Tuesday 28 July 2015

New Buses For Straight-8 and Anglian Returnee

What's that you say? Straight-8? Talk in english man!! OK I shall and all will be revealed later. First of all I would like to share with you a picture I received last week but was asked not to use, so I didn't. But now I can, so I will. This was the first pic in (limited) circulation of one of the new E400's for Konect's service 8 between Norwich and Toftwood. Very nice it looks too.

Still at the Alexander Dennis factory sits one of the new E400's
My belated thanks to my source at Konect who sent me that. Yesterday I received more pictures this time of the first arrival at Dereham, whch was SK15 HKB. I'll be using the pic of the cab area later. However, I thought I'd better try and see it for myself so today I ventured to Dereham, noting how well the current E400's have lasted on the route, and luck was in as another two had arrived. You don't get anywhere in this world by being shy so I went in to see if I could take a look round and Operations Manager Steve Royal was only too happy to oblige, showing me round himself.

New E400's SK15 HKC and behind HKA at Konect's Dereham depot
Now let's not get too excited here. I'm not and neither are Konect. These are bog standard E400's. Not MMC's, not high spec. However, if the current E400's on the route are anything to go by they will do the job. The interiors are certainly eye-catching. I am impressed in the way customers have been listened to and the recent  obsession with leather by everyone has been halted. I like leather headrests, but in the heat leather gets too hot as I found out last week. So this combination of fabric seats with leather headrests looks good. The seats are firm but comfortable, and even the traditionally hard seats at the back seem more comfortable than they used to. I like the wooden floor look, although cleaning will have to be top notch to keep them looking good. Steve tells me that the P&R E400's will have identical interiors.

The striking seats on the new buses
The top deck
Here is the cab area, pic again supplied by my contact at Konect.

The rather sparce cab area of the E400
I did take a picture of the USB charging sockets but I still only have a 25% screen and it was rubbish! However it will be interesting to see if firstly anyone can find them and secondly how long they last. Any facility, though, is welcome and it's more than anyone else has got. Now to explain the title of the post. Steve told me that instead of having Konect express vinyls applied, the original route name of Straight-8 is going to be resurrected and used again. I like that, and I'm looking forward to seeing the finished articles when they enter service. My thanks to Steve Royal for giving up his time so readily today, and for the open and varied conversation we had. Finally here is another pic that didn't turn out quite right but sod it it's only a missing letter or two! I assure you this is SK15 HKA.

SK15 HKA - honestly - at Dereham today
While Konect are getting brand new buses I got home to find an email from my Anglian contact telling me that Anglian have welcomed back a 14yo friend. Solo 907 YT51 EBF which was transferred to Chambers a couple of years ago has returned on a permanent basis. I am making enquiries if this will see the departure of the on loan E200 and as soon as I know I'll let you know. My thanks to my contact at Beccles for the info and pic.

Back home at Beccles Optare Solo 907  YT51 EBF


  1. Good report, thought you seem to have made the same mistake as Kieran! the registrations are SK not SN! I also thought it was going to be called "Str8"? Trust anglian to take one of the crappy old buses back in replacement for the gas bus -.-

    1. Oh for God's sake! Thanks, Zak I'll change that - used Kieran's post as reference. But I can now correct you in that 907 is not a replacement for 104, but either 228, which is due to be withdrawn soon due to not being DDA compliant, or I understand 462, which is earmarked to become a training vehicle.The E200 is remaining at resent.

  2. Top post there sir! It's amazing what a little bit of cheeky(lol) and politeness can get you isn't it! I must agree that if a vehicle is good for purpose why change and the previous E400's have done good plus I bet the MMC's are more money lol

    1. It also helps that Steve's a really nice bloke - well he would be with that name - and always happy to spare a few minutes. That makes a huge difference.