Even more superannuated step entrance and low floor vehicles.

When I get older, losing my flair
Fifteen years from now
Will you still be showing me the Claret Line
Schoolday runnings, seldom on time

If I’d been out on the 83
Will you drive so sure?
Will you still need me, though I’m not spritely,
On the 64?

Adapted from ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ (with apologies to Lennon and McCartney).

It has been over a year since the new FirstGroup livery was introduced to its modern vehicles. In that time, we have also seen a sizeable chunk of First Greater Manchester’s Wigan operation and Bluebird Bus and Coach transfer to Stagecoach Manchester. Furthermore, albeit in the short term, we have seen First Greater Manchester regain lost ground after the transfer of some of Maytree Travel’s routes. It has also meant the hasty return to service of some of its older vehicles.

Even so, there are still a few older vehicles on our roads in the Oldham and Tameside areas. Some of which, particularly the Dennis Arrows, have spent longer in Greater Manchester than in their original operating area [London]. Most of the pictures seen below were photographed over the last month.

Sit back, relax, and sift through the photos…

*                        *                        *

Volvo Olympian, First Pioneer, Northern Counties Palatine II body, T988 KLF, Ashton-under-Lyne bus station
We begin our round-up in exactly the same way as our previous one with T988 KLF. Almost six months since the last picture, it seems to have enjoyed its stay at Wallshaw Street, and is seen here loading on the 350 service to Oldham via Saddleworth.
First Greater Manchester Dennis Dart, Wright Crusader body, P510 LND, Oldham Bus Station
A dying breed, but P510 LND is seen here on the 415 route to Middleton. In the last year, it has had its indicator equipment modified to the more standard LED displays.
First Greater Manchester Volvo B9TL, MX09 GYH, Corporation Street (outside Printworks and URBIS), Manchester
Slightly out of zone being in the centre of Manchester – and too new for this series to be honest, though worthy of interest is MX09 GYH, seen in the old Barbie livery. It is seen on the 135 and is one of Bury’s Volvo B9TLs.
Stagecoach Manchester, Dennis Dart SLF, V484 LCW, Albion Hotel/Oxford Street, Dukinfield
This may seem like a bog standard short Dennis Dart SLF, but V484 LCW had spent most of its days in service in Merseyside. It was new to L&M Travel in May 2002, before transferring to CMT Buses. CMT Buses was sold to Glenvale Transport, a company formed after the sale of (ex-Merseybus) MTL Holdings to Arriva. Glenvale Transport later became Stagecoach Merseyside. Today, The Frank Worthington of the Dennis Dart World is seen in Tameside, and seen at the Albion Hotel stop on Stagecoach Manchester’s 346 route to Hyde. That too is unusual as Enviro200s are regular traction.
Dennis Arrow, First Pioneer, R443 ULE, Ashton-under-Lyne bus station
Back to Ashton: standing in for its regular Volvo B9TL is R443 ULE, one of Dukinfield garage’s two Dennis Arrows. Having hitherto operated for First CentreWest and First Somerset and Avon, they were originally dual door and designed more for school bus use. Unusually, they have a hard plastic back seat on the top deck, designed to deter vandals. As a bonus, we have a YouTube clip of R443 ULE in action on the 346 route!
Dennis Trident, Stagecoach Manchester, V170 DFT, Ashton-under-Lyne bus station
Though Stagecoach Manchester’s fleet is mainly Enviro400s and Enviro200s, there is still a number of interesting ‘non standard’ vehicles, such as this one which was originally the Perth-shire company’s standard double decker of choice. This Dennis Trident is seen here after a peak hour journey from Manchester to Ashton on the 231 route via Droylsden, Littlemoss, Hurst and Tameside Hospital.

S.V., 23 April 2013 (St. George’s Day).

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