East of the M60 visits Rochdale’s new bus station

This Sunday saw a new chapter in Rochdale’s transport history with the opening of Rochdale Interchange’s bus station. It improves on its predecessor with twelve stands under one roof, and an entrance with waiting area – ideal for Town Taxi’s cabs and the forthcoming Metrolink line to Rochdale railway station.

“The interchange is an attractive, accessible, bright place to catch your bus with modern, easy to use facilities” – Transport for Greater Manchester (2013)

It is easier to use than its predecessor, and clearly aimed at casual bus users as well as regulars. Ambience is airier and its single terminus design makes for a more attractive environment at night time. The introduction of departure boards at each stand and in the centre of the bus station itself (for all services) is a welcome addition. If there’s anything which it falls down on compared with the 1978 version, it is the lack of a café (though facilities are available in the Council Offices opposite).

The only other gripe I have (well a trifling one) is the lack of a 2013 version of the Bielefeld bus stop flag. Then again, there’s every chance our fellows from Germany might present it to TfGM once the Rochdale Interchange – Rochdale Railway Station line has opened.

“No doubt at all that they will continue to enjoy and appreciate this for a very long time to come” – Greater Manchester Transport (1978)

We hope this statement, which applied to the previous bus station (on the 28 May 1978), is as true with the present day version. It is also more energy efficient being powered by the River Roch, thanks to a form of Hydro Electric generation. By the time the old bus station is replaced by an extended Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre, we hope this and the bus/tram interchange makes Rochdale a more attractive location to do business, shop, or sample real ales.

From now on, I shall let the pictures do the talking and enable you to judge for yourself.

*                     *                     *

Rochdale Interchange: 17 November 2013

A New Broom
A New Broom – both metaphorically and literally.
A New Dawn
‘I almost had to wipe my feet when I got off my 409’ – my opinion on alighting at F stand. Compare how sleek Rochdale Interchange is with its predecessor. Though I loved the 1978 bus station, its time (from a passenger point of view rather than my enthusiast’s one) had come.
Old Meets New
Another view of Rochdale Interchange with a view of its predecessor designed by Essex Goodman and Suggitt.
Reverse Out Stands
A view of the Council Offices and Library from the main part of the concourse. Ahead of us is a quintet of reverse-out stands. F Stand is the preserve of the 409 to Ashton and a short walk for the Bolton, Halifax and Burnley buses (Which Is A Good Thing).
Bus Station Concourse
Another view of the airy concourse, this time with the newsagents left of centre to the passenger with a holdall.
Departures Board
The oh-so-sleek Departures Board set in the Pantograph typeface.
Stand Departure Board, Stand E
Here’s a single stand departure board. A far cry from the old plastic ones with bold Helvetica black text, but an improvement as the times are details.
View of Stand D
Stand D, preserve of Yorkshire Tiger’s 528 service over the more scenic route to Halifax and Rosso’s 464 to Accrington.
Bus Station Signage
Overhead signage, again in the Pantograph typeface.
Main Entrance View
The entrance lobby. In the background is a Flexity Swift M5000, positioned for testing the 0.6 mile line to Rochdale railway station. Notice the cash machine – one up on our 1978 version again.
TfGM Travelshop
The Transport for Greater Manchester Travelshop. Looks rather sleek inside, but I would rather see a nice orange SaverSales sign instead of the all-black Travelshop sign. (Still pretty nifty, but the SaverSales reference is pandering to the GMT enthusiast in me).
Volvo B9TL, MX07 BTE First Greater Manchester, Rochdale Interchange
And of course, I wouldn’t have been doing my job properly if I didn’t have any buses using Rochdale Interchange! Here’s MX07 BTE seen in a version of the 1968 Manchester City Transport livery.
Volvo B7RLE YN06 NXU, Rosso, Rochdale Interchange
Rossendale Borough Transport’s new livery and brand for its services. The single decker version of the Rosso livery looks pretty decent on YN06 NXU, moments away from setting off for Accrington.
Escalators to footbridge.
A last look at the old bus station’s escalators to Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre…
View of new bus station (2)
…And another look at the new bus station from the footbridge leading to the car park of the old bus station.

S.V., 17 November 2013.

7 thoughts on “In Pictures Special: Hello to Rochdale Interchange

  1. Stuart,

    Your pictorial images are excellent and show just how much brighter and airier this new interchange is, when compared to its predecessor


    1. Hi Paul,

      Many thanks for the comments. Needless to say, I shall find boarding the 409 in the long winter nights a greater joy. Not least the security of the bus station being under one roof. A trip to Halifax or Burnley by bus is more attractive because of the position of the 528, 589 and 590 stands being a quick saunter from the 409’s at Stand F.

      Next mission for me: more Rochdale Interchange pictures, this time using 35mm or medium format film.

      Bye for now,



  2. According to a recent press statement, the old Bus Station & Car Park are due to stay for the immediate future, I visited the new Interchange yesterday afternoon and was quite impressed with it and on speaking to a number of Bus Drivers they are quite impressed with it to and think its been a long time in coming, TfGM Staff were out in force with a number of staff drafted in from other Bus Stations to help out these included Supervisors and Attendents.

    One thing that has been noticed is that apparently there’s no water point if vehicles overheat, I’m guessing this will be fixed shortly else it could be fun if vehicles brake down.

    As for the new computerised departure boards it reminded me of another recently opened Bus Station and that’s the one down in Hanley (Stoke)

    Its certainly one of the better Bus Stations in Greater Manchester


    1. Hi Andrew,

      Spot on about Rochdale Interchange being one of the better TfGM bus stations. It is certainly making Bury Interchange, Stockport, Wigan, Leigh and (even with recent repainting into TfGM’s grey scheme) Ashton-under-Lyne bus stations look even more dated.

      I have not noticed the lack of water point, unless somebody’s going to use a TfGM branded bucket and the nearby River Roch.

      I hope Rochdale’s new bus station also reverses years of declining bus patronage among Rochdalians. Particularly so in the evenings, Sundays and Bank Holidays. It is just as convenient for Town Taxi’s offices as its predecessor (great for National Holidays/Shearings/National Express passengers). Could the old bus station and car park remain intact due to the Christmas period, to alleviate any concerns over lost parking space? Or has the car park now closed for good?

      Bye for now,



  3. Just had my first trip to the new Interchange today and whilst I was having a nosy, as one does, I – along with some lovely local bus pass holders – noticed across the road at the top of the multistory car park, 2 fluorescent clad jacket men with ladders removing both of the original Orange GMT ‘M’ motifs. I am assuming that with the tlc given with taking them down that they are destined for the museum of transport? I do hope so. Unfortunately I left my camera at home so couldn’t take any snap shots. It looks a very odd scene now with them gone.

    Nostalgia and inquisition aside, I have to admit that the new facilities are a huge improvement and, if this is the standard that is to replace Bolton Moor Lane bus station, I welcome it. Although I and many other Boltonians are still suspicious and bemused about the new ‘white elephant’, (We want METROLINK).
    Only time will tell I guess.


    1. Hi Trystan,

      I hope the M-blems would be seen at the Greater Manchester Museum of Transport. Even better if (as was the case after opening in May 1978) they were illluminated in the museum itself. They incorporated a fluorescent light fitting underneath the M-blem.

      Definitely agree with your second paragraph. Again, the same sort of environmental credentials will be applied to Bolton Interchange. As with Hyde and Rochdale bus stations, Aedas Architects will design Bolton’s new interchange. Their designs seem to be the face of TfGM’s 21st century termini, in the same way Essex Goodman and Suggitt represented the 1970s – 1990s GMPTE bus stations.

      I too would love to see Metrolink in Bolton, given how crowded local trains are between Bolton and Manchester stations. Plus it could give the 8 service a run for its money. More so if they went for the SELNEC Picc-Vic route from Radcliffe with additional stops at Ainsworth Road, Bradley Fold and Darcy Lever. It could compensate for the loss of the 94 from Bolton to Manchester via Whitefield.

      Bye for now,



      1. Agree with you wholly on your third paragraph. the 94 is a much missed service. The main problems are that their are now developments across the old railway alignment at;
        Burden Viaduct- ASDA and new Police Station (itself controversial as it has replaced the 2 town centre stations and other local stations in the broader community)
        Darcy Lever – HOUSING at back of Radcliffe Rd
        Bradley Fold – HOUSING across Bradley Lane, Ainsworth Rd
        Radcliffe – HOUSING built along the SE alignment (aptly named Station Close).
        Radcliffe Station – Car Park and School built across the alignment.
        Even if the alignment to the NE of the triangular junction at Radcliffe was utilised, as that is undeveloped, the 2 major housing developments Bolton side have completely scuppered any change of seeing Metrolink gliding across the 2 impressive Viaducts at Burnden and Darcy Lever.

        The only possible way would be to tunnel under…. which I doubt would happen today. The annoying thing being that the old Bolton – Rochdale railway was protected by the old GMCC for the SELNEC Picc-Vic project until the GMCC was itself scrapped along with the Picc-Vic plans.

        Some would say irony, I just say shortsightedness of the Local Authroities once again!


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