Monday, 20 November 2017

Anglianbus: 1981-2017

Anglianbus started life as Anglian Coaches, in 1981. Formed by David and Christine Pursey, the company was based in a depot in Loddon and operated a small fleet of coaches on private hire and school contract work. Below, photographed in 1985 by John Law is a Bristol RE registered OWT775M outside John Lewis. Also pictured are three coaches at their depot in 1988, sporting a rather colourful mix of liveries!

 © John Law
lazyspottydog on Flickr
In January 1999, Anglian won their first tender with Norfolk County Countil and begun operating the 580 between Diss and Great Yarmouth. Photographed here in Great Yarmouth is T400CBC, a Mercedes-Benz O814D Plaxton Beaver 2 operating the 580 to Diss.

© Matthew Burton on Flickr
Following further contracts being won, the company soon out grew their Loddon depot and a brand new purpose built facility was created in Ellough just outside Beccles in Suffolk. This opened in October 2000 and by 2003, the company's first commercial route started; the 588 between Norwich and Halesworth. One year later in 2004, a smaller depot was opened nearer the city in Rackheath to allow growth on the Norwich city centre services. Since that time, the coach side of the business reduced and eventually disappeared as the bus side grew and grew. Anglian's success had caught the eye of international transport company The Go-Ahead Group, who bought the business in April 2012. At that time, Anglian had over one hundred vehicles to their name and was the biggest independent operator in the county. In December 2012, a fleet of six MAN EcoCity gas buses began to arrive and were instantly pressed into service on the 146 service between Norwich and Lowestoft. A further four were sent to work the 601 whilst the final three arrived in March 2013. They weren't to last long though as all thirteen buses (including one for spares that was withdrawn after an accident with a coach) were transferred to other Go-Ahead Subsidiary Plymouth Citybus in October last year. 

601 WX62HHP in Lowestoft
Go-Ahead also owned Dereham operator Konectbus and in 2013, they appointed Konect's Julian Patterson as Managing Director of Anglianbus too. This resulted in a full  renumbering scheme to fit both sets of vehicles together and many of the older members of the fleet were withdrawn. On July the 10th that year, a new livery was revealed, with 229 X229WRA the first to emerge from the paint shop. The colours were the same as Konectbus, but inverted, and coupled with a refreshed logo it was evident that the two companies were now managed as one.

229 in Beccles before the route renumbering took place
In September that year, the whole route network was revamped and renumbered to increase simplicity for customers and efficiency for the company. Routes were interlinked instead of standalone and this meant the PVR (peak vehicle requirement) reduced significantly and the second wave of withdrawals took place. Then, as service revisions came and went Anglianbus began to lose a number of their routes to Konectbus. First of all the city services turned blue as the sister company begun to operate the 50, 50A, 51, and 52, later followed by the 53 as well. More recently, the number 7 to Great Yarmouth was also transferred to Konectbus but was later pulled altogether. 

The downsizing accelerated recently and on their last day of service yesterday the company had 22 buses and just 7 routes.

On a more poignant note, it's strange to think that this company is now no more. I've made a final fleet list which I have uploaded at the bottom of the page, and when I first finished it and looked at it I couldn't help but think about all the memories I have because of Anglianbus. They are the reason I became a bus enthusiast in the first place; They operated my local route, so growing up I'd always see a yellow bus run past my house every few hours, it became the norm. Then, as my interest grew I remember I used to cycle to Beccles on a weekend with my best mate just to go and visit the depot and have a play on the buses parked in the yard. I'd sit in the cab and mimic our school bus driver whilst my friend would sit at the back of the bus being as annoying as possible. We'd then have fun trying to find the bus that took us to school the day before and then take a photo and get really excited if we found it. And then there's the time when Anglian sent buses on loan to Western Greyhound after almost their whole fleet was set alight. I managed to convince mum that our next family holiday should be in Cornwall. Whilst we were down there, I fell in love with the scenery and as a result I have been back every year since. I've made quite a few friends down there too; all because of Anglian. This is almost "like in films when a character dies, but they leave a letter for their lover which is read out by their voice over. It's a love letter to a bus company." So Thank You, Anglian Bus, for all you have done. I will miss you, and I will just have to try and adapt to life without you. Farewell, my friend.

T400CBC on loan to Western Greyhound, photographed out my Mother's car windscreen in St Austell
Anglian sponsoring the football club I founded in Woodton

me pretending to drive my school bus
Me at the beginning of my week long intensive course in my Father's car

See the final Anglianbus fleet list here
See the new Konectbus fleet list here
See the Anglianbus fleet list as of Saturday 18th November here

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