Thursday, 13 March 2008

Part 1: Skegness-Lincoln-Laceby-Hull-York-Sunderland-Seaburn


Please click on any photo for a larger version

As it was nearing spring, dawn was breaking as I awaited Stagecoach Volvo B7TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini 16940 (FX06 AOB) on the 0520 service 6 from Skegness to Lincoln. At one time this run took very few passengers, but is now starting to get some regulars who use it to travel to work.

Normally, I'd travel into the bus station at Lincoln to connect with the service 3, but the schedule means that the two services just miss each other, so meant alighting at the County Hospital for a 10 minute connection. Stagecoach Volvo B7TL/East Lancs Vyking 16909 (FX53 TXC) duly appeared and we departed on time. A rather cold run to start with as the heaters took some time to generate heat on this cold morning. This particular service tends to get extremely busy with pupils travelling to Grimsby College and by the time I reached Laceby, was almost full.

I had 37 minutes to waite for my connection. Happily it was a bright morning as, since my last visit, the bus shelter appears to have been removed so I would have had no protection from the rain! Hough's Bova GLZ 6555 arrived and collected a group of waiting school children. Shortly after, Stagecoach Volvo B10M-55 / Plaxton Paladin 20285 (R725 RPY) appeared on 0730 Hull to New Waltham. A little later, sister vehicle 20282 (R722 RPY) appeared to take me to Hull Interchange. Clearly the early start was taking its toll as I awoke to find we had just crossed the Humber Bridge!

A 26 minute connection at Hull allowed me time to take a few photographs of vehicles, and take a look around the new Interchange, a vast improvement on the old bus station.
Next came my first ever ride on the East Yorkshire X46 at 1005 to York, on which was Volvo B7TL/Plaxton President 662 (YX51 AYA) wearing a special livery to advertise Hull Trains. After Beverley, we made our way to Pocklington passing sister vehicle 704 (YX55 DHL) on the 1000 X46 York to Hull.
With 90 minutes at York, I spent some time photographing the local bus scene. The most striking of these were the bendi-buses, one example (YK06 EKT) is shown below. First have 12 of these Volvo B7LA's with Wright Streetcar AB42D bodies in service.
Whilst First are the main bus operator in the city, there was also a good variety of other operators to be seen. Yorkshire Coastliner's Volvo B7TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini 408 YK55 ATV was noted on the 0957 service 845 from Bridlington to Leeds.
With time now progressing, I made my way to the railway station where I saw Network Rail's 86902 which is used for de-icing the overhead wires along the East Coast Main Line.
Checking the departure boards, I noticed that my Grand Central train service to Sunderland, due at 1322, was not listed. I felt a bit awkward asking their rivals at the enquiry desk of its whereabouts, and was told that it was cancelled. National Express East Coast were honouring tickets, which was no use to me as I was going to buy a £20 First Class Single to Sunderland on the train, and would have meant purchasing the NXEC equivalent at £46! Alternatively, it meant a long wait until the next Grand Central service at 1847. Fortunately, having checked the National Express timetable outside, I found that a 426 coach service (London to South Shields) was due to call there at 1440, and was a much better option. Veolia's Volvo B12B/Plaxton Panther FJ55 XBB arrived with several empty seats, so I reached the Interchange at Sunderland just 2 hours later, and 4 hours earlier than if I had waited for the next Grand Central Service.
I adjourned to the nearby Wetherspoons for some food and drink before taking the Stagecoach E2 service to Seaburn on which was Volvo B10BLE/Alexander ALX300 21138 (R238 KRG).

Accommodation for the next two days was at the Pullman Lodge Hotel, an appropriate choice for the transport theme as it has a number of old Pullman Carriages incorporated into the building which also contains some authentic railway signs.
Reception itself is inside one of the carriages, and having obtained the key, my room turned out to be what looked like a small flat - and very nice it was too. The remainder of the evening was spent in the Pullman bar, sadly me being the only customer most of the time.


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