Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Wembley ~ Photo Special

We'll break up our Radio One post with a special report from Wembley Stadium. Norwich had earned a place against Middlesbrough at the home of English football after seeing off local rivals Ipswich town 4-2 over two legs. Sanders Coaches are the official coach travel provider for the club, but the 40,000 strong crowd of supporters meant that hundres of other coaches were drafted in. There were reportedly over one hundred and twenty official coaches, all displaying "On hire to Sanders Coaches" in their windscreen but after observing photographs of the impressive line up outside the stadium, there seemed to be at least three hundred; numbers being made up by coaches privately hired by supporters groups from across the country.

Sanders 801 YJ07JNO infront of the infamous Wembley arch
After taking my position amongst the other spotters, of which there must have been about seventy, I sat back and watched in amazement at the sheer volume of vehicles appearing in the dedicated coach park. Let me show you a photograph I took from the concourse, more than four hours before kick off.

Reader Chris Mugglestone sent in this photo he took from the top of the stadium, which really shows the sheer
amount of coaches needed for the operation to run smoothly and successfully. Many thanks Chris.
Vehicles from Ambassador Travel, Spratts, Reynold's of Caister, Beestons, Simonds, Richards Coaches, Belle and Eastons were present, with smaller companies like Meadway Travel, Marett's Chariots, Dereham Coachways, Dolphin and Sunbeam all making an appearence. Even King's Ferry sent a few coaches, one of which, ironicly, was used as Ipswich's team coach last week. I thought about walking inbetween every single row of vehicles and noting each one, but I had completely forgot my notepad and pen, and I would probably still be writing registrations by the time the game was over!

One of the most publicised operators to provide transport to the match was First. Vehicles from Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn all made the journey with the X1 Enviros having a series of special destination screens programmed in for the trip.

King's Lynn's 33803 YX63LJF and 33804 YX63LJJ  showing off their destination screens
The second of three special destination screens
In this shot, four Lowestoft based deckers in convoy, also show the special destination screen
Other deckers sent from first included the B9 Geminis, which used to operate the X1, although these just displayed "Private Hire".

As this is a 'Photo Special', here's a selection of interesting shots from the day.

One of Beestons' coaches was this double deck 523FN

Stafford Coaches CNZ3828
One of many minibuses which turned up was Dolphin's FX51BOV. A Mercedes 413CDI Sprinter
Diamond Limousines YN54LLE is an Optare Alero and has only sixteen seats
Many spotters took the time and effort to walk up and down each of these narrow aisles, noting down each and every vehicle
Rather fittingly, Dolphin sent this yellow and green themed coach which still carries the club logo after being used
 to shuttle the academy players and staff to matches
Sanders' latest edition to their coaching fleet is this rather beautiful Volvo B9R Plaxton Elite. I confess
 I decided to move a few cones so I get a less impeded photograph
Suffolk Norse sent a couple of their new Leopards. This one is YX14RZU and is coach number 106 on the day
On the other side of the fence was the Middlesbrough fans. Nice to see the co-driver giving me the thumbs up,
despite my yellow and green attire!
A pretty good day for coach and bus enthusiasts, followed by Norwich winning the game 2-0 and getting promoted back to the top tier of English football means I'm a very happy blogger at the moment. I must say a thanks to the FirstKing's Lynn drivers for the breif chat we had and for putting the special display back on the screens, and as a final note, Sheldon Rees has kindly allowed me to reproduce his photo of their third destination screen which was to be revealed only if Norwich emerged victorious.

© Sheldon Rees

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