Another ten lost bus routes of Greater Manchester
It has been a while since East of the M60 had a Lost Bus Routes of Greater Manchester round up. Without further ado we brandish our SaverSeven and board any of the following routes:
- 261: Brooks Bar – Stretford;
- 160: Oldham – Delph – Huddersfield;
- 38A: Altrincham – Lower Peover;
- E69: Altrincham – Holmes Chapel;
- 123: Mottram-in-Longdendale – Charlesworth;
- 500: Manchester – Alderley Edge;
- 91: Bury – Ordsall;
- 196: Glossop – Tintwistle – Mottram-in-Longdendale – Charlesworth circular;
- 428: Hattersley – Hyde – Ashton-under-Lyne – Newton Heath – Manchester;
- 1/1A: Audenshaw – Dukinfield (Globe Square) – Ashton-under-Lyne/Newton (Cheshire Cheese).
There seems to be a slight North Western Road Car Company/National Bus Company theme to our latest instalment, so we may be unable to use our passes outside the Greater Manchester boundary.
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1. Brook’s Bar – Stretford (261):
For many people of a certain age, the number 261 was Piccadilly Radio’s AM frequency. In 1974, it was also a weekday and Saturday service between Brook’s Bar and Stretford Arndale Centre. For Moss Side residents, it assumed the guise as a shoppers’ service to the Original Trafford Centre (EotM60 shibboleth for Stretford Arndale by the way…) in its toilet tiled glory. It operated every half hour between 0930 and 1630 with a 90 minute break for dinner. There was extra journeys on Saturdays (till 1756), and Thursdays and Fridays till 2026 for late shopping.
What Happened Next? Withdrawn. Most of which forms part of today’s subsidised 54 route and Stagecoach Manchester’s 15 route from Manchester to Flixton. Today’s 261 is a circular route in Sale operated by Diamond Bus North West.
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2. Oldham – Delph – Huddersfield (160):
At one time, there was two bus routes between Huddersfield and Oldham. One was operated by local independent company Hanson’s Buses Limited and went via Uppermill. Another one, the 160, was operated by North Western Road Car Company. North Western’s route took in Waterhead, Scouthead and Delph, shadowed by sister routes 13 and 14, and today’s 350 route to Oldham and Ashton. From Delph, it would reach Huddersfield via Bleak Hey Nook. There was three return journeys during weekdays with five on Saturdays.
What Happened Next? The service was withdrawn in 1970, leaving Hanson’s route as the sole Oldham – Huddersfield service. At the same year, Huddersfield Corporation took over Hanson’s before becoming Metro West Yorkshire’s 65 route in 1974 and ultimately today’s 184 service between Manchester and Huddersfield. In more recent times, the 184 has been curtailed to operate from Oldham to Huddersfield on weekdays and Saturdays.
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3. Lower Peover – Altrincham (38A):
The 38A from Altrincham to Lower Peover was a part route working of NWRCC’s 38 service from Manchester to Holmes Chapel service, and its more frequent counterpart. The 38 had four return journeys between Holmes Chapel and Altrincham with the last northbound journey terminating there instead of Manchester. The 38A had ten return journeys between Altrincham and Knutsford with some continuing to Lower Peover. On Sundays, there was six southbound journeys with five northbound journeys between Knutsford and Altrincham.
What Happened Next? Possibly revised and renumbered as today’s successor, the 89, which operates between Knutsford and Altrincham via Knutsford. Previously operated by GHA Coaches, this service only has four return journeys and no Sunday and Bank Holiday service. After the demise of GHA Coaches, D&G Bus – now a Centrebus subsidiary – took over the route in 2016.
Between Altrincham and Knutsford, Northern Rail’s service to Chester is often a better option.
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4. Altrincham – Holmes Chapel (E69):
Whilst we stay in Altrincham, the North Cheshire town had a number of limited shoppers’ services from outlying villages. One example was the E69 from Holmes Chapel. The original service was operated by Crosville Motor Service and as a NBC constituent between Knolls Green and Altrincham, offering passengers enough time to visit its market. There was one return journey on Tuesday (1045 and 1340 arriving 1115 and 1410) and another one on Saturday (1030 and 1230, arriving 1100 and 1300).
What Happened Next? In 2002, it continued to Alderley and was operated by Salford company Midwest. By 2008, it only operated on Saturdays and was extended to Holmes Chapel by then, with Town and District Travel taking over. The beginning of 2011 saw an operator revision with Tomlinson’s Travel taking over. Owing to public sector spending cuts, Cheshire East ceased funding the service which led to its withdrawal on the 9th December 2011. What a nice Christmas present for carless pensioners living in Mobberley (not!).
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5. Charlesworth – Mottram-in-Longdendale (123):
Once more from the vaults of the NWRCC timetable was this short route from Charlesworth to Mottram. More than anything, its main purpose was as a connecting route with the Manchester Piccadilly – Glossop/Hadfield trains at Broadbottom railway station. For a short route, there was 20 return journeys between 0643 and 2247 on weekdays with extra Schooldays only journeys and part route workings. On Saturdays, 21, with the Sunday service boasting 13 return journeys, starting at 1300 and finishing for 2247.
What Happened Next? It became part of the circular 393 route in 1973, shortly after SELNEC’s takeover of NWRCC interests in the PTE boundary and subsequent integration. Today, it forms part of the Hyde – Glossop 341 route with a once hourly frequency. Services between those two points have also been reduced further in the last seven years following the loss of the 239 and 202 routes, and the 341’s Sunday, Bank Holiday and evening journeys.
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6. Manchester – Alderley Edge (500):
Before Greater Manchester Transport launched its 500 route from Bolton to Manchester Airport, there was also another service bearing the same number in 1968. North Western Road Car Company’s 500 service was jointly operated with Manchester City Transport. It offered seven morning peak hour journeys from Wilmslow to Manchester (Chorlton Street) with five going the opposite direction in the evening. Three began from Alderley with two in reverse to Alderley. It was one of a handful of express journeys jointly operated by MCT in the late 1960s which used coaches instead of standard buses along with the Hale Barns Express.
What Happened Next? Withdrawn. Manchester to Wilmslow is no longer covered by bus, thanks to the curtailment of Arriva North West’s 130 service to Macclesfield (which terminates at East Didsbury). Within the Greater Manchester boundary, the 130 is a Lost Bus Route. Since the end of January 2020, the Cheshire section has been taken over by D&G Bus.
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7. Bury – Ordsall (91):
Along with the 94, 95 and 97, the 91 offered the average Whitefielder another link to Salford. In 1996, the 91 offered a 20 minute daytime frequency from Bury via Whitefield, Broughton and Pendleton before continuing to Ordsall.
What Happened Next? It was withdrawn on the 27 May 2003 by First Manchester (also the same date where the 400 and X1 met a similar fate) and replaced by the 95 and 97, which stopped short at Pendleton. Today’s extended 50 route from Pendleton bridges the gap between there and Ordsall, after absorbing Maytree Travel’s MediaCityUK shuttle service.
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8. Glossop – Tintwistle – Charlesworth circular (196):
A real oddity from the NWRCC timetable! This circular route was a night service comprising of a single circular journey from Glossop. It left The Norfolk Arms at midnight, calling at Hadfield (0012), Tintwistle (0016), Mottram-in-Longdendale (0025) and Charlesworth (0039) before returning to Glossop at 0051.
What Happened Next? Probably absorbed by the 393 circular route, though without its night service. There is still a night bus to Glossop, it is a solitary journey on the 219 from Piccadilly Gardens. It departs from Manchester at 0240 on Saturday morning and Sunday morning, arriving in Glossop an hour and three minutes later.
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9. Hattersley – Hyde – Dukinfield – Ashton-under-Lyne – Newton Heath – Manchester (428):
An admin cock-up at the height of bus deregulation led to this service being mistakenly registered in 1989 by GM Buses. There was much competition between them and Citibus up to Hathershaw. In addition to the PTE owned company’s 400, 401, 409 and 410 routes, Citibus’ 419 and 428 vied for passengers along Ashton Road. The likes of Bee Line Buzz Company and Pennine Blue would later run competing 409s to Oldham. On King Street and Dukinfield Road, the 330 was in direct competition with Stuarts’ 333 service from Ashton to Hyde and Hattersley.
One flippant remark suggested that they [GM Buses] should run a 428 from Hattersley to Hyde, Newton Heath and Manchester, shadowing Citibus’ route for the most part and Stuart’s 333 route. What was intended as jest became reality in Spring 1989. Furthermore, there’s photographic evidence to back up this point made herein.
What Happened Next? Common sense ushered in the service’s withdrawal, so Stuart’s Bus and Coach and Citibus Tours slept soundly for about two minutes afterwards. Today, Hattersley passengers wishing to travel to Newton Heath may be better off boarding a 201 to Piccadilly, changing there for a 83 or 84 bus (though a System One pass may be required).
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10. Audenshaw – Dukinfield (Globe Square) – Ashton-under-Lyne/Newton (Cheshire Cheese) (1/1A):
For our last one, we refer to the 1972 SELNEC timetable for this one time SHMD route. Up until the 1980s, the works service would be a common feature of urban bus operations, along with school buses and football specials. Today, the lack of major employers and service industries conspires against this as the need to convey employees en masse at similar times are eroded. Flexible hours also conspire against incumbent bus timetables, hence wider car ownership.
The 1 had one return journey from Ashton-under-Lyne to Audenshaw (Pack Horse), departing at Ashton at 0744, returning at 0806. There was two journeys from Ashton to Dukinfield (Globe Square) at 1653 and 1723 with three the opposite direction departing at 1709, 1710 and 1735. The Saturday service left Audenshaw (Lumb Lane) at 0759, with another journey leaving for the Pack Horse at 0744.
Complementing this, the 1A service had two morning peak return journeys with a solitary evening journey leaving Globe Square for Newton, Cheshire Cheese at 1712.
What Happened Next? The services were allocated numbers in the 700 series in 1973, allocated to work and school services and were probably extended to Park Road Mill. Therefore till 1981 or thereabouts, they may have been contracted work services for International Computers Limited who had a base at Tame Valley. Today, only school services traverse Globe Lane, one of which at one time was the 848, which – at odds with current practice – was displayed on GMT’s bus stop flags during the early 1980s.
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Before I go…
Do you have any memories of boarding or driving any of the above routes? As usual, feel free to comment away. Feel free to dot a few Is and cross a few Ts if you wish.
S.V., 05 June 2012.
Last updated on the 17 April 2020.