Duffers’ Guide to Bus Operations #6: Concessionary Fares

The long awaited sixth part of our beginners’ guide to bus operations returns

Passengers of a certain age may remember a time when Greater Manchester’s municipal and private operations had a varying degree of concessionary fare rates. Some didn’t introduce concessionary fares till the 1960s. Continue reading “Duffers’ Guide to Bus Operations #6: Concessionary Fares”

Stalybridge Writing Group Relaunched at Rifleman Inn

Poets Corner returns eleven years after formation

The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn, Stalybridge
The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn, Stalybridge: scene of Poets Corner’s return eleven years after formation.

The start of 2003 saw the formation of The People’s Gallery. In June of that year came the formation of Poets Corner, a writers’ group which spun off from the gallery and later continued under the name of ‘People’s Performance’. During the warm summer of 2003, gigs took place on the Town Hall Remains with at least 30 – 45 watching. As the group found difficulties in hiring suitable rooms in Stalybridge, the group lay dormant. Continue reading “Stalybridge Writing Group Relaunched at Rifleman Inn”

Blackpool Buses Set to Return to Manchester

Blackpool operator reinstates express bus link between Manchester and Blackpool

Without fanfare or the semblance of a mock funeral, or a suitable wake, the 29 January 2012 saw the loss of the X61 service, Manchester’s bus link with Blackpool. In its twilight years, the service then operated by Stagecoach North West was reduced to a handful of journeys and curtailed to Preston. This was in stark contrast to ten years ago when the X61 had a hourly service and an extension to Fleetwood. It was light years away from the 15 minute frequency it enjoyed in 1968, or about every five minutes in the late 1940s. Continue reading “Blackpool Buses Set to Return to Manchester”

Family Bucket Squabblefest: KFC versus Hyde Town Centre

Finger licking good or clucking awful? East of the M60 ponders over the fast food giant’s plans for a new Hyde outlet

The Cheshire town’s footballing side may be propping up the rest in Skrill Conference Premier and the local press’ letters pages carry, almost week in week out, the perils of parking in the town centre. On some occasions, there may be reference to the number of empty units and the stark piazza masquerading as an open market ground. Continue reading “Family Bucket Squabblefest: KFC versus Hyde Town Centre”

Preston Bus Station Now Grade II Listed Building

  • Victory for Bus and Architecture Geeks
  • Euston Arch of the Motorway Age saved from possible demolition
  • Cllr Rankin: ‘Very disappointing but not altogether unexpected’
Preston Bus Station, view from Tithe Barn Street
Saved: Preston Bus Station, seen in August 2011.

If you’ve spent the best part of your formative years en route to Blackpool or Morecambe, there’s every chance you would have come across what was Britain’s biggest bus station. For many bus and coach fanatics, it is probably their equivalent to Crewe or Birmingham New Street railway stations. Continue reading “Preston Bus Station Now Grade II Listed Building”

From Worksop Parramore to Wembley

A spotlight on the 2013-14 F.A. Challenge Cup competition

By next week, the world’s greatest and oldest cup competition will be in full swing. Everybody says the absolute zenith of the competition at its finest is the final tie at Wembley. I beg to differ. What has made, and continues to make the F.A. Cup one of the most revered competitions in the world is its qualifying rounds, leading up to the First Round Proper. It always seems to lose some of its allure when the last non-league side has been eliminated. Continue reading “From Worksop Parramore to Wembley”

Hooked on Chassis: A Bumper Selection of Pre-2002 Buses in Service

Summertime, and the buses are ageing…

Beyond the lustre and the glitz of Greater Manchester’s WiFi enabled buses, or electric hybrid vehicles, there’s still a fair number of late-20th century vehicles in continued service. Parts of Oldham and a fair chunk of Tameside’s bus routes are operated with vehicles built before the present millennium. Some of which are on routes physically unsuitable for double deckers (the 415 for example, owing to Middleton Junction bridge). Continue reading “Hooked on Chassis: A Bumper Selection of Pre-2002 Buses in Service”

Novelty Acts Through the Ages: A Not So Perfect Ten

A rundown of some of the memorable and plain wacky novelty acts over the last sixty years

It seems as if the shelf life of a novelty act is shorter than Jemini’s chart career. They are remembered for about two minutes after being the talk of the office or the taproom. After his success with The X Factor, Simon Cowell in his infinite wisdom decided to appeal to anyone with a soupçon of talent to enlist for Britain’s Got Talent and wait x amount of time for its regional auditions. Some of them were genuinely talented and went on to sell several million albums. Others were remembered for a weekend and were forgotten about. Continue reading “Novelty Acts Through the Ages: A Not So Perfect Ten”

Charity Drive Raises Over £20,000

Two year partnership with Stagecoach Manchester and St. Ann’s Hospice hailed a great success

Christopher Bowles (Stagecoach Manchester’s managing director), Angela Daniel (St Ann’s Day Therapy Team Leader) and Helen Anderson (St Ann’s patient)
Christopher Bowles (Stagecoach Manchester’s managing director), Angela Daniel (St Ann’s Day Therapy Team Leader) and Helen Anderson (St Ann’s patient). Photograph © 2013 Tangerine PR

Stagecoach Manchester is celebrating the end of a hugely successful charity partnership, which saw the company raise over £20,000 for St Ann’s Hospice. The company has supported the charity over the past two years, with the company’s five depots taking part in various activities to raise funds. Continue reading “Charity Drive Raises Over £20,000”

The Coningsby Manifesto: An Alternative Vision for Stalybridge

Where next for the ‘beautiful town with a new canal’?

‘If you want to see life,’ said the stranger, ‘go to Staleybridge or Bolton. There’s high pressure.’ – ‘Coningsby’, Benjamin Disraeli

Stalybridge Farmers' Market: stallholder portrait
A stall holder at the Stalybridge Farmers’ Market on a soggy Sunday in January. The Farmers’ Market has been a recent success after moving from Mossley to Armentieres Square.

The Stalybridge of 2013 is a world away from the account of events in Benjamin Disraeli’s 1844 novel. At the time, Stalybridge was a growing industrial town, and two years away from getting its railway station. It was thirteen years away from having its own Municipal Borough. Continue reading “The Coningsby Manifesto: An Alternative Vision for Stalybridge”