My Life in the Company of Buses: Dukinfield and Bus Deregulation: Part 15, 2000

Tomato Soup, Anyone?

Most of my bus journeys to and from Stalybridge for Groundwork Tameside involved First Pennine or First Manchester vehicles. The only exceptions to this were the odd 220 (Mayne or Stagecoach varieties).

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The biggest event to affect bus operations in the Dukinfield area was a reorganisation of FirstGroup’s bus operations. From September 2000, Pennine was no longer controlled by PMT at Newcastle-under-Lyme. Instead, it was absorbed by First Manchester, so affairs affecting Dukinfield were controlled by Wallshaw Street, Oldham.

On a slightly smaller scale, Universal Buses Limited saw its services transfer to Stagecoach Manchester. This affected the 339 and 340 routes. Another change to the Dukinfield Circular saw a merger of the 40 and 1 bus routes. Renumbered 41, it followed the old 40 route, omitting Richmond Road, then continued to Hyde via Yew Tree Lane, Ashton Road and Lodge Lane and Hyde Park.

A controversial change affected the 400 route in autumn’s service changes. The completion of the M60 motorway saw an opportunity to accelerate journey times on the Stockport to Bolton route. Instead of serving Denton, it ran from Ashton to Stockport non-stop. Passengers who have often used the service at Guide Bridge, Audenshaw, Denton and Brinnington were aghast. Passenger pressure forced First Manchester to revert to the pre-autumn timetable with the motorway section dropped.

Evening journeys on the 220 were curtailed to operate between Manchester and Dukinfield [Boyd’s Walk]. The evening frequency was upgraded from every 90 minutes to every hour.

Some of the ECW bodied Leyland Olympians were repainted into First Manchester’s Tomato Soup livery. After a short period in Pennine’s yellow and red, a GMT standard Leyland Atlantean too saw a change of livery to the Tomato Soup. As later years would prove, that too would be short lived as FirstGroup’s Barbie livery would begin its relentless march.

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My Most Memorable Bus Journeys of 2000:

  • A bog standard Pennine 346 journey, made more memorable by being a GMT standard, and the very day I purchased Half Man Half Biscuit’s Trouble Over Bridgwater from Andy’s Records;
  • A long journey from Chez Val to my auntie’s house via Stockport; buses used: 346, then 7 to Stockport (soundtrack: Open the Door, Roger Hodgson’s then new album), and 401 from Stockport to Hathershaw (soundtrack: Moon Safari, Air’s excellent 1998 album).

Part Sixteen follows tomorrow.

S.V., 15 October 2011.

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