J.A. Griffiths’ Bus Routes: A Lost Bus Routes of Greater Manchester Special

A look at the 223 and 227 routes from Hyde

#4 Obsolete
A steam engine shed in Dinting formerly part of the Dinting Railway Centre, close to the terminus of the long forgotten 227 service. Image by Trevor King (Creative Commons License: Attribution-Some Rights Reserved).

The start of bus deregulation gave us a mix of smaller operators, trying to muscle in on the big boys’ territory. Some had great success, identifying niche markets and developing new bus routes. Among the new wave of bus operators were established coach operators. Some of which, like Mayne of Manchester, had operated buses in their earlier years, and prior to deregulation.

As well as Mayne of Manchester, Tameside was served by a number of local coach operators. In 1986, these included Thomas Williams in Mossley; Stuart’s Bus and Coach; Coral Travel; and Dennis’ Coaches, both from Ashton-under-Lyne. Another one was J.A. Griffiths, situated in Hyde. From the start of bus deregulation, they operated two bus routes into Hyde: the 223 and 227.

The 223 and 227 routes

223-227 Griffiths Bus Map

On the 01 November 1986, Griffiths’ 223 service began operation. Alongside its sister route, the 227, numbered similarly with other routes from Hyde to Glossop. This operated on a Saturdays Only basis from Gamesley to Hyde via Hattersley. Starting at Gamesley, it traversed Melandra Castle Road and Cottage Lane along both directions, before going to Dinting Vale (via Glossop Road). At the junction, it turned left towards the A57. From there, it followed the 236 route up to The Junction Inn in Mottram.

Then, it continued the rest of its journey into Hyde via John Kennedy Road, Ashworth Lane, Underwood Road, and Hattersley Road East into Hattersley centre. From there, it continued via Fields Farm Road, and Hattersley Road West. It rejoined the A57 at Mottram Road. Its first journey departed at 0900, once hourly on the hour till 1700. In the reverse direction, 0930 from Hyde bus station. Again once hourly, till 1730.

The 227 service made its first journey on the 27 October 1986. There was only one journey, in one direction on weekdays. This journey left Dinting at 0755, arriving at Hyde bus station for 0815. In Derbyshire County Council’s Peak District timetable for October 1986, it has the journey’s starting point as Shore Lane. Supposing this is a typographical era, should this have read Shaw Lane? On GMPTE’s first deregulation era bus map, there is no details of its Dinting terminus, though 227 is seen above Dinting Road (near the Dinting Railway Centre).

From Dinting, the 227 service traversed Shaw Lane before turning right onto the A57 for Woolley Bridge, following the 236 service up to Mottram. Whereas the 236 turned right, Griffiths’ 227 probably carried on up to John Kennedy Road, then Ashworth Lane towards Underwood Road, and Hattersley Road East into Hattersley centre. From there, possibly along Fields Farm Road, and Hattersley Road West before rejoining the A57 at Mottram Road.

What happened next?

J.A. Griffiths’ stint in stage carriage operation was quite brief. In the history of deregulated bus operations within Greater Manchester, almost a ‘blink and you miss it’ moment. They continued to offer private hire coach services until 1997. After then J.A. Griffiths’ operations were taken over by Belle Vue Coaches.

The 223, in its 01 November 1986 form became a shoppers’ special service. Operated by GM Buses, its terminus was switched to Glossop. Hyde town centre was no longer served, but Mottram and parts of Hattersley were served. Instead, its westerly terminus was Stockport. This was withdrawn by the end of 1990. 227 was used for a Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] – Romiley and Woodley service. By 1990, it was largely replaced by the 211 service, which went via Hadfield and Hattersley, before continuing to Manchester.

Today’s passengers, travelling between Gamesley and Hyde, only have two buses an hour, without an evening service. These are today’s 341 and 394 routes, both operated by High Peak. A handful of peak hour journeys are covered by the 69A (to Chapel-en-le-Frith) and the 202.

In 1990, whilst bus deregulation was at its peak, there was two direct buses to Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (214 and 224), and a direct bus to Ashton-under-Lyne (239). Today’s passengers need to change modes at Broadbottom or Glossop for the Manchester Piccadilly train. A trip to Ashton-under-Lyne or Stalybridge means alighting at the former Junction Inn stop then taking a short walk to the shelter for a 236 or 237. No good if you’re trudging up or down the hill with some shopping.

And finally…

Did you ever catch any of J.A. Griffiths’ services? Did you drive on any of the two routes? Any anecdotes or references to the fleet would be helpful. Feel free to comment. Any corrections, additions and clarifications are welcome.

S.V., 11 September 2017.

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2 thoughts on “J.A. Griffiths’ Bus Routes: A Lost Bus Routes of Greater Manchester Special

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  1. They went all in with that opening gambit, didn’t they? A Saturday only service to Gamesley, and one bus a day in one direction. Wow! Would be fascinating to know what their thought processes were behind setting up those two routes. Makes you wonder if a bus driver lived in Dinting and they kept a vehicle at their house or something bonkers!

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    1. Hi Andrew,

      A far cry from how Stagecoach celebrated the start of Deregulation Day. They had Brian Souter dressed as a rabbit, collecting fares on a Magicbus AEC Routemaster in Glasgow!

      It does sound like one of the drivers had a bus or coach in Dinting. From the timetable, it seems to me they only had the one bus, and a spare.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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