2018 World Cup of GM Bus Routes: Which Way to Altrincham?

Game 1, Group E (Sidebottom): CAT5 v. 247  

For our ninth fixture we look at two ways of getting to Altrincham. One from the intu Trafford Centre; another one from Golden Square via Dunham Massey.

The CAT’s whiskers?

Warrington’s Own Buses (or Warrington Borough Transport in old money) have given the 5 service from Altrincham to Warrington a facelift. It has brand new buses and attractive route branding, using the Cheshire Cat to promote its route.

Beneath the veneer of posh seats and free WiFi, the refresh came with a cost: the withdrawal of the 35 service. As a result of Cheshire East Council’s anti-bus attitudes, the good people of Little Bollington were denied a bus service.

From Warrington it links up with Central and Bank Quay railway stations, before continuing to Grappenhall, Thelwall, and Lymm. Once we leave Lymm and Warburton, we move towards the most scenic part of the route – through Dunham towards Dunham Massey Park and Hale.

The CAT5 also has a sister route: the CAT5A. This largely follows the CAT5A up to Warburton though misses out Dunham Massey. Instead it reaches Altrincham via Partington (Manchester New Road – close to the site of The Greyhound public house). Then Sinderland and Broadheath.

“It’s a merry-go-round of music and fun…”

The 247 service is more than just another bus route to the intu Trafford Centre. It follows the CAT5A up to Partington. The most scenic part of the journey is between Broadheath and Partington. Which gives the impression of our bus being in the wilderness.

On reaching Partington we have a mix of semi-rural, suburban and industrial settings. These include petrochemicals works (and the remains of similar premises), gas infrastructure, and offices under the aegis of Carrington Business Park. Also Carrington’s gas-fired power station. Then to Flixton and, via Trafford General Hospital and Davyhulme, the intu Trafford Centre.

When I boarded the 247 several years ago (the summer of 2002) it used to have a more northerly terminus. Its previous terminus was Eccles bus station. When yours truly boarded the 247 it was fifteen minutes late; it couldn’t get into the then newly built Eccles bus station. The now defunct section used to take in Patricroft and Barton before reaching the Trafford Centre. First Greater Manchester’s 100 service covers that part of the route.

Full Time Score:

CAT5 [Warrington] 1 – 1 247 [intu Trafford Centre]

Whereas the scenic Sinderland to Partington section of the 247 route is a bit of an unknown pleasure, it is at least the equal of the CAT5’s section through Dunham Massey.

S.V., 17 June 2018.

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