Newcastle Bus Stations - Worswick Street

Newcastle Bus Stations - Part Two

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Worswick Street

The opening of the Tyne Bridge in 1928 saw a huge upsurge in cross Tyne bus movements, and services which had previously terminated in Gateshead could now continue on to Newcastle. As a result, a new bus station was needed to accommodate the extra traffic, and so Worswick Street came about. Again, as rough rule of thumb, towns on the south bank of the Tyne towards the coast, such as Hebburn, Jarrow and South Shields, were served by NGT. Once you got towards Sunderland, they were generally joint services with SDO, routes to Bishop Auckland, Crook, Darlington, Durham, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton were joint services with United. The building itself was on quite a steep slope, once on the stand the rear wheels were supposed to be chocked, however, this was not always the case, another problem was that, on departure, the conductor was supposed to put the chock to one side, but it was frequently left where it was, and the next incoming vehicle would have to move it in order to get onto the stand.

Year unknown, but the vehicle line up would suggest that its probably pre war, an NGT SE6, an SDO Leyland Tiger, and what looks like an SOS M and an ON.

A 1933, SOS IM6; when new they had 500 fleet numbers, however, some were requisitioned during the war and renumbered when they were returned, so the fleet number and the poster on the back wall would suggest that the photo is post war.

These three shots show Worswick Street in the 1950's. This was pre the Tyne And Wear Metro, and in a time when most families could only dream about car ownership.

1960's

1970's

These three shots show Worswick Street now

Ronnie Hoye
09/2014

 

Part Three - Haymarket & Eldon Square Bus Station

 


06/10/14 - 07:01

Is it any wonder that with facilities such as Newcastle's bus stations passengers deserted public transport for their cars? Marlborough Crescent and the original Haymarket may have resembled "cattle markets", but Worswick Street seems to me to have struggled to creep into that bracket: platforms barely half-a-bus length at best (ie. when buses were 26ft long), minimal barriers to prevent . . . well just minimal barriers really, and no segregation of bus movement from passenger movement. Presumably, arriving buses unloaded passengers, and laid-over, else-where? Nevertheless, the place looks like an operational and health-and safety nightmare. Its a wonder it lasted as long as it did.

Philip Rushworth


31/10/14 - 06:45

Philip does Worswick Street something of a disservice. It wasn't the most salubrious place in the world - the gents' loos were disgusting! - but it served its purpose reasonably well and it had atmosphere, which today's anodyne equivalents certainly lack.
Allow me to correct a number of points. Firstly, the platform lengths varied but there was at least a bus length to all of them and most of them were slightly longer; I think Philip may have got the idea that they were only half a bus length long from Ronnie's final photo of the old station today, which shows the stands much shortened in length compared with their glory days; this has, presumably, been done in connection with the old station's use as a car park but that's only a guess. Because of the slope, normal practice was to pull forward so that the front wheels were over the 'lip' - this can be seen to good effect in Ronnie's 1960s and 1970s shots - and then insert the chock. This meant that there was usually sufficient room for a second bus to load up behind if required. On stand 2 (services 42, 46 and 55 to Durham and beyond) a special arrangement was in force. The 46 to Darlington arrived at 20 and 50, departing at 35 and 05 but the 42 to Crook arrived at 25 and 55, departing at 30 and 00. To accommodate this, the 46, on arrival, would pull up to the inspectors' office window - in the last photo (with red car) the window is visible in the distance (far left) and can also be seen in the penultimate photo which shows the former inspectors' office clearly - while the crew went up to the canteen or came off if it was a Worswick Street crew. The 42 could then get past and onto the stand, unload, load up and depart for Crook; after that had gone, the crew of the 46 would return, drop back and onto the stand to load for Darlington. This sounds complicated but, in fact, it worked like clockwork 99% of the time. The only problem arose if a bus needed to be onto stand 1 (inter-urban and long-distance expresses) while a 46 was parked up in its 'slot'; the only way past was by mounting the bottom of stand 2 and often couldn't be undertaken at busy times.
The barriers were actually perfectly adequate; in the 1960s shot (with United 40 on stand 4) this can be seen. Unlike so many modern bus stations, they provided for a clear queueing arrangement; intending passengers queued down one side then back up the other, continuing into the street if necessary, as illustrated in Ronnie's third and fourth photos. Philip mentions 'segregation of bus movement from passenger movement' but this was in the days before everybody became obsessed with health and safety and it worked surprisingly well; if a queue was out into the street and a bus from a lower stand needed to be past, the queue parted (like the Red Sea!), the bus passed through and the queue reformed without any complaint. It should also be said that, although Worswick Street was a one-way street and open to all traffic, it wasn't used by a huge volume of non-bus traffic. In Worswick Street's heyday, the only bus station of similar design (i.e. multiple platforms) I knew which attempted to segregate buses and passengers was the 1958 station in Edinburgh's St Andrew Square which 'featured' underground passageways between the platforms; most passengers, though, simply walked across the roadways anyway!
The above may sound unbelievable to today's younger folk but, for its time, Worswick Street was adequate and the arrangements worked well most of the time. Yes, it sometimes got congested and yes, in those circumstances, buses sometimes came up the street and loaded at the top of their stand but this was the exception rather than the rule.
Philip's final point is about unloading and laying over. The answer is that buses didn't usually unload elsewhere; they came straight onto their departure stand and unloaded there. The only exception was the 46 which, as mentioned above, didn't come straight onto its stand but unloaded up against the back wall alongside which it parked up; this wasn't ideal as the 'walkway' alongside this parking 'slot' was very narrow but people coped. At very busy times, there could be a queue of buses waiting to get into the station and they sometimes unloaded outside. There were parking facilities nearby at Manors (beside the terminal bus station at Manors Bus Park) and these were reached by continuing down Carliol Square rather than turning right into the bottom of the bus station. When work on the Central Motorway East began, the Manors bus parking area was no longer available and buses parked instead in Carliol Square just below the bus station. There were refuelling facilities on the bottom stand and Northern vehicles on some of the longer, high mileage routes such as Darlington filled up during the course of the day. This blocked the stand for a short time but never seemed to cause too much inconvenience.
Six days per week, a Bus Station Supervisor was based at Worswick Street; he had principal responsibility for the long-distance express services (Tyne-Tees-Mersey etc) but was otherwise responsible for the smooth operation of the bus station. Other local inspectors were often also on hand to keep an eye on things.
As I've mentioned above, health and safety hadn't been invented when the bus station was fully operational and today's H&S bods would have a fit if they encountered Worswick Street as it was, but it was acceptable for its time. It was cold and draughty, the rain sometimes swept in and it wasn't advisable to stand alongside the exhaust pipe of a bus on an adjacent stand in case you got choked by its fumes but, overall, I liked it and was sorry to see it go. By the time of closure, its situation, like Marlborough Crescent, significantly away from the main shopping areas, was inconvenient but its initial replacement - the first Eldon Square Bus Station - was pretty awful too. The new Eldon Square station is much better in some respects for passengers, but it lacks any designated queueing arrangements and, as a consequence, intending passengers don't know where to form a queue; inevitably, this leads to complaints of queue-jumping, much of which is unintentional. The current bus station in Durham is much the same, making it often impossible to decide which queue is which. The design of modern bus stations (Durham is dreadful in this respect) make it difficult, if not impossible, to read the destination of a bus once it's on its stand.
I honestly don't think that many people deserted the bus for their car solely because of the bus stations in Newcastle although that's just a perception which I can't back up with figures. I must have used Worswick Street many hundreds (nay, many thousands) of times and my main grumble about it was its inconvenience for interchange with other services. Even today, Haymarket and Eldon Square, whilst relatively close together, are far from ideal for interchange between one another.

Alan R Hall


29/12/20 - 10:34

In the '3 photos of Warwick Street' one bus has an advert on the side for Olivier Cigarettes with the partial price showing of 3/1? Because I am trying to find the 1960 price of these cigs I know the price in 1958 was 3/3d. Adverts then show 3/4d (exact date unknown) and 3/10d in 1962. By 1964 they were 4/2d. I would say your photo showing 3/1? is early 1960s and not 1950s.
This is the August 1962 photo with the exact same advert www.transporttreasury.com

Michael Kenny


30/12/20 - 06:45

Michael, in my posting of the three photos that I listed as 1950's.
The bus with the Olivers Cigarette advert looks very much like one of the 1952 Weymann bodied Guy Arab III'3, which were withdrawn in 1964.
The one in front appears to have drop windows, but interestingly also has a sliding cab door, and all pre 1952 NGT D/D's had swing doors.
The predominately all red livery was introduced about 1957, so while the picture may be very early 1960's. However, the vehicles are most definitely 1950's.

Ronnie Hoye


07/01/21 - 07:02

Re the photo with the bus that has the Olivers advert.
In 1951/2 G&D took delivery of several All Leyland PD2/3. Some of these were later transferred to parent company Northern, and I think the bus at the head of the stand may well be one of them.
The reason I've come to this conclusion is two fold.
First, the PD2's had drop down windows, which this one does.
Second, G&D had NCT style destination indicators, but they also had two at the rear mounted one over the other, this meant that rear the Shop At Binns logo couldn't be placed in its usual place, which was just below the upper deck emergency exit, and had to go below, which in this case would be the centre relief band. If I'm right about this, I'm wrong about the sliding cab doors.

Ronnie Hoye


07/01/21 - 11:37

Here is a "Did You Know?"
Olivier Cigarettes
OLIVIER was launched in 1956 by Gallaher under the Benson & Hedges brand. Named after Sir Laurence Olivier (1907-89). He received two pence for every 1,000 cigarettes sold, was given an advance against the first year's royalties and reported to have received 500 packs of 20 every week for his own use and to distribute.

John Lomas

 


 

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