17 April 2007

EYMS Territory

I'd been planning to visit the area of operation that East Yorkshire Motor Services (EYMS) are to be found; unsurprisingly East Yorkshire is the place, oh and the City of Hull. EYMS are the largest independant operator in the LEYTR's remit - one of only three ex NBC companies to be run as a limited company with no shareholders or listed on the Stock Exchange. For the record, Ambassador Travel of Great Yarmouth and the Welglade Group based in Derbyshire (trent barton & Kinch Bus) are the other surviving companies.

The Chairman and Chief Executive of EYMS is a chap called Peter Shipp, who is something of an enthusiast; this is always pleasing to know, though the extent to which a Chief Exec's enthusiasm for the industry when balanced with the day-to-day running of his business and the profitability of his firm is, in my personal experience, often grossly exaggerated. That said Peter Shipp regularly provides fleet information to the LEYTR for his company, signing the letters personally - he even wrote in once with a letter we published for him.

In order to maintain a balance of news in the LEYTR we've decided to include a colour centre spread of the next magazine all showing EYMS vehicles. There has been much news coverage in the mag of late specifically regarding the former RoadCar company and their new owner Stagecoach (see the last blog entry). I do feel that EYMS does get left out somewhat: we report everything given to us but south of the Humber, in Lincolnshire, Stagecoach are making sweeping changes to the RoadCar business, many for the better, and changing the face of what was the proud Lincolnshire Road Car Company Limited forever with their corporate colours, state-of-the-art new low floor vehicles (Enviro 400s for example) and the vast majority of the LEYTR membership either lives in or has lived in Lincolnshire and so has a natural interest in this country rather than East Yorkshire.

A Wright Eclipse Gemini-bodied Volvo B7TL seen in Bridlington bus station.

I drove from home to Barton-on-Humber for 0730 where I met Richard, who'd driven from Sinfin near Derby at 5am! Commitment indeed, and I drove for the rest of the day. The plan was to snap as many shots of EYMS vehicles in unusual locations. What this effectively means is "not Hull" as pretty much all photos of EYMS vehicles you see on the Web are taken in/around Hull. Because we are the LEYTR and because EYMS are loyal members of our magazine and contribute on every single occasion, we owed it to the Company to make a really good job and not to just stand on a street corner in Hull for an hour as a cop-out.

The toll to cross the Humber Bridge is now £2.70. This, whilst sounding rather expensive, has risen very marginally over the years, you'll note the toll booths are on the Yorkshire side of the river! We drove to Beverley and took a plethora of photos stood opposite the bus station there from between 0800 - 0930. Quite a few school journeys were operated, plus we managed to get some shots of Lord's Coaches of Hull, Dunn-Line and Ellie Rose. The Beverley depot is effectively a lock-up just outside the town centre, surrounded by mesh wire.

The Grimsby Dock Tower, as seen from Spurn Point, East Yorkshire, where we visited at the end of our day.

From here we drove up the A164 to Driffield where another EYMS depot is to be found, this time on the main street in the small market town. It looked a proper depot but in miniature fashion, still displaying its NBC-style "East Yorkshire" font in huge letters above the main doors. The blue sky all day was magnificent but did mean that we had sunshine for 100% of the time, which also meant we had shadows 100% of the time! Rather than all shots being great, some were absolutely amazing, others not very good at all thanks to the contrasting light.

Now to Bridlington where we spent a good hour photographing in the bus station. EYMS were one of the first companies to operate the Enterprise Plasma/Plaxton Prima midi-bus. It looks truly awful, with the emergency exit in the centre of the vehicle and absolutely no rear overhang. 3 vehicles of the half-dozen batch operate in Brid, the other 3 in Hull, so obviously the Brid ones would have been photographed far fewer times. Only 2 were in operation today (498/499) and we managed to get some great shots with the blue sky.

We then drove down the Flamborough Coast, where the North Sea is eroding the soft boulder clay coastline (I have A Level Geology, sorry!) at around 12 meters a year in some areas, to Hornsea. The depot is also the bus station here, but an amazing 2 miles outside the town centre! A cracking crescent shape outside the garage doors! Again the ex-NBC "East Yorkshire" lettering was visible on the brickwork and the enquiry office - still open - seemed unaltered from the 1960s inside! The best 8 photos of the day (pooled from those I took and Richard) will be used in the next LEYTR, all the others will be uploaded to the LEYTR website by Peter. We therefore took loads and loads, all slightly different to ensure at least some would be very usable indeed.

Now to Withernsea where there is no bus station in the town, buses pick-up from the main roads. We did manage to find the depot though, 12-14 Bannister Street, which was just round the corner from the main streets, Richard first spotting it as vine leaves covering the very familiar repeated peaked depot roof shape could be seen between the houses in front. As with Driffield this depot was a perfectly maintained and well-used miniature of what you'd consider a normal depot elsewhere.

Easington was the last place we were going to visit today. Only 4 vehicles are based here, the company losing some school runs to Veolia (Dunn-Line) based in Hull, recently. Back Street was the address and after much searching we found a fairly large yard with a small shed in the corner, capable of housing half a dozen buses. There was no evidence it was owned by EYMS but from driving round the back we found a Bristol VR (fleet number 519) with quite a few windows missing and two Transit vans, both damaged beyond repair. There was also a for sale board on the brickwork. Quite obviously with only 4 vehicles based here now, Easington was more an outstation than an individual depot now, and now the company was planning to sell the land and, presumably re-house the 4 vehicles in a much smaller place, or perhaps move them all to nearby Withernsea depot?

I also drove Richard to Spurn Point - coming from the midlands he doesn't get to see the sea very much, and despite the £3 fee to drive to the disused lighthouse at the end of the spit of land, allowed some cracking shots across the Humber to the South Bank and the Dock Tower in Grimsby. (GL)