So whilst 'normal' teenagers were out getting drunk selfies with their favourite artists, I drove to the outskirts of the city and cycled the rest of the way in an attempt to beat the extra traffic in order to take photos of all the buses.
Quite a few short-time movements took place over the weekend to assist Norwich's fleet which on it's own would struggle to deal with the shear amount of visitors to the city. Ipswich sent ALX400s 32655 AU05MUY 32656 AU05MVA and 32479 AU53HJV, whilst Lowestoft loaned Gemini 37571 AU58ECV and ALX400 30889 W744DWX. Great Yarmouth also gave a helping hand in the form of 37574 AU58ECY, 37575 AU58ECZ and 37576 AU58EDC. In return, Norwich sent a few of their deckers to the coast. After I breif chat with Chris Speed who was overseeing the operation, I learned that this was due to the '58 reg Geminis having larger fuel tanks and a slightly faster top speed than Norwich's second generation versions and those attributes will come in handy when transporting thousands of Norwich City fans to Wembley on Monday.
When I first arrived at the bus station, I was greeted with the sight of two of Ipswich's ALX400s, trying to be boarded by a line of flourescently dressed youngsters and party goers. The buses in question were ex-Lowestoft based 32655 and 32656, both of which are Volvo B7TLs. After serving a couple of years working the X2 between Norwich and the Lowie, they were transferred to Ipswich and repainted as part of a massive fleet overhaul which only recently finished.
|32655 exiting the bus station onto Queen's Road on First's Blue Line 26 service which took festival-goers right to the party.|
|32656 was crammed so full that the driver couldn't physically fit anymore passengers on board.|
Ipswich's third ALX400 is a Transbus version but still sits on a Volvo B7TL chassis. 32479 was selected to be painted into an Eastern Counties heritage livery and is usually seen operating the 66 between Martlesham Heath and Ipswich Rail Station. So I was quite pleased that I only waited nine or ten minutes before I took this shot of her operating one of the relief journeys on the 26.
|See what I mean about the long queue?!|
|Lowestoft's 30889 showing off a special destination screen specifically for the Big Weekend.|
After an hour or so, I decided to get back on my bike and head down the Earlham Park, where the Big Weekend was being hosted to see if I was missing out on anything bus related. After a brief but hard cycle ride, I arrived and was pointed in the direction of the buses by the helpful stewards. I parked my bike and immediately walked over to the bus stop to photograph one of Konect's special park and ride services. The Yellow route ran from County Hall whilst the Blue route operated from Costessey Park & Ride.
|503 YJ05PXD dropping passengers off from County Hall|
|I'm so glad this driver is still around! I'd heard a rumour he'd left but alas. He he is driving 803 BL57OXM back to Costessey Park & Ride, after stopping for his trademark pose.|
|Enviro400 604 SN10CEX also made an appearence on the Yellow route.|
From my observations, the bendy Citaros were being used on the Blue route, just as they would operate on the 604 to Costessey Park & Ride if it were a normal day, whereas anything seemed to be being used on the Yellow route, from Geminis to plain Enviros, and even the odd one or two branded for route's 3 and 6.
|3 and 6 branded 613 SN62AVY makes an appearence on the prodominantly Citaro operated Blue route.|
After spending an hour or so hanging around the entrance to Earlham Park, my tummy decided I should head back to the city as it was now nearly three o'clock and I still hadn't had any lunch. Due to my obsession with the Eurovision Song Contest, I was unable to observe the night happenings, but contributor Dan High has sent in a selection of photographs which I shall be bringing you in Part Two over the next couple of days.