Blue Bus Tribute

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A 1999 Wright-bodied Scania L94UB transformed as a tribute to First’s Great Yarmouth Blue Bus tribute has visited the legendary depot in the town. New to First Eastern Counties in First’s ‘Barbie’ colours, the Scania has been restored as a Blue Bus vehicle by North Yorkshire-based Connexions driver Jamie Vendy and his fiancé Kaylee.

“When I was a kid, my family used to stay in a caravan at Burgh Castle in Great Yarmouth and I was always fascinated by the bus scene. Every time we visited there seemed to have been big changes,” said Jamie. “I always liked the First Blue bus livery introduced after the takeover of what was Great Yarmouth Transport. I don’t think I would ever have got into buses and entered the industry had it not been for those days in Great Yarmouth, I have some wonderful memories.”

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The Scania, S574 TPW, has Wright Access Floline B40F bodywork and entered service at Ipswich, where it was a regular on Overground services 20 and 21. It later moved to King’s Lynn, returned to Norwich before heading to First Northampton, where it ran until the last day of this former municipal operator in 2013 before working for First Essex in Colchester, finally being withdrawn in 2015 and sold to Connexions Buses, before Jamie and Kaylee buying it in 2017.

After making its preservation debut at the 2019 Busfest event in Whittelsey, Cambridgeshire, the Scania received attention to the bodywork and a repaint by DS Coachworks of Penistone, where the lower skirt panels were also replaced. Since completion, the Scania has had a new turbo fitted by MR Judd Services of Guyhirn, Cambs.

Jamie and Kaylee took the bus and invited guests on a special trip via its old haunts of King’s Lynn, Cromer and Sheringham to Great Yarmouth, where it posed outside what is now the local First depot, but retains its legendary art deco frontage from municipal days featuring plaques picturing historic transport. Due to Covid-19 restrictions the Scania could only pose outside the depot but created much interest. “It really was the realisation of a dream bring the bus here,” said Jamie.

Jamie and Kaylee have bought two more former First Eastern Counties projects: N619 GAH, a Mercedes-Benz 609D with Frank Guy bodywork and P330 RVG, a Volvo B10M Plaxton Premiere. This has led to the formation of the Eastern Counties Bus Preservation Group for people interested in the vehicles and their progress. The group can be contacted at [email protected]

The Blue Bus Scania is seen in front of the well-known Great Yarmouth depot building, now operated by First Essex. NICK LARKIN