In Pictures Special: Where Citaros Dare: Older Buses in Tameside and Oldham

Warning: This Article Includes Coffin Dodging Step Entrance and Low Floor Vehicles.

The school holidays sometimes throws up some oddities on normal routes. Instead of the usual Enviro400 or Volvo B9TL, an older vehicle might make a cameo appearance. Sometimes the older vehicle, in spite of its short comings (i.e. step entrance access and lack of buggy space), may be more fuel efficient than their young whippersnappers.

It is also worth noting that whilst older vehicles lack the wow factor among passengers, some buses mature as seasoned performers if maintained properly. Some, if they are really lucky, escape the clutches of the cutter’s torch and join the preservation movement. They are adored by enthusiasts who remember them from childhood, or in a professional capacity. Instead of stopping at the Albion Hotel for the umpteenth time, they are seen in far flung locations like Duxford, Halifax, Llandudno and Heaton Park.

Before Greater Manchester goes 100% low floor, now is the time to enjoy our older vehicles whilst they are still here. Let’s hear it for the veterans of 409 route, surviving each traffic jam, the odd Latics fan, and Our Ladys’ School’s finest. Show your appreciation for the Dennis Trident, whose previous campaigns have included the 192 route.

*                        *                        *

First Greater Manchester, Volvo Olympian T988 KLF, Northern Counties Palatine II body, Oldham bus station
An unlikely cameo appearance at Oldham bus station on the 409 to Ashton-under-Lyne from T988 KLF, a Volvo Olympian. It entered service in April 1999 for Centrewest and came to Wallshaw Street via First South Yorkshire.
First Greater Manchester, Volvo Olympian XDZ 59II, Ashton-under-Lyne
On training duty, an Alexander bodied Volvo Olympian, Ashton-under-Lyne bus station. XDZ 5911 has been a much travelled vehicle around Greater Manchester in the last year.
Stagecoach Manchester, Dennis Trident V170 DFT, Alexander body
A Stagecoach Manchester Dennis Trident aboard the 346 is worth about 10,000 in the ISpy Book. Common fare on the route include Enviro400s, Enviro200s, MANs and – on one morning journey – an Optare Solo!
First Greater Manchester, Mercedes Citaro W336 JND, Oldham bus station
Handsome though with a reputation sullied by engine problems, this Mercedes Citaro is about to begin a Manchester bound journey on the 149.
First Pioneer Dennis Dart SLF, Ashton bus station
Though Volvo B9TLs have raised standards on the 348 and 350 routes, some of First Pioneer’s local services are operated with R-reg Dennis Dart SLFs. This example is about to reach Stand B at Ashton bus station for the 333 circular route.
Stagecoach Manchester MAN, Ashton bus station
On the 236, 237 and 346 routes, Enviro200s and Enviro400s form the gamut of this route’s rolling stock. Sometimes, a MAN may deputise, as seen at Ashton-under-Lyne bus station.

S.V., 01 November 2012 (All Saints’ Day).


14 thoughts on “In Pictures Special: Where Citaros Dare: Older Buses in Tameside and Oldham

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  1. HAHA! The main problem with the Citaro’s engine is its propensity to spontaneously combust 😀 other than that there a GREAT bus! now a regular feature on the 149, 408 and 428 routes out of Oldham 🙂


    1. Hi Alan,

      My thoughts exactly on the Mercedes Citaro. I love the lines, and though the seats are a bit hard, legroom is agreeable. It must be a little heavy going on the 149, though very good on the 408 and 428. Needless to say, I remember them on the 98, 409 and 471, and enjoyed each journey.

      Bye for now,



  2. I remember when the Citaros were new for the 82 and 83 – completely revolutionised Oldham Road, which had until then been a mash of knackered Metrobuses from across the UK!


      1. Christmas Eve Hellos to Matt and Michael,

        I always have fond memories of the Citaros along Manchester Road, and along Oldham/Ashton Road on the 409. Each time I see one on the 343, it makes me feel fuzzy inside from the time I remember seeing them on the 409 in March 1999. Then not long after (well, 2004 to be exact), the Citaros were displaced by the Volvo B9TLs and B7RLEs (latter on 409 before double deckers rejoined that route).

        Michael: I cannot wait to see more Darts replaced by Citaros. With the Volvo B7RLEs being standard on my usual bus out of Oldham, I have now been spoilt by them. Therefore I get a slight feeling of facepalm if a Plaxton Pointer bodied Dart appears (inferior ride quality).

        Even so, I’ve seen a few hardy Wright bodied examples, one of which on the 1720 343 to Dukinfield. I needed to sort some Christmas shopping out that day, denying myself a journey on the said bus in favour of one of Stott’s Solos at 1750.

        Bye for now, and Merry Christmas,



      2. wonder what will replace the darts left at pioneer since 350 became double deck buses out of uppermill for Ashton are leaving early up to 5 mins came out of Tesco in Greenfield in time for 11.25 and it went by at that point luckly 354 was due and there is a stop before main road so got on that


  3. Good question, Michael,

    I would say that the Dennis Dart SLFs will form the mainstay of the First Pioneer fleet for another six months. Their usual stamping ground tends to be the 346 route, so chances are, there may be another fleet cascade.

    My recent journey on the 350 from Saddleworth was most joyous. It reached my stop opposite Greenfield Conservative Club and arrived on time. That was the 2321 journey which I caught with my Dad after seeing Boarshurst Brass Band’s Christmas Concert yesterday.

    Bye for now,



    1. As Far as i am aware, the SLF darts from Pennine are replacing the wrights darts from Oldham to keep a fleet on the 415 (due to low bridge issues) the older Pennine darts, and the wrights darts from Oldham are, as far as i know, Going to scrap.

      the darts formerly used on the R6 ETC are being replaced with Citaros.


      1. Hi Bungle,

        Thanks for filling me in on Pennine’s Dart SLFs. I’ve seen a couple of Wright bodied Darts heading for the scrap heap along Ripponden Road last week.

        Merry Christmas,



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