Stagecoach’s Little & Often: A Bee Line Buzz for the 21st Century?

Stagecoach South East’s revival of high frequency minibuses

This time thirty years ago, the word on the streets of Wythenshawe, Dukinfield and Stockport were high frequency minibuses. In particular, Carlyle bodied minibuses with a yellow, black and red livery sporting a vinyl bee. Or the Ivecos and Fords of GM Buses’ Little Gem services. Continue reading “Stagecoach’s Little & Often: A Bee Line Buzz for the 21st Century?”

Duffers’ Guide to Bus Operations #10: Moquette Design

For the tenth part of this series, what makes a marvellous moquette?

C920 FMP, Leyland Lynx 252 (interior).
Note the dashing moquette: the yellow, orange and brown of John Holdsworth’s FBA106 moquette, known as Autumn Gold.

The moquette of a bus seat fulfils two purposes. One is to project the bus operator’s corporate identity. Another is to make the bus seats look as good as clean, even if the seat has been sat on several times a shift.
Continue reading “Duffers’ Guide to Bus Operations #10: Moquette Design”

Duffers’ Guide to Bus Operations #9: Bus Seats

For the ninth part of this series, the foibles of bus seats

C920 FMP, Leyland Lynx 252 (interior).
Seats in All Parts: real bus seats as seen on a preserved Leyland Lynx single decker bus.

 

In our previous part, we looked at how some bell pushes can be used as an extension of the big bus owning groups’ corporate identity. The same can be true with the look and feel of our bus seats.

Over the last two decades, a typical bus seat has evolved from bench style seating to individual seats. More like mini coach seats with plastic backing. In the UK, our bus seats have moquette, a hardwearing material which not only adds colour, but also covers the cushion.
Continue reading “Duffers’ Guide to Bus Operations #9: Bus Seats”

Ralph Bennett: His Life in the Company of Buses

Our tribute to the man who revolutionised modern bus operation

1001 Leyland Atlantean HVM 901F (Mancunian style, Ralph Bennett, 1968), Manchester City Transport
For many bus enthusiasts and Mancunians of a certain age, Leyland Atlantean 1001 is Ralph Bennett’s best known legacy.

Cast your mind back to 1968: Greater Manchester’s bus network was on the verge of radical change. In a year’s time, the greens and creams of Salford Corporation and SHMD Joint Board, and the reds and creams of Manchester and Stockport corporations’ undertakings would be replaced by SELNEC’s neutral livery. Its 3 million inhabitants would soon receive modern buses in an orange and white livery. Continue reading “Ralph Bennett: His Life in the Company of Buses”

Duffers’ Guide to Bus Operations #8: Bell Pushes

The bells were ringing, for me and my bus… in our long awaited eighth part of this series

A row of bell pushes, seen on a First Greater Manchester Optare Solo.
A row of bell pushes, seen on 40321, a First Greater Manchester Optare Solo.

Ever since John Greenwood’s original bus service ran from Salford to Pendleton in 1824, there has been a way of reminding the driver to stop the vehicle. Firstly, coachmen would announce certain stops along the route for the benefit of its passengers. On trams, a bell code would remind passengers of their stops. This was perpetuated on trolleybuses and standard diesel buses. Continue reading “Duffers’ Guide to Bus Operations #8: Bell Pushes”

Great Non-GMT Standard Double Deckers: The Not So Perfect Ten

A round-up of some of the greatest non-SELNEC/Greater Manchester Transport double deckers ever to grace the Earth

Regular readers on East of the M60 would be familiar with any of the references to Ralph Bennett (particularly the distinctive Bolton and Manchester Leyland Atlanteans), or the GMT standard double deckers. For this month’s Not So Perfect Ten, we are spreading our wings a little and focusing on groundbreaking vehicles from other parts of the United Kingdom. Both aesthetically and functionally. Continue reading “Great Non-GMT Standard Double Deckers: The Not So Perfect Ten”

Go Cheapway to… The Greater Manchester Museum of Transport

Exploring Greater Manchester’s transport history on a budget

Leyland Olympian NJA 568W, Greater Manchester Transport, Museum of Transport, Cheetham
Not to be missed: The Greater Manchester Museum of Transport is worth visiting from time to time, not only for new additions to its collection. On special event days, local preservation groups such as the SELNEC Preservation Society and private owners display their vehicles.

My first visit to this museum was on the Palm Sunday of 1986 with my father. We decided – rather wrong-headedly – to walk to and from the museum. On alighting our 220 bus at Victoria Station, we made the mistake of walking up Rochdale Road. In spite of the longer route which entailed turning left onto Queens Road, I still managed to catch a glimpse of the Red Bank carriage sidings. Continue reading “Go Cheapway to… The Greater Manchester Museum of Transport”

168 Tonnes of Love: Valentine’s Day Debut for Hybrid Buses

Fourteen Enviro400H buses launched on 50 service from East Didsbury to MediaCityUK

Enviro400-SL63FZR-02mini
Relaunch: Councillor Roger Jones, TfGM’s Ryan Carter, Councillor Barry Warner and Stagecoach Manchester’s Christopher Bowles seen outside MediaCityUK with one of Stagecoach Manchester’s new hybrid vehicles for the 50 service. (Photograph © 2014 Tangerine PR)

Whilst a great many passengers were exchanging soppy presents and cards, or viewing St. Valentine’s Day with great indifference, Stagecoach Manchester decided to spread some hybrid bus love around Manchester and Salford. Continue reading “168 Tonnes of Love: Valentine’s Day Debut for Hybrid Buses”

EX30 and Beyond: Greater Manchester and the Leyland National

How Leyland’s revolutionary single decker began 42 years of National service within Greater Manchester

SELNEC Leyland National
EX30, seen on the turning circle outside the Greater Manchester Museum of Transport.

For your maximum enjoyment, this article is best read in conjunction with the Not So Perfect Ten article on Experimental SELNEC and GMT Buses Since 1969. Thank you.

For many people, 1971 meant Decimalisation, hot pants and T-Rex. In the bus world, the orange and white of SELNEC made its presence known throughout today’s TfGM boundaries; in our living rooms, 10 million homes tuned in to the antics of Stan Butler and company in London Weekend Television’s On The Buses. Instead of the fictitious Luxton, Lillyhall was the UK bus industry’s centre of gravity. A legacy that would outlive LWT’s series by several years. Not only on our streets, but also on our railways. Continue reading “EX30 and Beyond: Greater Manchester and the Leyland National”

Experimental SELNEC and GMT Buses Since 1969: The Not So Perfect Ten

Non-standard vehicle types of the SELNEC and Greater Manchester Transport eras

When SELNEC came to being on the 01 November 1969, it inherited a mix of different vehicles from its precursors. Its biggest constituent brought us the Mancunian style Leyland Atlanteans and Daimler Fleetlines, whereas its smallest one would order the last front engine double decker bus. Continue reading “Experimental SELNEC and GMT Buses Since 1969: The Not So Perfect Ten”