29th October 2016
Another shortish day, making the most of my time in Norfolk. The 10.00hrs "Coasthopper" (it didn't have a service number) bus to Wells-Next-the-Sea was a new, upmarket Stagecoach single-decker with full route branding for what appears to be a successful commercial service, but which started life as a seasonal (?) local authority supported route around 15 years ago.
It follows the coast most of the way and was quite busy - in fact one of the busiest buses of this week's part of the trip. The loadings were boosted just outside Wells when we picked up passengers from the previous bus that had broken down and been sitting at the side of the road for an hour awaiting rescue.
I'd been to Wells before, but I couldn't remember much of it during the hour I spent there. One thing that did jog my memory was an information board at the quay giving details of the history of Wells as a port. It included the fact that the last commercial shipping there was a sailing barge carrying grain to (or was it from) The Netherlands in 1996, something that I remembered seeing on my last visit.
Although the Coasthopper is advertised as a through service passengers have to change buses in
Wells and, confusingly, cross to the opposite side of the road. Passengers coming from Cromer and going forward to King's Lynn catch a connecting bus which sets off back towards Cromer, before looping the loop around the town. Despite both stops having clear timetable displays the situation is also explained by a handwritten notice on a piece of brown paper stuck up in the bus shelter!
I broke my journey again in Hunstanton, where I had lunch in a busy cafe. I'd intended to continue to King's Lynn on Stagecoach's service 10, which was a double-decker but was tempted instead to use service 35 which is run by "Lynx", a newish company set up by employees of a former bus company in the area that sold out to Stagecoach.
This was a single-decker and a rather elderly one at that, with some ominous rumbling noises coming from somewhere when it picked up speed. But it was well-loaded - and well driven by a smart and friendly driver and the company had put plenty of timetable displays up along the route. All in all a very professional operation.
King's Lynn marked the end of the trip as far as 2016 is concerned. I spent the night there (a good indian restaurant but the pubs were pretty hopeless) and in the morning took another bus on to Peterborough for a train home.
I'll be starting again in early Spring 2017