A Day on the Buses: Halesworth & Beccles

Having noticed that a couple of recent additions to the BorderBus fleet had escaped my camera, earlier this week I decided to head out today to see if I could hunt them down. Whilst planning my trip last night, I decided to be slightly more ambitious and set myself the goal to photograph every BorderBus out in service today. To do this, at some point I'd have to make my way to Halesworth to photograph BB14BUS on the 521, so I decided to get this out of the way first, and after coming into town on a Park and Ride bus, I caught the 0900 X88 out of Norwich and sat back for the 60 minute journey to Halesworth.

Having never ridden a Scania N230UD before, I was excited to climb aboard 553 AO57HCC. Whilst there were a few rattles whilst stationary, which I expected from a 9-year-old bus, once it was moving I quickly began to like it. The seats weren't very comfortable but the bus was superb, it accelerated quickly and drove smoothly. The hour flew by and before I knew it, it was time to alight at my stop on Saxons Way in Halesworth. I took a short walk to the Rail Station, where I found the bus I was looking for on a break, parked in a shaded layover area.

BorderBus 101 at Halesworth Rail Station
With plenty of time to kill until my planned connection at 1052, I walked a few minutes down the road to a sunnier position to capture fleet number 101 as the 1035 departure from Halesworth to Aldeburgh. Unfortunately I've not quite got the hang of my new DSLR camera yet, so the colour did not come out on the photo as vividly as I'd hoped, but it's a photo nonetheless.

BorderBus 101 on Norwich Road, Halesworth
With one down and six to go, I had to get to somewhere on the route of the 146 to photograph more BorderBuses. Beccles seemed an obvious choice, its in the middle of the route which meant there were four buses an hour (two in each direction) passing through, allowing me to make quick progress ticking off the remaining buses on my hit list. A convenient connection for me to use was Anglian's 60H, linking Halesworth and Beccles via the smallest roads I've ever been down on a bus. My chariot for the 33 minute journey was Versa 305 YJ60KGU, which arrived at Beccles Old Market bang on time at 1126. Not long after, in rolled BorderBus 104 BB62BUS, with a Norwich-bound 146 service. After I had taken the photo I wanted, I then went to snap an unusual visitor to Beccles.

Anglianbus 305 upon arrival at Beccles as a 60H
Konectbus 901 VX51RJZ is currently 'on loan' to Anglianbus, although its official status at Konect is withdrawn, so it could well become a permanent transfer. It had operated Beccles town service 82 just before I arrived, and departed on an 80 towards Diss at some point whilst I was in Beccles.

Konectbus 901 leaves Beccles on an Anglianbus 80 to Diss
Ten minutes after 'BB62' had departed, my third BorderBus sighting of the day was 107 'BB12', with none other than MD Andrew Pursey at the wheel (although I didn't realise it at the time!). With twenty minutes until the next BorderBus departure, and my fingers almost numb, I spent a few minutes 'browsing' in Co-Op to try to keep warm. I returned to the bus station just about able to move my fingers to photograph 103 BB09BUS on one of the shorter 146 journeys which operates between Worlingham (just beyond Beccles) and Norwich only, instead of all the way to Southwold. 103 was heading towards Norwich, although I was still hanging around by the time it returned from Norwich, over an hour later! As the hours ticked by, I photographed 105 BB07BUS on another short journey, newest addition BB11 and eventually BB59, which meant I had succeeded in my mission of snapping all active BorderBuses this Saturday. Whilst knocking around in Beccles, I met for the first time Nicky and Jamie (family of the BorderBus MD), and enjoyed a brief chat about the BorderBus fleet. I was impressed by young Jamie's enthusiasm for his dads buses, and will not be surprised to see him behind the wheel of a BorderBus in a few years time!

BorderBus 108 in Beccles
BorderBus 102 in Beccles, with a winter sky backdrop
I won't pretend my 'challenge' was particularly difficult, although standing in Beccles for almost three hours did mean I was still shivering by the time my bus back to the city had reached its destination! Pleased with the results of my day out, I did consider that perhaps it would be nice for a photo in a different setting, so I waited at the end of Surrey Street to photograph whatever might be the 1430 arrival from Beccles. It was 103, and my photo here shows it swinging round onto St Stephens Street, where the route terminates.

BorderBus 103 in Norwich city centre
All in all it was a successful day, made even better when my chariot home was First Norwich's latest refurbished President, Volvo B7TL 32106 LT02ZCV which is pictured here in Thorpe Marriott.

32106 in Thorpe Marriott

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About Sam Larke

Norwich Buses Blog was founded in December 2013 by Sam Larke after he left another popular blog, Norwich Bus Page. Since it's launch, the site has grown dramatically, especially whilst written solely by Kieran Smith during 2015. The blog is now in it's third year and we look forward to more success and growth in the future. If you think you'd make a good writer for Norwich Buses Blog, please do get in touch via email: samuel.larke@gmail.com
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  1. I have always said that if those Scania deckers had decent seats they would be the best around. Having said that had it been 551 you might have had a different conclusion if sitting upstairs! Glad you like the 60H but if you think that's tight you need to ride the 84 via Topcroft or Denton!

    I've stood in Beccles in Siberian temperatures too and three hours deserves a medal for devotion beyond the call of duty.

    1. Haha thanks Steve. Might try the 84 sometime, although not on a Solo, Solos are boring.