Sunday 5 April 2015

Weekly News Round Up 5/4/15 - 2015 So Far

Happy Easter everyone. Since very little has happened this week that has gone unreported I thought I'd do a review of 2015 so far, as the first three months have rushed by at a rate of knots.

The first major news of the year was Anglian's Operations Manager, Philip Eden, leaving the company. The post created some controversy (see here) but since then Alastair Strong has been installed as the new Operations Manager and Mr Eden is now working for Lynx in Kings Lynn.

The same week First Ipswich launched their new "Fresh Start" bus cleaning programme, and my word it has made a difference. The brainchild of friend and all round nice bloke Paulo van Krieken I was one of a select few invited to see the programme in action (see here). It has proved so successful the programme has been introduced in Norwich, although to be fair they haven't got the fleet yet for it to have the visual impact it has at Ipswich, and is expected to be extended to Yarmouth and Lowestoft in the near future.

69426 getting the Fresh Start treatment at First Ipswich depot in January
The first ever battery powered train hit the tracks in January for a 6 week assessment running between Manningtree and Harwich Town. Using 84,000 batteries it was some achievement. I got a ride on it on its penultimate day of testing (see here).

On the same day I presented STEVE Awards to First Ipswich, Chris Speed and Ipswich Buses. This resulted in the blog getting mentioned in Route One magazine, the first blog ever to do so.

Finally on a memorable day I rode and reviewed quite simply the best Demonstrator I've ever been on. Ipswich Buses had a Mercedes Citaro on loan for a week, and it made a great change to be impressed by a new bus (see here).

The cavernous interior on the Mercedes Citaro demonstrator
Returning to January and on the 26th a new company for East Anglia launched its first service. Lynx, the next project for Konect founder Julian Patterson, launched its Kings Lynn - Hunstanton service and I was there to observe goings on (see here).

Speaking of Kings Lynn a couple of days later I was in Maidstone catching up with some vehicles that were regular sightings at Kings Lynn. Four of Norfolk Green's Irisbus Agorolines were bought by Nu-Venture of Aylesford and I was lucky enough to get a ride and inside information on them, as well as pics of all 4 of them (see here).

Former Norfolk Green Agoroline 39898 GX07 BAU now with Nu-Venture in Kent
29th Januray saw the last First Ipswich refurbished vehicle return to the depot. 69006 was the last piece in the jigsaw of a programme that took the best part of 8 months to complete. No doubt that Ipswich now has the smartest fleet within FEC. This allowed Scania Floline 65588 to go up to Norwich, before soon transferring to Yarmouth for what could be her final resting place.

Returning to February and Abelio Greater Anglia proudly launched the first of their refurbished Mk III coaches on the Norwich - London Intercity services. I was at Norwich to get pictures of the new coach on the first day out (see here).

The rather grey interior of the first AGA refurbished coach 12013
 17th February was one of the nicest days of the year so far. I took a trip to Hedingham's depot at Tollesbury in Essex, and if you are an Ollie fan it was a veritable oasis. I also travelled on what counts as my route of the year, thanks to a recommendation from Laine Tisdall. The 91 from Tollesbury to Colchester is simply outstanding from a scenic point of view, and on an Ollie to boot!

A line up of Ollies at Hedingham's Tollesbury depot
The beginning of March saw my candidate for transformation of the year so far. In Janurary I paid a visit to Beestons and there in the workshops was former Anglian Scania 427 YN03 UWJ. Dave at Beestons told me that she was going to be completely repainted before going out on the road.

Ex Anglian 427 in Beestons' workshop
Dave wasn't kidding as the new version of this Scania is simply stunning. For more pics see here.

The transformed Scania
The beginning of March saw Virgin Trains East Coast take over the East Coast Mainline from Kings Cross to Edinburgh and Inverness. Very quickly they revealed trains in the new livery (see here), but a few days later a train made a much bigger impact here when after being under tarpauliins for a decade an ex Southern CIG EMU was revealed on Moor Park Industrial Estate in Beccles to be transported by low loader to Oxfordshire. My good friends at Borderbus were on hand to take some pics for a post that gained the most views in a day ever of anything I've posted (see here)

One of the CIG driving coaches on the low loader at Beccles

Over in Yarmouth and the programme to convert the ALX400 Volvos to DDA compliant saw the first example return in the shape of 32061, sporting new destination screens and a repaint into corporate livery. The same day saw BorderBus reveal their new acquisition for the enhanced 146 (see here).

32061 looking transformed in March

Over at Anglian the first refurbished ex Metrobus Omnidekka arrived and was reviewed (see here), and they also announced some major changes to their network commencing in May (see here). Ipswich buses are also making some changes to their routes in the East of Ipswich, also to commence in May.

And that's just about it for the first quarter of 2015. One last thing to mention. It has been widely reported that the open top service in Norwich was being operated by an on loan Olympian advertising Colchester Zoo. Thanks to Cameron Robinson I can bring you a pic of the usual ex Kentish Bus Olympian G520 VBB back in Norwich on Friday. 

The regular bus for the Norwich open top tour is back.
Cameron has also agreed to help me make some changes with the blog, which is growing so fast I feel some re-organisation is needed. The changes should be made in the next couple of days and I hope they will help the blog grow even faster. One change will be a separate page for train posts, as I want to expand the rail side of the blog. Over the last couple of weeks the daily page view count has grown by another 80% and I'm so grateful to all of you for reading the blog constantly, and to those kind enough to assist me when I come calling. Special mention goes not only to Cameron, but Tim Miller, who publicises all the rail related posts, and is responsible for many new readers. I'll announce the changes as and when they go live.

No comments:

Post a Comment