Tameside and Glossop Bus Service Changes, October 2015

346 service extension suitable prescription for better links?

  • Stagecoach Manchester 346s extended to Tameside Hospital;
  • Peak hour upgrades for 219 and 409 services;
  • Glossop’s Stockport link discontinued.
Enviro400 First Greater Manchester SN12 AOD, Oldham Bus Station
Now with peak hour enhancements to boot: the 409 service from Ashton to Rochdale.

The end of October is usually synonymous with horror or mild peril, even in the world of public transport. Throughout the last three months of each year, bus usage is reputed to be higher than any other time due to Christmas shopping traffic.

For the Tameside area, October’s set of changes is more ‘treat’ than ‘trick’. Among the goodies are slight improvements to peak hour journeys.

The orange cream in our bus orientated box of Quality Street comes in the form of changes to the 346 service. Almost four years after its upgrade comes a northbound extension to Stagecoach Manchester’s journeys. From the end of October, the popular service via Newton and Dukinfield will continue to Tameside Hospital on Monday to Saturday daytimes. Times will also be changed, probably to allow for extended running times via the BT junction, and irksome traffic lights outside the Albion School building.

This will not only mark the 346’s first northward extension since 1979 (when some journeys used to continue to Droylsden till 1985). It reestablishes a direct link between Dukinfield and Tameside Hospital – a connection severed on the loss of Checkmate Coaches’ 220 journeys in April 2014 (and the curtailment of the 217 service the same month). On the other hand, a 346 terminating at the hospital would have less dead time between Hartshead Building North and Stagecoach’s garage off Clarence Street.

At present, Stagecoach Manchester’s 231 is its only commercial service to run to Tameside Hospital. Could this mean more competition against First Greater Manchester, whose 350 service offers six buses per hour to Tameside Hospital? Stagecoach Manchester’s change could see five buses of theirs per hour making the journey to Fountain Street. Furthermore, the people of Newton gain a faster link to the hospital (at present, this means changing at Ashton or Stalybridge).

Whilst in Stalybridge, some peak hour journeys of the 219 service will be extended from Ashton to the Cheshire town. A move which is not only useful, but one that also reduces dead time. Passengers of the 409 service will also benefit from extra peak hour journeys, this being on weekdays.

Glossop changes

Of late, High Peak extended their 394 service from Stepping Hill to Stockport. Owing to reliability problems and the cursed A6, its southern terminus will revert to Stepping Hill Hospital.

Though a little off Glossop, yet relevant in this context, the 192 service is going to be given another boost. In addition to the already frequent service from Hazel Grove to Piccadilly Gardens will be a new express service. The X92 will offer peak hour journeys on weekdays from Stagecoach’s recently opened Park and Ride site south of the Rising Sun public house. Could the express service be more of an enticement than the all stops 192 service? Anecdotal evidence on the P+R site has seen reports of empty spaces galore.

With the summer season coming to a close, Tates Travel’s 901 weekend service from Glossop to Holmfirth and Huddersfield will be hibernating for the winter.

Whatever next?

As well as January’s set of changes, expect to see a preview of what we may be about to receive in Easter 2016. Also, as soon as we find out, expect to see details of this Christmas’ and New Year’s Day 2016’s night buses.

S.V., 30 September 2015.

Postscript (02 October 2015)

Sometimes, orange creams can have a Marmite effect on chocolate lovers. In the case of the 346, the somewhat negative or ‘meh’ effect in October’s changes. In spite of its extension to Tameside Hospital, Stagecoach Manchester’s daytime journeys will be cut by 33%: from three buses an hour to two buses an hour. Bah! (Don’t get me started on why Quality Street tins have shrunk either).

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6 thoughts on “Tameside and Glossop Bus Service Changes, October 2015

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  1. Hello Stuart, the Holmfirth to Glossop via Torside link won’t be put to bed for long, celebrate like a mad man because those excellent people at South Pennine Community Transport are launching a Friday bus (numbered 351!) along this route, timetable is on the Derbyshire Council website but 2 daytime return journeys will be provided giving those travelling from Glossop an hour and 20 mins in Holmfirth and obviously more time in the Longendale Valley. Those travelling to Glossop can enjoy over 2 and a half hours in Glossop.

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  2. Forgot to add that the 352 has been such a success it’s now an all year round service AND rumour has it another new route from Holmfirth to Ashton will be launched!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just had confirmation from South Pennine Community Transport that they are soon launching a Thursday return bus from Holmfirth to Ashton. This company looks like it’s really looking into new markets and hopefully will succeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leeds,

      All the above is fantastic news. Any reference to the route between Ashton-under-Lyne and Saddleworth? (Hopefully via Top Mossley and Bottom Mossley, or Stalybridge).

      There’s another article in this! 🙂

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  4. The changes Stagecoach have made to the 346 are good for getting to the hospital but their timings are ridiculous. They are now running 5 minutes before and after the First Manchester journeys and, in some cases, actually at the same time. This used to be a brilliant 10 minute frequency. Let’s hope First see sense and adjust their departure times to compliment those of Stagecoach.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi James,

      I would have preferred the retention of Stagecoach’s 20 minute daytime frequency with TGH extensions being once hourly.

      If Stagecoach were to change their times from the Albion Hotel to Ashton from 17 and 47 minutes past the hour to 27 and 57, you would clash with First’s 52 minutes past the hour journey. 02 and 32 minutes past the hour from the Albion Hotel would be better.

      Furthermore, there’s a missed opportunity with the Tameside Hospital link which they could have exploited. The chance of a 15 minute frequency with the 231s at 25 and 55 minutes past hour at present, and their 346s running at 10 and 40 minutes past the hour.

      If First were to adjust the frequencies of their 346, I could imagine them being reduced to every half hour instead of at their present 20 minute daytime frequency. This could justify the use of Volvo B9TLs as regular vehicles instead of Darts or StreetLites.

      If increased to every 15 minutes at 12, 27, 42 and 57 minutes past the hour (again using the Albion Hotel to Ashton for example), five minutes ahead of Stagecoach’s journeys. The (outgoing) Marshall bodied Dennis Dart SLFs and incumbent Optare Solos could remain its regular custodians.

      On the other hand, changing them from 12, 32 and 52 minutes past hour (based on times to Ashton from Albion Hotel, Dukinfield) to 02, 22 and 42 would still clash with Stagecoach’s journey at 47 minutes past the hour.

      In spite of timetabling peeves on the daytime services, I am happy with the link to Tameside Hospital (and the excellent Carr’s The Bakers on Mossley Road) from my part of Dukinfield. I’m more narked off by the BT Roundabout; there’s a surefire case for bus priority measures on all services traversing ASDA and BT junctions.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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