Thursday 10 December 2020

Quayside Quaylink Considerations (2)

 It Seemed A Good Idea At The Time

Until the 1960s, the beating heart of Newcastle upon Tyne was The River Tyne. Historically that is where people lived and worked and, in their few precious moments of free time, played - i.e. went to the pub! The narrow streets adjacent to the Quayside were tightly packed and full of people.
This was the Quayside on Sunday morning in 1908 - an early Sunday Market!
The middle classes and the posh people lived in the new development up the hill (don't they always?) and the hills were steep ...
... as they are still.

So when massive regeneration plans were afoot at the start of the 21st century, it was deemed necessary to provide the Quayside areas of Newcastle and Gateshead with a bus service. It would need to be heavily subsidised but the betterment project was deemed so vital for the life of these communities that no expense was to be spared.

QuayLink was conceived as a frequent, high quality bus service, for the newly developed and expanding Quayside area. Despite being located a short distance from the town centres of Newcastle and Gateshead, the area was poorly served by public transport.

In June 2002, Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council, along with Nexus, invited tenders for operation of a proposed Tyne Quayside Link, as well as the manufacture of eight alternatively-fuelled buses for a Quayside Transit System. The proposed project, scheduled for launch in 2004, would cost £5 million – with £3 million coming from the local transport plan, £1 million from regeneration funds for Gateshead, and £1 million from the Quayside developers. As well as new buses, the project involved the construction of a bus lane, and improvements to some bus stops, making them fully accessible.
QuayLink brand was launched in July 2005, using a fleet of ten Designline Olymbus turbine-electric hybrid vehicles – a project costing £8 million.
The buses were operated under contract by Stagecoach and they looked suitably trendy, suitably weird and suitably go-getting.

Except that they didn't work!

The technology seemed a brill idea at the time. The buses were driven by electric motors with batteries charged in the depot overnight. So far so good; but it must be remembered that this technology was in its infancy and mainly used for milk floats! To boost the battery during the day each bus had a turbine powered by liquefied gas (Calor Gas if you like).

Unfortunately they darned hills up from the Quayside sucked the electric out of the batteries faster than the turbines could shove it back in; hence buses failing to complete their duties. Good old-tech polluting diesels were often substituted.
This happened more and more frequently so the oldies were painted in the Quaylink livery in the hope that people wouldn't notice.

A proposal to modify the buses with a diesel engine for charging (like today's hybrids) did not materialise; and, when the contract ended in 2010, the trendy vehicles were scrapped. But it seemed a good idea at the time.

There were two Q Routes ...
The Q1 ran from Central Station, the Q2 from Haymarket and they both descended the steepish Dean Street and under the approach viaduct to the station.
It is hard to gauge its slope, but maybe looks a bit steeper from the bottom.
The Q1 turned right and crossed the swing bridge ...
... and do its stuff on the Gateshead side. The Q2 veered left ad under the Tyne Bridge ...
... to regenerate Newcastle's decaying river bank areas. It went a bit further east via Walker Road ...
... to some anonymous new development near a Marina a k a St Peters Basin.
Really (and in some ways disappointingly) everything on the north bank is redevelopmentsville, but you do get a view over to at least one remnants of the commercial heritage. "The Baltic".
You pass one of these ...
... which is obviously "significant". fbb was intrigued by a bus stop at the "Swirle Pavilion" which sounded like a Victorian Music Hall but was, in fact, one of these:-
It derives its name from one of the streets that used to be there ...
... and does show how "re" the "generation" has been. You also get good views of the blinking bridge ...
... and the stainless steel Armadillo a k a The Sage. It's a concert hall, innit?
All of course can be viewed from the Gateshead side on the Q1. The whole area is impressive in an impersonal way but it would have been nice to preserve some of the grot, perhaps as a Wetherspoons pub? Instead there is the celebrated ...
... Pitcher ad Piano. It has a glorious view over the river ...
... despite its guise as a Public convenience from the road. 

Astoundingly, running all along the Quayside from the toilet block to a min roundabout ...
... is what looks like a dual carriageway with trees in the central reservation. But it isn't. The lane nearest the river is a bus lane!!!!!
It only serves the Quaylink and must surely be the most useless bit of bus lane in the country. It seemed a good idea at the time!

But, in 2010, the contract for the Quaylink, sans weird and not-working buses, passed from Stagecoach to GoAhead.

We will continue the tale tomorrow.

 Next Tyneside Quayside blog : Friday 10th December 


 fbb's Alphabetical Advent Calendar 

If this Advent Calendar announced that there was no such person as Jesus, there would be readers who would cry gleefully that at last these Christians were seeing sense. But of course there was a person that we call Jesus; no serious historian can deny that. But Jesus was not his name.

יְהוֹשֻׁעַ was his name in Hebrew.

Yəhôšua was his name transliterated from Hebrew using western letters.

Yeshua was his name in Aramaic, the language that "Jesus" spoke.

Joshua is the nearest modern name in English.

Traditionally we use the Greek or Roman transliteration of  his name (Jesus) and ALL of them mean "Saviour".

An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. She will have a son, and you will name him Jesus—because he will save his people from their sins.”

A week after his birth, when the time came for the baby to be presented in the Temple, he was named Jesus, the name which the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

Both Matthew and Luke are adamant that the baby should have the name of Joshua because of what he was born to do. And what better way of God becoming man that to give him a "normal" name, albeit with a powerful meaning.

Whilst we may enjoy the "pretty" cattle shed scenes and sing the familiar Carols; we should never forget that   CHRIST  mas  is all about what happened 30 years later.

Then let us all with one accord
sing praises to our heavenly Lord
who hath made heaven and earth of nought,
and with his blood mankind hath bought.
Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell,
born is the King of Israel.

We praise God who created the universe from nothing, and, through the blood of Jesus as the punishment for our sins, bought back mankind from their wrongdoings and would then accept them into eternity.

Here is a poem written for this  CHRIST  mas  by a very good friend and former colleague of your esteemed blogger.
Surely a better preset than anything Kriss-Muss can bring?

1 comment:

  1. Not sure why FBB thinks the Quayside is "the most useless bit of bus lane in the country". It isn't a bus lane but a bus only road (or bus link), the parallel general roads do not provide the through route the bus link does.