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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Fleet Update ~ FirstNorwich UPDATED AGAIN

Chris Speed has informed me that this bus will be fitted with the standard black and white fleetnames as soon as possible as these redish looking ones have been fitted by mistake.

We sugget you visit East Norfolk Bus Blog for photos of her with some very odd looking RED fleetnames, minus any landmarks! It seems there is no pattern at the moment regarding what colour fleetnames are going on which buses but we will endeavour to keep you updated.

Flickr's Bryan Dickson has captured 33060 LN51GJU parked outside Simon Morris in Ipswich, complete with her new livery. She is the second bus to receive this particular treatment, and fourth altogether to be repainted.


StreetLite Special

Yesterday I met up with fellow blogger Harry during one of his college breaks to see if we could spy the last four StreetLites to enter service in Great Yarmouth. We later found out that 47504 SN64CPY was being used in Norwich for something so after that initial disappointment we made our way to my favourite spotting place by Sainsbury's to see if we could spot the rest. We must have only been there about 45 minutes and in that period of time we could tick them all off as photographed. I hadn't quite planned to have seen them all so quickly so I found myself with a bit of spare time on my hands; and Harry didn't need to go back to college for about another hour so after some discussion about where to go next we headed up to Gorleston sea front on board 47501 SN64CPU. I disembarked and waited for her to turn around and head back the other way to attempt my first shot of a bus with the sea in the background. Although it wasn't the brigtest of days, I'm still pretty pleased with how it turned out.

47501 on Marine Parade in Gorleston.
47503 SN64CPX heading towards Barrack Estate on service 4

47505 SN64CPZ passing Sainsbury's on the 5

and finally, the last in the batch is 47506 SN64CRF which spent the day working the 6s and 7s.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Fleet Update ~ FirstNorwich

As yet unreported on this blog is the latest repaint to enter service in the fine city. Plaxton President 33154 LR02LXN was repainted at Simon Morris in Ipswich, which is where all the standard liveried buses will go. What we weren't expecting was that she has re-entered service minus complete branding. Whilst she is missing her pink stripes, the most notable thing is the use of grayscale fleetnames. There are a few rumours dotted around that explain the reason for this but as nothing has yet been confirmed to myself or Harry, we'll just have to say lets wait and see.

Meanwhile, my flickr account is now active once more and I'm in the process of uploading photographs from my inactive period. At least five a day will be going up so rememeber to check back here each evening for new and unseen photos. In the long term, our gallery pages will also be updated to incorperate new, altered and withdrawn routes.

Thanks to Grahame Bessey for kindly allowing me to republish his photograph of 33154 below. It remains copyright to him.


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Fleet Update ~ FirstGreat Yarmouth

The remaining four StreetLites have arrived at Great Yarmouth's Caister Road depot during the course of they day. They were all sat to the far left of the depot and for the record, here are all the registrations:

47501 SN64CPU
47502 SN64CPV
47503 SN64CPX
47504 SN64CPY
47505 SN64CPZ
47506 SN64CRF

I passed 47501 and 47502 this evening both working the number 6 and 7.

the interior of 47502 in service on the 2 on Saturday

Monday, 17 November 2014

Fleet Update ~ Norfolk Green

Whilst browsing Flickr over the weekend, I came across a photograph of a rather familiar looking livery. Norfolk Green 27644 GX10HBZ is one of six Enviro300s expected to join the one that has already arrived in the region, but Steve (Secret Coach Park on flickr) has photographed it working a special service for the Cheltenham races on Saturday, resplendent in the new Stagecoach variant of their livery. Thanks to Steve for allowing me to publish his excellent photo.



Sunday, 16 November 2014

Beccles Diversion

Suffolk County Council will be carrying out Roadworks on Northgate, Beccles, from tomorrow (17th) right through until Friday (20th November). Due to this road closure, some services have been altered:
- I'm afraid It's not possible for the X2 service to call at Gillingham in the direction TOWARDS Norwich ONLY between 09:00 & 16:00. Instead, Buses will pick up & drop off on the A146 near Gillingham. Buses towards Lowestoft aren't affected though! FirstBus have provided additional information on their Website.
- AnglianBus provide information on their website that their services 60, 80, 81 & 86 are unfortunately affected. Between 09:00 and 16:00 only buses will divert. From Beccles ONLY service 80, 81 & 86 will operate towards the Old Market, Left at the Market Place, Past the Dial Station and left onto the A146 near Morrison's Supermarket. Whilst the 80 will then turn left back into Gillingham and rejoin the normal route, services 81/86 will stop at temporary stop on bypass then along the normal route. SERVICE 60 arriving from Lowestoft between 0900 and 1600 will operate normally to Smallgate, then turn right down to Station, left the left again into Common Lane terminating at Tesco NOT Old Market.
- BorderBus 146 diverted to not call at Gillingham between these times too

Saturday, 15 November 2014

A Day Out: Streetlite Special

It's been a long time since we had a 'special' on Norwich Bus Page, and upon hearing that the first two Streetlites had entered service in Yarmouth this week we decided that gave us the perfect excuse to spend a day bus twitching around the county. We worked out that these must be the first brand new buses since those 55 reg Eclipse Urbans back in 2005, so this was going to be a momentus occasion! I had arranged to meet Harry at Norwich Bus Station at about 0930 this morning so despite a late night last night, I was up at about eight making sure my SD cards had enough room, and my battery had enough power etc etc. I then drove a short three miles from my house to Woodton to catch the 88 using a free travel voucher I picked during the Lowestoft in Motion event during the summer. At 0848 exactly, OmniCity 553 AO57HCC turned up complete with the new style fleetnames and a working destination screen, whilst inside the removal of the television screen from the upper deck window warrented a great excuse to enjoy the ever more autumnal scene outside. On the way, we passed sister 552 AO57HCD and single deck OmniLink 451 YN07EZB also working the route. 

Sanders 215 AU03HWS was acquired from Neaves alongside their operations earlier in theyear but has escaped my camera since then. Here she is seen working an X11 service this morning.
Other happenings of interest included Wright Streetlite 350 MX60BWH working the 87, and some ducks crossing the road perilously in front of us in Brooke. Upon arriving in Norwich, I couldn't help but notice the view of the bus station from the traffic lights on Queen's Road is no more, leaving me in a bit of a hurry to get off the bus as fast as possible in case something worth photographing was present that I was unable to see from the top deck beforehand. 

Brand of Beccles have recently struck a new deal with BorderBus, resulting in adverts being displayed in the rear window.
Harry had texted me explaining he was running ten minutes late so I thought I'd nip up to Greggs to grab myself a breakfast bap. I was pleased to see the staff there supporitng Children in Need by wearing onesies and the like, but as a man walked past the window wearing a Santa hat, I became more excited at the fact that Christmas is fast approaching.

Harry eventually arrived and we were both amazed at how quiet St Stephen's Street is now it's closed to general traffic, although the lack of 'bus gates' still means that two men in hi-vis jackets are employed to stand there all day. We then got our cameras out and started to discuss the chances of any of FirstNorwich's recently repainted Plaxton Presidents turning up in the short twenty minutes that we would be there for. We decided that chances were slim so concentrated on Konect's ex-Anglian Versas, all of which now carry Konectbus fleetnames on the front. Just as were deciding which X2 to take towards Lowestoft, I caught a glimpse of purple on the 36. I prayed that it would be 33166 LR02LYD as I had already photographed 33163 LR02LXZ the previous weekend in Long Stratton and lo and behold I now had the opportunity to do it again. Harry was pleased though as this was the first one he'd seen; little did we know that only six minutes later he was going to see his second! 33166 rocked up behind her sister on the 37 to Mulbarton.

33166 still sporting her breast cancer awareness month sticker on the top deck window.
Feeling pleased with our luck, we headed back to the bus station to catch the X2 to Beccles. Our chariot was one of the last remaining Geminis with full X2 branding left including seatbelts; 37564 AU58ECC features a pink vinyl at the top of the upper deck window with an advert on the lower deck rear window showing off the twenty minute frequency of the route. We alighted in Beccles, just to see if anything out of the ordinary was going on...which it wasn't, so we promptly went back to Tesco to catch the next bus to Lowestoft. The bus we wanted to take had left the bus stop just as we got to the road so I crossed infront of it and stuck my arm out, then looked at my watch to find it wasn't due to leave for another three minutes. The driver just looked at me, shook his head and drove straight past leaving us in the cold and wet for another twenty minutes. Our mini crisis was over when 37570 AU58ECT picked us up to take us to the Suffolk coast. Heavy traffic upon entering the town ended up with me deciding we should walk from Asda to the bus station, but as we got off the vehicle the heavens opened which resulted in me nipping into Sports Direct to buy some dry socks and shoes. 

Because of the weather, our stop in Lowestoft was brief and before we knew it our excitement was building as Great Yarmouth came nearer and nearer, our eyes peeled for a brand new shiny bus coming the other way. Harry's eyes seemed to be focusing on the LED headlights as everytime a modern looking car appeared he'd hit me a few times telling me that it's coming, but the funniest of them all was whilst riding along Southtown Road onboard 33824 YX63LKO, he exclaimed "There it is!" and it turned out to be a lady on a bicycle. Thinking that our luck was about to change, we got off the bus at the stop just after Haven Bridge so we could walk through to the market. As we were about to cross the road Harry shouted at me again, although this time it actually was what we were looking for! 47501 SN64CPU was fast approaching us leaving me little time to scramble my camera out of it's bag but thanks to it's one touch quick snap system (or something) I was successful.

not bad for my first picture of one in service; 47501 working the 2 to James Paget Hospital.
It's not the prettiest of backgrounds, but it's different so I like it. We then sprinted through to the Market Gates to see if we could catch it but as we arrived we spied the other one just leaving on the 2 to the Barrack Estate. Harry then explained that if we walk down Deneside for a few minutes we would be able to see it and still have time to make it back to catch it to the hospital instead. It's definitely handy having a friend who knows Yarmouth accompanying you!

The second Streetlite is 47502 SN64CPV, seen on Deneside today also working the number 2.
Waiting at the market gates was almost murder. I never thought I could be so excited about riding a bus; those two minutes felt like two hours! But then it happened. 47502 pulled up to the kerb and the doors opened. As we stepped inside we were greeted by the driver who had seen us taking photos, and another friendly face was also present; another enthusiast who I have met on a number of occasions was also sampling the new buses. We enjoyed the ride up to the hospital with practically the whole bus to ourselves, absorbing the bright white LED lighting, the pinkest of handrails, whilst nestling into the comfortable real leather seats and smelling the odd whiff of fresh paint. The ride was smooth and rattle free and I was very pleased with the cleanliness of the vehicle. Upon arriving at James Paget, our driver parked up in the resting bay to have a quick break and to allow us to take some photos.

Not often you get to take a photo of the offside of a bus when its also the nearside!

A low angle shot of the nearside pretending to be the offside.

and one last shot of her now at the bus stop picking up passengers to go back to Yarmouth.
Feeling pleased with how our day went, Harry and I reboarded 47502 back to the town centre where we would go our seperate ways. I don't know what bus he ended up catching home, but I bet it wasn't as luxurious as 33423 SN60CAA. 

Thanks to the First driver for being friendly and allowing us to take photographs of the vehicle, and thanks to Harry for providing me with good company. More photos from the day will be uploaded to my flickr in the coming days.


Thursday, 13 November 2014

StreetLites in service ~ Update

UPDATE, 14th November: Harry was a bit more lucky today, and not only managed to photograph 47501 in service, he also rode her! A more indepth report will be online over the weekend as we are both heading out tomorrow to sample them properly.

47501 on Marram Drive in Caister this evening. Thanks to the driver for waiting til I took the photo!


As reported yesterday by Zak, The new StreetLites entered service today.

47501, SN64CPU made it's debut on route 8 whilst 47502 SN64CPV was on the 6 & 7 all day. And boy did they create a storm! Lots of heads turning to look at their spectacular design, eye-catching livery & comfy seating!

Rear of 47501 - Wasn't quite ready to take this image!
47501 was on the 8:30 approx from James Paget Hospital to Caister and continued the day on the route. I was out to photograph them during my college break of course! Unfortunately the day didn't go to plan - traffic congestion blocked a lot of my photos whilst at other times my camera never seemd to be quite to hand.

47502 was on the 6 at approximately 10:00 from Market Gates to Bradwell, joining Renowns 66126 S116JTP & 60622 R785WKW who were also on the route around lunchtime.
These door forward version of the StreetLite are 37 seaters and built by WrightBus. They are 10.8 metres long and are in the new corporate FirstBus livery! Note that "I'm cared for by GY depot" & "FirstGreatYarmouth" vinyls are applied.

These new buses include comfy leather seats, pink grabrails, lots of leg room, bright energy efficient lighting & plenty of buggy/wheelchair space thanks to six fold down seats.

Although these pics aren't the best, I'm still proud to be able to bring you a selection of photos of them on their first day of service.

47501 from the offside
I truly believe the new FirstBus livery suits them!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Streetlites in Service

The first two door forward Streetlites will enter service in Great Yarmouth tomorrow, with one allocated to the town services and the other will feature on the 8s. As a reminder, the two buses are numbered 47501 SN54CPU and 47502 SN64CPV.

Also, depot manager Danny Beales will be talking to Radio Norfolk's Great Yarmouth correspondent Andrew Turner tomorrow about the new buses, so stay tuned! Thanks to First for the information.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Fleet Update ~ FirstNorwich

Whilst visiting Roundtree Way on Sunday to get a glimpse of the two new Streetlites, I thought I'd also pop by Vulcan Road to see if I could see newly repainted 33166 LR02LYD, sporting her Purple Line livery. After parking in KFC, I crossed the road and was greeted by a friendly chap on his break. We got chatting and he soon went inside to see if he could sort something out for me. After a short few minutes, I was introduced to the depot's engineering manager who even recognised me from my last visit over a year ago! After kindly opening up the door, I was allowed inside to view the bus for the first time.

33166 over the pits inside Vulcan Road.

and here's the front view,  featuring the breast cancer awareness slogan on the top window.
Once again, I'd like to say a big thanks to the team at First for being so welcoming and allowing me to enter the depot to photograph the buses.