Network Expansion Ideas

22 Replies, 1732 Views

As we all know Go North East and other operators have hit hard by the pandemic along with other business with many resulting to cutting costs where things are no longer commercially viable in the long term, but what if operators were to take more risks for a bigger pay off such as the success of the summer X11 from Newcastle to Whitby & Scarborough which will no doubt return in 2022.

So what else could operators such Go North East do, well I think whilst justified in some respects and I understand the above reasoning for such cut backs I think Go North East should be looking at options of expansion to their network to provide more benefits to the local communities they serve whilst offering new services to other areas that they don't serve, yes this may mean treading on some toes along the way.

My first idea come off the back of the reduction in service of Hexham X-Lines X84/X85 which in a few weeks will be a bog standard 684 and backwards step for passengers who will have a service operated by vehicles of a lower specification, far from ideal given the recent investment in new buses just 12 months ago. 

So from Hexham where could Go North East expand to given the options are limited, well you head west to "The Lake District" however not via Carlisle as you have competition their with the Arriva/Stagecoach 685 and then Stagecoach Services 554 to Keswick and iirc 104 to Penrith. Therefore any service would go via Alston where Go North East already operate Services 681/X81 to Haltwhistle & Hexham which a small number of journey's per day, a base to start an expansion coupled to that with more regular 684 thus merging the two together.

Having done a bit of research I think it would be a good idea to operate a Clockwise/Anti-Clockwise Loop of The Lake District giving passengers a frequent service to the area so we would have the following routes both operating on an hourly basis. 

X84 - Newcastle - Denton Burn - Heddon-On-The-Wall - Wylam - Ovington - Corebridge - Hexham - Haydon Bridge - Bardon Mill - Haltwhistle - Lambley - Slaggyford - Alston - Melmery - Penrith non stop to Kendal - Windermere - Ambleside - Grasmere - Keswick

X85 - Newcastle - Denton Burn - Heddon-On-The-Wall - Wylam - Ovington - Corebridge - Hexham - Haydon Bridge - Bardon Mill - Haltwhistle - Lambley - Slaggyford - Alston - Melmery - Penrith non stop to Keswick - Grasmere - Ambleside - Windermere - Kendal

The services would in turn also be maintained to X-Lines Standard so customers experience does fall below current standard whilst also opening up the Leisure industry from the North to the West which in turn would provide some competition to the train with a change at Carlisle if you are going to Kendal takes 3 Hours, taking into account layover times etc the Bus would be slower at just over 4 Hours

A breakdown of the timings across the route
65 Minutes via X84 route from Newcastle to Hexham - Would be quicker via X85 route at 41 Minutes so would likely go the latter to bring journey time under 4 hours.
97 Minutes via Alston to Penrith from Hexham
36 Minutes from Penrith to Kendal via M6/A6
49 Minutes from Kendal to Keswick via A591
22 Minutes from Penrith to Keswick via A66

So we have a minimum journey time of 3 hours 43 minutes and maximum journey time of 4 hours and 7 minutes depending on route taken, only 38 minutes longer than the X11 is from Newcastle to Scarborough.  

Anyone else have any suggestions?
(25 Dec 2021, 12:05 am)Malarkey Wrote: As we all know Go North East and other operators have hit hard by the pandemic along with other business with many resulting to cutting costs where things are no longer commercially viable in the long term, but what if operators were to take more risks for a bigger pay off such as the success of the summer X11 from Newcastle to Whitby & Scarborough which will no doubt return in 2022.

So what else could operators such Go North East do, well I think whilst justified in some respects and I understand the above reasoning for such cut backs I think Go North East should be looking at options of expansion to their network to provide more benefits to the local communities they serve whilst offering new services to other areas that they don't serve, yes this may mean treading on some toes along the way.

My first idea come off the back of the reduction in service of Hexham X-Lines X84/X85 which in a few weeks will be a bog standard 684 and backwards step for passengers who will have a service operated by vehicles of a lower specification, far from ideal given the recent investment in new buses just 12 months ago. 

So from Hexham where could Go North East expand to given the options are limited, well you head west to "The Lake District" however not via Carlisle as you have competition their with the Arriva/Stagecoach 685 and then Stagecoach Services 554 to Keswick and iirc 104 to Penrith. Therefore any service would go via Alston where Go North East already operate Services 681/X81 to Haltwhistle & Hexham which a small number of journey's per day, a base to start an expansion coupled to that with more regular 684 thus merging the two together.

Having done a bit of research I think it would be a good idea to operate a Clockwise/Anti-Clockwise Loop of The Lake District giving passengers a frequent service to the area so we would have the following routes both operating on an hourly basis. 

X84 - Newcastle - Denton Burn - Heddon-On-The-Wall - Wylam - Ovington - Corebridge - Hexham - Haydon Bridge - Bardon Mill - Haltwhistle - Lambley - Slaggyford - Alston - Melmery - Penrith non stop to Kendal - Windermere - Ambleside - Grasmere - Keswick

X85 - Newcastle - Denton Burn - Heddon-On-The-Wall - Wylam - Ovington - Corebridge - Hexham - Haydon Bridge - Bardon Mill - Haltwhistle - Lambley - Slaggyford - Alston - Melmery - Penrith non stop to Keswick - Grasmere - Ambleside - Windermere - Kendal

The services would in turn also be maintained to X-Lines Standard so customers experience does fall below current standard whilst also opening up the Leisure industry from the North to the West which in turn would provide some competition to the train with a change at Carlisle if you are going to Kendal takes 3 Hours, taking into account layover times etc the Bus would be slower at just over 4 Hours

A breakdown of the timings across the route
65 Minutes via X84 route from Newcastle to Hexham - Would be quicker via X85 route at 41 Minutes so would likely go the latter to bring journey time under 4 hours.
97 Minutes via Alston to Penrith from Hexham
36 Minutes from Penrith to Kendal via M6/A6
49 Minutes from Kendal to Keswick via A591
22 Minutes from Penrith to Keswick via A66

So we have a minimum journey time of 3 hours 43 minutes and maximum journey time of 4 hours and 7 minutes depending on route taken, only 38 minutes longer than the X11 is from Newcastle to Scarborough..

Think that may be a step too far with how frequent it would be especially considering how many services Stagecoach have also covering the same route although could potentially be a one trip per day thing like the X11 was although driving hours may be a stretch (sort of already exists in the form of the 888 from Wright Bros which does Newcastle - Alston - Penrith - Keswick daily in the six weeks summer holidays)

An idea I had was one from Durham to Kendal via Spennymoor, Bishop Auckland, Barnard Castle, Brough, Kirkby Stephen and Sedbergh.

Away from the Lake District, another I thought of was a service from Durham to Flamingo Land via Ferryhill, Aycliffe, Darlington, Northallerton and Thirsk (potential for an integrated connection at Thirsk to reach York on Reliance's 30/30X service possibly with some ticketing arrangements in place to allow connections), maybe also run it up to Whitby (maybe Scarborough as well?) as well to offer more places to visit.

There was a lot of services like these in the 90s & early 00s from stuff I've found online but most died a death when the ENCTS passes came in, there is a chance they could work again in 2022 if passes were excluded from the services but I'm not so sure especially when I think how dead the DalesBus 831 from Middlesbrough & Darlington to Hawes and wherever else can be for much of the season.
If GNE didn't have plans for 6338-40 but no doubt they will in some shape with 6336-37 becoming available.........

X89 - Blyth - Plessey Road - Newsham - A192 - B1326 Wheatfields - B1326 Barley Meadows then non stop via A189 to Newcastle.

PVR of 3x with 30 min frequency. Success would depend on frequency of ABTRL. Leaflet drops around the Wheatfields & Barley Meadows Estates with some around the top end of Seaton Delaval
X56 

Sunderland - A690 - Washington - A194 (i think) - Heworth - Gateshead - Eldon Square. 

Every 30 Mins.
(25 Dec 2021, 9:07 pm)Keeiajs Wrote: X56 

Sunderland - A690 - Washington - A194 (i think) - Heworth - Gateshead - Eldon Square. 

Every 30 Mins.


X56 should be all stop on the 56 route between park lane and concord then non stop to heworth/Gateshead and Newcastle city centre


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(25 Dec 2021, 9:37 pm)cbma06 Wrote: X56 should be all stop on the 56 route between park lane and concord then non stop to heworth/Gateshead and Newcastle city centre


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Because that is 40 mins, and it doesn't pick up most passngers, really it Concord and Washington which will pick them up.
would be nice to see the X20 get Extended to South Shields again, so the citaros can spread some gold around the Gold Interchange. so it would be: Langley Park - Arnison Centre - Durham - Houghton - Sunderland - South Shields.
but really i would like to see more things in the South Shields area only because, you have the new interchange to show off more, regeneration plan is drawing in more people to the Town and Beach.
Speaking of the beach they should use the B7TL's from the Toon Tour once there done and rerun the Seafront Shuttle that Stagecoach did.
(25 Dec 2021, 10:41 pm)KingSlayerRBLX Wrote: would be nice to see the X20 get Extended to South Shields again, so the citaros can spread some gold around the Gold Interchange. so it would be: Langley Park - Arnison Centre - Durham - Houghton - Sunderland - South Shields.
but really i would like to see more things in the South Shields area only because, you have the new interchange to show off more, regeneration plan is drawing in more people to the Town and Beach.
Speaking of the beach they should use the B7TL's from the Toon Tour once there done and rerun the Seafront Shuttle that Stagecoach did.
THere isn't enough Demand and the 20 takes the most direct route possible. 

However I am for the 20 only going every 20 mins to Durham, never seems to be busy when i am at the interchange
(25 Dec 2021, 3:39 pm)L469 YVK Wrote: If GNE didn't have plans for 6338-40 but no doubt they will in some shape with 6336-37 becoming available.........

X89 - Blyth - Plessey Road - Newsham - A192 - B1326 Wheatfields - B1326 Barley Meadows then non stop via A189 to Newcastle.

PVR of 3x with 30 min frequency. Success would depend on frequency of ABTRL. Leaflet drops around the Wheatfields & Barley Meadows Estates with some around the top end of Seaton Delaval

That wouldn't succeed, Arriva tried a peak extra with a similar route with the X7 (not the current X7) but via Seaton Delaval and Seghill instead in areas with more demand and it couldn't fill a minibus nevermind a double decker. GNE is also totally out of area in Blyth and should be an Arriva route either way.
(25 Dec 2021, 10:41 pm)KingSlayerRBLX Wrote: would be nice to see the X20 get Extended to South Shields again, so the citaros can spread some gold around the Gold Interchange. so it would be: Langley Park - Arnison Centre - Durham - Houghton - Sunderland - South Shields.
but really i would like to see more things in the South Shields area only because, you have the new interchange to show off more, regeneration plan is drawing in more people to the Town and Beach.
Speaking of the beach they should use the B7TL's from the Toon Tour once there done and rerun the Seafront Shuttle that Stagecoach did.

Extending the X20 to Shields would be pretty pointless as would just dupe the 20 further and likely would have to go split reg like the X10 & X21 with how long the route would be.

Stagecoach ran a service along the seafront in South Shields before and didn't seem to attract great numbers.

(25 Dec 2021, 10:43 pm)Keeiajs Wrote: THere isn't enough Demand and the 20 takes the most direct route possible. 

However I am for the 20 only going every 20 mins to Durham, never seems to be busy when i am at the interchange

Disagree with the suggestion of cutting the frequency on the 20 as it can be very busy on some runs.
I would run the x20 between Durham and South Shields to maintain the through connection with the loss of the 20 in shields section, extend the 204/204A to Langley park, run the 20 between Durham and Sunderland only with double deckers on a 15 minute frequency, and either extend the 60 or 61 on a 15 minute frequency to South Shields.


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(26 Dec 2021, 2:06 pm)cbma06 Wrote: I would run the x20 between Durham and South Shields to maintain the through connection with the loss of the 20 in shields section, extend the 204/204A to Langley park, run the 20 between Durham and Sunderland only with double deckers on a 15 minute frequency, and either extend the 60 or 61 on a 15 minute frequency to South Shields.


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Not sure I agree with curtailing the X20 at Durham, you'd lose the direct links to the Arnison Centre from the East and there's arguably as many reasons to go there than Durham centre. The 204/204A would just be copying the 64 pretty much and Langley Park residents would rightly be pissed off losing a 3 buses an hour service to Durham, 2 quick 1 slow to a 1 (204/204A is hourly) or 2 hourly slow bus service to only Durham.
(25 Dec 2021, 10:41 pm)KingSlayerRBLX Wrote: would be nice to see the X20 get Extended to South Shields again, so the citaros can spread some gold around the Gold Interchange. so it would be: Langley Park - Arnison Centre - Durham - Houghton - Sunderland - South Shields.
but really i would like to see more things in the South Shields area only because, you have the new interchange to show off more, regeneration plan is drawing in more people to the Town and Beach.
Speaking of the beach they should use the B7TL's from the Toon Tour once there done and rerun the Seafront Shuttle that Stagecoach did.

(26 Dec 2021, 2:06 pm)cbma06 Wrote: I would run the x20 between Durham and South Shields to maintain the through connection with the loss of the 20 in shields section, extend the 204/204A to Langley park, run the 20 between Durham and Sunderland only with double deckers on a 15 minute frequency, and either extend the 60 or 61 on a 15 minute frequency to South Shields.


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I would run the X20 to Jarrow (via the 9 route), so it doesn't fully duplicate the 20 with less stops and does a similar route but still different routes such as the 21/X21 The freq. is the same and it provides new links from Jarrow, South Tyneside and Boldon to Durham and Langley Park. 
However I know this will have operational issues so unless the 5/26/50 can all interwork I don't know if this would be possible unless a new route is introduced probably not with the way GNE is from the Pandemic.
(26 Dec 2021, 2:56 pm)logidoodah Wrote: I would run the X20 to Jarrow (via the 9 route), so it doesn't fully duplicate the 20 with less stops and does a similar route but still different routes such as the 21/X21 The freq. is the same and it provides new links from Jarrow, South Tyneside and Boldon to Durham and Langley Park. 
However I know this will have operational issues so unless the 5/26/50 can all interwork I don't know if this would be possible unless a new route is introduced probably not with the way GNE is from the Pandemic.


I’m surprised that service 5 and 9 haven’t been giving to stagecoach to run

I’m still surprised the x20 is still running, it’s only a matter of minutes between x20 and the 20 between Sunderland and Durham, or does the passengers think seeing an X on the destination think there going to get to there destination faster than the normal 20


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(26 Dec 2021, 3:16 pm)cbma06 Wrote: I’m surprised that service 5 and 9 haven’t been giving to stagecoach to run

I’m still surprised the x20 is still running, it’s only a matter of minutes between x20 and the 20 between Sunderland and Durham, or does the passengers think seeing an X on the destination think there going to get to there destination faster than the normal 20 


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It is quicker isn't it?
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(26 Dec 2021, 3:16 pm)cbma06 Wrote: I’m surprised that service 5 and 9 haven’t been giving to stagecoach to run

I’m still surprised the x20 is still running, it’s only a matter of minutes between x20 and the 20 between Sunderland and Durham, or does the passengers think seeing an X on the destination think there going to get to there destination faster than the normal 20


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Its 15 minutes quicker than the average 20 if your going to Durham there's no difference in time between Sunderland and Houghton
Here's an idea.

Curtail the X20 at Arnison Centre and extend it to Brasside. The Langley Park to Arnison Centre section can be replaced by a reinstated 14 (or the 204/204A).

Extend the X20 beyond Sunderland to Acklington via Boldon, A19, Tyne Tunnel, Silverlink, A19, A189, Ashington, Ulgham, Widdrington Station, and HMP Acklington.

Links to both HMP Acklington and Frankland will provide the people of Sunderland to destinations they're destined to go at least once in their lives. It can also double as prison transport when stones are thrown at the windows of the bus in Houghton-le-Spring.

Brand it the 'Jailbreaker'.
Jailbreaker I'm decked Big Grin
(26 Dec 2021, 4:34 pm)MurdnunoC Wrote: Here's an idea.

Curtail the X20 at Arnison Centre and extend it to Brasside. The Langley Park to Arnison Centre section can be replaced by a reinstated 14 (or the 204/204A).

Extend the X20 beyond Sunderland to Acklington via Boldon, A19, Tyne Tunnel, Silverlink, A19, A189, Ashington, Ulgham, Widdrington Station, and HMP Acklington.

Links to both HMP Acklington and Frankland will provide the people of Sunderland to destinations they're destined to go at least once in their lives. It can also double as prison transport when stones are thrown at the windows of the bus in Houghton-le-Spring.

Brand it the 'Jailbreaker'. 

I reckon Stenning could integrate some vertical stripes in to that livery.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(26 Dec 2021, 8:41 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: I reckon Stenning could integrate some vertical stripes in to that livery.

Call me ignorant, but I'm not sure that bars at an angle of 55 degrees would work on a jail cell. 

It is an interesting idea though. Perhaps slanted window bars would prevent drones delivering contraband to the cells.