Bus Trips

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by THarris123, 17 Dec 2016.

  1. THarris123

    THarris123 Established Member

    20 Apr 2014
    Wells, Somerset
    This is a thread for details of any adventures any of us go on and want to do a ramble on what happened on the trip. It should save a few long worded posts on some of the other threads.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I meant to post this about a week or so ago...

    Last Saturday I did a rather large trip visiting 5 different depots of First.
    First of all it was onto 376 from Wells to Street with 35164 to grab a £10 day ticket. On 376 was also 35161 and 35162. Going past Wells depot, 69441, 66724, 69457 and 2 Streetdecks were in. Then changed onto 8.34 29 to Taunton with 40581. I noticed 40581 had its registration plate changed back to the YJ51 version, implying it's ready for selling soon. The driver was one of the old experienced drivers, so it was a nice old pleasant and joyful ride. The bus is fairly awful and I had a very painful backside getting off at Taunton. On the journey, I saw 69013 on 75, 40585, 40584 and 47543 on 29,77,54.

    In Taunton depot were 23014 (with a L plate), 66745, a dart and 23312.

    I then transferred onto 10.35 30 to Axminster. I was very pleased to have one of my favourite sort of buses - 33380. A very comfortable joyful journey all the way to Axminster (although the driver did question the validity of my day ticket which was a bit annoying). Only problem is it was raining and the bus ended up into Axminster quite late. Luckily I had about 5 mins in the train station to swap onto X51 with 36001 to Dorchester. A lovely Scania as always - something I did note though there was quite a bit less branding. It was another lovely ride. Single was £7. Only thing to note was 69212 heading out of Dorchester on X51 as we got in.

    After looking around Dorchester for 10 mins, I caught 10 to Weymouth. This was a very lovely B7 - 69542. A very nice comfortable ride again and I really think its a nice choice of vehicle for the route - powerful, comfortable and a really really smooth ride. Made it in Weymouth with just enough time to look around the depot - quite a lot of ALX400s sat at the front of the workshop and a few tridents sat at the back of the depot. Then onto the train to Yeovil Pen Mill - this was one of the GWR refurbished trains. A complete overhaul had been done and I really enjoyed it - the seats are brilliant and its so nice to see next stop info on them. A really good job has been done on refurbishment. Quick walk to Yeovil and look around Yeovil. 40581 then turned up on the 77 back to Wells, so after having a lovely day on so many lovely vehicles/train, I ended up with a knackered backside walking home from the bus station.

    Overall it was a lovely day out. It could have been better in terms of weather and it'll be much better when the B6s have gone and replaced by B7s. Overall £29.50 (£10 WoE plus day, £7 X51 single, £3.50 to Weymouth, £9 train single) spent out on travel, which is a little annoying, considering I expect I could have done that once upon a time on a First South West Day Ticket for £7 (plus the train fare).

    Observations on the day were:-
    29, 77 & 54 40581/4/5, 47543, 45114, 67600
    376 35161/2/4
    Wells depot 69441, 66724, 2 Streetdecks
    Taunton depot 23014, 66745, Dart, 23312
    P&R 47537/8, 55102
    21A 48273 (with OIG1796 now)
    4 44601, 55108
    28 67710, 67701
    75 69013
    Taunton bus station 40570, 67705/6, 67709 (went onto 22A), 44922, 33377, 55105
    21/A 69018, 40592, 32947, 48272, 43822
    22/A 62192, 33381
    30 33380, ALX400 Trident
    99 47540
    1 44924/44932
    3 45111/45112(?)
    X51 36001, 37583, 37586, 37585, 69212
    X53 36006, 36003
    Damory - 3828, 3762 (44) in Bridport
    10 69210, 69542, 69545, 69546
    Weymouth 2 47408, 63187, 47405
    Weymouth 4 53613
    Not in service 69211
    Depot 33057, 32887, Scania, 37583, 32031/3/6/8/46, 42953 and 63181 (?) - back panel knocked off
    Yeovil - 1 53110, bus station 50466, 58 42951, 1 2xHoppa, 58 53610
  2. iantherev

    iantherev Member

    3 Apr 2011
    Next time, if you ask for an Axminster - Weymouth ticket it will cover you for the 10 (works on X51/10 as well as X53.
  3. THarris123

    THarris123 Established Member

    20 Apr 2014
    Wells, Somerset
    A little trip into Bath and Bristol today:
    First of all 173 69438 to Norton, then swap onto 172 to Bath. Quick look around Bath - noticed 32638 on 41, meaning these 3 have probably transferred.

    Then onto X39 37770 to Temple Meads and swapped onto 70 to Muller Road. Stood at Muller Road in the rain initially looking around and then waiting for 17. Waited there 40 mins in the rain annoyingly. Took 17 to Kingswood with 37013 and then swapped onto 32282 on 19 to Victoria Park. Now sat in a pub after catching U5 with 32099. Plan is to head back on U5, then either 172/3/4.

    Noticed that 69438 has had its windows done, but nothing else, meaning either there has been a change of plan or it had issues meaning it had to go away, so had the windows done whilst away.

    Observations today:
    265 65726
    19/A 32282/47550/66993
    1 47544/7/9/5
    4 42939/902/5/15
    Parked up on Dorchester Street 42955
    3 44524, 42968,
    5 66352, 66353, 66884
    U1 33943
    179 44914
    X39 37770/62/57/37358
    41 32638
    U5 32069/99
    37 32280
    38 66355/42903
    21 39138/40

    Bris 33939
    50 33665/32941
    73 37623/37015/37340/8
    8 47437/47440
    24 47455/47461
    903 37608/9
    42 66941
    45 42901
    75/76 37588/90/8/LK53LZF/
    70/71 35115/11/04/09/39/16
    Port 33933
    46 66731
    78 66934
    Heart FM B7L 77
    36 LK53LZE
    17 37013/4/37342
    16 66332
    35 43849
    42A 32356
    43 37626
  4. d1672

    d1672 Member

    15 Jan 2011
    Hi All,

    I quite like this thread and I am posting a day trip from Cumbernauld to Stirling and Falkirk on Thursday 08/12/2016. The weather was raining off and on . The National Express Dundee was being towed into Alexanders at Falkirk. The Class 68 loco was on a Grangemouth to Aberdeen freight, I think. The buses that I travelled on are at the very end.

    FG = First Glasgow
    FSE = First Scotland East
    SES = Stagecoach East Scotland
    SWS = Stagecoach West Scotland
    NXD = National Express Dundee.



    8425 / 8436

    54117 / 54124 / 54143 /

    10511 / 10517 / 10520 /

    KU52YKC – Canavan, Kilsyth
    KU52YKE – Canavan, Kilsyth
    KU52YKY – Canavan, Kilsyth
    YE52FHN – Dunns, Riggend
    KX04HRK – Dunns, Riggend
    BX54DLY – Canavan, Kilsyth
    GW55XPX – Canavan, Kilsyth
    YX11CVT – JD Travel, Calderbank

    30940 /
    31146 / 31562 /
    36013 / 36014 / 36015 / 36021 / 36023 / 36026 /
    39303 / 39304 /
    61224 /
    63257 / 63261 / 63264 / 63265 / 63266 /
    65694 / 65702 / 65709 / 65711 / 65712 / 65719 / 65721 / 65751 / 65753 /
    67745 / 67747 / 67757 / 67758 / 67759 / 67761 / 67764 /
    69264 / 69293 / 69405 /

    54120 /

    KSK 976 – Parks, Hamilton
    LS04OSL – Mackies, Alloa
    YJ54UXD – Ferguson, Stirling
    KX06LYK – Addison, Aberfoyle
    SN06GGK – Mackies, Alloa
    FJ08FYW – Hunters Executive, Alloa
    YJ58CCV – Hunters Executive, Alloa
    YX11CUC – Mitchells, Plean
    YY15NHZ – Hunters Executive, Alloa
    YY15NJE – Hunters Executive, Alloa

    1320 – 68006

    32298 / 32919 / 32924 /
    47532 / 47533 / 47614 / 47615 / 47616 / 47617 /
    50232 / 50233 /
    53706 /
    61229 /
    63256 / 63258 / 63262 / 63268 / 63269 / 63270 / 63271 / 63274 / 63275 /
    65699 / 65708 / 65715 / 65716 / 65717 / 65718 / 65754 /
    68558 / 68566 /
    69255 / 69257 / 69258 / 69259 / 69261 / 69263 / 69280 / 69282 / 69284 / 69286 / 69287 / 69288 / 69290 / 69402 / 69405 / 69406 / 69407 / 69409 /


    Y555EMH – Horsburgh, Pumpherston
    KX04HRA – JD Travel, Calderbank

    69254 /

    54124 / SP62CJU / M9 Dundee / SES
    63264 / SN65OJO / 38 Edinburgh / FSE
    69288 / SN57JCZ / X37 Glasgow / FSE
  5. THarris123

    THarris123 Established Member

    20 Apr 2014
    Wells, Somerset
    My trip today was:
    35160 376 to Bristol
    33488 X7 to Cribbs
    66992 19 to Downend
    33802 48 to Emerson's Green
    47559 18 to Henbury
    B9 76 to Bristol
    Streetdeck to Wells

    Really nice trip around and I really enjoyed 33488 and 33802. 33802 seems to be more designed for city work, but the seating is really comfortable and it provides a really nice journey experience. 33488 was the most fun - a really powerful bus exactly right for the motorway and the route. The seats are comfortable too.

    The 18 is a long old tiring route on a Streetlite, but still interesting.
  6. Welshman

    Welshman Established Member

    11 Mar 2010
    I don't often get to travel on National Express, as there are only 2 coach services per day along the North Wales Coast - the 545 to London and 385 to Manchester.

    However, just before last Christmas, I took the opportunity to sample the 1700 NX385 service from Manchester to Rhyl. I was at Chorlton St in good time at about 1630, and was getting a little concerned when 1700 came and went with no sign of the coach. I suppose I was expecting it to start at Manchester, being the return working of the NX385 from Bangor that morning.

    Just after 1700, a Llew Jones' Caetano Levante came on to the stand, marked "NX544 Manchester" [Upon checking, I later discovered this was the 1130 non-stop from London Victoria due into Chorlton St at 1610.]

    I was surprised that after 5 minutes or so, giving passengers chance to disembark, the driver to visit the loo and board the 4 of us waiting, we departed at 1705 as the 385 to Bangor. I had been expecting a driver-change here, but the same one who brought it in took it out.

    I had a comfortable seat at the front and settled-down for the journey. Progress out of Manchester was slow, being the rush-hour, and we pulled-in to Manchester Airport about 1740, 10 minutes down. Here, five extra passengers joined us. Rejoining the M56, we drove to the M6 junction, but then went into Lymm Truck services, where it appeared the driver was expecting relief. There was no-one awaiting us, but shortly after we arrived, a relief driver turned-up, saying he had followed us in to the service area. After a change of drivers [the relieved one taking one passenger with him], the new driver took over for the ongoing journey. The fact we were 10 minutes late, and that he was late, shows how precarious these service-station changeovers can be.

    A slow journey followed via the M6 and M62 to Liverpool. The new coach station at Liverpool One seemed difficult to reach, and involved going through narrow streets, thronged with Christmas shoppers. At one stage, our driver had to drop the anchors and take avoiding action to miss an errant car-driver, who had pulled-out of a side street with less than the desired attention! He pointed-out the red light on the forward-facing camera in his cab - apparently this starts to record whenever any untoward action has been taken. He was relieved to find the light went out a few moments later!

    We lost those from Manchester Airport at Liverpool One, and departed about 20 minutes down with just the three of us on board - one lady for Birkenhead, one for Bangor and myself for Rhyl. After passing through the Birkenhead tunnel and enjoying a circuitous tour of Birkenhead to reach the stop on Europa Boulevard, we bade farewell to the one lady passenger leaving us here. The driver then announced to the two of us remaining that he didn't have to go to Ellesmere Port, as there was no custom, and that we would be having a 5-minute break at Birkenhead. He then left the coach for a smoke, and left the engine running. After five minutes, the engine cut-out, signalling it was time to go!

    As there were no takers for the North Wales coast, he avoided Flint, Prestatyn etc, by travelling directly down the Wirral and on to the A55 to North Wales, and we arrived into Rhyl from the Sainsbury's direction at 2020 - five minutes early.

    It was an interesting experience - the coach was very comfortable and the drivers friendly, but the overall time of 3hrs 15 minutes compared badly with ATW at 1 hr 40 minutes. And there is only one coach per day, compared with the hourly train service. It may do better in the holiday season, serving the caravan and camping sites between Flint and Colwyn Bay, but I got the impression that in December, it was mainly a way to return the coach for servicing at Llanrwst.
    Last edited: 10 Jan 2017
  7. Bwsbro

    Bwsbro Member

    7 Oct 2013
    Llew Jones operate three National Express Services

    Vehicles work on a two days cycle

    385: 07:30 Bangor - Manchester
    544: 13:00 Manchester - London
    090: 19:00 London - Southend On Sea

    Driver and Coach Stays in Southend Each Evening before returning as

    090: 07:35 Southend on Sea - London
    544: 11:30 London - Manchester
    385: 17:00 Manchester - Bangor
  8. Welshman

    Welshman Established Member

    11 Mar 2010
    Interesting diagrams - thank you for posting them.

    I wonder of the people of Southend ever look at the legal lettering and wonder where Llanrwst is? :D
  9. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

    18 Feb 2013
    Somerset with international travel (e.g. across th
    The service pattern has been like that for years and yes, the seasonal aspect is very pronounced. During the summer (esp on Saturdays), I used to book loads of duplicate coaches from Liverpool to Prestatyn, Rhyl and Towyn (for those holiday camps).

    The service was the 390 (now 385) and it ran through to Pwllheli - can't remember who ran the service car. Dupes were operated by local Liverpool firms but also had some North Wales firms like Caelloi and Clynnog who would tramp around the country all week and yes, would operate a 390 dupe on a Saturday to get the crew/bus back home!

    Pwllheli also had a direct service 6** service direct to what was Butlins. It ran Saturday only and we even hired double deck coaches on that from a firm on the Wirral on occasion.
    Last edited: 11 Jan 2017
  10. enrag2000

    enrag2000 Member

    16 Apr 2015
    Many years ago I had an employment application from someone who had been employed on National Express work by East Yorkshire at Pwllheli. They used to do the service from Pwllheli as far as Manchester and then do the westbound service back home. Apparently they had two drivers based there on this work.
    The application form looked strange:
    "Employer: East Yorkshire Motor Services.
    Address: Pwllheli!"
  11. Mr Manager

    Mr Manager Member

    23 Jul 2013
    Tayside Travel AKA Caledonian Express had drivers based all over the Uk At one time.
  12. Welshman

    Welshman Established Member

    11 Mar 2010
    Sounds like the coaching equivalent of Saltley BR footplate men!!

    [Remember the legend - when Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed Apollo 11 on the moon, they found Saltley men waiting to bring it home :D]
    Last edited: 15 Jan 2017
  13. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

    18 Feb 2013
    Somerset with international travel (e.g. across th
    Enjoying a break away in West Wales, I managed to get out for a day with a West Wales Day Rover in Pembrokeshire. Whilst I've enjoyed trips out in much of South Wales, Pembrokeshire was a new experience for me.

    Starting in Kilgetty, the first bus of the day was Edwards of Pontypridd. They now have a Pembrokeshire operation after the Silcox failure. One of their e200s (YX64VRV) still lettered for the old Bebb service to Beddau was working the former Silcox 361 and so we headed off, driven at speed with a very friendly driver. Only a few passengers joined the throng as we arrived at Pembroke Dock.

    Time for a coffee (with a proprietor looking rather like Damon Hill) and to enjoy the general ambience of decline in the town. Next was the 349 to Haverfordwest, one of the few commercial operations in the area, operated by First. 42881 was the machine, one of the standard allocation of 2003/5 Darts based locally. It was fairly well loaded as we made it across the Cleddau. Strangely, it contained a baffling set of internal adverts, with a raft of domestic abuse ads, cheap car sales and estate agents spin.

    After lunch, it was time for the 315 and a Puffin Shuttle Solo YJ09EXV operated by the other Edwards business (of Haverfordwest). The plan was to head out to Dale but we bailed out at Milford Haven. Instead, we caught another small Solo in First 53711, a Pembrokeshire CC machine that worked for Silcox, passing to First alongside the 356 to Pembroke. It was a really nice run out alongside the Cleddau and through some very narrow sections. Quite a few sharp climbs as we made the way through Neyland and then around every street in Pembroke Dock including the new loop by the station.

    Arriving at Pembroke, time for coffee and cake. Then time to kill so a wander around the castle walls and along the mill pond. That did enough to waste time before another standard Dart arrived for the 349 to Tenby in 42861. The 349 serves a lovely part of the world as we headed on increasingly small roads towards Manorbier, served by a loop where we passed a returning 349. Again, it was reasonably well patronised run and you can understand why this is commercial though not strong enough to sustain particularly modern fleet though the Dart was well kept without barely a rattle.

    We arrived in Tenby and having more time to kill and being bored with coffee, I headed off for a pint. That did the trick. Just enough to waste time before a choice of three different services to Kilgetty but the best one was the 381. This was another former Silcox service, showing the gap that PCC had to fill when they went bust. Yet another ageing but decent Dart in 42879 arrived. We left with one other passenger, and only grabbed another couple in Saundersfoot; by the time Kilgetty was reached, the Dart was empty.

    Have to admit that the multi operator ticket (for £7.50) was great value and the network of services whilst a bit sparse in parts, was decent enough in this straitened times.
  14. Strathclyder

    Strathclyder Established Member

    12 Jun 2013
    *Geek-hat on*

    42881 (SF05 KXC) was one of a batch of 12 Pointer Darts new to First Glasgow in 2005. The first 8 of the batch (42877 - 42884) now reside at First Cymru's Haverfordwest depot, the last 4 (42885 - 42888) remaining with First Glasgow (at Overtown depot, to be precise).

    *Geek-hat off* lol
  15. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

    18 Feb 2013
    Somerset with international travel (e.g. across th
    Enjoyed 42879 today as well - very decent machine and climbed well out of Saundersfoot for a 12 year old machine
  16. Strathclyder

    Strathclyder Established Member

    12 Jun 2013
    Indeed. Darts are a hardy, versatile breed. Of course, some are worse than others, but you expect that for any bus type, Darts included.
    Last edited: 17 Feb 2017
  17. THarris123

    THarris123 Established Member

    20 Apr 2014
    Wells, Somerset
    The Harris Great Grand Tour of England

    Gather around ladies and gents, it's that time of year again when Mr Harris announces his plans for an annual holiday.

    2014 it was Snowdonia, Isle of Man and Isle of Wight. 2015 it was Cornwall and then Scotland. 2016 it was the Lake District. So this year where is it?

    Well its a bit of everything this year. A tour of England over two weeks in June.

    We start off on Monday 12th June 2017 from Wells at 8 'o' clock. Here we board 29 to Taunton. We then transfer at Taunton onto 30 to Axminster. After half an hour break in Axminster we swap onto X53 to Weymouth. A late lunch/early dinner in Weymouth and then onto X54 to Poole at 5pm. After arriving in Poole about half 6, we wait an hour (or less depending on weather, etc) and then board an R1 from Poole to Bournemouth. The night is then spent in Bournemouth.

    After waking up fairly early we board the 8.35 X1 to Lymington and transfer onto the 6 from Lymington to Southampton. A few hours in Southampton roaming around and we then catch an X4 to Portsmouth. We then spend the night in Portsmouth. On the Wednesday we then play trains and head straight into London Waterloo on the 10.20 train, wonder around London for a couple of hours getting lost and then end up on the 14.09 train from Stratford to Chelmsford. We end the day in Colchester after heading out on the 71 from Chelmsford just after 4.

    Thursday begins with playing trains. First of all Colchester to Ipswich at 9.47, then quick swap from Ipswich to Halesworth. From here, its bus time. We catch 88A to Southwold at 11.18, then the 99 from Southwold to Lowestoft at 12.05. A quick trip to the transport museum is then in order as we board X22 at 14.10. After a couple of hours, we then head out North West to Norwich on X22, where we end the day.

    Friday 16th June and we start with buses, namely the X1. We head out on the 10.30 X1 to Kings Lynn and then swap onto X1 from Kings Lynn at 12.45 to Peterborough. Train time again and we board the 14.52 train from Peterborough to Leicester, where we finish the day. Saturday brings more fun and a whole day spent on the trains. First of all on the 10.01 from Leicester to Derby, then onto 10.42 from Derby to Stoke on Trent. We spend a few hours in Stoke and then board the train once again to head to Manchester at 14.20. The afternoon and then Sunday are spent in Manchester, exploring all the sights it has to offer.

    Then we move onto Monday 19th and its time to head to Yorkshire. The whole day is spent solely on the bus. We begin with 184 from Manchester to Huddersfield at 10.28. Lunch at Huddersfield and then onto the X63 to Bradford. At Bradford we swap onto 72 at 16.19 to Leeds and then onto Cityzap to York where we finish the travelling at 18.42.

    For the lovers of steam, the next day brings a lot of excitement. We board the Dalesman train on Tuesday 20th June at 8.34, arriving at Carlisle for just after 2 and then returning at half 4, ending up in York at 10pm.

    The next couple of days (Wednesday and Thursday) are then time for a break from travel, where we explore Yorkshire. Finally we then return to the West on Friday 23rd, where we board the 11.45 train from York to Bristol and then I will be heading back to Wells on 16.22 376 from Bristol.

    All in all, the plan is to have a fun, exciting and relaxing time away, enjoying the various types of public transport and enjoying as much of the British landscape and countryside as possible.

    Of course all of this is very subject to change, but the basic plan is there in place. Each destination at the end of the day will not change, whatever happens on the way from point a to b.

    I would highly appreciate if anyone was to join me from the enthusiast world. Obviously you have to be as mad as me (and have enough money and holiday leave) to do the whole two weeks, so if anyone at all wants to join me on any leg of the journey, then please don't hesitate to contact me. It would be great to have a few people join in. I really can't wait for this trip.
  18. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

    18 Feb 2013
    Somerset with international travel (e.g. across th
    Thought I’d share a bit of a day out in the delights of North East England; not just a list of bus numbers but a few observations on the operations and the area.

    I started the day in the historic town of Richmond with the first bus to Darlington. Back in the day, Richmond had its own depot but that closed over 10 years ago. The network of country services have been given up, much reduced with tender cuts, so that the main X26/27 route is now Arriva’s only presence. At various times, the route has had new vehicles (Vectas and Solos) and old tat (VRs and Metroriders). It has now been upgraded to MAX standard with some 12 year old Omnicities that are decent if a little creaky; 4650 was the offering as we headed off with a reasonable load through the new road layout associated with the widening of the A1.

    At Darlington, time for a little wander around the time and acquaint myself with the town; a place where the bus stops seem to change on a regular basis. Since the last time I travelled, the X66 has been increased from 20 min to 15 min frequency, though half now take another route as the X67, and so I got another Omnicity (4655) to Stockton. Again, a decent run and a healthy load picked up though over half were ENCTS. This is a route that has grown and grown over recent years, some villages being bypassed to assist the main flows.

    Stockton is a town that has really suffered in recent years; it is part of the UK’s rust belt and the feel of the town seems less vibrant than it used to. Many services away from the core town corridors have been pared back. I decided to go for some suburban exploration, grabbing 1487 one of the many, many Arriva North East Wright Pulsars that form the backbone of the fleet and headed to Ingleby Barwick. A quick change onto the 17 and heading back towards Middlesbrough on the only really venerable vehicle I experienced in a W reg Daf Cadet (1920); these two routes cover a former Kickstart route X6 that failed to take hold (though anaemic marketing was a factor). Talking of which, the branding that was so strong on the MAX vehicles had been replaced by Frequenta, not bad but not brilliant on the Pulsar but the Cadet was a standard Arriva livery, bruised and battered with a selection of NHS and local government adverts plus one for holidaying in Skegness; why not just advertise your own wares??
    A change at The Coronation at Acklam allowed a move onto Stagecoach with one of their many e300s (24105) that work in Middlesbrough. This took me to 1970s overspill settlement of Coulby Newham on the southern edge of Middlesbrough. I just missed a possible next bus so a short wait for the next one to Middlesbrough via Marton with MAN/ALX 22061, perhaps in better shape than the similar aged Omnicities but less luxurious. That took me into Middlesbrough bus station; now 35 years old, this bus station is still exceptional in its design and is a superb place to wait for a bus. I had chance for a wander and whilst Middlesbrough is in better shape than Stockton, the seemingly endless number of pound shops and pawn brokers indicates the financial health of the town and it isn’t great. I jumped on a Go North East B9 (6084) and made the short trip back to Stockton on the Tees Tyne Express.

    I’d decided to head back into central Durham and back to Arriva with a trip on the X12 and a MAX spec Pulsar 1442. This seemed to struggle a bit on the open road; then it came to me. The Pulsar is a vehicle that’s full length, a bit lightweight but not like a Dart. In that way, it’s a bit like a Leyland National to ride on. I headed out through the ripening oil seed fields and into Sedgefield, the former constituency of Tony Blair and former home to TWO United depots, one of which is still standing. Time was against me so I decided to alter my plans, not heading to Durham but getting off in the village of Coxhoe, jumping on another Pulsar in 1477 for the 56. This took me through a number of former pit villages that lost their mines in the 1960s and have recovered but only to an extent. I arrived late into Ferryhill, a formerly fairly busy pit town that seems very quiet these days.

    Having had a bit of MAX action, I upgraded to Sapphire and headed for Darlington. The 7 from Durham to Darlington was one of the first Sapphire routes and such has been its success, some duties have been upgraded to decker operation. However, I got another Pulsar in 1523. This featured the original 2+1 seating and so was quiet full; you can understand why the experiment wasn’t perpetuated. I had a cunning plan on reaching the edge of Darlington and so decamped at Harrowgate Hill only to discover that road works had curtailed the 3A local service so it doesn’t serve that point at the moment. Instead, I just got the next bus into town and so another Pulsar (getting bored – 1508 – as it’s very much a standard vehicle).

    My aim was to head towards the football ground as I was off to watch the game. In the town centre, I was therefore able to get the 3A eventually to take me to the southern edge of town. Optare Solos are the main workhorses on Arriva’s Darlington network and 2836 duly arrived to take me towards the large council estate at Skerne Park. I bailed out early, allowing me to walk to the ground where I enjoyed the football in the sun.

    After a 3-2 win, I strode confidently out and decided to get the 12 into town. This should have been one of the MAN ecocity gas buses but sadly, another Pulsar arrived. They are like Nationals; almost ubiquitous. 1509 took me into the town centre along with plenty of other fans.

    My final trip back to Richmond was on a tendered service, the longstanding 29. This is a fantastic rural service especially on a sunny April afternoon. We headed through places like Eppleby with the village green having a sea of daffodils and then past Stanwick where the earthworks of the Bronze Age settlement spread for miles. Sadly, the vehicle was a Proctors ex Leven Valley e200 with urban 90 seats which slightly offset the pleasure of the countryside. There were a few passengers on board and more than I’d expected. Certainly the £5.10 to travel the 12 miles to Richmond hadn’t put them off! Nonetheless, we squeaked and rattled through to Richmond, chauffeured by a Polish driver who seemed to be a Lech Walesa tribute act wearing a distinctly Eastern European tache and leather waistcoat.

    A decent day all in all and my team won too!
  19. rg177

    rg177 Established Member

    22 Dec 2013
    Sounds like a good day out.

    A good few years ago, I had a good run on the 29 when it was Arriva operated (it was an ALX200 baby dart or something I think) and it was a nice run.

    I can also recommend the 88 from Barnard Castle to Bishop Auckland if it still runs. I had it to myself and I still have footage of the driver absolutely hammering it the whole way!

    Sent from my SM-A310F using Tapatalk
  20. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

    18 Feb 2013
    Somerset with international travel (e.g. across th
    The 88 is only a schools run. Did it the once with a Arriva MPD - cracking run. The 83 covers part of it from Barney to Cockfield.

    The North East has some fantastic cross country services.

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