Tuesday 15 July 2014

Superficially Studying Shields Man & Shieldsman

fbb has acquired most of the core information for this blog from Nexus, the transport authority for Newcastle and Sunderland. Typically he has done a bit of enhancement! Your esoterica-loving blogger was directed to this piece of research whilst staying with No. 3 son at Shoreham Beach; of which more in due course.

Historical documents indicate that there was a ferry service operating between North and South Shields this long ago

A steam packet operated between North and South Shields

The North Shields Ferry Company obtained a charter to operate the ferry service that exists today. Their first three ferry boats were: Baron Newcastle, Durham and Northumberland. The Baron Newcastle was eventually replaced by Tyne


The Tyne Direct Ferry Company began a service with a ferry called Percy

The Whitehill Point Ferry started up with a ferry called Favourite
1875 map showing longer route (as present)
and "direct" route

 1862 to 1908 
The paddle steamers of the Tyne General Ferry Company also provided a passenger service between Elswick (north bank of the river, opposite Swalwell. map bottom left) and South Shields (opposite Tynemouth, top right) ...
... stopping 21 times in as many miles. The company went into liquidation as a result of competition from the faster electric trams

The Tyne Improvement Commission bought the three ferry companies and their vessels.

mid-Tyne ferry

At this point there were 11 ferry routes across the Tyne between Newburn and the mouth of the river. The Shields ferry, of course, carried cars as well as walking passengers.

The Tyne cycle and pedestrian tunnels were opened.

The Tyne (road) Tunnel was opened by H M The Queen, resulting in a huge reduction in ferry traffic. Before it was opened, the three ferry boats then in operation (South Shields, Tynemouth and Northumbrian) carried about 400,000 cars each year, as well as countless pedestrians.
The Tyne Tunnel also caused the ferry between Jarrow and Howdon to be discontinued. All four tunnels link Jarrow with Howdon.

The service known as the Market Place Ferry, the only service which survives today, was taken over by the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive (PTE).
The Freda Cunningham was built to their order in 1972.

The PTE subsequently rebranded itself as Nexus.

To complete this overview, a second Tyne Tunnel was opened in 2011, also by H M The Queen.
Also, the cycle and pedestrian tunnels are currently closed for refurbishment ...
... and replaced by a bus shuttle.
Sadly, you can't take your bike on the bus. But, after the last bus at 1945/2000, if you need to cross and can convince the authorities if your genuine need, there are unspecified special arrangements.

And finally (sort of), here is the current, easy-to-remember ferry timetable.
And one other delight. There is a bus to link the ferry with North Shields Metro station ...
... which is free, free, free (!) for ferry ticket holders.
This is good news for we creaky elderly, 'cos it is up a steep hill!
And Shieldsman?

That was the second new ferry in the PTE era, operating from 1976.
First, the Good News
According to "Local Transport Today" website Transport Xtra, the DfT is preparing to scrap its online journey planning service Transport Direct.

The opening up of transport data has allowed private sector services to emerge – a journey planner was recently added to Google Maps – and raised questions about the need for a Government system.

The DfT appointed consultant AECOM to review Transport Direct last year.

AECOM Technology Corporation is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government.
AECOM's core philosophy

The DfT has now issued a statement saying: “We have concluded that, subject to an assessment of the new national services and the provision of accessible travel itineraries for users with mobility limitations, it is no longer necessary for the Government to also provide journey planning services. The Department will continue to publish data to migrate capability to others and also to liaise with interested parties. Once the assessment set out above has been completed, the minister will make a final decision on exiting from the Transport Direct service.”

Second, the Bad News

We will all be using Google Maps!

Better stay at home, then.
 Next ferry blog : Wednesday 16th July 


  1. According to the tunnel website - "The bus has capacity for 24 passengers and 16 bikes and will run approximately every half an hour." So it looks as though bikes can be taken.

  2. Minor correction to the history - in 1972, it was Tyneside PTE - the name change occurred in 1974, after it had absorbed Sunderland.

  3. Thanks, both. Maybe I was mixing up information about the 333 or is it the overnight "special arrangements" that cannot take bikes? I had forgotten that Sunderland joined the club later!