A Day with Go North East
#1
A Day with Go North East
For the first time in well over a year, I had a bus trip around the North East using a GNE Go All Zones ticket, Think I certainly got my moneys worth for £7. It did allow me to sample a few new things introduced since I was last on the buses around here.

First off was the usual trip into town on the Coaster 1A with generic livered 6069 being the vehicle doing the honour (had I got to the bus stop a little bit earlier I would have had an Omnidekka).

The first thing I wanted to try was one of the Voltras, and Yutong 8808 was the vehicle of choice on the 54. Externally I do like the vehicles, however after travelling on one of them I felt a bit de-energised. The vehicle crashed and banged its way along the route, and I must admit I never realised that the window layout is different on each side, on the near side the window slopes around the area of the step to the rear section, where as where the emergency door is the window is just a straight up right angled step up. Another thing I couldn't help but noticed that I believe no more than 2 windows were the same size or shape, I feel it must be a right nightmare should they had to replace one, and having to wait for it to be delivered as it's the only window of the size on that particular vehicle. Aside from the windows looking like they had just been taken from a spare parts bin, the interior design was alright including the unusual floor design. However if I was a bus operator, I feel I would have went with the offering from ADL. Anyway the journey taken was from Newcastle to Gateshead via Saltwell Park.

Alighting at Gateshead, a change was made onto the X1 to reach Eldon Square, this journey was provided by one of the long Omnidekkas in the shape of 6167, not a bad motor, I do find the length of these very surreal when sitting at the rear of the lower deck, especially with the longer windows compared to the short wheelbase examples. From Eldon Square the next move was onto the X84 to Hexham with 6355 being the vehicle. The 10:40 departure left with a very healthy load (mainly a group of ramblers heading to Wylam) plus swiping some passengers who were awaiting the 685. Oh my what a vehicle these vehicles are, and are certainly now a favourite of mine in the current GNE fleet. These E400MMCs have power, and plenty of speed, they certainly didn't hang about nor were hindered by any climbs. A smooth journey to Hexham was provided, and I also got to rest my leg on the perch over the rear wheels where you can fold the seat up. The Next Stop announcement did go a bit nuts due to the diversion (due to heavy traffic on the A69 Westbound into Hexham) with the X84 doing a U-turn after Corbridge Middle School to head back through the town and go into Hexham via the bottom road where most of the other services go.

At Hexham it was noted Sprinter 729 was lurking on the town service, so the oppotunity was taken to have a trip on the 683 to the West End of town and back. These Sprinters are certainly miles better than the examples that were bodied by Koch and used by Dean Taxis / Classic / GNE / Stagecoach in the early 2000s, certainly an ideal vehicle for tight routes, and I have to take my hat off (well I would if I wore one) to the drivers on the 683 town service remembering which way it goes around in that estate, looking on Google Maps there are so many loops. Great driver too, obviously a local lad who knew a lot of the passengers.

It was back to another X84 to Newcastle, this time 6352 being the vehicle, performance was just as good if not better than 6355, it certainly had no issue overtaking over vehicles on the A69, even going uphill between Corbridge Roundabout and Ovington Road Ends. Again use was made of the foot perch. Going back to the NSA, it did annoy me when it announced Blucher incorrectly. Having worked in nearby Throckley from 2011 to 2017 and knowing a few people from the place, it's pronounced as Blutcha instead of Blusher as the NSA announced. Anyway despite people adandoning trucks in stupid places to unload (Corbridge and near the General Hospital), a smooth journey was in order, I did note a design fault with some of the seats, especially those over the rear wheels facing forward, there was many phantom bell pushes due to people knees hitting off the stop button on the back of the seat in front.

Once in Newcastle, it was another short hop accross to Gateshead on Versa 8325 on the 28A, just so my friend could tick off a trip on 6908 which was looping around Gateshead on the 94. The gearbox on this didn't seem to be in the best of health with the ride seemingly a bit jerky. This journey was from Gateshead to Heworth the long way around. Rainbow 6050 was also enjoying looping around Gateshead too.

From Heworth it was a trip down to Concord on the Connectons 4 with Citaro 5366 being the culprit, they've done a nice job refurbishing these Citaros, and in my opinion are prob the best examples in the fleet, I do note that they now have flashes towards the rear on each side promoting the route serving Follingsby Park and Amazon, again nothing special to note about the trip or the trip on the 56 to Sunderland provided by 6092 again with a nice job done on the refurbishment. However with every trip there has to be a low point, and this low point was a Streetlite on the 20, my gosh it was simply awful, 5433 crashed and banged all other the place, the gearbox jerked so much it nearly gave you whiplash, and even the braking was causing the same effect, I even tried to zone out to dull the torture of travelling on it to Houghton Le Spring, I think my stay in hospital last year was less tramatic. Anyway after that it was a trip on another Connection 4 Citaro with 5359 taking us to Washington Galleries where a quick change was made onto Little Pink Solo 689 on the 85 which was then followed by a short trip on 683 on the same route.

The Second last vehicle of the day was X-Line X1 Streetdeck 6367 from Galleries to Gateshead. First time I been on one of these X-Lines Streetdeck, it did alright and seemed to go along with out issue, one thing I did notice that was better was the footrest area downstairs at the rear with a metal bar being provided to rest your feet on instead of putting it on a boxy wheelarch like on the E400MMCs and the Cobalt and Coast B9TLs. Then it was back home to Rosehill on another 1A with Coaster branded 6058.

In conclusion I still hate Streetlites.
Please feel free to visit my Flickr page - https://www.flickr.com/photos/gjm-photogenic/
Who needs heroes anyway? Villians have more fun.

#2
RE: A Day with Go North East
Nice report, yes the bells on the seat backs on the wheel arches are a pain, and hopefully going forward if we do see any further examples they will be deleted on these particular seat backs. One of this batch also suffers annoyingly from phantom bells even when there’s no one on the bus - harks back a bit to the omnicities which also suffered from this!

#3
RE: A Day with Go North East
I quite like the idea of bells on the back of each seat, as it saves reaching over people to try and press the bell. Especially on Streetlites, where most examples only have a single bell press button on the offside rows of seats.

It must be a nightmare testing them all before the bus goes out on a morning though, especially on a decker!
Forum Moderator | Find NEB on facebook
Visit my Buses & Beyond website. Also on Facebook.

#4
RE: A Day with Go North East
(04 Jun 2021, 9:24 am)xpm Wrote: Nice report, yes the bells on the seat backs on the wheel arches are a pain, and hopefully going forward if we do see any further examples they will be deleted on these particular seat backs. One of this batch also suffers annoyingly from phantom bells even when there’s no one on the bus - harks back a bit to the omnicities which also suffered from this!
The phantom bells are so annoying. I was on an X47 last week and someone was obviously resting their knee against the button on the back of the seat all the way from Central Station to the Metrocentre!

Sent from my SM-G981B using Tapatalk

#5
RE: A Day with Go North East
(04 Jun 2021, 10:40 am)Adrian Wrote: I quite like the idea of bells on the back of each seat, as it saves reaching over people to try and press the bell. Especially on Streetlites, where most examples only have a single bell press button on the offside rows of seats.

It must be a nightmare testing them all before the bus goes out on a morning though, especially on a decker!
I am all for increasing the number of stopping bells on buses after a few nights in Cardiff where many of the buses were full and if I got a seat without a bell at it was a nightmare to get off as had to get the person sat opposite to get up then press the bell, not ideal when there was only a short distance between stops.

The one I really hate is Transdev who seem to have started to put bells under the windows at certain seats which is awkward as owt if you have to sit in an aisle seat, remember my first time on an electric Volvo round Harrogate, sat at the back and was no bells and was unaware of the side bells as wasn't any at the back so had to run down to the front of the bus to stop the bus.

#6
RE: A Day with Go North East
Streetlites are just so dull and thrashy. I'm looking forward to seeing the new single decker Streetdecks in GNE's livery, thats if they order them of course.

#7
RE: A Day with Go North East
I rode 21 buses from Go North East over the past few days. There were few repeat rides, as quite often the vehicles had different interiors - the Volvo B9TLs were a case in point. Anyway, the vehicles and respective routes were as follows:

Versa 5387 (Q3), 8319 (28), 8337 (Q1)
Solo SR 693 (19), 659 (208)
Volvo B9TL 6108 (309), 6080 (10), 6153 (58), 6006 (27)
Citaro 5275 (12), 5360 (4)
Coach 7156 (X9)
Streetlite 5448 (16)
Enviro 400-MMC 6339 (X30)
Yutong 8805 (54)
Enviro 200-MMC 5497 (97)
Volvo B5LH 6067 (1a)
Scania Omnidekka 6166 (X1a)
Streetdeck 6328 (21), 6372 (X1)
Scania Omnicity 5252 (57)