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Friday, 19 December 2014

Fleet Update ~ FirstNorwich

Chris Speed tweeted this morning that the first Turquoise Liveried bus would be returning from Simon Morris in Ipswich today, with an accompanying photo which he's kindly allowed us to reproduce here.


Since this photo was taken, 32100 LT02ZCJ has also had a black NORWICH fleetname applied above the driver's window, in the same style that has been applied on Ipswich's buses over the year. This will not be the finished product however, as coloured route branding is expected to be applied at a later date. 33167 LR02LYF has gone the other way.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Christmas Timetables ~ First

On Christmas Eve (24th) and New Years Eve (31st) some FirstBus services will be cancelled, altered or will terminate early. Services from all depots will be affected. More information is available here, on the FirstBus website.


They kept that one quiet!

It was a case of right place right time for me, as I happened to be driving Norwich bound down the A11 when I see a new livery us approaching, also heading to Norwich. At first I thought I'd hit the jackpot by photographing one of Ipswich's B7RLEs heading back from Rotherham, but upon closer inspection I realised I'd gone one better! It was in fact ex-Turquoise Line branded 66348 MV02VDC, complete with fleet numbers and Norwich speech bubbles.

her turquoise branding remains on the front.




Monday, 15 December 2014

Norwich Observations

After being away last week, I felt the need to spend a few hours in Norwich today to try and catch up with the local scene. I was aware of what had been going on but was yet to see these changes first hand.

The first thing I'd like to mention is that I was informed today that the remaining three Renowns in Yarmouth will be withdrawn and replaced with three of Norwich's Eclipses, which they have spare now thanks to the new StreetLites. Minutes after hearing that, I noticed 66333 MV02VBY drive past on the 14 with all of her Norwich identification removed, including above the door. UPDATE: Contributor Sam has since pointed out to Harry that 66333 was transferred to Ipswich earlier this year, which is why she's lacking any Norwich ID. So this may not be related to the transfers.

the ticker tape down the side, the fleetnames and the little speech bubble things have been removed.
I didn't notice any other's which had had the same treatment, though there are a few which have been debranded as reported previously throughout the last couple of months as it happens.

Once again, it was an odd day for the StreetLites. One was on the 14, one on the 12, one on the 38, whilst two were on the 11s, and the final one on the red line. The fact that I saw all of them means I've finally photographed 47510 SN64CRV and 47511 SN64CRX in service, as well as seeing and riding 47508 SN64CRK for the first time.

47508 on castle meadow operating the 11A to the hospital.
The reason I mentioned the one on the 38 is because the current batch of Optare Solos are being replaced by Lowestoft's Enviro200s. Two have already arrived and entered service in the form fo 45118 ST09JPT and 45119 RT09JPT. The latter entered service before the former, but 45118 has now received Purple Line branding for the service which was later confirmed as a temporary measure until they are repainted at the end of next year.

Purple line branded 45118 still carries her Africa Alive advert for Lowestof'ts service 99.
On the subject of repaints, two more buses have returned since our last report. 33003 LK51UZS is the first longer wheelbased vehicle to be treated and was in service for the first time today on the 36 between Horsford and Long Stratton. Ex-Yarmouth 32203 LT52WTJ has gone the other way to be added to the Purple Line fleet. 

it is still unconfirmed which bus will be the first to carry branding for their dedicated routes.
Meanwhile, 33237 LT52WVF returned from Simon Morris in Ipswich last week and was also noted in service today, also on the Purple Line. This was replaced by Volvo B7TL 32100 LT02ZCJ which is going to be the first vehicle to see the Turquoise variation of the livery.

this photo encaptures two of Norwich's new liveried buses and can be found on our home page slideshow.
And to post something that isn't First related, one of Norfolk Green's recent acquisitions was in service on the X29 today lacking any identification of ownership. Enviro300 27646 GX10HCC could be found operating Stagecoach South's coastliner 700 service in and around Chichester before her move to Norfolk, but now wears the Stagecoach variant of Norfolk Green's livery.

I haven't had a problem photographing the destination screens on any of these new acquisitions yet!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Response to Sheffield

Shortly after posting about my day in Sheffield, I received an email from a reader who actually studies in the city, which quite clearly puts my report to shame! Here's a more detailed insight into the bus scene there, complimented by a few photographs of mine.

"In response to your Sheffield bus scene, you missed a huge amount out. I am used to the Norwich bus scene, but moving up here for university, I’ve learnt a lot about the Sheffield bus scene too. I understand that you couldn't find a bus station (here in Yorkshire they're called Interchanges). The interchanges up here are pretty much the same as Castle Meadow, St Stephens and Theatre Street. By the look of your flickr photos, had you walked around the other side of Sheffield Hallam University, you would have met the Sheffield Interchange.

Anyway, regarding FirstSheffield, you're right about the Geminis being common up here. However so too are Presidents (not to the same extent as Norwich), and a small fleet of Enviro 400s, commonly operating the 51 line. As for the single-deckers, there's quite a big fleet of new StreetLites here in Sheffield. Additionally, the Eclipses are common. The Renowns though? These buses are often used on a couple of routes or during peak hours. Considering the new First livery, pretty much all the buses here are in the new design, just a few Renowns and ALX400s remain in the barbie livery. They're not bothering with repainting those as either the buses will be scrapped, or repainted into training liveries for other regions. One notable bus is the B7L Eclipse Y661 UKU (60703), its an Eclipse at the front, then a Renown at the back. First time I saw it, I thought I was seeing things.



As for Stagecoach, they have a big affair with the Enviro bus series. Plenty of 300s and 400s. Interestingly, Stagecoach have been running the Enviro 400H, the hybrid model, for a number of years on their Sheffield's flagship 120 route, shared between First and Stagecoach alike. There's even a few darts about, mainly used during the peak hours though. Stagecoach as you say, also run the tram services into Sheffield, 3 lines in total (from Halfway, Hillsborough and Meadowhall)

a Chesterfield based Enviro400 operating the 43
As for independents, TM Travel are pretty big considering their position as an independent. They tend to operate a large fleet of Optare Solos, with a small number of Versas too. Their entire double-decker fleet is made up of Olympians.

As for other operators, they are running one or two routes, often shared with their bigger rivals. For example, the 272 route (Castleton - Sheffield) is operated by First, TM Travel and Hulleys of Baslow (though I've never seen Hulleys running it, and only seen a TM Travel bus on it once). Sheffield Community Transport (SCT) run around 10 routes, while there are a number of even smaller independents operating the one route.

Sheffield Community Transport Optare Solo MX05ENC operating the 10A, seen on Furnival Square.
The route sharing is common place here in Sheffield; the result of the bus partnership that's been set up. You can rarely get each companies' bus maps, there's just an entire sheffield bus map, certainly not the easiest thing to read. In addition the ‘X...’ services (X13, X78 etc.) are in no way ‘express’ or speedy. They are just the same as any other route, stopping at every stop."

A big thanks to Quintin for sending that fantastic report.

Friday, 12 December 2014

FirstNorwich Replacement Vinyls

Last week, I received an email from reader and contributor Reece. He has written a long and detailed report about his sightings of Norwich's fleet. Many of you have probably noticed the strange branding which has been appearing on the upper deck windows, but it seems First have noticed as well and have been on a spending spree replacing them.

Presidents 33057 LN51GJJ, 33151 LR02LXK and 33238 LT52WVG have had plain white Norwich Network vinyls applied, whilst Orange Line branded 33161 LR02LXW has had it's vinyl replaced again as the original replacement had the text so near the top it was pretty much touching the fram of the vehicle. 33169 LR02LYJ has also had her Orange vinyl re-applied after several months without it.

33169 has had her vinyl on the top deck replaced, but is seen here on St Stephen's without it earlier this year.
On the Gemini front, 36169 BD11CFO, 36170 BD11CFP and 36177 BD11CGF have had their Blue Line vinyls reapplied along with 36167 BD11CFM, but this time with the smaller font that's used on the side windows. A similar thing happened to 36180 BD11CDZ after it came back from it's stint on the X1. 36166 BD11CFK has also had her's reapplied, but at a noticeably slanted angle. Going the other way is 36178 BD11CDX who has lost her "Blue Line Blue Line" replacement vinyl and is currently awaiting the correct one, alongside 36169 BD11CDY who has had her plain blue vinyl removed and is also currently awaiting a replacement.

Reece also sent me a photo he took of 36179, now missing her recently applied plain blue vinyl.
Reece also provided me with some pretty impressive facts. On the Red Line, every single bus still has the original top deck window vinyl, although 33158 LR02LXT and 33004 LK51UZT have both lost their destination screen vinyl.

Whilst on the subject of branding, both of Norwich's recently acquired Enviro200s have had some Purple Line branding applied. I was later informed by Firt's Business Manager that the branding is only temporary until the buses get repainted towards the end of next year.

A big thanks to Reece for providing such an extensive report and for the accompanying photograph which remains copyright to him.

Update ~ 13th December 2014.
Furthermore, Sam L has informed us (and corrected us on our original statement) that 36175 BD11CFZ also does not carry it's original vinyl either. Thanks Sam! *Harry


Thursday, 11 December 2014

Road Trip: Day One ~ SHEFFIELD

Early Monday morning, I arose from my bed; tired but excited. I had already packed the car so I was off in good time. It took me only three hours to get to Sheffield, and it was the first time I'd ever driven in a major city that I'd never been to before; so I was so busy trying to figure out what the speed limit was I missed the park & ride turn off! Fortunately, Sheffield had planned for such an eventuality and had conveniently placed a roundabout with a seperate lane for those who missed the turn off. The sign looked different though and it took me a couple of seconds to work out that the park & ride was operated by Stagecoach's 'Supertram'. I had never been on a tram before and wasn't sure how it worked but it turns out it isn't hard. I alighted about ten minutes later and started walking around trying to find a bus station. About half an hour later, I was still walking around trying to find a bus station. After an hour, I gave up, had a steak pie and stood on the busiest bus related road I could find. 

FirstSheffield 37524 YN58ETR is a B9TL Gemini, a heritage South Yorkshire Transport livery.
The main operator in the city is FirstSouth Yorkshire, operating under the name of FirstSheffield. From what I saw, their fleet consists mainly of Geminis, and Renowns, with a good handful of Enviro400s and Wright StreetLite MAXs dotted about too. Most of the buses wear the new livery, including the older members of the fleet, but there were still a significant amount in the old barbie.

60688 T870ODT is a Volvo B10BLE Wright Renown.
Stagecoach Yorkshire also operated a handful of routes into Sheffield, using a small variety of vehicles. The Enviro300 was the most common bus I saw from their fleet, and double decker wise I only spotted two Scania N94UD East Lancs OmniDekkas.

15414 YN54VKD heading towards the city centre.
Other operators noted were TM Travel, Hulleys of Baslow and Sheffield Community Transport. Many more photos are in the process of being uploaded and will be put together in a group called Sheffield which can be viewed here.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Road Trip

I'm typing to you from my friend's flat at university! Those who are friends with me on Facebook will already know where I am, and I was planning on posting a report after each day on where I'd been and what I'd seen. Unfortunately, due to limited WiFi usage, I have been unable to do this however I just wanted to let you know I'm still here! If all goes to plan, I should be able to post a report on my first day tomorrow, albeit a small one but I can't promise anything I'm afraid.

One more word, I'm not sure how this has happened but somehow, NBP received our most amount of pageviews in a day yesterday: 2336. Harry and I are staggered about how far our blog reaches; I was chatting to an enthusiast today who had also heard about and read the blog before. So once again, thanks for your continued support and to those who have emailed me with sightings over the last couple of days, I'm not ignoring you! I will be writing those posts up over the weekend.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

StreetLites Again

Please do let me know if you're now fed up with posts about and photos of the new StreetLites, however on Friday I jumped on one heading up to Wroxham to see if I could get any decent shots of it up there. Having observed the traffic in the city for about an hour, I was confident that I would also have the opportunity to photograph two others if I stayed there for about an hour. I was after a shot of it coming over the bridge, similar to one I took of a Konectbus Versa on the first day of their 53. That was back in September though and now winter is upon us, the sun wasn't being as kind to me as it was on that day.

47509 bathed in winter sun heading back towards the City.
Because of various buildings and boats, shadows were cast across most of the bridge so I had to walk a little further down the road to get a shot of one in the sunlight. Shame about the lampost shadow on the one above, although still a good shot if I don't say so myself! Just a mere ten mintues later, 47507 SN64CRJ came the other way but by then the sun had gone behind a cloud so I went back up to the bridge to catch this shot. Shame about the bright orange Cadet behind it, rather distracting from the main focus of the photo.


And last but not least, a photo of a StreetLite that hasn't yet made it onto the blog. 47512 SN64CRZ was also in service and was working the 12 to Stalham, alongside another new liveried bus in the form of 66332 MV02VBX.


Friday, 5 December 2014

Fleet Update ~ FirstNorwich

The first ex-Lowestoft Enviro200 entered service today, in the form of 45119 RT09JPT. I was standing on Castle Meadow when 45119 rolled to a halt displaying the 13 to Attleborough, complete with NORWICH fleet names. However one of the controllers soon turned up and informed the driver that she was going to swap with the next Pink Line bus to come in, as that particular 13 would be going past a school just after leaving time and would therefore need higher capacity. With that, 32107 LT02ZCX rolled in on the 11 to the hospital. The driver was informed what was going on and swiftly boarded 45119 and changed the screen respectively. After photographing this event I decided to head down to the hospital onboard the Enviro to get some more photographs of it up there.

shortly after swapping drivers

seen before swapping, with Attleborough's passengers still on board.

32107 on the Turquoise Line

45119 infront of the large NHS sign working the 11 to Sprowston

reader and contriuter Michael also managed to photograph her at Roundhouse in Cringleford
It has also been confirmed that 45118 ST09JPT has been fitted with Norwich vinyls, whilst Great Yarmouth's 43860 EG53FGF and 43861 EG52FGJ have made the short trip South to Lowestoft.