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Following on from recent(ish) discussion about services in the Lobley Hill area in this post, here are some timetables from a 1966 booklet.

76-77

78-79

The terminus of these services is listed as Manors Bus Park. Worswick Street Bus Station, opened in 1930, was the usual terminus for services coming across the Tyne Bridge from Gateshead into Newcastle. I realise the rail station at Manors was probably more well-used back then and played a more important role as a transport hub for the east of the city but I never knew Manors was also used a bus terminus.

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Ok, so it’s not a bus timetable. But with the 50th anniversary of the Beeching Report approaching, I thought I would share this piece of text with you. The National Union of Railwaymen (NUR) drafted a response to Beeching’s Reshaping of British Railways. Entitled The Mis-shaping of British Railways, the four page document criticised the report for it’s failure to consider the social functionality that the railways provided for communities up and down the country, especially in rural areas. The full text of the document is quoted beneath. Enjoy Reading.

THE RESHAPING OF BRITISH RAILWAYS

Bristling with statements and figures that cannot be checked; cemented with academic argument and polished by much skilled handling, the formidable Beeching Report survived its launching with a seeming success.

But the public were not deceived. Now the document has been read and assessed they have made it quite clear that not only do they regard it with disfavour, but it is far from watertight.

Indeed, the Tory Press have measured public opinion as being FIVE-TO-ONE AGAINST.

SHAKY FOUNDATIONS

Quite apart from the misguided brief under which Dr. Beeching operated, we hold the view that there are fundamental weaknesses in the plan itself.

Its conclusions are founded on traffic studies based on a single week’s workings. This gives only a one in fifty-two chance of the figures being truly representative.

We recall that a 12-year-old schoolboy faulted some of the published information. An error of 20,000 tons weekly was found respecting a small section of line. It altered the picture completely. Who knows how many other errors went undetected?

Much of the report is based on assumptions which has been freely admitted may prove to be wrong by experience. For example, the total estimated saving is about £140 million annually, but of this sum only £40 million or less is from direct saving. The other £100 million is mere guesswork.

The whole concept of the Plan is open to question. It blames the Railways Working Account deficit on to unremunerative branch lines, stopping trains, short-haul parcel traffic, etc., but the facts do not bear this out.

All these things existed during 1947-1952 when the railways paid their way – and they were no more profitable then than they are today. The real reason for the deficit was the sharp decline in mineral traffic, i.e., coal, iron, steel, etc.

It is said that the proposed Linear Trains will be planned with the Channel Tunnel in mind. How specific are the plans for this tunnel? When will it be completed? Will it be rendered obsolete by the improved 100 m.p.h. Hovercraft? This sounds like another Common Market fiasco. Is it right that the welfare and the transport prospects of the nation should be built on half baked ideas?

THE OBVIOUS REMEDY

The Report itself admits that the Railways paid their way from 1947 to 1952. But it conveniently OMITS to mention that this was during the period of transport integration installed by the Labour Government. It worked. It paid. It proved to be an unqualified success.

There was no reason to introduce Dr. Beeching and his very highly-paid army of ex-industrial supporters. A proven remedy was at hand – and still is.

The financial rot set in ONLY AFTER the Tory Government denationalised road haulage.

DISREGARD OF SOCIAL NEEDS AND CONSEQUENCES

Implementation of the Plan will leave vast areas of the British Isles without any railways at all. These approximations give some idea:-

500 sq. Miles in N and N.W. Scotland.

3,600 sq. Miles in N.E. Scotland.

1,600 sq. Miles immediately North of Glasgow starting almost from the suburban boundaries.

3,500 sq. Miles in S. Wales.

2,100 sq miles in N. Wales.

3,100 sq. Miles in N. England.

1,00 sq miles in the County of Lincolnshire.

This rape of the railways will benefit private road hauliers and bus companies; it will enrich the petrol, oil and motor-car magnates, and it will profit the land speculators and road builders etc. They are poised for their pickings.

But it will punish the aged, the infirm and the poorer people who cannot afford to run a car.

Buses are no substitute for trains, especially in rural areas. They have no real capacity for package, parcels, livestock etc. They wind slowly from village to village, doubling time, mileage and fares. They are victims of bad weather and their capacity is strictly limited.

Closures in known areas of unemployment will throw more people on to the open labour market – and the dole. This in turn will force people into the already congested urban areas.

Dr. Beeching’s report says that if the proposals are implemented in full, then the staff, the public and industry will suffer. Minister Marples knows this but still insists on full implementation.

He maintains that the sufferings and hardships imposed on thousands of people; the disturbance of their way of life; the shattering of their plans and also the abrupt cessation traditional transport services to hundreds of towns and villages ARE ALL OF LESS CONSEQUENCE THAN A PAPER PROFIT.

The Plan is wrong in concept and intentions. It is not in the best interests of the General Public.

OPPOSE IT. SPEAK AGAINST IT. VOTE AGAINST IT. PROTEST TO YOUR LOCAL AND NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS. URGE YOUR M.P. TO TAKE POSITIVE ACTION AGAINST IT.

REMEMBER, THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE MUST PREVAIL.

Co-operative Printing Society, E.C.4-91246

I recently received a request asking about a 588 service which ran to Washington. This is the only 588 service which I can find amongst my collection:

588

As you can see, it did not run as far as Washington in 1979. By 1985 the service had disappeared completely, presumably absorbed into the 540/541 services which ran between Monkton Lane – Jarrow – Harton Hospital – Seaburn (540)/Horsley Hill (541). If anyone has more information about the 588 service, then please feel free to post a comment.

As I don’t really update this blog that much now, I would like to take the opportunity to make you aware of another site which makes these old timetables available to view. North East Buses (link: http://www.northeastbuses.co.uk ) is an enthusiast site which encourages debate about not only buses, but all forms of public transport, past and present, in the North East of England. Unlike other bus enthusiast groups/sites, this is open for anyone to view and contribute. The forum contains a section called ‘The Bygone Era’ where, upon joining, a vast array of old timetables are available to peruse and download. Check it out!!

[Message to Brandon: Please feel free to ‘steal’ anything I’ve posted here. Bus timetables (and anything else which belonged in the Public Domain), ultimately, belong to the public, not the collector!]

In all of the Tyne and Wear PTE I’ve seen up until 1985, the 234 was also known simpy as ‘Trimdon’. Operated by Trimdon Motor Services, this bus operated between Houghton-le-Spring and Stockton via Salters Lane (which included the villages of Haswell and Wingate), through the Trimdoms and Fishburn to Sedgefield and down the A177 to Stockton. In later years, this service was extended from Houghton into Sunderland and operated by United after TMS sold their business to them.

The old 231 was an epic journey between Newcastle and Hartlepool that stopped everywhere and took nigh on two hours to complete. There was a limited-stop express service that also operated between Newcastle and Hartlepool (X5), so I don’t think that this service was aimed at anyone who needed to commute between the two areas. But, as mentioned, the X5 was a limited-stop service that stopped only at ‘the timing points shown’ without any additional stops. So if you lived in a village/community that the X5 did not stop at; then you were stuck with the 231.

Both services operated a similar route between Houghton-le-Spring and Hartlepool operating via Peterlee and Blackhall Rocks. Before the routes merged so to speak, the X5 operated the exact same route as the current ‘Red Arrows’ X1 services does now via Washington, whilst the 231 operated via Chester-le-Street and Birtley. The 231 started/terminated at Worswick Street whilst the X5 operated from Eldon Square via Worswick Street although in later years both services went to Eldon Square once Worswick Street had closed down. Both services were operated jointly by United and Northern.

Here is another service that still exists albeit with a different service number. The 230 between Sunderland and Hartlepool has now been replaced by services 23/23A/23B/23C. Some of these routes still traverse the entire route whilst others terminate at Peterlee. The service is still ran jointly by Go North East and Arriva North East (or Northern and United as they were then known) which is something of an oddity these days. I’m not sure how this arrangement was handled in 1979 but in 2011 it is hugely simplified with Arriva running the day service, and GNE operating on Evening and Sundays.

The route between Sunderland and Durham is now a flagship route for Go North East’s ‘Prince Bishops’ branded 20/20X services. This route has always attracted a high frequency of bus services but once upon a time at least two buses an hour used to extend beyond Durham to Bishop Auckland.

Unlike the other Sunderland to Darlington service, this one was operated jointly by Northern and United and operated through Houghton-le-Spring, West Rainton and skirts around Durham City Centre by serving the villages to the east (Pittington, Sherburn) before going to Coxhoe, Ferryhill and Newton Aycliffe.

Wheatley Hill once had quite a few services operating into Sunderland. The ‘215’ is another example of this. This service largely operated through Wingate, Shotton Colliery then onto Peterlee and up through Easington but a small number of journeys used to operate via Castle Eden too.

Yet another bus operating between Sunderland and Middlesbrough. This one operates via Peterlee,  Wheatley Hill, The Trimdons and Sedgefield before going down the A177 into Stockton and into Middlesbrough.