The Joys of Brass Bands Live at the BBC

Sunday night concerts at the Boarshurst Band Club

Boarshurst Band, Armentieres Square, Stalybridge
Boarshurst Silver Band, seen on the 2015 Whit Sunday walks in Stalybridge, Cheshire.

Within its 20,000 population, the villages that make up Saddleworth have a healthy number of brass bands. From the Championship to Youth Sections, they form an integral part of the area’s traditions and livelihoods. Whit Friday is as important as Christmas for its populace. Continue reading “The Joys of Brass Bands Live at the BBC”

Stagecoach Manchester’s February Fare Offer

Half price Day Riders for passengers aged 16 to 19

Enviro400 Stagecoach Manchester, MX08 GNU, Ashton-under-Lyne bus station
For passengers aged 16 – 19 years of age, Stagecoach’s half price Dayrider will offer substantial savings on a short return trip from Dukinfield to Ashton! The present fare is £2.30 – a saving of £2.60 on both legs. A trip from Dukinfield to The Trafford Centre on Stagecoach Manchester buses alone (330 or 346; 216/219/231; and X50 or 250) would see the single fare on each bus akin to prices last seen in the Greater Manchester Transport era – back when the 16 to 19 Pass was advertised on Piccadilly Radio!

30 years after Greater Manchester Transport rebranded the Teen Travel Club weekly tickets as the 16 – 19 Bus Pass, comes a special offer from Stagecoach Manchester. Thousands of young people across Greater Manchester are set to benefit from a new offer by Stagecoach Manchester which will help cut the cost of travel. Continue reading “Stagecoach Manchester’s February Fare Offer”

Duffers’ Guide to Bus Operations #10: Moquette Design

For the tenth part of this series, what makes a marvellous moquette?

C920 FMP, Leyland Lynx 252 (interior).
Note the dashing moquette: the yellow, orange and brown of John Holdsworth’s FBA106 moquette, known as Autumn Gold.

The moquette of a bus seat fulfils two purposes. One is to project the bus operator’s corporate identity. Another is to make the bus seats look as good as clean, even if the seat has been sat on several times a shift.
Continue reading “Duffers’ Guide to Bus Operations #10: Moquette Design”

Processed Food and Drink of the 1980s and Beyond: The Not So Perfect Ten

A tasty Feast of the M60 Not So Perfect Ten

Many Moons ago (well, the 27 May 2013 to be precise), we did an article on nutritionally incorrect processed food entitled ‘The Tinned Pie’s The Limit‘. In other words, the convenience food you can still get in a lot of supermarkets and discount shops. There was also another post entitled ‘Crimes Against Food‘ from July 2010 which coincided with the launch of Tesco’s Lasagne Sandwiches. This looked at, to some extent convenience food, and meatball butties.

For our Not So Perfect Ten, we have decided to look at some of the processed food you could get in the 1980s and beyond. Some of it has left our shelves unceremoniously with the Turkey Twizzlers, whereas some grace the deepest recesses of your local freezer centre. Others, we look upon with nostalgia and yearn for their return. Continue reading “Processed Food and Drink of the 1980s and Beyond: The Not So Perfect Ten”

Tameside and Glossop Bus Service Changes, January 2016

Peak hour congestion party to latest changes

19457 - MX58VAV
From this month’s changes, the 203 is set to benefit from improved evening journeys. Seen in 2014 is 19457, an Enviro400 approaching Stockport, seen at Ardwick Green. Photograph by Mikey (Creative Commons License – Some Rights Reserved).

There is, at least in Tameside and East Manchester, little to report other than retimings for the first set of changes in 2016. Then again, regular readers of our bulletins will understand that Easter’s set of service changes are usually the worst. In other words, the nut flavoured toffees that nobody goes for in the tin of Quality Street.
Continue reading “Tameside and Glossop Bus Service Changes, January 2016”

How Privatisation Killed Off the British Rail Sandwich Joke

Heard the one about the Northern Rail sandwich…? Thought not.

The heady days of 1970s food on the go: a Travellers' Fare sandwich.
Appetising isn’t it? Better than half the jokes: the Travellers’ Fare sandwich. Poster image photographed by Chris Sampson (Creative Commons License – Some Rights Reserved).

If you visit a busy mainline station anywhere in the United Kingdom, today’s concourses resemble a small town shopping centre. It is a far cry from an era when the only shops were those of W.H. Smith and Son, John Menzies, Finlays or Wymans. Other than newsagents’ shops, it was the buffet bar or restaurant. Till the start of rail privatisation, a parcels (Red Star) pick-up point and left luggage facilities were the norm at principal stations. Continue reading “How Privatisation Killed Off the British Rail Sandwich Joke”

Stalybridge Town Cinema’s First 2016 Feature: Mamma Mia!

A look at Mamma Mia!, the film version of the ABBA themed jukebox musical

Tuesday, 19 January will see Stalybridge Town Cinema’s first flick of 2016 with what is one of Britain’s highest grossing films. Adapted from the 1999 West End musical, the film version of Mamma Mia! packed UK cinemas on its original 2008 release.

It is a film that’ll have you singing your way through the feature! It could possibly get you singing random ABBA songs en route to your humble abode. (Neither East of the M60, nor Stalybridge Town Cinema accept any responsibility for any earworms).
Continue reading “Stalybridge Town Cinema’s First 2016 Feature: Mamma Mia!”

Duffers’ Guide to Bus Operations #9: Bus Seats

For the ninth part of this series, the foibles of bus seats

C920 FMP, Leyland Lynx 252 (interior).
Seats in All Parts: real bus seats as seen on a preserved Leyland Lynx single decker bus.


In our previous part, we looked at how some bell pushes can be used as an extension of the big bus owning groups’ corporate identity. The same can be true with the look and feel of our bus seats.

Over the last two decades, a typical bus seat has evolved from bench style seating to individual seats. More like mini coach seats with plastic backing. In the UK, our bus seats have moquette, a hardwearing material which not only adds colour, but also covers the cushion.
Continue reading “Duffers’ Guide to Bus Operations #9: Bus Seats”

Ralph Bennett: His Life in the Company of Buses

Our tribute to the man who revolutionised modern bus operation

1001 Leyland Atlantean HVM 901F (Mancunian style, Ralph Bennett, 1968), Manchester City Transport
For many bus enthusiasts and Mancunians of a certain age, Leyland Atlantean 1001 is Ralph Bennett’s best known legacy.

Cast your mind back to 1968: Greater Manchester’s bus network was on the verge of radical change. In a year’s time, the greens and creams of Salford Corporation and SHMD Joint Board, and the reds and creams of Manchester and Stockport corporations’ undertakings would be replaced by SELNEC’s neutral livery. Its 3 million inhabitants would soon receive modern buses in an orange and white livery. Continue reading “Ralph Bennett: His Life in the Company of Buses”

The 44 Which Clocked Up 1,341 Years

Stagecoach Manchester employees honoured for long service

44 members of staff have been thanked for notching up a staggering 1,341 years of service in the bus industry, at Stagecoach Manchester’s annual Long Service Awards.

The awards recognise employees who have worked with Stagecoach Manchester and its predecessors for 20 years or more. Particular commendation went to driver Joseph Bethwaite, who has worked for 50 years. Fellow colleague Norman Robinson joined a year later. Rodney Garner and David Jones joined 45 years ago, when most of Greater Manchester’s buses were operated by SELNEC PTE.

Continue reading “The 44 Which Clocked Up 1,341 Years”