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An overview of the system 1880 - 2000
A brief history of the system
Imperial Tramways Company
Middlesbrough Corporation Transport
Stockton Corporation Transport
Tees-side Railless Traction Board
Teesside Municipal Transport
Cleveland Transit Ltd
The later years of the 19th century saw a very rapid development of industry along the banks of the River Tees.
The long established town of Stockton-on-Tees grew quickly, with the development of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, in the 1825.
The lower reaches of the river, with their deeper sheltered water, soon drew the attention of the industrialists, Middlesbrough rapidly becoming the magnet for investment in iron and steel production, with its associated heavy engineering workshops.
The population grew extremely rapidly as a consequence, requiring mobility to places of employement, so opportunities arose for investors to take advantage of a market for public transport.
From the 1870s onwards, several privately owned tramways, operated by horse or steam, plied for trade both in Middlesbrough and Stockton; all the surviving ones were taken into the control of Imperial Tramways in 1896.
A new electrified tramway system started in 1898 running on three-foot-seven-inch gauge track. The main route ran from Norton to North Ormesby, with a second line running from Middlesbrough Railway Station to Linthorpe village.
By 1914, competition was coming from small local bus operators so Imperial started its own services using motor buses, the first to Grove Hill and later from Stockton to Yarm and from Middlesbrough to Stokesley.
During 1921, the local authorities of Middlesbrough, Thornaby and Stockton on Tees exercised their option and purchased the vehicles and services of Imperial TramwaysCo. Ltd.
Middlesbrough Corporation ran its own fleet but the Thornaby and Stockton tramwayswere jointly operated by the two councils.
Meanwhile, a consortium of local business interests had promoted services in Cargo Fleet and the neighbouring South Bank under the name of South Bank, Normanby and Grangetown Railless Traction Company. Electric buses were used, taking overhead power from locally generated low voltage electricity. Because they ran on rubber tyres and not rails, they became known as the "trackless".
The scheme was eventually taken into municipal control by Eston Urban District Council and Middlesbrough Corporation under a joint board, the Tees-side Railless Traction Board, and opened in 1919.
Services developed rapidly during the 1920s. Motor buses were becoming larger and much more reliable and were considered to be preferable to the ageing trams. 1934 saw the final abandonment of the trams, many more motor buses then being bought to replace them and expand services.
The second world war years saw a period of austerity in the bus industry. Supply difficulties, both of vehicles and labour with which to operate them, brought many changes. By the late 1940s, moves were being made to amalgamate the local systems, but were put off by talk of local government re-organisation.
This however didn't come about till 1968, when the County Borough of Teesside was formed. It brought together municipal transport administrations from South Bank to Stockton on Tees. The new amalgated operating entity was Teesside Municipal Transport.
Old loyalties and customs died hard, and the job of unifying the system was fraught with difficulty. Staffing shortages, brought about by the higher wage structures being offered by expanding local industries, caused great disruption in services, and passenger numbers began to fall. Many innovative changes were made however, particularly the integration of services. Services went where the passengers wanted to be, as opposed to where the boundary confines of the individual operators had dictated.
Further local government re-organisation followed only six years later, in 1974, when an enlarged local authority, Cleveland County, was formed. The name of the bus undertaking was changed to Cleveland Transit. A lot of rationalisation was achieved, depots were closed as the fleet slimmed but services were expanded into East Cleveland for a while. In 1986 the undertaking was reconstituted as a council-owned company.
By 1991, central Government was in the process of taking the bus industry out of public ownership, and a decison was taken to sell off the Company. A management-employee buy-out was completed and Cleveland Transit Ltd came into being. Expansion came when the assets of Kingston Upon Hull City Transport Ltd. were accquired in 1993.
More rationalisation quickly followed, but de-regulation was allowing other operaters into a hitherto controlled market. Services were decimated, and many became unprofitable and were abandoned or rationalised.
Nationally, it was an era when large PLCs were coming into the market, and in 1994 Cleveland Transit passed into the Stagecoach empire. Darlington and Hartlepool were brought under its control as part of a greater Teesside unit. It operated as an autonomous Company until 2000 when it became part of Stagecoach North East.
The Tramway Years
|Upper left: Original horse tram of 1978. Upper right: Stockton Tram loco and trailer car
lower left: Single deck car 1901 Lower right: Opening day at Norton
1875 - 1934
Middlesbrough and Stockton Tramways Co. Ltd. (1875-1878)
Stockton and Darlington Steam Tramways Co. Ltd. (1881-1893)
Imperial Tramways Co. Ltd. (1878-1921)
Stockton and District Tramways Co. Ltd. (1893-1896)
Stockton-on-Tees Corporation Tramways (1921-1931) and Transport (1931)
Thornaby on Tees Corporation Tramways (1921-1930)
Middlesbrough Corporation Tramways (1921-1933) and Transport (1933-1934)
(The dates are of operation, not of the existence of the owning bodies)
The first tramway in the district was opened by the Middlesbrough and Stockton Tramways Co. on the 20th January 1875. The horse-drawn cars ran on standard (4ft 8.5 in. gauge) lines between Middlesbrough (Albert Road) and Newport.
A second line opened on the 17th April 1876 from Albert Road to Linthorpe (Benson Street). In 1878 the Company sold out to the Imperial Tramways Co. and a short extension was built along Calvert Street to the Newport Ferry landing.
A further extension, north, from Albert Road, via Albert Bridge to Ferry Road, was opened on the 8th February 1882. The depot and stables were at Newport.
The lines closed down in 1897-1898, as work on the new electric system progressed. Only two photographs are known, single-deck no 12 at Linthorpe, and the touched-up view of a double-decker on the Newport line, under the title "Teddy Brown and his tram"
The Stockton and Darlington Steam Tramways Co. operated steam trams of 4 ft. gauge in Stockton and horse trams on a 3 ft gauge in Darlington. The two were never connected, nor could they be, but the company's annual returns gave the figures, including rolling stock, for the whole as a single undertaking.
In Stockton, the main line was from Norton Green, where there was a reversing triangle, to Bridge Road, just short of the river. A branch ran via Yarm Lane and Yarm Road to St. Peters Church and a shorter one via Bishopton Lane to Stockton station. The opening date was 17th November 1881.
The locomotives had the operating motion enclosed, as required by law. They hauled open-top four-wheel double-deck trailers, nos. 1-8. Later there was one top-covered bogie car (no.9), but it seems that it saw little use. The depot was in Bridge Road, on the site later occupied by Stockton Corporation Transport.
In 1887, soon after the earlier bridge was replaced by the much more substantial Victoria Bridge, the tramway was extended over the river from Bridge Road to the Harewood Arms, in what was then known as South Stockton. The two branch lines, however, had short lives. South Stockton was taken into the new Borough of Thornaby-on-Tees in 1892. The tramway company failed in 1893 and the undertaking passed to a new owner, the Stockton and District Tramways Co., but this too failed, in 1896, whereupon the Imperial Tramways Co. took over. The steam cars were withdrawn in 1897 to permit construction of the new electric system.
The Imperial Tramways Co. constructed a unified electric system connecting Middlesbrough and Stockton. From Norton Green, this extended the former steam route beyond Thornaby to Newport, and extended the former horse route beyond Middlesbrough Town Hall to a terminus nominally at North Ormesby, but actually reaching only as far as Borough Road East. The Calvert Street spur was abandoned.
From Middlesbrough railway station, the new Linthorpe line extended beyond Benson Street, to a new terminus at Roman Road, but the line northwards to the ferry was not included in the initial electrification.
The new line was to a nominal 3ft. 6in. gauge but was actually 3ft.7in.It was opened on the 16th of July 1898 and fifty open-top 60 seat bogie cars (1-50) were soon in service. This is thought to have been the first major tramway in the world to be thus equipped. Significant future extensions might have been expected in such a rapidly expanding industrial area, but the only one actually opened was from Middlesbrough station to the ferry, on the 16th August 1901. There were ten new single-deck tramcars (51-60) for operation beneath Albert Bridge. Cars No. 50 and 37 respectively were converted to single-deck in 1912 and 1913, the latter having collided with Albert Bridge, an occurrence to be repeated all too often in the motorbus era.
Under the appropriate legislation, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Thornaby Corporations each opted to purchase its own share of the Imperial undertaking, and this took effect at midnight on Saturday 2nd April 1921, municipal operation commencing on the following Monday morning the 4th.
Thus, after almost twenty three-years of operation as a unified undertaking, the system was split in two, Stockton and Thornaby operating through a Joint Committee, Middlesbrough took all the single deckers and nineteen of the double-deckers, intended to be numbered 100-130, although the renumbering process was never completed. They subsequently added nine new top-covered double deckers numbered 132-140. Stockton and Thornaby took twenty-nine double-deckers, which ran from 1-29, renumbered where necessary.
On the 1st August 1930, Thornaby sold the whole of its tramway interest to Stockton. The joint through route between Norton and North Ormesby' ceased on 31st December 1931 and the Linthorpe route on 9th June 1934, as noted in the municipal pages. The whole was not to be re-unified until the formation of the Teesside County Borough on 1st April 1968.
In their latter years, the trams gained a sorry reputation at the hands of the local press, by which they are still burdened, but their problems were to no small extent a consequence of the timing and the terms of the municipal purchase. The success of Tees-side's electric trams from their inception in 1898 should be emphasised. With frequent services they linked areas, which were previously, somewhat isolated from each other, and in so doing turned the notion of Tees-side into a reality.
The livery used by the early operators is a little unclear, although the nineteenth century Middlesbrough and Stockton Tramway Co. used red, but the shade is unknown.
The Stockton and Darlington Steam Tramway Company used chocolate and white.
Imperial Tramways used an eye-catching livery of vermilion and white with Imperial Tramway Company fleet names on the rocker panels
Tees-Side Railless Traction Board
1919 - 1968
From the very first years of the 20th Century, there were several plans to create a tramway system from North Ormesby to Grangetown via South Bank. Imperial Tramways was made one such proposal, but this, together with others, came to nothing until 1911 when a local syndicate of businessmen made a proposal for a railless system under the title of the North Ormesby, South Bank, Normanby and Grangetown Railless Traction Company. Parliamentary consent was obtained on 17th August 1912 This was to run buses on solid rubber tyres taking power from two wires overhead.
Work commenced, the first pole to support the overhead feed wires was erected at Normandy in July 1915 and the entire system was ready 8 months later. There was much delay in obtaining the rolling stock. The preferred vehicle builder had financial difficulties and new arrangements had to be made to acquire the "trackless" vehicles. The 550-volt power for the two overhead supply wires for the driving motors was generated at a local steel works owned by Bolckow Vaughan and Co. Ltd.
The main route ran from Smeaton Street, North Ormesby via Cargo Fleet and South Bank to the Market Square in Grangetown. There was a spur from South Bank to Normanby; this was not completed to Eston Square, which had been its intended terminus.
Middlesbrough, Thornaby and Stockton Corporations took powers in 191p, to take over the services of the Imperial Tramways Company and at the same time, Middlesbrough, jointly with Eston Urban District Council, took powers to acquire the "Trackless". A joint Board was formed with the title "Tees-side Railless Traction Board", Middlesbrough owning two thirds of the equity and Eston the other third.
The first car to run experimentally over the entire system did so on 19th September 1919. this being a chassis supplied by the Cleveland Car Company of Darlington with a body supplied by the English Electric Company and electrical equipment by Dick Kerr and Co. The vehicle was completed at the Cargo Fleet depot.
The official opening of the system took place on Saturday the 8th November 1919 at 11 a.m., the first car being driven by Coun. W.G.Grace, Chairman of the Board. Eventually in 1824 the Board recognized the need to extend the route to its originally intended point in Eston Square and a unique hybrid petrol-electric vehicle Tilling Stevens vehicle was obtained. This operated as an electric vehicle to Normanby and continued, powered by its petrol engine, to Eston.
In 1928 motor buses were acquired to augment the trolley service, and also to eventually operate a route from Middlesbrough to Eston which was designated "T".
The wartime industrial effort required the use of larger vehicles and double-deck buses were obtained in 1941, shortly followed by double deck trolley buses. Special arrangements had to be made to allow the trackless vehicles to pass under Grangetown railway bridge, the trolley poles passing down the nearside of the upper deck to a lower level in order to give adequate clearance.
I.C.I. was expanding its Wilton site and twelve more double deck motorbuses were obtained in 1949. Further double deck trolleybuses came in 1950, replacing single deckers.
The wires were extended from Grangetown to Kingsley Road in 1950 and again, with the new housing developments, to Fabian Road in 1964. After a long delay, and a legal struggle against United Automobile Services, the route was again extended to Eston Square, so making circular services possible via Normanby. This extension opened on 31st March 1968, just as Teesside Municipal Transport was coming into being.
The trolley bus system finally closed in 1971; it was in fact, the penultimate closure of trackless systems in the United Kingdom.
Both the trolleybuses and motor buses were always painted in dark green. Initially the upper halves of the trolleys were cream. From 1932 small numbers of trolleys had silver roofs but then this was changed to white. In the 1940s and 50s there were three cream bands on all double deck vehicles but eventually this was reduced to two. Some of the wartime vehicles came in utility gray.
Initially the fleet name was in Roman capitals with some shading but in 1932 the well-known Tees-Side Railless Traction Board logo was introduced and retained till the T.M.T. days
Middlesbrough Corporation Tramways
1921 - 1923
1933 - 1968
Middlesbrough Corporation Tramways Department commenced direct operation of local passenger transport in 1921 in succession to the Imperial Tramways Company Limited, and ceased in 1968 when the Corporation itself was subsumed into the new Teesside County Borough authority. Tramcars were the main form of traction for the first ten years, but they finally ceased in 1934. Trolleybuses were considered but not adopted, despite the authority's involvement (from 1919) in the system of the Tees-Side Railless Traction Board (q.v.). Motor buses were insignificant at first, yet in due course they not only replaced the tramcars but were the means of a vast expansion to levels of service and efficiency which were previously unimaginable. This was largely the work of the legendary General Manager, Frank Lythgoe, who took office three months after the last tram, and remained until his retirement in 1964. The department's title was changed from 'Tramways' to 'Transport' in 1933 and the Transporter Bridge was directly operated by the Transport Department from 1936.
Operation commenced on 4th April 1921 with thirty-one tramcars and five motorbuses acquired with the Corporation's share of the Imperial Tramways undertaking, augmented by six new motorbuses bought in readiness. Trams were operated jointly with Stockton and Thornaby Corporations between North Ormesby and Norton Green, and separately between the Transporter and Linthorpe. Buses ran from the Exchange to Grove Hill and to Stokesley and new services from Port Clarence (Transporter) to Seaton Carew (joint with West Hartlepool Corporation) and to Haverton Hill were commenced at once.
In the first year, nine new top-covered double-deck tramcars and two more motor buses were purchased, the single deck trams were re-equipped, a large new tram and bus depot was built at Parliament Road, and the single track in Grange Road was doubled. The next year saw further track doubling and renewals. The town was extending rapidly, but the tramway system was never to reach further than it had done in 1901. This, despite the improvements, was to be its undoing. The shortcoming was most acutely felt at North Ormesby, where the trams stopped short at the end of Borough Road East on account of the level crossing. Later housing development at Linthorpe and Acklam had the same effect, with buses introduced to serve the new areas, taking traffic away from the trams, yet not making a profit themselves.
A Queen?s Square to North Ormesby bus service was introduced in 1926, but by 1927 the Corporation had withdrawn from the Haverton Hill, Stokesley and Seaton Carew services. The indication of services by letters commenced in 1927 and remained a distinctive characteristic of the undertaking until the end. In that year, services A and B were introduced to Acklam, C and D to Grove Hill and E and F to North Ormesby, each pair being a circular showing one letter clockwise and the other anti-clockwise. A service to Brambles Farm was introduced in 1931, letter unknown but possibly G, and the letter H was allocated to the Marton service, which was the remnant of the Stokesley service. Double-deck buses had been introduced in 1929, and their numbers were greatly increased in 1931. They took over from the trams between Norton and North Ormesby on New Year's Day 1932, the route being lettered O and immediately extended to North Ormesby Market Place. At the other end of the route, some journeys were soon extended to Ashville Avenue. Also in 1932 a Stockton via Acklam service commenced, numbered 11: like the O, it was jointly run with Stockton Corporation, but not with Thornaby Corporation, who had sold their tramway interests to Stockton in 1930. A Newport to Oxford Road circular was also introduced in 1932, lettered J and K.
In 1934, the opening of the Newport Bridge led to the extension of service 11, to operate Stockton-Acklam-Middlesbrough-Billingham (Greenwood Road). Futher double deck deliveries that year, this time of the 'lowbridge' style to negotiate Albert Bridge, enabled the remaining tram route to close on 9th June, replaced by bus services M and P. The M extended beyond Linthorpe to Oxford Road End but the P did not. At the same time a revised J and K circular linked Newport, Cambridge Road and Grove Hill, while the E and F incorporated the Brambles Farm service. Fleet renewals between 1934 and 1940 enabled double-deck buses to replace single-deckers on all the town services. A revised A and B service, not now a circular, was extended to Mandale Road in 1935 and to Hall Drive in 1936; buses showed letter B to Acklam and A to Exchange. Also in 1935 the P service was extended to Thornfield Road, and in 1937 the M was extended alternately to Lodore Grove and Levick Crescent. A new B service via Green Lane to Brookfield was introduced in 1938. The 'Panther Service' operating to Seamer was taken over on New Year's Day, 1939 and later took the letter S.
The second world war (1939-1945) was a period of austerity and restraint, and a reduced 11 service was split at Middlesbrough, and stayed that way. Rapid growth re-commenced after the war, with service A extended to Malvern Drive in 1946 and a new service G introduced to Thorntree (Ruth Avenue). The busiest year was 1949, with the start of services I to Saltersgill, L (Link) from West Lane via Ladgate Lane to Brambles Farm, T to Tollesby and Y to Thorntree (Greenway). In 1952 services E and F were separated, and in 1953 the Q and R circular replaced the I service. Service N commenced to Berwick Hills in 1953 and was extended in 1955. Service U to Park End was introduced in 1954, and the Z to Park End via Marton Road in 1957, in which year the Billingham 11 was extended to Rievaulx Avenue. The U and Z operated as a circular from 1960, though without through fares across the outer terminus. The B was extended to Stainton in 1961 and the Z diverted to Easterside from 1963. Some journeys on service O were diverted to Blue Hall at Norton in 1965, but reverted to Norton Green in 1966. Also in 1966 a new service commenced jointly with Stockton Corporation (who provided the vehicles) between Middlesbrough and Thornaby (New Town Centre) via Acklam, and finally the A service was extended, despite sustained objections, to the Oval, Brookfield.
In the period 1966-1968, many other substantial alterations were discussed, planned and agreed, but none came into effect until after the Middlesbrough authority had been absorbed into Teesside on 1st April, 1968.
Livery of the undertaking's vehicles
The tram-cars acquired from Imperial Tramways were subsequently painted dark blue and cream, with chocolate under frames
Early motorbuses were blue with cream upper panels but later deliveries had unpainted aluminium lower panels, to make repair easier.
From 1936 Mr. Lythgoe introduced a new livery of Middlesbrough Blue, with two county cream bands. Gold lining and a narrow black band separating the colours enhanced the whole. Crests were carried on both upper and lower deck sides and on the rear panels. Later versions had only the lower cream band.
Turquoise and cream (the cream bands were lined in blue) was introduced in 1966 in advance of the Teesside amalgamation
Stockton and Thornaby Corporation Tramways - 1921
Stockton Corporation Motor Bus Services - 1921
Stockton Corporation Tramways - 1930
Stockton Corporation Transport - 1931
On the second of April 1921 Stockton Corporation and Thornaby Corporation jointly formed a committee to operate the former tram services of Imperial Tramways in the towns and services restarted on the 4th April. The assets were split between the two Boroughs. Stockton Corporation owned the two depots, Norton and Bridge Road, with its adjoining power station but the track bed was owned by each of the authorities in which it lay. Nine double-deck cars were acquired by Thornaby Corporation and twenty by Stockton Corporation. Stockton owned a small number of motorbuses from the Imperial fleet.. By 1929 Stockton Corporation had decided that it wished to replace its tramcars with motorbuses and despite opposition by Thornaby and Middlesbrough Corporations finally did so at the end of 1931 when the Norton Green to Middlesbrough services were replaced by motorbuses. A further service jointly with Middlesbrough was initiated running via Thornaby and Acklam to Middlesbrough Town Hall from 1932.
Thornaby Corporation sold its tramway interests to Stockton on 1st August 1930, and in November 1931 Stockton combined its tramway and omnibus committees into a single Transport Committee in anticipation of the tramway abandonment.
Various motorbuses had been purchased by Stockton throughout the 1920s from a variety of manufacturers including A.E.C., Ford and Dennis and, from 1928, the new Leyland TD1. In 1930 and 1931, a series of trials was conducted with vehicles designed to replace the tramcars. Daimler, Thornycroft, Sunbeam and Maudslay buses were tried but only a single Crossley Condor and A.E.C. were bought, Daimler vehicles being adjudged most suitable.
Local operators Layfield and Harewood were purchased to consolidate services in 1932.
Further batches of petrol engine Daimler double deck vehicles followed and a batch of Leyland Titans in 1938. The war years saw many changes to services and vehicle policy. Stockton was allocated vehicles by the Ministry of Supply but had to negotiate loans of vehicles from the London Passenger Transport Board, Manchester Corporation and Yorkshire Woolen District Transport Company, among others, to enable it to meet the additional traffic that was generated by the war effort on Teesside.
After the cessation of hostilities, more Daimlers were obtained as well as a batch of Bristol's to replace worn out 1930s stock. From 1949 onwards Leyland Titans were the Corporation's choice, but with an assortment of manufacturers building the bodywork.
The fleet had only received double deck buses since 1931 but two second hand Leyland Lions were obtained in 1948 and a new Leyland Olympic in 1951 for use on the service to Yarm via Hilton. This was an unusual vehicle as it had front and rear entrances when delivered; it was subsequently converted to single front entrance in preparation for one-man operation. A further second hand A.E.C. Regal was obtained from City of Oxford Motor Services and finally a batch of high capacity Leyland Panther Cubs was bought new in the middle sixties, followed by ten Leyland Panthers in 1967.
After further trials in 1962, new Leyland Atlantean double-deckers were bought for the rapidly expanding services in Thornaby, Roseworth and Billingham.
Towards the end of 1966 the impending amalgamation of the Teesside fleets into Teesside Municipal Transport, saw greater co-operation with Middlesbrough Corporation on joint routes. By the end of that year, turquoise vehicles were being delivered, still proudly bearing Stockton Corporation Fleet names.
The vermilion and white livery of Imperial Tramways was kept for the tramcars but the fleet name "Stockton and Thornaby Corporations", together with the crests of the two Boroughs was added to the lower panels. Buses also bore this livery but had a white roof.
From 1931, buses were vermilion with three white bands and a white roof with the single Stockton crest.
During the war years, all new buses were delivered in a khaki green, some with wooden slatted seats. They were eventually repainted in vermilion but in 1947 all new buses were delivered in mid green with three cream bands and a silver roof. Eventually the silver roof was dropped in favour of all green. Fleet names were in gold with red shading.
In 1966 Turquoise was adopted but still retaining Stockton crests and fleet names.
Teesside Municipal Transport
1968 - 1974
The creation on 1st April 1968 of Teesside County Borough heralded the amalgamation of the operations of Middlesbrough Corporation Transport, Stockton Corporation Transport and the Tees-side Railless Traction Board (T.R.T.B) into the new Teesside Municipal Transport undertaking (T.M.T).
A new livery of turquoise with a cream band was adopted. Repaints of Stockton, Middlesbrough and T.R.T.B. vehicles into the new livery had begun some time prior to the formation of T.M.T. and indeed, all vehicles delivered in 1967 to the three undertakings carried the turquoise livery from new.
All three depots acquired with the constituent undertakings continued in use with T.M.T. as North Depot (Church Road, Stockton), South Depot (South Bank) and Central Depot (Parliament Road, Middlesbrough), which became the head office for T.M.T.'s operations.
A wide variety of buses were inherited by T.M.T. From Stockton came 107 buses, consisting of 15 single-deckers (4 Leyland Panther Cubs, 10 Leyland Panthers and a solitary AEC Regal) and 82 double-deckers (18 Leyland Atlanteans and no fewer than 74 Leyland PD2s). Three more Atlanteans that had been ordered by Stockton were delivered on T.M.T.'s first day of operation. Middlesbrough's fleet was a little more modern, being made up of just 2 single-deckers (a pair of Leyland Panther Cubs) and 100 double-deckers (60 Daimler Fleetlines, 31 Guy Arabs and 9 Dennis Lolines). T.R.T.B's contribution to the amalgamated fleet was 6 single-deck motor-buses (4 Leyland Leopards and 2 coach-bodied Leyland Tiger Cubs), 29 double-deck motor-buses (6 Leyland Atlanteans and 23 Leyland PD2s) and 15 double-deck trolleybuses used to work a small trolley system from North Ormesby to Eston and Normanby. Vehicles retained their pre-T.M.T. fleet numbers until 1970 when a common series of fleet numbers was introduced.
Having already adopted a standard livery, T.M.T's next objective was to update its fleet and adopt a standard vehicle policy to enable the extension of one-man operation throughout its network of services. Outstanding pre-T.M.T. orders completed through the course of 1969-70 were twenty-five full height dual-door double-deckers (ten Daimler Fleetlines ordered by Middlesbrough and fifteen Leyland Atlanteans ordered by Stockton). The standard then became the low-height, dual door Daimler Fleetline of which no fewer than seventy-six were purchased between 1971 and 1973, allowing much of the old stock to be eliminated from the fleet. There were exceptions to this policy of standardisation and modernisation however. Remarkably in 1969, five Sunbeam trolleybuses were acquired second-hand from Reading Corporation, though these would prove to be short-lived as the ex-T.R.T.B. trolley system was closed down on 4th April 1971. In 1970 further unusual second-hand purchases were eight twenty-year old Leyland PD2s, acquired from Leicester Corporation as cover for a short-term vehicle shortage. To follow in 1971 were twelve Leyland Atlantean double-deck motorway coaches from W.C. Standerwick of Blackpool. These were rebuilt to bus specification before entering service one by one between March 1972 and July 1974. T.M.T. also entered into the private-hire coaching business, taking a Duple-bodied Bedford YRQ coach in 1972 and five Leyland Leopard coaches in 1973.
Prior to the formation of T.M.T. relatively few services were operated jointly between the undertakings. Middlesbrough and Stockton shared the O service (North Ormesby - Middlesbrough - Stockton - Norton Green), the 11 services (Middlesbrough - Haverton Hill - Billingham, and Middlesbrough - Acklam - Thornaby - Stockton) and the I service (Middlesbrough - Acklam - Thornaby New Town) as well as numerous works services.. Noteworthy is the use by Middlesbrough of letters rather than numbers for its routes. The T.R.T.B. did not operate any joint services. Apart from the trolleybus services, it had few other stage services with most of its motorbuses being employed on works and school contracts. T.M.T. soon set about rationalising and standardising the services it had inherited, also enhancing the network with the introduction of new services across the fomer boundaries. The implementation of a common series of route numbers was a gradual process lasting several years, and it was not until November 1975 that the final Middlesbrough-inspired route letters were replaced.
On 1st April 1974, a further reorganisation of local government led to the formation of the new County of Cleveland, covering the territory of the outgoing Teesside County Borough, together with the borough of Hartlepool. On the same date T.M.T.'s bus operations passed to the Langbaurgh, Middlesbrough and Stockton Joint Committee, trading as Cleveland Transit. The turquoise and cream livery was replaced by a new livery of green and jasmine.
In its short life T.M.T. made much progress in bringing together the old traditions of Middlesbrough, Stockton and T.R.T.B. as one. Its legacy to Cleveland Transit was a greatly updated fleet, and a standardised, integrated network of routes, with one-man operation being employed on many of these routes.
The new livery chosen for Teesside Municipal Transport caused much controversy. Old loyalties died hard and the public and staff didn't take too kindly to the new turquoise livery, relieved only by a cream band between decks on double-deckers. Local folklore says that it was an amalgamation of the previous colours. The new county borough crest was carried on the side panels. It was produced to create a cleaner look but soon soiled in the Teesside industrial atmosphere. From 1971 the cream was extended to below the window pans, this much improved the look of the vehicles as well as making them more visible to traffic and pedestrians
1974 - 1991
In 1972 a Local Government Act decreed that Teesside should be re-organised as a new County, named Cleveland. It encompassed the new Boroughs of Stockton, Middlesbrough and Langbaurgh, together with Hartlepool to the north.
The bus services that had been controlled by Teesside Municipal Transport passed into the control of the Langbaurgh, Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees joint committee in 1974 and took on the new identity of Cleveland Transit. Hartlepool elected to continue on its own.
The new authority was soon looking to extend its influence in the county and when the East Cleveland operator, Saltburn Motor Services, came on the market it was bought. Its twenty-two vehicles and depots and services in East Cleveland were assimilated into the system.
Five depots were now operated, Stockton, Middlesbrough, South Bank, Guisborough and Saltburn.
These two ex-Saltburn depots were eventually closed in 1981 and 1982 respectively and the stock moved to South Bank.
The steady fall in passenger numbers continued, for a variety of reasons. Industrial decline meant that many fewer working journeys were taking place and the very rapid growth in personal car ownership took its toll. The operations were quite heavily subsidised by the local authorities, to enable services to be maintained.
New vehicle policy continued much as under T.M.T. but more coach-bodied single-deck Leylands were bought and used on some of the longer routes. Double-deckers continued to be Daimler Fleetlines but now with normal height, single door Northern Counties bodies. As Fleetline production was being wound down in 1977, a batch of Bristol VRTs was obtained; these were relatively rare in municipal fleets.
As an economy measure South Bank depot, which had been the home of the "Trackless" till 1971, was closed in 1986 to be followed in 1988 by Middlesbrough. Stockton, with its modern facilities was able to cope with the engineering requirements of a shrinking fleet.
In 1986 a new livery came to Transit, the previous green and jasmine yellow was replaced by a Newcastle Busways inspired green and white, with a bright yellow band between decks
Bus service de-regulation came in October 1986 and the picture on Teesside changed almost overnight. Small independent operators, such as Beeston and Escort in Middlesbrough and Robson and Delta in Stockton, came on the scene but the main opposition came from United and the County Durham operator Trimdon Motor Services. It launched a subsidiary, to run services in the Stockton area, under the title Teesside Motor Services. Both of these companies were subsequently bought by the holding company of United in 1990.
This was to herald a decade of intense competition with Transit launching a short lived intensive network of services in East Cleveland, particularly in the Redcar area which had long been a United stronghold. The Cleveland Coaches arm of Transit was expanded as a low cost operator spawning a Tees Valley operation in competition with independent operator, Leven Valley. Other anti-competition services were introduced under Hardwick Bus and 'ctl' fleet names.
National government was decreeing that bus services operated by local authorities should be sold off, and on May 1st 1991 a management-employee buy out was successfully carried out and Transit was no more, thus ending seventy years of municipal services on Teesside.
The livery of the undertaking was originally "Cleveland Green" with cream around the windows as relief. The logo was an off white horizontal bar, with an arrowhead of two curved bars in orange with 'Cleveland Transit' on the bar in green. Originally this 'flying banana 'was transferred identically on either side so that the offside of the vehicle had the arrowhead pointing backwards.
Coaches were painted in orange and jasmine. The logo was subsequently altered so that only the word Transit appeared in script between the arrowheads.
The 1988 livery was a much lighter shade of green with white window pans and roof and a yellow mid-panel relief for double-deckers. The single deck bus livery had more of the yellow on the lower panels, with green skirts and bumpers and a white roof. The logo was now a simpler text 'Transit' with an underscore. The single-deck coach fleet was finished in orange and cream and bore a script, 'Cleveland Coaches'.
The Tees Valley livery was identical to the Transit version but maroon was applied instead of green and a script 'Tees Valley' applied.
Cleveland Transit Ltd
1991 - 1996
The privatisation of the former municipally owned bus services on Teesside was brought about because of the desire by central government to see buses de-regulated and wherever possible ownership transferred from the public domain to the private sector. After much deliberation, Cleveland County Council, which was itself later to be abolished, decided to seek to dispose of the undertaking. A proposal was made, by the management, for a management-employee buy-out, and an agreement was made, subject to several safeguards being imposed, that saw this completed on the 1st May 1991.
The undertaking, under its Managing Director, Mr. Malcolm Howitt, had already been slimmed down considerably, to meet the challenges that competition had brought; costs were further reduced by modernising the fleet thus saving costs on maintenance of ageing buses fleet. Most of the renewals were single-deck vehicles as the capacity requirements of most routes were now reduced. Considerable numbers of mini-buses were also purchased.
Expansion came when Cleveland Transit Ltd purchased the municipal Kingston upon Hull City Transport Ltd. fleet. This was run from the headquarters at Church Road, Stockton.
In late November 1994 approaches were made by Stagecoach Holdings plc who were rapidly expanding their Scottish empire southwards. Busways, the Tyneside- based operator had already been acquired and the Stockton management decided to sell Transit Ltd including KHCT to them.
Stagecoach had also acquired Hartlepool Transport and they were assimilated into Cleveland Transit Ltd. Stagecoach started operations in Darlington, initially coming under the control of Busways but eventually passing to Cleveland Transit Ltd. in 1995.
All the separate operations kept their own livery as agreed under the terms of the purchase, but in 1996 Stagecoach "stripes" started to appear.
The competition had largely ended by October 1995 when a re-distribution of services between Transit and North East Bus took place. North East Bus owned the services that had been United, Tees and District and T.M.S., which they had acquired in 1990. The agreement saw Transit give up services in Yarm, Eton and much of Thornaby, but gain large areas of Hartlepool, Billingham and Hemlington. Through direct lines of succession, now broken, Transit's operations had stretched back to 1914 (Yarm), 1919 (Eston area) and 1930 (Thornaby local)
Delta Coaches Ltd. had ceased local service operations in 1995 and acquired the vehicles and operations of Cleveland Coaches. Delta acquired Cleveland Coaches express services and excursions, as well as private hire work. The only remaining competition then was from Robson's Town Service, which eventually ceased operations in November 1999, and Leven Valley who still operate today.
Guisborough town services were withdrawn in 1999, and local East Cleveland operator Abbey coaches, now operates the services.
In the first year of the new century, Stagecoach re-organised its North East structure and Transit went into the control of Stagecoach North East. They gained a new livery and trade locally under the slogan "Stagecoach on Teesside", but Cleveland Transit Ltd. is still the legal operating name.
Cleveland Transit's livery was green and white, as illustrated, and with a yellow band over the lower deck windows on double-deck buses. On single deck vehicles, the livery used much more of the yellow, with only the lower quarters being green. The logo was in white and had a white underscore that bore the strap line.
"EMPLOYEE OWNED-WORKING FOR YOU"
The short-lived Tees Valley livery was similar but maroon replaced the green, Kingston Upon Hull was again similar, with the green replaced by mid blue.
Some double-deck buses were transferred to the coach fleet for a while and orange was substituted for the green used on the service bus fleet.
When Stagecoach applied its livery it was mainly white but with orange, red and blue stripes around the lower quarters, carried up at the rear to the roof and down the opposite side. The logo read "Stagecoach Transit"
The 2000 Stagecoach Group livery is white, with red rear panels and blue front, with an orange scroll.
Stagecoach on Teesside