If Anything, More of the Same
Still working for the same company in Manchester, the train moved towards becoming my main form of transport. Not only was this true of my commutes, it was also true of my more pleasurable outings. As for the bus, short journeys to the railway station, though there was a number of exceptions to that rule.
Following three years in Manchester and increased HTML and CSS coding skills, I built my own website in January. Then I followed it up with this little blog, which is now a cross between Buses Magazine and The Daily Mirror. Only with due emphasis on parts of Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside and Stockport east of the M60 motorway.
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2006 was a quiet old year compared with the hubris of the previous one. Fares still went up, services were retimed and the odd one may have been withdrawn along the way. By contrast, the following year would prove to be rumbustious.
The biggest event affecting Dukinfield passengers concerned users of the 330 and the 346. The MAN single deckers proved to be inadequate for some journeys of the 330 route. In their place came Alexander Dennis ALX400 (Enviro 400) double deckers. Within five years, they would become Stagecoach’s standard low floor double decker, replacing step entrance Olympians. Fans of the step entrance Olympian and Scania N113 buses would have been placated by the 236, 237 and Mayne’s 218 routes.
On the 346, low floor vehicles were introduced on Stagecoach’s route. Most of which included MANs displaced from the 330 route and modern single deckers inherited from Dennis’s Coaches. Though their 220 route wasn’t 100% low floor, Enviro 400s made cameo appearances.
By contrast, First Pioneer’s service offered passengers a mix of step entrance and low floor Dennis Darts. On the 346 and 349 services, they became the standard single decker. Dennis Arrows started to put in an appearance, having replaced the Hong King tri-axle buses, which at that time moved to Great Yarmouth’s Blue Bus depot.
Changes to cross boundary services in April 2006 saw the demise of the 562 from Oldham to Halifax. Operated by First Manchester, the service over its last year was rerouted to serve Royal Oldham Hospital taking in Royton and cutting out Ripponden Road south of Sholver. In the evenings and Sundays it offered a two hour frequency (operated by First Calderline) with a hourly Monday to Saturday daytime frequency. It offered an alternative route into Halifax for Oldhamers reluctant to change at Rochdale or Huddersfield. The Oldham to Denshaw section was replaced by the 407 service, which additionally called at Pennine Meadows estate.
Speedwell’s West Yorkshire adventure was over in autumn 2006 with their Sunday operation of the 365 service from Oldham to Huddersfield withdrawn. At the same time as the 562’s withdrawal, First Huddersfield’s 365 service was absorbed by First Manchester’s 184 route. This combination allowed for a direct route from Manchester to Huddersfield via Hollins Road, Oldham and Uppermill. The Sunday service followed suit, putting to an end Speedwell’s adventure on Marsden Moor.
Closer to home, the 339 and the 340 followed the 365 and 562 into the Great Bus Terminus in the Sky (aka Cheltenham Coach Station or Lower Mosley Street). In its place was the stronger 41 service. In the daytime, it was operated on a half hourly basis by Speedwell, with hourly evening journeys operated by First Pioneer. Speedwell took over the daytime journeys in July with First’s Sunday and Bank Holiday service following suit in late September.
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My Most Memorable Bus Journeys of 2006:
Again, most of my frutiful bus bashing kicks were away from the GMPTE boundary. This time, Norfolk was the source of these jaunts:
- Great Yarmouth to Winterton-on-Sea – aboard a former First Pennine tri-axle Olympian;
- Great Yarmouth to Cromer – 90 minutes of North Norfolk scenery on a bumpy MAN 11.190/Optare Vecta single decker.
Part Twenty Two follows tomorrow.
S.V., 21 October 2011.