The Seventh and final one of East of the M60’s Seven Bus Route Wonders of the Greater Manchester area
Our final entry is another cross-boundary route, this time one between Greater Manchester and Cheshire. At one time, it was a limited stop route with an express section between East Didsbury and Manchester.
An agreement with Manchester Corporation and the North Western Road Car Company led to the creation of today’s 130 route on the 01 March 1928. Its original Manchester terminus was Lower Mosley Street Omnibus Station, and was one of several of express bus routes operated by Manchester Corporation and joint partners. In 1930, it was allocated number 29.
The 29 went via Birchfields Road and Kingsway, as does today’s 130. A sister route, the 30, traversed Slade Lane. Its joint agreement between Manchester Corporation and the North Western Road Car Company was continued by SELNEC Central in 1969. Two years later, North Western’s bus operations within the SELNEC PTE area absorbed into the new SELNEC Cheshire division. By then, 29 and 30 became 129 and 130, but restructuring of the Cheshire division saw the 129 and 130 routes taken over by Crosville. Therefore, the red and cream of NWRCC gave way to the National Bus Company’s leaf green.
Since deregulation, it had had several operators. These included Midland Red North in the late 1980s. By the early 1990s, Stevensons of Uttoxeter expanded in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, taking over the 130 route. By then, it had ceased to become a limited stop route. By 1998, the yellow livery of Stevensons’ buses was usurped by the cream and turquoise of Arriva.
Since 1998, the daytime service has been operated by Arriva North West, from its Macclesfield depot. Till last year, it was co-worked with their Manchester garage on St. Andrew’s Street. In the last decade, its weekend service has been slashed, and its Sunday service have had a different operator since 2011.
Arriva North West operate the Monday to Saturday daytime journeys. Sunday and Bank Holiday services are operated by GHA Coaches/Vale of Llangollen.
Basic Frequency: every hour during the daytimes; every half hourly on weekday daytimes. Four northbound and two southbound evening journeys on Sundays and Bank Holidays, plus one part route working to Wilmslow.
- Local History and Art: Paradise Mill in Macclesfield is worth considering for everything you need to know about the town’s once booming silk industry. En route is Nether Alderley Mill, a restored watermill in the care of the National Trust. A short walk away from the St. Mary’s Hospital stop on the 130 is Victoria Baths in Chorlton-on-Medlock, open mainly on Summer Sundays for guided tours and exhibitions.
- Food and Drink: Posh restaurants and bars in Alderley Edge and Wilmslow are a 130 bus ride away. There are also JD Wetherspoon pubs en route in East Didsbury (The Gateway), Wilmslow and Macclesfield.
- Shopping: As well as the centre of Manchester, why not look at antiques in Wilmslow or visit the indoor market in Macclesfield? Or you pause in Cheadle or browse in Handforth.
- Live Performance: The Palace Theatre is a short hop from the 130 stop on Oxford Street.
- Family Entertainment: the Cineworld complex on East Didsbury is worth visiting, with other attractions including a ten-pin bowling alley.
Best Value Fares: Transport for Greater Manchester’s Wayfarer ticket is your best bet if you wish to continue your journey from Macclesfield towards the Peak District. Other than the GM Wayfarer, I recommend going for GHA Coaches’ or Arriva North West’s single operator day rover tickets.
Travel Tips: The 130 is a scenic route, though one lacking in double decker buses these days. As most journeys are operated with Dennis Dart SLFs, Optare Versas or Optare Solos, try and go for the first seat above the back wheel. Furthermore, I also recommend emptying your bladder before doing the route in full. Believe me, the full journey from Manchester to Macclesfield is uncomfortable if you forget (and I’ve managed this feat on Dennis Darts, when they had the East Lancashire EL2000 bodied vehicles).
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Here ends our Seven Bus Route Wonders of Greater Manchester, tying in with this year’s Catch The Bus Week. This compilation of articles was made possible by:
- My first hand experience along most of the routes;
- Copious amounts of Yorkshire Tea and the Co-op’s 99 Tea Bags;
- Background research on the sextet of routes;
- A few carefully selected images.
This article was also brought to you by the number ‘7’ and the letters ‘S’ and ‘V’.
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Last but not least, feel free to comment on the routes hitherto stated, including this one, and on each of the articles detailing the other six routes. Till then…
S.V., 05 May 2013.