All aboard the buses of yes­ter­year

Sunday Sun - - News - Dave Morton david.morton.ed­i­to­rial@ncj­me­dia.co.uk

Nos­tal­gia Ed­i­tor ALL aboard for a trip down mem­ory lane...

We take them for granted - but at one time or an­other we’ve all hopped on to a bus to get from A to B.

They were even the sub­ject of an ITV com­edy series in 1970s. Re­mem­ber Stan, Jack and Blakey?

Lon­don’s bright red Routemas­ter buses are fa­mous the world over, while first-time vis­i­tors to Ty­ne­side were gen­er­ally sur­prised by the ba­nana yel­low dou­ble-deck­ers that once criss-crossed our re­gion.

For most of us, the first time we stepped aboard a bus away from the watch­ful eye of our par­ents was when the school bus or “schol­ars” pulled up. And what fun we some­times had!

But when did folk first start pur­chas­ing a ticket to ride the ear­li­est so-called ‘om­nibuses’?

The first buses, which were drawn by horses, are thought to have ap­peared in North West Eng­land in the 1820s.

By the 1880s, bus ser­vices were com­mon­place across Bri­tain, Europe and the United States.

For a time, steam-pow­ered buses trun­dled along the roads of Eng­land, but it was mainly the horse­drawn va­ri­ety that were in use un­til the early 20th cen­tury saw the ar­rival of the mo­tor bus as we might know it to­day.

Here in our re­gion, Go North East cel­e­brated its cen­te­nary in re­cent years.

It used to be called North­ern Gen­eral Trans­port Com­pany and Go-Ahead North­ern.

The first jour­ney un­der­taken by one of the com­pany’s ve­hi­cles was on May 7, 1913 - be­tween Ch­ester-leStreet, in Co Durham, and Low Fell, Gateshead. A sin­gle ticket cost 5d.

Back then, if you didn’t live near a tram stop or rail­way sta­tion, get­ting around meant horse-drawn wag­ons or walk­ing.

To­day it’s the re­gion’s largest bus com­pany, and runs more than 700 ve­hi­cles.

Mean­while Ar­riva, which has its roots in pre-war Sun­der­land, runs ser­vices right across the North East re­gion with de­pots lo­cated from Ash­ing­ton in the North to Whitby in the South.

With a fleet of more than 400 buses, it is one of the lead­ing trans­port op­er­a­tors in Europe.

En­joy our gallery of ar­chive pic­tures show­ing buses old and re­cent, dou­ble-decker and sin­gle, horse-drawn and trol­ley­pow­ered, among many oth­ers. Front: Hay­mar­ket bus sta­tion, 1968; Gateshead bus sta­tion, c1960s (both pho­to­graphs courtesy of the Arm­strong Rail­way Pho­to­graphic Trust)

A no. 66 North­ern bus to New­cas­tle, c1970s

A trol­ley bus, New­cas­tle city cen­tre, c early 1960s (Eric Wil­son)

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