Monday 26 September 2016

Back To Plan A Part Two

In Part One I reported how an aborted test train outing had resulted in a long and complicated journey to Norwich to get some bacon from the market. We left it when I had just arrived in Great Yarmouth on Borderbus's 580 from Bungay. I had an hour to kill in Yarmouth as Borderbus have yet another E200 in their possession, and I hadn't seen it yet. Then I was sampling Konect's version of the 7 to Norwich for the first time.

In the meantime I took the opportunity for a wander round Yarmouth as I had successfully avoided the town during the high season weeks. The lack of Plaxton Presidents was a joy, most have now been replaced with ex Leeds B9tl Gemini 2's, and it looks much better for it. Still getting used to the new stop arrangements there but I did manage to see a new service in the town, Our Bus's 271 to Hemsby, operated on by an increasingly rare breed in the area now, an original Optare Solo.

Our Bus Solo CN54 HFD on the 271 to Hemsby
When Konect took over the 7 from Anglian it was launched in a blaze of publicity with a special livery, wifi, phone chargers etc. So naturally my first pic of a 7 was of a bus that had none of those! E400 602 SN10 CFF was deputising.

Konect 602 on the 7 to Norwich
Sadly I didn't get the pic of the new Borderbus E200, well I did but it was a complete disaster. However it is white, with Borderbus Vinyls, and an 09 reg E200. Not much imagination needed. I messed up the pic as I was walking towards the next 7 to Norwich, which this time was one of the branded E400's. The first time I had been on one of that particular batch of E400's too. Erm now what can I say about it. It was ok. I must be honest and say I prefer the E400's without air chill, which lessens the background  noise. It was very spacious compared to the X1 with plenty of room to stretch out without being disturbed by other passengers. I noted we didn't pick up or drop off anyone at Postwick P&R which being only 1400 was fairly surprising. On the whole I had no complaints about the journey even if it didn't have me panting with excitement. It took me from where I was to where I wanted to be with minimum of fuss, it was comfortable, and got to Norwich on time. I guess that's all you really want from a bus service. For the record I had 638, SN65 OAX.

Konect 638 at Castle Meadow

It won't be too long now before I can do a post I've been waiting quite some time for. Just some red fronted buses to appear in Norwich and I can do my complete rainbow post. The latest buses to be painted up are the B9tl's on the Blue Line. I confess I wasn't sure how they would look with blue fronts but I have to say I love them. Really striking and in my opinion one of the best looking colours to see there. It maybe the Gemini body that makes the difference as I'm not sure that blue would suit a President as well, but in the Norwich sun they looked really eye catching. First up is 36169 BD11 CFO

36169 heading towards Norwich Riverside
Next up is 36175 BD11 CFZ on the 26A to Norfolk & Norwich Hospital

And that was it. Bacon purchased -  jolly nice it was too - and it was to Norwich bus station for the X88 back to Halesworth. Another gas bus, this time my old favourite 100, but again the condition wasn't how I want to remember it. I'm already saving up to go to Plymouth next Spring to see how Citibus have treated them. This brings me onto why I think they are going, having read between as many lines as possible.

There has been some real rubbish spoken as to why the gas buses are going. I have heard that Anglian can't afford the lease anymore. Well they are not leased they are owned so that puts that one to bed. Secondly they cost over £30,000 a month to run. Rubbish - they are cheaper to run than diesel buses. Thirdly they are too big for the country routes. In recent weeks gas buses have been employed on the tightest of country routes including places like Topcroft on the 84 to Harleston, and are no bigger than the Scanias being refurbished to replace them. So what is the reason?

You have to take a bit of everything, mix it up and reassemble it. Next year the 5 year warranty on the gas buses expires. The country routes Anglian have do cause more damage than City routes do, including to the underneath of the buses, and MAN parts I'm told are not the cheapest in the world. Therefore it actually makes sense to use them in a location where damage will be reduced and therefore operating costs too. Scania panels are not difficult to come by but Ecocity panels aren't that common so without warranty I can understand why at the current rate of damage costs would go through the roof. I don't want to see them go but can now at least understand. However one question remains to be answered - Why the heck weren't we told that in the first place instead of being fed absolute rubbish about bus lengths and them being leased etc. Not good, and definitely not professional.

Fnallly while I'm having a moan is there a worse advert for public transport in East Anglia than the Gents toilets at Norwich Bus Station. The loo in my flat is bigger, and in a far more hygienic state. The Gents at Norwich Bus Station are a disgraceful health hazard and cannot possibly encourage anyone to use public transport. Obviously I don't know what the Ladies are like but the Gents should be condemned. Those Portaloos were a darn sight cleaner.

A couple of special posts coming up this week on the Carters.Ipswich Buses transition. Oh, and I passed Soames yard in Otley earlier today. Still looks busy, including a Suffolk Norse E300 over the pits.


  1. I came past the Soames parking area about an hour ago and there were 3 there,much less than the same time Thursday and Friday. A few have had the Soames vinyls took off the sides but retain 'forget me not travel 'on the back. I was working near Woodbridge last week and saw Suffolk Norse on schools in the morning but quite often,Soames liveried coaches on the pm duties. Still find it sad that something I grew up with will soon disappear.

  2. Replies
    1. Absolutely no idea - railings got in the way!