September 17 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, August 7, 2014
It is an iconic vintage vehicle normally reserved for private hire and special occasions.
But nostalgic bus passengers in Ipswich will next weekend be able to take a trip back in time as the AEC Routemaster is brought into service in the town.
Officials from First Eastern Counties have announced that the vehicle will run on the First Bus 77 service from Ipswich to Felixstowe on Sunday, which will help to mark the Celebrate Ipswich Festival.
Chris Speed, business manager for First Eastern Counties, said: “We are thrilled that the Routemaster will be running on service to mark the Celebrate Ipswich festival.
“We chose the 77 service as it is one of our oldest, most established routes and it seemed fitting for our heritage vehicle.”
The company has said this will be the first time the Routemaster will run on service in Ipswich.
As well as helping to celebrate the festival, the journey will also help mark the diamond anniversary of the bus. The first Routemaster prototype was created in 1954 and officially entered service in 1956. It was withdrawn in 2005.
Initially there were more than 2,800 built, but there are fewer than half still in existence today.
Mr Speed added: “I hope as many people as possible manage to ride the Routemaster – it is usually reserved for private hire and special occasions. “Our vintage vehicles are very popular. Passengers love to travel on them and our drivers love driving them.”
It is due to leave the Old Cattle Market at 10.30am on Sunday and will arrive outside the Landguard Visitor Centre in Felixstowe at 11.25am. It is then due to leave again for Ipswich at 11.31am.
The travel operator’s modern retro-liveried bus will duplicate the journey.