16/02/2012

An absolutely fantastic day out in Cambridgeshire & West Suffolk 13/02/12

On Monday I had a fantastic day out on the buses and trains in Cambridgeshire & West Suffolk, here is a report on some of the main highlights of the day!

I started my day by getting Norfolk Green Optare Solo YJ05XMT on the 0645 One to King's Lynn railway station, it was the onto First Capital Connect 365537 for the half an hour journey to Ely where I met up with Suzy Scott who would be accompanying me for most of the day.

We then made our way over to the bus stop behind Tesco where after a short wait we caught Stagecoach MAN/ALX300 AE51RZG on the 9 into Ely city centre for the main event of the day - a few trips on Norfolk Green's brand new absolutely bus service.


AE51RZG rests at Ely, Market Street following arrival on the 9 from Cambridge

After arrival at Ely, Market Street we waited for the 0900 absolutely to arrive, whilst we were waiting I took the opportunity to photograph one of the new Norfolk Green branded bus stop flags which have been put up at absolutely bus stops around the city.


Norfolk Green bus stop flag at Ely Market Street, following a successful trial on the King's Lynn to Hunstanton route these have been put up at many absolutely stops around the city, they are also due to be rolled out to stops in the King's Lynn LynnGo zone soon.

After no time at all specially branded Optare Solo MX55WCV arrived and we made our maiden voyage on absolutely, the route takes in some of the citys main housing areas and links them with the city centre and brand new Sainsbury's, the passengers who boarded the service whilst we were on board were pleased with the quality of the new service, favourable comments over the soon to end Go Whippet service included the bus being smart, easy to board and unusually nice and warm!


MX55WCV sits at Ely Market Street awaiting its next departure


Go Whippet were unusually using Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL W476BCW on their Ely city service, it is usually operated using a step entrance vehicle such as a Volvo Citybus or Alexander PS bodied Volvo B10M - this service is being withdrawn on 24th February.

All too soon after three enjoyable trips our time on absolutely came to an end and it was time to continue our journey towards West Suffolk, our next bus was Stagecoach MAN/ALX300 AE51RYH on the 1100 service 12 to Newmarket, it was a fast journey passing through the large villiage of Soham, we arrived at Newmarket bus station two minutes ahead of schedule at 1153.


Stagecoach AE51RYH waits at Newmarket bus station to continue its journey on the 12 to Cambridge

We then made our connection on to the 1315 service 11 to Bury St Edmunds which produced Dennis Trident 2/ALX400 AE55DJK. On arrival at Bury St Edmunds excellent bus station we had time to take a few photographs before picking up some bus timetables and heading to Starbucks to warm up with a hot chocolate.


Stephensons Of Essex were using Plaxton Pointer 2 bodied Dennis Dart GU52HKD on their Breeze 1 branded town service, Enviro200 YX11CTO was also noted in service on the Breeze 3.


As previously reported here on Andy's Bus Blog, First are pulling out of Bury St Edmunds at the end of March, Dart R475CAH is pictured above on one of the soon to end services.

After our visit to Starbucks we headed back towards the bus station (getting drenched in the pouring rain along the way!) thankfully the ample bus station has a large indoor waiting area where we were able to dry off and await our next bus - Dennis Trident 2/ALX400 AE55DJV on the 1450 service 11 to Cambridge.


After arrival on the 11 at Cambridge bus station AE55DJV is seen heading off to layover before its next journey.

At Cambridge I said goodbye to Suzy who then caught the 26 home to Royston. I headed down to road to Downing Street to catch Dennis Trident 2/Enviro400 AE07KZA on the P&R 99 to Trumpington Park & Ride, there I made a connection on to Volvo B7RLE/Wrightbus Eclipse Urban 2 AE09GYW for a trip along The Busway to Cambridge railway station.


AE09GYW is seen above prior to departure from Trumpington Park & Ride on the A to St Ives via Cambridge

Following a tip off that the 1817 Abellio Greater Anglia service to King's Lynn is now usually worked by one of the new Class 379 Electrostar trains I headed for that keeping my fingers crossed for a new train, as I waited on platform 1 my anticipation was extended further by the announcement of a 9 minute delay, after waiting a few minutes extra I was delighted when 379019 rolled in for King's Lynn!

I boarded the new train and was impressed with the quality and smoothness compared to the First Capital Connect Class 365's I am used to, although the seats were not as soft as those on a Class 365. As we left Cambridge 9 minutes late we unfortunatly missed out slot on the single track line North of Littleport so we were held for a further 10 minutes until the oncoming train had passed - however a prompt announcement of the wait by our driver and the fact I had a nice new train made the delay worthwhile!


379019 on platform 2 at King's Lynn railway station

So after arrival 19 minutes late at King's Lynn I made my way to the bus station for Norfolk Green Irisbus Agoraline AU05FKG home on the One after an absolutely fantastic day out.

A special thanks go to everyone who I saw and kept me company throughout the day for making the day even greater! :-)