A low key affair – unless you want to visit Foxdenton Hall and Gardens from Middleton

  • 415 rerouted during daytimes;
  • All the usual timetable tweaks.

In a marked contrast to the forthcoming changes facing Tameside bus passengers, this month’s set of changes is a quiet one for Oldham bus passengers. For some passengers, retimings are the order of the day. If your regular bus is the 415 service, we have news for you; it is not very good news either.

Comfortably picking up the title for 2018’s Most (delete where appropriate) Changed/Cannibalised/Ruined Bus Route in Greater Manchester, the 415 route is set to face another major change. A rerouting that would add 15 minutes to its journey time.

From the 28 January 2019, First Greater Manchester’s journeys will be rerouted via Moston. At this moment, all journeys approach Middleton or Oldham via the narrow and low Middleton Junction railway bridge. Under the new changes, it will pass Foxdenton Hall and Gardens as normal via Grimshaw Lane.

At the Railway and Linnet, it would turn left onto Broadgate. Which in one respect is a good move if you live in Chadderton or Oldham and work around there. If you work on Greengate, alight outside the said pub and making a short walk may be better.

If you live in Alkrington Garden Village, the short route to Oldham will be fifteen minutes longer. From Greengate, you will be whisked southwards towards Hollinwood Avenue, passing Moston, then Broadway before passing the M60, the Rochdale Canal, and turning left into Broadgate.

Though serving the industrial estates on Greengate and Broadgate is a good idea, this could have been better addressed by a local circular service using minibuses. This, possibly numbered 414, could begin at Middleton, and take in part of First’s revised 415 route.

Regular passengers of the 415 service, who have seen its frequency decimated from every 15 minutes to once hourly over a decade deserve better. Perhaps another company with the right kind of buses for Middleton Junction bridge should take over. On the service changes, a spokesperson for First Greater Manchester said:

“To operate the current route, vehicles of a non-standard size are required. First Manchester have advised that despite significant investment in the pool of vehicles which are used on the 415 (and the 353/4), they are at the end of their life and this is impacting reliability of the service. It is accepted that a small number of customers will lose their service however the cost of replacement cannot be justified for the requirement.”

Andy Burnham, what would you make of this? Though you are the Mayor of Greater Manchester, you are more than welcome to comment on East of the M60.


Only two of Oldham’s First Greater Manchester routes will be retimed. The 409 will see the retiming of its AM peak journeys. The 83 from Sholver to Manchester will see similar changes made to its PM peak journeys. On Stagecoach Manchester’s 74 and 76 routes, more of the same.

Forthcoming changes

In many case, the post-Easter service changes are a portent of doom. Many of Transport for Greater Manchester’s tendered services are reviewed around that time, with October’s changes a close second.

For Oldham bus passengers, the 27 April could see a mixed bag of changes. The 49 and 406 could be withdrawn in favour of a new 149 service between North Manchester General and Royal Oldham hospitals via Moston, Coppice, and Oldham. Its operator will be finalised nearer to Eastertide. It is anticipated that three journeys may be lopped off the 151 service (the SSuX 1709 from Hollinwood – NMGH, the SO 0807 from Hollinwood – Mandley Park and the SO 0831 from Mandley Park – Hollinwood). The SO 0807 may begin at Newton Heath with the SO 0831 starting from NMGH.

Weekday peak journeys may be restored on the 408 and 412 services (from Oldham to Shaw and Oldham to Middleton respectively). Common sense may prevail on the 425‘s evening service. The present service is split in two with one section between Oldham and Fitton Hill, and another section between Holts Estate and Oldham. In line with its daytime service, back as a single Holts Estate – Fitton Hill cross town route (details of operator pending).

If you live in Holts Estate, there is a possibility that the 81A could get a Sunday and evening service. This to compensate in part for the proposed cessation of evening journeys on the 340 service from Oldham to Hyde (via Greenacres).

Forthcoming changes could see the 343’s sister route replaced by a slimline version of the 343 service. One without evening journeys and a two-hourly daytime service on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Though scant compensation between Oldham and Lees, its proposed cuts would be more brutal for Tameside passengers. The operator, who may be taking over from Stagecoach Manchester has yet to be confirmed.

Once we find out, all will be revealed by Easter or thereabouts. For the time being, get those taxi numbers in your phone or invest in a good pair of walking shoes.

S.V., 16 January 2019.

10 thoughts on “Oldham and Saddleworth Bus Service Changes, 27 January 2019

  1. Regarding 415 I have heard that there is supposedly an extra bus being inserted into the timetable, now whether this will help at all with timekeeping on the route we can only wait and see as to what vehicles we’ll see on 415 is anyone’s guess but considering Rusholme shuts on the same date and while there won’t be many changes this time with First, there will be vehicle transfers from Rusholme to various Depots so could be interesting if we’ll see any of Rusholme’s former fleet finding their way onto 415.


    1. Hi Andrew,

      Due to the longer journey time, I suppose that would give the route a PVR of 2 or a PVR of 3. On the odd occasions I have caught the 415, I have copped for Volvo B7s in the last 10 – 15 years. I remember seeing Leyland Nationals on that route as well as those uncomfortable Marshall-bodied Dennis Dart SLFs in more recent times.

      I forgot about the closure of Rusholme depot and the other interesting combinations that may arise. Sometimes, instead of the usual Wright StreetLite single deckers, I have seen Optare Solos on peak hour 346s and wondered “why aren’t these on the 415 route?” Another excuse to get the camera out.




    2. no the 415 i staying at 2 buses as it is now rusholmes streetlites are moving to Oldham that is a defo


  2. Rusholme news is that 63147 to 56 move to Oldham not sure on the E400s also the darts of the 415 service have not been well looked after as they had at Dukinfield and i think they are due off fleet

    with the solos they only have 53146/47 plus 53401/53807/8/10 that i know off at moment


    1. First Oldham also have 53138 (EU54 BNK), which I have been wanting to travel on but has so far evaded me.


  3. mark Branson whoops i forgot about that i got a ride on it once when it did the 354 service its not very good it jumps when setting off from bus stops etc can not see it lasting after next weekend i think Oldham need some newer solos like stotts newer ones MX 07 BCY etc that kind


  4. Interesting that 63147-56 will move to Oldham, as the 53 route moves (back) to Queens Road. Presumably, c.10 B7RLEs will move from OM to QS. Similarly, I wonder if 33841-9 will move to OM or BN with 9 Geminis going to QS for the extended 41, given that E400s are not currently operative from QS. Mind you, in both cases it means a worsening of the average age of QS buses


    1. rumors on facebook page say 33841 to 50 will move to south Yorkshire but i think that is BS i think they will move to OM and BN half at each i would say


      1. I would certainly hope that it is rubbish as I can’t imagine what would come in the opposite direction. I’ve just run through the First changes from next week and as far as I can see the only changes to VR would be one less bus on X63 and one less bus on 41/42 (15 combined instead of the current 9+7). Those two would then resource additional V3s. The 415 stays at two buses, but surely the idea is to get rid of either two Darts or two ancient Solos . which begs the question what would run the 415 – the remaining pair of 18 year old B7TL/ALXs?????


  5. i though the 415 would stay at 2 buses as looked at the new timetable and they have ajusted the times not sure if darts will go with solos they do not have many now one of ex south yorkshire ones 53703 has been VOR since August


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