DOZENS of jobs have been safeguarded and more are to be created, after the sale of a collapsed Seaham-based coach company.
Receivers who took over the running of Durham Travel Services after its collapse in August have sold the business to the UK's largest privately-owned coaching company, Dunn-Line Ltd.
Seventy of the original North East staff lost their jobs while a buyer was being sought by receivers KPMG Corporate Recovery, but the remaining 70 posts have been saved.
And today the company's new bosses revealed they are soon to begin recruiting new drivers and office staff and have plans to expand the firm.
National Express Routes, which had been run by the Seaham Grange Industrial Estate-based company for 14 years before its collapse, are to be maintained.
Bosses are considering increasing the number of routes out of Durham and are looking into taking on more private-hire contracts and holiday excursions. The business will now trade under the name Dunn-Line of Durham.
The acquisition is the 19th for Dunn-Line, which has its headquarters in Nottingham and operates about 250 coaches and buses from depots across the country, including London, Derby and Leicester.
"During the past 12 months we have acquired three companies, all providing the business mix of our choice," said a company spokesman.
"The intention is to integrate the Durham business, build on the current contracts and develop the business within the North East of England.
"Our growth strategy has been focused around development along the motorway networks and the Durham depot provides valuable revenue streams and a valuable link into Scotland. Once the Durham operation is integrated, a further acquisition will be considered."
Durham Travel Services collapsed after amassing large losses at its recently-launched business in London, running two Easylink services for London Transport.
At the time of its financial trouble, union officials blamed a bad decision by company bosses to expand into London on bringing down a sound North East firm.