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Former bus driver remembers the good times at Sunderland depot visit

11 Jan 2016

A former Sunderland bus driver took a trip down memory lane when he was invited to a bus depot for the chance to experience the buses of yesteryear and today.

80-year old Leslie Good from Seaburn in Sunderland visited Stagecoach North East’s bus depot in Sunderland City Centre for a tour of the depot, including the engine pits where inspections take place, the MOT lane and re-upholstery workshop.

Organised by his daughter Judith Slocombe, Leslie enjoyed the chance to relive his driving days, when he drove the first 70-seat fleet line bus no 250 launched in 1962 for Sunderland Corporation. 

Hosted by Sunderland depot Assistant Operations Manager, Stephen Todd and Grahame Gibbon, engineering supervisor, Leslie was given the opportunity to take a look around some vintage buses which were brought in for the occasion, assisted by the North East Bus Preservation Trust.

The older style buses included a 268/E1 double decker from South Shields Busways, a 1723/24 City of Sunderland single decker from Sunderland Busways and a 19 Circle bus from Sunderland Corporation. To reflect the changes in buses throughout the years, Stagecoach lined up the latest gas bus with its modern eco-driving system. As part of the visit, Stephen researched the cost of the bus Leslie drove during his time as a bus driver, which was around £6,500, compared to around £150,000 for a gas bus with its new technology.

After leaving school, Leslie completed his national service, followed by some time on the railways as a signalman, before joining Sunderland Corporation in 1958. A bus driver for over eight years, Leslie was able to reminisce about his days behind the wheels during his visit.  “I really enjoyed being out and about driving and meeting people so it was the perfect job. £10 a week and then £20 overtime for school specials! I was really sad when I left, although I did move to a job which still involved being outside and meeting people, when I became a postman and then transport manager for the General Post Office.

“When I was a bus driver, I worked at depots in Fulwell and Hylton Road, and this depot didn’t exist at this time, so it has been great to have a look round and see how it has all changed. The visit has been fantastic, especially being able to see the old buses and sit in the cabs. Of course I would have liked to have driven a bus! In fact I would like to take them home! Thank you so much to Stagecoach North East for inviting me and taking the time, it has been a real nostalgia trip.”

Stephen Todd said: “It has been a real pleasure to show Leslie around our depot and to hear about his time as a bus driver and how it compares to now. I am delighted that he and his family have had such a good time and hope the experience brought back some fond memories.”