Spring Bank Holiday 25th May saw the Sky Bet Championship play-off between Norwich City and Middlesbrough take place at Wembley Stadium, some 40,000 Canaries fans made the trip to London to witness the team winning the trophy in a 2-0 victory which secured them a promotion to the Barclays Premier League next season. Many of the fans making the journey from Norfolk travelled on some of the 150+ buses and coaches laid on by the football club and organised by Sanders Coaches, a whole host of local operators took part from across Norfolk as well as the neighbouring counties of Cambrigeshire and Suffolk, in this two part feature we look at a selection of the many vehicles in attendance using photographs provided by our correspondent David Bell - enjoy!
One of the most notable features of the fan transport operation was the use of double decker buses from First Eastern counties, noted in attendance by David were seven X1 Enviro400s 33803/4 and 33820/1/2/3/4 as well as four former X1 Geminis 37571 and 37574/5/6. The former, as shown by 33803 above were programmed with special destinations for the event (c) David Bell.
North Norfolk independent Sanders Coaches was the main contractor for the operation (as they usually are for NCFC events) and in turn subcontracted the assistance of the many other operators involved, they however of course also used a large number of their own vehicles, joining what seemed like their entire fleet of available coaches were the two high capacity tri axle East Lancs bodied Volvo B9TLs OU05 AVB/D, they can be seen arriving in Wembley above (c) David Bell.
We'll move on to our coverage of local coach operators present now, this will also be continued in the second part, David reports that some of the many operators well represented were Marett's Chariots, Simonds, Harrods, Peelings, Galloway, Sanders, Emblings, Mil Ken, Suffolk Norse, Reynolds, Eastons, Belle, Dolphin Travel, Neals, Mulleys, Lamberts, Sunbeam - the list goes on.
Eastons Holidays - VDL Bova FH2 YD63 FFU (c) David Bell.
Tourmaster - Van Hool TX16 Alicron YJ15 ETT (c) David Bell.
Freestones Coaches - Irizar Century bodied Scania K340 T7 XLA (c) David Bell.
Mulleys Motorways - Van Hool Alizee bodied Volvo B12BT WSV 555 (c) David Bell.
Reynolds Of Caister - Mercedes Benz Touro BU04 FAJ (c) David Bell.
Many thanks to David Bell for the excellent shots included in the first part of this feature, look out for the second part - coming soon!