25/03/2014

The Irisbus Agoraline in Norfolk: A brief history ~ photo special!

The Irisbus Agoraline is a common sight on the continent including a particularly large number present in France, it is however a very rare bus in the United Kingdom with only just over 20 assembled by Optare.

Agoralines 2 (c) David Bell
NCS Irisbus Agoraline AU05 FKB, branded for and operating on Postwick Park & Ride © David Bell.

Agoralines 1 (c) David Bell
NCS Irisbus Agoraline OY53 RDZ branded for and operating on Airport Park & Ride © David Bell.

The main customer for the type was the commercial arm of Norfolk County Council which was then known as Norfolk County Services - NCS (now named Norse) for use on Norwich Park & Ride services, they received two batches in 2003 and 2005.

Agoralines 1 (c) David Bell Agoralines 2 (c) David Bell
Another two examples of Irisbus Agoralines operating with NCS are OY53 RDV and AU05 FKD © David Bell.

When Norwich Park & Ride services were upgraded to double deck operation in 2010/11 many of the Irisbus Agoralines were sold, the main operator who acquired them was King's Lynn based Norfolk Green, a batch of three 121-3 OY53 RDZ/RFF/RDV arrived first followed by a further batch of six 124-9 AU05 FKB/D/E/F/G/H.

Norfolk Green 130 FE52HFR
Norfolk Green Irisbus Agoraline 130 FE52 HFR seen shortly after it entered service, originally a demonstrator this bus has now been scrapped.

King's Lynn bus station 10/05/13 (c) Andy's Bus Blog
Norfolk Green Irisbus Agoraline 127 AU05 FKF pictured at King's Lynn bus station in 2013.

Another two examples, ex demonstrator 130 FE52 HFR and 131 GX07 BAU (which wears Coasthopper livery) were later added from other dealers leaving Norfolk Green as the largest operator of the type in the UK with eleven in service.

Norwich bus station closure - buses on diversion (c) David Bell
We finish with this photo of Norfolk Green Coasthopper branded Irisbus Agoraline 131 GX07 BAU taken in Norwich in 2012 © David Bell.

Fast forward to 2014 and the Norfolk Green (now part of the Stagecoach Group) fleet of Irisbus Agoralines has reduced from eleven to seven due to the withdrawal of 126/8/9/30 in 2013/14, it remains to be seen how long this rare, non standard type will remain in operation with Stagecoach Norfolk Green as it is believed they are likely to be replaced with alternative vehicles in the future.