Tomorrow is the big day for the two Go-Ahead subsidaries, with a number of service changes occuring from the 1st of September. One of these changes is the takeover by Konectbus of Anglian's service 53 between Tuckswood and Wroxham. Or so we thought. Whilst up the city yesterday, I bumped into ops-manager Steve Royal who was having a well earned weekend off who informed me that the boys in blue would be taking over the route on the Sunday. After a lot of discussions about various parts of the bus industry, I was invited to Rackheath depot the next morning for the opportunity to watch the first three Versas depart for their new home. After observing the last ever 52A, we parted company and I edited my plans for Sunday to allow me to take Steve up on his offer.
|954 YN57HPU was given the job of sending off the 52A on Saturday|
I woke up this morning at 0630 (which felt like a long lie-in thanks to nearly two months of getting up at 0445) and promptly checked camera batteries and the like and set off gingerly in the general direction of Norwich. I had forgotten to look to see where the industrial estate actually is in Rackheath, but I soon found out that the hard part was finding Anglian once I got onto the estate. I drove around for fifteen minutes looking down all the little side roads and saw no signs of any bus related activity and no massive "AnglianBus" fleetname on a big yellow building like at Beccles. I was getting rather worried so pulled up at the side of the road and just sat and waited. There is only one way in and out of the estate so I figured they'd have to come past here at some point. About ten minutes later I looked in my rear view mirror and saw the familiar shape of a yellow Versa approaching. I jumped out of my car and observed 305 YJ60KGU swiftly followed by 306 YJ60KGV, both with Konect drivers at the wheel displaying "Not In Service".
|306 bound for her new home in Dereham.|
A couple of minutes after that, Mr Royal arrived and lead me to Anglian's depot which was hiding down a small track in a corner. No wonder why I couldn't find it! We parked up and went inside to find out which bus he was taking. After a brief discussion with a colleague we made our way over to 307 AU11ESG, where I was given the chance to have a little play with the destination screen! Something I hadn't done before on an Anglianbus and I enjoyed putting up the rarer routes like 53B, 61C and 7A. It took me a while to figure out how to use it and after putting Not In Service back on I thought I better let Steve get on with his job and positioned myself ready to photograph 307 leaving.
|307 departing through the gates at Rackheath for the last time.|
After nabbing one of the new CityZone timetables, I ventured up to Wroxham to view the first Konect operated 53. I was informed that two Tempos would be operating the route, but it seemed only fitting when 303 AU08DKN, an ex-Anglian Optare Versa, pulled up outside the famous Roys store, and pulled away bound for the city centre.
|a new era? All of GoAhead's inner city routes are now operated by Konectbus.|
So to recap, here is the current status of Anglian's Versas:
305 YJ60KGU - Transferred to Konectbus this morning.
306 YJ60KGV - Transferred to Konectbus this morning.
307 AU11ESG - Transferred to Konectbus this morning.
308 AU11EPF - At Beccles missing a gearbox.
309 AU11EPE - At Beccles, still in service.
The three buses which transferred this morning headed straight into the workshop to have their fleetnames removed, whilst a surprise mover was Dennis Trident East Lancs Lolyne 723 W823NNJ which moved back to Konect yesterday, in place of 308.
Thanks to Steve for keeping me update and inviting me to see the buses transfer.