Tag Archive: Northern


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!]

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.

Once upon a time, there were various ferry crossings on the River Tyne that allowed people to cross from one side to the other. Today all that remains is the Shields Ferry but in 1979 there were still two crossings in operation. The Mid-Tyne Ferry ran between Hebburn and Walker/Wallsend. The ferry is also a setting in the 1971 film ‘Get Carter’, in a scene where Jack Carter (Michael Caine) disposes of several adversaries by a way of a loaded shotgun. More information about the various river crossings (including the Mid-Tyne& Shields Ferries)can be found at this excellent resource Bridges on the Tyne, I suggest that you all check it out.

The ‘585’ was a bus that ran ‘in the dark’ so to speak replacing the Shields Ferry on early morning/late night journeys. It was also used as a ‘Ferry Replacement’ bus service although I don’t know if that ever happened. The ‘585’ is still operational today with Kingsley Coaches, who have just recently won the contract to run it.

As a special bonus. Here’s footage from the film ‘Get Carter’ featuring the Mid-Tyne Ferry and the Wallsend Landing. It also contains in-depth analysis of the the scenes used. Some might like it, some might not. Comment on it if you wish!!

As with the 310, this is another long-missed ‘cross-tyne’ service. However, this service did not always to go Sunderland as it did in later years. This service originally went to Lukes Lane Estate in Hebburn which a short service shuttle operating between Jarrow and Lukes Lane only to maintain a regular half-hour link. One bus an hour extended to Cramlington and was jointly operated by United and Northern.

Two routes that complement the more recognized services of the 310/319. The 311 was a works service that ran one journey in each direction ferrying workers across the Tyne from Jarrow to Hadrian Road in the morning with a return journey operated in the evening. The 318 is a bit more interesting as it operates from Jarrow to Cullercoats, Monday to Saturday, maintaining an a all-day service.

A classic ‘cross-tyne’ service here and one that is sorely missed by certain bus enthusiasts. This 309/310 is vastly different to the one that is operational now. The fact that the ‘310’ runs into Newcastle instead of Sunderland now still seems strange to me. The ‘309’, to me, has always been a Newcastle – Blyth (or Whitley Bay) service even before its current incarnation.

The last example of the Newcastle/Gateshead inter-urban services. The 66/67 ran between Benton Estate into Newcastle, across to Gateshead, then operated the Dunston Loop. The Dunston Loop or Circular has had a few different numbered services operating it. After the 66/67, it was the 58/59, then the 67/68, and finally the 64/65 (with an added 164/165 variation of it) before being absorbed into services that operated in the West of Gateshead. I believe that nowadays it has been amalgamated into the 49/49A/49B/49C set of services as well as the 95/95A.