Can You Get From Westminster to Durham By Bus?

If you have any sense at this moment in time, the answer should be ‘No’ The list of places associated with disreputable goings-on with present and previous Conservative governments have grown in the last five years. There are now enough places to muster a Best of British coach tour. Till last week, we had a…

A Lost Train to London: The Highwayman

The cheap yet slow way of getting from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to London Road and rail competition, whether private car versus train or scheduled coach versus train is far from new. The private car was, and remains, a threat to the viability of any communal transport options due to its convenience and perceived economy. The opening of…

Northern Nationalised: Franchise Transfers from Arriva Rail North to DfT

Northern franchise taken over by DfT as Operator of Last Resort from the 01 March After several rumours and persistent lobbying by Northern English political figures in the last six months, it was announced today that Arriva lost its Northern rail franchise. Under the Anglo-German company’s tenure, the rail franchise was dogged by poor service,…

Westoe Brass Band: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club, 19 January 2020

Another tight performance from Westoe Brass Band After being forced to choose from singers dressed as yellow ducks or unicorns, or ice-based pratfalls, the people of Saddleworth (and Boarshurst Silver Band’s avid streaming audience) were saved from such misfortune last night. At 7pm, Westoe Brass Band began the 2020 season of concerts in style.

Should Northern Rail Be Nationalised? Be Careful What You Wish For

Or: is the Grayling Curse to blame for Northern’s woes? The rail franchising system is dead. Long live the rail franchising system. In the last year, we have seen a recasting of the rail franchising system in favour of management contracts. Since 1994, rail franchises in Great Britain have mirrored former British Rail profit centres,…

Packed Pacer Problem Solved for 2019 Deadline

East of the M60 EXCLUSIVE: Nodding Donkeys become beautiful bi-modes with revolutionary technology 10-car Pacers set for DDA compliant overhaul; New breed of Nodding Donkeys go electric. Set to carry on for a longer period of time than the UK’s Brexit negotiations is the fate of Northern’s Pacer units. Due to disability legislation, the much-maligned…

Westoe Brass Band: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club

South Shields band kicks off 2019 season of Boarshurst concerts in style Only three weeks ago, Boarshurst Band Club finished off its 2018 season of Sunday Brass nights in style with the Friends of Music For Youth Brass Band. That concert got us on a high for the 2019 programme, which has a tasty selection…

The Greatest Cover Versions by The Toy Dolls: The Not So Perfect Ten

Ten “must-listen to” cover versions by Sunderland’s finest musical export Hagiographies of punk and new wave music in Northern England seldom breach the Standedge Tunnel’s Diggle end. Lazily, history tells us about the Buzzcocks, Joy Division, Slaughter and the Dogs, and the Sex Pistols’ gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall. Fewer column inches are devoted…

Defining Features of Northern Rail’s Franchise: The Not So Perfect Ten

Ten key characteristics of Serco/Abellio’s 12-year franchise term By the start of next month, the Northern franchise will be taken over by Arriva/Deutsche Bahn Rail. This will be Arriva’s second stint with a Northern English heavy rail franchise (the previous being Arriva Trains Northern) and, most notably, it entails the withdrawal of Class 142 and Class 144 railbuses.

Now You Know What I Did This Summer (2015 Edition)

Bus and light rail operations in Tynemouth and surrounding area Only last week, courtesy of National Holidays, I had the joy of a five day holiday in County Durham and Northumberland. This included excursions to Beamish Open Air Museum, Holy Island and the city of Durham. With most of the trips returning to our hotel for…

A Northern Snub? Trans-Pennine Electrification ‘Paused’

Northern Powerhouse project put on back burner The Northern Powerhouse has been dealt a body blow as plans to electrify the Trans-Pennine route have been ‘paused’. As quoted in Hansard, the Secretary of State for Transport, The Right Honourable Patrick McLoughlin MP (Conservative, Derbyshire Dales) stated that:

The North North of the Border: A New South Scotland?

A pipe dream or a possibility? Over the last week, most of the UK’s populace was agog at David Cameron clinching another term of office. That as part of a majority Conservative government, Britain’s first since April 1992. As well as apathy and the most partisan press campaign since Michael Foot was Labour leader, nationalism…