Sunday 17 June 2018

Gt Yarmouth Air Show Park and Ride (South)

(Oh and some trains)

Due to being involved in an RTA Friday night which wrecked my beloved car, though thankfully not me (sorry, Anon, I'll try harder next time) I was unable to attend the Yarmouth Air Show so I'm grateful to Tim for doing the tedious stuff for me. Oh and also for doing the post!! Cheers buddy!

This weekend just gone was the inaugural air show for Yarmouth. It was expected to draw a lot of people and for this a bold transport plan involving up to 100 buses was devised. There were 2 parks North and South with the South being in Gorleston with the route via Beccles Rd. So the intrepid reporter stood by a roundabout to capture as many buses as he could.(400 odd snaps later....). First Eastern Counties were in abundance as the whole thing was masterminded by Mr Chris Speed and his team in a secret location (near the Fish and Grill any free chips ???) and by all accounts it was a successful operation.

Centre of Operations. Pics (c) Chris Speed
The additional buses were provided by Konect, Coach Services of Thetford, Mulleys of Ixworth, Ipswich Buses, Dolphin Travel, Beestons of Hadleigh, Borderbus of Beccles and Belle Coaches.

The " Beast". First time I have seen a bendybus in Yarmouth!

 Also you have heard of the Lone meet "The Lone Ambassador"
Yes Robert was the only one I saw and was chuffed I got a snap of him.

Sunday I turned my attention to the rails. To also cater for the expected influx Greater Anglia laid on special Loco hauled trains with the hire of 4 Class 68's and using their own full Intercity sets of coaches running non stop Norwich to Yarmouth and back. By what I saw they had plenty of room to get people on despite a fair few enthusiasts who wanted to ride and see the loco's. This all ran smoothly too which bodes well for the next time Yarmouth decides to put on a show. 

This is what a full rake with 2 loco's looks like at Yarmouth evoking memories of the summer Saturdays of the boom time when Yarmouth was a big destination from all over the country.(And it was a long old walk!!)

In a rare moment (Thanks Mr Smith ) the 2 sets were together for 5 minutes only. Probably the last time this may happen with the new trains due in 2019. Fingers crossed for another air show next year.
And this is what it was all about for me. The sight and sound of the BBMF Lancaster over Gorleston.


  1. Just a bunch of photos. Post that to flickr, I don't care about them here.

    1. Tough. not your blog, don't read it! Feel free to apply in person for role of editor then I might take you seriously instead of just a dick!

    2. @anonymous 0809 You failed to notice the bunch of words around the bunch of photos. Should've gone to Specsavers...

  2. Well done to the team for such a great effort on the park and ride services . One bus per car can't be bad .

    1. That might be due to the ridiculous cost of the P&R. Nothing to do with the buses - better to have too many buses than mile long queues waiting for one. Charging up to $35 per car might have had a little influence.

    2. Didn't know you were American, Steve?

    3. Andrew Kleissner19 June 2018 at 07:30

      The £35 fee was for "premium" (= "within walking distance") parking. The P&R was £10-18.

    4. In my view charging £10 to £18 for a short P&R ride is extortionate so no surprise the passenger numbers were low. I assume that price was per car and not per passenger as well

  3. You would hope that a company who ran a similar park and ride service for an airshow just ten miles down the coast a few years would have an idea that they had far too many buses this time .

    1. If you are requested to provide a certain number of buses isn't that what you provide?

    2. I suspect it takes time for the spectator market to build especially for anything that needs a wider audience. We don't tend to give "the benefit of the doubt" to something new but prefer to "wait and see", unless perhaps there's a "name" involved! It was also in that hiatus between the students going home and the start of the holiday season. Did it make the press or any publicity other than locally? I think IWM Duxford had a flying event too. I'm not sure the local Norfolk market like to splash the cash, especially if it's not yet a habit. We're all feeling the pinch.

      Getting to east Norfolk at the best of times is too much of a hassle for many of us! The endless dreg (easily turning into a nightmare) of the A11/A47/A12/A140.

  4. First Essex have started deregistering their services in Clacton

    Operating between Clacton, Pier Avenue and Clacton, Pier Avenue given service number 4 / 4A effective from 29 July 2018.

    Operating between Clacton, Pier Avenue and Point Clear given service number 6 effective from 29 July 2018.

    Operating between Flatford Drive and Clacton given service number 5 / 6 / 5A effective from 29 July 2018.

    Operating between HARWICH BUS STATION and CLACTON given service number 3 effective from 29 July 2018.

    Operating between Clacton Pier Avenue and Point Clear Holiday Park given service number 17 / 18 effective from 29 July 2018.

    Revised Services

    Operating between CLACTON and WALTON ON THE NAZE given service number 7 / 8 / 99 effective from 29 July 2018. To amend Route and Timetable.

    Not sure where they will operate from

    1. Inspector Blokey19 June 2018 at 20:32

      Colchester depot are running the Colchester-Clacton and Clacton-Walton services from 29th/30th July.

      I understand that service 70 (Colchester-Chelmsford via Braintree) will be co-operated by Colchester and Chelmsford depots, similar to service 71, which takes a different route via Witham.

    2. Sadly (for bus users, not enthusiasts) it seems to be endemic across much of the industry that buses are run for the benefit of enthusiasts rather than users, who are rather more interested in whether and when the bus runs, rather than where it comes from. (Though I thought the 70/71 have always been jointly serviced, and Go Ahead are now also taking over the evening contracted 352 which serves part of the route, as well as Clacton?) In that respect can Go Ahead be any worse than Wirst Essex (as they tend to be known in these parts)? They might have lost in the Suffolk Coastal zone but so far First aren't repeating the trick despite their efforts in coastal Essex.

      I suspect the interesting bit is the future rather than the past. May be there is a method in Go Ahead's recent local madness when the rest of the County Council tenders come up for renewal; and with their London ops sticking their toe in the waters at Southend, perhaps First could end up being squeezed at both ends. Though unfortunately that doesn't help their longstanding mid-Essex mess which shows no sign of being sorted out. May be it is just beyond anyone's ability. I believe it was one of the original nineteenth century local railway companies that was known as the "muddle and go nowhere". Often nothing much seems to have changed in mid-Essex. A strange sort of business this public transport.

      Of course First's attention is elsewhere, in the West and North, so we in the east will remain a sideshow. But despite their well-publicised problems it seems Go Ahead's group financial results came in ahead of expectations, which gives them some leeway that First don't have. Theirs didn't, apparently.

  5. A fleet of new state-of-the art London Overground trains has been unveiled, featuring WiFi and USB charging points throughout.

    The 54 new ‘Class 710’ trains can carry almost 700 people each thanks to their high-capacity walk-through layout – which also allows for more wheelchair spaces

    The extra capacity being achieved by having far fewer seats. Hardly a step forward although these lines are quite short in fact it might make sense to extend the Victoria line to Enfield Town

  6. Andrew Kleissner21 June 2018 at 13:08

    Well you could go back to the LNER Quint-arts - high seating capacity but only about 12 inches between opposing seat cushions and you have to sit up very straight! Standing must have been a nightmare for everyone. One similar Quad-art set is preserved on the North Norfolk Railway:

  7. Thameslink

    The shambles of the new timetable is still ongoing with no sign at all of it improving it was made worse today by a signal failure. The signalling systems on the railways seem to be another disaster area with hardly a day going by without signal failures

  8. I have no magic answer, but neither does tech. It's swings and roundabouts, sort something out and something else goes wrong (and it gives us more to go wrong too and makes it more difficult to sort out). The cost of progress. I suspect our variable and unpredictable weather, whilst it adds interest to life, doesn't help. It's almost designed to maximise trouble.

    Our transport network (perhaps the wrong word) was never designed initially, rather thrown together. That's not to say that there isn't some brilliant engineering which there is, we're good at it; but the devil is in the detail as always. Life isn't just a series of miracles.

    We ask a hell of a lot, throwing more and more development into the mix, while we have to upgrade and keep stuff working at the same time. Things are going to go wrong, at times catastrophically, but a lot of the problems as we are finding with mass housing, are legacy and the result of our eternal habit to kick the can down the road. It looks good. It all comes down to cost in the end, and we just aren't willing to pay for it, even if it all ends up costing us more. How the heck our managers reconcile all our conflicting opinions on what should be done, I don't know. I'm just glad I'm not in their shoes any more!

    I just suspect that with the Anglo Saxons political demands always take precedence over expert advice. It's our eternal problem. If some people are tempted to take refuge in their bunkers, sometimes, I can hardly blame them!

    1. L can tell you that it is quite possible to design and build highly reliable signalling systems with near a 100% reliability, I suspect cost cutting and poor maintanance account for a lot of it as well as equipment not designed for the harsh environment it operates in

  9. LGA warn 50% of council supported bus services are under threat

    In the East this has already mainly happened and even quite large towns such as Clacton, Sudbury and Kings Lynn are struggling to provide viable bus service. Unstable services , high fares and poor reliability, corner cutting do not help and as services are cut it reduces passengers numbers on other services making them non viable at present I can see no end to the spiral of decline.

    1. I'm now into my sixth decade on this earth (so still a naive youngster, I know), but buses in the Shires have always been under threat for as long as I can remember, and we have been predicting their demise. I know for many people that has come true. The old adage of "Use it or Lose it" is as true today as it always has been. Public subsidy is a sticking plaster, not a cure.

      We all have a responsibility to use the bus, and that is as true in the urban areas as for the remaining rural services. That is the only way to survive. Councils won't (and increasingly can't, with all the best will in the world) come to the rescue other than as a short term palliative. (Do Suffolk cut school transport costs or rural subsidy? - the alternative is to just go bust as Northamptonshire have done and let the lot go). The companies have to help themselves, delivering services that their traveling public can rely on. No excuses. (I trust the same, or hopefully greater, effort goes into delivering reliable Norwich Network and commuter services on a dank winter morning, or evening, as for the Airshow P&R).

      There is no magic wand. We have to do everything we can across the board, not just using the bus but drivers actually making passengers feel valued, to maximising the scope for cross-subsidy, parishes and local community groups getting actively involved with support, instead of leaving it all to the increasingly remote bureaucrats; and those people like developers and commerce who have benefited from our laissez-faire economic policies supporting the community in which they reside. Not sops but long term commitment. Planning for the future, not just the opportunism to which we are addicted. Looked as that way, can we turn a threat into an opportunity? We don't have any alternative. A rural bus might depend as much (perhaps more) on its town cousins having a successful network as its own efforts. How do dog charges help the passengers, perhaps that ought to be the question, as for every other gimmick?

      OK the early Sunday sermon over. And, I know, about as much relevance. We'll all just carry on, regardless.

  10. Totally irrelevant to this threat but...just wanting some thought on Sanders....

    They charge 50p for a dog and have a £1 "rover" ticket.

    I've never known a company to charge. Do you know of other companies which charge/ what's your opinion on charging for animals?

    1. They aren't allowed on seats, so unsure why they insist on charging. Going Cromer - Norwich costs enough as it is without having to pay for a dog too. I think it would put people off going by bus more, especially wanting to take a dog to the beach. I wonder how much they make a week from dog tickets?

    2. Yes.I clearly remember a D setting on my old Almex ticket machine. I think dogs were 10p, and that was back in late 80's on Maidstone & District.

      I might add that dogs aren't allowed on beaches this time of year anyway and aren't a usual sight on buses in the main, especially with people on a day trip! Apart from that responsible owners won't mind paying for their dog but irresponsible owners probably would, and it's the owners that tend to be the problem, not the dog.

    3. Can't recall ever seeing as dog round here on longer trips, just urban short runs where there are a few. I'd assumed it's the same reason that I find: too risky when only a single pooch is allowed and at the drivers discretion = even higher likelihood that even if you can get there, you won't get back! Can't see the quid adding to profits or reducing the fares!

  11. Eastern National

    It is interesting to see how large Eastern National Used to be. It is a far smaller company under First Bus

    These are pretty much its original Garages

    BD Brentwood (ex Westcliff, originally City Coach)
    BE Braintree (ex Hicks)
    BN Basildon (Cherrywood garage opened in 1961 replacing Bull Yard, Vange)
    BS Bishops Stortford
    CY Canvey Island (ex Westcliff, originally Benfleet/Canvey & District)
    CF Chelmsford
    CN Clacton-on-Sea (Castle Street, ex Silver Queen)
    CR Colchester
    DT Dovercourt
    HD Halstead
    HH Hadleigh (ex Westcliff, originally Benfleet/Canvey & District)
    KN Kelvedon (ex Moore's Bros)
    MN Maldon
    PL Prittlewell (ex Westcliff)
    SD Southend (ex Westcliff)
    SE Silver End (ex Hicks)
    WG London, Wood Green (ex Westcliff, originally City Coach)

  12. Hmm, depends on your perspective. I think it was only last year that Colchester were "boasting" (the right word?) they now have a bigger fleet than they have ever had. I'm not sure that there are any majors that haven't shrunk their property assets - they'd be stupid not to. How big did Eastern Counties use to be? And go back further, and the original Eastern National included I think United Counties in the West - Luton/Bedford (now half of Stagecoach East, the rest of which was Eastern Counties). And do you have to include Stephensons, NIBS and the rest (even Go Ahead) running ex-ECOC services? Go back more recently to the 1960s and much of Arriva's northern home counties operations, anyway, were part of London Transport.

    Look how few depots Stagecoach East get away with, compared to what used to be the case. They're hardly a failure, yet they have the same problems as First to deal with, but with about the same number of drivers (and presumably they all work as hard) and gross income in the same range £40-50m) they make some £10m profit instead of a £400K loss! Maybe efficiency has something to do with it? Even Stephensons managed £2m profit on £10m income on routes First have abandoned as unviable (and local authority contract work which are by definition non-commercially viable)!

    I'm not sure bigger is better otherwise NBC would have been a huge commercial success. The only problem was that the accountants didn't think so! Fortunately in the world of the imagination the figures don't matter.

    Virtually all the pre-1985 companies had grown by acquisitions, as much and may be more than by network expansion. Perhaps again the reason why historically they had so many depots. London Transport had led the way in their avaricious 1930s when most of the home counties independents were swallowed up! Eastern Counties weren't too bad at it, either.

  13. Got confused above, ECOC and meant ENOC instead! Brain overheating (sunshine not buses, I'm not that much of an enthusiast!)

    1. Andrew Kleissner25 June 2018 at 22:35

      Just wondering too ... modern cars require far less maintenance than old ones. If that's also true of buses, then you presumably need fewer depots (or, at least, workshops),

  14. Serious accident between lorry and bus at Guyhirn, Cambridgeshire, Probably a Stagecoach service 46. At least one death has been reported and several serious injuries

    1. Now being report as First Bus Excel service X1

    2. Two people have died. One was a passenger and the other the driver who was based at Kings Lynn

    3. Did we need reminding: the standards of our roads (and driving) and how bus drivers put their lives on the line, every day. I've never yet come across a bus driver who DIDN'T put safety first, over more than half a century just to emphasise the point, something to always remember when our bus is late. Thanks, guys and gals; and my deepest sympathy to the families of the driver and passenger who died and to those who are injured, and hope for a speedy and complete recovery. And to the managers, and a reminder to the rest of us; just try not to make the job even harder! All the rest of us could make a resolution to drive better as the best memorial.

    4. One issue is the law is very lax with regard to fitting seat belts to buses. Since 2001 the fitting of seat belts to buses has been mandatory EXCEPT on urban buses. What is urban seems to be down to the bus companies and many are very liberal with interpretation I find it very difficult to see how this X1 service can be called Urban. There are even buses going on . motorways and even allow standing passengers

      Clearly in this accident it would probably not have saved the driver but would have reduced injury to passengers

      In my view the definition of urban needs properly defining and should exclude buses if they go on motorways or uses road with speed limits of 50mph or over but excluding most rural roads

    5. Yes, the seatbelts issue, but I don't think the buck can just be passed to Government. As I understand it Steve Wickers (Eastern Counties MD and his team)and depots - who are left to carry the can - have to use the vehicles specified by Head Office. Not perhaps so different from anyone else.

      But a few months ago the Croydon tram crash report concluded that operator First corporately (along with owner London Transport) had failed to identify the major risk in that case, let alone deal appropriately with it. Not again, Mr. Fearnley, MD of First Bus?

      Hopefully the coroner, whose powers are more limited, will still consider the wider issues.

  15. Stagecoach take £85M hit to their bottom line

    Rail and bus group Stagecoach has taken an £85.6m charge to cover the cost of the failure of the East Coast rail franchise.

    The company reported adjusted pre-tax profits of £144.8m for the year to 28 April, down from £151m the year before. Stagecoach also cut its full-year dividend to 7.7p per share from 11.9p last year.