8. One and two halves to the Octagon, please…

Bolton Transport 232

Displaying Bolton’s flagship bus route is Leyland Atlantean 232. This example is among the fruits of Ralph Bennett’s labours in overhauling the image of Bolton Corporation. It is hard to imagine the fact this bus was built in 1965, when thousands of Leyland Atlanteans for other operators entered service with the peaks and domes which Ralph Bennett despised. She still looks well today.

Bus Route of Christmas Past: The SHMD and Oldham Corporation joint service number 8 from Oldham to Stalybridge. Whereas SHMD’s buses displayed the number 8, Oldham’s had the letter N prior to 1968. On renumbering in 1973, it became the 408. For a brief period in 1985, it was extended to Denshaw, before assuming its present guise when extended to serve Shaw instead of Denshaw. Today, First Pioneer are the sole operators of the 408, with Smallshaw and Hartshead served in the daytime and a diversion to Tameside Hospital during Sundays, Bank Holidays and evenings.

Bus Route of Christmas Present: We return to Bolton and another FirstGroup route in the form of the 8 from Manchester [Shudehill Interchange] to Bolton via Pendlebury. Before he moved to Mottram-in-Longdendale in 1948, L.S. Lowry was a regular user of the 8 bus from Pendlebury. Prior to 1931, the service began at Hyde taking in Denton and Gorton as well as Pendlebury and Kearsley and a former express route. The Hyde portion of that route forms most part of today’s 201 service from Hattersley.

S.V., 08 December 2011

Photograph courtesy of the Bolton Bus Preservation Group.

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