101 Bus Direction Signs: A Tameside Garage Oddity (Part Six)

The sixth and final part of our Down Our Streets serialised photo special

Seven to eight months in the making, we finally hit the magic 101 Bus Direction Signs. Worth the effort? Certainly. How many anorak points has that given us? 346 out of a possible 10 maybe.

Now for the final part. Fasten your seatbelts.

97: Mossley Road, Ashton-under-Lyne (southbound)

97 Mossley Road, AshtonThanks partly to Messrs Osborne, Ridley, Freeman and Fowler, my pursuit of the Mossley Road plaque and inadequate Bank Holiday services saw yours truly undertake a fair amount of walking. For some daft reason I fancied walking from Chez Vall to clock this one. I had seen this one several times on the 350 service out of Saddleworth. Dating from 1986, the 208 at the time linked Ashton and Hattersley with Tameside Hospital.

98: Mossley Road, Ashton-under-Lyne (northbound)

98 Mossley Road, Ashton

This plaque show GM Buses’ then local services into Mossley, with the top two later swallowed by the 350 in most part. The 336 and 348 became Pennine’s 33 and 34. In August 1999, they ceased to become circular routes with the Ashton to Carrbrook sections becoming the 348 and 349.

Today’s 350 could be considered a trunk route between Ashton and Micklehurst these days with important links into Saddleworth.

99: King’s Road, Higher Hurst

99 Kings Road, Higher HurstAfter walking to Mossley Road from Chez Vall I was a bit miffed at having to do more walking (yes, inadequate Bank Holiday buses again!), this time towards my next target. That of an orange plaque on St. Alban’s Avenue. Yet, the shortcomings of Greater Manchester’s bus network worked in my favour. Along King’s Road, this specimen from 1980 took me by surprise. Today, the 336 is replaced in some part by the 38 and 39 services.

100: Ladbrooke Road, Higher Hurst

100 Ladbrooke Road, HigherHurst

One more to go! This battered example is close to King George’s Playing Fields.

101: St. Alban’s Avenue, Broadoak

101 St. Albans Avenue, HartsheadTHIS IS THE ONE! The 101st Greater Manchester Transport/GM Buses plaque spotted by yours truly. The bulk of the 334 service lives on in today’s 231, 232 and 408 services. The 232 in most part replaced the 332 as well.

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With the target number achieved I could have called it quits. I realised there was considerably more than 101 bus direction signs dotted around Tameside Garage’s operating area. Some I missed in Ashton-under-Lyne and Audenshaw; a sizeable number in Droylsden around Greenside Lane. Then I realised there was some I missed in Glossop, maybe two in Saddleworth.

What did I do? I decided I should continue my quest. Hence…

102 and 103: Newmarket Road, Waterloo

102 and 103 Newmarket Road, Waterloo
A strange one: two pointing the same direction. The upside down ‘Except’ sticker on the orange plaque may have been used to cover the number of a defunct route. We suspect it may have been the 346 when some of its journeys used to go to Droylsden via Littlemoss.

Shortly after taking this picture and three miles of uninterrupted walking, I managed to get a bus: a Spring Bank Holiday journey of the 168 to Ashton. To celebrate hitting the 101 figure, this meant a celebratory chicken breast burger and fries with a can of Irn Bru from Chicken Station.

On leaving the shop I was hungry for more. Not fried chicken. Another bus plaque attack. One in Delph I had forgotten to snap on a previous visit. This one seen below:

104: Lodge Lane, Delph

104 Lodge Lane, DelphThanks to the wonders of First Greater Manchester’s 350 service, a Wright StreetLamp ferried me to Delph where I snapped this creation. “Result!” I thought after snapping the plaque and being able to return to the same 350 I caught at Ashton. This dumbfounded the driver of that journey.

I then stayed on to Oldham and caught the 343 back to Chez Vall. This plaque, dating from 1980, shows the 355 route up to Lodge Lane and the left turn needed to reach Friarmere Road. Today’s 350 service traverses the wooded single track road.

Then, on a 354 to Denshaw the following Friday (well, Whit Friday 2015 to be precise – first bus out of Uppermill, so stayed on to Denshaw and returned to Ashton), I found I had missed another one near Lodge Lane. Bummeration! (Another trip looms.)

A Birthday Bonus

I then knew of another GM Buses era plaque in Ashton. The day of all days I chose to pursue this plaque was my birthday. Being as I had a birthday card to deliver, I thought it was a good idea to call en route and walk the rest of the journey into Ashton-under-Lyne. Fortunately, a Dukinfeldian lady friend who I share my birthday with, along my desired route.

105: Cavendish Street, Ashton-under-Lyne

105 Cavendish Street, AshtonIn spite of the works involving the ASDA roundabout, this GM Buses era plaque outlived the roundabout itself. Today’s drivers probably have a lot more time to fawn at this specimen thanks to the rather pants junction layout.

106: Park Parade, Ashton-under-Lyne

106 Cavendish Street, AshtonConfused? You would be. Especially if Mr Fender and Co. decided to relaunch the 41 as the 339 and 340. How? The lamp post with this plaque has been relocated, perhaps due to the remodelling of Park Parade. If followed to the letter, buses approaching Park Parade and not touching ASDA.

To round off this sixth and final part, this is another one of the GM Buses era directional signs. Could this lamp post, with plaque have been relocated from Stamford Street junction (the 339 and 340 used to go via part of Mill Lane)?

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But Wait… There’s More!

I have now seen further Greater Manchester Transport and GM Buses directional signs in Dukinfield which I have neglected. Next on the hit list include those for the:

  • 220 and 221 (to Manchester): King Street, Dukinfield;
  • 221 (for Tennyson Avenue): Yew Tree Lane, Dukinfield;
  • 346, 388 and 389 (for Hyde and Marple): Ashton Road, Newton;
  • 76 (for Manchester): Ashton Road, Stottfield, Oldham.

Will I be happy to call it quits on 106? A huge ‘no’: there is plenty more to find. Here’s to a Christmas special? Who knows.

S.V., 01 August 2015 (Yorkshire Day)

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