Monday, 11 July 2016

Rare Spots: June 2016

I promised this months episode would be a lot busier than last months, and boy was I right! I was inundated with rarities by my helpful readers all month, however for some reason the document I store them in has vanished, so I'm afraid I'll have to stick with my own sightings once more. 

35199 on Regent Street
We'll start with First, and more specifically the number 8 service in Great Yarmouth. Due to the fact that Caister Road depot completes all Norwich's MOTs, it's not rare to see a Norwich based bus in the town. However this month once the buses had passed their MOT, many were pressed into service for a day or two which resulted in a rather colourful affair! Grahame Bessey and Roy Northcott from East Norfolk Bus Blog have reported sightings of Purple Line decker 36166 LR02LYD and Yellow Line decker 32106 LT02ZCV on the routes, with comments on their post suggesting a Red Line Trident was also used (UPDATE: Bus confirmed to be 33233 LT52WWV, which worked the 8 and 1B service on the 28th June). Although I didn't manage to see or photograph those, I was fortunate enough to photograph both 35198 SK16GVX and 35199 SK16GVY (pictured) in service, both liveried up for the Pink Line. But the fun didn't stop there for the residents of Caister, as later on in the month they were treated to luxury when X1 liveried Volvo B9TL Wright Eclipse-Gemini 37578 AU58EDJ appeared, followed by leather-seated Enviro400 33423 SN60CAA which has returned to action following a long spell on the pits.

66850 in Kessingland: © Grahame Bessey

Staying in Great Yarmouth, Roy also reported the sighting of 32214 LT52WTX on the 2 service. I have only seen a decker once on that route in the last three years so well spotted Roy! Unfortunately the front destination screen didn't come out in the photograph so he politely requested that we take his word that it happened, however shortly after reading his post I spotted the side destination which confirms his story!

Moving on to Lowestoft but sticking with First, I can bring you a photo of Ipswich loanee 66850 MX05CHD. The Volvo B7RLE Wright Eclipse-Urban swapped places with native 45118 ST09JPT which headed south to cover for Ipswich's short wheel based Enviro200s which were all being serviced. 66850 stayed in Lowestoft for about a week, but that was plenty of time for you to get spotting, with Grahame photographing it on the 99 service early on, followed by David Warren capturing the bus entering Norwich Bus Station working the X2.

600 outside the Norfolk Showground
Phew! That was a lot of info to cram in, but now we move on to BorderBus who have been trialling an Optare MetroDecker. YJ65EPU has previously spent time with Yorkshire Tiger, NAT Group and Reading Buses and has seen service on the 146 route between Norwich and Kessingland throughout the majority of June.

Onto Konectbus, I can report that the Royal Norfolk Show caused a number of rarities due to the usual buses being used to ferry the public to and from the event. In this view, we see Park & Ride liveried 600 SN10CFD picking up passengers on the 4 to Dereham. The bus was seen earlier on in the day working the T1 service, which is a free bus from Heartsease to Tesco in Sprowston.

108 AU62DWG in Hempnall
Lastly (thank goodness), we feature Konect's sister company Anglianbus. Also owned by the Go-Ahead Group, the fleet has been rapidly declining over the last couple of years, which is all part of a bigger plan to make the company great again. The 84 service operates between Norwich and Harleston and the mainstay on the route were the large fleet of Optare Solos. Now with just one left, larger and longer vehicles have been regularly appearing battling their way through the South Norfolk countryside. One type of bus in particular however rarely makes an appearance, but rather coincidentally I just happened to be waiting for my bus home when it turned up on the route. 108 AU62DWG is one of a batch of twelve gas-powered MAN 18.270 EcoCitys, which usually operate on the 7 to Great Yarmouth or the 88 to Halesworth. I had seen a gas-bus on the 84 a couple of times over the last couple of years but I was never in a position to photograph it so I was rather pleased when the opportunity quite literally fell into my lap.

So! I hope this months issue was more entertaining and informative than last months, and hopefully you had as much fun reading it as I did writing it.

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