LAST UPDATED: 28 October 2017


35188/89 NK56---


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These 20 buses were delivered from new in 2006 to the then standard Stagecoach midibus combination of Alexander Dennis Dart SLF/Pointer 2. They were delivered in two batches, shared between Sunderland (35155-63/72/73) and South Shields (35187-95) and have standard interiors with Stagecoach corporate blue interior and individual seating. On entry to service, the vehicles carried uppercase orange non-scrolling destination displays.


Photographed while heading toward Pennywell on Sunderland's Service 11, 35160 illustrates the uppercase non-scrolling destination displays oringially carried by these vehicles.

Photo © Stagecoach North East Bus Depot 2007

The capacity of these low floor vehicles is B38F, which reduces to B35F when a wheelchair is carried.


The registrations of these vehicles are as follows:

35155 NK56EPA
35156 NK56EPC
35157 NK56EPD
35158 NK56EPE
35159 NK56EPF
35160 NK56EPJ
35161 NK56EPL
35162 NK56EPN
35163 NK56EPO
35172 NK56EPP
35173 NK56EPU
35187 NK56FCA
35188 NK56FFH
35189 NK56FFJ
35190 NK56FFL
35191 NK56FFM
35192 NK56FFN
35193 NK56FFO
35194 NK56FFP
35195 NK56FFR

Delivered in 2 stages, 35155-63/72/73 entered service in Sunderland in September/October 2006, while 35187-95 commenced operations in South Shields in October 2006, with 35193-95 slightly delayed compared to the rest of the batch. 35155-63/72/73 arrived in Stagecoach in Sunderland livery whilst 35187-95 carried Stagecoach in South Shields livery.


The Sunderland vehicles were purchased for use on Services 10 & 11, though in keeping with Sunderland convention, none were route branded. The South Shields arrivals allowed conversion of Services 7 & 8 to easyACCESS operation, again operating without route branding.


The Sunderland arrivals displaced Darts to Darlington (32634/37/38, 32735/36/39) and Slatyford (32760/61/63/64/65) while the South Shields examples saw the departure of the ex-London Dinky Darts (32112/17/21/25/27/28/29/33/34), which moved to Slatyford where they replaced Mercedes minibuses (some of which ironically were those which the Dinky Darts had already previously displaced from South Shields when they arrived there during 2003).


Illustrating the scrolling Sentence Case text displayed on this batch, 35194 is seen on Keppel Street South Shields, operating Service 4.

Photo © Stagecoach North East Bus Depot 2009

During 2007, all of these vehicles had their blinds reprogrammed to show Sentence Case text, with the scrolling text facility enabled. During 2009, 35189 was named SHARON, in memory of driver Sharon Dyer and 35190 was named THE BOYO, after the engineering manager at South Shields depot. These names were retained until shortly after? transfer to Sunderland.


Apart from a brief spell by 35188 on loan to Walkergate in September 2007, all vehicles retained their original allocations until December 2011 when 35187/88 were transferred from South Shields to Sunderland. They were replaced by the first of a batch of 19 brand new Enviro200 midibuses (see NK61--- batch) for South Shields. The following month saw the arrival of further new buses from the batch for South Shields and the transfer of 31589/90 to Sunderland. 35187-90 replaced older ALX200 bodied low floor Darts at Sunderland, which transferred to Newcastle.

The arrival of 21 brand new Enviro200s (see SN63--- batch) at Sunderland in October 2013 saw 35159-63/72/73 and 35187-89 transferred to Slatyford and 35190 transferred to South Shields (the latter spending a brief spell at Hartlepool immediately before transfer to South Shields). The Slatyford bound examples replaced older ALX200 bodied low floor Darts, many of which were the same vehicles that the batch had replaced previously when they were transferred to Sunderland. The transfer of 35190 to South Shields was a direct swap for ALX300 bodied MAN 18.220 A69 22021 which moved to Sunderland.

Slatyford's Pointer 2 bodied low floor Darts are generally to be found on Services 32/32A/35 or 72. 35161 is pictured on Grainger Street, operating Service 32 to Four Lane Ends.

Photo © Stagecoach North East Bus Depot 2014

At South Shields, 35190-95 were replaced in July 2015 by a batch of brand new Enviro200s. 35190-95 transferred to Slatyford, replacing older low floor Darts 34609-14 from that depot.

As a result of the arrival of a batch of new Enviro200s for South Shields, MAN 14.220s 39702-39705 and 39706-39709 were transferred to Slatyford and Sunderland. In turn, these cascades allowed Sunderland's 35155-35158 and Slatyford's 35159-62 to be transferred to Hartlepool in August/September 2015.

Former Sunderland based Dart SLF 35156, NK56EPC departs Hartlepool Town Centre, bound for South Fens.

Photo © Stagecoach North East Bus Depot

In January 2016, 35187 suffered extensive fire damage and was listed for disposal. Officially the vehicle was replaced by MAN 18.220 A69 22050 from the reserve fleet, though in reality this vehicle had been in operational service at Slatyford for several months regardless; meaning there was no replacement vehicle which entered service to replace 35187. 35187 was sold for scrap in May 2016.

29 January 2017 saw a round of service cuts in Sunderland which released MAN 14.240 A66's 39728-32 to Slatyford, in turn leading to the withdrawal of 35163/72/73/88/89 at Slatyford. Of these, 35172 entered service in Hartlepool in February 2017, with 35163/73 entering service the following month.

35172, NK56EPP is pictured on York Road, Hartlepool shortly after transfer to the town.

Photo © Stagecoach North East Bus Depot 2017

April 2017 saw 35189 transfer to Sunderland, increasing the fleet at that depot. 35188 has transferred to South Shields, where it replaced 34611.

Late April 2017 saw savage cuts across the Newcastle network; one manifestation was the complete withdrawal of Services 15 & 15A, in the process bringing to an end midibus operation from Walkergate depot. Surplus to requirements at Walkergate, MAN 14.240 A66's 39722-26 were transferred to Slatyford where they (together with a PVR decrease at Slatyford) facilitated the withdrawal of 35190-95 for group transfer. 35190/91 transferred to Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire in late April 2017. Meanwhile, withdrawn only for a matter of weeks, 35194 was reinstated at Slatyford in late May 2017.

35192 transferred to Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire in June 2017, followed in July by 35157/58/93.

Following service cuts in Hartlepool in August 2017, the peak vehicle requirement was reduced by four, leading to the withdrawal of 35156, 35162, 35163 & 35172; signalling the end of Dart operation in the town.

Toward the end of September 2017, 35195 was reinstated at Slatyford, replacing 35194 which along with 35155/56/59-63/72/73 was sold to Thandi Travel. The reinstatement of 35195 was shortlived, with its transfer the same month to Stagecoach in the Highlands, where it is currently in Reserve. 35195 was replaced at Slatyford by MAN 18.220 A69 22344.

These vehicles are currently operated by South Shields and Sunderland.

The rest of the batch

35190 & 35191 both entered service for Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire at Carlisle in May 2017. 35192 entered service in late June 2017. 35193 was repainted to lakes green prior to entry to service at Kendal in September 2017. 35157/58 are expected to follow to Kendal once repainted green.

Thanks to Lee Wardle who provides this magnificent shot of 35191 operating in Carlisle, shortly after transfer.

Photo © Lee Wardle

Thanks to Paul McGill who provides this scenic shot of 35193 operating Service 508 to Windermere, now based at Kendal depot.

Photo © Paul McGill

The current allocations of the rest of the batch outside of the North East are: Cumbria & North Lancashire (35157/58/90-93) and Highlands (35195).




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