Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Chester le Street

The town of Chester-le-Street is situated between Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne and until by-passed, had the A1 running through the centre. The old A1 is now the A167 and is still a busy North - South route for local traffic.
Go North East have a large depot situated close to the town centre and bus change-overs frequently take place during the day.
The batch of V registered Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL's displaced from London, travel through the town where they are used on the twenty mile long trunk route 21 between Newcastle, Gateshead and Durham, where they seem to be suited to the intensively operated 'Angel' branded service. A small number of the batch have been painted in a blue colour scheme for the X21 which, as the name would suggest, is a limited stop version of the service. It goes on, beyond Durham to Bishop Auckland, a total distance of 30 miles. There is another branch of this 'Pronto' service using the same blue liveried B7TL's which feeds in from Sunderland to Durham and thence to Bishop Auckland combining to give a 30 minute interval service between Durham and Bishop Auckland.
As well as the 21 and X21 trunk services, Chester-le-Street is a hub for many other Go North East services which terminate or pass through the town and just 30 minutes spent observing the bus scene can provide an interesting selection of bus types and liveries.

 The Angel services used to carry a pink livery but this has since been replaced by the 'Northern' red version.
The pink version is still carried by buses running on the X25 route and here we see the two versions side by side.
The pink Dennis Trident-East Lancashire Lolyne is carrying the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation advertising which
promotes this local charity. Volvo B7TL on the right, heading to Durham, is V336 LGC numbered 6036 in the Go North East fleet.
 V325 LGC one of the numerous Plaxton President B7TL's used on the 21 trunk route that travels through Chester le Street
 The B7TL's are also used on the limited stop X21 service and here we see V334 LGC approaching the main bus stop in the town centre, whilst DAF SB220 Plaxton Prestige picks up passengers on the 34 service.
 A rival to the X21 is the X2, run by Arriva who use an assortment of different saloons on their version of the limited stop service between Newcastle and Durham. The route originally ran as one service between Newcastle and Middlesbrough, but to avoid the use of tachographs it was divided into two separate services. It becomes the X1 when reaching Durham and passengers can book through for the whole journey if they so wish.

Dennis Trident East Lancs Lolyne V804 EBR pauses in the town, whilst on the X25 which runs between Langley Park and Newcastle. This pink livery was originally carried by the buses on the 21 Angel service. 

Part 2 of the Chester-le-Street posting will follow.
Look out for it on this Focus Transport Blog

David Gambles