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excel, X1, X2, X11, X21, X22
An Enviro400 with the new excel branding at Norwich bus station, March 2018
|Operator||First Norfolk & Suffolk|
|Vehicle||Alexander Dennis Enviro 400|
Volvo B9TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini
|Start||Lowestoft bus station|
|End||Peterborough bus station|
|Length||107 miles (172 km)|
Excel is the brand name given to a number of bus services operated by First Norfolk & Suffolk, covering 107 miles (172 km) between Lowestoft bus station in Suffolk and Peterborough railway station in Cambridgeshire. Prior to February 2018, the main section of route was provided as a single service, but has now been split for operational reasons into the excel route itself between Peterborough, King's Lynn and Norwich, and the X1 between Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.
In the year up to April 2009, the route saw a 15% increase in passenger numbers compared to the previous year. In 2013, the service received brand new buses in the form of high-specification Alexander Dennis Enviro400 double-deckers.
excel and X1
Route and Frequency
The combined route is about 107 miles in length, mostly following the A47 road and only stopping at major interchange points in urban areas. In total, from Lowestoft to Peterborough the journey time is around 4 hours and 45 minutes.
Since July 2014, the route has been made up of two sections. Whereas before, buses would run the entirety of the route, services now operate between Peterborough & Norwich (excel) and Norwich & Lowestoft (X1) separately, with all services in both directions terminating at Norwich Bus Station. Passengers travelling further have to change. At that time, the 'splitting' of the route was temporary, and was introduced in order to ease delays while major long term roadworks are carried out on the A47 at Postwick, east of Norwich. From February 2018, the splitting was reintroduced as a permanent measure for operational reasons.
There is a different frequency on each section of the route. In general, there is a 20-minute frequency from Monday to Saturday on the X1 between Norwich and Lowestoft and a half-hourly frequency from Monday to Saturday on the excel between Norwich and Peterborough.
The route is now mostly operated by high-specification double-decker Alexander Dennis Enviro400 buses, which were introduced in October 2013 featuring air conditioning, free WiFi and leather seats. The older Wright Eclipse Gemini-bodied Volvo B9TL vehicles which previously operated the main route are now mostly found on the X2, X11, X21, X22 and other related services.
First manage an official Twitter page for the X1 route, @First_X1, which is used to provide passengers with the latest information, news and service updates.
Accidents and incidents
In May 2009, an X1 bus travelling towards Peterborough was involved in a fatal accident in Thorney. The driver took avoiding action after a car drove into its path, causing the bus to veer off the road.
On 23 February 2017, an X1 bus crashed into a roadside ditch and overturned near Wisbech as a result of high winds, gusting up to 80mph in the area around the time of the crash, caused by Storm Doris. Eleven people were injured. A similar incident almost occurred around the same time on the Acle Straight between Great Yarmouth and Norwich, resulting in the bus having to be evacuated, and services were subsequently suspended for the day.
Other Excel-branded services
First Norfolk & Suffolk currently provide a number of Excel-branded feeder routes at the eastern end of the main X1 service, operated using the Wright Eclipse Gemini-bodied Volvo B9TLs formerly used on the core route.
The X2 operates between Norwich bus station and Lowestoft bus station, as with the X1; however, it stops more frequently and is routed via Gillingham, Beccles, Worlingham and Carlton Colville rather than via Acle and Great Yarmouth as with the X1. The X2 operates every 30 minutes from Monday to Saturday daytimes. Minor variations of the route of the X2, known as the X21 and X22, operate somewhat more infrequently to serve surrounding villages along the route of the X2, including North Cove and Whitton; the X21 three journeys in the morning peak and five in the evening peak, while the X22 runs every hour from Monday to Saturday daytimes.
The X11 operates as a variation of the X1, shadowing the route of the X1 between Norwich and Gorleston-on-Sea via Great Yarmouth, before diverging at James Paget Hospital to serve and terminate in Belton rather than continuing onwards to Lowestoft. The X11 operates every 30 minutes from Monday to Saturday daytimes.
- East Anglian service sees rising patronage | TXNews Archived 1 January 2011 at WebCite
- "First Norfolk and Suffolk news and initiatives x1 changes". firstgroup.com. First Nofolk and Suffolk. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- "First Norfolk and Suffolk current timetables x1". firstgroup.com. First Norfolk and Suffolk. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- BBC News | England | Cambridgeshire | One dead and 13 injured in crash Archived 1 January 2011 at WebCite
- "A47 crash: Two dead in bus and lorry collision". BBC News. 26 June 2018.