2018 World Cup of GM Bus Routes: Getting Your Kicks on the A6

Game 1, Group F (Manford): 192 v. 199  

For our eleventh fixture we look at two famous bus routes which serve the A6 corridor from Manchester to Hazel Grove. One of them begins at Manchester Airport.

“A drink’s too wet without one…”

If there was a Pointless round on Greater Manchester bus routes, Stagecoach Manchester’s 192 service would have got you 93 points. For several years it has been Greater Manchester’s most frequent bus route. There are buses every 3 – 4 minutes from Piccadilly Gardens to Stockport. Some continue to Stepping Hill Hospital whereas the 192 route to Hazel Grove is every 10 minutes. Its evening and Sunday service runs to higher frequencies than most routes in TfGM boundaries.

Why, may you ask, is the route so frequent? Population density: neither Longsight nor Heaton Chapel, Levenshulme and Hazel Grove are little villages. They are close to their nearby city or major town. The density of housing stock along Stockport Road makes for good bus territory.

It is also a good route for biscuit lovers. On many a 192 journey you get the whiff of McVitie’s biscuit works in Heaton Chapel. The smell of chocolate biscuits (I love the smell of wholewheat in the morning – and I did in my formative years en route to Ewing School).

On the down side, the 192 has had a bit of a bad reputation for antisocial behaviour. If you believe some testimonials, or have listened to some bus radio reports, a lot of incidents tend to be on that stretch. Some might argue it comes with the territory.

Way out in the country

Between Stockport and Hazel Grove, High Peak Buses’ 199 service follows the 192. On turning left at The Rising Sun, this is where the fun begins. Its scenic section (for now – before the A6 Link Road arrives) kicks in shortly after the pub, taking in High Lane, the Middlewood Way, and Disley. At one time, part route duplicates used to terminate in Lyme Park on summer Sundays.

After a brief incursion into Cheshire East boundaries it takes us to Derbyshire, largely following northern’s railway line to Buxton. There’s a slight deviation from the line in Chapel-en-le-Frith where the 199 takes in more of the village.

The run into Buxton from then on has a semi-rural feel and some undulating scenery. Including Dove Holes which, in 2007, was unfairly dubbed The UK’s Ugliest Village. Once into Buxton, the bus provides a useful link from the spa town’s outpost of Everyone’s Favourite Brexiteer’s Pub Chain. Thereafter it takes in the main shopping centre, the railway station, and terminates at the Market Place. If your legs are knackered, take advantage of the stop outside The Railway pub to whisk you up to the Market Place.

At its westerly point, it provides a useful link with Manchester Airport. Coupled with Stagecoach Manchester’s 330s, a bus along the M60/M56 every 15 minutes. The service in full operates half hourly (once hourly on Sundays and Bank Holidays). On Sundays and Bank Holidays, half hourly from Stockport to Ringway.

Full Time Score:

192 [Hazel Grove] 2 – 3 199 [Buxton]

A last minute goal from the 199 service edges it. Well, strictly speaking, the 199 does take you to Lyme Park as well as (via the airport) Lisbon. The village of Dove Holes also deserves a bit more love.

S.V., 17 June 2018.

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