|35200 SK16GVZ on Castle Meadow yesterday|
|33238 LT52WVG on Colney Lane having|
just departed the Hospital for Wroxham
This post is being published a little later than I would've liked. and you'll find out why later! I had an appointment in Norwich yesterday afternoon so I planned my day to give me enough time to photograph the Presidents and Eclipses on the Pink Line one last time before the new buses enter service this week. Then one of my contacts at First informed me that one of the standard liveried StreetDecks would be parked on Castle Meadow all morning so that when drivers are on their breaks, they can come and have a look and familarise themselves with the controls so they are confident when they drive them for the first time. This news meant I had to do a little tweaking to my plan but I felt photographing the new StreetDeck was a necessary excuse.
35200 SK16GVZ and 35201 SK16GWA are the first of their type to wear First's standard colours. All other examples around the country are in some sort of branded livery similar to our Pink versions, or the excel version with blue, gold or silver colours instead. Because of this, photos that were taken on Castle Meadow of 35200 have been creating a bit of a storm on social media. These particular buses wear Norwich's new branding, where on both sides the logo is in-between the upper and lower decks rather than below the lower deck windows like before. But due to the sheer size of the vinyl on the nearside, it's the only place it could go!
|35193 on her maiden voyage to the Hospital|
With part one of my day complete, I then set about catching the Pink Line to the Hospital. I was keen to add some more rural photographs to my collection (see above) rather than taking more photos in the city centre as they can be a bit samey. Then all of a sudden I see a flash of Pink heading towards me from Norwich. I have a new camera and it was the first time I have had to test out it's speed and quality when quick shooting, but I was more than happy with the result. After my initial excitement had died down once the bus had gone past, I reviewed the image to try and see if it would give any clues away as to what it was doing out on the road. 35193 SK16GVR is the first in the batch of our nine new vehicles and sitting on the top deck in this picture are some familiar faces, as is the driver! This made up my mind to walk back to the Hospital and as I'd hoped, there it was, parked up behind the bus stop where the Pink Line buses depart.
|the important Hospital people, with|
First's Steve Wickers on the right.
I exchanged pleasantries with the team on board and was subsequently informed that they were here for a photo shoot with the Eastern Daily Press. Before the words had finished coming out of his mouth, lots of important looking Hospital people came out to pose in the doorway of the vehicle before heading back inside. Both myself and the EDP photographer were then asked not to publish any photographs until today, as the new branding was still under wraps until the official launch which is at the Forum this morning. Having agreed to that, I was then kindly offered a lift back into the City Centre so I eagerly climbed into the front row seats on the top deck and inhaled that new-bus smell which we all adore. The first thing that was evident was the size of the window. It is noticably smaller than the Presidents yet somehow Wright have managed to accomplish that without interfering with the views that top-deck passengers expect. The leather seats were very comfortable and the leg room was ample, whilst the ride itself was very smooth. Similar to the Charcoal Line buses, route branding is evident inside on both decks with pink placards stretching from front to back advertising the route, tickets, discounts and the social media channels available. I was then dropped back off in Castle Meadow before the bus was whisked away in a bid to keep that branding as secret as possible.
So, to recap I was going into Norwich to photograph some Plaxton Presidents and ended up photographing not one, but two of Norwich's StreetDecks. Not only that, but a day early too! I think I'd call that a successful trip. I also managed to photograph Lowestoft's loanee from Ipswich 44519 YX09ADO on the X2 which has evaded my camera thus far, whilst I can also report that coach 20514 WV02EUP has been transferred to Norwich and is now on loan at Great Yarmouth.