The future of rallies in the North East

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I may be stating the obvious (and I do understand it isn't an easy one to fix at all), but regardless of any of the valid comments regarding attitudes and organisation - is seeing the same vehicles over and over, not an issue?

Thousands of pounds have been spent and many hours have been dedicated to the cause, but there are only so many vehicles in the region that have been restored and those same vehicles are attending the rallies up and down the north east.

You can produce loads of glossy guides, have exciting new venues and an open attitude from organisers - but apart from the odd example and until another vehicle is seen in public for the first time, we are seeing the same stuff over and over.
Eventually (despite all the effort and money spent by various groups and individuals), are people going to tire of seeing the same vehicle?

As an example, I love the stuff that was floating around in service in the 70's and 80's. The vehicles I had a connection with as a kid.
I have seen them out on the road, I have seen them at events and seen them on YouTube. I have admired the detail and the time & money spent on them. I get the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end, when the engine starts and I look at the liveries from times gone.
It might just be me, but I don't want to go to a car park in Durham, and a field at Seaburn and a another car park at the MetroCentre time after time, just to see them again.
It may be a bad comparison, but no matter how much you admire a film, there is only so many times you can watch it before the novelty wears off.

Of course there will be new enthusiasts and there will be people who haven't seen these vehicles at all or since restration and ultimately, these are the people organisers want to attract.
Whether they come time and time again, is the question that needs answering.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(23 Jun 2016, 5:42 pm)MurdnunoC Wrote: Aside from Howlands (and quite possibly the Transporter Bridge), I don't think the sites are necessarily the problem and there is some merit to having the same annual events scheduled as regular visitors know where it is; when it's on; and how to to get there. The problem, and it's something you and others have touched upon, is the format, organisation and promotion of the events themselves. That, in my view, is the fundamental thing which must change otherwise it doesn't matter where the event is held or how publicly accessible it is, if the event doesn't appeal to the wider public or if it's not properly promoted, attendances will continue dwindle.

Whereas there is often nothing 'wrong' with some of the sites currently used, or indeed the events themselves, I see an opportunity to do something bigger and better. Sites such as South Shields and Whitley Bay are already capped from growth due to the site's small size. Although an access road has since been installed; any site which involves grass parking is vulnerable to the weather. 

Where you rightly say the established events have regular visitors, I would suggest these people are those already in 'the loop' of the bus scene and would be aware of any new event. While I appreciate the excellent work of the NEBPT, their social engagement is lacking. Below is the facebook promotion of the Howlands event:
   

It appears the it engaged a grand total of 8 people. 

It wouldn't take much to create a full event page for this, share it amongst similar pages and get the engagement up into the hundreds. If anybody from the trust is reading, please don't be offended, this is not my intention. Social media isn't always as easy to get right as I'm making out, but putting the right person in charge there will pay dividends ten times over. The businesses I man the social media for include one with 12,600 'likes' and one just set up a fortnight ago which has amassed 4,000 'likes' already - having used printed and radio advertisement in the past it's my opinion the facebook is at least twice as effective and half the cost.
(23 Jun 2016, 6:57 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: I may be stating the obvious (and I do understand it isn't an easy one to fix at all), but regardless of any of the valid comments regarding attitudes and organisation - is seeing the same vehicles over and over, not an issue?

Thousands of pounds have been spent and many hours have been dedicated to the cause, but there are only so many vehicles in the region that have been restored and those same vehicles are attending the rallies up and down the north east.

You can produce loads of glossy guides, have exciting new venues and an open attitude from organisers - but apart from the odd example and until another vehicle is seen in public for the first time, we are seeing the same stuff over and over.
Eventually (despite all the effort and money spent by various groups and individuals), are people going to tire of seeing the same vehicle?

As an example, I love the stuff that was floating around in service in the 70's and 80's. The vehicles I had a connection with as a kid.
I have seen them out on the road, I have seen them at events and seen them on YouTube. I have admired the detail and the time & money spent on them. I get the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end, when the engine starts and I look at the liveries from times gone.
It might just be me, but I don't want to go to a car park in Durham, and a field at Seaburn and a another car park at the MetroCentre time after time, just to see them again.
It may be a bad comparison, but no matter how much you admire a film, there is only so many times you can watch it before the novelty wears off.

Of course there will be new enthusiasts and there will be people who haven't seen these vehicles at all or since restration and ultimately, these are the people organisers want to attract.
Whether they come time and time again, is the question that needs answering.

You're right and, arguably, it is probably the elephant in the room and certainly something no preservationist wants to hear. Another point to make is that it always seems to be the same preservationists which put their vehicles forward for shuttle runs - perhaps some forward planning in terms of the NEBPT (or whomever) negotiating at the beginning of the season which vehicles are to be used at each event may offer a little bit of variety for those attending. That way, visitors know what to expect and the event could be promoted on the strength of shuttle-runs and allow the suggestion of wristbands (or even pre-booking) to be implemented.
(23 Jun 2016, 6:57 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: I may be stating the obvious (and I do understand it isn't an easy one to fix at all), but regardless of any of the valid comments regarding attitudes and organisation - is seeing the same vehicles over and over, not an issue?

Thousands of pounds have been spent and many hours have been dedicated to the cause, but there are only so many vehicles in the region that have been restored and those same vehicles are attending the rallies up and down the north east.

You can produce loads of glossy guides, have exciting new venues and an open attitude from organisers - but apart from the odd example and until another vehicle is seen in public for the first time, we are seeing the same stuff over and over.
Eventually (despite all the effort and money spent by various groups and individuals), are people going to tire of seeing the same vehicle?

As an example, I love the stuff that was floating around in service in the 70's and 80's. The vehicles I had a connection with as a kid.
I have seen them out on the road, I have seen them at events and seen them on YouTube. I have admired the detail and the time & money spent on them. I get the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end, when the engine starts and I look at the liveries from times gone.
It might just be me, but I don't want to go to a car park in Durham, and a field at Seaburn and a another car park at the MetroCentre time after time, just to see them again.
It may be a bad comparison, but no matter how much you admire a film, there is only so many times you can watch it before the novelty wears off.

Of course there will be new enthusiasts and there will be people who haven't seen these vehicles at all or since restration and ultimately, these are the people organisers want to attract.
Whether they come time and time again, is the question that needs answering.

Sadly, I personally kind of feel this way. We now have four rallies organised in association by the same group plus the 500 Group's Teesside Running Day and Aycliffe and District Preservation Society's event at Shildon Locomotion, all of which are only separated by a matter of weeks and a number of buses will attend a number of these events, I am starting to slightly bored of the same stuff at each event, so far the 500 Group's event was my favourite as there was a few different things I hadn't seen before including a Black Prince liveried Mercedes/Optare Prisma and even seeing Stagecarriage's OmniDekka that day made me happy as I required a photo of it, same story with Sunday when Stagecarriage brought their recently acquired Enviro 300. I feel seeing the same buses, some of which may appear at all six events can become a bit tiresome if there is nothing different there to add to the variety. Some way how they can still be successful is attracting families and children to go along to an event and those who aren't enthusiast's are only likely to go to the ones local to them. Mind saying all this, some people won't be the same, some even get excited just seeing the Arriva and Go North East stuff at these events even though they are in daily passenger service, in some cases on their local routes that they use.

I will be honest, part of the reason I still tend to go to rallies around the North East is that it can be an opportunity to catch up with or even meet new people.

I will make an appearance at Seaburn again this year, I'll probably pop up at Shildon with it being local to me but I am uncertain on whether I'll make an appearance at Whitley Bay or not simply as I was left slightly unimpressed after travelling all the way to Newton Aycliffe and the shuttles were two preserved buses that I had been bombarded to death with already over the rally season last year and the other two being Go North East service buses, one of them being a TTX Gemini which I had planned to catch one from Newcastle to Peterlee to return home and of course there wasn't really anything different to what had attended at all the other events that had already been held.
(23 Jun 2016, 6:57 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: I may be stating the obvious (and I do understand it isn't an easy one to fix at all), but regardless of any of the valid comments regarding attitudes and organisation - is seeing the same vehicles over and over, not an issue?

Thousands of pounds have been spent and many hours have been dedicated to the cause, but there are only so many vehicles in the region that have been restored and those same vehicles are attending the rallies up and down the north east.

You can produce loads of glossy guides, have exciting new venues and an open attitude from organisers - but apart from the odd example and until another vehicle is seen in public for the first time, we are seeing the same stuff over and over.
Eventually (despite all the effort and money spent by various groups and individuals), are people going to tire of seeing the same vehicle?

As an example, I love the stuff that was floating around in service in the 70's and 80's. The vehicles I had a connection with as a kid.
I have seen them out on the road, I have seen them at events and seen them on YouTube. I have admired the detail and the time & money spent on them. I get the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end, when the engine starts and I look at the liveries from times gone.
It might just be me, but I don't want to go to a car park in Durham, and a field at Seaburn and a another car park at the MetroCentre time after time, just to see them again.
It may be a bad comparison, but no matter how much you admire a film, there is only so many times you can watch it before the novelty wears off.

Of course there will be new enthusiasts and there will be people who haven't seen these vehicles at all or since restration and ultimately, these are the people organisers want to attract.
Whether they come time and time again, is the question that needs answering.
I think that enthusiasts tend to be divided those who love to see their favourite preserved vehicles over and over, a bit like a favourite aunt, and those who wish for more novelty and variety.

The non-enthusiast general public, though, will most likely attend their own most local meetings, so Gatesiders go to the Metrocentre, North Tynesiders (and people who happen to have gone to the seaside for the day) to Whitley bay and so on. If the rallies are well promoted, then there should be plenty of new human faces at each event, so most people visiting wouldn't be seeing the same vehicles over and over.
Some more very good points. I'll try and cover a few of them.

So from my personal view, what attracts me to a rally is the hope of seeing a variety in vehicles along with vehicles I've not had the opportunity to photograph before. This in my opinion doesn't happen, but I won't suggest that this is down to preservationists, but I'll instead reiterate my comments about poor organisation and attitudes.

Andreos, I take your point about glossy guides etc, but I really don't think that people are expecting that. Even a small A5 booklet with the info, timetables, and a bit of promotion for the trust, would be a start. I'd also respectively point out that there's preserved vehicles all over the country. Not just in the North East. The Metrocentre attracts the odd guest, but why aren't more coming across? Do they even know our rallies exist, or would they be able to contact the organisers for a exhibitors pack? I'd suggest not. 

We're lucky to have some fantastic preservationists in the North East, and they work ridiculously hard throughout the winter, in their own time and with own resources. The end result is we see a lot of North East preserved buses. It's these preservationists that keep these events running in my opinion. However, I do get the opinion that they turn up to the rallies, and are just left to get on with it. There's no real allocation as to how and where vehicles should be parked, or indeed where they need to come in, in the case of Howlands. Whilst I do feel that enthusiasts could perhaps be a bit more generous in donations if affordable to them, I do feel that the event organisers need to be a bit more respectful to those that have went to the effort to attend the event. 

Social Media could be such a valuable tool, if used correctly. The posts generally don't give any useful information or not even a link to a website for further information. The first Howlands post went out the day before, and the second was at the event. Why not use boosted or sponsored posts? It'll cost, but in turn, it will perhaps increase footfall. Target people who like pages of other rallies etc. On a side note, this website has started using its own social media pages to promote events in advance, and it's generally a lot more than he organisers put out. We also created the event forums last year. But there's been limited willingness to engage with us, and make use of the userbase NEB has. A shame really.

I want to use Tyneside Heritage Vehicles (THV) as an example here. Although they don't organise events, just look for yourself how fresh their website and social media pages look. They really engage with their followers, and they've put a massive amount of information on their website. More of this from elsewhere would be most welcome.
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An observation. Discuss.

   

Until you get rid of this mentality, events up here are never going to progress both into something bigger and with the times. Whether some people like it or not, a lot of the younger enthusiasts go to these events to see Go North East and Arriva buses, as it's their only real chance to 'explore' them, due to their age.

I really hope that no one from Go North East or Arriva looks at this kind of comment, and takes the same mentality as the poster highlighted on my screenshot. 

The "I'm taking my ball back and going home" attitude is best left in the playground, and people should start acting their age.
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(17 Jul 2016, 7:55 pm)Adrian Wrote: An observation. Discuss.



Until you get rid of this mentality, events up here are never going to progress both into something bigger and with the times. Whether some people like it or not, a lot of the younger enthusiasts go to these events to see Go North East and Arriva buses, as it's their only real chance to 'explore' them, due to their age.

I really hope that no one from Go North East or Arriva looks at this kind of comment, and takes the same mentality as the poster highlighted on my screenshot. 

The "I'm taking my ball back and going home" attitude is best left in the playground, and people should start acting their age.

Vehicle technology may have moved on, but it seems the same can't be said for some enthusiasts.
(17 Jul 2016, 7:55 pm)Adrian Wrote: An observation. Discuss.



Until you get rid of this mentality, events up here are never going to progress both into something bigger and with the times. Whether some people like it or not, a lot of the younger enthusiasts go to these events to see Go North East and Arriva buses, as it's their only real chance to 'explore' them, due to their age.

I really hope that no one from Go North East or Arriva looks at this kind of comment, and takes the same mentality as the poster highlighted on my screenshot. 

The "I'm taking my ball back and going home" attitude is best left in the playground, and people should start acting their age.

Reason why i stay away these days, can't be arsed with people like that, why does it matter if GNE brought some of their buses..... least they turned up.
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I'd rather bus rallies be 'swamped' with new vehicles than enthusiasts with that sort of attitude.
(17 Jul 2016, 7:55 pm)Adrian Wrote: An observation. Discuss.



Until you get rid of this mentality, events up here are never going to progress both into something bigger and with the times. Whether some people like it or not, a lot of the younger enthusiasts go to these events to see Go North East and Arriva buses, as it's their only real chance to 'explore' them, due to their age.

I really hope that no one from Go North East or Arriva looks at this kind of comment, and takes the same mentality as the poster highlighted on my screenshot. 

The "I'm taking my ball back and going home" attitude is best left in the playground, and people should start acting their age.

How are the younger generations going to be inspired to enter the scene when they aren't catered for at these events? Does somebody who is 5 want to be looking at only things 50 years older than them? Variety in age is key at the end of the day.

I don't care whatsoever for The Eden. The sun doesn't shine out of it. Would rather see a lineup of more modern vehicles.
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I think having vehicles that are a variety of ages is a good thing. Mainly because it allows people to see how times have changed with the development of new technology etc.

Infact, had I been able to go to the Metrocentre rally, one of my main intentions would have been to have a look on a Streetdeck (which is something I was able to do at the Riverside Family Fun Day) rather than focus on the older vehicles.
Very old vehicles ( Over 30 years ago ) don't interest me, Hence why I'm never around them at rallies.
Though I do have a fond interest in 1980s and 90s buses, Mostly because that was the norm around my area when I was little ( Born 2002 )

Like others have said above, It needs to varied for different ages, Little children will only like the buses they see everyday.
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(17 Jul 2016, 7:55 pm)Adrian Wrote: An observation. Discuss.



Until you get rid of this mentality, events up here are never going to progress both into something bigger and with the times. Whether some people like it or not, a lot of the younger enthusiasts go to these events to see Go North East and Arriva buses, as it's their only real chance to 'explore' them, due to their age.

I really hope that no one from Go North East or Arriva looks at this kind of comment, and takes the same mentality as the poster highlighted on my screenshot. 

The "I'm taking my ball back and going home" attitude is best left in the playground, and people should start acting their age.

What was the rally marketed as? A classic rally or a bus rally?
I know what I like to see at a rally and (without condoning or agreeing with what has been said) it seems Mr Scarlett likes a certain type of vehicle too.
Some don't and prefer to see modern stuff.

I do think the big operators sending their vehicles along to events like this could be seen as a cheap PR exercise - in addition to any good they bring to the rally or restoration scene.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(17 Jul 2016, 8:41 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: What was the rally marketed as? A classic rally or a bus rally?

"Whitley Bay Bus Rally" - no mention of 'classic' or 'vintage' in this one.
(17 Jul 2016, 8:41 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: What was the rally marketed as? A classic rally or a bus rally?
I know what I like to see at a rally and (without condoning or agreeing with what has been said) it seems Mr Scarlett likes a certain type of vehicle too.
Some don't and prefer to see modern stuff.

I do think the big operators sending their vehicles along to events like this could be seen as a cheap PR exercise - in addition to any good they bring to the rally or restoration scene.

Metrocentre is listed as a 'Bus and Coach show', Durham is listed as a 'Vintage Bus Gathering', Whitley Bay as a 'Bus Rally', and Seaburn as a 'Historic Vehicle Display'.

I don't think either GNE or Arriva look at the rallies in that respect, as as far as I can see, it's enthusiasts who arrange and prepare the bues to take to the events. It doesn't appear that there's any marketing drive from either, otherwise there'd be goodies given out, company reps there, and stuff such as leaflets and timetables (Arriva do the latter already!)
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In some ways I can understand Greame's frustration as obviously it isn't cheap keeping preserved buses on the road and getting money to keep these going has to come from somewhere, apparently there was a lacking of donations when he took the Leopard to the 500 Group Running Day earlier in the year. For these reasons it may be a bit infuriating that some people are more interested in the modern stuff that is in daily passenger service and can be seen in service on a daily basis, if no-one shows any interest towards the stuff in preservation, we could lose these buses which would be a shame. At the same time, I don't think making statements like this is going to help matters as some people could see this and decide not to attend these events, meaning less people will see and ride vehicles of all ages. I think it is good that Arriva, Go North East and the independent operators attend these events as it helps to add a little more to the variety at these events (in my opinion) and from my observations at the Whitley Bay rally today, the Go North East stuff was where most of the interest was. I think there is a serious lacking of variety at these events in the North East now, it's bad when the only point I was really surprised at any point today was when I saw Go North East's Tynedale Links MPD 556 come back on a shuttle from Stephenson Railway Museum. I think the problem is not the modern buses being there, it's the fact that we are being subjected to the same preserved stuff at each rally in the region, the novelty of riding the same buses sharp loses it's fun and sure enough this was the case today whilst I was there today, 500 Group's H106 was one of the shuttles whilst I was there, I had it at most of the rallies last year and I've had it at all the rallies this year, I want to ride something else and that something else was the United Leyland Olympian which like it seemed to be the case at the MetroCentre Rally earlier in the year was a static display but I'm sure I've seen it do shuttles at other rallies this year, so why not ours in the North East, I think to keep the interest in the preserved stuff we need to get more buses visiting from other parts of the country, one of the most popular attendees at the 500 Group's Running Day was the former Black Prince Mercedes Benz O405/Opatre Prisma - N577 EUG which was a vehicle type previously a regular sight in Middlesbrough and people were pleased to get to sample one of these again, whoever was behind getting that to appear at the Teesside Running Day, thanks, it has to be my highlight of the year at the North East rallies in 2016.
(17 Jul 2016, 8:53 pm)Adrian Wrote: Metrocentre is listed as a 'Bus and Coach show', Durham is listed as a 'Vintage Bus Gathering', Whitley Bay as a 'Bus Rally', and Seaburn as a 'Historic Vehicle Display'.

I don't think either GNE or Arriva look at the rallies in that respect, as as far as I can see, it's enthusiasts who arrange and prepare the bues to take to the events. It doesn't appear that there's any marketing drive from either, otherwise there'd be goodies given out, company reps there, and stuff such as leaflets and timetables (Arriva do the latter already!)


That's why I said cheap. Mobile advertisements using a few quid in fuel - if they get people noticing a vehicle that goes through an area they travel in a car, but are impressed with the bus...
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(04 Aug 2016, 2:09 pm)Tom Wrote: Well there's no chance of me going then...!

Tom, to be fair, you never bother going to them anyway.  Dodgy

(04 Aug 2016, 4:48 pm)Michael Wrote: The buses which appear at every rally, don't get me wrong, i like seeing old buses etc but its the same every rally then its boring, even with the modern buses.

Michael, I'd suggest its more down to the way the events are organised, rather than what turns up. NEBPT tend to rely on a few local groups to turn out at each event, and in turn bolster their numbers at the rallies. Specifically Tyneside Heritage Vehicles, County Durham Bus Preservation Group, the Northern National Restoration Group and the 500 Group. 

THV and CDBPG sent one vehicle each to Durham, and I don't think either bothered with Whitley Bay, which made the rallies look bare. NEBPT have enough of their own preserved vehicles to bring along, but even their own numbers have been scarse this year.

Elsewhere in the UK, rallies seem to get guests turn up from all over. Aside from the odd few at the Metrocentre, that simply doesn't happen here. Lothian have plenty of preserved buses just north of the border, and I can only remember one occasion when they've sent a bus. I find that puzzling, unless non-NE groups simply don't want to take part in our events?
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(04 Aug 2016, 7:26 pm)Adrian Wrote: Tom, to be fair, you never bother going to them anyway.  Dodgy


Michael, I'd suggest its more down to the way the events are organised, rather than what turns up. NEBPT tend to rely on a few local groups to turn out at each event, and in turn bolster their numbers at the rallies. Specifically Tyneside Heritage Vehicles, County Durham Bus Preservation Group, the Northern National Restoration Group and the 500 Group. 

THV and CDBPG sent one vehicle each to Durham, and I don't think either bothered with Whitley Bay, which made the rallies look bare. NEBPT have enough of their own preserved vehicles to bring along, but even their own numbers have been scarse this year.

Elsewhere in the UK, rallies seem to get guests turn up from all over. Aside from the odd few at the Metrocentre, that simply doesn't happen here. Lothian have plenty of preserved buses just north of the border, and I can only remember one occasion when they've sent a bus. I find that puzzling, unless non-NE groups simply don't want to take part in our events?

Without taking this to far off-topic, I have to agree about the poor turn outs this year and lack of guest buses at our rallies. I thought that even the MetroCentre Rally was poor in comparison to last year.

I hope Seaburn has a decent turnout of vehicles again this year like it did last year but based on the season so far, I have concerns that it may not be especially after some of the stuff that's occurred, especially in regards to modern buses being in attendance.