First Norfolk & Suffolk

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First Norfolk & Suffolk
First Eastern Counties 37565 AU58ECD on X1.jpg
X1 branded Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B9TL
in August 2010
Parent FirstGroup
Founded July 1931
Headquarters Norwich
Service area Norfolk
Service type Bus services
Routes 68
Depots 5
Fleet 342

First Norfolk & Suffolk[1] is a bus operator providing services in Norfolk and Suffolk in eastern England. It is a subsidiary of FirstGroup.


Bristol Lodekkas at Cambridge depot in September 1977
Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL in Ipswich in May 2011

In July 1931 the Eastern Counties Omnibus Company[1] was formed. It was a combination of the four existing bus companies in East Anglia. Eastern Counties Road Car Company of Ipswich, Ortona Motor Company of Cambridge and Peterborough Electric Traction Company all owned by Tilling & British Automobile Traction and United Automobile Services' East Anglia services and commenced with 534 buses.[2]

Upon completion the major shareholders were United Automobile Services (43%), Tilling & British Automobile Traction (28%), London & North Eastern Railway (24%) and London Midland & Scottish Railway (3%). Also included was the Eastern Coach Works in Lowestoft. By the end of the 1930s the Eastern Counties Omnibus Company purchased another 50 operators.[2][3]

In September 1942 Tilling & British Automobile Traction was placed in administration and its Eastern Counties Omnibus Company shareholding transferred to Tilling Group. In November 1948 it was nationalised and placed under the control of the British Transport Commission and in January 1969 became part of the National Bus Company.[2]

In preparation for bus deregulation, in September 1984 the company's operations in Cambridgeshire were transferred to a separate company, Cambus Limited.[4] The company's coaching operations were also transferred to Ambassador Travel,[5] Great Yarmouth.[6]

In February 1987 the company was privatised in a management buyout. In July 1994 it was sold to the GRT Group who in June 1995 merged with Badgerline to form FirstBus.[7] In September 1996 the Great Yarmounth Transport[8] business was purchased.[6]

In April 2011 the King's Lynn based services were sold to Norfolk Green.[9][10]


As at March 2013 the fleet consisted of 258 buses.[11]


First Norfolk & Suffolk operates five depots in Great Yarmouth, Ipswich, Kings Lynn, Lowestoft and Norwich.[11]

First Norwich[edit]

First Norwich is a division of First Suffolk and Norfolk, which operates services within the city centre of Norwich and to towns and villages within about a 20 mile radius. Currently, 16 services of various frequencies are operated by the company.[12]

Colour coded bus network[edit]

On 23 September 2012, First Norwich relaunched its bus network with new colour branding for its routes.[13] Buses received exterior vinyl branding, to identify the route which they operate, with a number of vehicles allocated as spare, to be used on any route if required, receiving plain white 'Norwich Network' branding. At present, First Norwich operate the purple line, the red line, the yellow line, the pink line, the green line, the blue line, the orange line and the turquoise line.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Companies House extract company no 257815 First Eastern Counties Buses Limited formerly Eastern Counties Omnibus Company Limited
  2. ^ a b c A brief history of the Eastern Counties Omnibus Company EasterCountiesOmnibusCo
  3. ^ Operators acquired by the Eastern Counties Omnibus Company between 1932 and 1971 EasterCountiesOmnibusCo
  4. ^ Companies House extract company no 1822941 Cambus Limited
  5. ^ Companies House extract company no 1822939 Ambassador Travel (Anglia) Limited formerly Ambassador Travel (Eastern Counties) Limited
  6. ^ a b Morris, Stephen (Autumn 1996). "NBC since NBC: A history of the NBC operating subsidiaries". Buses Focus: 43–45. 
  7. ^ Helm, Martin (January 2009). An incredible journey..the First story. Granta Editions. p. 203. ISBN 978-1857570960. 
  8. ^ Companies House extract company no 2001520 Leathway Limited formerly Great Yarmouth Transport Limited
  9. ^ Norfolk Green takes over First routes King's Lynn Online15 April 2011
  10. ^ Norfolk Green grows as First retrenches 15 April 2011
  11. ^ a b FirstGroup Fleetlist Steve White
  12. ^ "First timetables - Norfolk and Suffolk". 27 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "EDP First Norwich article". 23 September 2012. 

External links[edit]