First of all just to reaffirm that the strike planned for Monday 10th October on Ipswich Buses has been cancelled. Agreement has been reached, however, there will still be some services operated by Suffolk County Council - the 111/173/174 - so some odd workings will still be in evidence. Thanks to all those who commented and updated the previous post - welcome back Smurf!
Now to today's topic. Who can forget this line up at Caister Rd a couple of years ago
This line up was arranged for us in December 2014, and shows the afternoon run out for Bernard Matthews, which is obviously at its peak in November and December. The revenue helps maintain several of the lesser used services in Yarmouth and Lowestoft. However, as you may know Bernard Matthews ha recently been sold to the Two Sisters Group. What isn't so widely known is that BM was in administration before being sold, and only the business was sold, not the debts. This mean many local businesses are going to lose out. It has also been revealed that currently the two BM plants are operating at very low capacity, with only a skeleton workforce needed. The ripple effect of this could be on a tsunami scale
This is worrying. At this time of year the factories should be buzzing with pre Christmas production. Many buses should be needed to ferry the workers to and from the sites. The fact it's not could have serious repercussions for the travelling public of the region. My investigations have discovered that First were paid just before BM went into administration so it's not the fact they are owed much, but the demand for buses is so low for the time of year. Without this revenue First could be forced to axe services in Yarmouth and Lowestoft and who knows where else to spread the cost. We all need to keep fingers crossed that Two Sisters realise Christmas is coming and the great British public will be wanting their traditional fayre. If they don't this Christmas could prove to be a right turkey lasting far longer than the sandwiches do.
It is officially leaf fall season, where the trees of the land take revenge on everyone and aim their tired leaves directly onto the rail network, forming mulch that even the most costly of new trains can't handle. And so Network Rail's fleet of Rail Head Treatment Trains can be seen at all hours of day and night, mainly night, spraying the rails with anti leaf antifreeze materials as well as blasting the mulch from the line. In the past the class 20's and 57's have been used for this task, but this year looks a little more mundane. Ubiquitous Class 66 "Sheds" have been spotted, all be they rarer DRS examples, but intriguingly a couple of extra Class 68's have been seen at Norwich this weekend. There isn't a 66 in the world that would force me out of bed in the dead of night to picture them doing RHTT work, but a couple of 68's might just do that, so watch this space. UPDATE: it seems 68's won't be operating RHTT trains but 37's might, and you all know about my love of 37's.....
One little piece of trivia - I was at Southwold on Friday when something rather unusual honed into view. What had escaped everyone's radar is that First Lowestoft currently have on loan Ipswich B7rle 66850. According to the extremely friendly and jovial Lowestoft driver (yes I know what you're thinking) it had been there over a week. No idea how long it's there for but it would appear the Lowestoft drivers are getting rather bored of being asked if they're going to Ipswich!
|First Ipswich 66850 at Southwold on the 99 to Lowestoft|
And that is about it, a really slow news week. Hopefully this week will be a bit more newsworthy. Take care everyone.