I was delighted to receive an email last week from the David Bailey of bus photography, David Bell (even initials and first name are the same). He had read my post on the new E200MMC's not being suitable for the whole Coasthopper route (see here) and decided to see for himself. David also kindly sent in some pictures for me to share with you. I will quote parts of his email interspersed with his pictures.
I was very interested to read your post on the new Coasthopper Enviro 200MMCs. I decided to have a ride on one last week especially after I had been told that they were only operating as far as Wells-next-the-sea. Sure enough when we reached Wells we picked up some passengers on the quayside but then instead of turning right into Station Road to access The Buttlands the bus continued straight on down Polka Road and past the site of the old railway station before proceeding to The Buttlands via Church Street, Two Furlong Hill and Mill Road so that it was facing the correct way to return to Hunstanton. Any passengers wanting to travel further east towards Sheringham and Cromer had to disembark and cross the road to where one of the traditional Coasthopper Solos was waiting. The only ride on the new buses the passengers who joined at the Quayside got was a circular tour of Wells!
|Stagecoach Norfolk 37437 E200MMC SN16 ORG pic (c) David Bell|
Apparently there are some new Solo SRs on order for the Wells-Cromer section although even on the Hunstanton-Wells section there are some narrow spots for example in Old Hunstanton and on the approach to Burnham Market from Burnham Deepdale. At other places along the road the bus was constantly throwing up small stones from the side of the road which were peppering the underside of the bodywork.
|Still plying its trade Optare Solo 47903 YK08 EUC pic (c) David Bell|
Interestingly during the hiatus over who was operating the winter service last October Lynx operated short Tempos along the whole length of the route without any problems though they took the precaution of only using their most experienced drivers on the Wells-Cromer section. I think the livery on the new buses is superb both inside and out - just a shame they will not be seen east of Wells.
|37436 SN16 ORF pic (c) David Bell|
And what did David think of the overall E200MMC experience?
Yes I liked the new Enviro 200 MMCs both inside and out and enjoyed my ride from Hunstanton to Wells although as I say it was a bit offputting to constantly hear small stones rattling into the nearside wheel arch on the coast road.
Many thanks again, David for getting in touch and it will be interesting to see how use of the MMC's develops, and what happens with the Wells - Cromer section.
|37434 SN16 OPZ arrives in Hunstanton pic (c) David Bell|
I am hoping tomorrow to try out the very latest double decker to hit the streets of the UK - a world's first so look out for a very special post to follow.