New look single terminal set to replace 1994 version

Stagecoach in Manchester, Enviro400, MX06 XAK, Ashton-under-Lyne bus station
The 1994 version of Ashton bus station: soon to be replaced by a state of the art terminal by the end of this decade.

After some speculation in the last seven years, Ashton-under-Lyne is set to receive a high quality bus and tram interchange. The new Ashton Interchange will be completed in 2018, costing £32.7 million.

The state of the art facility is set to replace the present five platform structure built in 1994. Instead of opting for platforms, bus boarding facilities are likely to be under one roof as seen at Huddersfield, Rochdale and Middleton bus stations. It’ll incorporate Ashton’s Metrolink station.

There has been plans to modernise Ashton’s bus station since 2008, though plans have been dependent on the Arcades Shopping Centre’s proposed expansion. Previous plans have seen artist’s impressions of the bus station being seen under part of the extended shopping centre, with a new anchor store facing Wellington Road. Following the global downturn and a loss of high profile retailers, the centre’s plans appear to have been mothballed.

The £32.7 million injection into Ashton-under-Lyne is a small but significant chunk of a £500 million investment package announced by Deputy Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Nick Clegg MP [Sheffield Hallam] this morning.  It is part of a five year £350 million package for Greater Manchester. So far, it will see:

  • £110 million Local Transport Block money: agreed in December 2013;
  • A further £154 million Local Growth Fund money: effective between 2016-17 and 2020 – 21;
  • A further £37 million made available in local match funding between 2016 and 2021.

Also part of Greater Manchester’s wider Growth Deal package will be a £115 million scheme to upgrade Stockport bus station with associated improvement works to the public realm and the A6 on Wellington Roads North and South. £41.8 million is earmarked for the bus/rail/tram interchange, which is set to allow for a future Metrolink extension from East Didsbury. There will also be funding for 12 new trams and three new platforms at Salford Central railway station.

The scheme will also fund manufacturing equipment at Tameside College’s Beaufort Road campus (which will already benefit from refurbishment in 2018), provide employment support for vulnerable people, and reform public services.

Ashton’s new bus station, on opening in 2018, will be its fourth in 55 years. It is likely to be a major advance on the platform based layouts which has characterised the town’s bus stations since 1963.

As the most used bus station outside of Central Manchester, Ashton’s bus users is set to gain a termini which does its passengers justice. Certainly one which is more hospitable in the evenings. A dedicated taxi rank and priority at the traffic lights for Metrolink trams would be nice too. We await the plans with interest.

S.V., 07 July 2014.

4 thoughts on “£32.7 Million Upgrade for Ashton Bus Station Welcomed

  1. Does Ashton-under-Lyne have a new bus station every 20 years or so….or does it just seem like this.

    How much will it differ from the new Wythenshawe Interchange that will also serve both Metrolink and buses.


    1. Hi Paul,

      Good question. It states in one source (the Manchester Evening News) that it would have two styles of bus stand. I assume that would be of the pull-in/reverse-out and the platform varieties (as with most stops) – the hybrid single terminal styles as seen at Middleton, Rochdale and the future bus terminal of Bolton Interchange. The Wythenshawe style (more a cousin of Oldham’s stands) may be too small. That was quoted at £5 million (contractors being the Kier Group), so £32.7 million may be overpriced for a scheme of that ilk.

      Yes, it does seem to be every twenty years, with the 1984-1985 version only lasting for ten in its fully realised form. It is also worth noting that by 2018, Bolton will have had five bus stations in the last 55 years. Not only the new one under construction and two versions of Moor Lane Bus Station, but also the smaller Bolton Interchange stands and Howell Croft Bus Station (where the Bolton Octagon theatre is today).

      Bye for now,



      1. I knew that Ashton “punched above its weight” before De-reg, but I didn’t realise it was still the busiest outside the city itself. As such, I would be wary of single-structure buildings, as they would surely further reduce stand capacity, just as previous re-structures have done.


  2. Hi Phil,

    Even as far back as 1963 – 64, some locals thought the original bus station was extravagant, and stated they would have been happy with a number of individual shelters per stand instead of stands forming part of fully covered platforms. SHMD’s services didn’t use the bus station till 1969, remaining loyal to St. Michael’s Square before then. Even so, it lasted for 20 years, prior to the arrival of EGS Design’s shelters (1985 – 1994).

    Case in point as regards single structured bus stations: Eccles. I remember waiting for a 247 to Altrincham, boarding the service because it passes Partington (and I hadn’t been on a bus which went that way). It arrived at the stand 15 minutes late because its usual position was blocked. Later, the four stand bus station had to be augmented with extra shelters near the tram stop.

    In relation to the new single structured TfGM stations, far better from a personal security point of view. Given the choice of waiting for the 2230 journey of the 346 from the present bus station, or one akin to Rochdale’s, the latter any day. From an operational point of view, I have noticed fewer layover spaces in Rochdale and Middleton bus stations than the previous versions.

    I am wondering how Ashton’s could be moved closer to the trams without demolishing the tower block off Water Street. The only way I would assume is if you move the stands towards the layover point and have layover facilities nearest the Arcades Shopping Centre, but this would make the already uninspiring approach to the precinct just as dull.

    Bye for now,



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