Scania L94UB Wright Axcess Floline B40F
New to Eastern Counties as 574 02/99
Eastern Counties 02/99 - 05/12
IPS 99-99 | NR 99-05 | KL 06-08 | NOR 08-12 Loaned to LT 06/08-07/08
First Northampton 06/12-09/13 | First Essex 09/13-03/15
Eastern Counties BPG 11/17
New to First Ipswich in February 1999, 574 was part of a batch of early Scania L94UB Wright Axcess-Flolines and seated 40 passengers. This S – TPW batch of Scanias succeeded the R– DVF batch of Scania L113CRL Wright Axcess-Ultralows. The batch was numbered 565 to 574 and was split between Ipswich and Norwich. 574 spent most of 1999 at Ipswich before being transferred to Norwich, where it spent many years serving the urban and overground networks. Overground services 20 and 21 were the most common ground for it to be found on, occasionally mixing things up a little with urban services such as the 58 to Bungay.
Fast forward to 2004, 574 was renumbered 65574 as part of the national fleet numbering at First Group. In 2006, 574 moved to King’s Lynn, in part due to an increased PVR for the new Excel X6 service between King’s Lynn and Spalding. The X6 competed directly against Norfolk Green’s 505; the 505 succeeded and the X6 was subsequently withdrawn. S574TPW also spent a couple of occasions on the Excel X1 between Peterborough & Lowestoft. 574 remained at King’s Lynn until 2008, when it was sent away for refurbishment including newer seat frames, a retrim and partial reflooring. This was coupled with a full repanel and repaint, and an AdBlue system was fitted for the LEZ in Castle Meadow, Norwich. 2008 was also the year it had its claim to fame when it was loaned to Lowestoft as ITV Anglia & filmed Leon Wells, who had been crowned UK Bus Driver of the Year.
It remained at Norwich until June 2012, when it and several other vehicles were exchanged for Volvo B7Ls from Northampton. Replacing 2002 Volvo B7Ls with R-registered Scania L113CRLs and S/T-registered Scania L94UBs was a bit of a backwards step, and proved to be the final nail in the coffin for First Northampton. By 2013, the business had been wound up. 574, however, lived on – 2013 saw a trip to First Colchester, where it worked many routes in the town. It lasted at First Essex until it was withdrawn in early 2015. Up to this point, most buses owned by First would be sent for scrap, but thankfully things had changed and vehicles such as S574 TPW and V587 DVF were instead sold on for a new life.
This is when Craig Temple, MD of ConnexionsBuses, came in and purchased a number of L94s to displace a variety of Scania-chassised N113s and L113s. 574 was well-known by drivers at ConnexionsBuses for its heavy throttle, which it still features to this day. It worked many routes, including the 13 in York and X1 in Harrogate. By 2017, it was relegated to school services only due to the PSVAR regulations – it was starting to age, and Craig did not deem it worth upgrading.
Despite this, it was a good workhorse and fall-back vehicle. It is believed to have only broken down twice during its time at Connexions!
Then the magic happened… in November 2017, it was purchased by Jamie Vendy and Kaylee McNamara. The first 18 months was very easy-going – the vehicle was dry stored at Keighley Bus Museum after work carried out by Ebor Trucks was completed. February 2019 saw the big move – 574 travelled to Guyhirn, the home of the Eastern Bus Enthusiasts, and it debuted at BusFest in Whittlesey 2019 wearing its ConnexionsBuses green and white livery.In August 2019, 574 took another trip north to Yorkshire for a makeover at DS Coachworks, Penistone. Despite never working from Great Yarmouth, the Grampian ‘First Blue Bus’ cream and blue livery was chosen. This livery was originally used after the takeover of Great Yarmouth Transport back in September 1996.
On Saturday 12th October 2019, 574 made its journey back home to Guyhirn following a full repanel and repaint into a tribute to “First Blue Bus” which has personal connection to Jamie our Chairman.
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