Arriva North East

Arriva North East
Parent Arriva
Headquarters Doxford Park, Sunderland
Service area County Durham
North Yorkshire
Service type Bus services
Depots 8
Fleet 575 (August 2015)

Arriva North East[1] is a bus operator in North East England. It is a subsidiary of Arriva.


East Lancs bodied Scania L113 in Middlesbrough in May 2009
Plaxton Prima bodied DAF SB3000 in Newcastle in May 2009
Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 in Newcastle in May 2009

In the 1980s as part of the privatisation of the National Bus Company, United Automobile Services was split in two with the northern part sold in a management buyout to Proudmutual[2] as Northumbria Motor Services.[1][3] In 1994 it was sold to British Bus.[4][5]

The County Durham, North Yorkshire and Teesside operations upon privatisation in 1987 were sold in a management buyout to Caldaire Holdings.[6] In 1992 it was sold to the Westcourt Bus Group,[7] in 1995 to National Express and again in July 1996 to the Cowie Group.[4]

Following the Cowie Group purchasing British Bus in August 1996, both were once again under common ownership, although North East Bus and Northumbria Motor Services continued to operate as separate entities. In November 1997 Cowie was rebranded as Arriva and new trading names introduced:

Wilson and reeves motor services

Gradually, the operations of Arriva North East and Arriva Northumbria were integrated, with common fleet numbering and management.[4]


Arriva North East is a major operator around County Durham, Tyneside and the Tees Valley and runs regular buses as far north as Berwick-upon-Tweed, west to Carlisle and as far south as Scarborough in North Yorkshire.


Arriva North East operates over 400 buses [8] on a mixture of local and interurban work.


Depots in company ownership are as follows:[8]

Arriva Durham County

Arriva Northumbria

Closures and take-overs


A bus depot operated at Richmond until 4 March 2006. From that date, the depot was closed with the only remaining Arriva services through Richmond being the routes X26/27/28 which were transferred to Faverdale depot. At this time most of the council supported services previously run by Arriva were taken on by Dales & District to the same timetables and staffed by many of the drivers from the former Richmond depot.

Bishop Auckland: The Eden

The Eden Bus Company was purchased by North East Bus in 1995 and operated from a base at West Auckland. This depot was subsequently closed and the operations moved to the Bishop Auckland depot, taking on the function of a "low cost unit". Of the Eden fleet, only the Leyland Nationals served for any length of time after the take over, though some native United vehicles did carry Eden fleet names. By the time the Arriva identity appeared, the Eden brand had ceased to be used. The Eden name was subsequently purchased from Arriva by Graeme Scarlett, who now operates a small fleet in a red and ivory livery.

Bishop Auckland: Go North East

In March 2006, Go North East announced it was withdrawing from Bishop Auckland with the exception of three flagship routes, mainly those linking to Durham and Newcastle, which were transferred to their Chester-le-Street depot. The bulk of its operations (but no vehicles) which had been taken over from OK Travel by Go-Ahead Northern in March 1995, were transferred to Arriva Bishop Auckland. The Go North East depot in Bishop Auckland has since been demolished.[8]

Darlington: Stagecoach

On 9 May 2007 it was announced that Arriva North East would take over Stagecoach North East's operations in Darlington, pending Office of Fair Trading approval.[10] By 26 August 2007 all Stagecoach Darlington services, drivers and vehicles (except one) were transferred to Arriva North East and the ex Stagecoach fleet was repainted. From 9 March 2008 all Darlington operations moved to the Faverdale depot. Arriva's previous depot at Feethams then briefly operated as an administrative outpost, until the Tubwell Row offices were refurbished. The Feethams depot is now closed and has been demolished.[8] The site now belongs to Darlington Borough Council, a car park was built on the site. This car park has now been replaced with a cinema and restaurant complex, due to open in 2016.


Loftus depot closed on 17 January 2009. Prior to this, services X3/X4 LoftusMiddlesbrough and 789 RedcarEasington were transferred to the Redcar depot with effect from 17 November 2008. After the closure, services 56/X56 MiddlesbroughWhitby were shared between Stockton depot (most of the short journeys) and Whitby outstation (the rest), while Redcar gained services 65/65A MiddlesbroughLoftus and Whitby outstation gained service 828 Laurence Jackson School – Lingdale and kept all of their existing work.[8]


In March 2010 Arriva North East took over Go North East's Ashington depot (which was located in Jubilee Industrial Estate) in exchange for the operation of Hexham depot.[11] Arriva jointly operates service 685 Newcastle – Hexham – Carlisle service with Stagecoach in Cumbria, with Arriva's buses on the route operating from the Jesmond depot.


On 1 December 2012 Durham – (Waddington Street) was closed with the completion of the new Belmont depot, despite being only one minute away from Durham bus station. By July 2013 it had been demolished with the site being redeveloped for residential use.[12]


During March 2014, all buses and employees transferred to the new depot on Lintonville Parkway, which is a five-minute walk and drive from the original depot. The new depot was officially opened by Ashington's longest serving driver and engineer. The drivers' rest room and supervisor's office remained in the old depot building until November 2014, when a nearby derelict building was refurbished for the drivers' rest room. The supervisor's office was moved into a portacabin on the main area of the bus station. As of August 2015, the depot had been completely demolished.

In popular culture

In August 2016, DalesBus route 830 operated by an Arriva North East Optare Solo from Richmond to Ingleton, was the subject of an episode of television series BBC Four Goes Slow entitled The Country Bus with a series record average audience of 800,000.[13][14]


  1. 1 2 Companies House extract company no 237558 Arriva Northumbria Limited formerly Northumbria Motor Services Limited
  2. Companies House extract company no 2106786 The Proudmutual Transport Group Limited
  3. History North East Arriva
  4. 1 2 3 1998 Cowie Handbook, British Bus Publishing ISBN 1-897990-71-5
  5. Companies House extract company no 2756786 British Bus Limited formerly British Bus plc
  6. Companies House extract company no 2066896 Yorkshire Bus Holdings Limited formerly Caldaire Holdings Limited
  7. Companies House extract company no 2953095 United Automobile Services Limited formerly Westcourt Bus Group Limited
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 Arriva North East / Nothumbria Fleetlist Archived 7 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Jeff's Bus Lane 6 June 2012
  9. Unwrapping a new bus depot for Durham Archived 5 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Arriva
  10. "Arriva – Cheaper travel for passengers as Arriva takes over Stagecoach's Darlington services". Arriva. 9 May 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  11. Anticipated acquisition by Go Ahead North East Limited of the bus operations of Arriva Northumbria Limited in Hexham, Northumnberland Archived 5 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Office of Fair Trading 26 May 2010
  12. Go-ahead for housing plan on old bus depot site Sunderland Echo 16 November 2012
  13. Slow TV bus tour of Yorkshire Dales drives nearly a million viewers The Daily Telegraph 30 August 2016
  14. Country Bus: How a two-hour bus trip of the Yorkshire Dales caused a social media stir The Yorkshire Post 31 August 2016

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