Wednesday 8 December 2021

Economic Bus Rides (3)

 Two In One?

This bus is parked outside the G R Anderson bus depot at the Bents, Whitburn, Tyne and Wear. If you look today you will find nothing of this building. It is gorn!
Mr Anderson's buses were painted in a rather fine maroon colour with cream extras and the brand name was "Economic".

And here is a rear end view of one of Mr E W Wilson's buses ....
... and one of his OB coaches in preservation. 
Mr Wilson's motors were painted in a rather fine maroon colour with cream extras and the brand name was "Economic".

In 1953, Mr Wilson built a posh new garage near Whitburn Colliery.
The colliery has long gone, as has the bathhouse and canteen ...
... (diagram above, lower left.) Wilson's garage was next to the baths/canteen building on the left of the main road. The premises of Shorts of Whitburn occupies the same site today and, quite possibly, part or all of the depot, much adapted!
So we have two completely separate companies operating together under the same brand which they continued to do until 1975.
Until the end, it remained an informal "gentleman's agreement" - two separate companies but one unified brand. What a good idea that was!

It was in 1925 that the chummy pair saw a business opportunity and started a bus route from Whitburn Colliery to the Sunderland tram terminus at Sea Lane, later Seaburn.
The service was extended to Monkwearmouth Station just across the bridge from Sunderland town centre. The service was also extended in the opposite direction to Marsden. The service travelled up the old toll road owned by the Harton Coal Company. However the toll was only paid on one day of the year, this was to stop the road becoming a public right of way.  Eventually the service was extended to South Shields and in 1929 extended to Park Lane in Sunderland.
The service was developed to operate two routes between Whitburn and South Shields ...
Those headed "C" ran via the Coast Road, whereas "H" designated buses via a more inland route, locally called "The High Road".
The detail has changed slightly but, in general terms, the routes as the same today.
But, before we bring the story up to date, we record that the Economic Business was bought by Tyne and Wear PTE in 1975. The depots were closed and the routes were given numbers in the 500 series as applied to the South Shields area.
Thus it was that the "gentleman';s agreement" service became part of the utterly anonymous PTE network.

But things changed with the creation of Busways Travel. The routes were re-renumbered as E1 and E2 and buses were delivered in "Economic" Livery - just two, but better than nothing.
One was lavishly (?) decorated (for Christmas)!
Sadly the recognition of this historical "joint" operation was not to last. With the purchase of Busways by Stagecoach all Economic identity was expunged, as were the depot based livery variations in the main fleet. It all became Stagecoach corporate.

There was one small exception. The route numbers E1 and E2 are retained ...
... and joined by an extra variant, E6.
At last, therefore, we have uncovered the truth about the "mystery picture" that started this series of posts.
To conclude this series, here is a slightly irrelevant postcard.
The loco is a B17 class, part of a batch named after footy teams. It and its train crosses the wear with a view of Sunderland trams on the parallel road bridge. The loco is in LNER apple green livery but shown above with early BR markings.

If you would like an "O" gauge model of "Sunderland" DJH produce an excellent metal kit.
Including wheels and motor it will set you back ...
... £1016.04.

And to get it as good as the illustration you would probably have to pay someone to build it and paint it - so not for the faint hearted or shallow pocketed!

 Next ToTo blog : Thursday 9th December 
Because the Israelites "messed up", their journey from slavery to the Promised Land was far from straightforward. In fact only two people who escaped from Egypt actually made it to Canna, the place where God would build them into a nation.

As they wandered, the key feature of their life was "The Tabernacle". [Don't get discombobulated by the weird word - it simply means "Tent"]
There, the people would experience
The Tabernacle would give then all the Help they needed and the Hope that one day they would reach the Promised Land.

But only if they did things God's Way!

1200 years later, Jesus said ...
... which makes that Tabernacle a pretty stunning visual aid and a picture of what CHRISTmas would be all about!



Mrs fbb's reclining armchair is malfunctioning. It reclines as it should, but fails to unrecline. It is not an electric chair but should click into the unreclined position with a deft movement of the body. Recently, No 1 son examined the problem fully but came to no conclusion.

When moving said chair for the Sunday and Monday meetings, fbb found the above piece of technology below the working parts.

Maybe a solution to the problem will spring to mind in due course!


  1. Economic's KUP 799 is an Albion Valiant, not an OB.

  2. I think you mean Canaan, not a Hebridean island......