Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sunday Lost Scenes - Sunday 4th November

As I'm on a bit of an Olympian theme at the moment, here's another one...

First Devon & Cornwall 30065 - A167VFM - Bude Strand - 5th August 2006

Today, the only route that First Devon & Cornwall operate into North Cornwall is route 76/76A. The route is operated by Plymouth depot and primarily sees Volvo B6BLEs make the trip up to Bude via Saltash, Callington and Launceston. It is now First's only route in Bude after the X9 was given up earlier this year.

Back track 6 and a half years ago, and First operated many routes into Bude - the route to Plymouth was the X8, supported by the X9 to Exeter, the 128 town service, the 285 to Holsworthy and the 319 to Hartland. 

There was a regular early Saturday morning departure from Bude which was always booked to be an Olympian. I woke up and managed to grab the shot, and on Saturday 5th August it was former PMT DOG A167VFM. It was the only one of these that I ever caught in service with Devon & Cornwall - we had two at Hoeford depot (30050 and 30056) too.I remember this bus being immaculate. The presentation was excellent. It had recently received the willow leaf First livery, which was just being rolled out across the whole fleet as opposed to simply the best low floor buses. 

I'm not sure if Olympians get up to Bude much on the 76 these days - if they do, send me a link to a photo because I'd like to see it.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

An unexpected return home

In 1996, Southampton Citybus received 6 Volvo Olympians from stock dealership, to upgrade services in the city from Leyland Atlanteans. In 2003, having passed into First ownership, all 6 moved to First Devon & Cornwall, to upgrade their X80 (Plymouth - Paignton and Torquay). I thought I'd lost the chance to photograph them again when they moved up to Manchester two years later. However, as a result of Olympic cascades, P295KPX has unexpectedly returned home to Hampshire.

Ok, so not exactly *home* because 34295 has entered service at Hoeford rather than Southampton. Incidentally, it was never allocated to Empress Road, having left Portswood long before the new depot was even dreamed up. It is quite a smart bus externally - some panels could do with a quick brush up (such as the front black grills) but all in all she looks good.

I'm not sure why, but she seems to be spending an awful lot of time in Stubbington at the moment, on routes 33, 34 and 35. She has made it to Portsmouth too- and has been photographed on the circuit routes 17 and 18. These buses left just before I started photographing widely - I've only got photos of sisters P293KPX and P296KPX from 2003, and these are lost in the depths of fotopic at the moment... still not long until "J" comes around on the username download!

I'm not sure how long she will be around for, or whether more are coming. Sources within First are publicly stating they want around 7 or 8 low floor double deckers for the X4 (Portsmouth - Southampton), although I'm sure Volvo Olympians aren't what was envisaged.

The Hampshire Olympian allocation are as follows:

At Southampton - 34079, 34128, 34129, 34130
At Hoeford - 34016, 34017, 34022, 34059, 34060, 34071, 34295, with 34033 on site VOR