JH Coaches sets the gold and silver standards with Thirlwells purchase


Operation moves into JH Coaches’ depot, but ‘well respected’ Thirlwells name will be kept

JH Coaches has completed the purchase of fellow North East operator Thirlwells Coaches.

No property is involved in the deal, but five coaches and four drivers have transferred. Thirlwells-liveried vehicles will operate from JH Coaches’ base at Birtley and they will also run under the JH O-Licence.

However, Operations Director Ian Shipley says that the Thirlwells identity is well respected among customers locally and will be retained in the long term. Thirlwells’ brand has been overhauled to bring it in line with JH Coaches’ and already one Scania Touring formerly in gold has been repainted.

Mr Shipley says that Thirlwells, which majors in holidays and private hire work for clients other than those of JH Coaches, is a “natural fit” with its business.

“We have been steadily building our day trip programme, but we did not want to enter holidays from a standing start. Thirlwells has a strong tour programme, which will work well with what we do already.”

Currently being finalised are dual-branded day trip and holiday brochures. Mr Shipley adds that there will be crossover between the JH-and Thirlwells-liveried fleets when those programmes are operated, and that a second coach will be repainted in the new Thirlwells scheme very soon.

JH Coaches will invest in its fleet this year, with three new coaches on order for late April delivery. Mr Shipley does not rule out more investment, but he is mindful of the Tyneside Clean Air Zone before committing further.

Nevertheless, he says that no coach will be more than 10 years old when full integration between the two businesses is complete.