The region’s largest bus company, Go North East, welcomed hundreds of people to its special farewell bus event in Gateshead earlier this month.
The event, which took place at the Go North East’s Saltmeadows Road depot in Gateshead, was the company’s way of honouring and saying goodbye to the Scania L94 type of buses that has served the North East for almost 20 years and are now being retired as part of the operator’s investment in the latest generation low carbon buses.
The farewell event entertained hundreds of attendees with a display of the buses, exhibition stands, memorabilia, refreshments, a free shuttle bus service using the retiring bus type and even a commemorative ‘Scaniale’ IPA at The Central Bar in Gateshead.
On the same day, 15th December, train operator LNER ran its last scheduled Intercity 125 ‘HST’ departure from Newcastle. Respecting many attendees’ mutual interest in all things transport, an afternoon trip was laid on using a vintage Routemaster bus loaned to Go North East from the North East Bus Preservation Trust.
As part of the event, Go North East managed to raise £1,000 for Gateshead Foodbank ahead of the busy Christmas period, with bus and truck manufacturer Scania providing sponsorship to support the event and many Go North East employees volunteering their time to run the day.
Major investment from the bus operator over the years in state-of-the-art low-emission buses has seen the use of the Scania L94 buses reduce significantly, with the remaining buses set to be withdrawn completely from service in the coming months.
Martijn Gilbert, Managing Director at Go North East, said: “It was great to see so many people braving the cold to come and say farewell to a bus type that has served us so well.
“As with all things, there comes a time when you have to say goodbye. The buses, with their distinctive smiley faced fronts, will be replaced by the next generation of low-emission, environmentally friendly vehicles to further enhance the experience of bus travel as we continue to deliver a modern public transport system for the north east that makes the best use of road space to help reduce congestion and improve air quality in our towns and cities.
“We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone that joined us and to those that volunteered and supported us to help raise funds for Gateshead Foodbank ahead of the critical festive season.”