In Greater Manchester, Why Isn't There A Bus From…?

East of the M60 looks at potential route corridors in Greater Manchester that are poorly served or unserved by existing bus routes

Thanks to the machinations of deregulated bus operations, profitable areas may have seen some improvement in frequencies. Some, at the very least, have been cushioned from radical service changes. This has been at the expense of secondary routes and local services, which has made hitherto modest journeys an unnecessarily lengthy journey. In some parts of Dukinfield, walking to Stalybridge is faster than waiting for the next 343 if you have missed the previous one by a minute.

For several years, there has been some parts of Greater Manchester that haven’t had, though could do with, a direct bus route between any two given points. If you wish to travel from Shaw to Uppermill on public transport, you need to change at Mumps Bridge for an 84 or a 350 – which makes for an extremely long journey. Inexplicably, there hasn’t been a more direct route from Droylsden to Denton than the present-day 7 route (which only touches Dane Bank). How many miles is it between the two places?

Today, East of the M60 looks at the possibility for new bus corridors over a given part of Greater Manchester and looks at how the journey is done with present-day routes. We ask, “Why Isn’t There A Bus From…”

Pendleton to Bury (via Clifton and Radcliffe)

Since the Clifton Junction to Radcliffe line closed, it is fair to say there hasn’t been a proper bus replacement service for nearly 50 years. Though the section from Pendleton is well covered up to Clifton, there is no way of getting a direct Clifton to Bury bus. Plus you need to change at Bolton, Kearsley or Manchester. Historically, there has been direct routes from Bury to Pendleton, albeit via Broughton.

The present journey from Pendleton (Salford Shopping City, Hankinson Way) to Bury Interchange takes 51 to 57 minutes by bus and tram – changing at Manchester city centre. From Clifton to Bury, which you think ought to be a shorter journey, up to 1 hour and 21 minutes from the railway station to Bury Interchange. The longest journey being via Bolton. On foot, 2 hours and 36 minutes via Radcliffe. By car, 20 minutes via the A56.

Possible route

A Bury – Radcliffe – Clifton – Pendleton route could begin at Salford Shopping City. From there it could take the A6 via Irlam O’Th’ Heights, then the A666 to Pendlebury, Clifton and Kearsley before reaching Radcliffe via Stoneclough Road, where it would follow the 512 and 513 routes. Then it would continue to Bury via Eton Hill Road, Bury Road and Radcliffe Road, and Manchester Road up to Bury Interchange. The only real circuitous section would be between Clifton, Kearsley, Stoneclough and Stand, due to Clifton Country Park.

Droylsden to Denton (via Audenshaw)

If you are travelling from Denton to Droylsden, you would jump in your car towards the M60 or Audenshaw Road without hesitation. For the latter, it is a ten minute drive for a 2.8 mile long journey from The Silly Country to the Crown Point Tavern. A potential bus route between the two towns (via The Old Pack Horse Inn and the Trough) should be popular, due to its population density and facilities on the way.

On public transport, the ten minute drive could take 36 minutes at best – by changing from a 216 to a 347 – in Ashton. At worst, 48 minutes by catching a 7 (via Gorton and Debdale Park) and changing at Dane Bank for a 205 to Crown Point.

Possible route

The potential route between Denton and Droylsden could follow the 347 route up to The Old Pack Horse Inn and turn left towards Stamford Road and Audenshaw Road. Or it could take the 345 route and join Stamford Road via Corporation Road. On reaching the mini roundabout, it would follow the 219 route up to the Trough, then approach Droylsden via Ashton Hill Lane.

The three-mile section may be best used as part of a longer route. South of Crown Point, Haughton Green should be its southern terminus. North of Droylsden, the route could continue to Littlemoss. Or Ashton-under-Lyne via the Broadoak Hotel, complementing the 230 and 231 routes. There could be scope for match day buses from Haughton Green to the Etihad Stadium, as a variation of the 216 route.

Shaw to Uppermill (via Delph)

Now we are back to what inspired the original premise of this blog post: how to get from Shaw to Uppermill on public transport. Apart from one season of Greater Manchester Transport’s Saddleworth Link 430 route, the top end of Buckstones Road hasn’t seen a regular bus route.

Grains Bar, where Buckstones Road becomes Grains Road, is another matter. It was noted for having the highest tramway terminus in the UK. Before 2004, you could get a bus to Halifax from there. You can still get a bus to Denshaw from Oldham, but the proposed housing project might test Stott’s Tours’ 407s. Getting from Grains Bar to Delph means a change at Denshaw for the 356 route. Getting from Shaw and Uppermill by bus is a lot harder.

From The Shay Wake to Uppermill (Caffé Grande Abaco/Uppermill Conservative Club/Wilberrys – delete where appropriate), your journey time (on the 58 or 59 to Mumps Bridge, then the 84 or 350 afterwards) is 55 minutes. Yes, you would need a strong drink at the end of your journey. Calling into The Little Bus Geek’s room in ‘Spoons before setting off is another good plan. By car, via Grains Bar, 15 minutes – barely enough time to enjoy a pint.

Possible route

The potential route could begin at Wren’s Nest Terminus, then approach Grains Bar via Beal Lane (passing the tram stop) and Buckstones Road. Then it would reach Delph via Grains Road and turn left onto King Street. There, it would follow the 350 route up to Lodge Lane and Friarmere Drive before returning to the village. On leaving the village, it could follow the 350 route all the way down to Uppermill [Commercial Hotel].

Potentially, the route could be extended to cover Greenfield station, following the Saddleworth Rambler, or terminate at Hey Farm Estate (reaching that part of Mossley via Well-I-Hole Road and covering Friezland). Owing to weight restrictions on Grains Bar and its semi-rural setting, small minibuses a la Nexus Move could be considered. Or Rosso could extend its 435 route in Shaw to Uppermill and brand it as The Shaw Thing (enter stage left, Ray Stenning of Best Impressions fame).

Cadishead to Leigh (via Glazebrook)

Glazebrook has fewer than 2,000 inhabitants. Despite being a tenth of the size as Dukinfield, it has regular trains to Manchester Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations (well, on a good day). Its station also covers Cadishead within its catchment area. Prior to Beeching, it was a junction station with a branch to Leigh and Wigan.

As for getting a bus from Cadishead, the from Manchester 67 terminates there. The 100 continues to Warrington but travelling to Leigh on public transport is a more finicky proposition. It requires a change at either the intu Trafford Centre, Warrington or Eccles. Which can be expensive if you travel via Warrington, especially if you take the train to Warrington Central or Birchwood.

Back in 1974, Lancashire United Transport operated two part-time limited stop routes from Irlam to Wigan via Glazebrook and Culcheth. These were the 695 and 696. There was no direct route to Leigh, yet ironically, today’s 695 route (Diamond Bus North West) runs from Leigh to the Royal Bolton Hospital.

By public transport, Glazebrook to Leigh takes up to one hour and twenty-six minutes. At best, an hour and two minutes, changing at the intu Trafford Centre. By car, the journey takes 18 minutes via Glazebrook Lane – following LUT’s 695 and 696 routes up to Culcheth High School.

Possible route

From Allenby Road, the bus could take the Manchester Road up to the junction of Glazebrook Lane, where it would turn right. Thereafter it would pass Glazebrook station, and continue along the B5212 (Holcroft Lane) up to Warrington Road junction. Then it would continue its way to Leigh, passing Glazebury, Lately Common, and pull in to the town centre via Chapel Street and Spinning Jenny Way.

From Cadishead, the route could be extended to cover the TESCO Extra store near Irlam station.

Stalybridge to Denton (via Dukinfield)

Stalybridge has historically had direct bus and rail links with most of Tameside’s eight other towns. Before May 1989, there was a solid link with Denton, thanks to the Stockport – Stalybridge line. After that date, an apology of a link. This had also been maintained by an extension of the 201 route from Piccadilly to Hattersley, via Mottram Rise. Today, the only direct link that Stalybridge has with Denton on public transport is a single return journey on the Stockport – Stalybridge line on Saturdays.

By bus there is nothing there, though great potential for a direct bus route between the two towns. The easiest way of getting from Stalybridge to Denton by bus is via Ashton on a 236, 237, or a 348 for your 347 to Crown Point. Or (before 6pm) the 343 to Hyde and a 150, 201 or 206 to Denton. A modest journey that requires an Any Bus Day Saver on (Harrison McCarthy fashion) “Any day but Sunday,” where a Stagecoach Day Rider would suffice.

Supposing the traffic doesn’t get the better of you, the journey from Armentieres Square to Crown Point should take 40 to 50 minutes. Including a transfer on foot from Stand E or G of Ashton bus station to the 347’s temporary stand on Gas Street. By car, 13 to 15 minutes via Dukinfield.

Possible route

We can think of more than possible route from Stalybridge. Ideally, one route should begin at Ridge Hill Estate and – like the previous version of the 389 route – serve Hague Estate. Then it could follow the 343 route to Hyde, resurrecting the old pre-deregulation part route journeys from Stalybridge to Hyde. From Hyde it could follow the 150 and 201 to Crown Point, using the turnaround outside Morrisons.

Another potential Stalybridge to Denton route could begin at Grey Street/Stocks Lane (like GMT’s 341 did in 1974). Then from Mottram Road it could continue to Stalybridge the same way as the 236, 237 and 387 into Armentieres Square, stop at the bus station and follow the 343 route up to Dukinfield [Albion Hotel]. Then it would reach Dukinfield Town Hall via Jeffreys Drive, Town Lane and Chapel Street. Its route to Denton could be via Astley Street, Shepley Road, then left at The Sun Inn lights to Denton Road before finishing its route at Crown Point.

Furthermore, there is potential for any of the two routes to become a northern extension of the 327 to Stockport. Which could reestablish a bus based Stalybridge to Stockport link for the first time since 2009 (with Stagecoach’s short lived 389 diversion to Stockport via Lower Bredbury). More to the point, Tameside’s bus links with Bredbury Industrial Estate are shocking.

Any more ideas?

Can you think of any other parts of Greater Manchester that are crying out for a direct route? We particularly welcome ideas for potential routes in the city region within, say South Manchester, using existing infrastructure. It is worth noting that some potential routes may be limited by geology, physical boundaries (i.e.: the Manchester Ship Canal which separates Cadishead from Partington) and roads as well as population density.

S.V., 28 December 2019.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. scuzzmonster says:

    Not so much a bus route but I would be all for connecting the Metrolink spokes at either line termini, or a little way in perhaps. The Metrolink is far too Manchester-centric as things stand. Look at Bury-Rochdale or Ashton-Oldham journeys for example. There are more. A quick look at the Metrolink map has further glaring ommissions leap out at you. There will be money issues – as usual – but I, personally, would prioritise these issues ahead of rumours to take the Metrolink to towns such as Stockport, Bolton and Wigan in the next stage of expansion when these places are already well served by train and bus routes. Not saying the Metrolink should *never* go there – just not that any new routes take priority over bettering the network as a whole. Oh, yeah, and just to keep you happy, Stuart, extend the East Manchester route to Stalybridge! 😀 Happy New Year.

    https://tfgm.com/public-transport/tram/network-map

    Like

  2. Hi Mick,

    Plans have been hatched for orbital lines as part of TfGM’s policy document for a 2040 vision of public transport in Greater Manchester. It has also suggested the use of tram-train technologies along the Stockport-Stalybridge/Ashton Moss line and routes to Marple and Glossop. For the Ashton-under-Lyne to Oldham section, it proposes the reopening of the OA&GB line through Park Bridge. Therefore, you could have tram-trains from Stockport to Rochdale via Denton, Ashton-under-Lyne and Oldham, before joining the Oldham Loop Line at Mumps Bridge.

    As for Rochdale – Bury – Bolton section, much of the trackbed is there – apart from a housing estate in Little Lever which breaches the section from Burnden Junction to Radcliffe. From Rochdale, you would look at having to create a connection with Metrolink and Network Rail metals to reach Rochdale and Castleton stations. Then it would continue on NR’s line to Heywood and share tracks with the East Lancashire Railway. Before 1970, Knowsley Street station offered westbound trains to Bolton. Today’s trams may need to access Bury Interchange by means of a new chord with a second chord towards the Bolton line.

    The easiest way of extending the trams to Bolton – even with the housing estate problem in Little Lever – is by reopening the line from Radcliffe to Bolton. This was planned in The Picc-Vic Project. Instead of trains between Bolton and Rochdale, it was envisaged that the 400 Trans-Lancs Express route would bridge the gap. Extra part route journeys were added to that section in late-1970 after the line’s closure.

    Via the Confidentials website, I have found an article on how the Metrolink network could be developed in 2040 which may be of interest.

    https://confidentials.com/manchester/what-will-metrolink-look-like-in-2040

    Warmly,

    Stuart.

    Liked by 1 person

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