2018 World Cup of GM Bus Routes: Marsden Moor or Tandle Hill?

Game 1, Group H (Walton): 184 v. 409  

For our fifteenth fixture we look at two rather scenic bus routes via Oldham. One is likely to be held up by the school run; the other one, more likely to be sheep.

Marsden Moor meanderings

If you are travelling to Huddersfield from Manchester, the train is more likely to be your choice of transport. Especially with speed being the reason. The most scenic way of reaching the Pennines from Piccadilly Gardens is the 184 service.

There are four 184s per hour in the daytime. As they co-work with the 180 service to Greenfield, this leaves some gaps for Uppermill passengers. If you cop for a 184 with Huddersfield on the front, do the full route. I said, “do the full route”.

Why should you do the full 184? The views from Grotton towards Oldham are pretty decent but the fun begins in Greenfield. From the junction of Greenfield station, the views of Dovestones – especially on a double decker – are sensational.

If you thought that view was good, wait till you leave Diggle: oh my Giddy Aunt… especially as you take the road towards Marsden. Looking back, tremendous views of Dobcross and Uppermill. Looking forward, spectacular views of Marsden Moor and the occasional sighting of sheep on the A62. Whilst heading northbound, the views of Marsden Moor make mincemeat out of the previous views you saw. This is why the front seats upstairs are always occupied for most of the journey.

By Marsden, the views are a bit more industrial but interesting to look at nonetheless. Is it worth getting a FirstDay ticket for? We think so several times over!

Perpendicular perambulation to Rochdale

Across the British bus network, there is always one route which is stultifying beyond belief. Dreary if you choose to do the full route though a lifesaver for a short hop or a series of modest journeys. The 409 is Greater Manchester’s answer to this rule.

The 409 is one of First Greater Manchester’s flagship routes. At one time it co-worked with the 410 service to Thornham. The latter route had its roots in a stopping service from Thornham to Hathershaw (hence the blocked turning circle on the junction of Ashton Road and Pelham Street). The 409 in its full service form was at one time an express route (the plain old number 9).

Since bus deregulation it has seen competition from Stott’s Tours (on the 398 route), Speedwell Bus (in 2010 with the short-lived S49), and Bee Line (with ageing Atlanteans instead of frequent minibuses). The competition dried up when Firstbus took over GM Buses North in April 1996.

The route is mainly residential and industrial, but has its rural moments on passing Daisy Nook and Tandle Hill. It is good for linking up the smaller towns and districts with Ashton, Oldham, and Rochdale. If you are looking for scenery or a nice rural walk with a bit of industrial heritage, alight at the stop by Daisy Nook Country Park (by the River Medlock bridge).

Full Time Score:

184 [Huddersfield] 5 – 2 409 [Rochdale]

It’s the views and the ewes that have stitched this match up good and proper for the Trans-Pennine route into Huddersfield.

S.V., 19 June 2018.

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