Tuesday 11 August 2015

New Konect 8's In Service

After much anticipation today saw the 5 new Enviro 400's purchased for Konect's flagship 8 service beween Toftwood and Norwich make their entrance. I've been up in Norwich for a few days waiting for them so as you would expect I made a trip to Dereham and back to test them out. First up was SK15 HKD -  fleet number 620.

Sporting the new Konectexpress Straight8 livery620  SK15 HKD at Norwich Bus Station
I like the interiors of these E400's. I've always found fabric more welcoming than leather and the seats are firm but comfortable and the wood effect floors enhance the feeling of light. There is also no huge air chill unit above the stairs, which makes the seats behind the stairs far nicer to use.

After arrival at Dereham
At the moment the buses are smooth, quiet and pretty rattle free, and one of the most noticeable things about these new E400's is they are faster. Going along the A47 the top speed was impressive and this will only help punctuality assuming that those dratted limiters don't find their way onto the vehicles. Another surprise was that on arrival at Dereham a cleaner got on to sweep the floors and litter pick before the next batch of passengers boarded. How long that will last is anyone's guess but it was a nice touch for the first day out.

Now it has been known for sometime that the buses the new E400's are replacing are to be debranded then cascaded ont the 2's. However for one of them there was no rest today. 605 found itself on the 17, which operates twice a week between Dereham and Bradenham. I have only ever seen Solo's on this servce so I imagine the E400 turned some heads today.

605 SN61 CZV on the Market Day service to Bradenham
As 605 pulled away my attention was drawn to the fact that the new E400 was on the parallel road on the other side of the market. It's a long distance shot but the rears of old and new 8's can be seen for probably the only time in this picture.

Old and new 8's in Dereham
I understand that 606 was being debranded today and the rest will follow. It was then time to return to Norwich with 617 SK15 HKA  our vehicle back, and I found this the better of the two I travelled on today. It certanly seemed more solid than HKD and it will be interesting to compare the two again in 6 months.

Konect 617 SK15 HKA at Dereham
 Now the eagle-eyed among you wil have noticed a slight height difference between the old and new - certainly one of my companions did as he had to stoop quite markedly while walking upstairs. The low height of the E400's is shown quite well in this hurriedly taken pic of 618  SN15 HKB at Norwich Bus Station next to a Frst Gemini.

Low height 618 SK15 HKB next to Lowestoft Geini 37571 on the X1
I see no reason why those new E400's won't last the pace and do the job they have been bought for. They are perfectly adequate, but as always I'll compare them in 6 months time to see how they are lasting.

There was one other E400 of note at Norwich today. Suffolk Norse E400 YN63 ZXH was operating the once a week 134 from Bury to Norwich via Thetford. During term time that service is normally coach operated.

Suffolk Norse E400 YX63 ZXH at Norwich Bus Station
One last piece of housekeeping - Anglian's former Konect Trident 725 W825 WNJ has finally left Beccles and moved to Hedingham at Clacton. My thanks to my Anglian contact for letting me know this morning.

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