30/07/2011

Norfolk Explorer 29/07/11 ~ A Grand Day Out!

I had a fantastic day out on Konectbus and Norfolk Green buses yesterday using the fantastic and bargin priced £8 day explorer ticket that is valid on both operators services.

I made 10 bus journeys in just under 12 hours which makes each journey I made just 80p! Also as I have come to expect with both companies every bus I went on was on time, clean and well driven by friendly and polite drivers who are a real credit to their companies.

I started my day on the 0744 Norfolk Green FairsteadOne from Winston Churchill Drive to King's Lynn bus station which produced Optare Versa YJ58VCC.

After catching up with a couple of friends at the bus station and purchasing some breakfast it was time to get the 0845 Norfolk Green X8 to Fakenham which produced freshly branded Optare Tempo YJ06YSP - it was my first time on this vehicle and it was highly enjoyable and very fast! (within the speed limits of course) apart from when we were stuck behind a tractor from Knights Hill until we overtook it near Hillington.

YJ06YSP
YJ06YSP seen above after arrival at Fakenham where it changes to an X29 to Norwich

After a short wait at Fakenham I saw my first Konectbus of the day - the 0940 service 7 to Dereham appearing from the distance, as I had expected it was one of the 'older' Optare Excels R835FNG, this route is rather quiet at the Fakenham end of the route (and this section has just been cut back by Norfolk County Council who fund the service) however when we reached North Elmham and Gressenhall who have a more frequent service thanks to short workings from Dereham the bus filled up and was very busy by the time we reached Dereham via the new route around one of Derehams housing estates - much to the confusion of the two old dears behind me who much to my amusement didn't know the route had changed and thorght the driver was lost

R835FNG
R835FNG at Fakenham Oak Street just before departure to Dereham

Upon arrival at Dereham it was a quick change on to leather seated Optare Tempo YJ09MHZ which was driven by friend and regular str8 driver Jonny Whittaker, on leaving Dereham the bus had a very healthy load with almost every seat full, there were also, much to my suprise some VIP's on board including Konectbus co-founder and manager Julian Patterson and the Go Ahead cheif executive. After dropping some local passengers off at Eckling Grange it was non stop to Norwich Bus Station, I stayed on the bus right through to the Riverside terminus point before returning on the same bus to Castle Meadow.

YJ09MHZ
YJ09MHZ at Riverside Retail Park in Norwich having just arrived from Dereham it is waiting to go back again

At Castle Meadow I spent half an hour viewing the buses and taking a few photographs of First's new Gemini 2's like 36172 BD11CFV which is seen below loading up for the University at stand W

BD11CFV

I then caught the next Konectbus str8 - leather seated Optare Tempo YJ57EGX for the short journey round to Norwich Bus Station where I picked up some bus timetables and after a short wait at bay 2 got another Optare Tempo, this time MX05ELJ on the scenic 1310 Konectbus 6 journey to Watton via Wymondham.

On arrival at Watton which seems to be a lovely little town with a high street full of independant shops I popped into the newsagents next to the bus stop for some refreshments including the new Fanta "Beach" Strawberry and Kiwi soft drink I have been wanting to try (it was very nice by the way!) I then boarded Konectbus Optare Excel S169UAL on the 1425 11 journey to Dereham.

S169UAL
S169UAL just after arrival at Dereham waiting to depart on the next journey back to Swaffham

Now, my prepared plans went a bit off track here (by choice I must add) I had planned to catch the slow Konectbus fab4 service to Dereham which is usually operated by Optare Excel 2's, however I quickly changed my plans when I saw Konectbus Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 bodied Dennis Trident 2 SN10CFG come in from Toftwood on the 1500 str8 to Norwich, so another trip on the str8 it was!


SN10CFG seen above at Norwich Bus Station

After quickly taking a couple of snaps of the rear end promos which have been fitted to most Norwich Park & Ride vehicles since my last visit, I made an hour earlier than planned connection on to the 1545 Norfolk Green X29 to Fakenham for X8 to King's Lynn which was operated by the bus I started my day on Optare Versa YJ58VCC.

P&R rear
Rear end advert applied to one of the pink Konectbus Thickthorn park & ride vehicles

After the 110 minute journey on the X29/X8 I arrived back in King's Lynn at around 1735 where after a little time at the bus station and some grocery shopping in Sainsburys I caught my final bus of the day Norfolk Green Optare Solo YN53SSZ on the FairsteadOne home.

All in all a fantasic and highly enjoyable day, a big thanks goes to Konectbus and Norfolk Green for providing such fantastic services!