Photo © Alan R Hall. Please do not re-post without permission.
Wright Bros TTY990 was a Bedford SB1 with Duple C41F bodywork which had been new in May 1961 to Hollings of North Road, Wallsend. It is seen at Alston, operating the 0910 Newcastle to Keswick journey; there was a 15 minute refreshment stop at Alston.
Earlier, TTY and her crew will have operated the 0645 from Nenthead to Alston and the 0700 from Alston to Newcastle, arriving at 0847. The bus behind will have been brought in service from Nenthead by an OMO driver who will take over TTY at Alston and the early crew off TTY will return in it to Nenthead. The OMO driver will take TTY to Keswick before returning, 2 hours 50 minutes later, to Alston. There, he will transfer through passengers from TTY onto a coach from Wright Bros’ Blucher depot which will have left Newcastle at 1600, bound for Alston. The crew off the coach from the Newcastle end – the conductress, almost always, being the formidable Mrs Frances Reed (née Wright) – will return to Newcastle with their own coach and the Nenthead OMO man will take TTY (in service) back to Nenthead for the night.
For decades, Wright Bros’ Newcastle to Keswick service operated daily throughout the year, although curtailed at Penrith in Wintertime, and (almost) always got through irrespective of the weather, the result of employing drivers who were experienced in the harsh Winter conditions frequently encountered in the North Pennines. Today, the service operates only between the first Friday in July and the last Sunday in September and is operated from Blucher depot; the morning run from Alston to Newcastle and the afternoon return are no more despite being the subject of a prolonged campaign a few years ago. Wright’s service from Alston to Haltwhistle - as well as a positioning run to and from Hexham – is now, somewhat incongruously, operated by GNE (Tynedale Links) and their Nenthead to Carlisle runs are covered by Telford’s of Newcastleton on two days a week during term times. This leaves Wright Bros with only a handful of Nenthead to Alston runs and the Tuesday only Alston to Hexham via the West Allen (dating from 1926) which operate all the year round. Aside from these, their main work is contracts and hires although the business of ferrying big-name bands around Europe on sleeper coaches has ended. The West Allen service has the honour of being the highest stage-carriage service in England, reaching a height of 1,999 feet above sea level close to the Cumbria/Northumberland border on the bleak moorland near Coalcleugh. Until 1967, another Wright Bros service held the record; this was the service to St John’s Chapel in Weardale which reached a height of 2,056 feet at Killhope Cross!
Photo taken by Alan Hall, c.1969, Alston, Henderson's Garage
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