Friday, 18 August 2017

#VegOnTour: Part Six

(I started writing this many many months ago, as this relates to my holiday last summer. Whilst sorting through the blog today I came across it and it seems a shame for my writing to go to waste, so here it is!)

A bit later than anticipated; after all it's been a number of months since my holiday and I find my self still writing about it trying to remember exactly what I did and what I saw, so it's a good job I have lots of photos to remind me! Whilst I remember, if you missed Part Five, you can read that my clicking the here. I recommend you do; it's a fantastically entertaining read even if I do say so myself.

47537 MK63XAO heading to Gateway P&R
Moving on from Cornwall and I headed North into Somerset. Following a similar route to my last holiday to look at First's "Buses of Somerset" company. I parked up at the Park & Ride site, which is served by a fleet of white Wright StreetLites which gave a very comfortable ride and I was soon in the town centre so headed to the bus station which is situated just next door to Taunton Castle. Parked on Castle Green, was a small Temsa MD9 coach operated by M&M Coaches. Privately registered MX65MMC, the vehicle has seating for 39 passengers and was new in February 2016. Despite being a good six months old though, my photograph remains the only one on Flickr of said vehicle! So if you have spotted it and have it hiding away somewhere on an SD card or hard drive, make sure you upload it!

M&M Coaches' Temsa MD9 on Castle Green, Taunton
A couple of steps later, I had arrived at the bus station. It's quite easy to spot now because as well as the buses, the building it self is sporting the two-tone-green Buses of Somerset livery which really finishes of the professional look of First in Somerset. The last time I was in Taunton, it was mid-December so my photographs were rather gloomy. So I felt quite excited at the prospect of being able to get some nice summer sunshine shots this time round. Luckily, the bus station layout was perfect for just that and the setting of the establishment made for some rural-looking photographs despite the fact I was in the middle of a bustling market town.

32874 HIG1524 (ex-V874HBY)
33379 LK53EYY



62191 OIG1791 (ex-X685ADK)
55103 MX12JXV (ex-Anglianbus demonstrator if you can remember!)
23012 YV03UBE

First also operate the Buses of Taunton in the town, which make up the more local routes whereas the Buses of Somerset go cross-county. The Taunton buses are mostly made up of a number of Enviro200s and a couple of  MPD Plaxton Pointers, which also where the two-tone green livery. Also present in the town is Stagecoach, which took over some of the services previously operated by Webberbus who have since gone bust.

44922 YX09ADV picking up passengers in the town centre

Stagecoach 25254 WA09KWL rounds a corner on the 99 to Chard with the bus station seen in the background.

Watch out for Part Seven which will be coming from Bristol!

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Fleet Update: Sanders Coaches

6542FN at Norwich Bus Station a few years back
Sanders Coaches have acquire three ex-Nottingham double deckers, in the form of Scania N94UD East Lancs OmniDekkas 112 YN53CFD, 115 YN53CFF and 116 YN53CFZ. The existing 116 PM03EHU has been renumbered 106, taking the place of the final Dennis Trident Alexander ALX400 6542FN which will be withdrawn iminently.

Thanks to a contact at Sanders Coaches I can  also clear up any confusion with regards to the number plate on their latest coach. Fleet number is a Yutong TC9, and it's private registration NS17GAS is a tribute to the original owners of the company. NS stands for "Norman Sanders" and "GAS" stands for "Gladys Ann Sanders".

(c) Sanders Coaches

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Norwich Bus Bash

Remember tomorrow is the Norwich Bus Bash being hosted by First Eastern Counties Buses on Roundtree Way in Norwich to raise money for the East Anglian Children's Hospice. The day will run from 1100 until 1600 and will include free heritage bus rides, a 'rainbow' line up of all the different colours featured in First's Norwich fleet, bus rides through the state-of-the-art bus wash, a Wheel of Fortune game, and depot tours so you can see behind the scenes of how the garage works!

As I'm on holiday, I won't be there but do make sure to pop into the Stores on your guided tour and enjoy the bus related memorabilia I've acquired over the years all displayed by my desk... though if any of it goes missing I'll know who to blame!

For more information please see the poster to the right, or click here to go over to First's website.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Fleet Update: First

66850 in Poringland about to head back to Norwich
Since our last post, quite a few changes have happened at Eastern Counties. Three Ipswich Volvo B7RLE Wright Eclipse-Urbans have transferred to Norwich and are in the process of being painted into the Red Line livery. 66850 MX05CHD was the first to transfer but due to a shortage of vehicles she was pressed into use on the Charcoal Line service and is pictured to the right in Poringland complete with her temporary Norwich branding. She is now on loan in Great Yarmouth. This meant that the second bus to arrive 66981 KX05MHK will be the first to receive the treatment. She is currently at Roundtree Way depot having her front painted "red-y" for service. Finally, 66979 KX05MHF will also receive the treatment however she is yet to arrive at the depot. Norwich have also started replacing both the StreetLite and Wright Eclipse-Gemini 2's nearside mirror arms with short versions that do not have an overhang. The aim is to reduce the risk of drivers hitting them against bus stops, trees, and passenger's heads.

60916 basking in the sunshine last week
Also at Norwich, we said goodbye to Wright Eclipse 66338 MV02VCN which has been transferred to Manchester following a short stint on the coast in Great Yarmouth (thanks to Cameron Robinson for spotting that). Meanwhile, 60916 YG02DKU has finally had her heritage Eastern Counties livery applied. She left for Simon Morris for repaint a few months ago but unfortunately got pushed to the back of the queue as Ipswich needed to have their Park & Ride buses painted as a priority. Back now, though, she will be given fleet number VW916 and is pictured here at Roundtree Way upon arrival in Norwich.

At King's Lynn, demonstrator LX17DZB has returned back to Ensignbus and as Steve W pointed out on his blog, it's actually a BCI Excellence, not Enterprise. The latter being the tri-axle version. Every day's a school day! They are expecting an Enterprise as some point in the Autumn to trial though.

LX17DZB outside the Norfolk Showground during it's loan stint with King's Lynn

Great Yarmouth have taken Norwich's 36199 BN12WNZ on loan for the Summer to cope with the increased work load that comes with the territory of running bus services in a popular tourist destination, whilst in Lowestoft, 42908 WX05RVR is being repainted into Olympia livery and will be completed shortly.

67752 in Ipswich last week
Finally, I'm sure you're all aware that First took over the park & ride operations in Ipswich recently. seven of the eight buses have been painted in the new blue livery, with the eighth 67406 SN13CKC still wearing Olympia. The full list of new buses there are as follows:

67406 SN13CKC
67752 SN62APF
67760 SN62AUC
67763 SN62AUK
67773 SN62AXH
67774 SN62AXK
67775 SN62AXO
67776 SN62AXU

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Blog Update

Hello! I'm back, well for now anyway. As you've realised I haven't posted on the blog for a while, and that's due to many reasons. I have now managed to sort those reasons out and I hope to be posting more often again now. It probably won't be to the same frequency as it used to be and I may miss out certain things as there is always coverage elsewhere with Roy and Grahame running East Norfolk Bus Blog, and the return of Sam's Norwich Buses Blog. 

I am going on holiday at the end of this week though so it may still be a while until I can upload the fleet lists. Whilst updating them is relatively easy, the process of uploading them is very time consuming and that is why they are still dated June. I apologise to anyone who is after updated lists, but I have this evening updated the live versions of the First Eastern Counties lists which can be found by clicking here.

Thank you for bearing with me and I look forward to posting again in the near future. 

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Fleet Update: First

66979 at Ipswich depot last month
Tonight I can bring you details of four buses moving within the Eastern Counties fleet, expected to take place next week. Due to the arrival of eight Enviro300s for the park & ride service in Ipswich (the eighth now being confirmed as 67406 SN13CKC), the suffolk town's fleet has a few buses to spare. Norwich will be receiving three Volvo B7RLE Wright Eclipse-Urban buses from south of the border, which will have their fronts repainted in-house into the Red Line colours. The chosen three are as follows.

66850 MX05CHD
66979 KX05MHF
66984 KX05MHN

This will free up a single decker bus which will be sent to Great Yarmouth in the form of Volvo B7L Wright Eclipse 66333 MV02VBY.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Fleet Update: Anglianbus

Thanks to sister company Hedingham updating their fleet list, it seems that one of Anglian's Scania N230UD OmniDekkas has been transferred to Essex with 555 YN55PZR now being renumbered 1512 and appearing on their new list.

In blog news, I am on holiday from tomorrow so I won't be posting at all next week but will return with hopefully a few photos of some of our old buses seen in their new home! Also, the fleet lists have now been updated and can be checked out here.

my most recent photo of 555 was taken on the approach to Woodton