Sure enough after a short wait 36183 rolled up. I had heard mixed reviews of these 12 reg B9tl's but it's important to remember what they are there for and what they are replacing. So a quick review would go as follows:
Are they more comfortable than the Presidents? Yes.
Do they rattle less than the Presidents? Yes
Do they feel 10 years younger than the Presidents? No
Are they perfectly adequate for trundling around Yarmouth? Yes
And there you have it - a vast improvement on the Presidents but no one is going to be shaking with excitement when one turns up.
|ex Leeds Volvo B9tl Gemini 2 36187 BN12 JYK on the X11 to Norwich|
|32905 W905 VLN on her short lived debut on Friday|
|Koneect 638 SN65 OAX on the new 7 to Norwich|
After Yarmouth I caught Gemini 36185 back to Gorleston, then drove to Beccles to see my mates at BorderBus. By lucky chance I timed it perfectly as one of the new Geminis, none of which I had seen in the flesh yet, was about to go out on a brake test so I hopped on for the ride. 210, currently registered LF52 ZPC is a 14 year old Volvo B7tl that has spent its entire career in London, and so the BorderBus wizards have got a few rattles and bangs to sort out but comfy seats and again a perfectly adequate vehicle for the job it will be doing. Brakes work well too, as my internal organs will testify having been rearranged on that brake test!
|BorderBus 210 LF02 ZPC|
In the interest of fairness I should also mention that from August 29th Anglian will be introducing their own commercially operated 81 between Bungay and Yarmouth, to a broadly similar timetable as present, although there are no ticket acceptance arrangements between Anglian and anyone else.
Now I don't normally quote anyone but an exception is in order on this occasion. Andrew said something quite nonchalantly that made my ears shoot up. "I think, with the 580, BorderBus has finished growing". Not sure he was trying to convince me or himself but I have a feeling that quote might be the subject of much laughter in the years to come!
I was chatting with the guys in the yard just before leaving when the one Gemini I hadn't seen came back to the depot. One of those times you grab the camera and hope for the best. In this case 209 LF52 ZFB came out looking rather good.
|Borderbus 209 returning to base|
Finally a message to my thousands of readers in Russia, who have been outnumbering UK views quite considerably recently;