Further bus service changes and retimings which affect Oldham and Saddleworth passengers

First Greater Manchester Mercedes Citaro, W349 RJA, Oldham bus station
A Mercedes Citaro on the 425 service to Fitton Hill, seen loading at Oldham bus station.

Since our little look at the future shape of Oldham’s and Saddleworth’s bus routes, a few more changes have been announced in the last fortnight. We now know more about the 59’s early morning journeys. Once again there are changes in store for the 408 route (no change there, then).

Like the Tameside and Glossop addendum, please treat this one as a companion to our more comprehensive bulletin (published on 07 March 2018).

On the 59 service, the part route journey from Rushcroft to Middleton (2255) will be extended to Piccadilly Gardens. This will later form the 0010 return journey, which shall terminate at Oldham.

Sticking with part routes, journeys from Oldham will be added at 0409 (weekdays only), 0519 (Saturdays only), and 0634 (Sundays and Bank Holidays only). Its return journeys will leave Piccadilly Gardens at 0511 (SSuX) and 0619 (SO) for Oldham. The 0734 journey on Sundays and Bank Holidays will terminate at Moston [Gardeners Arms].

Early bird bus passengers on the 81 will also be given a boost. New journeys from Oldham [Mumps Bridge] to Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] will be added. These will depart at 0457 (SSuX), 0438 (SO), and 0656 (Sundays and Bank Holidays). Its return journeys will terminate at Moston [Gardeners Arms] departing from Piccadilly Gardens at 0457 (SSuX), 0527 (SO), and 0750 (Sundays and Bank Holidays).

On the flip side, three Oldham to Manchester journeys will be revised to start from Moston. These are the 0503 (SSuX), 0538 (SO), and the 0756 (Sundays and Bank Holidays). A part route journey at 1627 (SSuX) from Piccadilly Gardens to Nuthurst Road will be withdrawn. The 1633 journey is suggested by First Greater Manchester as a suitable alternative.

The proposed changes for the 77 service have been confirmed, with the route partially covered by journeys on the 76 service.

The 409 service will see the retiming of its weekday and Saturday journeys. Its sister bus route along the Rochdale Road, the 408, will see more changes. Passengers of the beleaguered service will see an operator revision on its Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys. We are awaiting details of its new operator.

If you regularly catch the 425 from Fitton Hill or Abbey Hills Road, some changes will be made. Instead of being treated as a straightforward short distance route, it will be seen in the timetable as a circular route. A cigar shaped one with no effect on its frequencies.

S.V., 16 March 2018.

15 thoughts on “Oldham and Saddleworth Bus Service Changes Extra (Spring 2018)

  1. some of OMs E400s route branded ones are now been put on wrong routes route branding to me is a waste of time


  2. Route branding I feel has never been as prominent as it was back around the mid-noughties when First Greater Manchester (then First Manchester) introduced the ‘Overground’ concept with it’s different coloured lines.

    Since then it seems to have become much more of a sporadic affair which leads to as you say Michael branded buses being put on the wrong routes – something which you’d feel is avoidable given the size of the Oldham fleet.

    Talking of fleet, I wonder what type of bus is going to be seen on the 356 service (I’ve just been thinking as well, surely only one bus will be needed all day?) I read somewhere it is going to be a 22 seater – would be quite disappointed if it’s a Ford Transit like the one we see on the 352/X50 routes.


    1. Hi Forgotten Tunnel,

      Going off what I have seen of Radio Cabs/Nexus Move’s minibus fleet they might be, alas, on the ‘bread van’ side. Looking at it another way, the difference between small Ford Transit/Mercedes Sprinter type vehicles and Optare Solos could mean no evening services and higher running costs. Thus defeating the object of a full time shuttle service connecting the villages.

      The smallest Solos I have seen are the narrow 23 seat ones (like Stott’s Tours’ examples, some have single width doors). These vehicles, and the Transit type ones, may be better for negotiating narrow streets. Or rather, narrow streets where drivers have parked on the kerb. If you remember, MCT Travel’s earlier buses had fewer than 22 seats. They saw sterling service on the temporary 400 Metroshuttle service in Oldham.

      For passengers on the 353 and 354 services, I hope there are decent connections with the 356 service at Uppermill. Though the service will be boosted in Saddleworth it has been at the expense of direct connections between Ashton-under-Lyne and Denshaw. Or Stalybridge with Delph and Denshaw.

      As for route branding I personally prefer a smart livery across the entire fleet. Route branding works if it is used effectively and on the right routes. This is where proper maintenance comes to the fore. Not only in the workshop but also in the paint shop where vehicles have been cascaded.

      Bye for now,



      1. stuart oldhams 53703 seats 21 as for times for 354 leaving uppermill it will be 58 mins past even hours the 353 i think is 47 mins past odd hour for 350 maily same times towards Ashton but from Hey Farm towards Ashton will be 18 and 48 mins past Towards Oldham think it is 17 and 47 mins past

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t suppose anyone would know where I could find historical copies of bus timetables in Saddleworth from the 1980s and 1990s.

    Best regards


    1. Hi Forgotten Tunnel,

      If you have a spare day off, you could book an appointment with the Greater Manchester Museum of Transport to use their Timetable Library. They have a comprehensive collection of publicity and timetables from GMPTE, TfGM, other operators and their predecessors. Details of which are available on their website.

      The next best thing you can do is visit David Beilby’s excellent Saddleworth Buses website. As well as photographs, there is a little history on each Saddleworth bus route up to the present day.

      Or you could go to the Spring Transport Festival at the Museum of Transport in Cheetham (24/25 March 2018). You might want to add a few timetables to your collection from one of the stalls. On both days, shuttle buses operate every 20 minutes from Manchester Victoria to the museum during its opening hours.

      Bye for now,



  4. FGM seem to be having a clear out of older buses but the mosting shocking one is solo 53149 been scarpped could not belive that


  5. Thank you for the information Stuart – really appreciate all the advise

    I’ve been a passionate visitor of David Beilby’s excellent Saddleworth Buses website since around October 2008 when I was 12 years old (soon after Oldham garage’s arrival of all the brand new B9TL Geminis operating on the 180 and 184 routes). I tend not to last a few weeks without reviewing the galleries endless photograph’s. Information given for the routes is fantastic although due to my love for numbers and figures I’d love to get my hands on an actual old timetable!

    I did visit Greater Manchester Museum of Transport around last Summer time and it was a fantastic afternoon out, future visits will no doubt see me spending even more time there.


  6. I suppose I just have a few questions that one or two of you may know the answer to –

    With the new 356 service being an hourly one all day and evening, when was the last time Diggle and Dobcross had such a frequent evening service?

    Additionally, when was the last time Denshaw didn’t have a through route to Ashton? I have a feeling this is the first time this has happened since 1980 (baring Sundays which will continue to have a through service).


    1. Hi Forgotten Tunnel,

      I would say the 19 July 1980 was the last time when Ashton-under-Lyne didn’t have a through bus to Denshaw. This was remedied by the 354 service the following day. Before then, Tameside passengers would either change at Mossley (436 or 438 – the 158 before 1977), or at Oldham. With the latter option, Denshaw had frequent links with Halifax.

      As for the last time when Diggle had a frequent evening service with Dobcross, that was April 2008. They were evening extensions of the 353 and 354 route operated by First Pennine. From that month, the evening service was cut back to start at Uppermill, before that met its demise in April 2015.

      Bye for now,



  7. i remember the 41 seated Leyland nationals on the 353 and 354 both ran from Glossop depot proper buses that where goodto travel on


  8. i went on a perserved one at Skipton rally the other year this had a volvo engine but the best one was longer 202 ABA 27T which had a DAF engine and could set of car alarms Glossop depot also had TE depot codes i think it was an out stn of Tameside but had its own allocation


  9. Forgottentunnelbelowlydgate:

    You may find this very interesting, I’ve managed to dig this out of the 15 year old archives …

    Click to access network9.pdf

    Hopefully the map will load for you but it shows all services in Oldham/Tameside as they were on 11th April 2004.
    Tried to also grab the timetable leaflet libraries from the same website but they were dead links.

    I know you asked about timetables from the 80’s/90’s but even though this map is from 2003, the Saddleworth services in particular would be similar to what they were from deregulation (1986-2004 didn’t see too many changes).

    The map shows that from the likes of Uppermill and Greenfield, the 180, 183, 184, 427, 429 and 365 services all ran with a frequency of 1 hour or better in the Mon-Sat daytime (I think all these services where hourly and combined together to form a good 3/4 buses per hour+ from Saddleworth to Manchester) though someone may correct me on this. You’ll notice Diggle was served by a less frequent 427 and 365; I think these where Sunday and evening services only, the daytime ones ran to Uppermill only or bypassed Diggle to Marsden and Huddersfield.

    What does come as a huge surprise compared to today’s standards is bus services from Saddleworth to Mossley and Ashton. The map shows that neither service 352, 353, 354 or 355 had a frequency of an hour or better. Instead it looks as though all 4 of these services ran every 2 hours (or maybe every 90 minutes) to form a somewhat improvised sporadic link to Mossley and Ashton.

    That said, it’s notable that some areas did have many more buses calling than today’s standards. Diggle for example was served by the 184, 365, 427, 356, 353 (evenings only), while Dobcross had a whopping 6 separate services calling through the village at the time! Palin Wood Road in Delph also had 3 services, albeit 2 of them where extremely infrequent.

    It’s interesting to see how services have changed in what is generally a small space of time; these days Saddleworth-Ashton services are benefitted hugely by the very frequent (compared to pre-2004) 350 service which gives Delph, Uppermill, Greenfield etc. 2 buses an hour, including the additional journey on the 353/4.

    On the other hand, it would have seemed almost unthinkable in 2003/04 that the 427/429 services where about to be soon withdrawn as they were the prime main services in the area – I’m not sure how frequent they where but they definitely would have been at least 3 buses an hour from Uppermill towards Oldham on the 184 (limited stop), 427 and 365, same in Greenfield.


    1. the 365 service was a great service Yorkshire rider Huddersfield ran it they used coaches both double and single deck coaches on it always on time


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