Today, St. Werburgh’s Road… Next Thursday, East Didsbury

South Manchester Line extension to open three months ahead of schedule

Flexity Swift M5000, St. Peter's Square, Manchester
Soon to be extended to East Didsbury: the South Manchester Line.

Since the end of this February, Rochdalians and Oldhamers have enjoyed a direct tram link to Chorlton-cum-Hardy. From next Thursday, a day before Whit Friday, the South Manchester Line will be extended to East Didsbury. East of its current terminus at St. Werburgh’s Road, there will be five new stops. Before reaching its terminus at East Didsbury, they will call at Withington, Burton Road, West Didsbury and Didsbury Village. Continue reading “Today, St. Werburgh’s Road… Next Thursday, East Didsbury”

Oldham’s Grand Design, 1948 Style

How Oldham would have changed beyond recognition

What might have been, but never was 1
What Could Have Been: the County of Oldham Borough’s new civic centre on the site of Tommyfield Market. (Photograph courtesy of Jeremy Sutcliffe).

According to today’s Oldham Evening Chronicle, Councillor Jim McMahon aims to create 2,015 jobs by 2015, with flagship schemes to add a new hotel and conference centre. This would also include the old town hall’s conversion to a multiplex cinema.

It was this recent story which inspired me to write about another grand design, this time from 1948.

Besides being a century since Oldham’s first bus left The Star Inn, 2013 is also the anniversary of an unrealised plan which would have had a great affect on the town centre. By great affect, I mean anything much greater than the opening of Spindles Shopping Centre, Gallery Oldham, St. Mary’s Estate or Mahdlo. One which would have upset the grid pattern of some of the town centre’s older streets. Continue reading “Oldham’s Grand Design, 1948 Style”

Top Beer #4: Robinsons Brewery’s Trooper

East of the M60 reviews another real ale, and unlike the last one, imbibed a little closer to home.

  • Beer: ‘Trooper’ (4.8%);
  • Type of Beer: Premium Bitter/Golden Ale;
  • Brewery: Robinsons, Stockport, Cheshire;
  • Quaffed at: The Arden Arms, Stockport.

Not so long ago, Robinsons Brewery launched a successful ale in cooperation with Bury band Elbow. This year, the front man from Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson emulated that feat with a strong bitter named after a Top 20 Hit of theirs from 1983.

Once more, not so long ago (well, around March of this year to be honest), East of the M60 mentioned this and – true to form – decided to sample the beer itself. Where else could you try their ale apart from in Stockport (and especially so in one of Robinsons’ most revered pubs, The Arden Arms no less)?

Continue reading “Top Beer #4: Robinsons Brewery’s Trooper”

Up Town and Beyond Since 1913, Oldham By Bus and Tram: A Not So Perfect Ten Special

Ten icons of Oldham bus and tram operation over the last century

Oldham Corporation Leyland Atlantean, OBU 163F
Proper Bus! Need I say more…

Who’d have thought it would have been a hundred years since the first buses and trams operated from Oldham town centre? We seem to have come a long way from the days when buses or trams used to stop outside The Star Inn. Buses were more widely adopted after the late 1920s when cross-city express routes complemented the town’s trams. Today’s new fangled trams traverse the Rochdale-Oldham Loop Line, and – by next year – will be stopping near The Star Inn. Plus ça change, except for the depubification of The Star Inn. Continue reading “Up Town and Beyond Since 1913, Oldham By Bus and Tram: A Not So Perfect Ten Special”

Forgotten Video Game Characters: The Not So Perfect Ten

Ten forgotten silicon heroes of computer gaming

I don’t get today’s computer games. The graphics are somewhat overloading and the gameplay seems to be tagged on as an afterthought. I mean, what happened to games which were instantly playable? Far Cry or EVE requires manuals the size of an Argos catalogue and a machine which puts NASA’s original supercomputers to shame. Then there’s DRM, updates and the like… take me back to when a 14 minute loading time on audio tape was the only inconvenience! Continue reading “Forgotten Video Game Characters: The Not So Perfect Ten”

Bus Route Wonders of Greater Manchester #7: 130, Manchester – East Didsbury – Macclesfield

The Seventh and final one of East of the M60’s Seven Bus Route Wonders of the Greater Manchester area

Optare Versa, GHA Coaches MX58 KZE, Oxford Road, Manchester
Since January 2013, the Sunday and Bank Holiday service has been taken over by Vale of Llangollen/GHA Coaches’ Cheshire operations.

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. Continue reading “Bus Route Wonders of Greater Manchester #7: 130, Manchester – East Didsbury – Macclesfield”

Bus Route Wonders of Greater Manchester #6: 22, Bolton – Stretford – Stockport

The Sixth of East of the M60’s Seven Bus Route Wonders of the Greater Manchester area

There is only a small number of bus routes in Greater Manchester which traverse both FirstGroup and Stagecoach territory (and one of them was our second route). One recent development has been the extension of First Greater Manchester’s 18 route to Rusholme. Continue reading “Bus Route Wonders of Greater Manchester #6: 22, Bolton – Stretford – Stockport”

Bus Route Wonders of Greater Manchester #5: 184, Manchester – Oldham – Huddersfield

The Fifth of East of the M60’s Seven Bus Route Wonders of the Greater Manchester area

First Greater Manchester, Enviro400, Oldham bus station
In Full Flight: an Enviro400, loading at Oldham bus station on the full fat version of the 184 route.

The recent fortunes of our fifth route was made possible by the vagaries of bus deregulation. Greater integration between FirstGroup’s Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire companies Continue reading “Bus Route Wonders of Greater Manchester #5: 184, Manchester – Oldham – Huddersfield”

Bus Route Wonders of Greater Manchester #4: 8, Manchester – Pendlebury – Bolton

The Fourth of East of the M60’s Seven Bus Route Wonders of the Greater Manchester area

For our fourth route, is Manchester’s most direct bus connection with Bolton. Prior to setting up home in Mottram-in-Longdendale in 1948, this was L.S. Lowry’s usual bus, which he caught from Pendlebury. Continue reading “Bus Route Wonders of Greater Manchester #4: 8, Manchester – Pendlebury – Bolton”

Bus Route Wonders of Greater Manchester #3: 192, Manchester – Stockport – Hazel Grove

The Third of East of the M60’s Seven Bus Route Wonders of the Greater Manchester area

Whereas the 53 is iconic owing to its pioneering nature under Manchester Corporation, we focus on a modern day iconic bus route. One which according to some Manchester United fans is seen as the average Manchester City fans’ bus of choice. For years, it has been the most frequent bus route in Europe. Continue reading “Bus Route Wonders of Greater Manchester #3: 192, Manchester – Stockport – Hazel Grove”