Posted by: SB Websites | May 18, 2015

ANE Eco 23

Arriva Logo

As well as the MAX and Sapphire brand being introduced and spread across many services; there has also been an increase of the ‘Eco’ Livery. This was introduced in 2013 when the first MAN 18:270 EcoCity / Caeteno City Gold’s entered service in Darlington for town services 2, 11 and 12, followed by a further order of Volvo B5LH / Wright Gemini 2’s for the 308. The Eco brand itself is designed to advertise vehicles operating with green technology, such as a CNG or a hybrid vehicle. Therefore in 2014 a batch of a further 16 Wright Streetlite MAX 11.7m Micro-Hybrids; 5 for the 23, 3 for the 35 and 7 for the 306. Although these wear the Eco with them being fitted with ‘Micro-Hybrid’ technology; this recovers energy lost from braking to power the vehicle electrics and compressed air systems, saving up to 10% in fuel costs. Although the name itself is slightly misleading as the vehicles themselves are a standard diesel Streetlite drivetrain, as opposed to a small diesel engine and electric motor in normal hybrids. These are no different to the examples currently in Sapphire livery so it is unusual that they have painted into the Eco livery. The first 5 are for the 23 which operates from Durham depot running every 30 minutes from Sunderland to Hartlepool via Grangetown, Seaham, Easington and Peterlee, these are painted into the standard Eco livery but wearing route branding on the sides and rear for the route. 1574 NK64 EEJ is shown below:

1574 Eco 23

Posted by: SB Websites | May 14, 2015

ANE MAX X18

Arriva Logo

The X18 operates from Ashington depot and runs express from Newcastle to Morpeth serving only Regent Centre, it then runs via Pegswood, Widdrington Station, Red Row, Acklington, Broomhill, Amble, Warkworth, Alnmouth and Alnwick Bus Station every hour. Then at peak times the X18 extends to Berwick-Upon-Tweed via Longhoughton, Craster, Embleton, Beadnall, Seahouses, North Sunderland, Bamburgh, Budle, Belford, Beal, Haggerston Castle and Scremerston. The X18 is classed as the more tourist-focused route serving all the major coastline Northumbrian destinations passing many Coasts and Castles along the route with the X15 as the true express. It is interesting to note on the X18 the branding doesn’t actually say “Quick links from Arriva” but simply just “from Arriva” as the full route takes 3 hours 54 minutes! The X18 had brand new ’64 Alexander-Dennis Enviro 400’s purchased and wear a slightly different livery to the older refurbished E400’s which includes the map on the side (similar to the X93) which harks back the Coast and Castles Connection brand (This combined the X14/X15/X18 running between the Newcastle, Morpeth, Alnwick and Berwick, but all these routes all gained MAX branding) as well the aquamarine swirls on the front bumper panels. The services together combine a service every 15 minutes from Newcastle to Morpeth, 2 buses an hour to Alnwick and 2 buses every hour at peak times to Berwick. Across these services there is one reserve, which used to be in X14 livery that wears simple vinyls on the side explaining the quick links into Newcastle. Shown below is E400 7529 NK64 EFM.

7529 MAX X18

Posted by: SB Websites | May 14, 2015

ANE MAX X15

Arriva Logo

The X15 operates from Ashington depot and runs express from Newcastle to Morpeth serving only Regent Centre, it then serves villages of Felton and Shilbottle before arriving at Alnwick Bus Station every hour. Then once every 2 hours the service continues to Berwick-Upon-Tweed via Warenford, Belford, Beal, Haggerston Castle and Scremerston following the A1 for most of the route. The service uses 3 ’57 plate Alexander-Dennis Enviro 400’s and 2 Scania OmniCity CN94UB’s which are both refurbished with leather seating and free customer Wi-Fi customer equipment. The X15 was once part of the Coast & Coastles Connection brand but this has made way for the MAX brand, the 2 other services under this old brand were the X14 and X18; both of which are also MAX branded. Across these services there is one reserve, which used to be in X14 livery that wears simple vinyls on the side explaining the quick links into Newcastle. Shown below is OmniCity 4659 NK05 GXO and E400 7511 NK57 GXD.

4659 MAX X15

7511 MAX X15

Posted by: SB Websites | May 14, 2015

ANE MAX X14

Arriva Logo

The X14 operates from Ashington depot and operates from Newcastle to Morpeth every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes, the service runs as a 14 from Morpeth to the village of Thropton once every hour. The X14 leaves Haymarket Bus Station running non-stop to Regent Centre and then joining the A1 running non-stop to Morpeth Bus Station. The 14 then continues to the small village of Heighley Gate, Longhorsley, Longframlington, Rothbury and terminating at Thropton. The X14 is an unusual service as it is allocated MAX refurbished 2009 Alexander-Dennis Enviro 400’s on the core service from Newcastle via Morpeth to Thropton which leaves at 18 minutes past the hour and the 48 minutes past the hour departure from Newcastle isn’t actually operated by MAX vehicles. As this diagram only operates as an X14 from Newcastle to Morpeth the diagrams interwork with the 57A and 33 which are worked by Dennis Dart MPD’s but these have internally refurbished and have in-built Wi-Fi. This leaves an unusual allocation of minibuses and double-deckers on the core service between Newcastle and Morpeth which can sometimes lead to overcrowding. Therefore there are only 3 branded Enviro 400’s for the service which have been fitted with Civic Esteban V3 leather seats and the fitment of free customer Wi-Fi, the X14 was once part of the Coast & Coastles Connection brand but this has made way for the MAX brand, the 2 other services under this old brand were the X15 and X18; both of which are also MAX branded. Across these services there is one reserve, which used to be in X14 livery that wears simple vinyls on the side explaining the quick links into Newcastle. First of all is 7514 NK09 FMZ wearing the X14 livery and 7515 NK09 FNA wearing the spare MAX livery.

7514 MAX X14

7515 MAX

Posted by: SB Websites | May 11, 2015

ANE MAX X26/X27

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The X26/X27 operate from Darlington depot and operate from Darlington to Colburn every 20 minutes combined Monday to Saturday daytimes, both services operate the same route from Darlington to Catterick running via Scotch Corner, Skeeby and Richmond. The X26 then branches to operate via Colburn and Catterick Marne Barracks at peak times only as it usually serves only Colburn. The X27 then extends to Hipswell and Scotton only once an hour.  With the service being combined as every 20 minutes and 2 services operating it leaves an unusual gap in the timetable as the departures from Colburn on the X26 have one 20 minute gap, followed by a 40 minute gap whilst the X27 is just hourly at its Western terminus. The service uses refurbished Scania OmniCity CN94UB’s which were new to Arriva Durham depot in 2005 and carry the usual MAX livery with the route information on the side and route map on the rear. Like the other MAX services, the X26/X27 also have a reserve vehicle in the form of 2 ex Liverpool Scania OmniCity CN94UB’s which are also refurbished to MAX standard but wear branding for the X26/X27 and X66 (another MAX’d service). 4646 NK05 GWZ; the first of the batch; is shown below in the X26/X27 livery and 4643 CX05 EOV is shown in the spare livery.

4646 MAX X26 X27

4643 MAX Spare

Posted by: SB Websites | May 11, 2015

ANE MAX X66

Arriva Logo

The X66 operates from Darlington depot and operates from Darlington to Middlesbrough every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes, the service runs from Darlington via North Road before running non-stop along the A66 up to Stockon High Street, then re-joining the A66 it then runs non-stop to Middlesbrough Bus Station. The X66 used Scania OmniCity CN94UB’s, these have been refurbished to MAX standard which includes Leather-seating and Wi-Fi connectivity, but unusually they have also gained Next-stop announcements as part of a fund from Darlington council so unlike the Sapphire brand the MAX brand can be a bit inconsistent. Like the other MAX services, the X66 also have a reserve vehicle in the form of 2 ex Liverpool Scania OmniCity CN94UB’s which are also refurbished to MAX standard but wear branding for the X66 and X26/X27 (other MAX’d services). 4657 GXM is shown wearing the X66 variation of the MAX livery working a service towards Middlesbrough.

4657 MAX X66

Posted by: SB Websites | May 7, 2015

ANE MAX X93

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The X93’s 4th generation of vehicles is a much more permanent fixture with it also becoming part of the new ‘MAX’ brand.  The X93 runs up to every 30 minutes during peak season between Middlesbrough and Scarborough via Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay. The route is very challenging for any vehicle, full to capacity of passengers on a route over 2 hours with mostly non-stop rural road driving including many steep climbs too. After the introduction of the ADL Enviro 400’s with SightSeeker livery the service was incredibly unreliable therefore other vehicles used to operate the services such as Scania OmniCity CN94UB’s or Temsa Avenue’s – both of which unsuitable for the route capacity wise. The E400’s were also very sluggish which didn’t go well with the hills either so Arriva trialled a VDL DB300 / Wright Gemini 2 on the service and noticed an improvement however these would have to be refurbished to allow comfort for the long journey. They then began to use the Volvo B7TL / Wright Gemini 1’s which were transformed from London and a much more drastic improvement was identified in reliability and suitability of the route. Arriva therefore wanted a new order of vehicles for the service so that it had something more permanent which were some of the last Euro 5 Volvo B9TL / Wright Gemini 2’s built from a dealer. These were then refurbished to ‘MAX’ standard but keep their dealer stock seats, few opening windows and rubber gasket glazing. 6 were purchased and are the only Volvo B9TL’s in the Arriva Bus UK fleets, these manage incredibly well on the route so after removing the coaches from the route in 2011 it has taken 4 years to allocate a permanent vehicle type to the route but they certainly got the best! In the summer season however the service increases to a PVR of 9 due to the length of the route, increase in frequency and the necessity to fuel vehicles so currently two Volvo B7TL / Wright Gemini 1’s have been refurbished with leather seats to match the standard of tehe B9TL’s but sadly this means another single-decker is still in operation throughout the summer months. Below is 7403 NK64 FSJ wearing the X93 version of the MAX livery with the eye-catching map of the route.

7403 MAX X93

Posted by: SB Websites | May 7, 2015

ANE MAX X10/X11

Arriva Logo

The introduction of the ‘Sapphire’ brand on key services throughout the UK generated the extra patronage that Arriva desired for the key but borderline-profit making routes by marketing them as a premium and of a higher standard. However including all the features such as heavy refurbishments or brand new purchases, e-leather seating, free WiFi, Next Stop Announcements and a dedicated hand-picked driving team becomes costly as the North East division at the time had many loss making routes and even more just breaking-even. Therefore the ‘MAX’ brand was born, it provides a premium standard to the North East and Yorkshire express routes (those with an ‘X’ in the route number) that connect the major towns and cities of the North East and Yorkshire on a fast & frequent basis. MAX vehicles operate with new or refurbished high specification vehicles, in a striking livery, with e-leather seating and free WiFi. The ‘MAX’ brand was launched in September 2014 with the introduction of refurbished ’59 plate VDL DB300 / Wright Gemini 2’s for the X10/X11 routes from Blyth to Newcastle. The MAX brand now stretches to these services:

  • Route X1: Tow Law – Darlington
  • Route X10/X11: Newcastle – Blyth
  • Route X12: Newcastle – Middlesbrough
  • Route X14/14: Newcastle – Thropton
  • Route X15: Newcastle – Berwick-upon-Tweed
  • Route X18: Newcastle – Berwick-upon-Tweed
  • Route X26/X27: Darlington – Colburn
  • Route X66: Darlington – Middlesbrough
  • Route X93: Middlesbrough – Scarborough

The X10/X11 operate from Blyth depot and operate from Newcastle to Blyth every 10 minutes combined Monday to Saturday daytimes, both services are non-stop to Regent Centre and operate via Southfield, Cramlington and Parkside. The X11 then serves Northburn Hauxley Drive, an estate in Cramlington whilst the X10 skips this section, both routes operate past Newsham before splitting off again with the X10 going via Newsham Farm Shops with the X11 skipping this section where both bus routes then combine to Blyth Bus Station. The ‘MAX’ brand also has a requirement for vehicles to be always ‘MAX’ standard so a reserve is also painted for the service which is another ’59 plate VDL DB300 / Wright Gemini 2. This has no ‘MAX’ logos on the vehicle with information on the side explaining to passengers the use of the vehicle. First is 7609 NK59 DMO and then 7613 NK59 DMV.

7609 MAX

7613 MAX X10 X11

Posted by: SB Websites | May 4, 2015

ANE Sapphire X3/X4

Arriva Logo

The X3/X4 went through the Sapphire transformation in 2014 and operates 14 brand-new Wright Streetlite MAX Micro-Hybrid’s which were purchased from new and operate from Redcar depot; these Streetlites arrived with the same batch as the 5/5A examples seen here. The cluster of services that the Sapphire brand covers is a bit complicated which doesn’t necessarily follow the Sapphire customer charter but the corridor actually consists of 4 routes, the X3, X3A, X4 and 4. The X3 operates from Lingdale to Middlesbrough via Lingdale, Skelton, Saltburn, Marske and Redcar with the X3A operating Skelton ASDA to Saltburn and then following the same route as the X3. The 4 then runs from Whitby to Loftus via Sandsend, Runswick, Staithes and Loftus then running as an X4 to Middlesbrough via Brotton, Saltburn and Redcar. The X3 and X3A run hourly each with the X4/4 running every 30 minutes combining a 15 minute frequency between Middlesbrough and Saltburn on Monday to Saturday daytimes. The PVR of the service is 14 so a Sapphire reserve vehicle is used to keep the customer charter, it is a VDL SB200/ Wright Pulsar from the ’10 plate batch that was delivered to Stockton for the 9/27/29 services. The Streetlites are fitted ‘Micro-Hybrid’ technology, this recovers energy lost from braking to power the vehicle electrics and compressed air systems, saving up to 10% in fuel costs. Although the name itself is slightly misleading as the vehicles themselves are a standard diesel Streetlite drivetrain, as opposed to a small diesel engine and electric motor in normal hybrids. First is Streetlite 1565 NK64 EFB and Pulsar 1440 NK10 CFA.

1565 Sapphire X3 X4

1440 Sapphire Spare

Posted by: SB Websites | May 4, 2015

ANE Sapphire X21/X22

Arriva Logo

The X21/X22 joined the Sapphire brand in 2014 and operates a fleet of Alexander-Dennis Enviro 400’s; 9 of these are from the ’57 plate batch and fully refurbished to Sapphire specification and 7 purchased brand new in 2014 and the service operates from the Northumbria division of Ashington depot. The X21 operates from Newbiggin-by-the-Sea to Newcastle Haymarket via Wansbeck Hospital, Ashington Bus Station, Stakeford, Bedlington Station, Nedderton Village and Regen Centre. The X22 then runs from Ashington Bus Station to Newcastle Haymarket via Stakeford, Wansbeck Estate and then following the same route as the X21 from Regent Centre to Newcastle City Centre. The X21 and X22 both operate every 20 minutes and combine to every 10 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes. The PVR of the service is 16 but with the refurbished Enviro 400’s being temperamental a backup is required which is a refurbished ’09 plate Enviro 400 that started life at Darlington on the 1 and 1b services. First is 7506 NK57 GWY, backup 7518 NK09 FNE and new 7525 NK15 GFV.

7506 Sapphire X21 X22

7518 Sapphire Spare

7525 Sapphire X21 X22

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