Saturday, 18 November 2017

Last Full Day of Anglianbus Operation: Photo Special

Today marked the last full day of operation by Go-Ahead's Anglianbus. Whilst the 87 will carry on tomorrow, it was lights out for the 61, 83, 84, 85, 88 and 90 as on Monday they will pass to Konectbus. This morning, I spent ninety miles of fuel and five hours of time razzing around the countryside attempting to get one last photo of each route for my collection and I am pleased to say the day went to plan with every bus relatively on time whilst passing through where I was expecting it to pass through.

My first stop was the 84 service from Harleston to Norwich. This was being operated by Optare Versa 307 AU11ESG and is photographed at 0800 in Shotesham by the church.

307 AU11ESG on the early morning 84 to Norwich

Next stop was the 0818 number 87 from Poringland to Norwich. Upon arrival I was rather disappointed to see a Konectbus (900 VX51RHZ) staring back at me in the face. But since researching my existing shots of the 87, I am pleased to say I already have plenty of decent pictures of yellow buses on the route. 

Konectbus 900 VX51RHZ on loan to Anglian in Poringland

Running ahead of schedule, I made my way towards Halesworth to photograph the 88. I stopped in Ilketshall St Lawrence and took a walk down the main road until I found two trees which would frame a yellow double-decker rather nicely. All I had to do now was hope and pray it was a double-decker on this particular run. With only four left now, the chances were almost fifty-fifty. Things seemed to be going my way though and sure enough, a decker appeared in the form of 551 AO57EZL. 

Anglianbus 551 AO57EZL among the Autumnal colours in Ilketshall St Lawrence

From there, it was time to head to the coast with the 61 next on my list. After a brief stop in a well known supermarket for brunch (some doughnuts), I parked the car and begun calculating my position. After settling on the side of a nearby roundabout I noticed a van going past wasn't in full sunlight and so I braved the traffic and crossed the road onto the roundabout itself. This was a much better shot and having practiced on a BorderBus operating the 146, I was rather pleased with my final shot of the 61. It ended up being 455, registered AN61LAN, and fully branded up for the service. 

455 AN61LAN in Pakefield heading towards Kessingland on the 61

Four down, three to go. Next up was a service I was yet to photograph; the 90. Last time I was out that way there were two routes, the 60H and the 60S. The two letters stood for Halesworth and Southwold respectively, but it has now been merged into just one route. Sam Larke had reported that Konectbus had took two Alexander Dennis Enviro200s on loan from Hedingham which had recently arrived from Thames Travel, and East Norfolk Bus Blog had reported that one of thses (297 SN10CCZ) had been used on the 90 during the week thanks to a photograph from Steve W. Sure enough, 297 emerged into sight with a handy piece of paper stuck in the windscreen displaying the route number. So I guess this bus is on loan to Anglianbus from Konectbus from Hedingham!

Hedingham 297 SN10CCZ is on loan to Konectbus, who has in turn loaned it to Anglian. Photographed on the 90

My penultimate photograph was focusing on the other Norwich to Harleston route, the 83. It wouldn't surprise me if this followed the 60H and 60S in the near future and merged with the 84, but we'll see. For this shot I took my position in Starston, just outside Harleston and photographed Optare Versa 308 AU11EPF crossing a little river.

308 AU11EPF in Starston

Finally, it was time for the 85. A route which had passed to Simonds for a brief spell before heading back to Anglian so I was familiar with the route and knew the best places to photograph it as I had been out that way before to document the change of operator. So again, I parked the car and climbed up onto the verge and bang on time was driver Ross guiding Optare M950SL Solo 959 AU08GLY through the trees towards Rockland St Mary.

959 AU08GLY whizzing through country roads towards Rockland St Mary

So there we have it! Seven routes will pass over to Konectbus on Monday. I'm told that the fleet names on the Anglian buses will be changing tomorrow and then a fleet refresh will begin to take place. What that may entail I do not know but make the most of the bright colours of Anglian's livery because I would imagine it won't be too long until they begin to turn blue.

Keep an eye out on the blog on Monday for a special report on the history of the company and a personal tribute from yours truly.

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