Rochdale and Ripponden Route Reprieved

  • 528 route saved from withdrawal;
  • Service renumbered, though with loss of evening journeys and cuts to Sunday service.

A scenic cross-boundary bus route, following consultation with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, has been given a reprieve. The 528 service, from Rochdale to Halifax via Ripponden, is the most direct bus route between the two towns. It passes Blackstone Edge and covers part of the 2014 Tour de France Yorkshire route. It was one of two subsidised services slated for withdrawal on the 24 January 2015, as part of departmental cuts foisted upon Metro West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority.

After January 2015 there wont be a 528 service, though all of its route will be covered by a new limited stop service. Renumbered X58, it will retain its hourly frequency on weekdays and Saturdays. Unlike the present timetable, there will be no evening service. The Sunday and Bank Holiday service will be more limited, possibly every two hours.

At present, the 528 serves Lydgate every two hours via Blackstone Edge Road, with the remainder serving Halifax Road. From January 2015, Lydgate (in Rochdale MBC boundaries, not Oldham MBC boundaries) will be a bus-free zone, leaving its residents with one option: a taxi to The Moorcock Inn to link up to the X58.

This leaves the 590 from Rochdale to Halifax (via Hebden Bridge) as Greater Manchester’s only full time cross-boundary route between Lancashire and Yorkshire.  Confusingly, there will be two X58s in Transport for Greater Manchester boundaries (the other being a peak hour express route from Manchester to Flixton).

Previously, the 528 was operated by First Calderline, inherited from Yorkshire Rider. Before the formation of West Yorkshire PTE, it was taken over by Halifax Joint Omnibus Committee (who in turn took over Hebble’s services in 1972). Prior to then, Hebble’s 28 service.

All of the above will be finalised next month. Though the changes have meant a loss of all evening journeys and cuts to the Sunday service, it is still preferable to the worst case scenario stated in June this year.

Rising up to the challenge of its rivals (Part Deux)

The New Year will see a lot of Metro’s tendered routes in Calderdale taken over by Yorkshire Tiger. Spring 2015 shall see the arrival of new buses for its routes. Halifax, Hebden Bridge, Ripponden and Sowerby Bridge will see the arrival of electric-hybrid buses. Known as ‘Tiger Cubs’ they will have free WiFi. Furthermore, its existing fleet of single decker buses will be refurbished.

We shall see…

S.V., 28 October 2014.


8 thoughts on “Rochdale and Ripponden Route Reprieved

Add yours

  1. Nice to see it’s been saved, but surely something could have been done for poor Lydgate. Buses are an endangered species off the more profitable corridors. But at least Metro has listened in this case.

    Now I’m wondering if the 951 (Glossop – Holmfirth – Huddersfield) will make a return next summer, given these cutbacks. Please let there be a 951. :’-(


    1. Hi Mark,

      Ideally I would have preferred the retention of its route in its present timetable. Even so, full marks to Metro West Yorkshire for retaining most of its journeys.

      If I remember rightly, isn’t the 951 partially funded by the Peak National Park as well as Metro West Yorkshire? This I assume is down to one thing: whether or not the forthcoming autumn spending review is going to bring another swathe of departmental cuts.

      Bye for now,



  2. I personally think there should be a similar summer service from Oldham-Huddersfield via Greenfield and Holmfirth, I’m sure with it running via Holmfirth it could make some money.

    As for 951 interesting thing this year is that it was operated by Tates Travel who are based just outside Barnsley and not Centrebus/Yorkshire Tiger who have operated it for the past couple of years


    1. Hi Andrew,

      I doubt as if an Oldham – Holmfirth – Huddersfield service could be profitable. Though you may get sufficient numbers up to Greenfield and between Holmfirth and Huddersfield, there may be some issues with the realpolitik of funding TfGM/Metro concessionary fares. However, it could provide a useful link with the Pennine Way and be a suitable seasonal service with connections at Holmfirth with the 951.

      Another issue may be the weather conditions that the Isle of Skye Route has to contend with in the winter months. At least if the 184’s bogged down, the train provides a possible alternative. If stuck in the middle of Saddleworth Moors, the nearest railway station’s in Greenfield!

      Before 1999, there was a Summer Sunday extension of the 180 service from Manchester. Some journeys were extended to Huddersfield, east of the Clarence Hotel via Holmfirth. In 1995 and 1996, Sundays and Bank Holidays on the 180, and more of the same on its sister route, the all-stops 429 service in 1997 and 1998. 1999 saw the addition of Summer Saturday journeys.

      There had had previously been Greenfield to Huddersfield journeys (via Holmfirth) under Greater Manchester Transport and GM Buses as part of its seasonal 430 Saddleworth Link/Pennine Link service from Bury and Rochdale.

      Thanks for the update on the 951 operator. I too hope it runs next summer; I’ve yet to have a bash on that route myself!

      Bye for now,



  3. If promoted right to leisure users and Pennine Way walkers, an Oldham – Greenfield – A635 (via Chew car park) Holmfirth – Woodhead – Glossop link could be created replacing the Summer Huddersfield – Glossop route and creating new Pennine Way opportunities at Isle of Sky and Chew (via path what links Pennine Way with Chew), It’s always a trek getting out to Black Hill from the nearest towns over at Meltham (using Wessenden Head Road which is a bit dangerous with it’s bends near towards the Isle of Sky junction), or at Marsden via the track up through Wessenden Valley. I’m sure a bus link along the A635 during the Summer will be welcome from tired Pennine Way walkers or from those wanting to go up Black Hill without the long drag from Marsden/Meltham. You could have a day ticket valid throughout the route all day, this will be especally useful to walkers who will welcome the opportunity to fully be able to walk over Black Hill without having to make their way back to where they started due to the original bus they used (e.g Marsden buses or the 951). Those who use the existing Huddersfield – Glossop route could still use this new route as plenty of buses link Huddersfield with Holmfirth.


    1. Hi Leeds,

      An Oldham to Glossop (via Chew car park and Holmfirth) route may be a little circuitous, but the scope for connection could be established with First West Yorkshire’s frequent routes into Huddersfield is great. There might be a slight concern over the mileage (29.5 miles) but in normal traffic conditions, you may be looking at around 1 hour and 40 minutes.

      With sufficient layover at Oldham and Glossop termini, you’ll be looking at two to three buses being used to maintain a two-hourly service.

      If operated by any of Greater Manchester’s two operators (I would assume First Greater Manchester or High Peak would be a good fit), journeys would have to be staggered to minimise dead time.

      If operated from Oldham, the last bus would be best departing from Glossop instead of Oldham, instead of running dead from Glossop to Oldham via Stalybridge (dead time would only be from the bus station to Wallshaw Street if FGM). Should it be, for example, High Peak, you’d be looking at Oldham to Glossop as the last journey with dead time up to Dove Holes garage (which could be alleviated by a part route positioning journey of the 61 service).

      Not only that, the whole of your suggested route is covered by both Derbyshire and TfGM Wayfarer tickets, where Huddersfield on the present 951 isn’t covered.

      Bye for now,



  4. Hi Ben,

    Many thanks for the update. Glad to see they’ve added one evening return journey. Hope to have the joy of boarding the 2125 from Halifax in the summer months.

    Going off at a wee tangent, I noticed Yorkshire Tiger has got the 547 service from Huddersfield to Brighouse (which I use each year after the Brighouse Hymn and March Brass Band Contest). Plus the possibility of free WiFi in July.

    Bye for now,



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