Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Tales Of The Unexpected

My church minister Mother invented a new word a few years ago. The word is "Godincidence" the definition of which is as follows: noun, a sequence of events so incredible it has to be more than coincidence. Well I'm neither here nor there on that subject, but this morning's events certainly fell into that definition.

I had booked a minibus to take me to Wangford, so I could catch the 61 (which I rarely catch from Wangford) to Yarmouth and raid Nichols the butchers, who do high quality meat at very cheap prices. Normally on a Tuesday it involves a long but pleasant journey around the country lanes of Suffolk picking up people en route. However this morning for the first time in living memory one lady cancelled, so I was left with the prospect of arriving in Wangford just under an hour early, and believe me nice as Wangford is it is not a thriving metropolis of activity with refuge for the waiting traveler. So I persuaded my driver to take me further up the A12 to Wrentham, where I knew a cafe was open. It was from that cafe that I saw a BorderBus decker heading light towards Southwold. Surely not! A decker on the 146? A quick exchange of messages to Borderbus confirmed that yes there was indeed a decker on the 146 as the E300 was in for MOT and the pocket rocket BB07 is having a major sulk..Better still Malcolm was driving and that guaranteed some photo stops! And so at 0955 precisely Plaxton President Volvo B7tl 207 came round the corner.

Borderbus 207 LK51 XGH at Wrentham on the 146 to Norwich
Now at this stage I must mention that a few people have been nagging Borderbus supremo Andrew Pursey to put the occasional decker on the route. Obviously this can't happen until proper destination screens are fitted, but I can tell you the decker went down very well with the passengers and quite a few went upstairs. Since Pontins are one of the main targets of the 146 it's worth "Pontin" out again that holidaymakers like doing things they don't normally do in their regular lives - and that includes going upstairs on a bus. It's one of the reasons the X1 does so well over the 7. Yes local concessionary pass holders like downstairs but tourists and their kids love upstairs. Food for thought especially if those journeys operated by deckers were advertised in the timetable.

Anyway regular readers will know I'm not the greatest fan of Presidents. there are a few decent ones knocking around - Chambers have a few for example, but for its age 207 is a gem. Goes well, comfy seats, extremely warm and barely a rattle to be heard - Hogwarts' Beccles outstation has done it again!

207 outside East Anglia Transport Museum
We arrived at Norwich, and I took time to work out the chain of events. If I hadn't needed to go to the butcher in Yarmouth (not just for me) I wouldn't have booked to Wangford, but if I HAD gone to Wangford I wouldn't have seen the decker. So if that lady hadn't cancelled I wouldn't have been in the cafe and anyway I'm sure you get the picture by now! It turned out ok!

A decker on the 146 in Norwich. As rare as it gets!
I then dashed to Yarmouth and back on the X1 (37274 (nice) out 33823 (not great) back) and met up with Chris Speed for a natter over a sausage and chip lunch. Unfortunately I can't tell you a word of what he told me - yet! Suffice to say some interesting happenings coming soon that should get the comment count going!

On the way to Davey House I saw another unexpected sight. A few days ago I published a pic of a baby Lynx on loan to Simonds on the 86. I had already seen that Tempo in the bus station so when another one passed me on the 1 I realised the other baby Lynx PF10 MDX had escaped and found its mate. My luck continued when the driver had his break down at Riverside and so I was in position when it arrived in St Stephen's Street on its return journey, on the 2 this time.

Lynx Optare Tempo PF10 MDX on loan to Simonds
Another blue bus I saw, though this time with a tinge of sadness was former Norwich Park & Ride Trident PN03 ULT, now in Norwich School colours. I say sadness as it replaced the old Volvo B10M Citibuses and the Trident engine has none of the unique clag and character of those B10M engines.

Norwich School Trident PM03 ULT
And that was about it, I thought, until I got back to the bus station and realised what was going to operate the 1600 X88 to Halesworth. When Hedingham returned ex Brighton & Hove Loylne Trident 712 to Anglian it was widely assumed, though not by me, that it would be parked up with all the Hedingham Olympians in the graveyard and left to rot. But no! She is out in service and giving a quite superb ride. Comfortable, no rattles, fast, and thanks to the Dart engine now fitted much quicker off the mark and no whining. Even the driver, who was seriously nonplussed when he first saw it admitted it was better than any of the Scania deckers. I would be seriously tempted to get 712 DDA converted and continue to use it. Is it now the oldest decker in regular use in Suffolk, if not Norfolk too? Anyhow it was a surprisingly good end to a very surprising and unexpected day.

Anglian 712 pulls on to the stand at Norwich. Glad I had the front bus!


  1. my word! very good day for you! I guess E300 is back on road tomorrow? meanwhile, may I upload a few of your 146 pics on my flickr with your name as title and link to this post? So I can stick them in my gallery section for the 146 route. Important to document such a rarity :P

    1. Yes no probs there. I don't know about the E300 as the decker was out yesterday too - just no-one saw it!

  2. I rode on a decker last Friday (11/3/16) from Norwich on the 13:10 departure as far as Kessingland with Malcolm driving; did not note the number but your comments re the ride match mine. I was in W H Smiths and only came out at 13:07 to find it already on the stand and loading. Got the front o/s upstairs seat and spent the journey looking at the view instead of catching up with reading last month's LOTS TLB magazine.......

    1. Yes I thought Malcolm said it was its 3rd day out, but wasn't sure if it was Friday or Saturday. Even more remarkable that no one else saw it. Glad you enjoyed the ride and view - let BB know too!

  3. Thomas Browne) Norwich school have still got an Olympian.

    1. Yes an ex Dublin bus one if memory serves me correct, and long may it survive.