, at 0759 at Scratby while on his way to work.  Sorry I can't be more specific than that! Grahame's Flickr page can be accessed here.

37562 on the 1A minus front fleet number in Dec 2009    Pic by Grahame Bessey
I have fund some photos of 37562 in some auspicious company. Here is one I simply have to show you - another one of Grahame's, not so much for 37562 on the X1 but I'm pretty certain behind her is Norse's Irisbus Agoroline, a bus so rare now it should be Grade A listed!

37562 leaves Norwich for Peterborough followed by Norse's Agoroline.     Pic by Grahame Bessey
By July 2010 37562 had moved down to First Avon and Somerset. Unfortunately there don't appear to be any pictorial records of that, and the next few months are a bit of a mystery, indeed there are no records of her in 2011 whatsoever, and the next time we catch up wiith her is in early 2012 when she returned to Manchester for a few months. However by April 2012 she had moved once again to First Bristol, and here we have my favourite photo of the post. She is seen in Bristol sharing the road with Olympian 34183, S683 AAE, sister to Yarmouth's own 34186. Note the flip dot destination display whereas 34186 still has roller blinds. 37562 has also regained front fleet numbers, The pic is by haley111 whose Flickr page you can access here.

37562 and 34183 in Bristol April 2012.     Pic by Haley111
All this time 37562 had never actually been owned by First, and for some bizarre reason was returned to Volvo. In December 2012 she was acquired by no less than Beestons of  Hadleigh who quickly stripped her of most of her First colours and put her to work on the 91 between Sudbury and Ipswich. Here she is in Hadleigh on 12th Jan 2013, the only real sign of her past to be found just under the top deck windows. The pic is by Ipswich's own Colin Humphrey, whose Flickr page you can access here.

Beestons FJ08 FYN in Hadleigh Jan 2013      Pic by Colin Humphrey
However she was a fish out of water at Beestons, who didn't keep her long. She ended up at Ensign Dealers in Purfleet, only to be purchased by First Eastern Counties who must have really liked her the best part of 4 years previously. She then started a tour of most of the FEC depots, starting at Great Yarmouth being used mainly on local routes. However occasionally she would venture out on the X1 shorts, and in September 2013 I found myself in the right place at the right time to catch her from Yarmouth to Norwich, getting one of my better photos at Norwich.

37562 at Norwich Bus Station on an X1 short to Yarmouth in September 2013
After a spell at Yarmouth 37562 was transferred to Lowestoft and helped launch the 99's to Kessingland ths time last year. Not long after though she moved once again to Norwich, although spent a few days at Ipswich doing standby Rail Replacement duties. However Norwich appears to have become her permanent home and I'll leave the final pic to the person who suggested this nomadic bus as a post subject. Cameron took this pic of her at Norwich Rail Station on the 25 presumably late October/early November 2014 judging by the poppy in the top deck front window. Many thanks for the idea, Cameron - it's taken me bloody hours to compile this post!! You can access Cameron's Flickr page here.

37562 at Norwich Rail Station October/November 2014        pic by Cameron Robinson


  1. well done you certainly put your heart into your blogs and as you know much read and appreciated clive

  2. I didn't know a Gemini had such a past with being with different operators great post one of my favourite posts of yours.

  3. Thanks guys - much appreciated :)