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Old 17th February 2017, 06:22   #16
Strathclyder
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Enjoyed 42879 today as well - very decent machine and climbed well out of Saundersfoot for a 12 year old machine
Indeed. Darts are a hardy, versatile breed. Of course, some are worse than others, but you expect that for any bus type, Darts included.
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Old 21st March 2017, 21:28   #17
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The Harris Great Grand Tour of England

Gather around ladies and gents, it's that time of year again when Mr Harris announces his plans for an annual holiday.

2014 it was Snowdonia, Isle of Man and Isle of Wight. 2015 it was Cornwall and then Scotland. 2016 it was the Lake District. So this year where is it?

Well its a bit of everything this year. A tour of England over two weeks in June.

We start off on Monday 12th June 2017 from Wells at 8 'o' clock. Here we board 29 to Taunton. We then transfer at Taunton onto 30 to Axminster. After half an hour break in Axminster we swap onto X53 to Weymouth. A late lunch/early dinner in Weymouth and then onto X54 to Poole at 5pm. After arriving in Poole about half 6, we wait an hour (or less depending on weather, etc) and then board an R1 from Poole to Bournemouth. The night is then spent in Bournemouth.

After waking up fairly early we board the 8.35 X1 to Lymington and transfer onto the 6 from Lymington to Southampton. A few hours in Southampton roaming around and we then catch an X4 to Portsmouth. We then spend the night in Portsmouth. On the Wednesday we then play trains and head straight into London Waterloo on the 10.20 train, wonder around London for a couple of hours getting lost and then end up on the 14.09 train from Stratford to Chelmsford. We end the day in Colchester after heading out on the 71 from Chelmsford just after 4.

Thursday begins with playing trains. First of all Colchester to Ipswich at 9.47, then quick swap from Ipswich to Halesworth. From here, its bus time. We catch 88A to Southwold at 11.18, then the 99 from Southwold to Lowestoft at 12.05. A quick trip to the transport museum is then in order as we board X22 at 14.10. After a couple of hours, we then head out North West to Norwich on X22, where we end the day.

Friday 16th June and we start with buses, namely the X1. We head out on the 10.30 X1 to Kings Lynn and then swap onto X1 from Kings Lynn at 12.45 to Peterborough. Train time again and we board the 14.52 train from Peterborough to Leicester, where we finish the day. Saturday brings more fun and a whole day spent on the trains. First of all on the 10.01 from Leicester to Derby, then onto 10.42 from Derby to Stoke on Trent. We spend a few hours in Stoke and then board the train once again to head to Manchester at 14.20. The afternoon and then Sunday are spent in Manchester, exploring all the sights it has to offer.

Then we move onto Monday 19th and its time to head to Yorkshire. The whole day is spent solely on the bus. We begin with 184 from Manchester to Huddersfield at 10.28. Lunch at Huddersfield and then onto the X63 to Bradford. At Bradford we swap onto 72 at 16.19 to Leeds and then onto Cityzap to York where we finish the travelling at 18.42.

For the lovers of steam, the next day brings a lot of excitement. We board the Dalesman train on Tuesday 20th June at 8.34, arriving at Carlisle for just after 2 and then returning at half 4, ending up in York at 10pm.

The next couple of days (Wednesday and Thursday) are then time for a break from travel, where we explore Yorkshire. Finally we then return to the West on Friday 23rd, where we board the 11.45 train from York to Bristol and then I will be heading back to Wells on 16.22 376 from Bristol.

All in all, the plan is to have a fun, exciting and relaxing time away, enjoying the various types of public transport and enjoying as much of the British landscape and countryside as possible.

Of course all of this is very subject to change, but the basic plan is there in place. Each destination at the end of the day will not change, whatever happens on the way from point a to b.

I would highly appreciate if anyone was to join me from the enthusiast world. Obviously you have to be as mad as me (and have enough money and holiday leave) to do the whole two weeks, so if anyone at all wants to join me on any leg of the journey, then please don't hesitate to contact me. It would be great to have a few people join in. I really can't wait for this trip.
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Old 8th April 2017, 20:24   #18
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Thought I’d share a bit of a day out in the delights of North East England; not just a list of bus numbers but a few observations on the operations and the area.

I started the day in the historic town of Richmond with the first bus to Darlington. Back in the day, Richmond had its own depot but that closed over 10 years ago. The network of country services have been given up, much reduced with tender cuts, so that the main X26/27 route is now Arriva’s only presence. At various times, the route has had new vehicles (Vectas and Solos) and old tat (VRs and Metroriders). It has now been upgraded to MAX standard with some 12 year old Omnicities that are decent if a little creaky; 4650 was the offering as we headed off with a reasonable load through the new road layout associated with the widening of the A1.

At Darlington, time for a little wander around the time and acquaint myself with the town; a place where the bus stops seem to change on a regular basis. Since the last time I travelled, the X66 has been increased from 20 min to 15 min frequency, though half now take another route as the X67, and so I got another Omnicity (4655) to Stockton. Again, a decent run and a healthy load picked up though over half were ENCTS. This is a route that has grown and grown over recent years, some villages being bypassed to assist the main flows.

Stockton is a town that has really suffered in recent years; it is part of the UK’s rust belt and the feel of the town seems less vibrant than it used to. Many services away from the core town corridors have been pared back. I decided to go for some suburban exploration, grabbing 1487 one of the many, many Arriva North East Wright Pulsars that form the backbone of the fleet and headed to Ingleby Barwick. A quick change onto the 17 and heading back towards Middlesbrough on the only really venerable vehicle I experienced in a W reg Daf Cadet (1920); these two routes cover a former Kickstart route X6 that failed to take hold (though anaemic marketing was a factor). Talking of which, the branding that was so strong on the MAX vehicles had been replaced by Frequenta, not bad but not brilliant on the Pulsar but the Cadet was a standard Arriva livery, bruised and battered with a selection of NHS and local government adverts plus one for holidaying in Skegness; why not just advertise your own wares??
A change at The Coronation at Acklam allowed a move onto Stagecoach with one of their many e300s (24105) that work in Middlesbrough. This took me to 1970s overspill settlement of Coulby Newham on the southern edge of Middlesbrough. I just missed a possible next bus so a short wait for the next one to Middlesbrough via Marton with MAN/ALX 22061, perhaps in better shape than the similar aged Omnicities but less luxurious. That took me into Middlesbrough bus station; now 35 years old, this bus station is still exceptional in its design and is a superb place to wait for a bus. I had chance for a wander and whilst Middlesbrough is in better shape than Stockton, the seemingly endless number of pound shops and pawn brokers indicates the financial health of the town and it isn’t great. I jumped on a Go North East B9 (6084) and made the short trip back to Stockton on the Tees Tyne Express.

I’d decided to head back into central Durham and back to Arriva with a trip on the X12 and a MAX spec Pulsar 1442. This seemed to struggle a bit on the open road; then it came to me. The Pulsar is a vehicle that’s full length, a bit lightweight but not like a Dart. In that way, it’s a bit like a Leyland National to ride on. I headed out through the ripening oil seed fields and into Sedgefield, the former constituency of Tony Blair and former home to TWO United depots, one of which is still standing. Time was against me so I decided to alter my plans, not heading to Durham but getting off in the village of Coxhoe, jumping on another Pulsar in 1477 for the 56. This took me through a number of former pit villages that lost their mines in the 1960s and have recovered but only to an extent. I arrived late into Ferryhill, a formerly fairly busy pit town that seems very quiet these days.

Having had a bit of MAX action, I upgraded to Sapphire and headed for Darlington. The 7 from Durham to Darlington was one of the first Sapphire routes and such has been its success, some duties have been upgraded to decker operation. However, I got another Pulsar in 1523. This featured the original 2+1 seating and so was quiet full; you can understand why the experiment wasn’t perpetuated. I had a cunning plan on reaching the edge of Darlington and so decamped at Harrowgate Hill only to discover that road works had curtailed the 3A local service so it doesn’t serve that point at the moment. Instead, I just got the next bus into town and so another Pulsar (getting bored – 1508 – as it’s very much a standard vehicle).

My aim was to head towards the football ground as I was off to watch the game. In the town centre, I was therefore able to get the 3A eventually to take me to the southern edge of town. Optare Solos are the main workhorses on Arriva’s Darlington network and 2836 duly arrived to take me towards the large council estate at Skerne Park. I bailed out early, allowing me to walk to the ground where I enjoyed the football in the sun.

After a 3-2 win, I strode confidently out and decided to get the 12 into town. This should have been one of the MAN ecocity gas buses but sadly, another Pulsar arrived. They are like Nationals; almost ubiquitous. 1509 took me into the town centre along with plenty of other fans.

My final trip back to Richmond was on a tendered service, the longstanding 29. This is a fantastic rural service especially on a sunny April afternoon. We headed through places like Eppleby with the village green having a sea of daffodils and then past Stanwick where the earthworks of the Bronze Age settlement spread for miles. Sadly, the vehicle was a Proctors ex Leven Valley e200 with urban 90 seats which slightly offset the pleasure of the countryside. There were a few passengers on board and more than I’d expected. Certainly the £5.10 to travel the 12 miles to Richmond hadn’t put them off! Nonetheless, we squeaked and rattled through to Richmond, chauffeured by a Polish driver who seemed to be a Lech Walesa tribute act wearing a distinctly Eastern European tache and leather waistcoat.

A decent day all in all and my team won too!
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Old 8th April 2017, 20:33   #19
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Sounds like a good day out.

A good few years ago, I had a good run on the 29 when it was Arriva operated (it was an ALX200 baby dart or something I think) and it was a nice run.

I can also recommend the 88 from Barnard Castle to Bishop Auckland if it still runs. I had it to myself and I still have footage of the driver absolutely hammering it the whole way!

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Old 8th April 2017, 20:50   #20
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Sounds like a good day out.

A good few years ago, I had a good run on the 29 when it was Arriva operated (it was an ALX200 baby dart or something I think) and it was a nice run.

I can also recommend the 88 from Barnard Castle to Bishop Auckland if it still runs. I had it to myself and I still have footage of the driver absolutely hammering it the whole way!

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The 88 is only a schools run. Did it the once with a Arriva MPD - cracking run. The 83 covers part of it from Barney to Cockfield.

The North East has some fantastic cross country services.
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Old 8th April 2017, 22:53   #21
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Default North West - South West bus journey

Hi all, not really a " bus trip " but did Hatch End to Hounslow , using one of the most circuitous routes possible , as I had to visit there on business , and got caught in horrendous traffic , and the Picaddily line failing completely , so enjoy this read of my North West - South West bus journey , which was unplanned , and done simply by reading the stop info at bus stops (a consequence of having used up mobile data )

I begun at Hatch End , from Woodhall drive ,and took an H12 , operated by Metroline , to Harrow Weald . I was lucky to get a B5LH , although I didnt get the number


I started at Harrow Weald bus garage , got on the 140 , operated by Metroline and Gemini 3 B5LH Hybrid , VWH 22004 , LK66DWW . Nice , quiet , but made an annoying sound as it accelerated ( like a tapping noise )

I got off at Northolt , and onto a 90 . Also run ( terribly ) by Metroline , I had an Optare Olympus , SEL751 , LK07 BBU . This , despite being recently refurbed , was in a poor state . Engine roaring , poorly maintained inside , this was poor overall

Got off at Hayes and Harlington , and onto H98 , operated by RATPdev London United . It was AD35 , YX62 ARZ , an E400 , which was fast clean and well maintained and I took it all the way to Hounslow

On the way back I went differently . I caught the 222 to Uxbridge( from Hounslow ) , also RATPdev operated , on an E400 , ADE6 , YX12 FNM , an E400 . From Uxbridge I took a 607 to Ealing Broadway , using Ex First London te1743 , SN09 CFY . This was good , but the 607 is caught in horrendous traffic , and Metroline havent looked after the ( ex First ) buses well . The seats are incredibly faded , and all the purple worn out

From Ealing Broadway , I took E10 , operated by TGM / Arriva , on EN34 , an E200 MMC , Nice but single door only . I got off at Northolt station , and took a 140 , this time LK66 EOJ , VWH2240 , to Harrow . From there I caught a H14 , operated by RATPdev Soveriegn , back home , on DE200040 , YX09 HKJ , which was a refurbished E200 , which was pleasant inside , but had very loud cooling fans ( not roaring ones , but AC ones )

Apologies if this is dull , but hope you enjoyed this read , of Harrow to Hounslow , using some of the most circuitous routing possible

Having said that , it was all free , so wasnt too bad , although Next time I visit Honsulow I will take the Piccadilly , far quicker , when it works

I also realised , on my journey through West London , how dominant Metroline , and to a lesser extent , RATPdev and Abeillo are . Metroline pretty much rule West London , most of it given to them by First leaving .

Why have Metroline been allowed to accur such a monopoly in NW London ? Arriva only have one garage ( Watford ) , which only has a few , relatively low frequency routes , RATPdev while more competitive in SW London , only have one double decker route in NW London , although they do rule the single deckers in Harrow . Stagecoach , Abeillo , Go Ahead . All these so called giants seem to avoid NW London . Why would this be ? I have limited experience of using their buses , only in Central , but does anyone know if they are better operators overall than Metroline ?
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Old 9th April 2017, 10:06   #22
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Originally Posted by TheGrandWazoo View Post
Thought Iíd share a bit of a day out in the delights of North East England; not just a list of bus numbers but a few observations on the operations and the area.

I started the day in the historic town of Richmond with the first bus to Darlington. Back in the day, Richmond had its own depot but that closed over 10 years ago. The network of country services have been given up, much reduced with tender cuts, so that the main X26/27 route is now Arrivaís only presence. At various times, the route has had new vehicles (Vectas and Solos) and old tat (VRs and Metroriders). It has now been upgraded to MAX standard with some 12 year old Omnicities that are decent if a little creaky; 4650 was the offering as we headed off with a reasonable load through the new road layout associated with the widening of the A1.

At Darlington, time for a little wander around the time and acquaint myself with the town; a place where the bus stops seem to change on a regular basis. Since the last time I travelled, the X66 has been increased from 20 min to 15 min frequency, though half now take another route as the X67, and so I got another Omnicity (4655) to Stockton. Again, a decent run and a healthy load picked up though over half were ENCTS. This is a route that has grown and grown over recent years, some villages being bypassed to assist the main flows.

Stockton is a town that has really suffered in recent years; it is part of the UKís rust belt and the feel of the town seems less vibrant than it used to. Many services away from the core town corridors have been pared back. I decided to go for some suburban exploration, grabbing 1487 one of the many, many Arriva North East Wright Pulsars that form the backbone of the fleet and headed to Ingleby Barwick. A quick change onto the 17 and heading back towards Middlesbrough on the only really venerable vehicle I experienced in a W reg Daf Cadet (1920); these two routes cover a former Kickstart route X6 that failed to take hold (though anaemic marketing was a factor). Talking of which, the branding that was so strong on the MAX vehicles had been replaced by Frequenta, not bad but not brilliant on the Pulsar but the Cadet was a standard Arriva livery, bruised and battered with a selection of NHS and local government adverts plus one for holidaying in Skegness; why not just advertise your own wares??
A change at The Coronation at Acklam allowed a move onto Stagecoach with one of their many e300s (24105) that work in Middlesbrough. This took me to 1970s overspill settlement of Coulby Newham on the southern edge of Middlesbrough. I just missed a possible next bus so a short wait for the next one to Middlesbrough via Marton with MAN/ALX 22061, perhaps in better shape than the similar aged Omnicities but less luxurious. That took me into Middlesbrough bus station; now 35 years old, this bus station is still exceptional in its design and is a superb place to wait for a bus. I had chance for a wander and whilst Middlesbrough is in better shape than Stockton, the seemingly endless number of pound shops and pawn brokers indicates the financial health of the town and it isnít great. I jumped on a Go North East B9 (6084) and made the short trip back to Stockton on the Tees Tyne Express.

Iíd decided to head back into central Durham and back to Arriva with a trip on the X12 and a MAX spec Pulsar 1442. This seemed to struggle a bit on the open road; then it came to me. The Pulsar is a vehicle thatís full length, a bit lightweight but not like a Dart. In that way, itís a bit like a Leyland National to ride on. I headed out through the ripening oil seed fields and into Sedgefield, the former constituency of Tony Blair and former home to TWO United depots, one of which is still standing. Time was against me so I decided to alter my plans, not heading to Durham but getting off in the village of Coxhoe, jumping on another Pulsar in 1477 for the 56. This took me through a number of former pit villages that lost their mines in the 1960s and have recovered but only to an extent. I arrived late into Ferryhill, a formerly fairly busy pit town that seems very quiet these days.

Having had a bit of MAX action, I upgraded to Sapphire and headed for Darlington. The 7 from Durham to Darlington was one of the first Sapphire routes and such has been its success, some duties have been upgraded to decker operation. However, I got another Pulsar in 1523. This featured the original 2+1 seating and so was quiet full; you can understand why the experiment wasnít perpetuated. I had a cunning plan on reaching the edge of Darlington and so decamped at Harrowgate Hill only to discover that road works had curtailed the 3A local service so it doesnít serve that point at the moment. Instead, I just got the next bus into town and so another Pulsar (getting bored Ė 1508 Ė as itís very much a standard vehicle).

My aim was to head towards the football ground as I was off to watch the game. In the town centre, I was therefore able to get the 3A eventually to take me to the southern edge of town. Optare Solos are the main workhorses on Arrivaís Darlington network and 2836 duly arrived to take me towards the large council estate at Skerne Park. I bailed out early, allowing me to walk to the ground where I enjoyed the football in the sun.

After a 3-2 win, I strode confidently out and decided to get the 12 into town. This should have been one of the MAN ecocity gas buses but sadly, another Pulsar arrived. They are like Nationals; almost ubiquitous. 1509 took me into the town centre along with plenty of other fans.

My final trip back to Richmond was on a tendered service, the longstanding 29. This is a fantastic rural service especially on a sunny April afternoon. We headed through places like Eppleby with the village green having a sea of daffodils and then past Stanwick where the earthworks of the Bronze Age settlement spread for miles. Sadly, the vehicle was a Proctors ex Leven Valley e200 with urban 90 seats which slightly offset the pleasure of the countryside. There were a few passengers on board and more than Iíd expected. Certainly the £5.10 to travel the 12 miles to Richmond hadnít put them off! Nonetheless, we squeaked and rattled through to Richmond, chauffeured by a Polish driver who seemed to be a Lech Walesa tribute act wearing a distinctly Eastern European tache and leather waistcoat.

A decent day all in all and my team won too!
Few points to that:
The part of the 17 you experienced is the long standing 17 section - the X6 route is the Ingleby Barwick area and onwards to Yarm and Eaglescliffe, baring the reduced frequency beyond Ingleby (X6 was every half hour, the 17 only runs hourly).
The 15 extension to Ingleby Barwick in fact replaced the original 17 - when the X6 started back in 2006, it covered the areas of Ingleby presently covered by the 15, and then headed for Stockton via the then-newly-built Queen Elizabeth Way, with the Yarm route covered by the 17. The two swapped over about two years later with the 17 heading to Stockton and the X6 to Yarm and Eaglescliffe. In January 2013, the 17 group was culled back - the 17 reduced to a Middlesbrough-Thornaby service with the 15 taking its place round Ingleby Barwick (and its one-way loop means certain areas only have/had one-way links to or from parts of the estate) before the old 17B was extended to replace the X6 13 months later with the peak time X6 journeys retained as the X17 (with the 17/17B swapping numbers). Now, the short 17s serve one major part of the estate that previously only had the 15, leaving just The Rings area in the north of the estate as the only area with one-way links to Tesco.

The 12 in Darlington is no longer an EcoCity route - since May last year, it was reduced beyond Darlington towards Middleton St George to hourly off peak (the Hurworth end remains half hourly) and added to the already interesting interworking diagram of the Bishop Auckland-Darlington routes 1/5/5a (which also includes the Darlington town service 19). Pulsars are the booked norm, EcoCitys being a rare occurance if there's any spare (there's one off the route at present as well known).

As for the Stagecoach routes in Middlesbrough, your return from Coulby Newham will have been via Marton Road and the Marton Manor/Easterside area of the town - Stagecoach no longer serve the actual Marton area following the (somewhat controversial) withdrawal of funding for the long-standing Middlesbrough-Acklam-Coulby Newham-Marton-Middlesbrough circulars a year ago. The appearance of the MAN ALXs on that route is becoming a rare sight now - the former Enviros from the Metrocentre Shuttle are in the process of transferring to the area and are to be allocated to the route.
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Old 9th April 2017, 18:42   #23
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Few points to that:
The part of the 17 you experienced is the long standing 17 section - the X6 route is the Ingleby Barwick area and onwards to Yarm and Eaglescliffe, baring the reduced frequency beyond Ingleby (X6 was every half hour, the 17 only runs hourly).
The 15 extension to Ingleby Barwick in fact replaced the original 17 - when the X6 started back in 2006, it covered the areas of Ingleby presently covered by the 15, and then headed for Stockton via the then-newly-built Queen Elizabeth Way, with the Yarm route covered by the 17. The two swapped over about two years later with the 17 heading to Stockton and the X6 to Yarm and Eaglescliffe. In January 2013, the 17 group was culled back - the 17 reduced to a Middlesbrough-Thornaby service with the 15 taking its place round Ingleby Barwick (and its one-way loop means certain areas only have/had one-way links to or from parts of the estate) before the old 17B was extended to replace the X6 13 months later with the peak time X6 journeys retained as the X17 (with the 17/17B swapping numbers). Now, the short 17s serve one major part of the estate that previously only had the 15, leaving just The Rings area in the north of the estate as the only area with one-way links to Tesco.

The 12 in Darlington is no longer an EcoCity route - since May last year, it was reduced beyond Darlington towards Middleton St George to hourly off peak (the Hurworth end remains half hourly) and added to the already interesting interworking diagram of the Bishop Auckland-Darlington routes 1/5/5a (which also includes the Darlington town service 19). Pulsars are the booked norm, EcoCitys being a rare occurance if there's any spare (there's one off the route at present as well known).

As for the Stagecoach routes in Middlesbrough, your return from Coulby Newham will have been via Marton Road and the Marton Manor/Easterside area of the town - Stagecoach no longer serve the actual Marton area following the (somewhat controversial) withdrawal of funding for the long-standing Middlesbrough-Acklam-Coulby Newham-Marton-Middlesbrough circulars a year ago. The appearance of the MAN ALXs on that route is becoming a rare sight now - the former Enviros from the Metrocentre Shuttle are in the process of transferring to the area and are to be allocated to the route.
Thanks for the clarifications. It had been some time since I'd been to Ingleby Barwick and the many changes to the routes had me a bit confused so thanks for clearing that up.

You're right on the Marton Road/Marton Manor etc; I was being lazy by just saying Marton. Anything that passes the Blue Bell is Marton to me However, I didn't appreciate that the 12 was no longer EcoCity operated. Bit of a shame and seems counterintuitive seeing those EcoCity vehicles heading to Richmond and other places rather than being local.

Have to say that my observations on the fleet in the North East were that things were definitely in a decent place - very little old rubbish except the Cadet and I'd hope that those will be on borrowed time. The investment has been strong between 2009-2015 for Stagecoach and Arriva, hence the standardisation on e300 and Pulsar respectively.

What has helped that age profile has been the reduction in the route network especially in Co Durham. Where Arriva and United once ran, services have been pared back so that a fairly skeletal network now exists. Instead, firms like Scarlet Band plus a raft of smaller independents have filled the void. Certainly reduces the range of the Explorer North East

When I first travelled on an Explorer was in 1986 with lots of very basic LHs and Nationals; the rolling stock is better now but the services are less extensive now

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Old 9th April 2017, 19:53   #24
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*Geek-hat on*

42881 (SF05 KXC) was one of a batch of 12 Pointer Darts new to First Glasgow in 2005. The first 8 of the batch (42877 - 42884) now reside at First Cymru's Haverfordwest depot, the last 4 (42885 - 42888) remaining with First Glasgow (at Overtown depot, to be precise).

*Geek-hat off* lol
Was surprised to see one of them Darts in Glasgow city centre today , thought they been long gone . Pretty sure the r reg ones have long gone
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Old 9th April 2017, 21:28   #25
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Default An ice cream from Watchet

Well I had a trip out today. I was originally intending to go off on the First bus depot tour of our region today, but I dreaded the thought of waking up early only to drive to meet them at 8am in Bristol. So instead I came up with a better idea - going on a very long bus ride, spending all of 5 minutes in my end destination and then heading all the way back on the same routes.

So I started off the day on a very rattly 69446 on 8.40 126 to Weston. Luckily I had one of the best and lovely drivers in the depot, so it was a fun journey. It was quite well loaded (for once - usually when I use 8.40 126 I'm the only one on it from Wells). As it was such a stunningly beautiful day, it was easy to glance across to Glastonbury Tor and beyond with some stunning views all along the route. We met a few cyclists, which disturbed the journey, but apart from that it was fun. I then alighted at Weston and waited around for a late running 20 to Burnham at 10.10. This was in the hands of 33419. As it came into the centre of Weston, a couple of drunks thumbled off the bus, much to my and the drivers amusement. A couple of people got on at Uphill and then a stack at Brean. The Badgerline bus the depot tourers were on just passed us as we left Uphill. 33419 is by far one of the most annoying rattly buses I've been on - its lovely to ride of because of the comfort and power, but the rattles are now becoming very annoying. We past through Brean, which is still as horrid as the last time I passed through it. We arrived into Burnham just about on time and I swapped onto 69206 on 21. I couldn't tell if 69206 sounds like a tractor or a spitfire, but something certainly sounded wrong as we speeded through Bridgwater and into Taunton.

In Taunton, I managed to meet up with the depot visiting team, and with the rest of the coach trip went to Greggs. I then headed off on the final leg of my trip and caught 13.00 28. I was planning to use this to either Watchet or Minehead. 67710 was a lovely machine to ride on, although another one which was a little rattly. By the time we had sat in traffic at Bishops Lydeard (and didn't serve the station either) we were running late. So I alighted at Watchet, as I knew due to the traffic on the way back I'd miss my connection onto 21. I walked around to the train station, purchased an ice cream had a look around for all of 5 minutes and then caught 67703 back to Taunton. As predicted, we arrived late into Taunton at 15.00. I went on my 6 monthly clothes shop and then caught the 15.52 21 (running just slightly late) out of Taunton again with 69206. We arrived into Bridgwater slightly late, after the driver had an argument with someone who parked in the bus stop at Bridgwater High Street (the driver of the car hurtling abuse and shouting at the driver, whilst she stood her ground and basically said you are illegally parked - she handled it very well).

We then arrived back into Burnham again just slightly late and I waited for my connection back to Weston. After a 15 minute wait, 2 20s turned up heading to the holiday park. 33419 once again turned up to head to Weston, only 25 minutes late. We headed around the corner and stopped at the next stop, where an angry man got on demanding to have a free ticket as he had been waiting for a bus since 15.50 (about 2 hours). Before I could go down and say a few words, he paid over the money for a single. We packed up on passengers in Brean and dropped off a few too. We ended up in Weston only 15 minutes late, which was pretty good, although it had wrecked my plans for chips by the sea front in my half hour break. In the end I waited around for 15 minutes and caught the last 126 back to Wells at 19.00 with 69437. The driver left Weston a bit late, but we arrived early into Wells in the end. Quite a good load too. In the end it was a trip into Wetherspoons.

Overall it was a nice trip out. I got to see some great views on all the journeys in the great weather, but the trip really was ruined by the timing on 28. The service is inadequately timed on Sundays and it would be really nice if it was timed to be able to make a connection with 21. I'm not sure whether it even fits in with connections for the railway station. It was a very long journey to do and I think if I was going to do that again, it would have to be on a Saturday with one way on the 29 and the other on 126/20/21.

And a few obs from the day:-
126 69446/69437
20 33419/33569/Express yourself 56 E400
21 69206/7/66745
Bridgwater bus station 69012/69018
Weston 3 44508
Taunton depot 47542/69227/67600/44534/62238
Bus station 44932, Streetlites in the compound
28 67710/67703/67701/67708
22 44923 - this one went out on 1, then came in and 44932 went out on 22

Last edited by THarris123; 9th April 2017 at 21:34.
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Old 10th April 2017, 08:31   #26
Arctic Troll
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Originally Posted by TheGrandWazoo View Post
Have to say that my observations on the fleet in the North East were that things were definitely in a decent place - very little old rubbish except the Cadet and I'd hope that those will be on borrowed time. The investment has been strong between 2009-2015 for Stagecoach and Arriva, hence the standardisation on e300 and Pulsar respectively.

What has helped that age profile has been the reduction in the route network especially in Co Durham. Where Arriva and United once ran, services have been pared back so that a fairly skeletal network now exists. Instead, firms like Scarlet Band plus a raft of smaller independents have filled the void. Certainly reduces the range of the Explorer North East
The Explorer North East is now pretty much useless in rural areas, unfortunately. Gone are the days of thrashing down back lanes on a Metrorider or a Vario; the last Barney-Bish run at teatime used to give Alton Towers a run for its money, and the Consett-Hexham wasn't far behind. The independents don't accept the Explorer and, even if they did, the frequencies are shot to pieces. It's a real shame.

As for the lack of old rubbish, that's more about the build quality of modern buses, much as people moan about modern buses being lightweight. Stagecoach's ALX300s are 14 years old now but they don't feel it. Teenage Nationals didn't feel that nice.
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Old 10th April 2017, 08:53   #27
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The Explorer North East is now pretty much useless in rural areas, unfortunately. Gone are the days of thrashing down back lanes on a Metrorider or a Vario; the last Barney-Bish run at teatime used to give Alton Towers a run for its money, and the Consett-Hexham wasn't far behind. The independents don't accept the Explorer and, even if they did, the frequencies are shot to pieces. It's a real shame.

As for the lack of old rubbish, that's more about the build quality of modern buses, much as people moan about modern buses being lightweight. Stagecoach's ALX300s are 14 years old now but they don't feel it. Teenage Nationals didn't feel that nice.
There are still some decent runs, not least the Bellingham service that has come into the scope. I did the Hexham to Consett service on an MPD a few years back and what a trip that was.

You're absolutely right. People do get misty eyed about the past but stuff like an ALX300 or an Omnicity is much, much better than the 10 year old Nationals that featured on my first Explorer trip many moons ago!
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Old 11th April 2017, 12:02   #28
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Was surprised to see one of them Darts in Glasgow city centre today, thought they been long gone. Pretty sure the r reg ones have long gone
Was it on the 240 when you saw it? Rare as hen's teeth on any of the Glasgow-Lanarkshire services these days, with them usually being kept on Hamilton/Motherwell locals 99% of the time. They can still very rarely slip back into the city centre on the 240 et.al if the need arises, however.

The last of the R-reg Darts have long since departed active service, the last pair (R637 DUS (40819)/R638 DUS (40820)) lasting until August 2014, with the latter entering preservation in October the same year upon withdrawal.

Last edited by Strathclyder; 11th April 2017 at 17:07. Reason: Added image of relevant bus.
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