Friday 23 October 2015

A Gem Of A Gemini

My Lords, Ladies, Anoraks and Gentlemen; It gives me great pleasure to announce that I have found a bus in East Anglia I can say nice things about. What's more it's a bus built this century.

I headed over to Yarmouth today having been told that First's RML2480 was going to be out in service again. I wasn't the only one as many of the good, great and downright dubious of the enthusiast world had also ventured out of their comfort zone to try and get a glimpse of the sainted icon. Alas it was not to be, and 39480 remained stubbornly in the depot. However there was a great second prize.

12 days ago two ex First Slough Geminis arrived at Caister Rd in Greenline livery. You can see the excellent report on East Norfolk Bus Blog by clicking here. Today one of them, 32348 LK53 LZL was back in Urban livery and made it's Norfolk debut on the 1420 7 to Belton. This was ironically the journey I was expecting the RML to be on so I boarded together with Cameron Robinson and Dan High to try it out.

Comfortable leather seats and tables greeted us, in Yarmouth! This clearly pleased my companions!

Cameron and Dan on the top deck of Yarmouth Gemini 32348
So let's strip down all the glitz and get to brass tacks. This is a 12 year old Volvo B7tl, that has spent a lot of its life hammering between Windsor and London on Greenline's 702, so naturally despite the leather and tables you would expect it to be a complete wreck. So did I. I was wrong. It is in immaculate condition. Barely a rattle, quiet, smooth and gives a lovely ride, even down the worst road in the country - Gorleston High St. Quite simply I cannot praise it enough and my mouth is watering at the thought of the other one, due to return in Excel livery sometime in the near future. It was also extremely warm on the Gemini and I'm half thinking about spending the winter on it - cheaper than heating my flat! It was a really nice surprise afetr the disappointment of the RML no show.

I managed to keep the driver talking long enough when we got back to Yarmouth for Cameron to get in position to take a decent picture of her as she left Market Gates.

First Great Yarmouth B7tl Gemini 32348 LK53 LTL        pic (c) Cameron Robinson
One of the things I am insanely jealous of Cameron for is his eyesight. It is uncanny and he spotted a mistake in this picture. The fleet number is wrong, showing as 32438, not 348. On inspection of a picture of the rear I had taken earlier it transpired that the fleet number is wrong all over the bus. I suggest a few amendments are going to be made pretty quick so these pics could turn out to be pretty unique.

Oops!! 32348 with an identity crisis
Incidentally 32438 does exist - it is also a B7tl Gemini currently at First Leeds YJ04 FYH

I must add at this point that had the bus been rubbish I would have given Roy at East Norfolk Bus Blog the news to publish, which is what I do with most of the news I get these days. But it made such a change to ride a new decent bus in our area I thought I'd break my self imposed rule about publishing too much news and do it myself - sorry Roy!

So while I'm here I can also report that Anglian on loan E200 YJ14 FHS has returned to its owners, as had Streetlite 353 MX60 GXA. 350, MX60 BWH should leave on Monday. Many thanks to my Anglian contact for the news.


  1. No problem at all Steve. I just hope it made up for the no show of the Routemaster


  2. I will admit to being a bit miffed as it was my only day in Yarmouth with spare time but as we say in the trade "we'll be back"