North East-London overnight express
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.
TYNE and Wear Passenger Transport Executive and London Transport are co-operating in the operation of the first, Passenger Transport Executive sector, long distance inter-city express coach service. The service is being operated by Armstrong Galley, the coaching division of Tyne and Wear PTE, between Newcastle and Washington New Town and London.
Four top specification, MCW Metroliner, double-deck coaches have been bought specially for the service. Four departures a day in each direction will be operated including a night service, scheduled to arrive in London and Newcastle at 6.30 in the morning. The service is being backed by a strong marketing campaign and uses the brand name 'Clipper'.
Local television advertising in the North East and the use of W. H. Smith travel shops in London and area booking offices should give the new service wide exposure. London Transport is providing London seat charting facilities and a telephone credit card seat reservation service. LT has also allocated a bus stand near to Victoria bus and rail stations as a terminus for the service.
In the North East, Armstrong Galley has a network of 49 ticket agents in addition to the PTE Newcastle, Sunderland and South Shields offices.
The coaches are equipped with 69 reclining seats, a galley, toilet and washroom and a video system. Two man crews on each vehicle share driving and steward duties. In addition to selling a range of beverages and other refreshments the stewards will also supply passenger information and sell tickets for both the Clipper service and London Transport's Explorer, go anywhere, tickets. coaches are also fitted with British Telecom radio phones for passenger use. British Telecom is developing special coin boxes for these phones. These are expected to be ready by the autumn.
The Newcastle-London corridor is already served by National Express with both Rapide and conventional coach services and independent operator Blueline. They run high specification Setra coaches between the North East and the Kings Cross area of London. Armstrong Galley does not expect the new service to