We at Norwich Bus Page have noticed the high volume of speculation about what will be going where when the current X1 Gemini's are relieved of their heavy duty service thanks to the arrival of 22 new Alexander Dennis Enviro400s, specifically ordered to operate the long distance route.
|Semi unbranded Norwich 33003 seen in Yarmouth yesterday.|
Could this be a common sight for this busin the near future?
There has been sightings of NorwichNetwork buses being unbranded from their colours recently and to begin with, this encouraged many enthusiasts to wonder whether First were selling up as part of their major shrinking across the country. In fact it came to light only yesterday that First are in fact selling their London services at a total cost £80m. I did get in contact with Stagecoach and Arriva about the rumours that one of them may be taking over in Norwich, but to no avail.
A few days later, it was announced that that the current X1 buses will be allocated on 'shorter' routes. This information erupted into discussions and speculations to levels that I've never experienced in my short time as an enthusiast. We are aware that First are currently updating their fleet in Yarmouth, with the arrival of four 2005 Darts which were transferred from Essex earlier this year. Now, as we know, there are currently a number of step entrance deckers in service in Yarmouth, and even one in Lowestoft. I would suggest that Lowestoft may receive a few to replace their current Northern Counties Palatines, but two ALX400s have recently arrived and are currently undergoing a repaint into the new livery which to me, leaves Norwich and Yarmouth.
|37579 - AU58EDK seen in Yarmouth, heading |
As May draws ever nearer, the most popular belief is that some of the debranded Norwich buses will be transferred to Yarmouth shortly to relieve them of their step entrance Olympians, which will mean that the fleet will be finally free from step entrance buses, only leaving the X1 short coaches. If this happens, it will leave a small gap in the Norwich fleet. We can only assume that this will be filled by the X1 Geminis, a welcome arrival in the city no doubt. This idea brings speculation that Norwich will be receiving the refreshed livery soon as buses running town services with X1 written all over them may be rather confusing! They're going to have to be repainted and I think First would be rather silly to paint them in the current livery.
Yarmouth have also been rumoured to be shortly receiving the new livery, this could be because of the arrival of some of the X1 Geminis, if they do come to Yarmouth as well as or instead of Norwich. A popular idea is that the 2007 buses will be used in Yarmouth as all but one are already in the standard livery so they can go straight into service, and the 2008 buses will be repainted and sent to Norwich.
|Standard liveried 37158 seen on service in King's Lynn.|
Unfortunately for us, we're going to have to be patient and wait and see what happens. We just don't know what buses will be going where and what livery they will be going into. All we do know is that its going to be a busy and hectic few months for First as they attempt to give the public a smooth changeover to minimise disruption.
Finally, WE WANT YOUR HELP! We would like to publish a special photo report on the lives of the X1 Geminis. Please send your favourite snap to firstname.lastname@example.org before the end of April for a chance to have your picture featured! Please send details of where and when the photo was taken, and your name as you would like it to appear on the published report.