An open day at Stagecoach North East’s Stockton bus depot to celebrate 50 years of Teesside Municipal Transport proved to be a great success, with crowds of people visiting the local bus company to take part in a family fun day and commemorate the anniversary.
From the older generation who experienced the nostalgia of historic buses, to children as young as two who were excited to sit in the driver’s seat of the latest gas bus, it was a day to remember for all.
To mark the 50th year of the formation of the Teesside Municipal Transport, local bus interest group, The Teesside 500 Group, approached the local bus operator to host a joint celebratory event.
The Group’s four buses include one of the very first and one of the last to wear the Teesside Turquoise livery. All four participated in the day with three on display, the well-known 60-year-old Middlesbrough Corporation “M bus”, a 50-year-old Teesside Railless bus and a 45-year-old bus from TMT. The older pair had become Teesside Municipal Transport buses on its formation in 1968. A 40-year-old bus from Cleveland Transit (the successor organisation to TMT) provided a free shuttle service between Stockton High Street and the depot.
The Teesside 500 Group also arranged for a special surprise visitor to attend the open day - the TMT trolley bus – which in 1971 had been specially decorated as the “last” trolleybus after the system was abandoned in the April of that year and was one of Britain’s last trolley bus systems.
The Teesside 500 Group Chairman Bill Woodward said: “We were delighted that Stagecoach agreed to hold this celebration of a significant day in the history of public transport on Teesside. It was a pleasure and privilege to be involved ourselves and to show our vintage buses alongside examples from Stagecoach’s modern fleet. We hope this allowed visitors to see just how much the technology and, importantly, the passenger comfort of bus travel has changed in the intervening 50 years. We hope that everybody found the open day interesting and enjoyed the chance to see behind the scenes of a modern-day bus company. Most importantly, everybody seemed to be having a great time and that’s what a celebration is about”.
Alongside the Group’s vintage buses from the 1950s to the 1970s were Stagecoach’s latest modern eco friendly buses, with ‘green’ gas and hybrid buses for visitors to view.
Families were able to enjoy a number of bus-related activities and games, including a chance to see ‘behind the scenes’ at how the buses are maintained and hazard perception tests for all the family, as well as refreshments, stalls, a depot quiz and a recruitment stand.
Two particular highlights for the younger generation were riding through a bus wash and seeing their name on the bus destination screen, which made for great family photos.
Nathan Stanislawski, Operations Manager for Stagecoach North East’s Teesside depot, said: “It was fantastic to see so many people coming along and joining us in a celebration of Teesside’s bus history, and many thanks to The Teesside 500 Group for its help and support to make this open day a great success.
“We have been able to show a fantastic array of old and new vehicles and both The Teesside 500 Group and our staff were able to give visitors an insight into driving and working on the buses. We are delighted to have been able to share this 50th anniversary with the local community and that everyone had such a good time.”
Through the activities and the generosity of the public, funds were raised for local autism support charity, Daisy Chain and over £430 was collected on the day, which Stagecoach North East has topped up to make a donation of £750 to the Stockton children’s charity.