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LAST UPDATED: 13 February 2019

ALEXANDER DENNIS DART SLF

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, 35172 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).

 

Photographed while heading toward Pennywell on Sunderland's Service 11, 35172 illustrates the uppercase non-scrolling destination displays oringially carried by these vehicles.

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 generally operated Services 32/32A, 35 or 72. 35163 is pictured on Stamfordham Road, operating Service 72 to Chapel House.

Photo © Stagecoach North East Bus Depot 2015


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, respectively. 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 35157, NK56EPD departs Hartlepool Town Centre, bound for Middlesbrough.

Photo © Stagecoach North East Bus Depot 2016


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 savage 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; replacing 34550/63/64.

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

One of the last two remaining examples from the batch in the North East, Sunderland based 35189 is pictured at Gilley Law, operating Service 18 to Sunderland City Centre.

Photo © Stagecoach North East Bus Depot 2017



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.

South Shields was next in line for service cuts and June 2017 saw 36461-67 transfer from there to Hartlepool, replacing 35155/57-61/73. The same month saw 35192 transferred to Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire, 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 (for a time) 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, replaced at Slatyford by MAN 18.220 A69 22344.

Most recently, September 2018 saw 35189 transfer from Sunderland to Hartlepool, replaced by reserve 34611 and covering at Hartlepool for Enviro200 36466 which required engine repairs. These were completed in December 2018, allowing 35189 to return to Sunderland, releasing 34611 back to the reserve fleet for use again as the Christmas Bus.

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. The following month saw 35191 enter the seasonal Reserve fleet with Cumbria & North Lancashire, rejoining the main service fleet in April 2018. 35157/58 were expected to be repainted to Lakes green and enter service at Kendal, however 35157 remains out of use as it has been since arriving in the North West despite receiving a fresh corporate repaint in late 2017, while 35158 entered service at Lancaster in December 2018. 35193 was relegated to a reserve role in September 2018.

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



35155/56/59-63/72/73 are now in service with Thandi Travel, while 35194 has not been noted in service with that operator and is currently listed as SORN.

Thanks to flickr users K.L.Jenkins and Solenteer who provide these magnificent shot of former 35162 and 35172, both now operating with Thandi Travel.

Photos © K.L.Jenkins (35162, left) and Solenteer (35172, right)



On transfer to Stagecoach in the Highlands, 35195 was held in reserve until July 2018 when it entered service at Inverness, where it remains operational to date.


Thanks to Cameron Robertson for this photo of Stagecoach in the Highlands 35195 in central Inverness.


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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