Stephensons operate 2 Breeze town services in Bury St Edmunds, Breeze 1 and Breeze 2 with a mixture of ADL MPD Darts, ADL Enviro 200's and Scania Omnidekkas, seen here at the Bus Station is 417 EU07 FRN
Whilst on Breeze 2 was Scania Omnidekka/East Lancs 641 YN55 NKA.
Mulleys operate 14 services out of Bury St Edmunds Bus Station, some with M prefixes for their town services including this ex Nottingham Scania Omnicity YN54 AHE on the M22 to Nowton Estate.
Mulleys have 6 ex Dublin Bus Volvo B7TL/ALX 400's 4 of which have dateless registrations including this MUI 7949 on the 355 to Beck Row.
Simmonds have 4 services which operate to Diss the 191/304/337 and 338 seen here is BT63 UUR a Volvo B7RLE with MCV body ex Webberbus, Bridgwater on the 304.
Coach Services operate 3 services out of Bury St Edmunds one of those is the 86 from Brandon seen here is ex Stagecoach London Scania Omnicity Decker LX59 CPX.
Chambers operate the 751/52/53/54/56 from Bury St Edmunds to Bures/Colchester seen here on the 753 which is heading to Colchester is 564 W409 WGH an ex Go Ahead London Volvo B7TL/Plaxton President.
Ipswich Buses Optare Excel 173 YG52 DGF on the 8 last year with sister 170 lurking behind, 170 still continues as a driver trainer.
Optare Excel 171 YG52 DHF on a rare journey on the 4 to Broke Hall & Bixley in May 2016.
Conformation has reached me of the withdrawal of 2 of the 3 remaining Ipswich Buses Optare Excels 171/73 YG52 DHE/DGF, 173 was withdrawn just before Christmas while 171 was withdrawn on the 11th January, sister 172 continues as a reserve bus seen only this Tuesday on the 13 to Pinewood & Tesco. Being a particular cold week my spotting has become reduced, however the following was noticed on Saturday, 2 non Enviro 200 workings on the 8 which has now become commonplace, saw Optare Versa 148 and Transbus Dart SPD 135, also commonplace these days on Saturday's is the use of 1 Scania Omnicity on the 12, on this occasion 75, while 1 Enviro 200 is also usual this being 81, on Tuesday Scania Omnicity 70 appeared on the 10 and 73 appeared on the 3 in place of Enviro 20 101. First Ipswich had 2 Volvo B7TL's out on the 60/A 32491 and 32654 see picture below, interestingly 32486 was also on these routes on Sunday, whilst Monday saw all three of Volvo B7RLE's 66950/57/59 and further use of the double deckers with 32494 yesterday and 32655 today. This week has also seen the use of an full size Enviro 200 in place of 45119 on the 70 to Woodbridge with 44519 on Monday and today, whilst 44516 appeared on the 64 on Monday, Tuesday 44519 on the 88 and 44518 today on Felixstowe's.
A rare visitor to Ipswich these days is Plaxton Centro bodied VDL AY09 BYC which is now in the white based Galloway livery.
First Ipswich 32479 above appeared on town services 60/A to Greenwich/Gainsborough yesterday alongside sister 32490, which has seen a regular supply of Deckers since Christmas, 32489 on Saturday 29/12, followed by 32492 on Monday, 32653 on Wednesday and 32491 now fitted with a Tacograph today, due to information received Ipswich depot currently are facing a shortage of buses.
IB Solo 241/44 appeared on the 111 during the Winter Half Term school break with the following appearances 241 on the 29/12, 31/12 and this Wednesday, while 244 appeared on the 22/12,24/12 and the 28/12, whilst the regular 111 branded E200, 78 has appeared on town routes on the following days, 27/12 on 2, 28/12 on the 8 and today on the 4. MCV Evolution 156 went back to it's old haunts during the holidays appearing on the 93/94 Colchester from the 22/12-24/12, then 27/12 to 31/12, returning to the 13 on Wednesday/Thursday before a rare appearance on the 8 today as seen above. Also during the break the 8 saw Excel 173 on the 21/12, Dart 88 on the 24/12 and 27/12, sister 84 on the 27/12 and 28/12, Excel 171 on the 29/12 and Dart 136 on Monday. Other spots as followed route 3 Dart 87 on 24/12, 135 on the 31/12 and 137 today, route 1 Dart 136 on the 31/12, route 4 Dart 137 on the 28/12 and 84 on the 31/12, Citaro 153 was out of service from the 31/12 to the 3/2 with appearances from Excel 171 on the 31/12, Scania Omnidekka 60 on Wednesday and Excel 172 on Thursday, Lowlander 54 appeared on the 5 on the 31/12 and today saw Scania Omnicity 71 on the 6 and 73 on the 10.
First Ipswich Volvo B7TL 32653 on the 60 on Wednesday.
Following on from the 1970's feature we reach the 1980's the decade when the coaching operation of Eastern Counties was taken away in 1984 becoming Ambassador Travel although coaches for some time were still allocated to individual depots, whilst the Peterborough and Cambridge area was transferred to Cambus on December 1st 1985. Above we see freshly shopped out in the dour National Express livery is Willowbrook bodied LL 792 OEX 792W at the Cremorne Lane, Norwich this passed to Ambassador Travel in 1984 before returning to Eastern Counties in 1987 for bus operation with LL 793/94/96 OEX 793/94/96W and LL 808/09 JCL 808/09V.
1982 deliveries were again Leyland Leopards but this time with the rather poor ECW bodies which later on needed considerable strengthening in the rear boot area!, here we see LL 879 XPW 879X in National Holiday branding but on National Express service 099 one of 14 , LL 826-28 WEX 826-28X, LL 876/77 XPW 876/77X, LL 878 CAH 878Y, LL 879 XPW 879X and LL 880-86 CAH 880-86Y.
Prior to the split in 1984, Eastern Counties changed to the new Leyland Tiger with Plaxton Paramount body for 1983/84 deliveries with LT 887-94 EAH 887-94Y, LT 897-900 A897-900 KAH and LT 895/96 A895-96 KCL, delivered in 1983, LT 887-94 were painted in Norfolk Flyer for the 099 between Norwich and London, LT 895/96 were also Flyer coaches but in National Express livery, LT 900 had a high floor Paramount 3500 body in Ambassador Holiday livery, along with sister vehicles delivered the following year LT 901/02 A901/02 KAH. Seen below is a rare image of LT 896 A896 KCL which transferred along with sisters LT 890/895 to Midland Red in exchange for 3 MCW Metroliner coaches ML 903-05 A666-68 XDA in June 1984.
Seen here on the forecourt of Ipswich depot, is LL 788 PWW 706R a Leyland Leopard with Alexander body was one of 3 coaches with dual purpose seating which came from West Riding, the other 2 sadly had very short careers with Eastern Counties both written off within a year of their arrival. In the last year of the decade dual purpose coaches again made an appearance with 5 high floor Duple bodied Dennis Javelin S6-10 G706-10 JAH
So we reach the 1970's with a Coach that started it's life in the 1960's but is pictured here in the dreaded National White livery, CB 845 PPW 845F a Bedford VAM with Duple bodywork, note the short lived Mascot National fleet name, this existed when the Norwich business was bought in March 1974 and lasted just 11 months to February 1975.
Seen in an image that reeks the 1980's note the Y reg Bedford van in the background the altogether more handsome Venetian blinds National Express livery is seen on a Bristol RE coach RE 850 SAH 850M with Plaxton Panorama body reaching London on the 799.
The end was nigh for the Bristol RE type by 1974, with the advent of the Leyland National, the last being the RLH type which was a bus shell with coach seating to B49F.
1976/77 saw a change in the buying stance of the National Bus Company with the Leyland Leopard this time with Alexander and Plaxton bodies, above is LL 749 MCL 931P with Alexander body and 49 coach seats again with a bus shell at Felixstowe Bus Station long since closed and redeveloped as a Lidl Supermarket, below at Victoria Coach Station in London is LL 755 SPW 101R one of four with Duple bodies from 1977, the other two from 1976/77 were LC 838/39 RVF 838R and SPW 105R with Plaxton bodies.
Two years later in 1977 saw the first of the Willowbrook bodies Leyland Leopards which were renowned for being rather lightweight the first batch from 1979 was LL 807-13 JVF 807-13V and a second batch in 1980 was LL 792-800 OEX 792-800W , also delivered in 1979 were Plaxton bodied LP 814-20 JVF 814-20V.
Over the course of the history of Eastern Counties there has been many fine coaches now sadly there is none, since the transfer of the last coach to Chelmsford, today is a chance to look back at some of the best examples, firstly above we see the very stylish E.C.W body on the Bristol J05G chassis this being an 1936 example LG 13 later LJ 443 AVF 363 at London Victoria post war.
After the Second World War, coaching work increased as more people took UK holidays here we see the very stylish full fronted Bristol LWL6B with again E.C.W body, this being LS 705 KNG 705 from 1951.
New in 1957 and never receiving NBC livery, thankfully retaining the classic cream and maroon livery but downgraded to bus work is Bristol LS/ LS 774 VVF 774 retained coach seats but gained a 4 piece destination display, as seen here.
Copyright CJ Nixon
Seen at the Bury St Edmunds Cotton Lane depot and still in the smart cream and maroon livery is Bristol MW/E.C.W LS 808 3808 PW new in 1962.
Copyright CJ Nixon
By the time of the 1970's many classic coaches received the National Express all white livery which truth be told never suited them, here at the Old Cattle Market in Ipswich is Bristol RE/E.C.W RE 894 SVF 894G.
Seen here in Norwich Castle Meadow is Volvo B7TL/ ALX 400 32652 AU05 MUP when originally with FEC back in 2006 when a year old.
With thanks to the First Eastern Counties blog on Facebook we learn that 2 First Essex ADL Volvo B7TL/ALX 400 from 32651/52 and 32654 will be transferred to First Ipswich from Chelmsford where 20514 the last Volvo B12M/Plaxton Paragon has recently departed for a School contract this leaves the Eastern Counties for the first time in it's history without any coaches, 32652 did transfer to Ipswich initially back in late October 2013 before passing to Essex the following month. In other news Ipswich Buses Excel 173 has returned to service after a brief period off the road, whilst Scania Omnidekka 60 has spent the week inside the depot under repair, whilst spots this week include DAF Lowlander 56 on the 5 on Wednesday alongside Scania Omnidekka 61 and Lowlander 59 on the 5 on Friday, whilst today Optare Solo 244 was on the 1 alongside Enviro 200 102, and on the 8 Enviro 300 83 and Dart 88, on First Ipswich's town service 60/61 Deckers 32488 on Wednesday and 32656 on Thursday and Friday.
Photo from the late Jim Long collection.
Ipswich Buses Optare Solo 244 found it's way on to the 1 today instead of the usual fare of Optare Versa's.
Back in NBC days Eastern Counties operated the Ipswich to London National Express service and when not required operated on local services seen here operating the 204 to Stowmarket is Bristol RE 850 SAH 850M.
Well i didn't expect to be doing another blog after a lot of people not wanting me to continue, however after a long pause i am going to come back with the highlights of whats been going on these last three months starting with Ipswich Buses coming in at the start of June was the Bio Gas Bus a Scania ADL E400 MMC CBG DD16 GAS which was on loan for a period of six weeks and first featured on Ipswich Buses stand at the Suffolk Show, other news concerning this period was the entry into service of three more Scania Omnicity deckers 44-46, seen below first of all 46 YR61 RPX, followed by 45 YR61 RVE and finally 44 in the first week of August which started it's career working in red on Ipswich Buses ex Carters services 92-94. Currently there are 3 Darts out of service firstly East Lancs 85 and ex Lothian 134/137 all with engine failure, all three will return to service when time allows.
Galloways have been with repaints in this time frame with both remaining VDL SB180/MCV Evolutions 331 YJ60 GFA and 337 YJ60 GDO while new to Galloways VDL SB120/Wright 227 3367 PP and 228 AY55 DGV have also been done i believe both have now received fleet names. Noted today repainted was Optare Solo 279 4092 PP.
Time has been spent in Lowestoft and Colchester during this time and the one bus shining a light through the current fleet was Heritage Liveried First Lowestoft ADL Dart SLF 42926 SN05 EAE.
Ipswich Buses Scania Omnicity Decker 39 YR61 RUV arrived at the weekend and entered service on a School working on Monday afternoon, followed by entering service on the 2 to Ipswich Hospital yesterday, before failing during the afternoon and replaced by Dart 136, whilst seen above it spent the majority of the day on the 15A and some late workings on the 3 to John Lewis, other unusual workings yesterday saw Enviro 79 on the 3 before doing 3 trips on the 4 from 1535. Other things worth noting is the 1520 15 service is worked off the 8, as the Double Decker in today's case DAF Lowlander 59 is taken off for a school working, also unusual was Scania Omnicity 75 on the 15 for most of the day before being replaced by Scania Omnicity Decker 42 and doing one trip on the 6 and returning on which is a Double Decker working due to the volume of St Albans pupils and was packed with standing and displaying Bus Full when leaving, even Optare Solo 245 got in the act by doing a school run fully loaded when entering Tower Ramparts.Meanwhile unusual working for First Ipswich saw Volvo B7TL 32489 on the 60/61 Monday and 32479 today, whilst Mini E200 44928 was also on for much of the day before being replaced by Volvo B7RLE 69425 in the afternoon.
Usually Scania Omnicity Decker worked the 94 paid host to DAF Lowlander 58 today.
VISITORS TO IPSWICH
Now according to Flickr this is an early Volvo B12B with a Volvo 9700 body N27 SUN of Sunbeam of Norwich original registration VL05 VBL.
It's not often you see an Welsh coach reaching East Anglia so here we have VDL Futura 2 WA15 BVY of Mainline Coaches residing in Gilfach Goch.