Sunday, 22 June 2014

EATM Hop On A Bus Day ~ Special Report

Similar reports will soon be going up on the other local blogs no doubt, but I'm sure all of us had different experiences and will have different things to say so hopefully you haven't read everything that I'm typing too much before!

As the name suggests, the event was operating a couple of free services to and from local attractions with buses operating to Lowestoft, Beccles, Kessingland and Anglian's depot at Ellough. There was also a feeder service from Norwich which departed the train station at 0930 this morning and returned around 1715. The event was sponsored by Anglian and Konect this year and so I was expecting a bus from their fleet to operate the service like last year. This time though, a preserved Bristol MW rolled gloriously into the bus stop.

LS789 5789AH passing the train station before turning around to pick us up this morning.

5789AH started life in the Metropolitan Coaches fleet of Eastern Counties, based in Great Yarmouth. Dating from 1959, it was purchased by the Eastern Counties Omnibus Society from a Lowestoft school in 1978 and is now back on the road after many years of restoration. (source: a poster onboard). Despite the impressive history of the vehicle, the driver seemed unimpressed with the acceleration capabilities of the bus though and joked "it does 0-60 in 15 minutes!"

An hours worth of very bumpy roads to the museum in Carlton Colville got the day off to an entertaining start. Upon arrival, I boarded EX6566 on the free service to Lowestoft where I met a very pleased operations manager of Konectbus, Steve Royal who treated himself to his first ride on the 7 and 61 service. A few minutes later, we boarded ex-Citybus Ltd Bristol RE XOI2526 back to the museum and were greeted by a large amount of vehicles including coaches, trolley-buses and trams with the odd steam train here and there.

After buying a few photographs, magazines and a diecast model, we made our way around the museum taking in the different exhibits new and old with a wholesome cheeseburger midway through.

A surprise attender was from Borderbus, in the form of their brand new Enviro200, BB14BUS which is used to operated their 521 service between Aldeburgh and Halesworth. On board were some official versions of the new timetables which are available from their website as a pdf document.

BB14BUS shading from the summer sun.

As usual, Anglianbus were operating a free park & ride service to and from the event, once again using a gas bus.

102 WX62HHF after picking up passengers for the park & ride.

One of the most attractive vehicles there was Julian Patterson's very own open-top Bristol VR OT5 OCK995K which was being used alongside another open top bus, a Southdown liveried Leyland Titan. The buses were operating hourly to Kessingland beach and thanks to the glorious weather, the buses were full for most of the day. It was one of, if not, the most relaxing ride on a bus which I have ever had and I did want to go again but unfortunately the ride overlapped with the service to Anglianbus.

OT5 sits in the turnaround at Kessingland beach. Despite the wonky horizon, the bus seems straight!

Unlike last year's gas bus, the service to Anglian's depot this year operated by 216 W216PRB, an Optare L1180 Excel2 originally with Trent Barton, then Konectbus and is one of two buses currently wearing the revised version of their livery. I'm glad I chose to visit the depot as there were a couple of things to note:

 725 W825NNJ and 723 W823NNJ at Anglian's depot lacking their Konectbus fleetnames.

All three ex-Konectbus Lolynes have had their Konect identity removed (bar the obvious paintjob) and 723 (right) has had her windscreen replaced; now sporting one donated by 711 T811RFG as can be seen by the old fleet number sticker residue at the bottom left.

I can also report that Scania N230UD OmniCity's 550 AO57EZM and 552 AO57HCD had the rest of their 588 branding removed this morning, thanks to their ever increasing work on the 7 and 61. Also to note is that the 'anglianexpress7' branding has been removed from the three OmniLinks that wore it on their nearside window.

Remnants of a former life: Only residue remains of 550 and 552s regular service on the 588.

Remember next Saturday is Lowestoft in Motion, situated on the high street, featuring one of Anglian's gas buses. 

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